Category: Drug War


Dookhan.Discovery 9.26.12 Police Report

The whole Dookhan case began with her illegally taking samples from the lab’s evidence safe without notifying the lab’s evidence officer.  Dookhan took 90 samples from Norfolk county and was testing them without authorization.  Chemists were not even allowed to be inside the evidence room without an evidence officer present let alone take samples.

Once this was discovered Dookhan was confronted and she denied that she did anything wrong.  Mysteriously the next day there was an entry in the evidence log book for the 90 samples with Dookhan’s initials and the initials of evidence officer Elizabeth O’Brien.  Dookhan went back and forged O’Brien’s initials in the book and thought no one would know.  Yet she was allowed to continue to work at the lab for another 9 months!

I’ve attached the 101 page police investigation into the Dookhan case.  I have read the entire thing.  That’s how sad my life is.  However reading this was not a complete waste of time.

The three most important pieces of information in the police report were:

  • Dookhan admitted to police that she intentionally turned negative drug test results to positive (I.E. A substance that was tested and came back as no drugs present was switched to having cocaine or heroin present by Dookhan)
  • Dookhan had a key to the evidence safe and full access to the labs computer database.  Enabling her to rig results in any case being tested in the lab.
  • Dookhan was reported to lab supervisors for forging other chemists initials on her testing forms.

The last one doesn’t seem like a major deal but forging someone’s initials on paperwork in the science world is a major issue.  It compromises all the data that you are testing and completely undermines your credibility.  I work in the Biotech field and have seen several people fired for doing that just once.  Dookhan did it several times and every incident was swept under the rug.

The facts brought up in the police report bring into question not only everything Dookhan did but also everything that came out of the Hinton lab as well.  The lab itself was unaccredited.  Meaning they had no standards for testing and their procedures on how to test drug evidence were not followed by lab staff. How can anything that came out of that lab be trusted?

Even more distrubing than what was uncovered in the Hinton Lab is what wasn’t asked.  The police asked very few, if any, questions about Dookhan’s relationship with members of the District Attorney’s office in Norfolk County.  After all Norfolk county is where every sample from the June 2011 sample breech came from.  Shouldn’t the police have been interested in why she was testing samples from Norfolk county and ONLY Norfolk county?

Apparently not.  However what they did look into was Dookhan’s productivity compared to other chemists.  A top performing chemist in the lab would do 125 samples per month.  Dookhan did over 500 every month.  According to several chemists those numbers were utterly impossible to achieve if she was properly performing those tests.

So the question remains, why would Dookhan do all this?  Why would she test so many samples and change negative results to positive?  Why would she be so interested in the samples for Norfolk County?  I will get to that in my next blog post but here is an email, obtained through a public records request, that sheds some light into why she did what she did…

DPH Investigation

This emails was sent as part of the DPH’s internal investigation into Dookhan after she was fired.  They talk about possible motive and include a number of emails she wrote to Norfolk County ADA George Papachristos.  They also say he had “A bunch of pictures of ADA Papachristos on her computer”.

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Piece Of Crap

That headline is something that the MA ACLU knows, WBUR knows, The Boston Globe knows, the MA Attorney General’s Office knows but no one, it seems, wants to come out and say.  It is something I have come to know over the past year with information coming like a slow trickle out of the MA Department of Public Health.

Dookhan was released from jail two months ago after serving two and a half years of a 3 – 5 year prison term for obstruction of justice and falsification of academic records (aka she lied on her CV and said she had a masters degree when she did not).  While she worked for the department of public health she considered herself part of the prosecution teams that she worked with.  Be it members of the police department or the ADAs from Norfolk County, Suffolk County or even Federal ADAs Dookhan was friends with them all and the feeling was mutual.

How do I know this?   She told the MA ADAs in email after email between where she excitedly cheers defendant’s convictions.  In her mind she was doing the right thing.  She was helping to put people away who ADAs referred to as “scumbags” and “pieces of garbage”. She was told these people posed a threat to society so what else was she supposed to do?  Would you or anyone else want to be responsible for letting a dangerous person out of jail?  One ADA told Dookhan and several other chemists working in the Hinton lab that she had “A personal vendetta” against a defendant.

You see Dookhan wasn’t just a lone chemist who rushed and made mistakes because she wanted to advance her career as the inspector general’s office has asserted.  She was also the ADA’s ace in the hole.  Because, as one Federal ADA put it “Whenever a chemist shows up to testify, the defense will take a plea 9 out of 10 times”.  Which must have pleased Dookhan to no end because she told them “I want defendants to plea or stipulate”.  How much more clear can this case be?

