Tag: War on Drugs (page 2)

Bolivia's President Defends Right to Chew Coca

At the meeting of the UN Commmission on Narcotic Drugs that opened today in Vienna, Bolivian President Evo Morales held up a coca leaf and defended -- to applause -- the right of Bolivians to grow and chew the plant:

Morales said that chewing coca leaves was an "ancestral right" for Bolivians. "We are not drug addicts when we consume the coca leaf. The coca leaf is not cocaine, we have to get rid of this misconception," he said in a speech that ended with applause from the hall.

"This is a millennia-old tradition in Bolivia and we would hope that you will understand that coca leaf producers are not drug dealers."


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US to Expand Drug War Along Northern Border

The Office of National Drug Control Policy today released its first National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy . The full 80-page report is here. The report is required to be submitted to Congress under the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act of 2010 (Act).

What's to come: More intelligence-gathering and sharing. [More...]

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Misplaced Priorities in the War on Drugs

Radley Balko has a new feature article at Huffington Post on law enforcment's misplaced priorities in the War on Drugs.

"The availability of huge federal anti-drug grants incentivizes departments to pay for SWAT team armor and weapons, and leads our police officers to abandon real crime victims in our communities in favor of ratcheting up their drug arrest stats," said former Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Stephen Downing. Downing is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an advocacy group of cops and prosecutors who are calling for an end to the drug war.

"When our cops are focused on executing large-scale, constitutionally questionable raids at the slightest hint that a small-time pot dealer is at work, real police work preventing and investigating crimes like robberies and rapes falls by the wayside," Downing said.


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Mexico Releases Latest Murder Numbers: The "Cockroach Effect"

Mexico has released its 2011 murder statistics for January through August. Murders are down in Juarez, the border city in Chihuahua, which has been known as the most violent area in Mexico.

While it remains exceedingly bloody, Juarez is far safer than it was in 2010: with 1,065 murders through August, it is on pace for just under 1,600 murders, a murder rate of roughly 120 per 100,000 residents. In 2010, the city registered some 3,000 murders and a murder rate of roughly 250 per 100,000.

Murders are also down in Baja California Norte, home to Tijuana and Mexicali. On the other hand, murders are up in Guerrero, especially Acapulco. [More...]

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1.6 Million Drug Arrests in 2010

The FBI annual crime report is out. There were 1.6 million drug arrests. 82% were for possession only. 46% were for possession of marijuana. More than 50% of all arrests were for marijuana.

NORML has more.

LEAP (Law Enforcment Officers Against Prohibition): That's one drug arrest every 19 seconds.

"If we legalized and taxed drugs, we could not only create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users, but we'd make society safer by bankrupting the cartels and gangs who control the currently illegal marketplace."

The War on Drugs is an expensive failure that needs to stop.

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Sullum on Obama: "Bummer, Just Another Drug Warrior"

Jacob Sullum has the October cover story at Reason on President Obama: Bummer: Barack Obama Turns Out to Be Just Another Drug Warrior." As if anyone should be surprised.

I'm not. I've been writing since 2007 that he would do little to temper the War on Drugs. I would have called the article "Bummer: Barack Obama is Still A Drug Warrior." Why?

  • Obama's 2011 Southwest Border Drug Policy Released
  • Obama Plans to Extend Meridia Initiative in Drug War Fight
  • Obama to Ramp Up Drug War in Afghanistan
  • Obama Withdraws Support for Marijuana Decriminalization
  • Obama's 2011 Drug Policy Unveiled: Hype v. Reality
  • Obama's Drug Control Budget
  • Obama Wavers on Crack Sentencing
  • [More....]

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    More on the Drug War Budget

    I've been following the amounts we spend on the war on drugs for a while. (More here.) Here's today's sequel.

    Our Justice Department thinks that technology is hampering its ability to wiretap our phones. So it wants more money. From the DEA's 2012 Budget: [More...]

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    Obama's 2011 National Drug Policy Unveiled: Hype v. Reality

    On Saturday, I wrote about the Obama Administration's new Southwest Border Drug Control Policy. Here is the 2011 National Drug Control Policy. The Administration wants us to believe it is focused on prevention and treatment. And Sections 1-4 of the Action List do address treatment and prevention. The devil is in the details.

    Obama has no intention of reducing the crack/powder disparity further than the 18:1 ratio passed by Congress. Or reducing any other mandatory minimums for drug crimes. Or reducing any current federal drug penalties. Under the action section, "4.2.D. Foster Equitable Drug Sentencing", in red letters, is the word "Complete." [More...]

