Science Defeated By Drug War Hysteria

The UK’s chief drugs adviser has been sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, after criticising government policies. Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C. He accused ministers of devaluing and distorting evidence and said drugs classification was being politicised.

Well I told you so ‘Which means they will be ignoring this yet again‘ almost two years ago. But really I do love well paid professionals who are all surprised when New Labour turn out to be scumbags, What no WMD, well I never! To be honest I think they know but I refer you back to the ‘well paid’ bit. The consultation scam is a fig leaf over our lack of democracy and a great employment program for those involved, and that -very apparently- is all it is.

So in the absence of …erm science what shall we have inform drugs policy now we are going down the faith based route? (Faith in reactionary establishment hypocrites that is). How about Jeremy Kyle throwing darts at tabloid stories to decide things ‘He’s scored a double red top, The Suns says lock up these evil drug fiends. Home Secretary… he say Yes!‘ Or class it up a bit (a tiny tiny tiny bit) when Cameron comes along and have Noel Edmonds picking ideas out of little cases while Simon Cowell decides sentences all the while smirking at all the drugs he has *never* taken. This is as ridiculous as government by fundamentalist Christians who reject evolution and have creationism taught in schools, when will we ever have an adult, informed drug policy as opposed to a quasi mystical fear that keeps authoritarians in salaried employment (and banks liquid), authoritarians who -as I am sure many of us have observed- use drugs too.

Injustice

The man behind one of the largest cannabis operations in the UK has been jailed for nine years. Bo Xing He, 31, ran a series of cannabis factories across north Wales producing drugs with an estimated annual street value of almost £14m.

Caernarfon Crown Court was told that the cannabis factory in High Street, Bangor, Gwynedd, was believed to be the largest ever found in the UK. Another 15 defendants were sentenced to between two and five-and-a-half years. Bo Xing He, who admitted to conspiring to produce cannabis, was described by the judge as “head of an absolutely enormous conspiracy” who controlled the properties and workforce. The court heard that he had lived at a rented six-bedroom house in exclusive Gannock Park, Deganwy, Llandudno, and there was evidence of a lavish lifestyle. Police found £130,000 and an S-type Jaguar

A further 12 people, who were said to have played a “gardening role” looking after the plants, were also jailed. The judge said many of them were victims because they were working to pay off debts but, without them, there would have been no plants.

The War-On-Drugs is a ludicrous make work scam by the security/legal/prison establishment, not designed to solve anything but to keep chumps in jobs, jobs that often pay well and give them the power to wield state sanctioned violence. The only real crime committed here is an exploitative boss making himself rich while the workers were virtual slaves, however as that dynamic is played out on every high street and is eulogised in business porn like The Apprentice that is not the crime that anyone cares about. So everyone gets locked up for growing dope including the victims, the indentured workers. How perverted in our thinking, in our accustomed uncritical perception of ‘how things are’ have we become that growing a plant is a crime but exploiting others to enrich yourself is celebrated. The boss was not locked up for being rich, he was locked up for achieving it via illegal drugs, oddly if the drugs were legal he would be celebrated, even if they actually killed more people than cannabis *vioxx* cough*. And the Judge has no excuse, nor do the barristers and solicitors, they clearly had the life chances to become very well informed, to study, yet they chose instead to keep towing the line and have a successful career and nevermind the human cost. People look back to say…witch burning times, with horror and wonder, how could people be so horrible and stupid, well duh we are in the midst of it still and the answer is uncritical thinking, ignorance and greed (perhaps a useful definition of careerism). Not a single well remunerated person who was involved in this has done  a single thing of any worth other than stop an exploitative boss, but that wasn’t their intention, it’s a byproduct so no, they don’t get any credit for that. In fact they have done harm and most will not even have such a thought enter their head and worse still some do yet they take the money and keep up with this bullshit. And no I don’t know anyone who was caught up in this and no I don’t bother smoking dope either, but when something so clearly not justice is trumpeted as a great victory for such the dissonance is too much to bear.

And Jeebus I still can’t get over Judge/Recorder Nic Parry ‘but, without them, there would have been no plants.‘ Yeah and without the inmates of death camps they’d be no death camps so really the prisoners are the ones to blame, what a fucking imbecile.

War On Drugs Continues To Wreck Lives And Leave People In Pain

An OAP milkman supplied cannabis to pensioners to ward off their aches and pains, a court heard today. Robert Holding, 72, delivered the drug – which he kept in an egg box – while doing his daily milk round.