Dookhan wanted defendants to stipulate so she rigged their evidence until they did.  Because when the mandatory minimum for a drug conviction is 10 years and the ADA is offering 3 how could you not take it?  She hated driving to testify in cases that would plea out the minute she walked into the courtroom.  In court, chemist testimony carries a lot of weight and everyone knew it, especially Dookhan and the ADAs.

Dookhan was arrested for breaking chain of evidence custody by going into the evidence safe at the Hinton lab and getting 90 samples for Norfolk county without logging them out.  Why would she do that?  Because of all the MA ADAs offices she helped, Norfolk county was by far her favorite.  After all two of her favorite ADAs worked there.

One of her favorites, George (or GEORGIIIIEEEEEEE as Dookhan called him) Papachristos resigned shortly after this case broke.  The other, who calls herself “The Debanator”, still works for the Norfolk County ADA’s office and once referred to herself as a “chemist Khan (Dookhan’s maiden name) hog.”  As for Dookhan and GEORGIIIIEEEEEE, that will have to wait for my next post…

I have attached what I call the Dookhan white paper to this blog.  In it are email after email that paints a very clear picture of what was going on between the Hinton lab and the ADAs office.

This case and the case of Sonja Farak are not about these chemists.  They are about the corruption of our criminal justice system at the hands of the drug war.  Because of the harsh sentencing laws in our state, these chemists were allowed to run wild on our criminal justice system and in the lives of tens of thousands of mostly low income, mostly minority citizens of this state.

My question to the Maura Healy and the people’s law office is what people count?  Do low income people’s lives count?  Do they count as much as the egos and the reputations of some in the DA’s offices around the state?  So far the answer to that question has been a resounding no.

In fact the MA ADAs refuse to even release all the names of the people affected by these chemist cases to the ACLU.  They don’t want to let go of their precious convictions.  They are like the Gollum of the MA criminal justice system, holding their precious cases until it is their ultimate undoing.

My hope is that people read the white paper attached to this post and come to their own and get mad.  I hope they contact their elected officials and the DAs office and demand that they open an independent investigation into the conduct of the ADAs with Annie Dookhan.  Also people should demand that all people who had evidence tested by Dookhan have that evidence thrown out immediately without further expensive investigation.

How much longer do people who had their evidence rigged by a corrupt chemist have to be in jail?  This case has cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars.  How much longer do the people affected by this need to wait for justice?  Annie Dookhan White Paper

“What we have here is the greatest collection thus far of ex-presidents and prime ministers calling very clearly for decriminalization and experiments with legal regulation,” … “It will be a watershed moment.”

Danny Kushlick, spokesman for the drug policy center Transform

The entire rest of the world sees what is going on in this country.  They see that we have more people in jail than any other nation in the world.  They see the toll this war is taking on human life in both Mexico and the United States.  They see the mass graves on our southern border, they see the ATF agents giving Mexican drug lords guns and they see our troops guarding the poppie fields in Afghanistan.  My only question is, Why don’t we?

The American public is clueless on this issue.  We have a “Law and Order” TV mentality when it comes to crime.  We view everyone in jail as deserving it.  They sold drugs afterall!  They probably killed someone too for all we know!  They deserve what they get!  That mentality is exactly the problem. 

What Law and Order never shows you is exactly how much it costs to keep those people in jail.  In my state of MA it costs 47 thousand a year.  We have 11,000 people in jail right now.  That means we spend over 500 million per year to keep those people in jail.  Half of those people are in jail for drug related issues.  So we are paying over 250 million to keep people in jail for doing what they want to do.  That is insanity.

Other countries actually try to help people get off drugs, not America.  We lock drug addicts next to murders and bank robbers.  If that isn’t enough, we give them mandatory sentences.  So even if they are on their best behavior while behind bars, we release violent offenders before non-violent drug offenders.  How does that make sense?  In Boston we just had a cop murdered a few months ago by a violent offender out on parole.  I am sure that cop would be alive today if they let a drug user out in his place. 

Drugs are not the answer, they are an escape.  We need to do something about the drug epidemic in our society.  I just don’t think endlessly throwing people in jail because they have a problem.  It is a waste of everyone’s, time, energy and money. 

In these tough times we tell everyone that they need to tighten their belts.  Everyone that is but the military, jails and the intelligence industry.  It has been boom times for them for the past 40 years.  No matter how down in the dumps our economy is, we always have plenty of money for bombs, jails and warrentless wiretapping.  Does that really sound like “The Land of the Free”?  Sadly we never even ask ourselves that question.

