Virginia - More than a dozen activists staged a “die-in” outside the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) headquarters in Arlington, Va., Monday, demanding the agency allow patients with life-threatening conditions to legally access psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” to treat psychiatric disorders. Federal police arrested 17 protesters who were lying down in front of the building’s entrance and refused to leave until a representative from the agency met with them to discuss their demands. The DEA refused to send anyone out to speak with demonstrators, which included terminally ill cancer patients. Studies over the past several years have shown promise in using psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat disorders like depression and anxiety.
As students at the University of South Florida quietly sobbed during a moment of silence for George Floyd last summer, they had no idea their candlelight vigil, organized before a monument to an assassinated civil rights leader, had been infiltrated by federal agents. They were not aware that the campus police department charged with their protection had invited federal drug cops to dress in plain clothes and stand beside them as they took turns venting their anger and frustration—fear over the growing number of unarmed Black people being shot dead by police. The students weren’t the only ones being monitored. At least 51 times last summer, drug enforcement agents were asked to surveil Americans engaged in First Amendment activities stemming from the backlash over Floyd’s murder.
Nearly 200 pages of Drug Enforcement Administration contracts with producers were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. They show for the first time how the agency interacts with television and film productions. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is quite active in the entertainment industry. It exercises stringent control over how the agency is represented in documentaries, reality shows, and dramas. With several projects, the DEA carefully reviews their own files to pick out select cases that made them look good, which then form the basis for either fictional or factual productions.
By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. In this episode of Redacted Tonight, host Lee Camp tears Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos a new one. He explains the true “cost of convenience” when it comes to the online retailer behemoth. Amazon is quickly taking over our lives and homes. It may sound extreme, but now with their $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods, Amazon is leaping into the “IRL” sphere. The plan is most likely to induce more people to pay to become Prime members by offering deals on food. Amazon controls a huge amount of online sales traffic and now they’re getting into the food sphere, combine that with the reality that they have a $600 million contract with the CIA and that Bezos owns the Washington Post, and it’s certainly time to push back and try to divest. Next, Lee presents a new segment called, “What You Won’t Hear.” He delves into stories the mainstream media may cover, but definitely won’t give you the full story. He talks about the police officer’s acquittal in the Philando Castile murder trial, as well as a massive carbon-sucking machine in Switzerland. In the second half of the show, correspondent John F. O’Donnell joins Lee at the desk to break down a new report by the NGO, Save the Children, entitled, “The End of Childhood Index.” The international child’s rights organization did a comparative analysis of 172 countries to determine the best and worst countries to be a child. Where the US ranks will certainly surprise you. Finally, correspondent Naomi Karavani files a scathing report about the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Naomi delves into a botched drug operation the DEA embarked upon in Mexico. They recklessly shared confidential information that led directly to a massacre. A Propublica report, which largely went under the radar, spotlights the DEA’s role. Naomi also highlights an incident with the DEA in Honduras where they misled congress and the DOJ about fatal shootings.
By Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post - The Drug Enforcement Administration is reversing a widely criticized decision that would have banned the use of kratom, a plant that researchers say could help mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic. Citing the public outcry and a need to obtain more research, the DEA is withdrawing its notice of intent to ban the drug, according to a preliminary document that will be posted to the Federal Register Thursday.
By Jennifer Dzikowski for Heavy - The announcement came August 31 that the DEA planned to ban kratom in the United States as of September 30, causing panic and outrage to the thousands who use the leaves, which are closely related in makeup to the coffee plant. They’re specifically looking to outlaw the compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine found in in the herb.
By Kit O'Connell for Mint Press News - AUSTIN, Texas — The Drug Enforcement Administration appears set to schedule kratom, a plant used in traditional medicine in Southeast Asia that has gained popularity in the United States as a chronic pain management tool and a way to kick opiate addiction. On Aug. 31, the DEA announced the impending kratom ban, due to take effect on Sept. 30. At that time, kratom will join other “Schedule I” substances like heroin, cocaine and cannabis which the government deems both dangerous and lacking in medical use.
By Rob Kampia for The Huffington Post - In the wake of the DEA’s decision against rescheduling marijuana, the super-majority of the American people who support legalizing medical marijuana might properly wonder, “How bad is this news?” As the leader of the largest marijuana-policy-reform organization in the nation, my answer might surprise you: It barely mattered which way the DEA ruled. Back in 1970, Congress and President Nixon placed marijuana in Schedule I, along with LSD and heroin, defining these drugs as having no therapeutic value and a high potential for abuse.
By Tony Newman for Drug Policy Alliance - Today, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana's medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research. “Keeping marijuana in Schedule I shows that the DEA continues to ignore research, and places politics above science," said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In reality, marijuana should be descheduled and states should be allowed to set their own policies."
By Matt Ferner for The Huffington Post - The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should reclassified under federal law in “the first half of 2016,” the agency said in a letter to senators. DEA, responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to facilitate research into marijuana’s medical benefits, doesn’t indicate whether it will reclassify marijuana as less dangerous.
Facebook wants assurances from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it's not operating any more fake profile pages as part of ongoing investigations. Facebook's chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said in a letter Friday to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart that law enforcement agencies need to follow the same rules about being truthful on Facebook as civilian users. Those rules include a ban on lying about who you are. Sullivan's letter was in response to a New York woman's federal lawsuit claiming that a DEA agent created a fake online persona using her name and photographs stored on her cellphone. In court filings, Sondra Arquiett said her pictures were retrieved from her cellphone after she was arrested in July 2010 on drug charges and her cellphone seized.
The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration is refusing to support a bill backed by the Obama administration that would modify mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes, putting her at odds with her boss, Attorney General Holder. He hopes to make the bill, the “Smarter Sentencing Act” a centerpiece of his legacy. Sign the petition here. As DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart explained, “Having been in law enforcement as an agent for 33 years, [and] a Baltimore City police officer before that, I can tell you that for me and for the agents that work for DEA, mandatory minimums have been very important to our investigations. We depend on those as a way to ensure that the right sentences are going to the... level of violator we are going after.” Administrator Leonhart, appointed by Bush a Deputy Administrator of the DEA in 2004 and served as Acting Administrator of the DEA in 2007, was appointed by President Obama as Administrator in 2010 over the objections of many drug policy reformers. She has been at the DEA since 1980.
Over a three-day period in June 2007, heavily armed SWAT teams, supported by tanks and helicopters, descended on Detroit's Eight Mile Road. The massive operation involved police and agents from 21 different local, state and federal branches of law enforcement, and was intended to rid the notoriously crime-ridden area of drug houses, prostitutes and wanted fugitives.
The practice of recreating the investigative trail, highly criticized by former prosecutors and defence lawyers after Reuters reported it this week, is now under review by the Justice Department. Two high-profile Republicans have also raised questions about the procedure. A 350-word entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the U.S. tax agency to omit any reference to tips supplied by the DEA's Special Operations Division, especially from affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files. The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and was removed in early 2007.
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial.