Crimes Against Humanity
He escalated the racist war on drugs
Rather than pulling out our pocketbooks, we should be taking off our shoes, and lobbing them at Bush for his naked attempts to elide his responsibility for the enormity of suffering he created for those in 'other' lands he had no trouble ravaging, as well as for his own countrymen and women.
Yet He is Free Living The Luxury Lifestyle , He Should Be in Prison
Learn and Correct From Our Mistakes, Only Way to Move Forward
He escalated the racist war on drugs. In September 1989, in a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office, Bush held up a bag of crack cocaine, which he said had been “seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . … It could easily have been heroin or PCP.”
Yet a Washington Post investigation later that month revealed that federal agents had “lured” the drug dealer to Lafayette Park so that they could make an “undercover crack buy in a park better known for its location across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House than for illegal drug activity” (the dealer didn’t know where the White House was and even asked the agents for directions).
Bush cynically used this prop — the bag of crack — to call for a $1.5 billion increase in spending on the drug war, declaiming: “We need more prisons, more jails, more courts, more prosecutors.”
The result? “Millions of Americans were incarcerated, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, and hundreds of thousands of human beings allowed to die of AIDS — all in the name of a ‘war on drugs’ that did nothing to reduce drug abuse,” pointed out Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, in 2014. Bush, he argued, “put ideology and politics above science and health.”
Today, even leading Republicans, such as Chris Christie and Rand Paul, agree that the war on drugs, ramped up by Bush during his four years in the White House, has been a dismal and racist failure.
He groped women. Since the start of the #MeToo movement, in late 2017, at least eight different women have come forward with claims that the former president groped them, in most cases while they were posing for photos with him. One of them, Roslyn Corrigan, told Time magazine that Bush had touched her inappropriately in 2003, when she was just 16. “I was a child,” she said.
The former president was 79. Bush’s spokesperson offered this defense of his boss in October 2017: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.” Yet, as Time noted, “Bush was standing upright in 2003 when he met Corrigan.”
Facts matter. The 41st president of the United States was not the last Republican moderate or a throwback to an imagined age of conservative decency and civility; he engaged in race baiting, obstruction of justice, and war crimes. He had much more in common with the two Republican presidents who came after him than his current crop of fans would like us to believe.
US agents lured a teen near the White House to sell drugs so George H.W. Bush could make a point
On Sept. 5, 1989, US president George H.W. Bush made a televised speech from the Oval Office announcing his administration’s escalation of the so-called “War on Drugs.” To illustrate the gravity of situation, Bush held up a bag of crack cocaine on live TV—drugs purchased, he told viewers, just steps from the White House where he now sat.
Bush’s speechwriters hit upon the idea of the visual aid days before the speech. The only problem was reality: There weren’t many drug sales in the area immediately around the White House, as University of Baltimore assistant professor Joshua Clark Davis highlighted recently on Twitter.
To supply the locally sourced crack, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration had to lure a dealer to a part of Washington well outside his usual territory. (When the story came out, the White House denied that they had ever asked the DEA to set up a sale.)
Agents decided upon Keith Jackson, an 18-year-old high-school senior who had never ventured to Bush’s neighborhood before. “Where the [expletive] is the White House?” he asked undercover agents in a secretly recorded conversation. Undercover agents had been talking to Jackson, a small-time dealer, in the hopes of getting information on a more powerful one.
After much cajoling, Jackson met an agent in Lafayette Park just next to the White House, an area whose heavy foot traffic and police presence normally precluded any drug activity. Jackson collapsed in tears after his conviction. He had no prior criminal record.
He was later sentenced to 10 years for this first offense, a sentence reluctantly imposed by US District Judge Stanley Sporkin, who by that time was forced to work off of mandatory minimum sentencing laws passed by Congress in 1988 as part of the War on Drugs.
Bush never did. “The man went there and sold drugs in front of the White House, didn’t he?” Bush told reporters (paywall). “I can’t feel sorry for this fellow.”Since his death on Nov. 30 at age 94, Bush has been praised for his many examples of gracious bipartisanship, particularly in contrast to today’s bitterly divided politics
But the darker parts of his legacy reveal ugly moments when Bush played off divisions—not between his fellow members of the privileged ruling elite, but between the largely white, middle-class voters to whom his policies were designed to appeal and the poor communities of color they targeted.
One of Bush’s most infamous legacies is the “Willie Horton” ad, deployed on TV during his 1988 presidential race against Michael Dukakis.
