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Press Freedom: Drug-induced Terror (12/98)

Since the beginning of the 1980s, Latin America-s booming drug trade sometimes has made deadlines for journalists literal. According to the Miami-based InterAmerican Press Association (IAPA), which monitors the media throughout the western hemisphere, during the last two decades drug traffickers and their paramilitary units have effectively suppressed press freedom in 10 countries: Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Guyana, Bolivia, Chile, Haiti, Mexico, and Paraguay.

Drug-related terrorism of the media has taken many forms. Journalists have been threatened, beaten, kidnapped, and murdered; advertisers have been intimidated; and physical plants and distribution centers have been bombed. Those targeted have included columnists, reporters, publishers, radio commentators, and television anchors. read more

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Big Banks serve as bagmen for global crime syndicates (03/02)

It’s one of the twisted ironies of the war on drugs. While the US spends billions of dollars trying to interdict illegal drugs from abroad, the country’s banking system has been making it easy for drug lords to launder their profits. About half of the estimated trillion dollars in dirty money that comes in large part from drug trafficking – but also from criminal activities such as gambling, auto theft, and child prostitution – moves through the US financial system, according to government estimates. read more

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Panama’s Toxic Legacy (9/00)

When the US officially handed over the Panama Canal to the Republic of Panama last December, the historic transfer was praised as the beginning a new bilateral relationship between the two countries. But in at least one important area – the environment – nothing has changed. The US no longer controls the canal, but its imperial legacy is evident in Panama in the unexploded shells, grenades, and other munitions left by the military after decades of training and arms testing. More than 110,000 pieces of undetected ordinance may be laying on the ground, or buried under the jungle canapŽ covering 7000 hectares of land, according to figures released by the US. read more

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Drugs and the Environment (2/00)

The economic and social costs of the US’s failed War on Drugs are well known. Violence is endemic in Mexico, Colombia, and other countries at the war’s epicenter, while drug-related corruption is now a global phenomenon involving the highest official levels in every nation touched by the drug trade. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are dependent on the drug trade for their livelihood, and are helping to supply the many unfortunate individuals hooked on a wide variety of drugs being marketed to meet the huge demand. read more

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Palestine: Libraries for Peace (2/98)

When Naheda Abd Almajeed Yagi graduated from El Emam University in Saudia Arabia in 1990 with a degree in library sciences, she returned to the Gaza Strip, then under Israeli control. Unemployed for six years, she now works as a reference librarian at the College of Education, a teacher training institution in Gaza City. Almajeed Yagi hopes one day to earn a post-graduate degree in library service – if her English improves, in the US, where she can realize her dream of visiting the Library of Congress. "I’m ambitious," she said with a shy smile. "Someday I want to be a chief librarian." read more

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Uncle Sam and Big Pharma (06/03)

If you think the price of lifesaving drugs is outrageous, imagine what it must feel like for the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The lack of affordable drugs is a life and death issue, and many people die every day as a result. Actually, poor countries could have ready access to cheap and affordable drugs to treat diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria, which kill millions each year. But thanks to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Bush administration, and the powerful transnational pharmaceutical lobby, it is being severely restricted. At the bottom line, trade interests are considered more important than human health and welfare. read more