Burnley Crown Court heard that he had 17 customers and built up his trade through “word of mouth”. Judge Beverley Lunt said Holding said in his police statement that the cannabis “was for elderly people who had aches and pains”.

Who or what does this prosecution and jailing serve? Not only did he harm no one, his persecution leaves others in pain, all the well paid professionals involved in this from police, to prosecutors, to Judge should be ashamed of their idiot behaviour. Not as egregious as this atrocity, but product of the same institutions that keep their drones well rewarded long after they have lost sight of the original reasons for their existence. In fact that is positively encouraged.

Philip Holden, for the defence, said Holding’s customers “were of a certain age” and he built up his clientele through “word of mouth”. Mr Holden said it was a “somewhat bizarre case”.

Holding, of Fair View Road, Burnley, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis resin, a Class C drug, between April 1 and July 18 this year. He also admitted possessing cannabis resin on July 17.

The case was adjourned for a pre-sentence report. Holding was released on bail and will be sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on February 6. Judge Lunt warned him: “You must understand these are serious offences and in my judgment the likely outcome is an immediate custodial sentence.”

Oh yes, keep the streets safe from pensioner dope sellers, that’s what really terrifies people, not being beaten, knifed or raped, being offered a spliff from a septuagenarian milk man. And about that, fear of crime, prison overcrowding, doesn’t really jibe with this, a place free in prison, a long police operation to catch him, not to mention all the terrorists hiding under all our beds…hmm, still, keeps them in work.

It’s clearly a ‘funny’ case but the reality is his clients are now in greater pain and he will be in jail…unless by February these fucking -reefer madness hysteria- idiots have been sufficiently publicly shamed they will drop their mindless persecution of this man (and waste of thousands of pounds of our money, the police set up an undercover surveillance operation over several weeks, it’s like a pathetic low rent Burnley version of The Wire, except The Wire exposes the drug war, it doesn’t prosecute it). Holy shit even the Daily Fucking Mail finds it ridiculous, fucking hell Burnley!

Update 6/2/09: Given a suspended sentence so no jail, but the judge still displayed a spiteful, reefer madness level of dishonesty.

Blackwater or DEA?

This is odd, a post at Boing Boing recounts a federal raid on Organica Collective, a Culver City medical marijuana dispensary.The picture they have shows a man in Blackwater t shirt impounding the dope, the picture has apparently been removed from the LA Times photoset. So is he DEA just wearing a fanboy Blackwater shirt, is he DEA who also works at other times for Blackwater, or is Blackwater working for the DEA and impounding drugs, in which case does anyone know where this impounded ‘evidence’ ends up (because let’s be realistic in the gray areas such activities happen in drugs are used to fund covert operations or as capital, drug seizures as a bank robbery by ‘lawful’ state backed forces that funds their less democratically accountable missions)? And yet another War On… this time drugs is an aid to privatisation and mercenaries (remember Blackwater deployed after Katrina) again operate with state security forces in mainland USA. Hmmm.

The Stupid Drug War Lumbers On

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One of the defining characteristics of the drug war is politician’s ignoring expert findings and providing demagogic enforcement measures to placate idiot & ignorant voters. And never, ever, EVER considering de-criminalising and harm reduction allied to social reform. And Gordon’s no different-

Downing Street today signalled that the prime minister remained intent on toughening the law on cannabis despite reports that the government’s official drugs advisory body opposes its reclassification. Gordon Brown’s spokesman played down reports that the advisory committee on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) had concluded there was no need to raise the classification of cannabis from class C to class B.

The mental health charity Rethink said Mr Brown should heed the committee’s advice. The charity spokesman Paul Corry said: “Gordon Brown should put aside his personal views on cannabis and accept the fact that it does not make sense to reclassify.

“Use of the drug has gone down since it was downgraded in 2004 and research by Rethink shows that only 3% of users would consider stopping on the grounds of illegality.”

Cannabis was downgraded from class B to class C in January 2004. People still face up to two years in prison if caught in possession of the drug, while those supplying the drug to others can be given a five-year sentence.

