tagged w/ War on Drugs
US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain waded into drug policy Wednesday, on the second day of a Latin America tour meant to burnish his foreign policy and national security credentials.
McCain wrapped up an overnight stay in Colombia, the world's top producer of cocaine, and was to travel to Mexico, the main route for illegal drugs flowing into the voracious US market, later in the day.
"Drug cartels have basically taken control of some towns on the Mexican border," McCain told ABC News Wednesday, speaking from Colombian seaside resort of Cartagena.
"There is clearly a continued threat of drugs pouring into the United States of America, which can harm us and our young people very badly."
The Arizona senator praised progress Colombia has made against drugs and the leftist insurgent FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, after a lengthy meeting late Tuesday with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
"Certainly it's my view that significant progress has been made against the FARC in the presidency of President Uribe," McCain said of the rebel group, whose hostages include three US nationals seized in 2003 during anti-drug operations in the region.
McCain, in a tough battle against Democrat Barack Obama to win the White House in the November 4 election, is hoping to use the Latin America trip to score points over Obama in the arenas of trade and foreign policy.
He was accompanied by his wife Cindy McCain, independent Senator Joseph Lieberman and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
McCain also gave his backing to the US-Colombia free trade pact agreed by Uribe and US President George W. Bush but now stalled in the US Congress, where opponents cite Colombian government violence against trade unions.
On Monday, McCain savaged Obama over his opposition to the pact and accused him of being unwilling to recognize the magnitude of the Uribe government's duel with FARC, the long-running leftist rebel movement.
"He doesn't support the Colombian free trade agreement. I think it would have very serious consequences if we rebuked our closest ally," McCain said.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) meanwhile launched a new attack against McCain, accusing him of appeasing big business at the expense of US workers.
"We are seeing nothing but a continuation of the economic policies that have failed working people, not just the working people in Colombia but working people in this country," said DNC vice-chair Linda Chavez-Thompson.
"Senator McCain is going to follow George Bush's failed economic policies, we can't afford that," she said on a conference call with reporters.
Mark Levinson, chief economist of the Unite Here trade union, said McCain should worry more about the plight of US workers than new trade pacts.
"It is clear that whatever he is doing, it is not in the interests of US workers," he said.
"The situation with the Colombia trade agreement is a particular outrage.
"There are more trade unionists killed in Colombia than the rest of the world combined.
"While John McCain is in Colombia, Senator Obama is in Ohio, ground zero of the affect of these bad trade deals in the US economy.
"We think this just highlights the stark difference between these two candidates."
McCain was to leave for Mexico City later Wednesday for talks on Thursday with President Felipe Calderon, the recipient of fresh US aid for its fight against drugs.
The US Senate last week approved a 1.6-billion-dollar, three-year package of anti-drug assistance to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean known as the "Merida Initiative."
An underworld war between rival drug gangs and police has escalated into open bloody conflict in Mexico in recent weeks, with more than 1,500 people killed this year, some 500 of them in the northern border city of
US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain waded into drug policy Wednesday, on... more
WKRN News 2 reports that “the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating after video shot from inside a Mount Joliet patrol car shows an officer choking a suspect.”
In the video, the officer has both hands around the neck of the suspect and is telling him to “stick your tongue out.” The suspect, James Anders, then passes out.
According to WKRN, “The incident began with a traffic stop. Officer Cosby said he smelled burning marijuana, ordered Anders out of the car and told him to spit out something he had in his mouth. … Cosby didn’t find any marijuana in Anders’ mouth but did find a small bag of the drug inside his car.”
Anders was arrested on charges of possessing marijuana, resisting arrest, and tampering with evidence. The charges were later dismissed because of the police officer’s behavior. Cosby was reprimanded and the tape was handed over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
This video is from WKRN News 2, broadcast July 1, 2008.
WKRN News 2 reports that “the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating... more
Americans are the world's top consumers of cannabis and cocaine despite punitive US drug laws, according to an international study published in the online scientific magazine PLoS Medicine.