We are like children.  We stick our heads in the sand and we allow our government to do whatever they want to us, as long as they say they are keeping us safe.  Now it has gone too far and we still refuse to pull our heads up.  Well it is beyond time.  We need to start saving money.  THAT is national security.  It is also something we cannot get as long as we continue to lock so many of our citizens in jail with violent offenders.  It makes our society more violent and it needs to end.  The rest of the world sees it, why don’t we?

Here is the article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110601/ts_yblog_thelookout/global-leaders-call-for-a-major-shift-to-decriminalize-drugs

National security.  That was the excuse Hitler gave for invading all his European neighbors.  It is also the excuse the United States government likes to use when it tramples its own constitution.  In a resounding 8-1 ruling yesterday, the Supreme court ruled against throwing out a case in which some cops thought they smelled pot and broke into a guy’s house and arrested him.  They didn’t have a warrant and they weren’t even there for him.  They were chasing another guy into his apartment complex.  That is American justice, post 9/11 style!

The justices agreed with the cops that it was not a violation of the man’s 4th amendment rights when his door was knocked in without a warrant.  Writing for the majority ruling, justice Alito said “Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame.”  That’s right, Justice Alito is a regular Ike Turner!  You gotta love someone who blatantly blames the victim.

Of course what they don’t say is this is all hearsay.  Who knows what the cops heard, it could have been anything.  Regardless do we really want to give the cops the ability to knock down your door and arrest you just because they THINK they hear you doing something wrong?!  Is this really the kind of justice system that we want?

Forget about reading you your rights, you have no rights.  You have the right to be subjected to whatever kind of treatment these law enforcement types want to subject you to.  If they trample your rights, TOO BAD!  You shouldn’t have been making noise in YOUR OWN HOUSE!  How does this not even land on the radar of the Tea Party?  Their motto is don’t tread on me, but with them that only applies to the government making you have health care.  Not a bunch of cops breaking down your door for sketchy reasons.  Makes sense right?

The government has been using 9/11 as an excuse to ramp up enforcement on the drug war.  That is all this is.  They take away your rights and say it is to protect you from the terrorists, but who is really a terrorist in this situation.  Is it the guy smoking a joint in his home?   Or  the cops who can burst into your home for any reason they come up with and haul you off to jail if they feel like it?  We need to start looking at what is really going on in this country and start taking back the rights that the government has taken from us before it is too late.

Here is the full story:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_supreme_court_warrantless_entry

Obama is doing a great thing by bringing immigration back to the forefront of the national political discussion.  Our currently policy of  standing pat and letting the chaos continue at our southern border is madness.  I agree that there needs to be a “Widespread Movement” to solve the problem. 

Where he loses me is his desire to increase funding for the drug war.  He wants to continue to add “boots on the ground” to fight a war that is already lost.  The reason there is much bloodshed and fighting at the border is because of the drug war.  Take that away and suddenly Mexico isn’t that bad of a place.  Drug dealers would no longer be running the country and dumping bodies into mass graves.  What a revelation! 

The instability of Mexico directly affects our national security.  Our backwards drug policy has allowed Mexican Al Capones to run rampant in that country.  Now it is like the wild wild west and we are responsible.  This is how our government wants it.  The CIA wants these drugs to be illegal so they can fund their illegal activities without having to pass them through Congress.  You know, the pain in the ass also known as democracy.  Can you blame the citizens of Mexico for wanting to leaving that country in droves?  It is utter chaos.

If we make it easier for these refugees of the drug war to become citizens that is like putting mighty putty on a crumbling dam.  Yes it might stop some of it (because mighty putty is just that good), but the root cause of the problem is still left unsolved.  We have to look beyond the surface and figure out why so many Mexican citizens desperately want to come to America.  Would anyone reading this blog want to remain in a country that is run by drug lords? 

The solution to this problem is pretty simple.  Just freaking legalize pot.  That’s it.  You don’t have to legalize heroin or cocaine.  If our country made pot legal, at least 40% of the drug lords business would be gone.  That’s 40% less that these guys have to buy guns and politicians.  That would be a massive blow to the corruption and instability that is currently rampant in Mexico.  How can Obama not see this? 

We spend almost 40 billion dollars per year trying to fight the drug war.  Imagine what we could do with that money.  This is not how we think in this country however.  We are conditioned to believe that if we made any drug legal that is currently illegal, it would mean the downfall of our society.  Everyone would be on heroin, coke and pot and our nation would collapse.  This is insanity.  We don’t have to look any further than Portugal to see what a crock of BS that mentality is.  Yet we buy it.  We let them create chaos at our border and displace millions of people because we are too lazy to look at reality. 

