Decades later, the truth we always knew about the “War on Drugs”


“Newspapers printed that crap like we were crusaders!”

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he (Ehrlichman) asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Ex-Mexican government minister busted for drug trafficking

Mexico’s former defence secretary has been arrested in Los Angeles on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, becoming the latest in a string of senior officials accused of collaborating with the very criminal groups they were supposed to be confronting…

(General Salvador) Cienfuegos was Mexico’s top military official during the 2012-2018 presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, and played a key role in the militarized “war on drugs”…

Generations of the Mexican military have been implicated in drug violence: the country’s first anti-drug czar Gen Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo was arrested in the late 1990s and convicted of taking bribes from drug cartels…

But the armed forces remain one of the country’s most trusted institutions, “despite their known issues with corruption and human rights abuses”, said Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez, a sociologist in Mexico City.

It can’t happen here! Right?

Not when you can make as much or more as a “consultant” to drug companies, military weapons manufacturers, Republican Party, Democratic Party, blah, blah, etc..

100,000 dead, 30,000 missing — Mexico’s war on drugs turns 10 years old

Ten years after Mexico declared a war on drugs, the offensive has left some major drug cartels splintered and many old-line kingpins like Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in jail, but done little to reduce crime or violence in the nation’s roughest regions.

❝ Some say the war has been a crucial, but flawed, effort. Others argue the offensive begun by then-President Felipe Calderon on Dec. 11, 2006, unleashed an unnecessary tragedy with more than 100,000 people dead and about 30,000 missing – a toll comparable to the Central American civil wars of the 1980s.

In some places, homicide rates have lessened. In others, the killings continue unabated. The drawn-out conflict has also had a profound effect on those close to the cross-hairs of suffering: youths inured to extreme violence; adults so fed-up with poor and corrupt policing that they took up arms as vigilantes; and families who banded together in the face of authorities’ inability to find their vanished loved ones…

❝ Mexico’s armed forces have increasingly been pulled into the conflict because police forces are often corrupt or unreliable. That has had its own toll on the troops, who are frequently ambushed and accused of illegally executing detained cartel suspects in some cases.

Defense Secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos noted that the army’s involvement was only supposed to be temporary while policing was reformed.

“Ten years ago it was decided that the police should be rebuilt, and we still haven’t seen that reconstruction,” Cienfuegos said. “This isn’t something that can be solved with bullets. It requires other measures, and there has not been decisive action on budgets to make that happen.”…

❝ “Things are the same as far as crime,” said Hipolito Mora, the founder of one of the first “self-defense” militias. “The government has to do more to combat the corruption in itself. If they don’t do that, nothing is going to work. It is the corruption within the government that creates tolerance for organized crime.”…

Corruption, large and small, flourishes because it continues as part of the culture of the political rulers of Mexico. Public efforts to clean up even local government generally are little more than window dressing. There are exceptions. They are in spite of the national government – not because of aid from the government.

Obama said he’d let science – not ideology – dictate policy — [except for the so-called War on Drugs]

On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Agency formally refused to reconsider its classification of marijuana, which is officially regulated as a dangerous substance with no medical value, alongside drugs like heroin and LSD. Despite a growing body of scientific evidence and changes in public opinion, the federal government has refused to budge on a 46-year-old stance borne out of the War on Drugs.

According to the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 61 percent of Americans support legalization. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reports that eight out of ten Americans support medical marijuana legalization…

As public opinion moves in favor of legalizing pot, the DEA is clinging to the past — with little scientific evidence to back up their position.

Research has shown that pot has a multitude of medical benefits. And by reaffirming its position, the government has set back patients who relied on it for treatment for years.

Thursday’s announcement means pot will remain a Schedule I drug, defined as having “no medical value and a high potential for abuse.” That means the federal government believes marijuana is just as harmful as heroin and less harmful than cocaine. It also bars scientists from receiving federal funding and forces them to jump through hoops to conduct their research. Insurance companies are banned from covering marijuana treatment, so patients have to rely on the black market for treatment.

As of 2013, 78 percent of physicians in the world support the use of medical marijuana. In May, Ohio became the 25th U.S. state to legalize it. Even Congressional Republicans who have long opposed pot legalization recently vocalized support for more medical marijuana research.

And Republicans are more afraid of science than they are of democracy, non-white voters and women. More or less.

If Obama persists in saying he prefers science over ideology, how about opting for backbone over election year-opportunism.

Our government may soon announce decriminalizing marijuana — or not

When President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the federal government put marijuana in the category of the nation’s most dangerous drugs, along with LSD, heroin and mescaline.

In legal parlance, pot is a Schedule 1 drug, with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose.

Forty-six years later, the law might soon change, as the Obama administration prepares to make what could be its biggest decision yet on marijuana.

Suspense is mounting after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration missed its self-imposed June 30 deadline to decide whether to reschedule the drug and recognize its potential therapeutic value. Twenty-six states already have legalized its medical use…

Voters in Washington state and Colorado became the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012…

With the Obama administration adopting a policy to “just look the other way” in states with recreational marijuana, Gregoire said it would be hard for the DEA to justify keeping marijuana on the Schedule 1 list.

Opinions differ on what exactly might happen when the DEA responds to the petition, but a move to reschedule marijuana would be a major milestone in the decades-long push to legalize pot.

Among other things, it could pave the way for pharmacies to fill marijuana prescriptions and allow universities and others to conduct more medical research.

Many pot entrepreneurs hope that Congress would respond by helping marijuana businesses, allowing them to deduct their expenses from their federal taxes and giving them access to banks so they can phase out their all-cash operations.

Someone mail me a penny postcard when Congress decides on bipartisan validation of science less than a century out-of-date, when health and well-being is treated as more important than death and destruction — by that herd of ignoranus conservatives in Congress whose sole function is to stand in the way of anything that smacks of progress.

Always nice to hear a creep admit the real reason behind a political lie is bigotry!


Role model for Trump & Cruz

The war on drugs: Is it a genuine public health crusade or an attempt to carry out what author Michelle Alexander characterizes as “the New Jim Crow”?

A new report by Dan Baum [paywall] for Harper’s Magazine suggests the latter. Specifically, Baum refers to a quote from John Ehrlichman, who served as domestic policy chief for President Richard Nixon when the administration declared its war on drugs in 1971. According to Baum, Ehrlichman said in 1994 that the drug war was a ploy to undermine Nixon’s political opposition — meaning, black people and critics of the Vietnam War:

At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did…”

…The claim of racial prejudice is not implausible. Although black Americans aren’t more likely to use or sell drugs, they’re much more likely to be arrested for them. And when black people are convicted of drug charges, they generally face longer prison sentences for the same crimes, according to a 2012 report from the US Sentencing Commission.

Ehrlichman claimed this was a goal of the drug war, not an unintended consequence. And Baum cites this as one of many reasons to end the drug war once and for all…

So maybe the drug war reduces drug use. But it also enables and reinforces the justice system’s biases against minority Americans. And it perpetuates a black market for drugs that fuels violence in the US and around the world, particularly in Mexico.

But there are options to draw down the war on drugs without legalization. The US could decriminalize — remove jail time and other criminal penalties for personal possession but not sales — and emphasize prevention and treatment, as Portugal has done. It could allow supervised injection sites for heroin users to provide a safe place to use the drug, as Canada, Switzerland, and several others have done. It could allow for the medical use of some drugs, such as psychedelics, as some researchers have pushed for. These are steps countries and states could take without legalizing drugs…

None of these policies would wholly eliminate drug abuse, drug deaths, or drug-related violence and crime. But drug policy is often about picking the best out of the available bad options, rather than picking the perfect solution.

Reasonably candyass reporting. Still, a solid source acknowledging the criminality of one more of Richard Nixon’s policies. Mated to his “Southern Strategy” and you can see how the Republican Party turned from being the Party of Lincoln to the leading source of legitimizing racism in America.

Legalizing Weed is reversing the wasted dollar$ and decades of the War on Drugs

The Mexican drug cartels are finally meeting their match as a wave of cannabis legalization efforts drastically reshapes the drug trafficking landscape in the United States. It turns out that as states legalize cannabis use and cultivation, the volume of weed brought across the border by Mexican drug cartels dramatically decreases — and is putting a dent in their cash flow.

A newly-released statistical report from the U.S. Border Patrol shows a sharp drop-off in cannabis captured at the border between the United States and Mexico. The reduction in weed trafficking coincides with dozens of states embracing cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes.

In fact, as the Washington Post reports, cannabis confiscations at the southern border have stumbled to the lowest point in over a decade — to only 1.5 million pounds…

…Amir Zendehnam says…“Colorado, for example, is experiencing an economic boom that has never been seen in the state. The biggest issue in Colorado today is what to do with the huge amounts of revenue and economic success the state is gaining as a result of legalization. The Colorado model has proven that legalization reduces crime rates, cuts prices, pushes unfavorable competition out of the market, provides cleaner products with heightened transparency, and increases the standard of living for society as a whole.

“The only people hurt by continued societal acceptance and legalization of cannabis are the cartels and their friends, who have flourished for decades as a result of drug prohibition…”

Consumers are also starting to see the difference. Cheap low quality Mexican cannabis has become almost impossible to find in states that have legalized, while prices for high quality home-grown have steadily decreased…

Since Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in June 1971, the cost of that “war” had soared to over $1 trillion by 2010. Over $51 billion is spent annually to fight the drug war in the United States…

Early reports from Colorado’s cannabis tax scheme show that revenues that will ostensibly help schools and rehabilitation efforts by flooding the state with cash. In fact, Colorado became the first state to generate more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol in one year — $70 million.

Overdue – it’s time for the US and other countries to mirror the Portuguese model of treating addiction to drugs like an addiction to alcohol or cigarettes, using rehab instead of jail time to answer the questions asked by substance abuse.

Is this a record the United States should be proud of?

Researchers found that 149 people were cleared in 2015 for crimes they didn’t commit — more than any other year in history, according to a report published Wednesday by the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School. By comparison, 139 people were exonerated in 2014. The number has risen most years since 2005, when 61 people were cleared of crimes they didn’t commit…

The men and women who were cleared last year had, on average, served 14.5 years in prison. Some had been on death row. Others were younger than 18 when they were convicted or had intellectual disabilities. All had been swept into a justice system that’s supposed to be based on the presumption of innocence, but failed.

The high number of exonerations shows widespread problems with the system and likely “points to a much larger number of false convictions” that haven’t been reversed, the report said.

Here are some patterns the organization found in 2015 exonerations:

Official Misconduct

About 40 percent of the 2015 exonerations involved official misconduct, a record. About 75 percent of the homicide exonerations involved misconduct…

False Confessions

Almost 20 percent of exonerations in 2015 were for convictions based on false confessions — a record. Those cases overwhelmingly were homicides involving defendants who were under 18, intellectually disabled, or both…

No Crime Was Actually Committed

In about half of the exonerations in 2015, no crime was actually ever committed by the people put behind bars — a record, according to the report. Most of these cases involved drugs. Some included homicide or arson…

Flawed Forensic Evidence

Many of last year’s exonerations involved flawed or invalid forensic evidence. According to the Innocence Project, improper forensic science is a leading cause of wrongful conviction…

Faulty Eyewitness Identification

False identifications of innocent people happened in several cases the exoneration registry report outlined.

The Innocence Project says eyewitness misidentification of a suspect plays a role in more than 70 percent of convictions that are later overturned through DNA evidence…

Here’s the worst of it

There’s no clear data on how many innocent people have been wrongfully convicted. The Innocence Project, citing multiple studies, estimates from 2 percent to 5 percent of prisoners are actually innocent. The U.S., which leads the world in incarceration of its citizens, has approximately 2 million people behind bars. That means a wrongful conviction rate of 1 percent would translate to 20,000 people punished for crimes they didn’t commit. On death row, 1 in 25 are likely innocent, according to a recent study.

Innocent until proven guilty. Really?