Growing Unrest In American Militias

Pokerface- Revolution


By Sherwood Ross

If African-Americans are overrepresented in the armed forces it is likely because of the military's practice of “strategically targeting low-income youth and students of color,” the ACLU has found.

Result: While African-Americans make up only 16% of the same-age civilian population, in 2006 they represented about 22% of enlisted Army personnel.

Even though enlistment under law is supposed to be voluntary, the Pentagon's racial targeting “in combination with exaggerated promises of financial rewards for enlistment, undermines the voluntariness of their enlistment,” ACLU said in a 46-page report, “Soldiers of Misfortune.”

Can it be accidental that 54% of the participants in JROTC programs are African-American and Latino students?

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the 30 JROTC programs enrolling 4,754 students “are located in the most economically depressed communities in the city,” according to the Coalition Against Militarism in Our Schools.

Nationally, JROTC programs are offered in 18% of high schools. They have enrolled 273,000 “cadets,” of whom 45% typically enlist. According to the National Priorities Project, of the top 50 high schools ranked by the number of Black recruits, 94% have a JROTC program; similarly, for the top 50 high schools ranked by number of Hispanic recruits, 86% have JROTC.

The Army's “School Recruiting Program Handbook,” ACLU says, advises recruiters to participate in Hispanic Heritage and Black History Month activities. And through its Joint Advertising Market Research & Studies database(JAMRS), the Pentagon collects information on 16-year-olds in the eleventh grade, in violation of the U.S. agreement, ratified by the Senate, not to recruit those under age 17. That agreement is Article 3 of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

JAMRS is thought to be the largest repository of data anywhere on the 16-to-25 age group, covering 30 million Americans, and specifically includes data about students' race and ethnicity.

This information is key to Pentagon recruitment plans as it has been found that the two most important predictors of enlistment are students' race/ethnicity and their college plans. College-bound students aren't as likely to give serious thought to military service.

A 2004 study by the Boston Globe found the Pentagon makes minimal effort to recruit students at schools where guidance counselors steer them to college. “This strategy results in recruiters generally focusing on lower-middle class youth in places with limited economic opportunities,” the ACLU report says.

The newspaper compared recruitment activities at a working-class public high school in Maryland with a Virginia public high school in an affluent neighborhood 37 miles away and found students in the former were six times more likely to join the military!

At the Maryland school, recruiters chaperoned school dances, distributed key chains, mugs and military brochures in the school cafeteria, repeatedly telephoned students, and enrolled them in JROTC classes. At the Virginia school, “there was no military chaperoning of school events, no ROTC class, and recruiters limited themselves to a strict quota of visits,” the ACLU report said.

The civil liberties group claims PowerPoint training materials taken from the Department of Defense website based recruiting efforts “around stereotypes of Latino and African American youth, including adapting language to mimic ‘hip hop culture' and to appeal to ‘hotheaded' Latino culture.”

In New York, Army recruiters at high schools drive a specially-equipped “African-American Humvee” and a “Yo Soy El Army Humvee” (I am the Army Humvee) that have plasma television screens and blast rock music intended to appeal to black and Latino kids.

Dangling financial incentives before poor and minority students such as college aid and $20,000 sign-up bonuses also mocks the concept that their enlistment is “voluntary.” In July, 2005, the Army unveiled an incentive package of recruiting bonuses, college funds and special pay for selected jobs that could add up to more than $100,00 for a new active duty recruit, according to The New York Times.

Students frequently do not get the pay-offs recruiters promised them. In North Philadelphia, for example, reservist Joshua Gordy told the AP recruiters at his high school promised he could earn $35,000 for college, but said he has yet to receive the money. And Alberto Gomez, a Northern California student told the ACLU the recruiter at his high school promised him “about half a million dollars,” adding, “Even if I knew that he might be telling lies, it still sounded so good---money for college, job training, traveling.”

Gomez's experience may not be exceptional. “Although Latinos are somewhat underrepresented in the military,” the ACLU report says, “their numbers are increasing rapidly, having jumped about 30% in the last decade.”

The U.S. has come a long way since December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, when long lines formed outside recruiting offices, and not for any enlistment bonuses, either. Could it be that when President Bush does the attacking, fewer folks think it is patriotic to fight?


(Sherwood Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and as a columnist for wire services. He currently directs a public relations firm for non-profit organizations. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com . Disclosure: Ross is a member of the ACLU but is not connected with them in any other way.)

US Police Train Mexican Police to Torture

A Mexican police trainer fired for hitting a female cadet has been hired by another police force in Guanajuato

La Jornada has revealed that some of the trainers responsible for the torture classes given to Leon, Guanajuato, Special Tactics police are San Diego, California, police officers from that city's SWAT team. Other trainers came from the private Mexican company Sniper, according to the Mexican government. The government released the names of the following trainers: Carlos Guillermo Martinez Acuña, Gerardo Ramon Arrechea de la Vega (the Cuban-Mexican trainer whom Narco News revealed is a high-ranking member of the anti-Castro Cuban paramilitary organization Comandos F4), Francisco Javier Jaramillo Barrios, Alfredo Torres Solano, and Martin Gonzalez Cabrera. La Jornada reports that the government did not disclose the trainers' nationalities nor their respective employers.

The torture training was discovered when videos from the classes were leaked to Leon's daily newspaper El Heraldo in June of this year. Three videos surfaced:

  • The first video portrayed an English-speaking trainer of British origins making a trainee roll through his own vomit as punishment for not completing an exercise. The government has not disclosed this trainer's name, nor the company for whom he works. Narco News identified him as Andrew "Orlando" Wilson of the US/British company Risks Incorporated. Videos of the Leon training (minus the torture segments) are posted on Risk Incorporated's website.
  • The second video shows police being trained in torture tactics that are historically popular amongst Mexican police officers: the tehuacanazo and the pocito. The tehuacanazo involves squirting mineral water up the victim's nose, which produces a burning sensation. In the pocito, the victim's head is inserted in a hole filled with feces. A participant in the leaked video stated that the hole also contained rats. During the training, a police officer whom the government says was a volunteer was subjected to both torture tactics at the same time.
  • While the first two videos were shot during the spring, the third video was shot in December 2007 or January 2008. It shows police trainer Roberto Ramírez Govea, who at the time was employed with the Leon Public Security Department, hitting a female cadet in the head during target practice. El Correo de Guanajuato reports that Ramirez was fired for this offense, but less than 15 days later was hired for the same position in the San Francisco del Rincon Public Security Department. San Fransisco del Rincon is also located in Guanajuato.

Together, the torture videos sparked international outrage. Leon's municipal government, which contracted the training, defended the courses, saying that they were necessary to prepare the police to combat organized crime. La Jornada reports that each course cost MX$82,000 (USD$6,205).

The torture videos surfaced the same day President George W. Bush signed Plan Mexico into law. Plan Mexico, which is designed to combat organized crime, will provide more training and equipment for Mexican police and soldiers, utilizing US police officers, federal agents, and military trainers. The US government thus far has not commented on the Leon torture trainings or made any promises that the similar training programs will not continue with US taxpayer money under Plan Mexico.

Comic by Magu for La Jornada. Translation: "Every day more and more Mexicans know that they're protected by the police." "Yeah, narcos, kidnappers..."

Anti-Terror Law Requires God Be Acknowledged

Under state law, God is Kentucky's first line of defense against terrorism.

The 2006 law organizing the state Office of Homeland Security lists its initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God's benevolent protection in its reports, and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister, tucked the God provision into Homeland Security legislation as a floor amendment that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved two years ago.

As amended, Homeland Security's religious duties now come before all else, including its distribution of millions of dollars in federal grants and its analysis of possible threats.

The time and energy spent crediting God are appropriate, said Riner, D-Louisville, in an interview this week.

"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said. "Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."

Nonetheless, it is government that operates the Office of Homeland Security in Frankfort, with a budget this year of about $28 million, mostly federal funds. And some administrations are more religious than others.

Under previous Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a lay Baptist preacher, Homeland Security interpreted the law at face value, prominently crediting God in its annual reports to state leaders and posting the required plaque.

Under Gov. Steve Beshear, officials this week said they didn't know about the plaque until the Herald-Leader called to ask whether it's still there. (They checked; it is.) The 2008 Homeland Security report, issued a month ago, did not credit God, but it did complain about a decline in federal funding from Washington.

Thomas Preston, Beshear's Homeland Security chief, said he isn't interested in stepping into a religious debate, and he hasn't given this part of his duties much thought.

"I will not try to supplant almighty God," Preston said. "All I do is try to obey the dictates of the Kentucky General Assembly. I really don't know what their motivation was for this. They obviously felt strongly about it."