To portray Dukakis as soft on crime, the commercial highlighted the case of Willie Horton, who raped a woman after escaping prison during a weekend furlough program that Dukakis supported. But its lingering focus on a prison photograph of Horton, a black man, was criticized for appealing to white voters’ racism.
Today, in large part due to the legacy of drug sentencing laws, the US has the world’s highest incarceration rate. Nearly 80% of people in federal prison and 60% of those in state prisons for drug offenses are black or Latino, according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
A Brief History of the Drug War
The drug war from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for.
After you watch the video, read on to learn more about the discriminatory history of the war on drugs.
Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It's not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs – but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.
The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans.
Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.
In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations. Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization.
In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.
Nixon and the Generation Gap
In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy. In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.”
He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrantsA top Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, later admitted: “You want to know what this was really all about.
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.”Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.
The 1980s and 90s: Drug Hysteria and Skyrocketing Incarceration Rates
The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.
Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed “crack.”
Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan "Just Say No." This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s.
Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot,” founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness.
The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.
In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation's "number one problem" was just 2-6 percent.
The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent – one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history.
Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.
Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war.
Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, Health Secretary Donna Shalala’s advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office,
Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that "we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment" of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use "should be decriminalized."
At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation – describing it as the “loyal opposition to the war on drugs.”
Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser.
In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.
In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.
The New Millennium: The Pendulum Shifts – Slowly – Toward Sensible Drug Policy
George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam – yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John
Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.
The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush's term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year – mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors.
While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.
Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, "You bet I did – and I enjoyed it." Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use:
"When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently – that was the point."
Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy.Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Washington State, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults.
In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans legalize marijuana for adults by 2018.
In response to a worsening overdose epidemic, dozens of U.S. states passed laws to increase access to the overdose antidote, naloxone, as well as “911 Good Samaritan” laws to encourage people to seek medical help in the event of an overdose.
Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.
President Obama, despite supporting several successful policy changes – such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and ending federal interference with state medical marijuana laws – did not shift the majority of drug policy funding to a health-based approach. Now, the new administration is threatening to take us backward toward a 1980s style drug war.
President Trump is calling for a wall to keep drugs out of the country, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he does not support the sovereignty of states to legalize marijuana, and believes “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Progress is inevitably slow, and even with an administration hostile to reform there is still unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform in states and localities across the country.
The Drug Policy Alliance and its allies will continue to advocate for health-based reforms such as marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization, safe consumption sites, naloxone access, bail reform, and more. We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.
A War On Drugs? Not At All.
The people pictured above are using their drug of choice without the fear of being 'punished' by society. They can use alcohol, tobacco and caffeine freely and without penalty from the criminal justice system.
They can possess and use their drug of choice and not be subject to any of the following: arrest, being brought before a court, being fined, having a criminal record imposed upon them, imprisonment or having their assets seized and forfeited. They will not have their employment jeopardised because they happen to use a 'recreational' drug.
Why are people who happen to use drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine subjected to the criminal justice system for using their drug of choice when the users of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are not?
The answer given by governments and authorities is that users of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are subjected to the criminal justice system in order to punish them for using the substances and as a deterrent to use of the drugs.
The justification offered for this strategy is that drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are dangerous and a unique threat to health and welfare. Therefore, users are punished and use of the substances is thereby discouraged, with the aim being the protection of health and welfare. The substances are portrayed as a threat to mankind, therefore requiring control and eradication: hence the 'War on Drugs'.
The 'flagship' substance in all of this is heroin. The decades-old assertion is that heroin is responsible for the sudden deaths of people who take 'too much'. The assertion that current 'drug policy' is a response to harm caused by the use of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, is a complete and utter deception. The following two pieces of information are fundamental to understanding why the justification for the 'War on Drugs' is untrue:
Firstly, the two most dangerous drugs in society are undeniably alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol and tobacco are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide annually and a huge burden of disease.
Alcohol is so toxic, it kills bacteria on contact; this is why it is used as a disinfectant. It is associated with organ disease including brain and liver damage and undesirable behaviour due to its dis-inhibitory effects.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can result in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, with the child suffering from a "... range of physical, cognitive, developmental and emotional deficits ..." When smoked, tobacco introduces scores of cancer-causing chemicals to the body.
The consequences of its use fall into three general disease categories: cancer, cardio-vascular and respiratory. It has an association with approximately twenty percent of all deaths annually in the United States of America. So, based on these facts, if the basic premise offered to justify current 'drug policy' were to be applied equally and without exception, the users of alcohol and tobacco would be subject to the criminal justice system for using the most dangerous drugs in existence.