The study, released Monday, revealed that 16.2 percent of Americans had tried cocaine at least once, and 42.4 percent had used marijuana.
In second-place New Zealand, just 4.3 percent of study participants had used cocaine, and 41.9 percent marijuana.
The research was conducted at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, based on World Health Organization data from 54,068 people in 17 countries.
Rates of participation differed from country to country, and researchers noted uncertainty over how honestly people report their own drug use.
"Nevertheless, the findings present comprehensive data on the patterns of drug use from national samples representing all regions of the world," a PLoS statement said.
A vast majority of survey participants from the United States, Europe, Japan and New Zealand had consumed alcohol, compared to smaller percentages from the Middle East, Africa and China.
The data also revealed socioeconomic patterns in drug use. Single young adult men with high income had the greatest tendency to regularly use drugs.
Drug use "does not appear to be simply related to drug policy," the researchers wrote, "since countries with more stringent policies toward illegal drug use did not have lower levels of such drug use than countries with more liberal policies."
In the Netherlands, where drug policy is more liberal than the United States, 1.9 percent of survey participants said they had used cocaine and 19.8 percent marijuana.
Twelve US 12 states including California permit medical use of marijuana, but possession and use remains prohibited under federal law.
And despite the US government's massive anti-drug efforts, the United States remains the world's top drug market, one amply supplied by South American cartels.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency has observed ever larger quantities of illegal drugs pouring into the country.
"We are seizing greater quantities of illegal drugs than ever before," said a DEA statement last week.
In 2007, agents seized 41 metric tons of cocaine in just two raids, and denied drug traffickers record-breaking revenue of 3.5 billion dollars for the year, it said.
Americans are the world's top consumers of cannabis and cocaine despite punitive... more
The day we legalize drugs is the day we can begin to clean up the mess that the drug prohibition experiment has created.The day we legalize drugs is the day we can begin to clean up the mess that the drug... more
This 20/20 report shows a side by side comparison of two cases. The same judge presides over the two cases. One man is free to live his life as he wants, after committing murder, and the other in jail for life after smoking marijuana.
Ridiculous.This 20/20 report shows a side by side comparison of two cases. The same judge... more
The War on Drugs. The War on Terror. Narco-Terrorism. Prior to 9/11, the poppy production levels in Afghanistan were at a low and many of the Taliban were against heroin and the poppies. However, since U.S. forces entered after 9/11, the poppy crop has skyrocketed. The UN released a report saying that the six-year boom has lead to the Afghan crop being responsible for 92% of the world's heroin trade. With Homeland Security and the War on Terror, it's amazing that the drug still gets into the USA, one of it's strongest marketplaces.The War on Drugs. The War on Terror. Narco-Terrorism. Prior to 9/11, the poppy... more
Athletes are turning to a new performance enhancing drug: Viagra. Traces of the drug, which is intended to alleviate sexual dysfunction, are increasingly appearing in the testing of samples from sports competitors.
It has become so widespread that the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) is considering whether to include Viagra in its list of substances banned in international sports. Experts believe that Viagra, which dilates blood vessels, could help in events requiring explosive power, such as sprinting. Others suggest it could help endurance – not so much marathon sex sessions as marathon running – particularly at high altitude or in polluted conditions, such as those expected at the Beijing Olympics. The drug is believed to aid the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles. Athletes are turning to a new performance enhancing drug: Viagra. Traces of the drug,... more
The House of Representatives on Tuesday authorized spending $1.6 billion over the next three years to help Mexico and other countries counter growing drug violence and the cartels behind it. But the money is not assured. The bill, approved 311-106, would not provide any money to Mexico. That could come separately in pending bills funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and future appropriations bills.
The House and Senate are negotiating with the administration on the war spending bills to avoid a threatened veto by President Bush. In addition, the Mexican government is opposing the anti-drug trafficking aid in the war bills because of requirements in it that Mexico says interfere with its sovereignty.