There is no reference to God in Homeland Security's current mission statement or on its Web site, which displeases Riner.

"We certainly expect it to be there, of course," Riner said.

But state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, said Homeland Security should worry about public safety threats instead of preaching religious homilies.

"It's very sad to me that we do this sort of thing," said Stein, a frequent critic of efforts to mix religion and government. "It takes away from the seriousness of the public discussion over security, and it clearly hurts the credibility of this office if it's supposed to be depending on God, first and foremost."

NYPD detective who accidentally shot himself wins $4.5M

By Alex Ginsberg
The New York Post

It was a one-in-a-million. . . er, 4.5 million shot.

A veteran NYPD detective who accidentally put a bullet in his knee after he stumbled out of a busted chair in a Brooklyn station house hobbled away last week with a cool $4.5 million jury verdict.

Anderson Alexander, 49, sued the city for putting the defective chair into use at the 73rd Precinct in Ocean Hill-Brownsville where the detective had the misfortune to lean back while taking a rest following a lengthy New Year's Eve shift.

"I have taken over a hundred guns off the street," Alexander testified earlier this month. "Numerous, numerous interactions with weapons . . . I had planned on working until the day they forced me out."

The freak accident took place on Jan. 1, 2002, following a 14-hour stint with the elite Street Crimes Unit, a plainclothes task force.

Alexander, a Navy veteran, was asked to hold a 9mm Smith & Wesson belonging to another detective, Peter Schrammer, while Schrammer moved a suspect to a holding area.

Alexander obliged and leaned back in his seat so he could slide the weapon into his waistband.

"I thrust my weight back to try to get the gun into my waistband," he said. "And the chair didn't hold my weight . . . I began falling back . . . I tensed up. The gun discharged . . . and I wounded my knee."

Alexander underwent two surgeries and months of physical therapy. His lawyer, Matthew Maiorana, said a knee replacement at some point in the future was a virtual certainty.

The detective, who regularly played baseball, football and basketball in his spare time, said he now uses a cane for stairs, has trouble walking more than a few blocks and can't bend down.

He retired from the NYPD in 2003 with a three-quarter pension. He now makes $24,000 a year as a court officer in South Carolina.

The jury's unanimous decision, reached on Nov. 18, was made without the benefit of the actual chair. Because the city failed to preserve it, jurors had to rely on witness accounts to decide whether it was defective.

The City Law Department is appealing the verdict.

"While it is unfortunate that Mr. Alexander shot himself in the knee accidentally, there was scant proof that the chair in which he was sitting was defective - and no proof at all that any supposed defect had been reported to anyone," said the agency's tort chief, Faye Leoussis.

Vicious drug turf war turns Mexican border town of Tijuana into a killing zone

The four men in bulletproof vests, Kalashnikovs held casually at their sides, crossed the street to Tijuana's Crazy Banana pool hall so calmly that onlookers presumed they were undercover police officers – until they heard the gunfire and screams.

Vicious drug turf war turns Mexican border town of Tijuana into a killing zone
Mexico's drug war death tally is more than 4,000 this year - 685 in Tijuana Photo: AP

Moments later, the men raced back out of the bar and sped off in a getaway car, leaving the once-popular pool hall with its thatched roof and yellow painted walls a bullet-ridden crime scene.

The five billiards players gunned down there were the some of the latest victims in a brutal drug turf war that has unleashed an orgy of killing along America's southern frontier.

The attack was one of dozens of recent incidents in the sprawling Mexican border city, where nearly 300 people have been killed since late-September – many mutilated, tortured and beheaded in gruesome terror tactics copied from Iraq's brutal conflict.

In the past week alone, there has been an attack in a nightclub popular with students that left five young people dead or dying; a hit squad stormed a private hospital and killed a patient who was being treated for gunshot wounds; and armed men opened fire on a car parked outside a popular US-owned discount warehouse, killing a woman and seriously injuring a man.

Mexico's drug war death tally of more than 4,000 this year – 685 in Tijuana – makes it one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and the extreme violence has intensified since the federal government launched a crackdown against the cartels.

On streets in the centre of Tijuana, where throngs of American visitors once stocked up on cheap goods and prescription drugs by day and revelled in the brash nightlife after dark, stores and bars now stand empty.

"Help the Mexican economy. Visit my shop!" pleaded one souvenir store manager last week as an armoured vehicle carrying heavily-armed troops trundled past him, down Avenida Revolucion.

But there were no shoppers for the T-shirts and spirit shot glasses bearing the legend, "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor" – Tijuana's unofficial slogan for the young Americans who used to pour over the border to evade America's 21-year drinking age.

Nearby is the Caesar's restaurant where in 1924 an Italian immigrant, Caesar Cardini, devised a tangy dressing to accompany leftovers of lettuce and bread crusts and thereby invented the eponymous salad. But waiters stood around forlornly in the absence of customers.

After incidents like the Banana Loca killings, that is hardly surprising. Investigators suspect that the hitmen who calmly marched into the bar were on the trail of rival gang members, but the indiscriminate gunfire claimed the lives of innocents, including 23-year-old Jazmin Martinez, a visitor from Ciudad Juarez who was relaxing after taking part in a women's indoor football tournament.

Just a day earlier and 100 yards away, shopowner Miguel Angel Cepeda was cut down in hail of bullets from gunmen trying to wipe out a senior police officer who escaped unhurt inside his store.

Such is the mood of terror just 15 miles south of the laid-back affluence of San Diego that mourning relatives and eye-witnesses were too scared to talk to the media, even anonymously.

"Welcome to our world," said one business owner who had ducked for cover twice in two days. "Say the wrong thing, see the wrong thing, be in the wrong place and you are a dead man."

A security guard at a nearby mall reluctantly acknowledged that he saw the hit men before they struck at the Crazy Banana - but mistook them for undercover police.

"The four men get out of a car and walked calmly across the road," he said. "They were wearing armoured vests and carrying Kalashnikovs and walked into the bar. I thought they were police until the gunfire erupted."

Although most murder victims are cartel foot-soldiers, the shocking paroxysm of violence has had a debilitating impact on the rhythms of life for everyone in Tijuana, a rough and tumble city of 2 million immediately south of the border fence.

"I go from home to work and back home, I lock the door behind and I stay home," said Ana Sanchez, a secretary. "My husband and I take turns to drive the kids to school in the morning and bring them home in the afternoon. If they want to visit friends, we drive them. And we don't let them play out because we're scared of crossfire."

Increasingly the gangs are seeking to outdo each other in their barbarity as they fight for power and try to strike terror into their rivals. The dead have often been tortured first before being dispatched. Mass graves are commonplace.

"They're excelling themselves in finding ever more creative ways to kill each other," said Victor Clark Alfaro, a veteran human rights activist and expert on the cartels. "Violence is nothing new in Tijuana. What is new is the shocking level of violence."

The brutality in recent weeks has two causes. First, a battle is now under way for control of the world's most lucrative border smuggling corridor, that funnels Colombian cocaine, Asian heroin and Mexican-manufactured methamphetamine to US markets. This part of the frontier was long the terrain of the Tijuana cartel run by the Arellano Felix family, the country's first narco-clan. But a spate of arrests and killings means that just one of the 11 siblings who inherited the cartel from their uncles is still involved in the leadership: drug "queen-pin" Enedina Arellano Felix. While she supervises the financial and money-laundering business, her nephew Fernando "The Engineer" Sanchez Arellano is in charge of smuggling and armed operations.

The weakened family business, however, is under siege from the rival Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful drug gang. And in this internecine war, some of the Tijuana organisation's most-feared figures have switched sides, throwing in their lot with the Sinaloa faction. They include a ruthless killer, known as El Teo, and his feared lieutenants known as Crutches (because he has left many victims crippled) and The Bitch (a man, despite the offensive nickname).

As the two cartels pursue their blood bath, the Mexican government under conservative president Felipe Calderon has finally taken action. It has flooded the region with federal police and troops to take on the narco-barons, after two decades during which the government's war on drugs has been crippled by corruption and incompetence.

The move has sparked an even more violent response from the cartels.

"This is the price we will have to pay to clean the city," said mayor Jorge Ramos. "In cleaning our house, we are going to get dirty."

A key part of the government crackdown is to crack down on parts of the government itself. In Tijuana two weeks ago, 500 police were taken off the streets to undergo mandatory retraining and tests – including polygraph and toxicology – to try to assess whose side they are actually on. For the time being, they have been replaced by Marines and federal officers.

Earlier this month, 21 senior police officers in the city were suspended or arrested for suspected collusion with organised crime. And only last week, Mexico's top anti-drugs official, Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was arrested on suspicion of selling information about his findings to the very people he was supposed to be investigating.

His detention came just four days after that of Ricardo Gutierrez Vargas, a senior federal police chief and Mexico's top liaison official with Interpol, was put under house arrest, also on suspicion of leaking secrets to the drugs lords.

Alberto Capella Ibarra, the Tijuana city secretary for public security, knows all about the risks involved in taking on the cartels in his violence-plagued city. Three days before he even took over the police force last December, he had to fight off would-be assassins with an automatic rifle when they attacked his home.

The former corporate lawyer urged his fellow residents not to weaken their resolve in the face of the cartel savagery. "This is very painful for our city but at some stage we had to reclaim Tijuana," he said. "We have decided to fight and that has prompted this violent reaction as a backlash. But we cannot give up now."

The number of empty homes in affluent neighbourhoods in the hills above the city is evidence that many wealthy residents have already given up, however – scared away by the drug violence and threat of kidnapping for ransom.

"People would rather leave their home and country, and move to San Diego to be safe, than to live like this," said Cristina Palacios Hogoyan, 68, a member of well-to-do Tijuana business family whose son, Alex, was snatched 10 years ago and never seen again after informing on friends in the drug trade.

She heads an association that represents families of the "disappeared" and last weekend organised an anti-violence march through the city's streets. Some had apparently lost hope that man could deal with the challenge – the most common placard read simply: "God save us."

Marijuana Smokers in Switzerland Pin Hopes on Support of Voters

By Simone Meier and Joshua Gallu

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Markus Walther is tired of hiding a habit of three or four joints a day. He’s hoping Swiss compatriots will vote to let him to step out of the haze.

Switzerland holds a referendum today on legalizing marijuana, Europe’s most widely used illicit drug, after supporters gathered the 100,000 signatures needed to force the vote in the nation of 7.6 million people.

“I feel like I’m always sneaking around,” said Walther, 39, who runs a hemp store in Zurich. “When you’re almost 40 and a father of two, that gets pretty tiresome.”

The “Hemp Initiative” would free the Swiss to use and grow cannabis for their own use, putting the country on a par with the Netherlands, which has the most liberal drug laws in Europe. Switzerland’s ruling coalition parties are split over the plan, with opponents including the Swiss People’s Party fearing such a law would spark cannabis tourism. About half of the country’s voters oppose the proposal.

“We would have to fear Switzerland becoming a European drug hub,” said Hans Fehr, a People’s Party lawmaker. “There’ll be more consumers, unforeseeable costs and a wider drug trade.”

Backed by the Free Democrats and the Social Democrats, two of the ruling parties, the initiative’s supporters have been handing out free copies of the “Hemp Journal” on the streets of Zurich and Bern. Opponents are countering with a newspaper campaign featuring a syringe, a joint and a call for voters to keep their “hands off” drugs.

So far, those tactics are winning out. A minority of the 1,209 voters, 38 percent, surveyed by the Bern-based GfS research institute between Nov. 10-16 back the “Hemp Initiative,” with some 50 percent opposing the proposal.

Imported Plants

That’s bad news for dope smokers like Cornelia, a 29-year- old Zurich student, who asked that her family name not be disclosed for fear of legal repercussions.

“Sometimes I end up buying it in parks,” said Cornelia. “That’s where you meet the drug mafia where you could buy anything. I’d rather buy it somewhere with a quality check.”

Under the draft law, the commercial production and sale of marijuana would be tolerated under strict regulations. Stores would be banned from selling cannabis to people under 18 and parliament would have a say in limiting the strength of imported marijuana plants.

Some 44 percent of Swiss aged 13 to 29 have smoked marijuana at least once, according to Swiss Health Ministry figures. Nine percent said they smoke the drug almost daily.

‘Less Radical’

In all, 31 percent of people living in the European Union and aged between 15 and 34 have used cannabis, according to the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Switzerland, which is outside the European Union, wasn’t included in the study.

When they go the polls, the Swiss will also vote on a government proposal allowing authorities to continue handing out heroin to long-term addicts over 18 years and providing free treatment. The possession and sale of hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, would remain illegal.

Sixty-three percent of voters surveyed by GfS this month back the government’s heroin plan, even as a minority are favoring the decriminalization of marijuana. A result is due after 6 p.m. in Zurich.

“In these situations, the Swiss tend to favor the less radical proposal,” said Lukas Golder, a spokesman at GfS. “That seems to be the case here.”

Back in Zurich, Walther hopes that voters will allow him to enjoy marijuana without fearing prosecution.

“You have to learn to deal with thousands of addictive things in life, like TV and sugar,” he says. “You have to learn to pace yourself. When it’s legal, you can do that. When it’s against the law, it’s dangerous.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Simone Meier in Frankfurt at smeier@bloomberg.net; Joshua Gallu in Zurich at jgallu@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: November 30, 2008 03:11 EST

Evidence suggests CIA funded experiments at state hospital

November 30, 2008

Few people in Vermont remember Dr. Robert W. Hyde, but one of his former patients can’t forget him. The doctor was involved in one of the nation’s darkest chapters in medical science: In the 1950s, Hyde conducted drug and psychological experiments at a Boston hospital through funding that apparently originated with the CIA. Later, he became director of research at the Vermont State Hospital.

The patient, Karen Wetmore, is convinced that Hyde and other researchers subjected her and possibly other patients to experiments paid for by the CIA at the Waterbury facility.

In addition to her claim, new evidence, though incomplete, suggests that such tests might have been conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.

Several books and numerous newspaper accounts have detailed how techniques developed through testing, including on mental health patients at hospitals in other parts of the country, are related to the interrogation methods used in Guantanamo and other locations in the war on terror. These well-known and well-documented drug experiments began in secret after the Korean War and were sponsored by the U.S. government.

News accounts and histories of the experiments have not mentioned the Vermont State Hospital, but a congressional committee concluded that dozens of institutions, some of which have never been identified, were involved in secret experiments for the CIA.

A complicated, disturbing story

Wetmore, who grew up in Brandon and now lives in Rutland, resided at the Vermont State Hospital for extended periods in her teens and early 20s.

Hyde had a long and distinguished career as a psychiatrist and university researcher before he returned to Vermont in the late 1960s. He died in Bakersfield, his birthplace, in 1976.

This story centers on the possible intersection of Hyde’s research work and Wetmore’s experiences at the state hospital. The strands of the narrative, constructed from government documents and her memory, is complicated, confusing and sometimes disturbing.

Her claim, that the Waterbury hospital was involved in experimentation on patients, has never been reported despite numerous instances in which it could have come to public attention, including a lawsuit that Wetmore settled out of court.

Further complicating matters is Wetmore’s severe memory loss, which she says is the result of her treatment at the Vermont State Hospital where she says she was given experimental drugs, experienced repetitive electroshock therapy and was subjected unwittingly to other tests. Her medical records from the Vermont State Hospital, including daily logs and summaries of her treatment support these claims.

Another obstacle for Wetmore is the social stigma of mental illness. She says once a patient is committed to a mental hospital, “the first thing they take away from you is your credibility.”

In order to figure out what really happened to her at the Vermont State Hospital and to overcome this credibility gap, Wetmore has spent more than 12 years collecting and analyzing reams of government documents, including state hospital records, declassified CIA paperwork and histories of MK-Ultra, the code name of the CIA’s best-known clandestine research projects on mind-control.

At many points Wetmore reached dead ends: The government denied her requests for certain documents and heavily redacted key evidence from others. Some documents were destroyed.

In 1997, Wetmore decided to bring a lawsuit against the state. A psychiatrist and a Rutland lawyer agreed to help her with the case and spent months collecting and poring over evidence. They both came to the conclusion that Wetmore was the subject of drug experiments at the hospital.

Wetmore and her advocates could not unequivocally link her case to the CIA’s research activities at other institutions through government documents from the agency, but histories of the CIA’s psychiatric testing, other documents and a preponderance of circumstantial evidence around Wetmore’s treatment based on her medical records suggest the Vermont State Hospital may have been one of the sites for secret experimentation.

The CIA destroyed much of the evidence regarding the drug and psychological tests on unwitting patients in the 1970s as the truth about its funding for the tests came to light, according to a 1975 congressional review headed by U.S. Sen. Frank Church.

Several authors have examined government research programs in other parts of the country, but they have not fingered the Vermont State Hospital as a site for the secret experiments.

Several striking conclusions have arisen from their research and Wetmore’s paper trail:

  • As a teenager, Wetmore was a patient at the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury. While Hyde was not her primary doctor, he at least reviewed her case. She was also treated with powerful drugs, some of which were almost certainly experimental.