‘The Wire’ Writers Call For Resistance To The Drug War

Via Tom @ Automatic Preference: If you don’t know about the Wire, I would find out if I were you, the writers here include the creators and include a former journalist, a former detective & teacher, all award winning writers who in  The Wire have crafted something that appears to be a TV drama but was something far more significant a depiction of the failing dysfunctional institutions of a city, the drugs war, the police, the schools, the working class, the media, politics and how capitalism is devaluing human beings day by day. Here they call for civil disobedience and becoming part of resistance to the failed policies rather than a collaborator-

The Wire’s War on the Drug War
By Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon

We write a television show. Measured against more thoughtful and meaningful occupations, this is not the best seat from which to argue public policy or social justice. Still, those viewers who followed The Wire — our HBO drama that tried to portray all sides of inner-city collapse, including the drug war, with as much detail and as little judgment as we could muster — tell us they’ve invested in the fates of our characters. They worry or grieve for Bubbles, Bodie or Wallace, certain that these characters are fictional yet knowing they are rooted in the reality of the other America, the one rarely acknowledged by anything so overt as a TV drama.

These viewers, admittedly a small shard of the TV universe, deluge us with one question: What can we do? If there are two Americas — separate and unequal — and if the drug war has helped produce a psychic chasm between them, how can well-meaning, well-intentioned people begin to bridge those worlds?

And for five seasons, we answered lamely, offering arguments about economic priorities or drug policy, debating theoreticals within our tangled little drama. We were storytellers, not advocates; we ducked the question as best we could.

Yet this war grinds on, flooding our prisons, devouring resources, turning city neighborhoods into free-fire zones. To what end? State and federal prisons are packed with victims of the drug conflict. A new report by the Pew Center shows that 1 of every 100 adults in the U.S. — and 1 in 15 black men over 18 — is currently incarcerated. That’s the world’s highest rate of imprisonment.

The drug war has ravaged law enforcement too. In cities where police agencies commit the most resources to arresting their way out of their drug problems, the arrest rates for violent crime — murder, rape, aggravated assault — have declined. In Baltimore, where we set The Wire, drug arrests have skyrocketed over the past three decades, yet in that same span, arrest rates for murder have gone from 80% and 90% to half that. Lost in an unwinnable drug war, a new generation of law officers is no longer capable of investigating crime properly, having learned only to make court pay by grabbing cheap, meaningless drug arrests off the nearest corner.

What the drugs themselves have not destroyed, the warfare against them has. And what once began, perhaps, as a battle against dangerous substances long ago transformed itself into a venal war on our underclass. Since declaring war on drugs nearly 40 years ago, we’ve been demonizing our most desperate citizens, isolating and incarcerating them and otherwise denying them a role in the American collective. All to no purpose. The prison population doubles and doubles again; the drugs remain.

Our leaders? There aren’t any politicians — Democrat or Republican — willing to speak truth on this. Instead, politicians compete to prove themselves more draconian than thou, to embrace America’s most profound and enduring policy failure.

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right,” wrote Thomas Paine when he called for civil disobedience against monarchy — the flawed national policy of his day. In a similar spirit, we offer a small idea that is, perhaps, no small idea. It will not solve the drug problem, nor will it heal all civic wounds. It does not yet address questions of how the resources spent warring with our poor over drug use might be better spent on treatment or education or job training, or anything else that might begin to restore those places in America where the only economic engine remaining is the illegal drug economy. It doesn’t resolve the myriad complexities that a retreat from war to sanity will require. All it does is open a range of intricate, paradoxical issues. But this is what we can do — and what we will do.

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun’s manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest. If some few episodes of a television entertainment have caused others to reflect on the war zones we have created in our cities and the human beings stranded there, we ask that those people might also consider their conscience. And when the lawyers or the judge or your fellow jurors seek explanation, think for a moment on Bubbles or Bodie or Wallace. And remember that the lives being held in the balance aren’t fictional.

Uribe’s Humiliation Being Downplayed

Rafael @ Ruins of Empire reports that while Spanish CNN are reporting the humiliating spectacle of Uribe having to trot around the room apologising, English speaking versions play up the Chavez confrontation angle and discreetly save the Empire’s lickspittle his honour. I have also seen these events interpreted in ways to minimise Uribe’s (and hence Bush’s) hubris but then the whole affair was reported through the lens of turrism! and America’s interests (though not their involvement so much, the hit having come from CIA intel) with Uribe being represented as some kind of reputable statesman and not the the death squad friendly, union murdering, cartel chummy slime he is. A few days old this article by Richard Gott is a rare exception (although he shamelessly plumps for the obvious FARC pun which even I avoided, I know amazing really, I resisted a cheap gag!) and shows the peace derailing agenda behind the killings. Maybe that tactic was from the Israeli advisers (ht2 Lenin) who work in Colombia alongside US and British ‘special’ forces. Israel is now the top supplier of “drones, light arms and ammunition, observation and communication systems and even special bombs capable of destroying coca fields. “Israel’s methods of fighting terror have been duplicated in Colombia,” a senior defense official said