Senator Hatch On C-Span Saturday Please E-Mail

Senator Hatch On C-Span Saturday Please E-Mail
Posted by FoM on January 20, 2000 at 15:51:38 PT
Please Copy & Distribute!
Source: MapInc.
Presidential candidate Senator Orrin Hatch will be taking calls on C-Span's Saturday Journal From 9-10 AM Eastern Time this Saturday AM. Hatch is the co-author of The Hatch/Feinstein Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999 which could easily destroy all forms of Internet activism on drug policy on the Internet if implemented. 
Below is a wealth of information on the bill and its background. It has already UNANIMOUSLY passed the senate. Hatch is also one of the most ardent drug war hawks in the Senate. The bill reads as follows "It shall be unlawful for any person-- (A) to teach or demonstrate the manufacture of a controlled substance, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of a controlled substance, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime." This is a mind boggling concept in the land of the free. To me this sort of censorship sounds eerily like the plots in the classic books "Fahrenheit 451" in which book burning was mandated by the government or "1984" in which the government censored talk and even thought heavily and eliminated individual rights "for our own good." Please call in, email or fax C-span to challenge Hatch on this egregious attack on the first amendment. C-SPAN400 North Capitol St. NWSuite 650Washington DC 20001Telephone E-Mail viewer Call these numbers from 9-10 AM ET Saturday: Washington Journal: Democrats (202) 624-1111 Washington Journal: Republicans (202) 624-1115 Washington Journal: Others (202) 737-6734 Washington Journal: FAX (202) 393-3346 Washington Journal: Email journal Front Desk (202) 737-3220Hotline Scheduling info:202 628 2205 - 4 Jobs Line (202) 626-7983Viewer Services: (202) 626-7963 - 0 Smashing Meth or Trashing Rights? Consider These Statements:A: "If you must smoke marijuana, filter the smoke with a water pipe and don't even think of driving afterwards." B: "If you ever do shoot up heroin, don't use dirty needles. Clean them with bleach or find a syringe exchange program."I think these statements are good advice. But if U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch and Dianne Feinstein have their way, it will soon be a felony to publish these statements in any book, newspaper, magazine, web site, or even to utter them or link to a web site containing them. The Hatch/Feinstein Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999 makes these statements illegal because they "pertain" to an act that violates federal controlled-substance laws. Here's the censorship language of the Hatch/Feinstein bill (S.486): "It shall be unlawful for any person-- (A) to teach or demonstrate the manufacture of a controlled substance, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of a controlled substance, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime." My opening statements "teach" people how to "use" criminalized drugs in a way that reduces potential harmfulness. They are nonetheless information that, if heeded at all, would be used "for ... an activity that constitutes a Federal crime," namely the use of marijuana or heroin. (Don't believe for a minute that the "intent" aspect clarifies anything: the "intent" of suspects in federal crimes is exactly what the prosecutor says it is. Period.) The penalty for my heinous utterances: 10 years in federal prison.You're probably thinking "Surely they didn't mean that. This is a clamp-down on methamphetamine, isn't it?" But a law is a very literal beast. The implications of S.486 are as broad as its language is vague. It clearly violates the face-value meaning of the First Amendment -- guaranteed free speech. Anyone who thinks the feds would use common sense and restraint when enforcing this law hasn't been watching the Drug War for the past 20 years. These are the same drug warriors who just paid $1 million in an out-of-court settlement with the family of Donald Scott, who was shot to death in a "dry" (no drugs found) raid on Scott's California ranch in 1992. Purportedly, the feds, fearing the publicity about corrupt drug cops in LA's Rampart precinct, thought jurors might be persuaded that enforcers really were trying to grab Scott's property under federal drug forfeiture laws, as the suit had alleged. On another front, drug-warring federal prosecutors are notorious for using mandatory sentencing laws to jail the lowest-level participants in drug cases for the longest possible terms, based on heresay evidence and wide-reaching conspiracy laws (see the PBS documentary "Snitch"). A study of drug case law reveals that people can be jailed on drug crimes through a head spinning array of legal technicalities (often convoluted, illogical, and unfair). Prosecutors essentially have the power of accuser, judge, and jury, all rolled into one, and can effectively jail whomsoever they please. Many use their power to seek high political offices.Would S.486 be used benignly? Tell me another. In states that have passed compassionate-use referendums, S. 486 would facilitate federal prosecution of doctors who tell patients about medical marijuana. These are among the more obvious applications of this bill. The larger implication concerns citizens who are now legally protesting the Drug War or conducting now-legal programs that are at odds with abstinence-enforcement ideology. Given the vague and inclusive interpretation of federal conspiracy laws, almost any information about criminalized drugs and any dissent against existing drug laws could be construed by federal enforcers as furthering federal drug crimes. In Congressional hearings last summer, drug czar Barry McCaffrey specifically accused two national drug reform organizations, MAP (the Media Awareness Project) and the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF), of distributing information to support the manufacture of criminalized drugs. Of course, McCaffrey was lying about this.Check it out at the Media Awareness Project (MAP) and The Drug Policy Foundation MAP posts worldwide news related to criminalized drugs, drug policy, etc. Both groups organize activism to end the War on Drugs policy. Neither of them advocate drug use or offer instructions about drug manufacture. However, in the light of the 33,000 press articles clipped by MAP, the government's Drug War does not look good. And activists are running scared about S.486. Based on McCaffrey's statements of last summer, MAP and other drug policy leaders fear that