Monday, October 13, 2003

Photo GNN News

I don't usually talk about the other wars in this space but my thoughts are in Baghdad today with Stephen Marshall and Anthony Lappe, two of the driving forces behind the Guerrilla News Network. I was fortunate to have become acquainted with these two high-caliber videographers at the Narco News J-School this year. They are young guys who have already accumulated a great body of impressive work. They now train their lens on the Iraqi people and are already providing a window to the ordinary citizens living in the rubble of what once was a beautiful ancient city.

They reported in at the forum today from on the ground in Saddam City, one of the more dangerous ghettos in the city and on the front page of the site, their story on Frank's War challenges assumptions on the temperment of the people on the street regarding the occupation. If you're interested in what's going on right now, this is the real unfiltered picture.


On a related note, as long as we're on the subject, I saw this staggering statistic today - there are more than 88,000 Americans still unaccounted for in all conflicts. Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Karl Malone, is doing something to draw attention to these unreported causalties of war and will wear the MIA/POW symbol on his sneakers for the rest of the season.


All wars harbor their unseen victims and this irrational War On Some Drugs and Users is no exception. Maybe if they issued a body count every day even the non-consumers would be horrified enough to help us end this war. In California alone, over 40 legal medical marijuana patients have been raided by federal agents. This list looks tame compared to a new feature at Drug War Rant, an all too long list of Drug War Victims, many of whom died during botched raids.

This is a war on us, my friends, and this is the kind of collateral damage your government feels is acceptable in waging it. I call it senseless slaughter.


Meanwhile our law enforcement agents become more and more corrupted by the enormous profits in illegal drugs. If the war ended not only would they be out of jobs but a great source of graft would disappear along with the laws. Now I'm not saying that all cops are corrupt, far from it, but more succumb to promise of easy money all the time.

Do a google search on - police corruption drugs - and you'll get well over 200,000 hits. The newspapers are rife with these stories every day. Here's three that came through this week:

FORMER VAN ZANDT PROSECUTOR LOOKING AT FED DRUG CHARGE. Of course they are only prosecuting him for the meth and not the two pounds of prescription drugs that were legally prescribed. Anybody else thinking Rush Limbaugh?

Police officer will appeal firing over marijuana use. Here's a long time cop who probably busted a lot of kids for smoking a joint and he admitted to investigators that he bought and used marijuana. He said he should be disciplined, but that his firing ''goes above and beyond the charges.''

He thinks he shouldn't be fired? A private citizen would already be in jail. That's the thing about this corruption, not only is the temptation to cheat large but the punishments are light.

Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story 10/10/03. A former Virginia deputy sherrif Kevin Glin Kinsey was actually sentenced to 40 months by a federal judge for using his position as a county jail supervisor as a crack cocaine franchise. That may sound long but it's a fraction of what would ordinarily be imposed in the current political climate. You remember the small meth lab they were prosecuting under the anti-terrorism law, I'm sure. I believe the prosecutor was going for about twice that amount on that bust and the guy's operation was tiny, certainly not of franchise proportions.


Well since we're on a prisoner of war theme today, the last word is Tommy Chong's address in prison. He recently began serving his nine month sentence for selling those evil empty bongs. Working in the law firm, I've met a lot of prisoners. Mail call is a big there so send him a card. No matter where you stand on the whole debate of whether or not he sold out by not going to trial, it would cheer him up and he's still another victim in this war.

Thomas Kin Chong
Taft CI
1500 Cadet Road
Taft, CA 93268


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