Saturday, December 31, 2011

Marijuana Keeping Youth From Alcohol & Cigarettes

Decried by Fake Christians as FOX News' Bill O'Reilly and Gretchen Carlson

Pot smoking keeps teens off more dangerous booze and cigarettes

Alternet - The National Institute of Drug Abuse released the results of its 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey of teen drug use, and guess what: Teens are using cigarettes and alcohol less, but they are smoking more marijuana. What's more, they're smoking more weed because they do not perceive it to be as harmful as did teens in the past. Teens' level of "associated risk" with marijuana use has gone done over time, and marijuana is, indeed, less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes: This could be an argument for more honest drug education in schools.

Associated risk is the danger or harm believed to be a consequence of drug use. If associated risk for a particular substance goes up, more people are reporting that they consider using that drug to be a threat. In other words, as associated risk goes down, more people are saying the drug in question is not that bad. According to the NIDA study, a decline in marijuana's associated risk contributed to teens smoking more pot, while drinking less alcohol and smoking fewer cigarrettes. Thus, many teens actually showed good judgement, by using available information to determine the danger posed by particular substances, and making smart decisions accordingly.

According to the study, about 25% of teens surveyed said they tried marijuana at least once last year, a statistically significant rise of about 4% since 2007. Additionally, 6.6% of 12th graders also admitted to smoking weed daily.

Frequent marijuana use is the highest it has been since 1981, but cigarette and alcohol use reached historic lows. 11.7 percent of U.S. teens reported having smoked a cigarette in the last 30 days, compared to 12.8 percent in 2010. According to the report, a twenty-year gradual decline in alcohol use continued into 2011, and the decrease in that year alone was also significant.:

"Over the past 20 years, from 1991 to 2011, the proportion of 8th graders reporting any use of alcohol in the prior 30 days has fallen by about half (from 25% to 13%), among 10th graders by more than one third (from 43% to 27%), and among 12th graders by about one fourth (from 54% to 40%)."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DPA Conference November 3-5, 2011 LA CA BonAdventure Hotel

Douglas A. Willinger Review

It was my 16th of these international conferences on drug policy reform- having attended these since the days of the Drug Policy Foundation; the DPF was founded in 1987, holding these conferences annually through 1997 and 1999-2001, and every other year since merging with the Soros funded Lindesmith Institute (itself founded in 1993) and becoming the DPA.

The founding of the DPF by American University professor Arnold S. Trebach, with Kevin Zeese of NORML had been spurred by the 1986 media generated hysteria over illegal drugs – primarily cocaine. Hence by its very timing and naming, the DPF was to address the prohibited drugs and not merely Marijuana (which already had NORML). Zeese and Trebach respectively left in 1994 and 1997, yet the DPF-DPA has had its continuing figures since the early 1990s or late 1980s of Ira Glasser of the American Civil Liberty Union on its Board of Directors, and Ethan Nadlemann, former professor at Princeton University, as featured DPF conference speakers -- including chairing a 1992 panel Is America Exporting Its Problems which he placed me upon - who created the Lindsmith Institute with Soros. Hence these foundations, of which the Alliance is as much as the Foundation, continue along under largely the same leadership for about two decades.

The preface letter in the DPF’s Biennial Report: 1988-1989 dated March 1990 by Trebach and Zeese stated:

excerpt at page 4

“The Drug Policy Foundation was created by people who were convinced that the excesses of the massive worldwide war on drugs were an evil that had to be openly opposed by good men and women everywhere. While the founders of the organization were Americans, they had sympathetic colleagues in many countries who urged them on and joined them in this effort. These citizens and officials constitute what may be termed the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. They support the worldwide effort to control drug-related crime and corruption, to combat predatory criminal syndicate, to ameliorate the tragedies of drug abuse, and to improve public health. But they oppose many of the extremist tactics and counterproductive strategies now used in this effort.

The Foundation believes that peaceful methods offer the best hope for curbing drug abuse while preserving the constitutional rights of all. Through research, education, legal action, and public information programs the Drug Policy Foundation hopes to delineate rational models of effective drug policy reform for the nations of the world. The first step is to convince the public and policy makers that opposition to the drug war is decent and humane….

The Foundation is an education, research and legal center. It publishes books, articles and newsletters; rewards peoples for outstanding achievement in the field of drug policy; responds to media and scholarly information requests; presents regular forums and an annual international conference; and represents in court those wronged by the drug war.

The foundation is a charitable corporation under the laws of the District of Columbia and section 501 ©(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Thus all contributions to the foundation are tax deductible…”

The early DPF conferences offered such hope, offering hope for such with a broad focus. In 1989, the panels were:

The Impact of Repeal: The Overall Picture; The Politics of Repeal: Obstacles and Possibilities; New Treatment Options After Repeal; Safer Streets After Repeal; Rights and Privacy After Repeal; The Impact of Legalization Upon Producer Countries; Therapeutic Potential of Schedule 1 Drugs; Models for Regulation; Preventing AIDS in a Legalized Society; The Workplace After Prohibition; The Economic and political Impact of Legalization on Consumer Countries; The Impact of Repeal on the Use of Crack and Cocaine; What are the real lessons of alcohol prohibition? Ending Marijuana Prohibition : A Place to Start; Repeal No, the British System Yes; Enforcing Regulation After Repeal; Treatment of Organic Diseases and Pain in a Post Repeal Society; Effective Taxation in a Legalized World Prohibitions Secret: Controlled Drug Use; Lessons from Today’s Legal Drugs; The Effect of Repeal on the Administration of Criminal Justice Education After Repeal; Overcoming International Obstacles to Repeal; Harm Reduction After Repeal

In 1992:

International Currents: Is the Tide Changing?; Drug Users Promoting Risk-Reduction Among Their Own; How to Build a Community Based Drug Policy Action Group; Implications of the Drug War for Legal Principles; The Marijuana User and Grower in Perspective; Cocaine: Trade and Policy; Medicalization: Is it Really Preferable to Criminalization? Attacks on Criminal Defense Lawyers; Drug Education and Youth; Politics of the Disease Concept; Effective Media Strategies and Tactics; The Methadone Option; Alcohol a& Alcoholism: Characteristics of Treatment; Marijuana & Toxicity; Sentencing Consideration; Harm Reduction and Public Health; Victims, Scapegoats and Heroes: The Drug War and the Media; Public Perceptions of the Disease Model; Pharmacology Frontiers; Is the Drug War Aborting Women’s Rights; Ethical Issues in Defense; Protecting Your Clients from the Results of Unreasonable searches; Drug Testing; Meet and Critique the Authors; Needle Exchange: Programs and Politics; Influence State and Local Governments; The Americas: Is the U.S. Exporting Its Problems?; The Topology of a Battle Site: The Emergency Room; Methadone, Heroin and the Community; Revolution on the Bench; Prosecutions of Doctors for Their Presenting Practices; American Cities at War; Addicts Past and Present: How do Current Laws Impact Their Lives?; Drug Prohibition and Legalization: The Economic Perspective; Medical Marijuana: The 20 Years War; assessing Treatment Effectiveness; Therapeutic Potentials for Psychoactive Drugs; Handling Complex Cases; The Thought Police; The Rhetoric of the Drug War; Crisis at Home: The Victimization of Users, Addicts and Their Families; Drug War Profiteering; Doctoring in the Drug War; Legal Seminar Keynote Speeches;

The early DPF conferences were excellent opportunities for introducing new realizations of the broader insanity of the drug war, potentially invaluable for epiphanies of its underappreciated costs, as well as meeting other scholars. I met the author of the book Mamacoca, Anthony Richard Henman at the 1989 conference, with the inclusion of his paper Coca: an Alternative to Cocaine? in the conference paper compendium Drug Policy 1989-90 A Reformer's Catalog. That would help inspire me to make my submissions which the DPF subsequently published in 1990, 1991, and 1992, respectively The Ever Changing Ever Confused Popular Conception of Cocaine; Cocaine Prohibition Water or Gasoline ..., and Cocaine Conversion Onwards To Coca, placing me upon their cocaine panels in 1991 and 1992, and also in 1992, upon Ethan Nadelmann’s panel “Is America Exporting Its Problems?”
The papers respectively addressed the confusion about cocaine’s reputation related to its various modes of use/abuse; the effects of prohibition in shifting markets in worse directions; the economic backdrop and its consequences; and of course how to straighten things out. Via these venue I got out my idea of the drug war, based upon sensationalistic hysteria – was done so for economic (mercantilist) reasons rather than that of racism, creating its problems. With cocaine, the “drug war” insanely perverts Coca into problematic concentrated forms of cocaine, while denying the benefits of Coca, for the sake of protecting its competitor plant stimulant of Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco, as belied by the USDA-AMA published “concerns” and the sales graph of such Tobacco cigarettes. With Coca we have the safest of natural stimulants known to kill no one – being suppressed and perverted for the sake of protecting the most dangerous – Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco that the U.N. WHO estimates shortened some 100 million lives during the last century. With the whole 1906 US Food and Drugs Act to Harrison Narcotics Tax Act legislative evolutionary process we have the cigarette-pharma racketeering agricultural mercantilism policies set into place during the time the U.S. was constructing the Panama Canal that would have facilitated Coca leaf’s trade to North Atlantic markets. This would be a far cry from Dr. Arnold Trebach’s Heroin Solution favorable look at the Harrison Narcotics Act, which somehow never address the entire USDA-AMA-APhA conspiracy to lock down drug markets. These early DPF conferences, paper compendiums and panels – with a cocaine panel an integral component, were great opportunities to spotlight this agricultural-pharma mercantilism.