A delegation of congressional members met with Mexico officials over the weekend to discuss Mexico's concerns. In the bill passed Tuesday, The House authorized about $1.1 billion for Mexico between 2008-2010; $405 million for Central America and Caribbean countries and $74 million for the Justice Department to stem the flow of U.S. guns into Mexico. The bill includes some human rights conditions and monitoring of how equipment and training have been used ''to make sure U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to support practices consistent with our values,'' said Lynne Weil, Berman's spokeswoman.
Bill supporters repeatedly praised Mexico President Felipe Calderon for escalating his war against the drug cartels in Tuesday's debate. They raised concerns about drug violence in Mexico spilling into the U.S. and noted the slaying of Edgar Millan Gomez, Mexico's acting federal police chief, similar to the U.S. FBI director. He was shot by a lone gunman May 8 outside his Mexico City apartment. Police blamed the Sinaloa drug cartel.
'It's high time for the United States to do more than applaud President Calderon's courage. We must work together to tackle this difficult problem,'' said Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. But some disagreed. Two Texas Republican lawmakers, Reps. Ted Poe and John Culberson, thwarted Berman's effort to pass the bill on a voice vote.
''We need to defeat this legislation until our southern border is secure,'' Culberson said.The House of Representatives on Tuesday authorized spending $1.6 billion over the next... more
Bob Barr was courageous enough to post this at Huffington Post, I would like to invite Barack Obama to current.com to post. I have posted an invitation below and would like to see him join the discussion.
by: Bob Barr - Politics on The Huffington Post
I'll admit it, just five years ago I was "Public Enemy Number 1" in the eyes of the Libertarian Party. In my 2002 congressional race for Georgia's Seventh District, the Libertarian Party ran scathing attack ads against my stand on Medical Marijuana.
Today, I am their presidential nominee and will represent libertarians at the top of the ticket on November 4th.
That's right, Bob Barr, formerly the War on Drugs loving, Wiccan mocking, Clinton impeaching Republican is the presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party.
Now, you may be asking how this happened and my answer is simple: "The libertarians won."
For more than three decades, the Libertarian Party and small "l" libertarians have done their part to prove to America that liberty is the answer to most of the problems that we face today. Over the past several years, I was one of the many people influenced by this small party.
Whether through the free market or by simply allowing families to make their own decisions regarding the education of their children, libertarians have taught us that liberty does truly work.
In stark contrast, when government attempts to solve our societal problems, it tends to create even more of them, often increasing the size and depth of the original problem. A perfect example of this is the federal War on Drugs.
For years, I served as a federal prosecutor and member of the House of Representatives defending the federal pursuit of the drug prohibition.
Today, I can reflect on my efforts and see no progress in stopping the widespread use of drugs. I'll even argue that America's drug problem is larger today than it was when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase, "War on Drugs," in 1972.
America's drug problem is only compounded by the vast amounts of money directed at this ongoing battle. In 2005, more than $12 billion dollars was spent on federal drug enforcement efforts while another $30 billion was spent to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.
The result of spending all of those taxpayer's dollars? We now have a huge incarceration tab for non-violent drug offenders and, at most, a 30% interception rate of hard drugs. We are also now plagued with the meth labs that are popping up like poisonous mushrooms across the country.
While it is clear the War on Drugs has been a failure, it is not enough to simply acknowledge that reality. We need to look for solutions that deal with the drug problem without costly and intrusive government agencies, and instead allow for private industry and organizations to put forward solutions that address the real problems.
Bob Barr was courageous enough to post this at Huffington Post, I would like to invite... more
"More than two decades after President Ronald Reagan escalated the war on drugs, arrests for drug sales or, more often, drug possession are still rising. And despite public debate and limited efforts to reduce them, large disparities persist in the rate at which blacks and whites are arrested and imprisoned for drug offenses, even though the two races use illegal drugs at roughly equal rates.""More than two decades after President Ronald Reagan escalated the war on drugs,... more
From high schools to universities, the new hit underground documentary American Drug War has been shown by teachers and professors to students and faculty across the country. This clip is from a new short video made by Kevin Booth for this years upcoming NACA regional conferences.