It is time for liberals and conservatives to realize that we have the same goals.  The immigration issue is a prime example of this.  The problem is we get bogged down in the details and miss the big picture.  Although Obama is doing a good thing by bringing this issue to the forefront, he isn’t doing anything about solving the actual problem.  It is up to us to say enough is enough and finally do something to fix this issue.  Otherwise it will just be more endless government waste with no resolution.

Happy 420!

To prove that no one person is all evil, I have posted this article that talks about the various Repub candidates and their positions on pot.  I agree with Sarah Palin AND she smoked pot in the past!  Crazy!

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/gop-pot-mitch-daniels-newt

PS Huckabee v Chong is EPIC!

The most pathetic thing about our political system is just how very predictable it all is.  This past week saw the Repubs make a hard charge at slashing spending for planned parenthood and NPR.  They knew this would fail.  They did it to rally their base.  Now Obama is going to come out with his budget which would include taxing the rich.  He is doing this to rally his base, let’s not take the bait.

The rich need to pay higher taxes.  There is no doubt about that.  When GM legally pays zero taxes , there is something seriously wrong with the system.  I get all of that.  Taxing the rich and reducing Medicare will get us nowhere.  We will still be fighting endless wars and still have more people locked away in jail than any other country in the world.  We need to ask ourselves, what kind of country do we want.

It is a pretty sad day when doing what is right is a major political move.  It’s like making headlines for washing your hands after going to the bathroom.  Like, yes the rich should pay taxes just like everyone else…moving on.  However it isn’t that simple.  We are so very right-wing in this country that rich people not paying taxes is actually debated seriously!  This keeps us from debating more serious topics and keeps rich and poor fighting each other while they should be fighting together to cut what government really spends our money on so we ALL pay less taxes.

People don’t even think about what we get from defense spending and the fighting the war on drugs.  That isn’t even a real debate in this country.  We just allow our government to throw endless money into a pit and turn a blind eye to it.  We get wrapped up in hating planned parenthood or Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman while totally ignoring the reality of what our government actually does with our money.

What have we gotten out of the drug war?  We spend billions every year and has it limited illegal drug use in this country?  Of course not.  We spend 30 Billion per year and get zero in return.  The human toll this war is taking is indescribable.  Actually that’s wrong, I can describe it.  We have more people in prison than any other country and the tax payers are footing the bill for it.  That is one price that we pay.  Here is the other:

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/127-bodies-found-in-mexico-mass-graves-20110413-1ddws.html

That’s right.  Mass graves on our border.  People are being slaughtered to keep our insane drug policy going and there isn’t even a debate in this country about if this is a good idea.  We are such good little lap dogs that we just sit there and allow our government to lock more and more people up for doing what they want to do.  When are we finally going to say enough is enough?

Obama is going to come out with his budget this afternoon.  It will not address these issues.  He will throw a bone to liberals by asking for more taxes for the rich.  The right-wing will come back and say HE IS RAISING TAXES and that will be the debate going into the next election.  I implore you not to take the bait and get dragged into a unwinable war of words.  Instead contact your representative and tell them to reduce military spending and legalize pot.

Legalizing pot alone would cut the mexican drug lords money in half and reduce our spending on trying to repress that drug.  According to this article in Time:

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1821697,00.html

42% of Americans have tried smoking pot.  They did the same survey in the Netherlands (where it is openly tolerated) and 20% of the people tried it there.  So the Netherlands pays nothing to regulate pot and 20% of their population does it and we pay billions every month to try to regulate pot and 42% of our population has tried it.  What more evidence do we need?  Our war on drugs actually INCREASES drug use!  Why can’t we start there when thinking about slashing our federal budget?

It is beyond time that we started acting like adults when it comes to federal spending.  Clearly just attacking what the other sides loves is never going to work.  We need to look at what really does not work in our country and work together to fix it.  Constantly fighting over small amounts of government funding will just lead to more division in our country.  That is exactly what the government wants.  Why do we insist on letting them have their way?

There are plenty of ways for the government to solve it’s currently problems.  They will ignore each one, however, and continue to argue about abortion.  The abortion issue is something that will never be resolved to the satisfaction of both sides.  It is the perfect red herring.  I don’t mean to be crass because it is an issue regarding human life, but does it really cost us so much money that we should be seriously discussing it on the verge of a government shutdown?  Of course not.