  • Hyde was an international pioneer in the development of mind-altering drugs and in their use in treating mental illness. He was involved in research programs sponsored and secretly funded by the CIA and the U.S. military. With an Army psychiatrist, he also conducted research on drugs designed to produce mental illness in healthy people who volunteered for such studies. In 1949, Hyde was an early experimenter with LSD: He volunteered to take the drug himself.

  • The Army psychiatrist, Dr. Max Rinkel, was particularly interested in using LSD to induce in mentally healthy people a schizophrenia-like state. The symptoms exhibited by these test subjects show similarities to those Wetmore experienced, according to her medical records from the Vermont State Hospital.

  • The experiments conducted by Rinkel, Hyde and their associates (sometimes even on themselves) were an important part of secret programs run by and for the CIA to construct “black operations” for prisoner interrogation and other espionage and military uses. “Black ops” were designed to look like civilian programs, even to the researchers, with the CIA gleaning the results.

  • The intelligence funding was often disguised as grants that were passed through organizations or other agencies. Psychiatric researchers at dozens of sites around the country, including state hospitals, prisons and universities, many of which have never been identified, cooperated sometimes knowingly and sometimes unwittingly in research on human test subjects.

  • Finally, official documents Wetmore has uncovered show that the Vermont State Hospital had a history of experimenting with drug treatments on its patients. At least one of those experiments, which predated Hyde’s tenure at the hospital, was financed by the federal agencies identified by researchers as a conduit for money for the CIA “black-ops” experimentation. In addition, the Vermont State Hospital doctors were corresponding about that grant work with Dr. John Gittinger, a CIA scientist in Washington, D.C.

    Many of the people affiliated with the Vermont State Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s when Hyde worked at the Waterbury facility said they do not believe or do not have evidence that either the hospital or Hyde carried out such experiments on patients at the Waterbury facility. Few of the individuals interviewed for this story were willing to speak on the record; many of the most important potential sources are now deceased.

    The Vermont State Hospital’s current director, Terry Rowe, said she is not familiar with the questions Wetmore raises.

    “This is information that was unknown to me,” Rowe said. “I don’t know it if is valid or not.”

    It is also important to note that although the experiments represent an ugly period in American psychiatric research, they were followed by a revolution in the field of mental health. In some instances, the same scientists who were involved in CIA-funded experiments also conducted the research that has led to the development of drug therapies that have enabled many patients to live comparatively normal lives.

    This phenomenon in turn has allowed mental hospitals and other institutions around the nation to significantly reduce the number of patients who require 24-hour care.

    A researcher’s dark connections

    The trail linking Karen Wetmore’s treatment at Vermont State Hospital to the CIA is twisting, sometimes nearly impossible to follow and for the most part cold, but what kept Wetmore going was the recurring and distinctive footprint of Dr. Robert Hyde.

    Hyde was 25 when he graduated as a Reserve Officer Training Corps student at the University of Vermont’s school of medicine in 1935. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and worked as an intern at the Marine Hospital in New Orleans.

    He later became a researcher at Boston University and Harvard University and assistant superintendent at Boston Psychopathic, a hospital associated with Harvard now known as the Massachusetts Mental Health Center – and one of the key institutions connected to the CIA research. Hyde then served as assistant superintendent at Butler Health Center in Providence, R.I., before returning to Vermont as director of research at Vermont State Hospital.

    Hyde died on Aug. 1, 1976, leaving a widow and no children. He was, in the words of a co-worker at the Waterbury hospital, “a sweetheart.”

    He also was an intellectual adventurer. In 1949, while serving as assistant superintendent at Boston Psychopathic, he experimented on himself, taking what many believe to be the first acid trip in America.

    “There is no way of determining who was the first American to take LSD. But one of the earliest was a Boston doctor named Robert Hyde,” Jay Stevens wrote in “Storming Heaven,” a history of the drug. “What followed was fascinating. Right before their eyes, Hyde, the even-keeled Vermonter, turned into a paranoiac, as a swarm of little suspicions — why are those people smiling? Was that a door closing? — began eating away at his composure.”

    It was Hyde’s colleague, Rinkel, who is credited with bringing the first batch of LSD into the United States. Earlier in 1949, Rinkel had obtained a supply of LSD from Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland, where it was developed, and brought it home with him to Boston Psychopathic. Rinkel and Hyde went on to organize an LSD study at the facility in which they tested the drug on 100 volunteers, reporting their initial findings in May 1950 at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

    So began the scientific foray into an aspect of mental health research that struggled for funding, although it eventually produced revolutionary breakthroughs in the field. The new drug therapies led to a significant reduction in the number of institutionalized mental patients nationwide. At the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury the shift has been dramatic. Once there were 1,200 patients housed at the facility; now it treats about 50.

    Long before the Boston researchers’ work laid the foundation for those groundbreaking psychiatric studies, it garnered attention from another, less benign profession. Soon after the Rinkel-Hyde report appeared in the APA journal, the CIA became interested in the researchers’ work, according to Stevens and others who have researched the subject.

    “Early on they contacted Rinkel and Hyde at Mass. Mental Health, and with Hyde as the principal contact began pouring as much as $40,000 a year into LSD research,” Stevens wrote.

    The CIA and the U.S. military had their own reasons for wanting to finance such experiments, an interest dating at least to the Korean War when American prisoners of war were subjected to various psychiatric drugs.

    In the 1950s, the New York Times, reporting on congressional hearings and studies of the effect of Communist interrogation of U.S. prisoners, wrote: “Chinese Communist attempts to create confusion, disloyalty and doubts about this country’s role were highly effective among American prisoners captured during the Korean War, an Army psychiatrist said here today.”

    The article went on to report on the 1950 meeting of the American Psychiatric Association and on Rinkel’s research “based on the experimental reproduction of mental illness in 100 normal volunteers. The illness, similar to schizophrenia, was induced by small dosages of the chemical d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).”
    More recently, since the United States launched the war on terror, government use of earlier research into mind-altering drugs and torture-resistance techniques for U.S. soldiers have come under scrutiny. Military interrogators employ related tactics at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at other sites around the world, according to articles in the New York Times, the New Yorker magazine and a book by New Yorker staffer Jane Mayer, “The Dark Side.”

    The Korean War torture methods were outlined in a chart published in a 1957 Air Force study.

    “The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guanatanmo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency,” according to a New York Times report in 2008.

    Another recent mention of the connection between “spies and shrinks” was made in an Oct. 18 Newsweek article.

    “The ties go back decades, to the early years of the Cold War when psychologists helped the CIA experiment on U.S. citizens with mind-altering drugs. The relationship has warmed and cooled over the years, heating up whenever defense or intelligence officials wanted better mind-control methods, ways to direct people’s behavior or detect deception,” according to the magazine.

    The quote came from an article about Steven Reisner, a psychologist who is vying to become head of the American Psychological Association. Reisner wants to end cooperation of the organization’s members with interrogators.

    It’s not clear Rinkel and Hyde knew the CIA and U.S. military were secretly financing their work — although histories of the subject make the case that they did.

    Their colleagues and friends, however, insist the researchers did not collude with military intelligence.

    In 1977, in response to an investigation into the CIA experiments, Harold Pfautz wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times defending his own research — funded in part by the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology, an MK-Ultra front — and that of Hyde.

    Pfautz wrote: “I know that I (and I am convinced that Dr. Robert W. Hyde, then superintendent of the Butler Health Center, as well as my other colleagues) had no knowledge of the CIA auspices and functions of the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology. In a word this was a ‘black’ operation — deceptive and intended to deceive — on the part of the government and addressed to me as a citizen.”

    No one has specifically looked at whether MK-Ultra experiments occurred in Vermont. Former employees, attorneys and doctors familiar with the facility and its patients, as well as researchers who have studied case histories of the hospital’s patients, have all said they found no evidence of unethical experimentation before Hyde returned to the hospital or after that would lead them to believe that the institution had been used for MK-Ultra experimentation.

    Among the strongest defenders of Hyde’s reputation is Lois Sabin, who was an administrator at the hospital for years and served for a time as director of nursing education.

    Sabin is adamant that Hyde left his interest in experimental research behind him when he returned to Vermont to work at the state hospital.

    “He was a very brilliant man and a great asset at the hospital,” said Sabin, who is now retired and still lives in Waterbury. “I thought he was a sweetheart. He was very, very knowledgeable.”

    A trail of missing documents

    Conclusive answers to the many questions Hyde’s history raises may never be known: many of the documents concerning the CIA funding, the front organizations and the drug experiments on mental health patients have been destroyed. In addition, many of those who were involved in the programs or may have known about them have died.

    A 1994 Government Accounting Office report on the clandestine research notes that at least 15 of the 80 facilities around North America known to have participated in the research remain unidentified and may never be, while others, including Boston Psychopathic Hospital and McGill University in Montreal, are well-known.