Illustration: Me with Ethan Nadlemann at the 1992 DPF conference in photo published in an article Just Say Whoa in the December 18, 1996 Washington, D.C. City Paper.

“Okay Ethan when are the two of us going to the White House to brief the President on the hidden cost savings of legalizing Coca leaf.”

1993 started with tremendous drug policy reformist optimism, under the conception that the incoming U.S. President Bill Clinton would somehow be better than his Republican predecessor because Clinton was of a younger generation way more familiar with Marijuana (flawed for assuming that knowledge ruled rather than the good old boys’ clubs of an ancient regime); the DPF’s Trebach would write a letter stating that the DPF was going to expand its efforts. Yet despite being a “Drug” rather than a “Marijuana & Concentrated Drugs” Policy Foundation, the DPF would narrow the window of its mission of public education subsequently- essentially narrowing its focus mainly to the available contraband substances. Hence this would include coverage of Marijuana and of the various concentrated drugs taken in concentrated doses, framed within some concept other than the basic drug, aka a mode of administration or geographic region. But this meant ignoring the basic drug (and drug taking- modes of administration, forms etc- all really crucial to any legitimate discussion about drug use and abuse), along with the broader contexts- e.g. comparative policies. (e.g imagine applying a methadone model to nicotine maintenance- as a medical job creation program). Hence, despite the increasing amount of lip service to the idea of “harm reduction” – of which a switch from concentrated modes of cocaine to coca products would definitely include – and even despite the fact that hysteria regarding cocaine spurred its creation, the DPF began turning away from discussing cocaine directly, including by deleting the regularly held cocaine panel.


Smart Drugs: Fact or Fiction?; Free Market vs. The Public Health Model; Strategies for Drug Harm Reduction; Disease in the Addict Community; Practicalities of Pre-trial Release; How Should Marijuana Be Made Available as Medicine?; Community Policing: Tool of the War on Drugs?; Substance Abusing Women: An International Perspective; Methadone Maintenance in an Age of HIV and Tuberculosis; Ethical Issues in Drug Cases; Rhetoric of the Drug War; Addictophobia: Impediment to Drug Policy Reform; Latin American Perspective; AIDS and Needle Exchange; Federal Sentencing; Drug Policy, Human Rights and Democracy; Syringe Exchange: What Does Power Have to DO With It?; Meet the Author: A Discussion With Lester Grinspoon, M.D.; Matching in Psychotherapy: Optimizing Treatment Approach and Therapist Mix; Forfeiture; Plenary Can Clinton Make A Difference?; Plenary Women Caught in the Crossfire; Taking A Measure of Drug Policy Reform; Conflicting Visions of Drug Policy Reform; Positive Perspectives on Marijuana; Perinatal Addiction: Not an Issue for Virgins; Investing in Children and Youth: Reconstructing our Inner Cities; Dutch Drug Policy: Past, Present, and Future; From Drug Policy to Pharmaceutical Development: Schedule I Controlled Substances for Therapeutic Application; Adolescent Treatment; Perinatal Addiction: Not an Issue for Virgins;

The DPF held a cocaine panel in 1994 – WHO report --- and held my COCA 95- A Necessary Drug Policy Alternative From Abroad. And it has occasionally infrequently spotlighted other highly useful plant commodities long ago steamrolled over into ‘schedule 1 controlled substances with no accepted safety nor efficacy’- sanitizing bullshit as “law”- namely Ibogaine.

Yet it has since declined holding any more coca panels*. (*a sole exception was the year 2000 of what would be the final student paper presentation- handwritten at last moment into the conference schedule), nor any cocaine panels. It would likewise decline holding such proposed panels as (1994) Coca Turning Over A New Leaf For Reducing Health Care Costs (that had the support of its moderator Dr. Lester Grinspoon) and (1997) Tinctures of Opium, Wines of Coca, etc: Popular, Pre-prohibition Uses of Natural Plants Perverted by Drug Prohibition into today's "Hard" Drug Plague.

Alas, someone somewhere within the DFP-DPA has made a decision to ignore the idea of harm reduction to shifting markets from concentrated drugs back to the parent plants, reserving that term far more narrowly upon the substances as now know. So we get stuff as clean needles, safer crack pipes. The stuff now at the margins of society. But nothing about Opium or Coca products, regardless of their safety and efficacy, for we cannot hear about these side by side with ‘licit’ pharmaceuticals and agricultural. Topics as these, along with that of Mercantilism (Market Protectionism) is banned, hidden behind platitudes about racism sexism, and sugarcoated with such regarding human rights and democracy, along with Arnold Trebach’s intellectual sophistry of the 1914 HNC as “progressive”. Though we are discussing basically agricultural commodities – aka Cannabis, Coca, Opium, Coffee, tea and Tobacco, we must continue to speak of these in their respective existing categories – aka Coca is the source of illicit cocaine, while Coffee tea and tobacco are supermarket products containing minute amounts of caffeine or nicotine.

Likewise , we must thus ignore Opium and Coca, as well as ignore Ibogaine as much as we can get away with while maintaining the semblance of credibility of drug policy reform at the cutting edge rather than as a seriously paced agenda.

Indeed, for we are talking about multi trillion $ agricultural and pharmaceutical markets.

Numerous changes in the DPF conference focus since 1993, such as eliminating the regularly held cocaine panel and folding it as a sub topic within a ‘Latin America’ or ‘stimulants’ or ‘hard drugs taking’ panel, suggest this reinforce the idea of these drugs being so dangerous with proclamations of ‘safe injection rooms’ for the sake of something with a definite fear of educating people about the generally forgotten and infinitely safer parent plant substances, as such would threaten significant portions of existing markets in agriculture and pharma, with a hand upon the throttle of DPF-DPA policies. So, regardless of the political crackpot sloganeering of “change”, such is meant to be as incremental and limited as possible, including with drug policy reform organizations- particularly within the Beltway.

This year’s conference followed this overly restrictive approach – one effectively extending the battle against the drug war from something of a few years to a few decades or centuries, even as events overseas ran ahead- particularly this very year’s historic denunciation of the UN Single Narcotic control convention of 1961 by Bolivia under Evo Morales- with not even a single workshop on Coca?

I arrived at the conference on its opening night, during the Wednesday evening reception being held on the 2nd floor of the Bonaventure- a futuristic set of cylindrical glass towers joined together that opened in 1976 with sets of glass elevators akin to those seen in the movie the Towering Inferno that ascend-descend on the outside; indeed a horse was driven into one of these in a scene in the 1996 movie True Lies and is so noted by a plaque. …

The reception, held in the California Room, was packed with people, and lined along its edges with various exhibits by organizations routinely seen at these conference notably Students for sensible drug policy and Law enforcement against prohibition, plus others. Two booths that sick out in my memory are one featuring numerous posters with interesting quotes; the other the presentation of a book – title -- where I met its author who signed me a copy which he there sold me- “World War D”- The Case Against Prohibition; A roadmap to legalization by Jeffrey Dhywood”.

The Thursday morning plenary featured a speech by Ethan Nadelmann.

That was followed by several sets of smaller breakout panels, about 5 or 6 held simultaneously- and hence impossible to all attend. My initial comfort at the idea of simply viewing perhaps purchasing audio or video tapes of the breakout panels, was quickly dispelled by the lack of any visible videoing of these panels (and presumably no audio equipment) , to record these, beyond any that may have occurred amongst the audiences. This was a disturbing trend at these conferences which in years past had been audiotaped if not videotaped either by the DPF-DPA or an independent service such as Jim Turney’s Liberty Audio that did these during the 1990s and earlier, for both the plenaries and the breakouts (only the plenaries were videotaped for 2011). If it had been a budgetary issue, why was their no private service or at least a call by the DPA requesting volunteers amongst the conference goers- a number I spoke with would have been more than happy to have done so? Sad, considering the public education mission that so much would go unrecorded- as if that only the few hundred conference attendees should be able to see/hear these numerous workshops.