From high schools to universities, the new hit underground documentary American Drug... more
In the past two years, 15 mexican musicians have been murdered. Their crime: to fall foul of the country's drug barons. Ioan Grillo reports
It was three in the morning and the Mexican group Banda Guasavena were driving back from a concert at a cockfighting festival, just over the border from Texas. The audience had been even more rapturous than usual and Fausto Castro-Elizalde, the band's horn player, recalls them chatting happily about the evening.
Then Kalashnikov bullets started flying through the window. 'The whole moment was unreal,' he says. 'One second we were all happy after the show. The next we being cut up by bullets.'
Castro-Elizalde, 34, was hit by seven 'caps' in his arm and legs but miraculously remained conscious. His cousin and the band's 27-year old singer, Valentin Elizalde, was not so lucky. 'He died instantly. He fell into my arms and I kissed him,' says Castro-Elizalde.
Elizalde's murder is not an isolated incident. In the past two years, assassins have shot, burnt or suffocated at least 15 Mexican musicians. The latest victim was sprayed with 20 bullets as he sang alongside his band, Brisas del Mar, at a dance near the Acapulco resort in March. In December, three entertainers were killed in a week: one singer was kidnapped, throttled and dumped on a road, a trumpeter was found with a bag on his head and a diva was shot dead in her hospital bed.
The attacks on musicians come amid a wave of bloodshed in Mexico, which has usurped Colombia as the drug trafficking capital of the Americas, unleashing violent turf wars and fighting with police. For their part, Mexican musicians have been increasingly singing about cocaine, corpses and Kalashnikovs alongside their traditional tales of poverty and lost love. In the past two years, 15 mexican musicians have been murdered. Their crime: to fall... more
Fifty-three percent of Mexicans believe that violent drug cartels are winning in a war against the Mexican government.
"May was one of the most violent months on record for drug killings, both between gangs and targeting federal forces. Calderon has sent thousands of troops onto the streets in a bid to stop cartels from operating."Fifty-three percent of Mexicans believe that violent drug cartels are winning in a war... more
Most people know that the "drug czar" -- the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) -- is an advocate for the government position regarding the drug war. But not everyone knows that he and his office are mandated to tell lies as part of their Congressional authorization.Most people know that the "drug czar" -- the director of the White House... more
By Paul Joseph Watson
(Excerpt from main article)
Following last September's crash of a Gulfstream jet used by the CIA for torture flights that contained 4 tonnes of cocaine, more customs officials and cops have been caught in drug smuggling and drug dealing rackets.
Customs supervisor Walter Golembiowski and officer John Ajello face narcotics, bribery and conspiracy charges after they were arrested for helping smuggle drugs and contraband through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
"The investigation has led to the indictment and prosecution of more than 20 people — “from distributors to overseas sources of supply” — and the seizure of more than 600 pounds of imported hashish and other drugs from the United States and France," according to a CNN report.
Full story at link.By Paul Joseph Watson Prison Planet (Excerpt from main article) Following last... more
Slate posted a letter from John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House judiciary committee, to the DEA's acting administrator Michele Leonhart about the agency's "dramatically intensified … frequency of paramilitary-style enforcement raids" on legal cannabis users and dispensaries.
Conyers asked for an accounting of the agency's costs for these measures against "individuals who suffer from severe or chronic illness" and for its rationale for threatening landlords of licensed dispensaries with "arrest and forfeiture of their property." Meanwhile, the California State Legislature is considering a measure that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to refuse cooperation with the DEA.
Slate posted a letter from John Conyers Jr., chairman of the House judiciary... more
Marijuana is so ubiquitous here that everyone, from schoolteachers to kids, can tell you when a sinsemilla bud is ripe. From late summer to fall, the county reeks with the skunk-like stench of ready-to-harvest weed. The annual $1.5 billion pot crop constitutes two-thirds of Mendocino County's entire economy.
"You tell people from other parts of the country that folks grow pot all over town, and they think this is just a freak show here," said Ross Liberty, who owns a welding shop in Ukiah. "They're not far off."