    In the McGill case, a prominent Albany, N.Y., psychiatrist, Ewen Cameron, was accused of working for the CIA and performing experiments on patients in a mental hospital there in the 1950s and 1960s.

    According to a book on the subject by John Marks, “Patients of Dr. Cameron were subjected to a regimen that included heavy doses of LSD and barbiturates, the application of powerful electric shocks two or three times a day, and prolonged periods of drug-induced sleep.” In 1988, the U.S. government paid nine former patients $750,000 to settle a lawsuit in the matter, and the Canadian government has also paid dozens of compensation claims.

    Wetmore is convinced that mind-altering experiments were also conducted at the Vermont State Hospital.

    Some of the procedures used in Cameron’s experiments, specifically electroshock and drug therapies, appear to be similar to those that appear on Wetmore’s medical charts at the state hospital.

    To support her claim, Wetmore cites a report on the results of a federal research grant for schizophrenia and the use of tranquilizers that was undertaken at the Vermont hospital in the late 1950s. The report was written long before Hyde became director of research at the state hospital and before Wetmore was a patient there.

    This research project included experimental use of the use of tri-fluoperazine on patients at the Waterbury hospital, an antipsychotic drug that is still used for some schizophrenia sufferers.

    The study reported disturbing results, including: “On the third day, the charge attendant said, ‘It’s like old times. It’s bedlam.’”

    “Thirteen patients were suffering severe withdrawal reactions indistinguishable clinically from a moderate withdrawal reaction following long-term ingestion of morphine,” according to the study results. Later in the study an attendant said nine patients were “constantly pacing back and forth like caged lions.”

    One of the consultants working on the study was Dr. Milton Greenblatt, who was also assistant superintendent at Massachusetts Mental Health Center — the former Boston Psychopathic, where Hyde was assistant superintendent.

    An even more direct link is in a report on a personality study at the Vermont State Hospital between 1963 and 1966 titled, “The Use of Programmed Instruction with Disturbed Students” and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The institute was one of the cover organizations used to conceal the source of funding for various CIA projects. These groups also paid for research unrelated to military or espionage studies.

    The study lists a Washington, D.C., address, 1834 Connecticut Ave. N.W., as a source for personality-testing information. That address is identified as a front for the spy agency in Marks’ book about the CIA’s experimental work, “The Search for the Manchurian Candidate.”

    The top CIA psychologist, John Gittinger, developed this personality assessment test that, according to Marks, became a centerpiece of the agency’s psychological work.

    The researchers in the Vermont hospital program not only used Gittinger’s test; they also sent him results of their own trials, according to a report on the research grant written by Vermont State Hospital doctors.

    So, was the Vermont State Hospital one of the institutions used by researchers to perform now-discredited experiments on hapless mental patients like Karen Wetmore? She believes absolutely that it was; others say they doubt it.

    The evidence is circumstantial and incomplete. Unless someone brings a case to court that breaks down the barriers that have been erected by the CIA, conclusive answers to questions Wetmore and the documentation she has gathered raises are unlikely.

    A patient on a quest

    The first time Wetmore was admitted to the Vermont State Hospital she was just a young girl.

    “It’s the only time I ever saw my father cry,” she said recently.

    A troubled child, Wetmore had been treated at outpatient mental health clinics, but her illness persisted. At 13, after she threatened her mother and was found wandering confusedly in the halls of her school in Brandon, Wetmore was committed to the Waterbury hospital for a little less than a year in 1965-1966 and again between 1970 and 1972.

    Now in her mid-50s, Wetmore, is physically frail and drawn looking. She lives alone in Rutland and is still in therapy. She speaks hesitantly when she talks about what little she recalls of her experiences at the Vermont State Hospital.

    In the intervening years, Wetmore has tried to trace the cause of her mental illness. She believes several traumas may have triggered her lifelong struggle with multiple personality disorder (a dissociative disorder in which the sufferer often compartmentalizes memories and aspects of their personality) and a form of extreme anxiety, a condition her doctors referred to as “hysteria” in the 1960s.

    Wetmore says that as a child she remembers seeing someone die in a fire. She also says she was traumatized by sexual abuse that she believes was perpetrated by a family friend. She attempted suicide twice as a young woman.

    When she was 15, Wetmore seemed well enough to be released from the Waterbury hospital. Looking back, she says she seemed to be recovering from her mental illness.

    She had been out of the Vermont State Hospital for two years when she was engaged to an 18-year-old from Brandon. In 1969, her fiancé was killed in a car accident.

    “That pretty much did it for me,” Wetmore said.

    Over the next few years, she was in and out of the state hospital, and she was eventually transferred to the psychiatry ward of Mary Fletcher in Burlington. Wetmore was 20 when she was finally released in 1972.

    Wetmore’s road to mental health has been difficult. She attempted suicide before and after her time in the hospital and was held in the psychiatry ward at Rutland Regional Hospital several times, including after her stints at the state hospital.

    Gradually, she gained control of her life, though even now there are long periods of her personal history she cannot remember. To retrace her forgotten steps she has documented what happened to her through medical records starting in the mid-1990s. Now boxes of documents and shelves of books line a closet in the Rutland apartment where she lives.

    “We had to go through hell and high water to get my medical records,” she said.

    Dr. Thomas Fox, the Rutland doctor who treated Wetmore, was so appalled by the nature of her state hospital treatment records that he agreed to help her with a lawsuit against the state in 1997. Fox, who also became a top mental health official with the state of New Hampshire before his death, had never before agreed to be an expert witness in a civil litigation.

    A 140-page deposition and an outline by Fox show that he concluded that Wetmore was an unwitting subject of experimental testing while she was a patient at the Vermont State Hospital.

    “Although Plaintiff was not schizophrenic or otherwise psychotic, she was treated with medication as if she were. Even though it was noted by the Defendants early on that she was allergic to these medications, that they would alter her behavior adversely, and that they would cause her permanent damage and even threaten her life, she was involuntarily administered massive doses of these drugs throughout the periods of her confinement,” according to Wetmore’s lawsuit. “Plaintiff was kept almost constantly in seclusion, often bound with wristlets behind her back, and left to lie unattended and unrelieved, naked on a tile floor.”

    “I became convinced, based on the record, that Karen had been mistreated at certain phases of her treatment in (Waterbury), and that, from a professional standpoint, the way in which we police ourselves, the way in which we keep each other ethical and competent, when we identify that, we (members of our profession) should do something about it,” Fox said in a deposition in the lawsuit to Wetmore and the state’s lawyer. “That’s my feeling, you should act on it.”

    He wrote in an outline that he prepared for her lawsuit in 2000: “I must conclude, in my opinion, that Karen was involved in drug experimentation without her knowledge or consent.”

    Fox said he reached this conclusion because at the hospital Wetmore was kept in “seclusion” or isolation for extended periods of time — apparently for weeks at a stretch during a period of months. She was given placebos, and her medications were changed, indicating there was an experimental aspect to her care, he wrote.

    Moreover, the treatment Wetmore received did not follow standard treatment for “hysteria,” the diagnosis that Fox said would have been most supported by her symptoms. Wetmore has also been diagnosed at the hospital with multiple personality syndrome — an assessment she agrees with — and schizophrenia, which she and Fox both said was not accurate. Treatment for schizophrenia is significantly different from care for a multiple personality syndrome diagnosis.

    While at the hospital Wetmore was given electroshock treatment — sometimes many times a day according to her medical records — and Metrazol, a drug that can induce seizures and whose federal approval has since been revoked.

    She was also subjected to other treatments, including with other medications and shock treatment, the nature of which are still not fully known.

    Fox also noted that during the periods in which Wetmore was there the Vermont State Hospital was engaged in drug research.

    In the midst of building her lawsuit, Wetmore realized she had to drop it because of her failing physical health. She had a heart attack, her second. Wetmore, who still has several serious physical health problems, reached a private settlement with the state instead, according to Alan George, her attorney.

    George, a sometime utility lawyer who practices in Rutland, said recently that because of the strength of the case he was very reluctant to accept that settlement agreement.

    “I didn’t really want to drop that suit,” George remembered. “I thought we had a pretty solid suit, frankly.”

    Wetmore’s lawsuit, based on the hard evidence required for a court of law, did not delve into what she believes to be the connections between her case and CIA research at the hospital.

    Fox steered clear of that aspect of the case in his work with Wetmore, he said in the deposition for her lawsuit.

    “I didn’t find it germane to what I viewed as my task. It was outside the scope of what I perceived the issues to be,” he said.

    “We never really got to the bottom of that (CIA connection). We did not try the case based on some grand, national conspiracy even though Karen had connected some of the dots,” George said.

