This Week in History 7/16/04

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July 17, 1984: The Drug War and Cold War collide, as the Washington Times runs a story detailing DEA informant Barry Seal's successful infiltration of the Medellin cartel's operations in Panama. The story was leaked by Oliver North and shows the Nicaraguan Sandanistas' involvement in the drug trade. Ten days later, Carlos Lehder, Pablo Escobar, Jorge Ochoa, and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha are indicted by a Miami Federal grand jury based on evidence obtained by Seal. In February 1986, Seal is assassinated in Baton Rouge, LA, by gunmen hired by the cartel.

July 17, 1980: Financed by wealthy ranchers and drug lords under Roberto Suarez Gomez, the "Cocaine Generals" of the Bolivian "cocaine coup" seize power. Within months it is learned that Pierluigi Pagliai and Stefano Delle Chiaie were right-wing Propaganda Due (P-2) terrorists with suspected kills on three continents and Klaus Altmann was none other than fugitive Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyons. Barbie, who had sent hundreds of Jews to their deaths, had avoided prosecution when Americans in occupied Germany recruited him as an informer in 1947 and engineered his escape.

July 18, 1956: The Narcotics Control Act/Daniel Act is passed, establishing mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders.

July 20, 1995: The total number of marijuana arrests since 1965 passes the 10,000,000 mark, according to an estimate by NORML.

July 23, 1985: Bogota Superior Court Judge Tulio Manuel Castro Gil, who had indicted Pablo Escobar for the murder of Lara Bonilla, is assassinated as he climbs into a taxi. Throughout 1985, judicial harassment and intimidation becomes commonplace in Colombia.

July 24, 1967: The Beatles run an advertisement in a British newspaper calling for legalization of marijuana.

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Issue #346, 7/16/04 In the Wake of Blakely: Senate Committee Hearing Seeks Sentencing Fix, 2nd Circuit Seeks Quick Supreme Court Hearing | Bryan Epis Appeal On Hold Pending Supreme Court Raich Review | Movie Review: Maria Full of Grace | Nevada Secretary of State Says No to Three Ballot Initiatives, Including Marijuana Measure -- Sponsors Go to Court | MPP Pulls Out of Arkansas Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign -- Locals Vow to Continue Ballot Qualifying Effort | Newsbrief: Delaware General Assembly Calls for Repeal of Higher Education Act Anti-Drug Provision | Newsbrief: Fiji Marijuana Farmers Resist Police Raids | Newsbrief: Drug Czar Flack Barthwell Steps Down in Senate Bid | Newsbrief: Iran Allows Harm Reduction Efforts in Heroin Fight (Unofficially, Of Course) | Newsbrief: Hiring Freeze at Federal Bureau of Prisons, Layoffs Possible Next Year | Newsbrief: Another Pain Doctor Indicted -- Could Face Death Sentence | Newsbrief: 20th Anniversary of Law Raising Drinking Age to 21 | This Week in History | Media Scan: Reason on Kerry, Daily Camera on New Prohibition | Job Opportunity: Communications Assistant, Drug Policy Alliance, NYC | The Reformer's Calendar
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