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CONTENTS AUGUST 14, 2000

Click. SONY'S MAGIC CAMERAS

Click.  West Nile Virus Surveillance: More Questions Than Answers.

Click. The War On Some Drugs, Medical Marijuana, And Our Local Marin County DA, Paula Kamena.

Click.  FBI instructs Australian Intelligence on how to use Carnivore.

Click.  MIDSI SANCHEZ CASE UPDATE 8/24/00 Police check for links between Vallejo abductions.


Sony's Magic Cameras

By Dave McGowan ©  August 2000

http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/

The American media had a good laugh over a story that was briefly bandied about a couple of years ago. It seems that a certain manufacturer of consumer electronics had inadvertently released a batch of 'defective' video cameras to the public. These cameras had a most unusual feature: when used in a particular manner, they allowed the user to covertly film unsuspecting people sans clothing.
        The press chuckled over this for a few days, particularly when noting that a recall effort by the company had not resulted in the return of very many of the faulty cameras. This is likely because the cameras were not actually defective, at least not in the normal sense of the word. In fact, they performed the normal home video camera functions quite well.
        The problem was that they had an extra function. The company explained that this was due to a manufacturing defect - a bad batch of chips - and the story was quickly lost in the shuffle and forgotten. But beneath this seemingly inconsequential story of a company mishap lurked something far more sinister - a brief glimpse into Big Brother's toolbox.
        It can be safely concluded that these cameras were not by any stretch of the imagination 'defective.' They actually performed exactly as designed. The problem most likely was that a batch of cameras built for military and/or intelligence purposes found their way onto the consumer market. This obviously presented a bit of a problem for the company. They could not even admit that such technology exists, let alone that they were in the business of developing and manufacturing such devices. The solution? Blame it on a manufacturing defect.
        True to form, the media appeared not to notice the patently absurd nature of this pathetic attempt at a cover story. The truth is that the intelligence community has spent decades of research and enormous amounts of cash developing and refining this very type of surveillance technology, and these cameras were one of the end results of that research.
        The technology that gives these devices the ability to see through clothes is, needless to say, considerably more advanced than that which is found in your everyday home video camera. You just don't get from one to the other through a manufacturing 'flaw,' just as color television wasn't miraculously born when someone botched a batch of black-and-white picture tubes.
        In truth, virtually all consumer electronics - as well as non-consumer technology utilized by business and industry - begins life in the intelligence community, and only after it has outlived its usefulness there does it emerge in the public sphere, often as the newest consumer craze.
        The Polaroid camera is a classic example of this. Edwin Land, as has been reported, was a long time member of the intelligence community, where his area of expertise was electronic surveillance. Among other things, he played a key role on the U-2 spy plane project and presided over the Scientific Engineering Institute, a CIA front. (1) He is of course better known as the inventor of the famed camera.
        The Polaroid was actually invented long before its debut on store shelves. It should be readily apparent to readers that this breakthrough technology - at a time when no one knew of its existence - would have been of enormous value to the spy-trade, which is precisely why the spooks utilized it for an untold number of years before it was 'reinvented' as a consumer product.
        And so it goes with other high-tech innovations as well, including the nifty new through-the-clothes video cameras. This particular form of invasive technology has already begun to creep into the public sphere. Not long after the camera story aired, a local newscast carried a story about a new type of security system being trialed at a U.S. airport. In place of the standard metal detector that we have all come to know and love was what could best be described as an electronic strip-search machine.
        This device utilized what appeared to be the very same technology that made its debut in the 'defective' cameras. As travelers and guests passed through the scanner, the operator was viewing what was described as a very accurate representation of their nude forms. As would be expected, this innovation did not seem to be well received and the limited media coverage was promptly dropped.
        The surveillance of America, however, continues. Along with the through-the-clothes technology, we now also have through-the-wall surveillance capabilities. (2) And along with the ability to see through walls comes the ability to hear through walls as well. A device known as a laser-guided microphone can be pointed at any pane of glass, allowing the user to eavesdrop upon any conversation emanating from within a windowed structure.
        Though a creation of high technology, this device is actually based on a rather low-tech concept: a pane of glass acts as a speaker, of sorts, vibrating in response to the sound waves striking it from inside your home. Any flat, non-rigid, membrane-like surface in a building acts in much the same way.
        The drywall that covers the walls of your home, for instance, conducts sound as well. That is how sound travels through a wall. The sound waves strike the drywall on one side of the wall, which acts much like a microphone. Through the studs in the wall (the conduit or speaker wire, so to speak) the sound is transferred to the drywall on the other side, which through vibration then serves as the speaker.
        But enough with the physics lessons. The point is that any pane of glass in a building is a potential speaker. And with the use of  advanced military technology, it is possible to isolate and amplify the otherwise inaudible sound waves being broadcast from that window pane.
        This technology is rapidly being shared with ostensibly civilian law enforcement agencies, so that local law enforcement will soon be able to conduct what amounts to a drive-by search of your home - looking and listening in - without your consent or even your awareness, at any time they should so choose.
        Equally alarming is the proliferation of allegedly private firms, dubbed 'data warehouses,' whose sole function is the collection and cataloguing of data about American citizens. The Washington Post recently described how the warehouses function:
        "Twenty-four hours a day, Acxiom electronically gathers and sorts information about 196 million Americans. Credit card transactions and magazine subscriptions. Telephone numbers and real estate records. Car registrations and fishing licenses. Consumer surveys and demographic details." (3)
        Also readily available and fair game are medical records, financial and banking information, military records, marital records, and an array of other personal information. All of this information gathering is greatly facilitated by the technological advances that have been sold to the public as products and services that greatly benefit us as consumers.
        For example, the move towards a 'cashless' society has allowed an unprecedented amount of personal data to enter the information marketplace. While it is undoubtedly a convenience to purchase virtually any good or service with an ATM or credit card, it is also quite true that doing so leaves an electronic trail that can and will be followed.
        It is not just the types of products you are buying that is tracked, but where you are buying them as well. Your daily routines will, over time, show up in the ways in which you use electronic money. By databasing each transaction, your daily travels can be accurately constructed, as well as your shopping habits and various other aspects of your life.
        Another great boom to the information gatherers has been the widespread popularity of the internet. I hate to be the one to break the news, but the innovation that allows you to gather information also allows others to gather information about you.
        The internet was, long before Al Gore or anyone else 'invented' it, a military intelligence entity. It was designed, implemented and maintained by the intelligence community to fulfill its needs, not yours. And it continues to be an apparatus of the intelligence infrastructure today.
        As the Encyclopaedia Britannica tells it: "The Internet had its origin in a U.S. Department of Defense program called ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), established in 1969 to provide a secure and survivable communications network for organizations engaged in defense-related research ... at length the National Science Foundation (NSF), which had created a similar and parallel network called NSFNet, took over much of the TCP/IP technology from ARPANET and established a distributed network of networks capable of handling far greater traffic." (4)
        The encyclopedia also notes that, contrary to the current notion that no one controls the internet, "NSF continues to maintain the backbone of the network." The same encyclopedia describes the NSF as "an independent agency of the U.S. government," though what exactly an 'independent' agency of the U.S. government is receives no explanation.
        It is explained that the foundation was "inspired by advances in science and technology that occurred as a result of World War II; the NSF was established by the U.S. Congress in the National Science Foundation Act of 1950." What the NSF is, in other words, is one of a blizzard of intelligence fronts that were set up in the immediate aftermath of the forming of the CIA itself in 1947.
        Of course, just because the beloved internet was begun as an intelligence entity and is still administered by a government agency doesn't mean that it still functions as an intelligence tool. It is worth noting, however, that the company that was primarily responsible for repackaging the internet into a civilian entity, America Online, is perhaps the most thinly veiled intelligence front ever conceived.
        This can be easily verified by a visit to AOL's corporate website, where visitors learn - among other things - that the company is headquartered in Dulles, Virginia. Curious as to where this might be, I attempted to locate the city of Dulles on a couple of maps, to no avail. This, I learned, was because Dulles is actually an offshoot of Langley, Virginia.
        Langley is also rather difficult to locate on a map. For the uninitiated, this is because Langley, Virginia is the home of the Central Intelligence Agency. In fact, there isn't much else in Langley, Virginia, which exists almost exclusively to provide residence to the thousands of employees of the CIA's headquarters.
        And it is precisely there that you will find the home of AOL. Apparently recognizing the negative connotations of a Langley mailing address, the company essentially created a 'suburb' and named it Dulles. Dulles, by the way, is named in honor of the notorious Dulles siblings, Allen and John Foster, whose names were virtually synonymous with the U.S. intelligence infrastructure through both World Wars and much of the Cold War.
        Another fact about AOL that belies its true function is the composition of its Board of Directors. Here you will find such high-level military/intelligence assets as General Colin Powell and General Alexander Haig. All of which gives a whole new meaning to that all-seeing eye that comprises the company's logo.
        The ways in which we are encouraged to use the internet also belie an intelligence function. Perhaps the most popular use is for communicating via e-mail, which is rapidly replacing other modes of communication. Not coincidentally, e-mail communications are far easier to intercept than are correspondence by phone or letter, especially given that they are traveling on a network designed by spooks.
        Also increasingly popular is on-line shopping, which greatly facilitates the gathering of information about your shopping and spending habits. Yet more disturbing is the push for on-line banking, which is a great idea if you don't mind your banking transactions being added to your information profile. Not that your banker isn't already sharing that information anyway. (5)
        The filing of taxes online is being heavily promoted as well. Anyone who now figures their taxes with a program such as Turbotax knows that there will be a steady stream of prompts to file your tax return electronically. Probably the same result could be obtained by sending your return directly to Langley. Of course, belief in the notion that the IRS doesn't share your tax information with any other government agencies has always required a rather large leap of faith.
        Perhaps the most alarming use for which the internet is now being promoted is for on-line voting. Though this may sound like an enormous benefit, particularly for those who - due to age or physical infirmity - find it difficult to get to a polling booth, it also means that the notion of secret ballot elections could soon become a distant memory.
        There are other ways, as well, in which products hailed as a great boon to consumers are steadily eroding our privacy. These products invariably become ubiquitous virtually overnight, through heavy promotion and advertising coupled with rapidly falling prices. The most obvious example of this is cellular phones.
        Cell phones have, of course, tremendously benefited consumers - particularly those arrogant buffoons who feel the need to trumpet their self-importance by making obnoxious calls on elevators. Yet cell phones have a dark side as well: they function as tracking devices, allowing your movements to be precisely monitored. This capacity is an integral feature of the phone: the communications satellite must know where you are in order for you to send and receive your calls.
        As was reported in Rolling Stone, "In Japan, cell phones are used to track the precise whereabouts of their users (the software lets you punch in someone's phone number and gives back his location, even the floor he's on). A locational capacity is coming soon to American cell phones by order of the Federal Communications Commission." (6)
        Similarly, computerized navigational systems featured in new cars serve the same purpose. And again, this is an integral feature of the technology: the precise location of your vehicle must be known for the system to work. One report noted that: "Receivers for Global Positioning System satellites will become a feature in every new car's navigational system, perhaps allowing a system 'hacker' to track your whereabouts to a centimeter's accuracy." (7)
        It's not likely though that system hackers are what you need be concerned about. The spooks who launched and maintain the GPS satellites through intelligence fronts like ITT should be of some concern, however. As should the law enforcement agencies with whom this information will undoubtedly be shared.
        Even without the on-board navigational system, it will soon be possible to track any vehicle. One report has noted that "Vehicle Recognition Systems have been developed which can identify a car number plate then track the car around a city using a computerized geographic information system. Such systems are now commercially available." (8)
        As are facial recognition systems - powered by software "trained to measure spatial relationships among facial features and to convert that information into a mathematical map of the face." (9) "The revolution in urban surveillance will reach the next generation of control once reliable face recognition comes in. In fact, an American company Software and Systems has trialed a system in London which can scan crowds and match faces against a database of images held in a remote computer." (8)
        The database is already being built, by the way. The Washington Post has reported that "A small New Hampshire company that wants to build a national database of driver's license photographs received nearly $1.5 million in federal funds and technical assistance from the U.S. Secret Service last year." (10)
        The day is not far off when all of this technology will be combined to erode the last vestiges of privacy rights. As Marc Rottenberg - head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center - has noted: "People don't quite get it yet ... soon there will be computer files of facial images, and when you walk in (a building), your face will be instantly scanned by computer, so you'll be recognized by name." (6)
        Picture the day when every store you enter will capture your photo (as is already the case), access a photo database via a high-speed internet connection and identify you by name, Social Security number, etc.. This identification will then be fed into another database from an information warehouse, revealing all the details of your life. Instantly.
        Your shopping habits will be examined: do you normally shop in this type of store? If not, then what are you doing there? Your financial status will be examined: can you even afford to shop in this particular store? Your police record will be examined: remember that little shoplifting indiscretion in your youth?
        And of course - just to be on the safe side - you might be digitally strip-searched upon entering and leaving the store as well. If you arouse too much suspicion, you might even be tracked after leaving the facility: "All these devices can be linked together and allow police to spy in real time." (6) Then again, you could opt to just stay at home and do all your shopping via the internet. If so, remember to wave to the nice policeman conducting the drive-by search of your home.

1. Gordon Thomas Journey Into Madness, Bantam, 1989
2. Hans H. Chen "New X-Ray Vision Will Let Cops See Through Walls," Sightings, July 21, 1999
3. Robert O'Harrow, Jr. "Data Firms Getting Too Personal?", Washington Post, March 8, 1998
4. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online, www.britannica.com
5. Edmund Sanders "Many Banks Giving State Extensive Customer Data," Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1999
6. William Greider "The Cyberscare of '99," Rolling Stone #819, August 1999
7. "Big Brother Now Has An Inc. After It," San Jose Mercury News, July 1, 1996
8. Scientific and Technical Options Assessment "An Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control," September 1998
9. "The Digital Mugshot," Congressional Quarterly, Inc.
10. Robert O'Harrow, Jr. and Liz Leyden "U.S. Helped Fund Photo Database of Driver IDs," Washington Post, February 18, 1999
 
 


A ProMED-mail post
http://www.promedmail.org

Date: 13 Aug 2000 07:57:42 -0600
From: Charles H. Calisher <>

West Nile virus surveillance: More questions than answers.
---------------------------------------------------------
As I continue to follow the fascinating West Nile virus story, I find more questions than answers.

1. It is clear to me that the official reports we are receiving are meant to calm the masses as much as to provide information. It was reported (from Connecticut) that "The risk to humans is still low. Despite intensive mosquito trapping and testing, we have had only one pool of mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus, and that involved mosquitoes collected in Stamford on July 11". Ignoring the fact that either one or all of the mosquitoes in that pool could have had virus, the absence of a definition
of "intensive trapping", and no information as to how many pools have been tested, the basis for assessing low human risk is unclear to me. That 8 crows were shown to have been infected with West Nile virus (WNV) indicates that there are in the area at least some mosquitoes infected with WNV. There are many mosquitoes in Connecticut, perhaps billions (maybe trillions; has anyone ever tried to estimate the number of mosquitoes in Connecticut or anywhere else?; all that is ever done is "sample"). There is not and cannot be information on all the crows and other birds that have not been tested because they have not been found dead. Given that knowledge of the arthropod vector(s) of WNV in the New World is so poor, how can human risk be assessed with reasonable accuracy?

2. As might be expected, I disagree with the current acceptance of IgM antibody in a single cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or serum as being consistent with "confirmation". The Staten Island patient can serve as a case in point. The patient was ill, hadn't travelled, was fed upon by mosquitoes (who hasn't been?) before the spraying operations began (that statement undoubtedly being meant to reassure NY City residents that the patient's infection was not evidence of a failure of insecticide spraying), etc. We do not have any idea how long IgM antibody persists in CSF or serum of patients infected with WNV. I do not know about this particular patient (he probably -- probably -- had a recent WNV infection) but we will soon see people who have had strokes, Lyme disease, and other central nervous system problems, and unrecognized previous infections with WNV, diagnosed as current WNV infections based on single CSF or serum samples. The illness of this patient should more properly have been classified as "presumptive". The CDC web site quoted someone as having said that "The patient resides in an area where WNV-infected mosquitoes and birds have been found during
2000; no WNV activity was detected in this part of the city in 1999. The patient had not traveled for more than 50 years to areas where other flaviviruses had been endemic and had not left New York during the incubation period." If a single CSF and/or serum sample is adequate to make a confirmed serodiagnosis, then why is there a need to provide supportive epidemiologic evidence? Either the laboratory evidence is adequate to make a confirmed diagnosis or it is not. In this case, it is not. Antibody in
single samples such as these can be used only to make "presumptive" diagnoses. Acceptance of such data is more wishful thinking than it is good science. I emphasize, again, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the clinical diagnosis and add that it is impossible to make a clinical diagnosis of WNV infection. [Two more Staten Island residents have now "tested " positive, and the first case has been confirmed WNV-positive by CDC. The nature of the tests employed has not been disclosed. -Mod.CP]

3. Spokespeople in New Jersey have said from the beginning that the no doubt excellent mosquito control programs in that state will prevent an epidemic of WNV infections. I, for one, have no reason to believe this. WNV-infected birds (I cannot tell whether these were determined by detecting virus by PCR or virus isolation, or by detection of antibody) have been reported 54 times, from Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, and Union counties. Unless infected birds are flapping
their way from a NY City epicenter to New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and even to near the Canadian border, then there are WNV-infected mosquitoes in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York. The WNV-infected New Jersey cockatiel likely did not migrate there from New York City. Finding WNV-infected birds and holding to a thesis that WNV-infected mosquitoes do not occur or are rare in the area is rather like the ostrich approach. I prefer the Marshall McLuhan approach: "I wouldn't have seen it if I had not believed it."

4. The wide taxonomic range of birds already found to be infected with WNV and last year's experience at the Bronx Zoo, in which exotic and indigenous species died, indicates that this virus is a killer of New World and other species. That this has not been noted in the literature for epidemics and outbreaks in France, South Africa, Russia, Romania, Italy, or any of the other places WNV has been detected should not come as a surprise to anyone.

5. That wild birds are dying and sentinel chickens have not provided any evidence for the presence of WNV suggest to me that sentinel chickens are an inadequate surveillance tool and that we have insufficient information regarding the competence of indigenous arthropods to transmit WNV. [A single chicken has now tested positive for WNV in Westchester County, NYS. -Mod.CP]

6. We are seeing a great many more numerators than we are seeing denominators. I once heard of a man who drowned in a river that had a mean depth of 6 inches.

To summarize: WNV entered the U.S. a year ago, it has successfully overwintered, it replicates in a wide variety of mosquitoes and birds, it is pathogenic for humans and equids, and it has spread from New York City to at least Baltimore on the south as far as the Canadian border and Massachusetts to the north. It is possible that the slight delay in definitively identifying WNV in New York closed the narrow window of
opportunity to eradicate this virus before it became established. That no longer being an option, minimizing statements regarding "low risk", "just another arbovirus disease", "importance blown out of proportion", and so on are coming from people who do not grasp or will not face the potential severity of this situation. Anti-government sentiments and anti-government rhetoric, such as have appeared on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times recently regarding control of WNV and its arthropod vectors, are not helpful.

--
Charles H. Calisher, Ph.D.
Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory
Department of Microbiology
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
TEL: (970) 491-2987
FAX: (970) 491-8323
<>

[Six questions/comments from Dr. Calisher. A few constructive answers would
be helpful. -Mod.CP]
.....................................cp/ds


*##########################################################*
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AUSTRALIAN POLICE TO CHECK E-MAILS USING CARNIVORE
Australian spies could soon monitor people's e-mail using technology developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation

In a recent visit to Australia, FBI agents instructed local intelligence agencies on how to use the "Carnivore" monitoring system.

The FBI uses Carnivore to isolate e-mails to or from a person under investigation. The system taps into an Internet service provider's computers to target particular e-mails.

Australia already has laws allowing one of its intelligence organizations to monitor all communications by an individual under one warrant.

The FBI, which likens Carnivore to a traditional phone tap, says it uses the system only according to strict conditions. The FBI can install a Carnivore unit to capture only e-mail going to or from the target of investigation.

Source
The Sunday Telegraph, 06-AUG-2000, p.51.


 



The Coastal Post - August 2000

The War On Some Drugs, Medical Marijuana, And Our Local DA

By Carol Sterritt © 2000

George Stanton was a local small time drug dealer. Between you and me, that's probably not how he thought of himself. He probably thought of himself as someone with a disability, surviving on a tiny monthly Disability Check, and simply supplementing his needs with the occasional sale of a $2 or $10 baggie of smoke.

Now he had a conscience. Although he would readily admit to his pot use, his take on harder drugs was that they were dangerous. "I've seen a lot of Rolls Royces go up someone's nose," Stanton remarked about the common phenomenon of the mid-eighties here in Marin. He thought cocaine was bad, and that "rock" was worse. And he didn't in his wildest dreams imagine that he'd ever have anything to do with the world of coke.

But word got out in the streets that he was selling. It's possible that when he registered with the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, someone in Big Brother at the County level decided he'd be an easy mark. Starting in the fall of 1998, a man named "Jamil" came along and began hassling Stanton. Jamil was insistent that Stanton score some coke for him. Stanton was adamant at first. But as the months went on, and Jamil wised up to Stanton's situation, Stanton found it harder to "just say No!".

Jamil was canny. He approached Stanton at the tail end of the month, when the Disability Check had already been spent, at that exact point when there was more "month" than "money". Maybe you have never been in that situation, or if you have, more affluent family members can help you out. But Stanton was without such resources. And one day, when the idea of eating three times in a day rather than twice had its appeal, he thought, "Hey, so why not? If I don't get it for Jamil, someone else will" So for a deal involving three ounces of cocaine, and about eight to ten hours of planning and waiting, Stanton realized a tidy profit of several hundred dollars.

It had taken six months for Jamil to wear his target down.

Stanton thought that was the end of it. His plan was now to tell Jamil to butt out. He'd done Jamil the favor. He wasn't going to continue. But within twenty-four hours the cops were at Stanton's house. They tore the place apart. They didn't find any hard drugs. They did uncover his medical marijuana, roughly 300 grams of pot that Stanton had to ease the pain of a bad hip. The smoke was sitting out on his table, in full view of anyone walking in.

Luckily, Stanton was able to scarf up the funds needed for an attorney. This attorney immediately used the defense that Stanton's one time coke score was a simple case of entrapment. But nothing made the charge of marijuana possession go away. Here's where things get weird. Stanton thought that since he had membership in The Cannabis Club, and since he had a script for the marijuana use from his physician, that the marijuana charge would go away too. He had no previous felonies on his record. At the worst, he might have an electronic bracelet on his ankle.

But the court was not appeased. Since Stanton had not signed up with Health and Human Services, with a County of Marin ID card issued for his medical marijuana use, his pot charges stuck. He also found out that the electronic bracelet was only for those able to pay the cost of the program. He had few funds left and that option was out. Instead, the court issued him a sentence of four months in jail.

He was immediately thrown into a program called C Pod. This involved classes to attend every day. It was not just the regimentation or sleeping in an institution every night that bothered Stanton. What bothered him was that C Pod was little more than a school on snitching.

"They wanted names, and the more names the better." Every day while in a C Pod class, his basic assignment was supposed to be informing on others. Stanton resisted the program. He watched horrified as "counselors" let it be known that the more names an inmate provided, the better. With the County of Marin receiving $ 165 a day for everyone inside the C Pod program, and with the state handling the basic costs associated, it was a lucrative business. You're in jail, you help put someone else in jail, so much the better. It's not law and order as our Founding Fathers hoped to fashion. Instead it is a citizen ratting on their fellow citizen program, resembling some weird Soviet Union citizen spy network. You know, the foreign nightmare our tax money once went and built up national defenses against, when the enemy was Khrushchev and not the local District Attorney.

OOPS, did I just say "District Attorney" in the last sentence? Don't see how that happened. Obviously, if our government is spending upwards of $15 billion a year on The War on Some Drugs, then I should realize the enemy is you and I, and all our fellow citizens. Certainly not our District Attorney, Paula Kamena, law-enforcer. Which brings us to the question of how the current recall petition against DA Kamena could possibly have come about.

Two separate groups of citizens have connections to this recall. The first group includes Jean Taylor and Martin Silverman. Because of concern over more than a decade's worth of complaints of oppression and misruling by local judges, they took action. First they collected enough money to set up an independent overview of Marin County's Family Courts. They brought in a special investigator from New York State, one Ms. Karen Winner.

The resulting study concluded that strange things went on inside the Family Court System. In general, custody issues were resolved with the more affluent parent receiving custody. And those times that the less affluent parent did receive custody, a great deal of the resulting child care monies was siphoned off to "A" list therapists who were court-appointed to oversee the child's new lifestyle. A parent receiving $ 800 a month in child custody might have only a mere $ 150 of those monies left after going to court-ordered "therapy".

The worst offender in this system of injustice was Judge Dufficy. He has recently taken a leave of office. But DA Kamena certainly knew, or should have known, about the inherent corruption of the Family Court's bogus operating rules. And when the report was issued, her first response was not to question those judges, lawyers and therapists who were part of the alleged illegalities, but to investigate Martin Silverman himself. As of this writing, neither Jean Taylor nor Martin Silverman support any recall petitions, but do expect things to change through alternate means.

In addition to the Family Court issue, DA Kamena was making a bad reputation for herself through her handling of the medical marijuana issue. Medical marijuana is not simply an idea by which a few compassionate liberals began mucking up current drug laws. Rather it is an officially sanctioned, legally structured reality created when 58% of all voters in California approved Prop 215 back in 1997. Here in Marin, close to 80% of all voters approved of medical marijuana.

Lynnette Shaw, who heads the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, based in Fairfax, explains that DA Kamena "has gone out of her way to enforce the Federal ban on marijuana. Her guidelines, adopted in Sept. 1999, tell law enforcement agents to ignore our law, arrest patients, and kill all plants. Persons living with AIDS, cancer, seizures, chronic pain, and many other types of illness have been confronted with arrests confiscations and fear tactics."

Recently in a Bay Area District Federal Court, one Judge Breyer has ruled that because no one has provided him with evidence that any other substance outside of marijuana possesses marijuana's ability to reduce pain, reduce "wasting-syndrome", and ease other physical complaints, he is forced to rule that the Oakland Club for Compassionate Use of Marijuana does have the right to exist and to do so without threat of legal repercussions. No doubt this ruling will give the Fairfax Center some breathing room.

In the meantime, the petition for DA Kamena's recall is on the streets, asking for your signature. (If you are inclined to sign, call 415-256-9328.) Those being asked to sign fall into several groups. Currently many of America's finest young citizens believe themselves too hip, too cool and too attached to their own cynicism to be politically involved. Since a citizen must be registered to vote in order to sign a petition, these possible recall supporters remain ineffective dead weight. The second group that recall promoters working Fourth Street in San Rafael encounter daily are County employees. Perhaps rightly so, these employees feel that signing the recall petition could endanger their jobs. They also refer to the political processes going on within the Civic Center as being "unbelievably corrupt."

A third group are those who enthusiastically sign. They fall into all lifestyle and age groups. Many comment on how horrifying it is that sick people are thrown before the courts. Often they know someone in their own circle of family or friends who has experienced Marin County Gestapo tactics. They are appalled that Prop 215, and the will of the people that it represents, are treated so shabbily.

Meanwhile George Stanton's life has gone back to normal. Although he has been called into court several times after his release from jail, now that he has signed onto the Health and Human Services Medical Marijuana ID program, he believes he will be left alone. At his last court hearing, Judge Sutro blasted the County for violating Stanton's rights. It is now determined that Stanton has the right to 28 grams of medical marijuana, which he may have on his person or at his residence at all times.

By the way, if George's last name was Bush rather than Stanton, he would have experienced a much different outcome. Currently, forces within the state of Texas convince those in the know to keep their mouths shut. This makes it possible for "Cocaine" George to make a possibly successful run for the position of Commander-In-Chief of The War on Some Drugs, and President of our own USA. Has to make you wonder, doesn't it?

The name "George Stanton" is a pseudonym for a Marin County resident who spoke to this reporter. He insisted that I use his real name. I can think of too many reasons for giving his some anonymity. Wish it wasn't so.


 


Police check for links between two Vallejo abductions

The 39-year-old ex-convict suspected of abducting Midsi Sanchez has been charged with four sex offenses in addition to kidnapping, as Vallejo police yesterday tried to determine whether he is connected to last year's abduction of another Vallejo girl, Xiana Fairchild.

Curtis Dean Anderson was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping the 8-year-old girl after she made a dramatic escape from his car when he stopped briefly in an industrial neighborhood in Santa Clara. She was reunited with her family in Vallejo hours after she managed to get free.

Anderson is scheduled to be arraigned in Vallejo tomorrow. He has been been charged with kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault on a minor, rape and two counts of lewd acts with a minor.

Police declined to give any details but said that Midsi spent most, if not all, of the two days she was missing in Anderson's car.

Anderson was released from San Quentin in November, police said, although there appears to be conflicting information about when he left prison. He served a sentence for abducting a woman and taking her to Oregon in 1991. Xiana Fairchild was kidnapped in December, during a period when Anderson was shuttling back and forth between Vallejo and Santa Clara County. Xiana is still missing.

Although no evidence has initially surfaced connecting Anderson to the Xiana disappearance, police are combing through records and contacting his friends and associates in an effort to learn where he was and what he was doing during the past nine months.

``This was very close in proximity and time to Xiana's disappearance,'' said Lieutenant JoAnn West, a spokeswoman for the Vallejo Police Department. ``We know he has been in Vallejo intermittently since that time. . . . We also know that he worked at a cab company (in Vallejo) at that time. We are looking at that.''

On Saturday night and for most of yesterday, police searched two South Bay residences formerly used by Anderson, as well as the Vallejo residence of his mother. One of the South Bay residences is an inexpensive apartment on North 13th Street in Santa Clara that Anderson rented by the week until his eviction in February. The other is a modest 10-by-60-foot modular home on El Bosque Drive in San Jose. Neighbors said Anderson sporadically used the modular as a residence in the last month.

It was not clear what evidence police were seeking during the searches. Officers were not available for comment last night.

One of the angles being scrutinized by investigators is Anderson's relationship with Brian Keith Goodan, 37, an ex-convict who lived next door to Anderson until February, when Anderson was evicted after falling behind in his rent.

Goodan also formerly worked with Anderson at America Networking, a lost luggage delivery company located in Santa Clara.

Goodan was arrested Saturday after Santa Clara police searched Anderson's former residence for evidence relating to the Midsi Sanchez abduction. Goodan was charged with violating the terms of his parole and was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on Saturday evening. No details of the parole violations were released. He is tentatively scheduled to appear in court today.

A review of criminal history files shows that Goodan has been arrested on four occasions since 1995. He is a registered sex offender.

Contacted in jail yesterday, both Anderson and Goodan declined The Chronicle's request for interviews.

Midsi vanished Thursday while walking home from Highland Elementary School in Vallejo.

According to investigators, as searchers combed the Bay Area for clues to her whereabouts, the girl was apparently held captive in the back of Anderson's car, her legs shackled to prevent her escape.

The girl surfaced again Saturday morning after she managed to unlock her shackles while Anderson was out of the car. Midsi bolted from the vehicle and ran for help to a freight line truck driver who happened to be parked nearby.

Yesterday, she was back with her family at her home in Vallejo. Savoring an ice cream treat and dressed in a white Sunday School dress, the girl appeared intimidated by the mobs of reporters outside her modest home.

``I feel great and I think it happened this way because of the way she is -- friendly, outgoing and very smart,'' said her mother, Susana Velasco. ``I'm just happy she's back.''

Carl Tafua, 34, the Viking Freight Systems truck driver who rescued the girl, met with the media yesterday to give a dramatic reenactment of her escape.

Tafua said it was strictly accidental that he was even in the neighborhood where the girl made her getaway. ``I wasn't even supposed to work yesterday, but they called me in,'' he said.

Tafua said he was waiting to be dispatched for a delivery in his truck when Midsi dashed out of Anderson's car. He said she ran right to his truck, climbed the two steps to the door and climbed into his open window, yelling for help.

``She was all scared, saying she was kidnapped,'' he said during an impromptu press conference at the Viking freight office on Guadalupe Mines Road in Santa Clara.

``I saw her screaming,'' he said. ``She was waving her hands and said, `Help me, I have been kidnapped!' ''

Tafua said the girl had shown him a bruise on her ankle where she had been shackled inside Anderson's vehicle. The truck driver spotted Anderson pulling away hastily in his car, a 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza, and copied down his license number for police.

Following up on the lead, investigators arrested Anderson at 7:15 p.m. Saturday outside the El Bosque Drive residence.

Neighbors and associates described Anderson as a loner whose life had undergone a drastic change since his hip was crushed in a motorcycle accident late last year. Anderson was forced to undergo surgery for the injury and was temporarily confined to a wheelchair while recovering.

Robert Hallbauer, who supervised Anderson and his friend, Brian Goodan, at American Networking in Santa Clara, said Anderson had been a good employee until early this year, when he began showing up late for his graveyard shift job as a dispatcher.

After he was placed on probation for absenteeism, Anderson stopped showing up at the job at all, Hallbauer said. ``I know he had problems, but I didn't know what kind, and he wouldn't talk about it.''

A man who rented Anderson his $125-a-week apartment at 122 North 13th St. in Santa Clara, said the ex-convict started having trouble making his rent payments at about the same time.

The landlord, who would only give the name ``Sonny,'' said that Anderson had moved in last summer. Before he had his accident, Anderson was a model tenant, the landlord said. ``I never had a problem with him,'' he said. ``He always paid his weekly rent on time. . . . But after the accident, he deteriorated, not just physically but also mentally. He just kind of lost it.''

Anderson began drinking heavily with a girlfriend and was ultimately evicted for not paying his rent. Since then, he has apparently shuttled back and forth to Vallejo, living part of the time with his mother and part of the time in his car.

Vallejo police said Anderson had not cropped up as a potential suspect in the Xiana Fairchild case last year because the initial review of convicted felons in that case had focused on those convicted of sexual offenses. Anderson has never been convicted of a sex crime.

Chronicle researcher Kathleen Rhodes contributed to this report. E-mail Bill Wallace at [email protected] E-mail Elizabeth Bell at [email protected] E-mail Mark Martin at [email protected]