LINK- 2011 Conference Panels

The various presentations that I attended left me with these highlights:

… profits were bad … hmm what about coffee tobacco …
… calling them out that will piss them off to delay things another 5 years out of spite….

At a plenary we saw girl translator with a male speaker, telling us:

- get rid of the guns, as if operation fast and furious meant we should get rid of the 2nd amendment.

Perhaps the most useful panel was that on Psychedelics.

Colletta Youngers was there for her generally regularly held ‘Latin America’ related panel, and asked a few questions concerning Coca toward the end. Stuff as ‘Pushing the Envelope: Supervised Injection Facilities and Other Good Ideas’ simply reinforce the popular conception of cocaine as something to suppress (and ensure as a concentrated drug only) rather than a successful alternative to caffeine and nicotine- hence slowing AND limiting drug policy reform by preserving fear of such drugs all to the benefit of the status quo. The mass media has done that for decades for the general public- in the tradition of William Randolph Hearst. But how best to present such an idea not to the general public, but to drug policy reformists?

Showcasing such, came via the plenary speech by Ira Glasser.

.. liken our battle as one taking perhaps 300 years...

And the audience gave him a standing ovation!



DPF Conferences
DPF Biennial Report 1988-89
Underselling "Harm Reduction"
Ignoring Agricultural Mercantilism

Monday, December 26, 2011

Siobhon Reynolds RIP

Killed in plane crash


She was tireless. I often thought she was a bit too idealistic, or at least that she set her goals to high. She told me once that she wouldn’t consider her work done until the Supreme Court declared the Controlled Substances Act unconstitutional. She often frustrated efforts to build a coalition on the issue because she’d grown weary of medical organizations and academics who, while concerned about the issue, she thought were too cowardly to take a more aggressive stand.

Founded the Pain Relief Network.

By spotlighting the criminal prosecution of pain management physicians, she incurred the wrath of a criminal government.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Evil 'Christian Scientist' Monitor and Papist FOX UpSet at Shift Towards Safer Substance

belying the evil nature of organized religions

The use of alcohol and other potentially fatally toxic substances amongst high schol students and their increasing preference for Cannabis is being decried by such questionable entities as the 'Christian Scientist' Monitor and the notoriously pro Vatican FOX news network.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

5 Drugs Protected By MJ Prohibition

Reminders that the drug war is all about Criminal Mercantilism

Activist Post

5 popular but harmful drugs that can be replaced with marijuana

This article is dedicated to anyone that struggles with prescription drugs on this list because they are afraid of consuming a plant deemed illegal by the State.

Cannabis is simply the best natural remedy
to safely treat many ailments

The notion that any authority can determine what a sovereign human being can and cannot ingest into their own body is the very essence of control. Banning any substance from responsible adult consumption no matter how harmful should simply not be permitted in a free society.

However, certain substances are deemed so harmful by "experts" that they claim to adversely affect society as a whole and thus they're banned from the population. Of course, force of laws with guns and jails have never been able to eliminate their use throughout history. So, as a practical matter, banning any substance from society always tends to do more harm than good.

The utter failure that is the war on drugs seems to have ulterior motives besides protecting society, as evidenced by the countless harmful chemicals that are legal to consume. Marijuana is the most obvious example of a substance that remains illegal not because of health threats, or because it's a danger to society, but rather because its benefits threaten entire industries, especially Big Pharma.

If you need a fix to ease pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and a host of other ailments, then a legal drug dealer is happy to sell you a chemical concoction with endless side effects. Recent studies show huge spikes in psychiatric drug use, as well as addiction to prescription pain pills, yet they remain legal and doctors get incentives to push them.

In nearly every case, marijuana is a safer alternative and just as effective. When eaten or vaporized, cannabis has proven entirely beneficial as a natural alternative. Here are 5 popular but dangerous drugs that could, in most cases, be replaced by cannabis.

1. Painkillers: Vicodin, Demerol, Oxycontin, or Percodan are used to treat moderate or severe pain. They're all highly addictive and come with side effects that vary widely from stomach problems, dizziness, depression, pain and spasms, to even death. Marijuana is a proven pain reliever that takes the edge off even the most severe pain. It is not physically addictive, has very few side effects by comparison, and has never caused a single death in 5000 years of recorded use.

2. Tranquilizers: Valium, Xanax, and Ambien are examples of popular anti-anxiety drugs. All Americans will likely know someone close to them who are dependent on these drugs to cope with daily life. The side effects are similar to anti-depressants and painkillers; stomach and liver problems, depression or suicidal thoughts, dizziness and confusion, etc. Marijuana is an excellent substitute for these temporary anxiety relievers, again with far fewer negative effects.

3. Alcohol: Alcohol is the most commonly used and accepted substance for self-regulated stress relief. It's used by countless Americans to take the edge off a long work day, and also by many soldiers seeking to relieve Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Alcohol is highly addictive and causes many long-term problems like high blood pressure and liver failure. Marijuana has proven to be far safer and more effective in reducing stress, especially among PTSD sufferers.

4. Anti-depressants: Prozac, Zoloft, Elavil, or Paxil are popular anti-depressants that a huge portion of the population are now dependent on. Side effects like nausea and sexual dysfunction are common, while suicidal tendencies are also increased tremendously, which seems to negate their very purpose. These selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) reduce the body's ability to produce natural serotonin and can be difficult for people to find a healthy balance once they rid the drug from their system. Marijuana, although a temporary anti-depressant, is far less dangerous and may result in instant happiness bordering on silliness.

5. Aspirin and Tylenol: These commonly-used over-the-counter drugs for minor aches and pains cause stomach problems like ulcers, liver damage, and even death. That's right, Tylenol causes about 450 deaths a year and Aspirin causes a whopping 13,000 deaths per year from sudden bleeding. Many natural alternatives can be used for the symptoms that these drugs ease, and marijuana is just one of the safer options -- with none of the damaging side effects.

As you can see, marijuana, which can be easily grown in nearly every climate, is a huge threat to these billion-dollar-a-year drugs. And this list represents a tiny fraction of the harmful pharmaceuticals that can be replaced by cannabis. To claim that cannabis is more dangerous than any of these popular legal substances is blatantly false, thus there's no reason for its prohibition other than the threat of competition to Big Pharma.

Thankfully, you're not a criminal in over a dozen states if you use marijuana in place of them. And surely, it's only a matter of time before it's obvious to everyone that marijuana users should not be labeled criminals no matter what they use it for.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ira Glasser Sells 300 Year Agenda

At the DPA conference in LA, CA, in a speech given yesterday.

Got the audience to give him a standing ovation to his speech telling us that the task will take perhaps 300 years as did the campaign to end slavery- successfully conning audience from the fact that alcohol prohibition took only 13 or so years.

Such can be expected from a man taking Tobacco industry funds and slowing the pace of drug policy- particularly by neglecting the Coca issue, and the broader issue of plant drugs and basic freedom of medicine and diet ...

speech excerpt-

A young man approached me this morning while I was standing around looking for coffee and said, “You know, I’m really feeling good about this. Ethan said yesterday that we were close to victory. The thing is I’ve come to four straight conferences which is 8 years and I’m getting on.” Maybe he was 32, maybe. It’s hard to say that to me these days.

He said, “When are we going to win? He said that last conference too. He said that the last conference before. Everybody says it. But, when are we going to win?!”

I asked him how much time he had. I told him it was more time than I had.

Three other people after that came up and asked me the same question, one of them was 78-years-old and wanted to know if we were going to legalize marijuana before he died. I actually get that question all the time and I think it’s a question that troubles us because we have to take seriously what we say to each other about the inevitability of our winning this fight but we have to learn how to deal with the skepticism of our own experience and our own mortality and our own limited time.

So, let me answer this question in a different way because I think we all make the mistake, we all make the mistake of measuring progress by the brevity of our own lives.

Movements don’t work that way. They work off the energy and the passion and the intelligence and the commitment that you heard from the previous speakers. They work off what you do every day in small ways where you cannot measure the impact of that is. But they cannot work in terms of running a train and getting their on schedule.

Movements don’t work that way. Social justice doesn’t work that way. Consider racial justice. Consider the history of racial justice in this country. You know when it began? You know when the movement for racial justice began? The first day that the first slave was brought here.

