War on Drugs Conference Open To Select Few 

War on Drugs Conference Open To Select Few 
Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2002 at 19:49:29 PT
By Allen Garr 
Source: Vancouver Courier 
The agenda item Friday morning at the drug conference in the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre was: "The media: Friend or foe?" The event was sponsored by IDEAS, the International Drug Education and Awareness Society, a group of fundamentalist crusaders in the War on Drugs. IDEAS is run by the deep pockets of Bob and Lynda Bentall, along with two Vancouver cops, Al Arsenault and Toby Hinton, members of the film-making Odd Squad. 
Odd squad cops on the VPD payroll were to provide the conference with "staff support and logistics." According to a technical agenda CBC radio picked up, Odd Squad cop Chris Graham would chauffeur conference guests in a "nice unmarked police car." On Thursday, Vancouver cop Gerry Wickstead regaled the conference with a whole wall of confidential criminal records he copied off CPIC, the Canadian Police Information Computer, with the names blacked out. The Bentalls and what seems to be this rogue group of Vancouver cops are being aided and abetted by the Drug Free America Foundation, one of the most shrill supporters of the disastrous War On Drugs. The conference is an unapologetic attack on the current policy to stop the war on drugs and reduce the harm of addiction, advanced by Mayor Philip Owen, all three levels of government and the Vancouver police. Lynda Bentall said: "This is not a conference that intends to explore all sides of the question." Attendance was by invitation only. Media, as it turns out, was carefully screened. When I arrived, there were two security guards at the door checking convention credentials. I had none, so they sent for conference staffer Carolyn Rogers, a slight blond woman with her left arm in a sling. She looked at my business card and recalled that we spoke earlier. I told her I asked Bob Bentall for credentials a couple of days ago. She fumbled through a small box of material and announced that nothing was there. I couldn't get in, she said, without Bob Bentall's approval. I asked to speak to Bob. She hustled off through the stainless steel doors of the conference hall-to fetch him, I thought. She returned to say: "Mr. Bentall said he can't let you in. Sorry, the room is full." I had already noticed, each time the doors opened, that there was enough empty space in the joint to have a full-size conga line move through. "Never mind," I said. I stayed in the public corridor and listened through the crack in a second set of doors a few feet away. As I began to take notes, the speaker was talking about how to get your message out to the media. That's when Bob Bentall turned up at my side, 70-something, stooped, grey haired and wearing a black suit. I knew it was him from the credentials tag hanging from his neck. He knew it was me even without credentials. "Come on Allen," he said, addressing me in a familiar fashion but clearly telling me to buzz off. I asked about his unusual media policy, taking notes. He stumbled a bit and explained that it was a "private affair" and he could decide which media he allowed in. "Well," I pointed out, as a group of tourists wandered by, "I'm not in, I'm out in the hallway." Then he said: "Do you want me to get you removed?" I paused in my notetaking to say: "Sure go ahead." But he didn't, so I stayed. He posted a person on the other side of the door to block the crack. Meanwhile, news of the use of confidential CPIC documents and "nice unmarked police cars" has had police board members firing e-mails to each other for days. Owen is not amused. Neither is police chief Terry Blythe. Questions are being asked about cops working with the private sector to undermine public policy. I suspect when answers are finally given, I'll be allowed in the room. Source: Vancouver Courier (CN BC)Author: Allen Garr Published: Wednesday, May 08, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Vancouver CourierContact: editor vancourier.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:IDEA - Canada Links Conference Attracts Critics Ideas, Good Ideas 
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Comment #7 posted by zenarch on May 10, 2002 at 10:58:21 PT:
Who was allowed in?
I'd like to know which media people were allowed in. If they actually are journalists, what are they writing about this exclusive prohibitionist love-in.
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Comment #6 posted by Naaps on May 10, 2002 at 09:50:09 PT
IDEAS was a Bust
The tone of this article, especially the account of the author being stalled at the door of the auditorium by billionaire Bob Bentall clearly illustrates that whatever message the IDEAS organizers sought to promote they failed. Indeed, by screening the media thoroughly they undermined the very messengers whom they needed for seeding their spiteful propaganda. Essentially, apart from brief snippets on CBC and BCTV, the IDEAS Conference received much less attention than one might have expected.The ‘good’ IDEAS rally outside of the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre had no screening of the media, we were gracious and happy to receive all, be them reporters from CBC, television people from BCTV, or newspaper writers from the Vancouver Courier.   The other factor working against them was that many people understand how bankrupt their old prohibitionist people control methods and arguments are. It is compounded when their zeal has them posting criminal records on the wall against all privacy protocol.The entire endeavor was in the words of Richard Cowan, “a nark junket.” It was a meeting of the dwindling enforcers and treatment entrepreneurs to pat themselves on the back to reaffirm that despite their declining popularity - and potentially their business opportunities - they can still get together as fellow prohibitionists. Think of it as the flat earth society, except that their beliefs and actions directly harm society.From the prospective of Vancouver activists, who originally saw the IDEAS conference as a direct attack on the reforms we were promoting, it was laughably weak. However, it did cause the injection drug users and the cannabis activists to work together. And it gave Marc Emery an opportunity to host the Toker’s Bowl, which was incident free and a thorough success.  
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Comment #5 posted by SWAMPIE on May 10, 2002 at 09:38:39 PT
We should all carry a jar of Vaseline/KY lube with us at all times for when we have to interact with these selective idiots that maybe they will get the message that if we are goung to be the  #$kees'we at least want to take it healthily!!!!!These people need to be woken-up in a BIG WAY!!!!!!!!!! SWAMPIE
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on May 10, 2002 at 05:59:09 PT
It must be a real nice convention
They must just drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and not use drugs.I heard a story about a guy who was arrested for DUI and had to spend a night in jail. He insisted on making a phone call. He was entitled to make a phone call to inform someone of his predicament. The desk officer finally relented and allowed him his phone call. He ordered a pizza.The CIPC list of criminal records with blacked out names could just as well be Jews.
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Comment #3 posted by qqqq on May 10, 2002 at 05:21:58 PT
....This Is A Major Problem....
..And it will continue...
"She returned to say: "Mr. Bentall said he can't let you in. Sorry, the room is full." "
...yes,,the rooms will continue to be full.These type of "public" meetings,will keep being this way!... It's all too obvious that something is really wrong,,when publicly funded organizations can get away with holding private parties...
..I wonder who funded this gig?...The Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre is probably not a cheap place to rent for an evening...
..just watch as this becomes more and more common...Much like the WTO in Seattle,,and the presidential conventions...public events will be heavily armed,and restricted events,,,and any undesirables will be refused access at the police state empire checkpoints,,which will be justified as anti-terrorist checkpoints...
..When one realizes,that the war on terror allows the empire to restrict travel,and attendance at such events,,then one should be quite alarmed,,,!,, They already have federal lists at airports that delay,or restrict certain individuals or groups from boarding planes...No proof of anything is required to be denied boarding a plane....I'm afraid things are just like I expected them to be!..Fucked!.. ... and I hope no one feels that it is daring of me,to predict that things are gonna get even fuckeder.......
I'm sorry to use such coarse language,,but I dont consider it to be "profane",,and I have a hard time imagining someone who would venture into reading one of my comments,,,and then come across the word "fucked",,and be shocked or offended.... ..I know that using the word tends to diminish my credibility,,but I dont have much respect for prude prigs who pretend to be sensitive to such "profanity".
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Comment #2 posted by el_toonces on May 10, 2002 at 04:34:14 PT:
This writer alludes to learning about how one topic of this conference was how to "use" (read manipulate) the media, yet they don't let media in?  To me, that is strong circumstantial evidence the conference was much more about media manipulation than getting out what these folks might believe to be a truthful message.In Portland, I met a free lance journalist (who also worked for local CA paper I won't identify) and he advised he had tried to attend the IDEAS conference (meeting of conspirators?) and was treated almost identically to what Mr. Garr describes herein.Why should the public trust the "message" when the process used to determine what "message" these LEOs wish to send is totally opaque and lacking in the transparency we usually require for credibility in a democracy?
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Comment #1 posted by Dark Star on May 10, 2002 at 04:22:54 PT
Exporting Fascism
It is not enough for the totalitarians to ruin Amerika, they are trying to do it to Canada and rest of the world, as well. It says a great deal about the vacuousness and illegitimacy of their cause if their audience and press coverage are screened.
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