    George said they chose not to pursue her theories about the CIA in part because most of the people were dead by the time the lawsuit was filed. Even so, George said, some aspects of Wetmore’s treatment were very strange.

    “The whole regimen of drug therapy … was bizarre,” he said. Furthermore, the background of some of those involved or consulted about the research at the hospital did strike George as odd.

    “There is no question about who these characters were and what they were involved in,” he said. “But all of that was guilt by association.”

    On the other side of this equation, though, are various mental health professionals in Vermont, including former state Mental Health Commissioner Jonathan Leopold, who in 1971 wrote a letter to Wetmore’s worried mother reassuring her that her daughter was undergoing treatment and doctors, including Dr. Robert Hyde, were reviewing her case.

    He also wrote: “Her behavior was very difficult and at times she represented a real danger to herself and to others. She was never, of course, left for three days and nights unattended in a separate room as all patients are taken out at frequent intervals for care and exercise and an opportunity to use the toilets.”

    Wetmore’s daily logs of her hospital stay and medical records appear to contradict that statement.

    Whatever the connections between the federal government and what happened to Wetmore in the state hospital, the experience has left Wetmore physically frail, but as determined as ever to find out what really happened to her.

    Wetmore says she doesn’t think mental health patients should ever be involved, even when they apparently give consent, in psychological experiments no matter how beneficial they may be to society. Her experience, she says, is proof of how such studies can damage the life of a vulnerable person.
  • 2008-11-29

    Glenn Baude reflects on Operation Phoenix events

    | | Comments (0) | ShareThis

    Here's a followup to our story on former Operation Phoenix director Glenn Baude's decision to retire. This is an extended version of the article that will appear in The Sun.

    Baude was under a gag order for much of the time that Phoenix-related developments and controversies dominated the news during the summer. He's now able to speak his mind.

    By Andrew Edwards
    Staff Writer
    SAN BERNARDINO -- Glenn Baude, the former leader of the city's Operation Phoenix program, says he's never been told whether any specific error on his part killed his career with the

    "I'm still wondering what I did wrong," Baude said Wednesday.

    Baude has been cleared of wrongdoing by a pair of official investigations, but has nonetheless chosen to retire after spending about three months on administrative leave.

    Now free to discuss Operation Phoenix-related matters that he was previously forbidden to talk about, Baude acknowledged that he and others made some mistakes in the difficult days after youth center manager Mike Miller was arrested on suspicion of child molestation.

    But he also maintained that Operation Phoenix remains a worthy program to reduce crime and improve the lives of San Bernardino youth.

    And he's worried that this summer's controversies have dealt too grievous a blow to the anti-crime initiative.

    "You've destroyed a program that was the best program we've ever had in my tenure," he said.

    Baude also served as the city's Code Enforcement director until being placed on paid leave in late July. He was Mayor Pat Morris' Operation Phoenix point man for about two years before the allegations against Miller inflamed city politics.

    Operation Phoenix is an anti-crime program built upon inter-agency collaboration, increased police patrols, and youth services. The program -- intended to simultaneously fight and prevent crime -- was and is a focus of Morris' administration.

    The mayor launched the program in 2006. This July, Operation Phoenix was rocked when Miller, who supervised the program's flagship community center, was arrested on suspicion of child

    Miller has pleaded not guilty.

    The arrest led to several news reports of management problems within Operation Phoenix. For example, Miller was technically employed by the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, but it wasn't clear whether he was supposed to report to Baude or parks
    chief Kevin Hawkins.

    Other revelations included reports that before his arrest, Miller had been accused of a series of on-the-job transgressions. One notable allegation was Miller's reported involvement in pellet gun wars with other city employees.

    Baude said he and others were trying to clarify management issues during the time before Miller ended up in a jail cell. Emails show that Baude and Hawkins had discussed plans to officially transfer Miller to Baude's supervision during May of this year. Baude says the difficult process of putting together a city budget delayed that effort.

    But city politics ran off the rails soon after Miller was in custody.

    Looking back, Baude said city officials may have been able to forestall some of the controversy by taking a more public stance after Miller's arrest.

    "We were behind the scenes fixing it, but we weren't out front saying it," he said.

    Morris and other city officials did not call a press conference on July 3 -- the day Miller was arrested -- or in the following days
    The mayor's most detailed pronouncements on his response came on July 18 when he met with The Sun's editorial board. He then announced a restructuring of Operation Phoenix management, with aide Kent Paxton given responsibility to coordinate the program. Baude was left out of the picture.

    Asked about Baude's opinion that city leaders may have erred by not making enough public statements, Morris said Friday that he never attempted to be secretive about the city's efforts to fix problems within Operation Phoenix.

    "We tried to be as open and obvious and transparent as possible, but that wasn't the way it was seen," he said.

    Baude says he's willing to accept blame for any errors he may have committed but also believes that news coverage did not give him a fair shake.

    "I just want the truth out there, because it's muddled," he said.

    Baude doesn't think the public knows the full story regarding an email exchange that occurred on June 27, shortly before Miller's arrest.

    The emails -- obtained through public records request -- showed that Baude, Hawkins and other employees had communicated with each other after one employee heard that current and former city employees planned to report that Miller had a "possible sexual involvement with a minor during work hours."

    The first article in The Sun regarding the emails reported that "two top city officials knew about an employee's alleged molestation of children four days before police say they were alerted to investigate."

    But further review of the communications shows that the word "molestation" was not used in the emails. The emails did not have any specific information that connected the rumor of an improper sexual relationship to any of the alleged crimes that Miller has been
    formally charged with committing.

    A District Attorney's investigation found that the emails had nothing to do with any of Miller's alleged victims. That report -- which cleared Baude, Hawkins and the others -- was released on July 25. Those findings were published on SB Now and in The Sun upon their release.

    Prosecutors' report featured the conclusion that the emails stemmed from a rumor -- itself based on scanty evidence -- that Miller had inappropriate contact with a 16-year-old girl.

    Baude said he became aware that the rumors surrounded a teenage girl, but he had no idea that Miller was suspected of molesting a small child until police made their arrest.

    "We didn't know about the 7-year-old. We didn't know about that until the police arrested the guy," Baude said.

    Baude said he's never seen any report generated from the City Hall investigation that also cleared him of wrongdoing.

    City Attorney James F. Penman said the city's probes are not finished. He doesn't expect the city's investigative report to be come public until the city faces a lawsuit related to Miller's alleged misdeeds.

    As of Friday, no one has filed such a case, Penman said.

    Baude's severance deal -- signed Oct. 28 -- was released on Wednesday.

    The buyout package provided for Baude to receive nearly $75,000 -- six months worth of pay that Baude would have received during the remaining term of his contract had he not retired.

    The deal also allows Baude to receive compensation for unspent leave time and $5,300 reimbursement for his attorney's fees.

    Seventh Ward Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said she would have been happy to let Baude return to his job as Code Enforcement director but opposed the settlement.

    "I do not feel that we needed to spend a ton of money to shut him up, and I believe that's what happened," she said.

    The mayor disagreed and said that paying Baude hush money would have been a futile endeavor.

    "Glenn is his own man. You know Glenn. He doesn't shut up," Morris said.

    Baude also said retirement doesn't mean he's unwilling to ever again lend a hand to Operation Phoenix.

    "I'm not upset at all. If the city needs my help at all, I'll help," he said.

    "Maybe I'll run for council one day," he also said. "Somebody's got to clean up the politics."

    It Isn’t About No-Knocks. It’s About Home Invasions.

    Chris Roach notes last week’s drug raid death of FBI agent Sam Hicks, and writes…

    …”libertarians’ silence on the Hicks’ case as the facts have come out is noteworthy. The pro-drug-dealer libertarians of the CATO [sic] Institute make a big show of every mistaken drug raid, while ignoring the many cases of brutal drug dealer violence against police and one another.”

    Well first, my “silence” on the issue is due mainly to the fact that the case is only a few days old, and I’ve had other things to work on. But I’ll bite. Let’s look at this case. Unsubtly referring to me, Roach writes:

    FBI agent, Samuel Hicks, was killed this week in Pittsburgh while serving an arrest warrant in a botched drug raid. He was 33. After the agent knocked on the suspect’s door and announced his intention, the suspect apparently proceeded to flush his stash of cocaine down the toilet. After the suspect didn’t answer, they were shot by the suspect’s wife when they came through the threshold. The arrest went down using the “knock and announce” tactics and non-SWAT gear that libertarians have long asked for.