It took one hundred and fifty years more before there was an actual abolitionist movement in the middle of the 19th century. And a white Unitarian minister named Theodore Parker, an abolitionist in 1853. gave a sermon you may recognize what he said in which he talked about ending slavery which seemed remote in1853 and he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”

And then he also said, “My eyes are not good enough to see the end of that arc but I know that it’s there.”

Four years later Dred Scott challenged the constitutionality of slavery. And in the only case in the history of this country, where the United States Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of slavery, it upheld it. And it upheld it brutality.

Chief Justice Roger Taney said that blacks were insubordinate and inferior beings and that blacks had no rights and would never have any rights that the white man was bound to respect. This is the Supreme Court in 1857.

Four years later, well, before 4 years later there was Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionists, and he greeted that decision by saying the Supreme Court is not the last word on this. And as unwelcome and horrible as this decision is we should greet it cheerfully.

Can you imagine?! We should greet it cheerfully because it may well be one step along the way to the abolition to the entire slave system. And four years later the civil war broke out and in 1865 the 13th amendment was passed prohibiting and ending slavery in this country.

And everybody though, or a lot of people thought, that was a great victory. Some people who had made the fight were not around to see it anymore. Others exalted. But within four or five years of that, the black codes were passed, the Supreme Court undercut the 14th amendment, the politics changed, Jim Crow laws got institutionalized and we had another hundred years of racial subjugation.

Was it as bad as slavery? No. But next to slavery it was the worst system of racial subjugation you could imagine and it lasted for another hundred years until our contemporary civil rights movement started in the 1960s.

And that resulted in the deaths of many people. And in a struggle that didn’t seem possible to win. Then in 1964 the Civil Rights Act is passed which prohibits racial discrimination in public accommodations, hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, etc. In 1965 the Voting Rights Act is passed which prohibited discrimination in voting and in 1968 the Fair Housing Act is passed which prohibits racial discrimination in the rental/sale of homes.

By that time I was 30-years-old and ready to celebrate. Son of a bitch we actually knocked out Jim Crow and we substituted for it a legal infrastructure of civil rights enforcement. I thought – that didn’t take so long, we won! It wasn’t enforced. And then it turned out that just as Jim Crow laws had been a successive system of subjugation to slavery, two years after the trio of civil rights acts – Richard Nixon declared a War on Drugs. There weren’t any of us in the Civil Rights movement who thought that was going to be a successor movement to Jim Crow.

We didn’t know. Most civil rights groups and civil rights organizations didn’t even think it was an issue for them. But in 1968 there were only a couple hundred thousand people in prison in this country for all offenses and then one day, not too long ago, there were 2.4 million and you know what the numbers were. You know that that was a successor system of racial subjugation. You know that just as Jim Crow had succeeded slavery, the Drug War succeeded Jim Crow.

You know it. The victims know it. More and more people know it. So where was the victory and where was the movement? Now I’m talking 300 years and we ain’t through yet. Was it better in 1865 than it was in 1855? Yes. Was it still better in 1965 than in 1865? Certainly. Is it better now? In many, many ways.

The world in which my grandchildren are growing up is not the world that existed in 1965 racially. When I tell them that the ballplayers that they watch and root for weren’t allowed to play when I was there age they look at me like I’m crazy.

So, we can never make the mistake of diminishing or downplaying how much progress there has been. So, is it better? Yes, it’s better, Is it much better? Yes, it’s much better. Is it over? No.

So now we’re talking 300 hundred years. ...

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Do we want to end the drug war? Gather the best resources...

Advise to ...

- DENOUNCE the 1961 U.N. 'narcotics' treaty for banning Coca internationally.
- REPEAL the Controlled Substances Act
- AUDIT comprehensive analysis of costs of last century of pro-Tobacco anti Coca Mercantilism

- Have the Drug Policy Alliance substantially increase effort towards ending the criminal prohibition and suppression of NATURAL PLANT DRUGS, NOT JUST CANNABIS. BUT ALSO OPIUM, COCA, IBOGA....

A "Drug Policy" entity should not be wastefully redundant to the efforts of the 'MARIJUANA' specific organizations as NORML and MPP, and particularly neglectful to the very issue that spurred the predecessor Drug Policy Foundation in 1987- the hysteria regarding "cocaine" ( following the June 1986 fatal overdose of U of Maryland Boston Celtic's pick Len Bias, and the 'laws' prompted by the subsequent media hysteria).

A Better Way- My Suggestion For Covington & Burling

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

DPA Conference Starts Tonight

The Drug Policy Alliance Conference starts tonight with its opening reception today, Wednesday, November 2, 2011.

This is the second such DPA conference located in California- that in 2005, following that held by the DPA's previous incarnation, the Drug Policy Foundation, held in 1995*.

(* which included their last Coca specific panel "COCA 95- A Necessary Drug Policy Alternative From Abroad"- which they have since declined holding.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wiley Helped Exclude Whisky & Brandy from Pharmacopeia

Reported in The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, vol 22, issue 8 August 1915


Too late for editorial comment in this number of Clinical Medicine comes the news that the Committee of Revision of the United States Pharmacopeia has decided, by a vote of 26 to 24, to exclude whisky and brandy from the new edition of the Pharmacopeia, now nearly complete. It is said that this action is due largely to the work of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley.

We have very little respect for alcohol as a medicine, used in any form; we know there are better stimulants, and better sedatives. But—isn't it a "drug," after all? Isn't it used habitually as a "medicine" by thousands of clean, skilful, able physicians? If so, should it not be recognized as a drug, and proper standards of strength and purity, and suitable directions regarding adulterants be provided for the protection of the physician, the guidance of the pharmacist, and the welfare of the patient?

Just what the status of whisky and brandy will be, legally, especially as regards sales by the pharmacist, we are not yet prepared to say. There will be many expressions of opinion on this subject during the next few months, and they will be given a hearing later, in these pages. Perhaps this decision on the part of the Committee of Revision may help to drive home another nail in the coffin of old Ring Alcohol. Let us hope so.

Alcohol Killed Winehouse

So where's the great media outcry that happened after Len Bias' fatal cocaine overdose?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


25+ years ago

to suppress Diabetes

By Charles Burrows San Francisco Chronicle October 19, 1983

One of the world’s foremost authorities on the coca plant, the source of cocaine, unveiled findings yesterday that chewing the leaves may not damage health after all, and in fact probably helps prevent crippling diseases like diabetes.

The findings, made public during a lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, grew out of more than 14 years of research among Indians of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and other South American nations.

The researcher, Canadian anthropologist Roderick Burchard, said Coca may be the key ingredient that protects many Andean Indians from bad health associated with their heavy diet of potatoes and other carbohydrates.

He said the findings raise the possibility that cocaine could sometimes be good for health but that his study wasn’t designed to examine abuse of this plant in its various forms. Cocaine is one of the most potent of 14 alkaloids in the Coca plant.

In his continuing studies with rats, he noted, those on a high-carbohydrate diet that did receive the drug cocaine experienced a metabolism shift that left them leaner and healthier.

He warned that current efforts to eradicate coca growing could “bring on one of the major health crisis in the entire world.”

Burchard, a University of Manitoba professor on sabbatical at UC, said extensive medical tests on the Andean natives – the first such exams – showed that Coca slowed the transfer of carbohydrates into blood sugar and helped stabilize insulin flow.

Many Andean natives he said showed initial insulin responses that would indicate the presence of diabetes but were free of the disease because of the “buffering effect” of Coca.

“There’s no question that Coca regulates energy metabolism and glucose response and insulin response,” he said.

The research refutes assumptions cited as early as Sigmund Freud’s time that Coca chewers are malnourished mountain dwellers who use the plant as energy to compensate for lack of food, Burchard said.

“It’s commonly thought that Coca is only used at the high altitudes of he Andes, but that is not true. It’s used at all altitudes.”

Moreover, he said, Coca chewers, on the average, eat at least as well, if not better than non-chewers. He showed a photo of one 80 year old male Coca chewer who had a full head of black hair and skin and muscle tone akin to a 30 year old.

Men chewers also showed slightly less body fat and lipida, but women chewers showed more fat, he said.

Nearly 90 percent of Indians in Peru and Bolivia depend upon Coca as part of their diet, chewing an average of 35 to 40 grams a day. He said that amount would contain about a fifth to two fifths of a gram of cocaine, which is a considered a high dose for cocaine abusers by drug officials.

But a wad of Coca leaves in the mouth – called a Coca quid” is the prototype of an implanted time-release device,” Burchard said. He likened it to experimental drug implants designed to release small amounts over a long period.

Burchard said he completed his field tests in 1979 but was delayed in reaching his findings, partially because it took two years to get permission to import Coca leaves to Canada.

He’s now finishing a book tentatively titled “Coca As a Gift From God. It’s Our Medicine.” Burchard said the title came from the answer one Indian gave him when asked why he used Coca.”

Burchard said his field studies included the only comprehensive medical examinations and diet histories of Indian Coca chewers but were not received without risk.

Taking blood samples, for example, “almost got him and his colleagues all killed,” he said. “Our lives were within five minutes of being taken” by the Indians, who did not understand what was happening.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Obama Hinted At Treating MJ Like Heroin

and that he "learned not to care"...

In the book bearing his name "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," by mentioning the terms "junkie" and "pothead" in the same breath- Obama hints that he views them as the same or similarly.

"I had learned not to care," he wrote. "I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though. ..."

"Blow" is a street name for cocaine. "Smack" is slang for heroin.

"Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man," Obama wrote. "Except the highs hadn't been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind, something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory. I had discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room of some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. ... You might just be bored, or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection."
No shit that he "learned not to care". He not only speaks about heroin and Cannabis as if they were the same, he does so when stating that he did not use heroin, only cocaine on occasion, and Cannabis more frequently. How is using MJ and occasionally cocaine mean that one is destined to become a "junkie" - a term referring to heroin - unless one has "learned not to care" about truth?!

By so conflating and confusing the different drugs, "Obama" demonstrates what he here admits, that he learned "not to care".

It should be a textbook example of carefully chosen words- to suggest one thing, while really meaning something else - such as "change", suggesting that for something better, but in reality making no promise of something necessarily better.

Dana Beal Protests Covington & Burling

The law firm where Eric Holder worked just prior to becoming Obama Administration U.S. Attorney General

This protest was held in early 2009. One can see the protesters marching to the Covington & Burling building at 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, from Freedom Plaza (now the site of Occupy D.C.).

A Better Way- My Suggestion for C&B

Covington and Burling was founded in 1919, just a scant half decade after the enactment of the U.S. Harrison Narcotics Act effectively banning Opium and Coca.

I say let’s have a Covington and Burling do something here truly beneficial, starting with a suit to repeal the 1961-1988 United Nations international ‘Narcotics’ Control conventions.

Do it as - ahem - repentance for your decades of shielding the cigarette industry with its sweetheart exemption of labeling requirements.

Do its as excellent public policy, and for people’s health, ridding the ‘legal’ prosecutorial mafia cigarette protectionist scheme, given Virginia Bright Leaf’s deleterious effects versus the safest being Coca leaf, getting rid of this market protection for the substance that killed 100 million in the 1900s and 1 billion in the 2000s, against the safer substances. Insurance companies should logically see their self interest here for their benefit and everyone else- but those insisting upon this continuing drug protectionism.

Do it pro bono, advising the governments of Bolivia and Peru, and/or various unions of Coca growers plus any public health related organizations, for public relations to counter their longstanding involvement with the cigarette industry with its reckless misuse of Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco laced with numerous additives to promote consumption, which cause their own health problems, yet go unlabeled as part of the sweetheart deal exempting only cigarettes, alcoholic beverages and cosmetics from otherwise routine retail ingredient labeling. Remember that Coca was targeted by the USDA dedicated to protecting domestic agriculture.

Have Covington and Burling, initiate a suit against the United Nations International ‘Narcotics Control Board.

This requires an attorney with polished speaking skills. As apparent from the numerous legal events featuring her as a speaker, Covington and Burling has this with its insurance-food-pharmaceutical industry specialist attorney "assigned primary responsibility for advising the [drug policy] foundation".

I say send her before the U.N. INCB to speak eloquently against the current prohibitive status of Marijuana, Coca, Opium, Ibogaine and other substances, as a basic denial of human rights and public health as a perverse market protection benefiting the intrinsically most dangerous substance – Virginia Bright Leaf cigarettes, particularly those with the unlabeled burn accelerant additives – while perverting the infinitely safer Coca into the infinitely more dangerous concentrated forms of cocaine.

A Suggested Better Use for Our Covington and Burling Connection:

DPF Covington & Burling Legal Connection

DPF Advised by C&B Food & Drug & Insurance Attorney

Covington & Burling Food & Drug Practices

Coca Come Back

Thursday, October 27, 2011

USAG Holder’s Criminal Mercantilism Against MJ as an ex partner at C&B?

USAG Holder presides over a continuing and renewed inquisition against MJ, particularly within the State of California.

This serves not only entities as prison guard unions seeking even more overtime, but Big Pharm with its investments in such including pharmaceutical MJ derived products, such as GW Searle Pharmaceuticals, which has had legal representation with Washington D.C.’s best established corporate law firm- Covington & Burling, which is where Holder represented pharmaceutical interests as a partner just before his appointment as US AG by President Obama in 2009.

What inquiry has been done?

Could Holder be continually pushing the anti MJ inquisition due to a tendency of persons of his class to protect the interests of their clients?

Could he? We’ll accordingly to the book“The Super-Lawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firm” by Joseph C. Goulden Prologue; pp 13-14

“America’s governmental system is so constituted that some Washington Lawyers constantly violate the public interest, without violating public statutes. These lawyers pervert the Federal government for the financial benefit of private corporate clients. Through legalistic maneuvering, they helped their clients keep on the marketplace a host of consumer products- ranging from pharmaceuticals to pesticides and automobiles- which are gravely dangerous to the American citizen. Through what is euphemistically called “effective representation,” some of them wheedle billions of dollars of tax breaks and public subsidies from a pliant Congress and Federal bureaucracy.” When criticized for emasculating laws designed to protect the public, they lapse into well-rehearsed speeches about “everyone has a right to a lawyer, whether he’s a corporation or an indigent criminal defendant.” Agreed. But some Washington Layers frequently go beyond the advocate’s role in representing industries and become an extension of management. An example: Covington and Burling is among the more self-consciously dignified firms in town, one prideful of its sweet sense of probity. And two of its senior partners- H. Thomas Austern and Stanley Temko- are the legal technicians who have helped manufacturers keep on the market a vast variety of pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs for years after the food and Drug Administration challenged their value (See chapter 1, “Covington and Burling: The Pinnacle of Power.”) There are dropouts. Robert Wald, formerly Washington Lawyer for the Lorillard cigarette interests, quit in 1971 because of personal misgivings about the industry he represented. Wald told The Wall Street Journel’s Jonathon Kwitny: “I haven’t the slightest doubt that cigarettes cause lung cancer. I had to come home every night and face my kids saying, “Daddy, why do you work for a cigarette company?’”

Holder Law Firm Big With Big Tobacco

Holder Law Firm Advised the Drug Policy Foundation

Holder Law Firm Long Involved With Drug Policy

Holder Law Firm's Continuing Involvement With Drug Policy

Holder’s Law Firm Founder’s Romish-Masonic Fraternal Connection

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pro Bono Programs: Seen as Total Bullshit and/or Public Relations

From “The Super-Lawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firm”
by Joseph C. Goulden; chapter 10 “The New Washington Lawyers: Balancing the Scales”

Pp 356-361

When the big-firm recruiters toured the name law schools beginning in the late 1960s, they encountered a recurrent phenomenon. Ho-hum indifference. No one wanted to listen to them. “Interviews” turned into angry confrontations, with students haranguing dignified lawyers on “responsibilities to society” and “whorish corporate attorneys.” Who wants you money? The students asked. I want to do something more important in life them work for General Motors or United States Steel.

The recruiters were philosophical, if stunned. “We had no trouble in finding enough good people to fill the slots we had vacant,” a Covington and Burling partner told me. He paused. “But I must admit we did miss getting some people we wanted. You’d find someone with good grades and an outstanding law review record, but his attitude would be so fouled up you could get nowhere with him.” One result of this experience was a decision by the major Washington firms to expand and (in some cases) to publicize their pro bono programs. (Not every firm believes in pro bono work, by that or any other names. I asked a man formerly with Corcoran, Foley, Rowe and Youngman what public interest work this firm did when he was there. He thought a moment and replied, “Tommy Corcoran used to be nice to Lyndon Johnson.”)

Pushed by activist young associates, Arnold and Porter’s management committee decreed that as a matter of formal policy the firm would devote fifteen percent of its time to pro bono work. Arnold and Porter assigned a partner as full-time supervisor of the program, with authority to draw upon the full resources of the firm. One figure I saw listed Arnold and Porter’s pro bono outlay, in manpower and non-reimbursed expenses, at $500,000 for 1970. Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering computes that thirteen percent of the firm time went for public-interest/pro bono work during 1970. Mortimer Caplin, of Caplin and Drysdale, says his firm invested a “couple of thousand hours” for nonpaying or low-paying clients during writing of the Tax Reform Act of 1969.

Most of this work is done in the name of individual lawyers, not of the firm. There is a reason. “Any time an office has more than one lawyer in it, you have two opinions on a subject,” states a partner of Hogan and Hartson. A background sheet on Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering’s pro-bono program explains:

The firm’s 57 lawyers have individual and sometimes differencing views on public questions. It is our shared belief that individual lawyers with the form should be free, consistent with the Code of Professional Responsibility, to pursue their own independent and professional goals. Rather than attempting to achieve a unified “position” on any particular matter, the members of this firm encourage each individual to take whatever public position on issues of public concern he feels appropriate.

A sampling of Wilmer, Culer and Pickering cases: Contesting unreasonably high utility charges to the poor, especially in the South and Appalachia. Helping organize a nonprofit corporation to build low-income housing in Mississippi. Challenging early voter registration cutoff dates before Texas primary elections. Assisting the G.I. Office a center for servicemen complaining of military abuses, and the Vietnam Moratorium Committee and the New Mobilizations to End the War in Vietnam, the anti-war groups. Combating freeways planned to cut through a scenic park in Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans’s Vieux Carres. The firm can also mobilize manpower for an emergency: in April and May 1968, ninety percent of the lawyers in the firm helped represent persons arrested during the riots following the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King; later, a partner chaired a D.C. committee that revised police court, and jail procedure during situations that result in mass arrests. And Culter has been a guiding force in the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, virtually the only surviving white-dominated group pressing for desegregation.

Law activists deride the pro bono programs. One morning while awaiting an appointment at the George Washington Law School I talked with two guys at the coffee machine, and we got onto pro-bono. “Pure bullshit,” one of them said. “Public relations,” said the other. “You ever hear of them going after anybody with money, the big corporations?” Yes, as a matter of fact. Arnold and Porter is helping Nader in a suit to require General Motors to recall trucks whose wheels allegedly have the disquietening habit of breaking apart. Some Arnold and Porter clients protested vigorously that the firm would help the demon Nader do anything whatsoever, but the firm persevered. And Benny Kass, who practices all alone, without foundation money or visible sympathy for Washington Lawyers, told me “Unhappily, a measure of sincerity in 1970 is how much money you are paying for something. Covington and Burling had paid $100,000 on the Culebra case the last time I checked. Now that means something.”

But the pro bono programs have inherent defects. The large firms are limited in the type of actions they can bring, lest they are caught in a conflict-of-interest problems with existing clients. For instance, airline business is spread evenly across Washington Law. A Benny Kass was required to sue American Airlines for allegedly deceptive advertising. When student activists wanted to sue District of Columbia banks for alleged violations of usury laws, the big firms politely told them to go away; any firm with a D.C. bank for a client- or possibly any bank- would have a conflict of interest. There are anomalies. Louis Oberdorfer was national co-chairperson of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law at the same time that his firm Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, represented Crown-Zelerbach, which was being sued for employment discrimination under the Civil Rights Act. (The case ended with Crown-Zellerbach signing a consent decree.)

Even more serious a threat to pro bono work are the internal pressures from within a firm. When Richard Copaken began representing residents of Culebra he asked other public-interest lawyers for advice. “Get all the publicity you can,” he was told. One lawyer suggested that he demand equal TV time to counter Navy recruiting advertising- for each “John the Navy and see the world” spot, he should demand one saying, “Join the Navy and bomb the people of Culebra.” The lawyer told Copaken publicly was always vital on a public policy case being fought in the political forum of Congress. Copakan liked the idea, but told the other lawyer a few days later” “the firm wouldn’t let me do it. We represent a network, and such a suit might embarrass it.” Again, a Covington and Burling partner who formally held a high Department of Defense position subtly suggested that Copaken go easy on the suit. Copaken refused.”

Lawyers reflexive clubbiness is another inhibiting factor in pro bono work. In December 1971 the directors of the Washington branch of the American Civil Liberties Union were debating how much, if any, assistance the ACLU should give to attorney Phillip Hirschkop, who had been cited for contempt of court for his conduct of the defense of anti-war activists. The District of Columbia Bar Association, through its grievance committee, concurrently was initiating its own disciplinary proceedings. Hirschkop’s attorney, Monroe Freedman, wanted ACLU support in a court action enjoining the bar committee from acting. But two lawyers on the ACLU board argued against involving the ACLU in the case. One of them- David B. Isbell, of Covington and Burling- noted that Edmund L. Jones, a leading partner in Hogan and Hartson, another big firm, was chairman of the Grievance committee, and that any suit wold have to name him as a defendant. According to two persons at the meeting, Isbell noted that Hogan and Hartson handles fifteen to twenty cases a year for the ACLU, and that a suit against Jones could so “embarrass” the firm it would withdraw from further pro bono work. Isbel was outvoted. The ACLU decided to aid Hirschkop.

Covington & Burling – Drug Policy Foundation PRO BONO connection
Link FMD 3-31-08

Covington & Burling’s Unique International Practice: as “a prime mover in shaping foreign policy” 1947

From “The Super-Lawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firm”
by Joseph C. Goulden; chapter 1: “Covington & Burling: Pinnacle of Power” pp 42- 49

Illustrations: C&B and Iran

How this reportedly started:

One morning in 1947 the Iranian Ambassador to the United States telephoned John G. Laylin, a senior partner at Covington and Burling, and asked him to come to the embassy immediately. The matter was urgent, the Ambassador said, and he would be appreciative if Laylin would hurry. The firm had already done no work for Iran previously; curious about the summons, Laylin dropped whatever work he was doing and caught a cab. “When I got there and sat down, the Ambassador asked what I liked to drink,” Laylin recollects. “I told him that I was a Scotch man, but that I normally didn’t drink anything that early. After all, it was only ten in the morning. “The Ambassador smiled, “Mr. Laylin’ he said, ‘after what I am going to tell you, I think you are going to need a drink. I have just been authorized to hire you to get the Russians out of my country.” “’Mr. Ambassador,’ I said, ‘I think I would like to have a Scotch.’” And thus began a period of cold war diplomacy which variably made Covington and Burling an arm of the United States Department of State, orchestrating activities of friendly allied governments so they do not conflict with Washington’s foreign policy goals.

Covington and Burling’s international practice is unique in several respects. As do a score of other New York and Washington firms, it advises foreign governments and companies in routine commercial matters. But unlike the others, it is also a prime mover in shaping foreign policy- both of the United States and of its clients and Washington overlap.

In the case of Iran, Laylin says, “the Russians had overstayed their welcome” after the Second World War ended, and both the Iranians and Washington wanted them out. A formal treaty obligated the Soviets to withdraw by March 2, 1946, but they stalled, pressing for Iranian recognition of a pro-Soviet autonomous regime created in Azerbaijan, and for a joint Soviet-Iranian company to exploit oil resources in the north of the country. Because of a strong pro-Soviet element in its Parliament, the Iranian government did not have complete freedom of action, and Ambassador Hussein Ala maneuvered to persuade the United States to take the matter to the Security Council on its own initiative. Secretary of State James Byrnes was sympathetic, but replied Iran would be better received if it acted on its own. The visit to Laylin followed.

Laylin helped the Ambassador draft Iran’s case for presentation o the United Nations Security Council; after some months of haggling, the Soviets appeared to have won their two points and withdraw the troops. Whereupon the Iranian parliament repudiated the oil consortium agreement and sent troops into Azerbaijan to reestablish authority in the breakaway region. Summarizing his efforts, Laylin says, “This was the only time in the postwar period the Soviets were bargained out of anything.”

Dean Acheson had left Covington and Burling in 1941 to reenter government; from August 1945 to June 1947, when the firm was rebuilding its international practice, he served as Under Secretary of State, the department’s number-two position. Laylin, however, insists that Acheson “had absolutely nothing to do” with Covington and Burling representing Iran and Greece, two nations with whose affairs Acheson dealt intimately in his official capacity. “The Iran case came about this way,” he said. “Immediately after the war I handled a routine case for Saudi Arabia. An Arabist in the State Department apparently was impressed. Anyway, shortly thereafter, when Iran asked this man to recommend a United States lawyer for the Soviet problem, he listed three firms- Covington and Burling was among them- and told what I had done for Saudi Arabia. That’s why the [Iranian] Ambassador called me in. Right after we won the Iranian case in the United Nations, the Greek Ambassador said to me, “Congratulations! You ran the Russians out of Iran. Now you are going to run them out of Greece.’”

The Greek case, considerably more complicated, involved much closer liaison with former partner Acheson, and it is also a nigh-classic case of the overlaps between government and the quasi-public world of the Washington lawyer. Greece was near collapse in the winter of 1946-47 because of guerrilla activity, economic turmoil and inept government; Acheson writes in his memoirs that the situation there “deteriorated rapidly during January and February 1947” and that by late February “all signs pointed to an impending move by the Communists to take over the Country.”

On February 15, 1947, Covington and Burling formally consummated its agreement with the Greek government. P. Economous-Gouras, charge d’ affaires of the Greek embassy in Washington, spelled out the terms in a letter to Laylin and John Lord O’Brien, another senior partner in the international field:

You are to act as our sole legal advisors in the United States in all matters brought by Greece to the attention of the Security Council of the United Nations and all questions involved in the application of Greece for loans from the Export-Import Bank, and from the International Bank for Reconstructing and Development [the World Bank].

It is understood that you are not to be asked to undertake any work that may conflict in any way with the foreign policy of your government, and that you may reserve the right to withdraw at any time as our advisors if in your opinion any proposed course of conduct will conflict with the policy of your government.

You have stated it will not be satisfactory to answer isolated questions but that within the scope of your work you must be kept fully informed and consulted on all developments. Te embassy and our country will, of course, be free to follow your advice or not as we think best promotes the interests of Greece, but we fully understand and will respect your desire to withdraw as counsel in the event that your advice is not followed on any matter of importance.

Economou-Gouras agreed to pay Covington and Burling “in accordance with your customary scale of charges on a time basis,” and enclosed a $5,000 retainer. But the amount actually received by Covington and Burling for the case indicates Greece was not a normal commercial client. The fees for three years totaled only $52,263, a pittance for the amount of work done by the firm. The Iranians paid less than $50,000. Laylin, however, denies Covington and Burling got into the case on behalf of the State Department or any other Federal agency.

Three days later, on February 21, Secretary of State George C. Marshall directed Dean Acheson “to prepare the necessary steps for sending economic and military aid” to Greece; shortly thereafter, economically strapped Britain formally announced her intention to cease aid to Greece and Turkey within six weeks, and the chain of events which led to the establishment of the Marshall Plan was underway. Financially, Covington and Burling worked with state Department officials to lobby $400 million in economic and military aid through Congress, paying particular attention to Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg. Diplomatically, Laylin and O’Brien wrote speeches for the Greeks to present both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. The issue there, was support of guerrillas in Greece by Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria. “I never spoke for Greece in the debates, but I sat in the audience or right behind the delegates, and I offered my thoughts,” Laylin says. “It was ninety-nine percent legal work.” A Soviet veto killed a U.S. resolution in the Security Council asking for cessation of external aid to the guerrillas, but with Laylin’s guidance Greece managed to push the same document through the General Assembly.

According to the record of U.N. debates, the U.S. and Greek position were indistinguishable during the entire episode. Yet Laylin attempts to draw a clear distinction during the entire episode. Yet Laylin attempts to draw a clear distinction between representing a foreign government – “which we never do” – and advising a foreign government. “I would not go to the State Department and say I am speaking for the government of Greece,” Laylin says. “I say I am advising the Greeks, and that the Prime Minister, or Foreign Minister has asked me to say “this is the position of Greece.” When working for a foreign client, Laylin says, “I make clear that I am American, and I am not going to do anything against the high policy of my government; if it ever gets to the point, I’ll withdraw. But that does not mean I am reluctant about telling people in the State Department that something I am advocating is a good thing for my client and the United States, too.”

The distinction carries with it an independence that Laylin says he would not have if he acted as an agent of a foreign client. “If a lawyer is acting as the representative of a foreign government and instructions come from the home office—the foreign ministry, or the chief executive officer- he has to follow them. This holds also for the Ambassador. But I come back to them and say, ‘I don’t think this is so good, and I don’t think you should do it.’

‘Let me give you an example, concerning a country I’ll have to leave nameless. This country was a beneficiary of a considerable amount of United States financial aid. It fell down in a deal involving a shipment of grain and was sued for certain demurrage charges for the shipping, something relatively simple relating to slowness of the paperwork. The case was pretty clear-cut against the country. The foreign ministry wanted to plead sovereign immunity and get out of the suit. It was silly. At most, the country would save $300,000 or so. But in doing so it would jeopardize literally tens of millions of future aid, because the United States government would be most upset.

“The Ambassador did not have guts enough to tell the foreign minister he was doing a stupid thing. We can speak candidly, for the worst thing they can do, if the foreign minister is offended, is to fire us. We are not dependent upon any one client- but the Ambassador is.” The country followed Laylin’s advice and paid the claim.

Laylin and other firm partners frequently- but non-specifically- speak of Dean Acheson’s “attractiveness” in obtaining new clients. Acheson rejoined the firm on January 21, 1953, the day after leaving the office of Secretary of State. He registered as an agent of a foreign government in only one instance: in August 1959, to aid the Venezuelan government in its successful attempt to extradite the ousted dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez for trial for fiscal corruption. But as a private citizen, Acheson spoke with the authority of a former Secretary of State on issues involving foreign governments which Covington and Burling had represented. He argued to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 1970 against commercial strictures against South Africa, and he had friendly words for the junta government of Greece. And Acheson also did favors for Presidents. The public awareness of which is not harmful to a Washington Lawyer. President Kennedy used Acheson to pass word to the West German government he wanted a different German Ambassador in Washington, and the sooner the better, and to help through the NATO crisis precipitated by Charles de Gaulle’s withdrawal of France. President Johnson first utilized Acheson as an advisor on civil rights matters, and found him a faithful follower of his Vietnam policy. And President Nixon brought Acheson out of retirement in 1971 to help beat down an attempt by Senator Mike Mansfield to cut U.S. troop commitments to NATO.

Laylin is the Covington and Burling partner responsible for training new associates who intend to work in the international field. He looks for men with a background parallel to his own: an emphasis on political science, history, and government in undergraduate school, then a heavy load of international law courses. After his own graduation from Harvard Law, in 1928, Laylin interviewed at Sullivan and Cromwell, the big New York law firm. This was an era when one could make a serious case for the position that Sullivan and Cromwell outranked the State Department in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. Both John Foster and Allen Dulles came through that law firm, and Laylin says John Foster Dulles “arranged for an appointment for me to work with Dwight Murrow, who was then our Ambassador in Mexico City. I learned much there about how business is done with foreign nations. It was invaluable.” (Covington and Burling which avoids hiring lawyers from the government actually scouts the Foreign Service for bright people). After two years with Marrow, Laylin returned to Sullivan and Cromwell; although he yearned for an independent practice, some homework was in order. “Talk all you want to about being an ‘international lawyer,’ Laylin says, “first you’ve got to learn to be a good lawyer. I handled all sorts of small cases; the principles are pretty much the same- how to develop a factual situation; what is important to your case; where to draw the issue; how to argue it.”

Notably while stating that Covington & Burling had its start as an arm of the U.S. State Department owing to its hiring by the government of Iran, his book states on p 50 that:

“But Covington and Burling’s longest time client has been Pakistan, for which it has served as permanent solicitor around the world. “We have advised them from the beginning, when they first came into existence in 1947.” The first case involved a dispute with India over water rights in the Indus River basin. Laylin prepared a World Court brief, but India refused to accept the court’s jurisdiction,. And what followed is why Laylin thinks international law is a fascinating way to make a living. “In international law,” he told me, “you about have to create your own forum. If you have a really hot dispute, they certainly are not going to arbitrate.” So Laylin began searching for someone to whom he could argue Pakistan’s cause. He learned that India had asked the World Bank for financing of a dam on its side of the Indes- one which would enable it to halt the flow of water to Pakistan. “I persuaded the World Bank and its directors to adopt a policy under which they would not lend money for structures on international rivers before the parties had agreed on an equitable distribution of water,” Laylin said. India protested the regulation, for she knew exactly why it was being proposed, and by what lawyer. But India also needed the dam, so she agreed to negotiate the settlement of the Indus issue with Pakistan. To tighten the lid on his victory, Laylin also succeeded in persuading the International Law Commission, a UN group, to pass a declaration on the rights of riparian states to waters from international waters.

Laylin worked fourteen years on the Indus River, and very profitably. Pakistan paid legal fees ranging from as high as $125,000 per year during the period, according to foreign agent registration statements filed by Covington and Burling with the Justice Department. Also remunerative is a commercial and political intelligence operation Covington and Burling runs for the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. The firm periodically reports on “proposed legislation introduced in Congress and on matters raised with the Tariff Commission and with other agencies concerning imports in which the members of the Chamber and/or Federation [of Industries] may be interested.” In 1968 alone, Covington and Burling received $33,450 for its reports on tariff matters. But foreign representations carry with them the potential for nickel and dime cases a firm as august as Covington and Burling would normally shun- for instance, a lease dispute between Guinea and the New York World Fair Corporation, and a row between client Canada and Ghana over who was responsible for repairs to a nine-inch-tall brick fence and retaining wall separating their respective embassies.

And on p 53 it states:

“Actually, Laylin continued, Covington and Burling once had an even more intense internal dispute over representation of a nation at the other end of the political spectrum. “We were attorneys for Poland before it went Communist. On that occasion, we resigned at the insistence of one or two partners- not including Mr. Acheson, I might add. I was dead set against resigning. We were helping them prepare paperwork for an Export-Import Bank loan for construction of coal cars that would service all of Europe. The coal was badly needed, for this was the period of great economic stress, the years right after the war. The State Department was most upset by our decision, for Americans in Poland were having trouble obtaining counsel. I argued, but I lost, and we had to drop Poland.

Laylin was silent for a moment. “You know,” he finally continued, “some of these younger people don’t seem to understand the proper role of a lawyer. We are not here to save the worked, or to force our own ideas on someone else, but to represent clients.”

Poland went communist in 1947.

Not For All

From “The Super-Lawyers: The Small and Powerful World of the Great Washington Law Firm”
by Joseph C. Goulden; chapter 1: “Covington & Burling: Pinnacle of Power” pp 60-62

Not all men who come to Covington and Burling are willing to do what is necessary to be invited to “Jack Valenti’s theater downstairs” to accept a partnership. A young lawyer who was most unhappy when he resigned from Covington and Burling after a year’s work there, bit into his veal cutlet in a small Italian restaurant north of K Street and chewed reflectively a minute before giving me an opinion of his old firm. “Covington and Burling is the top law firm in the country in terms of legal expertise, no doubt about that,” he finally said. “You pay top dollar, but you get top work.

“Why is it good? Because it has made money, lots of it, by representing the big corporations, and therefore afford to hire the best legal minds available. It’s a tradition- don’t hire anyone who isn’t top notch. When you get people who know they can be very rich in a few year’s time, you don’t have to give even lip service to pro bono work, or the public interest. Money. If you don’t want to be rich, you can get out.”

This young lawyer was not naïve about Washington Law. He worked and lived in Europe before graduation, and he had spent time in Washington. He had heard all the law school stories about Covington and Burling being a corporate firm; he knew what it did, and for whom. Why, then, did he go into the firm?

“Fifteen thousand dollars a year is one reason,” he said. “But I had to see for myself whether it was as bad as I had ever heard. It was, even worse. The moral blindness. The idea that the only way to do business was to gut the regulatory agencies. The complete disdain for any interest other than that of the corporation clients. Look at Tommy Austern. Nine years he managed to keep the Geritol case going. [See chapter 5, “Ruling the Regulators: Just Who’s Doing What to Whom?”] Could anyone be proud of a stunt like that?”

Covington and Burling does not like to hear such comments from former Bright Young Men, even secondhand. “We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time during our job interview explaining that corporations have a right to legal representation,” a senior partner says. “I’m always getting questions like, Will I have to represent corporations? Or anything else who comes along?” One year the question was, “What, for example would Covington and Burling do if asked to represent Eichmann?” Covington and Burling now has the answers (although, for the record, no one asked the question was hired): A young associate took a court appointment to defend a member of the American Nazi Party in a criminal action. “The lawyer was Jewish too, and I think maybe he went out of his way to prove something to himself.” Another partner quotes with distaste Robert F. Kennedy’s angry private remark that Edward Bennett Williams, the noted Washington criminal attorney, should be disbarred because he let his client Jimmy Hoffa take the Fifth Amendment more then one hundred times before the Senate rackets committee. The Bill of Rights, this man says, is a very encompassing guarantee, and it protects corporations and individuals alike, and once you start waiving it for one party, you eventually waive it for all. “The public interest- what is it? Who can define it?” asks John Sapienza. He defines “public policy” as an act of Congress that has been upheld by the courts. “I don’t recognize the omnipotence of a Federal official, and I have no qualms whatsoever about challenging a new law in the courts. That is a part of our system.” And Sapienza went into a litany of corporate faith which I heard repeated so many times in Washington law offices that I could mouth he words along with the speakers: If the “public interest” suffers because of one-sided legal representation, the persons concerned with the public interest should find some lawyers of their own, either through the government or through private groups. Covington and Burling isn’t obligated to pull its punches just because it is facing push-over opposition. Don’t gripe at us if we win a drug case at the FDA- gripe at the FDA for not hiring better attorneys. Or at Congress for not providing enough money to hire them. Or at yourself for not being willing to pay the taxes to provide the money to hire the better attorneys. And so forth.

When public interest law became fashionable in Washington in the late 1960s, many firms rather ostentatiously announced formal programs of free or low fee work (See chapter 10), “The New Washington Lawyers, Balancing the Scales.”) Arnold and Porter, for instance, adopted a policy of committing ten percent of the firm’s time to notable causes. Covington and Burling said nothing, but watched with a good deal of detached amusement. “We have been doing this sort of thing in our own unorganized, un-obstructured, un-public way,” a senior partner states, “long before it became “the right thing to do” in Washington Law.” Two outsiders agree. Professor Monroe Freedman, of the George Washington University law facility, and a keen critical observer of Washington firms, states, “C&B has long done this kind of work and shunned the credit.” And the American Civil Liberties Union, which uses Covington and Burling as an informal legal labor pool, gave the firm a twenty five year award for meritorious service a few years back.

Covington partners stress that the firm does not demand public interest work on a collective basis, but simply lets a new man know he can do as much or as little as he wishes, so long as he earns his keep in office. “I’d never tell a kid what to do,” states Thomas Austern. “It’s not our business whether he plays a piano in a whorehouse or in a church.” Some examples: Early partner George Rublee bargained desperately with Joseph Goebbels in the late 1930s to ransom Jews from Nazi Germany. His then assistant, Austern remarks, “I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of weeks Rublee worked on this deal, because we don’t count things that way.” I could not even begin to tell you the number of weeks that Rublee worked on this deal, because we don’t count things that way.” Charles Horsky, as a member of the Maryland board of education, played a quiet but dominant role in desegregation of public schools in suburban Montgomery County. The fight against the Three Sisters Bridge which would destroy [?] a scenic Potomac landmark [which would have pointed at Jesuit Georgetown University]. A ruling that District of Columbia Courts would consider alcoholism a disease, not a crime. A $100,000, eighteen month fight to stop the U.S. Navy from selling the offshore Puerto Rican island of Culebra. “conscience work,” says one outside critic, “giving society a few cents change from all of the profits it makes.” Perhaps- perhaps not. “It’s a sad commentary on our society,” notes public interest lawyer Benny Kass, “but we judge a person’s sincerity today by how much money he is willing to give to a cause. On that criterion, Covington and Burling is damned sincere.”

Covington and Burling makes no pretense at rapport with all of its clients, and their policies. “Sometimes you really have to grit your teeth,” one man told me in a moment of rare candor about client-firm relations. I saw things I find personally repugnant. But I don’t suppose I’d tell all my clients if I practiced criminal law, or real estate law.” Saplenza insists that Covington and Burling does draw a line. “If a corporation is polluting a river, for instance, we’ll advise of its rights under the law, and how to go about complying with the law. But if some corporation cam in here and said outright, “To hell with the law, we’re not going to follow it, and we want you to fight the government as long as it takes we can,” we wouldn’t represent him.” Sapienza and his colleagues are really somewhat testy about what they feel are suggestions they really don’t give a damn what happens to the country. A broader view- that is what is needed, they say. A firm that pollutes might employ three hundred men whose families are dependent upon staying in business; the practices probably were legal when the factory began operation; management is sincere about obeying the statutes. The lawyer’s task is to find a mode of compliance that does not put the company out of business. And if doing so means haggling with the Federal government, and tough bargaining, so be it- that’s how Covington and Burling lawyers earn their living. “You’ve got to remember,” remarks partner Ernest Jennes, “that we are human beings and children as well as lawyers. Our wives and our children breathe the air, and so do we.”

Okay, Covington & Burling. How about a re-assigning of legal resources as already suggested here.