The fact is the dems and repubs don’t want to talk about what is really costing our country billions of dollars every month.  They are part of a spending addiction that they believe is vital to the American way of life.  The security industry is a billion dollar government-funded farce that brings misery to millions of citizens across this country.  These officials like it because it keeps people afraid of standing against the powers that be.  It is job security for them really.  However when we find stories like this one:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/59_bodies_found_buried_in_pits_in_north_mexico_area_where_72_migrants_massacred_last_year/2011/04/06/AFzIudrC_story.html?wprss=rss_world
How can we the people in this country not say, something has gone horribly wrong and it is right at our border.  The 59 people found in that grave were more than likely victims in the never-ending drug war.  We the people need to start asking ourselves, is this war really worth it. 

What are we getting out of this drug war?  Last year America spent 35 billion dollars fighting the war on drugs.  Has it worked?  Are drugs less available and are our streets safer?  One real effect is that it has over run our prison system with millions of non-violent offenders.  We pay to have those people investigated, put on trial and jailed.  All the people who perform those state functions require tax dollars to make their jobs possible.  Now we are starting to get a clear understanding about the reality of the drug war. 

Pot is still illegal.  If it were ever made legal, hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officials would be out of jobs.  This would save tax payers billions of dollars in court costs and jail costs.  There is also the added benefit of taxing pot.  Which would be a much better alternative than just allowing drug dealers to profit from the drug tax-free so they can build an illegal empire.  However I doubt this will happen anytime soon.

In order for real change to happen, there needs to be a culture change.  Pot is still regarded as a hippy drug or whatever.  People don’t care about people who get thrown in jail for drugs.  However it is their tax dollars that goes towards keeping these non-violent offenders in jail.  Why is the Tea Party not interesting in looking into this topic to see if we are getting our moneys worth?  Because it is very hard to go against these kinds of people politically.  They make you look like you are “soft on crime”.  So the Tea Party chooses to attack teachers instead of the government officials that actually repress people’s rights.  What does it say about our society when it is politically easier to attack education than a failed drug policy?  It says that something has gone horribly wrong.

There are plenty of ways our government can close this budget gap, they just choose not to see them and keep fighting unwinnable wars.  They do this because they are addicted to repressive government spending.  Ending the drug war would save us at least 35 Billion dollars, yet we argue about the millions of dollars it costs to fund NPR and planned parenthood.  Those are both worthy debates, however not when we are bleeding out billions of dollars every month fighting a prohibition war against things that people want anyway.  We the people are the only ones with the power to stop this.  The only question is, we will stand up and be counted?

Below is the Drug War Spending clock.  We are spending 500 dollars every second on this war.  Why doesn’t anyone even ask, are we getting our moneys worth?

http://www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock

I created a new category on this blog for the Drug War because this is now the fourth war we are currently fighting.  This war is much different from the wars overseas.  In the drug war, we are fighting against our own citizens and their freedoms.  Yes illegal drugs are mostly bad and very dangerous to your health.  Does that mean we should lock up those who use and sell them and have tax payers foot the bill?  Does this make us safer?

The bank formerly known as Wachovia has been accused of laundering 378.4 billion dollars in Mexican drug money since the early 2000’s.  The feds took swift and direct action by investigating Wachovia and fining them.  Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009.  If this was a drug dealer in Boston, they would be in jail for 15 years.  A banking giant is behind one of the biggest money laundering operations in our nation’s history and they get the lightest slap on the wrist.  This situation is the embodiment of how our justice works.  Poor people get screwed while rich people pay their way to freedom.  This finding, however, was only the tip of the iceberg.

According to this article from the Guardian:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/03/us-bank-mexico-drug-gangs

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse. “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”

That’s right folks, your hard-earned tax dollars were given to banks who’s only source of real income was drug money from Mexico.  How does that one feel?  The drug war is a total fraud.  It is a front to milk tax payer dollars from us and then give it to law enforcement agencies and big banks.  It is about greed, control and repression.  How much more of this do we need to see?  Our jails are filled to the brim with non-violent drug offenders.  All because of this wicked immoral war on drugs that does nothing but burden our criminal justice system and repress our citizens. 

The really sad part about this case is that no journalist from this country discovered what was really going on with Wachovia.  It took the Guardian, a foreign paper, to expose the lies and corruption that are rampant in our drug war.  The silence of our media on this issue speaks volumes into what kind of society America has morphed into.  We no longer care about the truth, we only care about punishment. 

I encourage you to read the Guardian article on this subject, it will give you a real insight into how these large banks work and what is really going on behind the scenes.  It should scare you into action.  Remember we GIVE 1.6 billion every year to Mexico to fight this war and spends billions more trying to fight a war that has been lost for 20 years.  When are we going to wake up and try something new?