    Problem is, I haven’t “long asked for” police to knock and announce before blowing open doors and raiding private homes to enforce nonviolent, consensual crimes. I’ve explained on several occasions (including the last paragraph of the post he links to) that my problem with paramilitary raids for nonviolent offenses is not that the police don’t knock first, it’s with the forcible entry into a private home in the first place. These tactics create violence and confrontation where none existed before. An announcement is better than no announcement. But that’s beside the point. For the people inside (this case being the exception), the difference is usually negligible.

    It’s the paramilitary tactics that are the problem. These tactics carry a very low margin for error, on the part of both the police and the suspects they’re raiding. You’re waking people up, and while they’re groggy and fearful, you’re forcing them to process and evaluate an armed confrontation. I don’t care how much force you bring, that’s a needlessly dangerous situation, not just for suspects and innocent bystanders, but for police officers. And even if all of these raids went down exactly as planned, there’s the broader question of whether the image of armed men dressed as soldiers battering down American citizens’ doors some 40-50,000 per year, mostly for consensual crimes, is one that’s consistent with a free society. I’d argue it isn’t.

    Moreover, not only does the Korbe-Hicks raid not refute my position, it reinforces it. The police themselves have conceded that they didn’t consider Robert Korbe to be dangerous, or at least heavily armed. And in fact, he was neither. Korbe didn’t respond to the police knock at his door by shooting at them. He responded by fleeing to his basement to dispose of his supply of cocaine. That’s when they broke down his door.

    It was Korbe’s wife who shot and killed Agent Hicks. Christina Korbe had no prior criminal record. She had a legal permit for the gun she used. She was upstairs with her two children, ages 10 and 4, when the police tore down the door at 6 am. She plausibly says she had no idea they were police.

    For most people, Christina Korbe won’t be a particularly sympathetic person. She knew or should have known of her husband’s criminal history, and early indications suggest she benefited from the lifestyle his drug dealing afforded her.

    That said, from what I know of the case, I don’t believe she knowingly shot and killed Agent Hicks. She says she didn’t hear the announcement, and thought her home was being robbed—not an unreasonable assumption. She says she fired at the men invading her home because she feared they might hurt her kids. More to the point, she was on the phone with a 911 operator during the raid. Now I’ll admit that I can’t easily assume the mindset of a cold-blooded cop killer, but it’s hard to imagine one who would knowingly kill a raiding police officer, then call the police to come investigate. The more logical explanation is precisely the one Christina Korbe has given—she was scared, and thought her home was being invaded. When I’ve talked to innocent people who’ve been targeted in these raids, every one of them has said the same thing—that their first thought was that their home was being invaded.

    So yes, you could argue that Christina Korbe was foolish for continuing to live with a career criminal. You could argue that she was selfish for not getting her kids out of that environment. But I’m not arguing that she’s sympathetic. Only that she isn’t a cop killer. She reacted instinctively to defend her home and her family. Just like Cory Maye did. Just like Kathryn Johnston did. Just like Ryan Frederick did. Just as just about any of us would do if someone we couldn’t identify had just violently broken into our home.

    Robert Korbe was wanted for a nonviolent crime. The police, once again, decided to employ violent, invasive tactics to arrest hi for it. Now an FBI agent is dead. And instead of taking a second look at whether or not these tactics were appropriate, they’ll just put the brunt of the blame on Christina Korbe, throw her in prison, and carry on with the raids, until the next time someone dies.

    The cops knew all about Korbe. The knew he had a full-time job. They knew (or at least should have known) that his wife had a legally-registered gun. Why couldn’t they approach him and arrest him at work? Why not nab him as he’s coming or going from his house? Why was it necessary to tear down the man’s door and rush his house early in the morning, while his wife and kids were at home?

    Roach thinks the cops should have used more overwhelming force—that if they hadn’t observed the knock-and-announce requirement, Agent Hicks would still be alive. Maybe. Or maybe that would have merely allowed them to advance further up the stairs before Christina Korbe fired her gun. At which point they may have fired back. At which point you’d not only have the cops and Christina Korbe shooting at one another, you’d also have two kids caught in the crossfire.

    Even if Christina Korbe is a cold-blooded cop killer, if you don’t bring the violence into her home, she never gets the chance to shoot at Agent Hicks.

    Want an alternate scenario were Agent Hicks unquestionably comes out unharmed? Here it is: The cops never raid the Korbe home in the first place. They approach Robert Korbe at work, or as he’s about to enter or exit his house. They don’t put Korbe’s family, the raiding officers, and Korbe himself at risk with the violence of a paramilitary-style drug raid. Christina Korbe isn’t put in the impossible position of having to determine in an instant if the armed men who’ve just broken into her home are cops or criminals. Robert Korbe is arrested without incident, and becomes another drug war statistic. Agent Hicks goes home to his wife and kids. The Korbe kids don’t have to grow up without their mother, and the Hicks kids without their father.

    That’s a hell of a lot better scenario than what we ended up with, isn’t it?

    MORE: Per a few comments below, when I say it would be better to apprehend nonviolent suspects at their place of work, or as they’re leaving coming home, I mean getting 3-4 plain clothes cops to show up to make a quick and low-key arrest. I don’t mean sending a SWAT team into the local McDonalds or neighborhood office park. This domestic application of the Powell doctrine (use overwhelming force, all the time) is what’s so troubling.

    Also, Roach responds in addendum to the post linked above. I’ve had this debate with him before, and his addendum is filled with the same arguments I’ve rebutted dozens of times, on this site, in Overkill, and elsewhere. I have no interest in exchanging 3,000-word posts with him. But his response is there if you’re interested in reading it.


    The spokesman for the family of a 92-year-old woman gunned down by a rogue Atlanta police drug squad two years ago put pressure Friday on city officials to settle their lawsuit against the city.

    "This family does not need to go through a long and bitter [court] process,," the Rev. Markel Hutchins said outside the northwest Atlanta home of Kathryn Johnston, pushing for a quick settlement.

    The Johnston shooting and the subsequent revelations stunned many Atlantans. On Nov. 21, 2006, police used a "no-knock" warrant to gain entry into Johnston's home. Johnston, apparently surprised by the intruders, fired a gun at the officers. The officers shot her twice in the chest.

    An investigation ensued, and officers admitted they cut corners, faked search warrants, planted drugs and raided homes because of pressure from supervisors to make arrests.

    Three officers pleaded guilty to violating Johnston's civil rights and are awaiting sentencing. Police Chief Richard Pennington disbanded the department's narcotics unit and filled it last year with a new batch of officers. The Atlanta City Council created a civilian review board to investigate alleged police misconduct.

    Johnston's family filed a lawsuit against the city last November. Hutchins said the city has not negotiated in good faith with Johnston family representatives. He delivered a letter Friday afternoon to the mayor and city council offices outlining his concerns.

    City Attorney Beth Chandler said settlement discussions will occur "at an appropriate point during the litigation process."

    Hutchins did not say how much money the family wants from the city, but he referred to a case several years ago of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, which was ordered to pay $18 million to white defendants in a reverse-discrimination lawsuit.

    "The circumstances in that case were a lot less egregious than what happened to [Johnston]," Hutchins said.

    Hutchins said the city must do right by Johnston, although Atlanta is facing a projected budget shortfall of at least $50 million.

    "We understand that the city is in a difficult place, but there's a debt that's owed to the family of Kathryn Johnston and that debt must be paid," he said.

    Hutchins said the family also wants a formal apology and the city's help in creating a memorial honoring Johnston.


    Police: Guardsman kept donations for families

    The Associated Press
    Posted : Friday Nov 28, 2008 6:55:47 EST

    HYDEN, Ky. — A Kentucky National Guard soldier was arrested Wednesday on charges that he kept money that he solicited as donations for the families of dead soldiers and others.

    Jonathan Reed Morgan, 28, of Hyden in Leslie County, was charged with three counts of theft by deception. He was being held at the Clay County Detention Center in Manchester on $25,000 bond.

    The Kentucky National Guard and state police received numerous reports from businesses and people who had been solicited for donations, police said. The money was solicited for families of dead soldiers and to buy care packages for deployed soldiers and children’s Christmas gifts, police said in a statement.

    It couldn’t be determined Wednesday night whether Morgan was represented by a lawyer.

    Police say Morgan used all the money for his own benefit. Police said some victims might not have come forward. Officials are unsure of the total amount of money involved.

    “The allegations against the soldier constitute a despicable act that we would view as an outright betrayal of the Kentucky National Guard family should they prove true,” said Lt. Col. Phil Miller, guard spokesman.

    Ex-Bush aide charged with theft from Cuba group

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A former aide to President Bush has been charged with theft from a government-funded center that promotes democracy in Cuba.

    The single count of theft of $5,000 or more from a federally aided program was filed in U.S. District Court here last Thursday against Felipe E. Sixto, who resigned on March 28 from his job as special assistant to President George W. Bush for intergovernmental affairs.

