CONTENTS: September 3, 2000

Click. Britain to ban Ritalin for children under age 5.




Click. ARMS TRAFFICKING TO COLUMBIA INCREASES. How U.S. guns find their way to FARC.

Click. INSLAW UPDATE 9/2/00 "The imperfect spies." (Toronto Star.)


Arms row 'skeleton' set to rattle Tories
EXCLUSIVE BY YVONNE RIDLEY © 9/3/00 The Express, London

DOCUMENTS alleged to show the Tories accepted millions of pounds in donations from the company that illegally armed the West's biggest enemies are set to be destroyed this week.

The revelation comes as William Hague prepares to launch his Believing In Britain manifesto.

The true contents and damage potential of the documents are known to only a dozen senior Conservatives, including faceless civil servants who secretly continue to support their old Tory masters while working for New Labour.

The Sunday Express can reveal that the papers are accountancy files relating to Astra Holdings - which supplied weapons parts to Iran in 1988 in defiance of a Government embargo - and list details of offshore companies and trusts used to "rinse" millions of pounds of donations before they reached Tory coffers.

One senior Tory mole said: "This is a real smoking gun and probably one of the last skeletons to fall out of Margaret Thatcher's bone yard.

"Most of the party's donation records prior to 1992 were deliberately shredded immediately after the election.

"There's probably about 12 of us who are aware of exactly how damaging the contents of the Astra files are. It has been like a time bomb, ticking away, but now it's time for the chickens to come home to roost."

MI6 documents and other classified material obtained by The Sunday Express reveal that the scandal of the Arms To Iraq and Arms To Iran affairs continues to haunt the Tories.

On Tuesday, Roger Kaye QC, will lead the case for the Department of Trade and Industry requesting all documents relating to Astra Holdings and its subsidiaries be destroyed.

He will argue that storing the documents is expensive and is being met by the public purse and holds "no useful" purpose now the administration of the liquidation of Astra is complete.

Although there are tens of thousands of documents the "smoking gun" reference relates to four files from the accounts department at BMARC, an Astra subsidiary, where disgraced former Tory Minister Jonathan Aitken was a director.

Files shown to the Sunday Express reveal commission payments from arms deals were made to a number of foreign companies with overseas bank accounts and/or trust funds.

Mr Aitken refused to comment when contacted by the Sunday Express. Gerald James, former chairman of Astra Holdings, said he had never heard of the companies.

He is, however, determined that the Astra files be preserved. "If there is a smoking gun then I think it should be revealed. My life and my work has been destroyed by Thatcher's government. They used gagging orders known as public interest immunity certificates, to ruin my reputation."

Astra, which was infiltrated by MI6, collapsed after becoming deeply embroiled in the Aitken Arms To Iran scandal.

In 1988 Mr Aitken, then a backbench Tory MP, was a non-executive director of Astra.

In 1988 it bought BMARC, a Grantham company that had a deal to supply weapon parts which ended up in Iran. Separately, Astra's Belgian division was found to have a contract to supply propellant destined for Saddam Hussein's "supergun" in the Gulf War.

The Tory insider said: "It's quite feasible some Conservative donations originally came from the illegal arms deals. Until we really open up the whole funding set up, William Hague and the party will continue to suffer.

"We really have to exorcise the past and maybe then we can move onwards and upwards.

Lord McAlpine, Tory treasurer from 1975 until 1990, said: "I've no knowledge of this matter." But he agreed that overseas bank accounts had been established, adding: "There are foreign banks accounts which enable conservative associations all over the world to fund raise and donate money.

"But you'd have to be barking mad to think the Conservatives would accept donations from arms dealers."

The Tory Party has been embroiled in funding rows before. Bankrupt businessman Asil Nadir gave £440,000 from 1985 to 1990.

One accountant trying to recover cash for Nadir's creditors said he was thwarted by the Tories in his bids to get details of Nadir's political donations.

He was giving evidence at a 1995 libel action when it emerged all Tory party donation records were destroyed immediately after the 1992 election.DTI minister Kim Howells said last night: "I'll have to look again into the court application to destroy these papers."
© Express Newspapers, 2000

INSLAW update: The imperfect spies

The current scandal over a rigged computer program is just the latest evidence that Canada's intelligence agencies are vulnerable and sometimes laughable

By Allan Thompson and Valerie Lawton
Toronto Star Ottawa Bureau © 9/2/00

OTTAWA - SOME OF the bizarre allegations at the centre of the spy scandal being probed by the RCMP would be more at home in the pages of a John Le Carre novel or the shadowy netherworld of conspiracy theorists and spooks:

The RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) unwittingly using rigged software designed by two of our closest allies.


El Comercio 08/23/00

Arms Trafficking to Colombia Increases

Quito--In October of 1996 the Colombian Police captured, in hands of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), 18 rockets that had been built in the US and sold to the Ecuadoran Army in 1977. Arms trafficking is conducted by land and sea.

A great Ecuadoran military arsenal, according to reports from the Colombian Police and the Colombian Department Security (DAS), has been seized from the FARC.

Within these operations, which have had the direct participation of the Colombian Army, there have also been seizures, in the recent months, of a series of shipments from Ecuador that have included firearms, explosives, camouflage uniforms, communications equipment, and military equipment to supply the subversives, says the DAS.

General Luis Ernesto Gilbert, the National Director of the Colombian Police told El Comercio that the operations have been focused in the border region, especially in Ipiales and San Miguel, in the department of Putumayo, which has seen the circulation of a good part of the arms traffic from Ecuador since around 1992.

Particularly noteworthy for the police was the 1996 seizure of 18 M72-A2 66mm rockets of US make that were sold to the Ecuadoran Armed Forces at the end of the 1970s.

According to reports from the Colombian Judicial Police, the rockets found in secret caches (or clandestine rooms) belonging to the FARC are part of a shipment of 7,013 rockets that Ecuador acquired in 1977 from the US.

According to a DAS report to which El Comercio had access, the arms trade along the Colombian-Ecuadoran border has been going on since 1989.

These activities are well organized to the point that, a time ago, there was talk of a dynamite cartel that supplied its material to subversive groups at volumes that, between 1994 and 1996, climbed to between 12 and 15 tons entering Colombia per year.

Last 27 May, 2000, the DAS prevented 50,000 AKM rifles, M60 machine guns, anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets, R 15 and Galil rifles, grenade launchers, and anti-ballistic vests from entering Colombia. The arsenal was to be distributed in Colombia by a band of Israelis that, after a year of investigations, were in the end detained. It was discovered that they had contacts in Ecuador (a safe country from which to enter into Colombia), Nicaragua, Venezuela, Panama, and Peru.

The main ports of entry used by the traffickers are Guayaquil, by sea, and Quito, by land.

The weapons allegedly came from Central American, Brazil, and Israel.

From Guayaquil and Quito the merchandise moves on to Esmeraldas, Tulcan, and Lago Agrio before moving on to one of six Colombian cities: Tumaco, San Miguel, Orito, Puerto Asis, Ipiales, and Trocha.

Colombian intelligence sources have identified the maritime route that moves through the ports of Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, and San Lorenzo in Ecuador all the way to the coasts of Tumaco, Buenaventura, and Choco, on Colombian soil.

By land, the DAS indicated, the arms traffickers have endless main routes and inhospitable roads that are difficult to access and which have scant patrols by authorities in both Ecuador and Colombia.

Sedative drug ban for under-5s
By Gaby Hinsliff, © chief political correspondent
Sunday September 3, 2000

The use of Ritalin for pre-school children is to be banned, in effect, in Britain amid growing fears over the increasing use of drugs to treat hyperactivity.

The controversial calming drug treatment for disturbed and aggressive children has been regarded by many parents as a lifeline since it was first prescribed in Britain.

Its use has grown rapidly, with the number of prescriptions tripling in the 1990s. Now the National Health Service's 'best practice' watchdog is to issue guidelines advising caution on its use for very young children.

There are concerns that the use of the medication can mask emotional or other causes of troubled behaviour. Psychiatrists have warned that toddler tantrums, for example, may be confused with more serious disorders.

Ritalin, methylphenidate, was referred by Health Secretary Alan Milburn to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the independent watchdog which rules on the appropriate use of drugs.

It recommends that Ritalin should not be given to under-fives. Although older children may continue to receive it, there will be clearer definitions of the conditions for which it can be beneficial as part of a specialist treatment programme.

A recent study found prescription of stimulants to American children under four, suffering from conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), increased threefold between 1991 and 1995, with the trend still rising.

Gill Mead, of ADHD Support For Families, said parents of younger children would be 'disappointed' if they were refused medication. 'Most parents start coming to us when their children first enter social situations - nursery school. The touch-paper is ignited, the minute you put them into situations that trigger anxiety,' she said.

'Some parents are very anti-medication. I can recall a sad case of two headteachers with a son diagnosed with ADHD. They said,"We don't need medication and we don't need to pump our son full of drugs" - they came back to me and said they wished they had tried drug treatment because he is now up for GBH.'

Mead firmly believes that Ritalin works, 'not only for the child but for the parents, who are given enough of a breathing space from troubled behaviour to assist the family to maintain the love for that child'.

Ministers, manufacturers and patients have a few weeks to challenge the findings before they are officially released to doctors.


Heads Up A Weekly View from the Foothills of Appalachia September 3, 2000 #197

by: Doug Fiedor E-mail to:

Copyright © 2000 by Doug Fiedor, all rights reserved

Even while the United Nations was holding its so called "Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders" in New York City last week, they were unofficially condoning the persecution of Christians. The UN will not admit that, of course, but that is exactly how things worked out.

We can say that without grinning and adding "spin" to the subject, too. Because, exactly at the time the UN had communist approved Chinese religious officials standing in front of the Millennium World Peace Summit Religious meeting, saying there was no oppression in China, their commie partners in China were rounding up members of Protestant churches and taking them for what they call "re-education through labor."

They're catching these Protestants in groups of anywhere from 10 to 150 at a time. They caught a couple American citizens in one roundup, but word is that they let them go after a day or so. Most of the others will be given lengthy administrative sentences, which means detention and "re-education through labor." That is, they will be forced to work in a government labor camp.

The last time we wrote about that fiasco, a couple corporations who purchase a lot from communist China to resell to Americans took offense. We learned that some of these labor camps make products sold here -- goods that were given by American Christians to family members for Christmas. The corporate replies were that we went too far with that article. Not one corporation ever said it was not true, they only chastised us for bringing it up just before the Christmas shopping season.

Last week's report was about a mass arrest of Protestants in Henan province. So many were arrested, in fact, that even the central government became interested and sent people there to see what was going on. Meanwhile, Beijing's delegates to the UN religious summit in New York insisted that there is no religious repression in China.

The interesting point is, that story (and others) made quite a few major newspapers around the world. And, one would guess, at least a few of the people attending that UN meeting can read. Therefore, this goes to show that the UN is all show and no go. Or, they just don't care. Their song and dance about the civil rights of oppressed people must, then, be no more than cheap socialist propaganda.

After all, they had Beijing's religious delegates right there and nothing was said. And, it's not like this is something new in China. The Chinese communists have been persecuting Christians (and practitioners of most other faiths) for many years. Communists and socialists do not like religion. They treat it like everything else: That is, they only use it for the gain of the party.

Unfortunately, this may just be the beginning. The latest people arrested were part of a group called the China Evangelistic Fellowship. That fellowship has a membership of 500,000, which could staff quite a few labor camps. Ye Xiaowen, the communist director of China's Bureau of Religious Affairs, decreed that the China Evangelistic Fellowship is an "evil cult." Therefore, they are officially available for "re-education through labor" for any labor camp needing the workers. All bureaucrats need do is send the local police out to round some up.

The communist Chinese police really like arresting Christians for the labor camps, too. As is the case here, China has harsh forfeiture laws and police get to keep some of the arrestee's property and money when they send them off for "re-education through labor." However, unlike Waco, at least they don't shoot'em, gas'em and burn'em to death. The Chinese Christians get out of the prison camps eventually.

Anyway, with all the hoopla the third-world buffoons at the United Nations are spouting about protecting civil rights around the world, it seems like they could have at least publicly chastise these commie Chinese offenders while they had them there. But, they didn't.

So, we shall note this as yet another outward sign -- proof, as it were -- that we should never believe anything this group at the UN says.

These clowns want to run the world, but 90% of them cannot even run their own little dictatorships effectively. And, even when a massive, long running civil rights violation stares them in the face, they do nothing.

The Coastal Post - September 2000

The Drug War by the Numbers

Percentage of international drug shipments needed to be intercepted in order to reduce the trades profitability 75%. Percentage currently being intercepted 30%.

Cost of one kilo of raw opium in Pakistan $90. Sale price in the US $290,000.

Cost of achieving a one percent reduction in drug use via treatment programs $34 million. Cost to do so via programs in drug producing countries $783 million.

Percentage increase in federal spending on drug treatment, 1981-1997 +4.3%. Percentage increase in federal spending on overseas drug programs, 1981-1998 +6.5%.

Percentage increase in drug spending, criminal justice system, 1981-1997 +17.4%. Total cost of incarcerating drug law violators in 1998 $8.6 billion.

US counter-drug aid to Mexico, 1995 $10 million. U.S. counter-drug aid to Mexico, 1997 $78 million.

Acreage sprayed with herbicides each year by the Colombian government 100,000. Number of acres in Colombia dedicated to coca production in 1994 111,000. Number in 1998 195,000.

Percentage of U.S. 12th graders who reported marijuana as easy to obtain in 1985 85.5%. Percentage who did in 1995 89.6%

Sources: Drug War Facts, Common Sense for Drug Policy website (; U.S. Department of State; White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Marion Hixon's murder still unsolved Estate loses lawsuit over client disclosures

September 3, 2000

By MARY CALLAHAN © Press Democrat Staff Writer

The tangled web of legal and financial dealings left behind by Marion Hixon is still unraveling three years after she was gunned down outside her Santa Rosa office.

The most recent development is a state appeals court ruling that Hixon improperly tried to muzzle a whistle-blower client who reported her to federal securities regulators.

In a case being pursued by Hixon's estate, a former client was sued for disclosures that cost Hixon her job and her securities brokerage license in 1994.

The suit isn't related to the murder investigation, but police and others familiar with Hixon's past said it is just one example of the complex controversies she left behind -- a snarl that has made the investigation of her death a particular challenge.

Hixon was an attorney and financial planner and Loralyn Halferty was one of her clients. Halferty invested in Willow Tree Park, a real estate partnership that ultimately went bankrupt, costing 23 investors some $500,000.

Halferty grew concerned about the risk, and asked for her money back after she found out Hixon had a personal stake in the venture.

According to court records, Hixon agreed to return Halferty's money plus interest in return for a written promise that she would keep the terms confidential.

Halferty blew the whistle anyway, costing Hixon her job and her broker's license. Hixon also was fined $120,000 by the National Association of Securities Dealers, a penalty she was appealing at the time of her death.

Hixon sued Halferty but her arguments were rejected by a Sonoma County court commissioner in 1999 and, more recently, by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

In an Aug. 21 ruling, the court called the confidentiality clause "an instance of misconduct in itself."

Tom Cariveau, the trustee for Hixon's estate, said he pursued the $500,000 suit in hopes of obtaining enough cash to pay her creditors.

William Fritz, an attorney for Hixon's estate, said that "even though a person dies, I still have an obligation as an attorney to advocate on behalf of her estate."

He said he'll consider another appeal, though Cariveau said there isn't any money for attorney fees.

Hixon, 62, had few close friends and left behind a disorderly collection of thousands of business and legal files.

In her efforts to strike it rich, she freely intermingled her pursuits as investor, lawyer, developer and junior college teacher -- for example, advising students to invest in development projects from which she stood to gain, according to those who knew her.

The Halferty case was one of several legal actions in which she was involved when she was killed. Kind and compassionate on some occasions, contentious on others, Hixon had made enemies on many business deals.

When she was shot multiple times outside her Stony Point Road office March 2, 1997, police at first thought it might have been a professional hit, so meticulously planned and executed was the slaying.

Detectives now believe Hixon was probably killed because she threatened to expose alleged wrongdoing by an unidentified business associate -- someone she was involved with long after the events involving Halferty and Willow Creek Park, according to Santa Rosa Police Detective Steve Bair.

Despite assistance from the FBI, police have been on the brink of suspending the case for most of the past two years because they've been unable to unearth the evidence they need to arrest and convict the Marin County man they think is probably responsible.

They searched his office about two months after the slaying, seizing computers and files, but he has never agreed to be questioned.

Bair said last week that the case remains open and investigators still have a few more interviews they want to conduct.

But if the interviews aren't fruitful, Bair said the case will be suspended in the next several months.

"Of course," he added, "if something turns up and leads us in another direction, we'll be objective and we'll pursue that. But nothing has."

Cariveau, who agreed to serve as trustee on behalf of Hixon's elderly brother and sister in Southern California, said he hopes at some point to see a conviction.

He also hopes to file a wrongful death suit that might finally provide enough assets to settle Hixon's estate.

Otherwise, he said the Halferty case "was the last straw for us, because there's no more assets to be had."

You can reach Press Democrat Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or e-mail at .