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    Obama's 2011 Southwest Border Drug War Policy Released

    Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano and Obama Drug Czar R. Gil Kerlikowske this week released the Administration's 2011 Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy. (Full report here.)

    The increased use of privacy-invasive technology predominates throughout. As does the sharing of information with Mexico (hardly a wise idea given the corruption that continues to exist in their police and military).No wonder they call it the war on drugs, it reads like a military/CIA manifesto: [More...]

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    Global Commission Report: War on Drugs A Failure

    The Global Commission on Drug Policy has just released a report finding the War on Drugs is a failure. The report is available here.

    The report says some drugs should be legalized and calls for the decriminalization of drug use. Who's on the commission? Among others: Former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, the former President of Colombia Cesar Gaviria, the current Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.

    The BBC reports:

    Their report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths...."Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.


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    Hillary Hosts Mexican Drug War Meeting: More Doomed, Expensive Policies On Tap

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a working lunch with Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa today in Washington, the third such meeting of the Merida High-Level Consultative Group on Bilateral Cooperation Against Transnational Organized Crime. (More on Meridia here and here.) Also in attendance:

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of National Drug Policy of the United States Gil Kerlikowske, USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg, Acting Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence of the Treasury David Cohen, and Ambassador of the United States to Mexico Carlos Pascual.

    The two governments issued this press release on the meeting and outlined the joint activities for the coming year. Congress has authorized $1.5 billion for Meridia since 2008, most of it for training the Mexican military and law enforcement. (As of December, 2010, $400 million had been provided. Today, the U.S. promised another $500 would be provided in 2011.) [More...]

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    Hearing on Prescription Drug Abuse: Obama's Got a New Plan

    The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing yesterday on the menace of prescription drug abuse. Who testified? Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske (written testimony here) and DEA chief Michelle Leonhart (testimony here.) What did they say? Aside from providing a bunch of questionable statistics, the Obama Administration, through the DEA, is planning on ratcheting up the war on pain medication. The plan will be unveiled as early as next week, as the 2011 National Drug Control Strategy. (You can get the gist from the proposed 2012 budget for drug control policy which the White House summarized here, here and here.)

    Here's the 227 page, $15.5 billion 2011 Federal Drug Control budget, which covered Obama's 2010 National Drug Control Strategy. The DEA's 120 page proposed 2012 budget submission and justification is here. There's 2,044.7 million for domestic enforcement, $322 million for diversion, $433 million for international enforcement. [More...]

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    Brit. Officials Declare War on Drugs a Failure

    In Britain, MPs and members of the House of Lords, have formed a new "All-Party Parliamentary Group " on Drug Policy Reform, and requesting new policies for drug issues. They say the policies should be guided by scientific evidence. They argue:

    Despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible. Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country. The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group.

    The current policies have failed. But other countries, such as Portugal, have had success. The difference: [More...]

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    U.S. Using Drones in Mexico for War on Drugs

    The New York Times reports the U.S. is employing unmanned drones in Mexico to track the cartels.

    The Pentagon began flying high-altitude, unarmed drones over Mexican skies last month, American military officials said, in hopes of collecting information to turn over to Mexican law enforcement agencies.

    The U.S. and Mexico have also agreed to open a second "counternarcotics “fusion” center" to better share information.

    In addition, the United States trains thousands of Mexican troops and police officers, collaborates with specially vetted Mexican security units, conducts eavesdropping in Mexico and upgrades Mexican security equipment and intelligence technology, according to American law enforcement and intelligence officials. [More...]

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    Obama Pledges Expanded Information Sharing In Mexican Drug War

    President Obama met with Mexico's President Calderon today. Here's the transcript of the press conference. First, Obama promises continued and increased cooperation in fighting Mexico's drug war.

    So we are continuing to speed up the delivery of equipment and training that our Mexican partners need to keep up this fight. As President Calderón cracks down on money laundering in Mexico, we’re putting unprecedented pressure on cartels and their finances here in the United States. And we thank our Mexican partners for their close cooperation following the murder of one of our immigration and customs agents, Special Agent Jaime Zapata.

    I reiterated that the United States accepts our shared responsibility for the drug violence. So to combat the southbound flow of guns and money, we are screening all southbound rail cargo, seizing many more guns bound for Mexico and we are putting more gunrunners behind bars. And as part of our new drug control strategy, we are focused on reducing the demand for drugs through education, prevention and treatment.

    President Calderon praised the increased information sharing between law enforcement in the two countries and said it will continue. [More...]

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