    The charge was filed as a criminal information, which means Sixto waived his right to have a grand jury decide if the government has enough evidence to charge him and usually also means the defendant intends to plead guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

    No date has been set for Sixto to appear before U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton.

    Sixto's attorney, Kathleen E. Voelker, did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the case.

    When Sixto resigned from the White House staff last spring, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Sixto had stepped forward March 20 to reveal his alleged wrongdoing and resign. Stanzel said Sixto took that step after learning that his former employer, the Center for a Free Cuba, was prepared to begin legal action against him.

    The nonprofit center has received grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Stanzel said, "Mr. Sixto allegedly had a conflict of interest with the use of USAID funds." Stanzel added that he did not know how much money was involved or the particulars of the allegations.

    The government alleged Thursday that the theft occurred between March 31, 2005, and Jan. 14, 2008.

    Sixto had been chief of staff at the center, where he worked for more than three years before moving to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in July 2007.

    The Center for a Free Cuba describes itself as an independent, nonpartisan institution dedicated to promoting human rights and a transition to democracy and the rule of law in Cuba. Frank Calzon, the center's executive director, said it receives "a couple million dollars" a year from USAID for rent, travel and equipment such as shortwave radios and laptops.

    Calzon said the center "received an allegation" in mid-January about the possible misuse of funds and within days formed a fact-finding team. He said USAID was alerted within a few days. "After several weeks of investigating, we discovered there was some substance to it," Calzon said. "A letter went from our lawyer to the inspector general of USAID."

    At the White House intergovernmental office, Sixto, 29, was assigned to deal with state legislators, Native American groups and Hispanic officials on issues such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, health, labor, transportation, the environment and energy, Stanzel said. He was promoted to special assistant to Bush on March 1, just weeks before he resigned on March 28.

    The theft charge was first reported by The Examiner newspaper in Washington.

    Ex-defense contractor drops hints of another major corruption scandal.


    Mitchell Wade, the corrupt former lobbyist who plead guilty in 2006 to bribing former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), is reportedly assisting “the government in investigating five other members of Congress,” according to a memorandum filed on Wednesday. The 42-page sentencing memo filed by Wade’s attorneys says that the other unnamed members are under investigation for “corruption similar to that of Mr. Cunningham.” Seth Hettena suggests two of those five include former Reps. Katherine Harris (R-FL) and Virgil Goode (R-VA). Hettena also reports that the sentencing memo contains hints of a bigger scandal to come:

    Prosecutors drop tantalizing hints about an even bigger, ongoing investigation. Wade was debriefed in 2006 and provided “moderately useful” background information in another “large and important corruption investigation” that also has not yet resulted in any charges.

    Top Science Students Would Have Got 0% In 1965

    High-flying GCSE students set for an A or A* pass scored zero points in a mock science exam which included old O-level questions.

    The two-hour exam, devised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and named "The Five Decade Challenge", included questions from past science papers spread over the past 43 years.

    The results published today showed the older the paper, the fewer marks the students scored. For instance, the average score for the 2005 paper questions was 35 per cent, compared to 15 per cent for the 1965 questions.

    Overall, the average score was 25 per cent but the RSC said some children scored no marks at all. The RSC called the test, taken by just over 1,300 of the country's brightest 16-year-olds, the first hard evidence of a "catastrophic slippage" in exam standards.

    In a petition launched on the Downing Street website, the RSC says the current examination system was "failing a generation, which will be unequipped to address key issues facing society, whether as specialist scientists or members of a scientific community".

    Too many teachers were "teaching to the test" because of the pressure of performance league tables, so students were missing out on background information to help them understand their subject. Despite taking into account syllabus changes which meant certain topics – such as enthalpy and bond energies – were not tackled until A-level, the results, it argued, provided conclusive proof that the papers had become easier. In particular, it added, today's pupils lacked the maths skills necessary to tackle the calculations associated with equations.

    Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said: "The brightest pupils are not being trained in mathematical techniques, because they can get a grade A* pass without doing a single calculation. Conversely, the majority get at least a 'good pass' (grade C) by showing merely a superficial knowledge on a wide range of issues but no understanding of the fundamentals.

    "The fact highly-intelligent youngsters were unfamiliar with these types of questions, obtaining on average 35 per cent from recent papers and just 15 per cent from the 1960s, points to a systematic failure and misplaced priorities in the education system."

    The top mark was 94 per cent. The average was 33 per cent for independent schools, 23 per cent for state schools, 27 per cent for boys and 23 per cent for girls. "Children are being asked questions that show our curriculum isn't preparing them for the 21st century," said Michael Gove, the shadow Education Secretary.

    A campaign to recruit 6,600 science teachers in the next two years is being launched today by the Training and Development Agency, which is responsible for teacher recruitment. It is exceeding its recruitment target for science teachers by two per cent this year.

    "The Schools minister thinks science should be made more 'girl-friendly'. How so? By studding lab coats with pink rhinestones?"

    Illicit drugs should be legal, another officer says

    Jody Paterson, Special to Times Colonist

    Published: Friday, November 28, 2008

    David Bratzer and I share at least one opinion in common: That it costs us a pointless fortune to maintain the charade of having effective drug laws in Canada.

    It's no big deal that I hold that opinion. Anyone who knows the kind of things I write about wouldn't be too surprised to discover I'm of the belief that Canada and the U.S. have made a complete hash of things by treating a health and social issue like a criminal matter.

    But Bratzer holding that opinion, that's a little different. He's a Victoria police officer -- one of those tasked with enforcing those laws.

    I suspect there are many more who think like Bratzer inside the department, as you would expect from anyone charged with patrolling Victoria's ridiculous streets for any length of time. But it's still not a view that's expressed publicly by police very often.

    In fact, Bratzer, a constable, is one of only two active police officers in Canada who does public speaking on behalf of the U.S.-based non-profit organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). He signed on three months ago after clearing it with his boss, and now aims to put some of his off hours to use speaking to people about why drug prohibition doesn't work.

    "LEAP's position is that a lot of the problems we're seeing aren't caused by drugs, but rather the unintended consequences of drug prohibition," says Bratzer, citing public health problems, violence and a gang-controlled drug market as examples.

    Bratzer came to the same conclusion after three years of policing the streets of Victoria.

    "The effort that we put into chasing drugs -- it's bottomless," he says. "Canadians have put billions and billions into fighting the war on drugs, but at the end of the day they're cheaper, more potent and more available than ever before."

    Wanting an end to prohibition has nothing to do with liking drug abuse, notes Bratzer. But ceding control of an arbitrary assortment of drugs to gangs and criminals simply isn't working as a strategy. The LEAP website (www.leap.cc) tracks U.S. "drug war" spending by the minute; at $2,000 every 60 seconds, spending for 2008 is already more than $46 billion.

    Canada doesn't officially have a war on drugs, with federal authorities preferring to describe our efforts as "demand and availability reduction." We're not quite so jail-crazy, nor so prone to lock up people indefinitely at great cost and to little effect.

    But we still spend a heck of a lot on drug enforcement in Canada -- more than half a billion dollars a year. And if the goal of all that spending is to wipe out trafficking and the use of illegal drugs, then anyone with eyes and 15 minutes to hang out in the downtown can see that it's not working.

    "The LEAP strategy is to build a bureau of speakers modelled on Vietnam Vets Against the War. That group was effective because they had the credibility of having been there," says Bratzer. "What LEAP believes is that once people hear from those in law enforcement about the multiple harms caused by drug prohibition, they'll change their minds."

    Bratzer is careful to point out that his views are his own, and not those of the Victoria Police Department. He also stresses that the solutions lie in slow, measured steps that remove drug laws and replace them with good public policy.

    "I don't support drug abuse, and I don't support breaking the law. I know it all has to be about baby steps," says Bratzer. "My message to the marijuana lobby is to aim higher, because if marijuana becomes legal but all the others remain the way they are, there's still a lot of harm being done."

    Bratzer's view is that "soft" drugs should be taxed and sold, similar to alcohol and tobacco. Harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin would be available as prescription drugs and "consumed in a monitored site" as part of a harm-reduction program.

    "I think every doctors' office should be a needle exchange," he adds.

    Bratzer knows his decision to go public with his views might not sit well with some of his co-workers at the department. As of this week, he's also got a new boss to consider: Chief Jamie Graham.

    "I'm not saying police should stop being police," says Bratzer. "I have a lot of respect for my fellow police officers, and am not trying to shove this down their throat.

    "But at the end of the day, I didn't want to work as a police officer for 30 years and end up feeling like this was an issue I should have spoken up about sooner."