Follow link for Full StoryMarijuana is so ubiquitous here that everyone, from schoolteachers to kids, can tell... more
In a decision that could bring the question of whether drug possession is legal or not in Argentina to that country's Supreme Court, a judge in the in the province of Buenos Aires has ruled that a tough provincial law penalizing drug possession violates the South American republic's constitution. Penalizing drug possession for personal use is barred under the constitution's privacy provisions, Court of Guarantees Judge Luis Estaban Nitti ruled in the last week of January. A second provincial judge has since followed in Nitti's footsteps.
While drug laws have traditionally been the bailiwick of the federal justice system in Argentina, a move last year toward "defederalization" allowed provincial governments (and their police forces) to get involved in the drug war. In Buenos Aires province, which surrounds the capital city, hard-line provincial Gov. Felipe Sola engineered a tough provincial drug law that went into effect in December. That law was passed in the context of an anti-rave campaign conducted by provincial Health Minister and sub-secretary for the Prevention of Addiction Claudio Mate. It was also apparently aimed at the hordes of young people who visit the province's Atlantic Coast beaches in the Argentine equivalent of spring break. Since December, police in one provincial town alone, Pinamar, have arrested at least 180 young people on drug possession charges, according to the Buenos Aires newspaper Pagina 12. According to figures released this week by the provincial Supreme Court, more than 1,700 people have been arrested province-wide on the new drug law.
"Up until last year, drug crimes were punished only under federal law," said Silvia Inchaurraga of the Argentine Harm Reduction Network (ARDA), which has been a leading force pushing for drug law reform in the country. "But in Buenos Aires province, they decided to create their own provincial drug law. ARDA demonstrated against this law last year, saying it would only increase the repressive power of the state and lead to corruption in the police force, which is already known to be corrupt. We also said that this law would only broaden the persecution of drug users."
The provincial Supreme Court statistics suggest that Inchaurraga and ARDA were correct. In its review of Buenos Aires province drug arrests, the court found that 84% were for simple drug possession and 86% were busted for marijuana. "This evidence shows that it's not true that the law is helping police catch the big drug dealers, just punishing more drug users," she said.
Follow link for the full story.In a decision that could bring the question of whether drug possession is legal or not... more
By Rory Olcayto
Exclusive – 2012 landmark could be wrapped in hemp to make it greener than Sydney’s Olympic stadium, says the ODA
The London 2012 Olympic stadium, designed by HOK Sport and Peter Cook, could be wrapped in a material made from the cannabis family of plants, it has emerged.
For the first time, details of the stadium’s layout, scale, appearance and the external materials to be used – which could include hemp – have been revealed in a new planning application.
Accompanying images also reveal that the temporary wrapping around the stadium will boast giant ‘slits’ to allow the public to walk through this facade rather than under it as previously envisaged.
The application reads: “The emphasis in the design has been and will continue to be on minimising the quantity of material, whilst still producing the required performance.
By designing a lean, compact and lightweight stadium, the amount of materials used, and the associated embodied energy have been significantly reduced.”
It also highlights the stadium’s sustainability credentials, with the Olympic Delivery Authority claiming these are superior to the Sydney Olympic stadium and other recently completed football stadiums.
However the exact nature of the controversial fabric wrap which forms the stadium’s elevation is still unclear.
“Sustainable materials, options for the roof and wrap fabrics are currently being investigated,” the application states.
“These include materials using recycled polymer based fabric, hemp and where the polymer based fabric can be recycled after use. Many of these materials could also be re-used after the games for other purposes.”
The application also suggests recycled ship containers could be used as internal toilet pods.
BD’s architecture critic Ellis Woodman said: “This is all about the stadium’s green credentials but the issue about its formal expression is one that the designers have still failed to address.
“They are still short of an idea. At the very least, the ODA should be commissioning artists to create the wrap rather than using third-rate graphic designers.”
By Rory Olcayto Exclusive – 2012 landmark could be wrapped in hemp to make it... more