enforcers, armed with the Hatch/Feinstein bill, would shut down their web sites, effectively silencing dissent against the Drug War and squelching public debate about drug policy. They fear selective enforcement of S.486 such that any anti-Drug-War web site could be shut down directly or indirectly because Internet service providers, fearing prosecution, would refuse to host such sites. In remarks about the bill, Sen. Feinstein emphasized her intent to censor communications about drugs on the Internet. Whether Hatch and Feinstein know it or not, S.486 neatly fulfills the wishes of UN drug czar Pino Arlacchi, whose global drug-war organization recommended, in a 1997 publication, that governments should curtail civil liberties in their pursuit of strict drug-abstinence enforcement. Other implications: books about criminalized drugs could be withdrawn from Barnes-and-Noble's shelves; certain magazines would be shut down (no more High Times). Information about industrial hemp cultivation would be outlawed. Drug treatment and intervention programs that deviate from strict abstinence doctrine or help non-abstainers (concerning harm reduction, needle exchange, methadone maintenance, or medical marijuana) could be prosecuted - because their communications, like my opening statements, pertain to activities that are federal crimes.S.486 seems to be a bald-faced violation of the First Amendment. But the opinion of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who never saw a draconian drug law he didn't like, is harder to predict. This is an extremely dangerous law, not only for drug policy and reform, but concerning freedom of speech generally in the United States. If dissent about this issue can be silenced, all dissent can be silenced.If S.486 becomes law, American speech rights become subject to the whim of the badge-bearing guys who smash down doors carrying submachine guns and yelling "Freeze!" like they did to Donald Scott. No matter what you think of drugs, if you love freedom, you should hate this bill.The Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. is a Project of DrugSense a 501(c)3 non profit educational organization dedicated to accurate information and reporting on drug and drug policy related matters. Additional Resources:Drug War Facts: Searchable archive of more than 30,000 articles on drug policy matters: Media Awareness Project (MAP) Inc. Home Page: DrugSense Home Page: Free Weekly Email newsletter on important drug policy developments: Information:The individuals below may be contacted for further information regarding this release.Mark Greer Executive Director DrugSense (MAP Inc.) PO Box 651 Porterville, CA 93258 (800) 266 5759 MGreer http://www.drugsense.orgPaul Bischkepbischkezip pmb Tom O'Connell M.D. 195 Warren Rd. San Mateo CA 94401 650 348 6841tjeffoc Kevin Zeese Common Sense For Drug Policy 3619 Tall Wood Terrace Falls Church VA 22041 (703) 354 5694 703-354-5695 (fax) kevzeese Wright Family Watch 703-354-5694
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #4 posted by SAM on January 21, 2000 at 11:03:44 PT:
Anti-Free Speech Bill....
   This is it people. If this passes and becomes law the proud traditions on which this country are based will be reduced to a distant, fond memory. I would imagine that somehow our referendums will no longer be allowed, after all, asking for legalization or harm reduction policies will be considered "promoting' illegal drug abuse and will be taboo. GOOD BYE CONSTITUTION!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by I agree on January 21, 2000 at 10:30:43 PT
Whither the Constitution?
I'm a fairly ardent antidrug advocate, but I'm with you on this one. Of course it irks me to read about ways to beat drug tests (most of which don't work) or to boost the efficacy of some illegal drug. But while I don't like the comments, I believe they are well within the scope of the 1st Amendment. Do they promote illegal activity? Well, yes, in a general sense. But is there a clear nexus between such comments and the planned or actual commission of an offense by an identified individual? Hardly. Unmonitored dissemination of information is what the internet is all about. I recognize the Senate's facially laudable purpose in combatting drugs. However, as Justice Brandeis once said "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." Olmstead v. US, 48 S.Ct. at 572 (1928).
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on January 21, 2000 at 10:03:54 PT
When does a republic become a tyranny?
When things like S.486 are 'unanimously' endorsed by people who should know better.How many wake-up do calls do some of the readers here need? It doesn't matter when (more likely 'if') the Supreme Court rules it unConstitutional. (I say 'if' because the Supreme Court has shown a lementable tendency to abridge individual, civil rights in favor of law enforcement - they still support forfeiture, people. Do you think they will support your right to Free Speach?) If this bil becomes law, the damage will be done *immediately*, even before the ink is dry. That is the whole idea. Those who have been lobbying for this don't give a rat's ass whether it is unConstitutional. They want to shut down the fastest, most effective means of rallying activism against their insanity that has ever existed: The Web. Because it *is* effective. The 'Know Your Customer' bill that would have had every transaction at a bank sent to law enforcement for 'review' was blasted out of existence - and the pols who supported it got burned and had to do some serious backpedalling - because people like us got online and *deluged* the relevant agencies with a storm of criticism. They backed off - fast, too.Time to make them back off, again. Don't sit on your duffs, thinking you're safe. Because they wouldn't be doing this if they didn't think they could; the technololgy exists. Any hacker will tell you that much. Don't let this vampire rise from its' coffin; put a stake in its heart now, while we can!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Ann C. Triumpho on January 21, 2000 at 08:28:41 PT
I have never been so fearful for my rights as I was the moment I read this "big brother" bill! I think that this is frighteningly close to eliminating the first amendment.Thisis silly,it reminds me of the public school policy to teach abstinance instead of prevention. Lets teach them not to do something instead of making people aware so they can make educated decisions concerning our own well being.I am scaredand I am sad.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: