Mail Call!

Subject: No aid to Colombia
From: Richard McBride
As an American who lived in Colombia for many years, I am opposed to continued U.S. military aid for that country. Funds are diverted to politicians' personal bank accounts. Very little of any aid reaches areas where it is really needed.
The European Parliament has shown more sense than the American Congress. They have refused to provide more money to Colombia until that country shows more respect for human lives, and more responsibility in managing funds for the poor.
More than 300,000 upper class Colombians fled their homeland this year because they fear for their lives. They have cashed in a life of luxury for a secure one elsewhere. The collapse of society has overwhelmed Colombia's middle and upper classes, and they are leaving in droves. So far this year, more than 25,000 murders have been committed in a nation of less than 40 million people. You can have someone killed in Colombia for as little as one hundred thousand pesos ($50.00).
The wave of crime comes from all levels of Colombian society. In 1993 a Catholic priest led a group of criminals in a social- cleansing mission that left 35 dead in Yarumal. Their mission ended when a .38 caliber revolver was confiscated from the priest. The murderous mission was financed by local merchants. The priest's only penalty was a transfer out of Yarumal to a quiet church in Medellin where he still practices his vocation.
It is the American cocaine market that has contributed to the waste of human lives abroad. Most Colombians consider the American war on drugs nothing more than punishment on all the citizens of Colombia. It will never be won in the battlefield, and all it is doing is killing innocent people and leaving the guilty alive and wealthy.

I was given 22 months for going to trial on a drug conspiracy. The Government said they would give me 40 months if I gave them assistance with prosecuting my codefendant. I told my attorney I had nothing to help them with. That is when my attorney told me don't worry about not knowing anything because we will go downtown, and the agents will debrief you on what they want you to say.
I told my attorney that a man who is not guilty is a fool to take a plea, and the attorney told me that in this system even an innocent man is better to take a plea.
My family was not allowed to hear my trial because my attorney said he was going to call them to testify, but they were never called, and there was no defense presented.
I think your paper would help them understand and also let them know that my case is not an isolated case of injustice, and that it has gotten out of control.
Gary Hollis Jr., Prisoner of the Drug War

From: Brian Pogue
Subject: Loren Pogue
I was just surfing the Internet and ran into your piece concerning Loren Pogue, my uncle. Thank you for your time and dedication on this matter. We are still fighting the injustice that has been placed upon our family. One day we will win, and my uncle will have his freedom restored. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

I'm doing 14 years over pot that was never there. It will be my first Thanksgiving away from home. My wife is in the prison camp in Pekin; so there is a whole family at home tonight in grief. I feel for them all very much.
My son is sending you money for a subscription to your Razor Wire for me so I am taken care of. I am also sending you some stamps to help offset the cost of postage, as I am sure funds are in short supply. Could you send a copy to my loved ones? I am sure at least half will join up with you. I have convened several to join FAMM this way. I want you to know that I am very thankful for all you are doing. I will always be a member. I am one of the fortunate ones who can send the full amount per year. Thanks for being there for us.
Christopher Pike, Prisoner of the Drug War

From: Debbie
Subject: What can I do to help
I would be honored to be regional leader and more than willing to do whatever I can. I've been anxious to start some hands-on activism, but I either thought the problem insurmountable or just thought "What can I do?" I know that the time for complaining about it while sitting on the couch doing nothing is over for me. I accept your offer and am very excited to get started.
Please let me know what to do next; I am willing to do anything. I don't have a lot of money right now, but I do have a lot of time, and what's worse, I have a loved one in prison who I want home very badly. Thanks for contacting me.
(Note: Debbie is now our newest TNC Regional Leader, from Las Vegas, Nevada.)

I just became aware of your paper and would like to subscribe. I tried to get a fellow inmate who belongs to the November Coalition to allow me to read his, but he wouldn't-only because he already had about ten to twenty other inmates next in line. So I figured that it would be best to get my own subscription, and so here I am.
Andre' D. Carter, Prisoner of War in America

The words and actions of all of the individuals associated with The November Coalition, as well as the feelings of those who have contributed their sympathies, attentions, spirits and attitudes profess the expression of a vision now abiding in the hearts and minds of millions of people throughout the land. Everywhere you turn you will run into someone who harbors an image of the USA as a society in great distress. And that idea, what is seen, is no longer an obscure conception that can be ignored or denied.
War is not the kind of idea, condition or state of being under which the people of a civilized nation, by the will of its rulers alone, should be forced to live and be conditioned to accept as a permanent state of affairs.
Across the land, every day and night, the forces of the State have moved for the past 25 years, at a cost now estimated to reach 200 BILLION DOLLARS, hunting down fellow citizens, destroying and traumatizing the lives of millions of men, women, and children, confiscating their property, disregarding their rights to due process, and destroying in the course of these events the very compact which connects the state with its people.
America is adrift on a treacherous river, apparently unaware that around the bend awaits the fall. Where do you stand? You can't jump off, and you can't just sit there. What are you going to do?
Is it too much to ask that you at least open your eyes and see where we are headed?
Wrong and right in this matter are not difficult to see. The war in America, on American people, by the American Government is wrong.
Javier Enoc Herrera, Prisoner of the Drug War

From: Matt Schamer
Subject: Suzie's story
I stumbled unknowingly on this tragic story about Suzan. I think it is a disgusting display of government gone absolutely wild. The biggest question in my mind is why did the DEA have such an interest in nailing Suzan when the woman she was with admitted Suzan knew nothing of the smuggling? It makes no damn sense and makes me squirm with anxiety knowing this could happen to me or my wife, or other loved ones. What is being done to protest this? Is there a petition? Do the networks know this story? 20/20 and Dateline love to do stories like this, maybe if the word gets out, Suzan can be helped. I cannot live with an innocent woman getting 6 1/2 years in prison while the guilty party got only 6 months. It doesn't make any damn sense. Is there anything I can do to help?

Please send my son and his mother a free issue of the Razor Wire to better inform them of the terrible toll of the much too harsh mandatory minimums for drug law violations. Also it will let my 10-year-old know that he's not alone, and it's okay to have an incarcerated father he can still care for.
Robert William, Prisoner of the Drug War

I applaud your newsletter and the work you are doing. I am a prisoner of the war on drugs and am currently serving a 60-month sentence. Although I am indigent I hope you will accept these stamps and I will try and send more when possible; who knows, someday I may be able to be employed as a slave in UNICOR. Until then I will do what I can.
Micheal Huffman, Prisoner of the Drug War

Subject: Nov. Coalition
From: Debbie Goins
My mother has evidently corresponded with you frequently. She has shared much of the literature, etc. from the Nov. Coalition. As she has told you, my brother Larry is serving federal time 8 hours from here on conspiracy charges. Since he's been moved, we have not been able to go see him with his children. It is just too far, and I work, my kids and his are in school, etc.
I also participate in a prison ministry in Illinois. The women have mentioned your coalition. All who have volunteered information (which is most of them) have said that they are in for drug charges­­first-time, nonviolent offenders, some who are in because of the testimony of others, and some who plea bargained and testified against others because they were threatened with life in prison . . .you know the story.

I am a subscriber to your wonderful newspaper. To read your topics is like a breath of hope. I am currently serving a life sentence for conspiracy to sell crack-cocaine. It's very unbelievable to me since I only had nine ounces, and no violence. I'm a low level drug offender with no way out. So keep up the struggle. I have nothing but time on my hands.
Elliott Miller, Prisoner of the Drug War

Subject: Just a thought.
From: Nathan T. Stankowski
I agree with the importance of your struggle. I would like to offer a suggestion. As you know the drug war has caused more victims than just those thrown in prison. I have been toying with the idea of having a victim of the drug war campaign that is in the same vein as breast cancer and AIDS campaigns. Maybe handing out tan/hemp ribbons with information on how badly this war is hurting our country. I am interested in what you think.

Thanks very much for sending along the POW-D bracelet. Much appreciated. You can be sure that I will be corresponding with Mr. James Doherty. There's much work to be done to help bring these citizens home to their families and communities. NORML appreciates all the effort put forth by The November Coalition and you in achieving this goal.
Warm regards, Allen St. Pierre
NORML Foundation, Executive Director

Long sentences? Start with bringing back parole!
I had the misfortune of finding out that the district courts as well as appeals courts in the 4th circuit are in the rubber stamp business: DENIED! My feelings go out to those mentioned in your publication who probably at one time had a glimmer of hope with our judicial system of fairness, and a chance to use our Constitution for what our forefathers had meant it to be used for in the first place. There were four of us indicted to begin with; I was found guilty in the first trial, and the second trial produced an acquittal; the third & fourth co-defendants' case was dismissed by the same judge who conducted my trial.
I was least culpable and am now serving a 121-month sentence. The rubber stamp has already gotten me twice, and I am now on my way to the Supreme Court. What will happen? Probably a bigger rubber stamp.
Richard M. Patterson, Prisoner of the Drug War

I am in jail in Shreveport, Louisiana waiting to be sentenced. I was able to get a hold of a copy of The Razor Wire. I have never seen this paper; I never knew there were people who really cared. I'm looking at a minimum of 30 years on a nonviolent drug charge all because the guy that was with me got probation for fingering me, even though it was on his person. I'm giving you a few names of friends that I would love to get involved in fighting this lengthy, ridiculous drug war. Louisiana needs to get involved; our laws are unbelievably too harsh. When my husband is released in January, I'll get him to send a contribution also. Thanks.
Susan Hart, Prisoner of the Drug War

From: Certy
Subject: Friend in trouble
Someone I know (a very smart, personable young man) got himself into some big trouble. He was a 4.0 college student in NY and is now facing federal LSD conspiracy charges (a five- year mandatory sentence). He is refusing to "cooperate" because he believes ratting on someone is a larger moral crime than his own. This is his first brush with the law.

Not too much to say except I'm on my 4th term back to prison for a nonviolent possession with intent. Because this is my 4th drug possession for the feds I'm looking at mandatory life without parole. Is this crazy or what? What I need is a drug program, not a prison cell. I've got the disease of drug addiction. Does that deserve life without parole? I thought that was for murder, not a disease, but the guidelines say this is what I get. What has become of this country? Anyway, I have no money but would like to receive your paper.
Warren Boyd, Prisoner of the Drug War

From: Casey Bakken
Subject: Your organization
I would like to add my brother Mitch to the POW wall, and if possible, I would like to become a member and I would like information telling me what I can do about the war on the people. Please contact me via e-mail or my home phone regarding how I can lead a drug war vigil in my state. I feel compelled to try to change the corrupt "war on the people."