Cellphone videos revealing the drunken behavior of US security contractors stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan have sparked a lawsuit and raised fears that sensitive relations will be further damaged. The videos were filmed by John Melson and Kenny Smith, two former employees of the Jorge Scientific firm in Kabul, where they helped train Afghan security personnel. They're now suing the firm, claiming that perpetual drunken, reckless behavior compromised the work environment. They allege that Jorge contractors frequently misused their weapons, abused local staffers, destroyed furniture and cars, and "were often too intoxicated to perform their duties." The videos, which were filmed in January and February, are being used as evidence. They depict shirtless, intoxicated men rolling on the floor and yelling at the camera; stacks of empty booze bottles and a syringe, are visible in the background. "This behavior actually was almost every other night," says Smith. The lawsuit also cites a February 2012 incident in which employees were allegedly "heavily intoxicated and grabbing at each other's weapons and firing them in the air."
Jorge Scientific states that they've since implemented a no-drinking policy, and "pledges to fully investigate and correct any mistakes to preserve and continue its history of exemplary performance." They reject claims that any work was compromised, and also say that the men in the video were not in top-security positions, and that their drunkenness would not therefore have posed a threat to safety. But Smith and Melson's attorney, David Scher, argues that the company is downplaying the men's roles. "These individuals are the security manager for the facility, and the operations manager for security for the entire country of Afghanistan for the company," he says. "These people were drunk beyond the point of incoherence, and could not possibly defend themselves if they were attacked." The US Army, who are supposed to supervise security contractors like those at Jorge Scientific, are currently investigating.
The libel lawsuit filed by Britney Spears' ex-manager opened yesterday, and is going to get messy, with startling accusations flying around of rampant drug use by the pop princess. Sam Lufti, who managed Britney Spears during the peak of her meltdown in 2007, is suing her parents, Jamie and Lynn Spears. He claims their remarks about him being manipulative and taking advantage of Britney ruined his career, and that he didn't receive proper compensation for his work. As The Fix exclusively reported, Lutfi was set to make 15% of Spears' gross earning as her manager, or $120,000 per month—and Lutfi claims that Britney Spears, who is under a conservatorship and won't be allowed to appear as a witness at the trial, is being gagged to prevent her testifying in his favor. His lawyer, Joseph Schleimer, alleges that Lutfi tried to save Britney from her prescription pill addiction. And his opening statement yesterday declared not only that Britney OD'd on amphetamines the night she was strapped to a stretcher and sent to a mental hospital in January 2008, but that her infamous head-shaving was done so traces of drugs couldn't be found in her hair follicles.
"[Sam Lutfi] was made a scapegoat for the drug abuse and erratic behavior of Britney Spears," said Schleimer. "She liked to use amphetamines—speed or uppers. She liked to take that drug. And most of the things that went wrong were related to that drug." He continued, ''My client has never been paid for serving as her manager. He was made famous as the guy who drugged Britney Spears and put her in the hospital. The evidence will show the defendants ruined my client's reputation.'' But the presiding judge seemed less than impressed, stating: ''Everything you say, you have to be able to back it up. You can't waste time on statements just thrown in the air. Everything has to have evidence...I'm trying to make a point and I hope you get it."
- A New Painkiller Crackdown Targets Drug Distributors [New York Times]
- Ontario Fighting Narcotic Addictions With $15 Million Program [Examiner]
- Your Brain on Food: Obesity, Fasting and Addiction [CNN]
- Navy Ship Recovers $26 Million in Cocaine Off Central America [US News]
- Montel Williams Calls Arkansas Anti-Pot Campaign 'Racist' [Washington Post]
- Meth Lab Found in NY Home for Recovering Addicts [Wall Street Journal]
American consumers' prodigious appetite for legal highs increasingly emboldens synthetic drug vendors in China and Europe to slap their wares in boxes and send them as plain old mail. Chicago O'Hare airport's international mail facility is one major entry point for these ever-more potent designer drugs. Packages recently seized there have contained substances such as a new strain of the synthetic cannabinoid "AKB48"—named in honor of a 64-member all-girl Japanese pop sensation—and a mystery beige powder designed to mimic ecstasy. The strength of some of these drugs is terrifying: “In some cases, the chemical compound that arrives in the overseas packet is 100 to 800 times more potent than its natural counterpart,” warns William Wagner, a Chicago Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scientist. “Upon ingestion, side effects can include elevated heart rates, paranoia, vomiting, severe agitation and hallucinations. It is simply unsafe to take these unknown drugs.” Despite these risks, legal thrill-seekers continue to play a substance Russian roulette with temptingly-monikered compounds like "Annihilation" and "Smiles," as authorities trip over themselves in the rush to ban every minor variation of each new high. “These unpredictable chemical combinations are sending some users to the hospital," says Steven Artino, CBP Chicago's acting director of field operations, "and others to the grave.”
heroin overdose. The coroner's report, released today, found that the 29-year-old died of “acute opiate (heroin) toxicity” and that his “manner of death is classified as accidental.” Reid, who went into recovery for heroin addiction after a 2007 arrest and imprisonment, had been staying at Lehigh University to help train his dad's team. At the time of his death, he was found in his dorm room with a used syringe, a spoon and 19 vials on an “unknown liquid” near him, and many more unused needles and syringes around his quarters. “This is a very difficult situation for us all to deal with," said quarterback Michael Vick in August. “Coach has always been a rock for us. We're going to lean on him, be there for him and stay strong for him until he can come back to lead us on."Garrett Reid, son of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, is confirmed to have been the result of an accidental
And the award for the world's most charitable drug dealers goes to: a couple in England, who have been using the proceeds from their pot farm to help support a small village in Kenya. Susan Cooper and Michael Foster, a couple in their early 60's, were found to be piloting a massive-scale marijuana operation that raked in approximately £400,000 ($645,000) in profits over the past six years. “The evidence demonstrates much of the money was put to charitable and good use,” said the couple's attorney. “While in Kenya they bought a computer for a local eye hospital, paid for children to be put through school and paid for a lifesaving operation on a man's gangrenous leg.” The philanthropical grow-op remained under-the-radar until officers, while chasing a burglar through the couple's yard, noticed a peculiar smell coming from their Lincolnshire farmhouse. A subsequent raid uncovered 159 plants worth approximately £20,000 ($32,000), and the equivalent amount more in cash. But while being do-gooders may have compelled the judge to call them a “respectable couple of positive good character,” they were nonetheless given three years in jail on charges of production of cannabis and possession of criminal money. "You were growing it on a significant scale, jetting off to Kenya on it," said the judge. "I am sure you were doing good things in Kenya with your drugs money, whether that was to appease your consciences, I can only speculate."