Posts tagged Drugs
Posts tagged Drugs
The phone rang before sunrise. It woke Craig Patty, owner of a tiny North Texas trucking company, to vexing news about Truck 793 - a big red semi supposedly getting repairs in Houston.
"Your driver was shot in your truck," said the caller, a business colleague. "Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?"
"What did you say?" Patty recalled asking. "Could you please repeat that?"
The truck, it turned out, had been everywhere but in the repair shop.
Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers.
At least 17 hours before that early morning phone call, Chapa was shot dead in front of more than a dozen law enforcement officers - all of them taken by surprise by hijackers trying to steal the red Kenworth T600 truck and its load of pot.
In the confusion of the attack in northwest Harris County, compounded by officers in the operation not all knowing each other, a Houston policeman shot and wounded a Harris County sheriff’s deputy.
But eight months later, Patty still can’t get recompense from the U.S. government’s decision to use his truck and employee without his permission.
His company, which hauls sand as part of hydraulic fracturing operations for oil and gas companies, was pushed to the brink of failure after the attack because the truck was knocked out of commission, he said.
Patty had only one other truck in operation.
In documents shared with the Houston Chronicle, he is demanding that the DEA pay $133,532 in repairs and lost wages over the bullet-sprayed truck, and $1.3 million more for the damage to himself and his family, who fear retaliation by a drug cartel over the bungled narcotics sting.
"When you start a new business, there are obvious pitfalls you go through, a learning curve," said Patty, who before buying his two trucks worked in the pharmaceutical industry. "But who would ever be ready to deal with this?
"How am I — a small businessman, father of three, American Joe from Texas — supposed to make a claim against a federal agency that has conveniently shrouded itself behind a red, white and blue cloak of confidentiality and secrecy?"
Copies of letters and emails from Patty’s insurance company state that it won’t pay for repairs because the truck was part of a law-enforcement operation. Patty drew from his 401K retirement fund to repair the truck, which was out of operation for 100 days.
"I was not part of this," he said. "I had absolutely no knowledge of any of it until after it happened."
For its part, the DEA has not admitted that it was using Chapa as a spy because its official policy is not to comment on whether someone was an informant.
Lisa Johnson, a spokeswoman for the DEA Houston Division, confirmed that Patty’s demand had been received and noted that it would be investigated by the agency. But the Chronicle established Chapa was an informant based on interviews with multiple law-enforcement officials who spoke on the condition they not be named, and later by courtroom comments of prosecutors.
Patty’s request chronicles much of what he’s been through, including the operating costs for his trucks and everything repaired or replaced due to the attack. Among other disturbing chores was the need to hire a Spring-based company to clean up the mess in the cab caused by the killing.
Houston lawyer Mark Bennett, who is advising Patty, said if Patty’s initial claim is not resolved, the next step would be to sue.
Patty hired Chapa five weeks before the shooting and now wonders how many of the trips in the $90,000 rig included DEA work. GPS information from the truck reveals an unauthorized trek to the Rio Grande Valley in the days before Chapa was killed. He took a 1,000-mile round trip detour from the route he was supposed to travel.
Perhaps most unnerving, Patty says, is that drug mobsters now likely know his name, and certainly know his truck.
Panic at the Patty home these days can be triggered by something as simple as a deer scampering through the wooded yard or a car pulling into the driveway. One morning as his wife made breakfast, one of his young sons suddenly bolted across the house yelling, “Get the guns!”
A Bronco sport utility vehicle had pulled into the driveway past a broken gate. The dogs were barking in the darkness. Patty grabbed a pistol and headed for the front yard.
The Bronco pulled away, leaving a shiny object by the front walkway. It turned out to be the morning newspaper wrapped in a plastic bag reflecting a neighbor’s floodlight.
The whole ordeal has forced his children to grow up more quickly than he’d like, Patty said.
"I wanted to keep them young as long as I could," he said. "I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my son believing in Santa Claus, and now I’m talking to him about death, mayhem and drug cartels.
"That is a huge canyon between the two."
The truck has a new driver, but there’s still one bullet hole inside the truck’s cab. A chunk of seat cushion, sliced out as evidence, has been covered with a patch.
"I really do not worry about driving it," said driver Norman Anderson - as long is it doesn’t involve a trip to South Texas.
"I feel like if I go there, I should put an ‘X’ on each side of my neck, draw a dotted line between them, and write, " ’cut here.’ "
The Obama administration has declared that the “War on Terror” is officially over, but this move only signifies a change in public terminology, not official U.S. policy.
Many of the war on terror’s secret objectives will be pursued regardless of the new public language that will be deployed by U.S. officials to sell the idea of perpetual warfare to the American people and the rest of the world.
One of the main objectives of the falsely advertised “War on Terror,” was to allow U.S. government agencies and international banks to reap the profits from the global drug trade while appearing noble and lawful. Despite the brand change, the war on terror will still be waged in order to preserve the global drug economy. The continuation of covert CIA and military operations in the heroin fields of Afghanistan is a certainty.
As many experts on reality have noted, a sharp rise in heroin cultivation in Afghanistan occurred when America and NATO invaded the country illegally in 2001. U.S. officials, intelligence officers, and soldiers have been trafficking drugs out of Afghanistan under the radar for the last decade. Journalist Patrick Henningsenreported earlier this month that both the Army and the DEA are trafficking drugs into the United States.
The global trafficking of drugs by the U.S. government is not done to keep the government budget afloat and finance the banks. It is pure corruption. As Catherine Austin Fitts wrote in 2001, “New technology blesses us with the potential tools we can use to radically increase productivity in a way that can “jump the curve” on our narco dollar addiction.”
In the past decade, the National Security State’s crimes such as drug trafficking and arms dealing were committed under the cover of War on Terror, but this label is being dropped in favour of more sophisticated and nuanced language.
The Obama administration is trying to maintain the corrupt status quo by adopting a new vocabulary to cover-up the criminal activities and policies of the U.S. security state and Wall Street/Federal Reserve Banksters.
So, contrary to the claims of the Obama propaganda machine, the evil transnational and secret financial-intelligence-political-security-media Empire has been strengthened and stimulated anew under the Obama administration.
In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the Obama administration is trying all kinds of tricks to regain popular credibility which it had lost because of its defense of the Wall Street bandits and Bush-era torturers. Whether provoking a race war, falsely declaring the end of U.S. wars abroad, or exploiting the grievances of the poor, the aim is the same: re-elect the puppet Obama.
It’s been over 50 years, but Wayne Ritchiesays he can still remember how it felt to be dosed with acid.
He was drinking bourbon and soda with other federal officers at a holiday party in 1957 at the U.S. Post Office Building on Seventh and Mission streets. They were cracking jokes and swapping stories when, suddenly, the room began to spin. The red and green lights on the Christmas tree in the corner spiraled wildly. Ritchie’s body temperature rose. His gaze fixed on the dizzying colors around him.
The deputy U.S. marshal excused himself and went upstairs to his office, where he sat down and drank a glass of water. He needed to compose himself. But instead he came unglued. Ritchie feared the other marshals didn’t want him around anymore. Then he obsessed about the probation officers across the hall and how they didn’t like him, either.Everyone was out to get him. Ritchie felt he had to escape.
He fled to his apartment and sought comfort from his live-in girlfriend. It didn’t go as planned. His girlfriend was there, but an argument erupted. She told him she was growing tired of San Francisco and wanted to return to New York City. Ritchie couldn’t handle the situation. Frantic, he ran away again, this time to the Vagabond Bar where he threw back more bourbon and sodas. From there, he hit a few more bars, further cranking up his buzz. As he drank his way back to Seventh and Mission, Ritchie concocted a plan that would change his life.
Now in his mid-eighties and living in San Jose, Ritchie may be among the last of the living victims of MK-ULTRA, a Central Intelligence Agency operation that covertly tested lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) on unwitting Americans in San Francisco and New York City from 1953 to 1964.
"I remember that night very clearly, yes I do," he said in a recent interview. "I was paranoid. I got down to where I thought everyone was against me. The whole world was against me."
After the day had bled into night on Dec. 20, 1957, Ritchie returned to his office in the Post Office Building and retrieved two service revolvers from his locker. He was going rogue.
"I decided if they want to get rid of me, I’ll help them. I’ll just go out and get my guns from my office and hold up a bar," Ritchie recalls. "I thought, ‘I can get enough money to get my girlfriend an airline ticket back to New York, and I’ll turn myself in.’ But I was unsuccessful."
Out of his skull on a hallucinogen and alcohol, Ritchie rolled into the Shady Grove in the Fillmore District, and ordered one final bourbon and soda. After swallowing down the final drops, he pointed his revolver at the bartender and demanded money. Before joining the marshals, Ritchie served five years in the Marines and spent a year as anAlcatraz prison guard. But the cop had suddenly become the robber.
It was over in a flash. A waitress came up behind him and asked Ritchie what he was doing. When Ritchie turned around, a patron hit him over the head and knocked him unconscious. He awoke to a pair of police officers standing over him.
Ritchie says he had expected to get caught or killed.
The judge went easy on him and Ritchie avoided prison. He resigned from the Marshals Service, pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, paid a $500 fine, and was sentenced to five years’ probation.
Ritchie’s story is certainly peculiar, but not unique. Other San Franciscans were unsuspecting participants in a strange research program in which the government effectively broke the law in an effort to fight the Cold War.
Seymour Hersh first exposed MK-ULTRA in aNew York Times article in 1974 that documented CIA illegalities, including the use of its own citizens as guinea pigs in games of war and espionage. John Marks expertly chronicled more of the operation in his 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate. There have been other reports on the CIA’s doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation.
U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke's day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota.
Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as “go pills.” After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend in the head.
"Jack Bauer told me this was going to happen — you guys are trying to kidnap me!" he yelled, as if he were a character in the TV show "24."
When the woman giving them a lift pulled the car over, Burke leaped on her and wrestled her to the ground. “Me and my platoon are looking for terrorists,” he told her before grabbing her keys, driving away and crashing into a guardrail.
Burke was charged with auto theft, drunk driving and two counts of assault. But in October, a court-martial judge found the young lieutenant not guilty “by reason of lack of mental responsibility” — the almost unprecedented equivalent, at least in modern-day military courts, of an insanity acquittal.
Four military psychiatrists concluded that Burke suffered from “polysubstance-induced delirium” brought on by alcohol, lack of sleep and the 40 milligrams of Dexedrine he was issued by the Air Force.
In a small but growing number of cases across the nation, lawyers are blaming the U.S. military's heavy use of psychotropic drugs for their clients' aberrant behavior and related health problems. Such defenses have rarely gained traction in military or civilian courtrooms, but Burke's case provides the first important indication that military psychiatrists and court-martial judges are not blind to what can happen when troops go to work medicated.
After two long-running wars with escalating levels of combat stress, more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs, according to figures recently disclosed to The Times by the U.S. Armysurgeon general. Nearly 8% of the active-duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants — an eightfold increase since 2005.
"We have never medicated our troops to the extent we are doing now…. And I don’t believe the current increase in suicides and homicides in the military is a coincidence," said Bart Billings, a former military psychologist who hosts an annual conference on combat stress.
There has been an increase in the number of children in Pakistan addicted to heroin. While there is some help offered in the form of the family-run Dost Foundation charity, the weak economy of the country has made it harder to provide support.
Many of the youth come from Pakistan’s tribal areas, but had to flee because of poverty and conflict, eventually finding themselves living on the streets of Peshawar.
Nearly all of the five to 16-year-olds who are taken in by the Dost Foundation are heroin users.
According to a United Nations report released last year, 90 per cent of the world’s opium, from which heroin is made, is produced in Afghanistan. For Pakistan, the result is more than four million addicts, and an increasing number of them are children.
Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab reports from Peshawar.
A fringe candidate for next month’s French presidential election on Wednesday alleged that the Queen of England owes her fortune to drugs money laundered by “Jewish bankers in The City”.
Jacques Cheminade, an independent, is one of 10 candidates who has been cleared by France’s Constitutional Court to run in the April 22 first round of the battle to unseat incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.
It ought to be a tough list to get on — former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and several other leading figures failed to make the cut — but little known Cheminade was one of the first to gather 500 mayors’ signatures.
Few in France have any idea what Cheminade stands for, as he represents no political party and has a low media profile.
But, now that the campaign proper has begun, French broadcasting fairness laws require he be given as much exposure as any other candidate, such as Sarkozy or opinion poll frontrunner and Socialist champion Francois Hollande.
Thus, Cheminade appeared on LCP television Wednesday, in a debate sponsored by AFP and other French media. He was asked about his support for US extremist Lyndon Larouche, a notorious conspiracy theorist.
In particular, he was asked whether the Queen is a drugs baroness.
"No, not all her fortune," he replied. "There are many other sources, but it’s a series of trafficking operations within which, yes, there were drugs."
Cheminade linked this claim to allegations about the Rothschild banking family, and compared the economic crisis to “the start of the Nazi regime and the measures it gradually put in place, as in the United States today.”
Voting will not begin for four weeks, but opinion polls track Cheminade’s support at less than one percent, or within the margin of error.
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Authorities are probing a drug trafficking scheme involving Delta Airlines and Transportation Security Administration workers in Los Angeles and Hawaii.
John Tai of Carson is among several arrested for allegedly having drugs and cash flown to and from California and Hawaii.
Investigators say TSA or Delta Airlines employees would find a checked bag after it had been screened and put drugs or cash inside.
A passenger would then pick it up at baggage claim like any other bag.
A federal investigation has already found that hundreds of thousands of pounds of methamphetamine was smuggled between the two states over the past two years.