This would be done in order to punish them for using the substances and as a deterrent to use of the drugs. Secondly, an 'overdose' of heroin (morphine) does not 'stop people breathing'.
Heroin is portrayed as the most dangerous of the 'illicit' drugs. However, fatal 'heroin overdose' is a falsehood. It has been conclusively proven that heroin is not dangerous in overdose. When opioids are involved in a drug-related death or adverse event it is because of a combination of drugs leading to heavy sedation and airway obstruction, with the consequence being asphyxiation.
This situation can occur as a result of many combinations of substances that do not involve heroin or other opioids. That heroin is not dangerous is arguably the most important piece of information if one is to truly understand the 'War on Drugs'.
Refer to Heroin - the truth on this website for detail. So, the phenomenon known as the 'War on Drugs' cannot be about punishing and deterring users of dangerous drugs. Firstly, alcohol and tobacco are the two most dangerous drugs, yet their users and suppliers are not punished by society.
Secondly, heroin (morphine) is not a dangerous drug: it causes nausea and constipation. It does not kill. Yet its users are subject to the full brunt of the criminal justice system and the scorn of society. Therefore, regarding the danger of the substances and the treatment of their users, obvious inconsistencies and double standards exist.
Clearly, the aim of the 'War on Drugs' is not related to reducing harm due to the use of psychoactive substances (drugs). The two most dangerous drugs are alcohol and tobacco, yet the behaviours of using and supplying these two substances (and caffeine) is not addressed by the policy.
Fatal 'heroin overdose' is a myth, but most importantly, it is a lie. Heroin is falsely portrayed as a uniquely dangerous substance, requiring 'control measures' to prevent and minimise its use.
The behavioural double standard
Before we address the true nature of the 'War on Drugs', there is one point of interest that requires discussion and acknowledgement. This is the process that leads to people who are exhibiting a particular behaviour (using their drug of choice), being categorised into two different groups, which are treated in two very different ways
.We are aware that when it comes to 'drug policy', there are two relevant groups of behaviour. The first group is the behaviour of using the drugs alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
This is deemed acceptable and is not legally sanctioned even though two of these drugs are supremely dangerous. The second group is the behaviour of using a drug other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. This is deemed unacceptable and carries with it, criminal sanctions. However, both behaviours are fundamentally the same.
People are merely using their drug of choice. Some drugs are truly dangerous (alcohol and tobacco) while others are relatively benign (opioids). There is only one type of behaviour being exhibited, whatever the substance. What then, leads to the situation where one type of behaviour (using a drug of choice) is subject to two very different sets of consequences?
In regards to determining the consequences for those people who happen to use substances other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, there are two relevant points of interest. Both are related to the self interest of those making the laws that affect themselves and those who vote for them.
Law making and self-interest
Let's say as a hypothetical, that the 'War on Drugs' was to be an actual strategy to reduce and prevent the use of dangerous 'recreational' drugs. It is decided to use criminal sanctions to achieve these goals.
Of course, the focus will be on the two most dangerous drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Firstly, laws will be drafted and then enacted to make possession, use, manufacture, distribution and sale of these drugs, a criminal offence. An interesting point is immediately apparent. Let us assume that eighty percent of politicians use and enjoy alcohol.
It is certain that no politician would support the formulation and enacting of laws that make possessing and using their own drug of choice, a criminal offence. They would not allow a situation where their own behaviour would be subject to criminal penalties such as fining, imprisonment and asset forfeiture. It is almost certain that the majority of their colleagues who do not use alcohol would also not support measures such as this.
Obviously, this hypothetical would not proceed past the conceptual stage. Needless to say, if the possession and use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine were to be made subject to criminal sanctions, society would be largely dysfunctional.
Let's say that as a conservative estimate, eighty percent of society would be engaging in criminal behaviour on a daily basis. A situation such as this would not even be suggested as being plausible or desirable.
In a democracy, politicians are installed by the populace and ultimately are answerable to the populace. Would a politician in a democracy support the formulation and enactment of laws that would make the drug-taking behaviour (use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine) of the majority of people and therefore voters, a criminal act?
No, they would not. Voters would not re-elect a political party that made their drug-taking behaviour subject to criminal sanctions. They would not vote for such a political party due to self-interest.
The mere suggestion of such a policy would result in its proponents being immediately relegated to a position of political irrelevance. Let's focus on the 'behavioural double standard'. We have just discussed how a politician would not be involved in the formulation of legislation that would be harmful to themselves or the majority of society.
They would never permit the formulation of legislation that would make criminal, their own drug-taking behaviour or that of the majority of society in respect to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. But, as history has shown, the majority are certainly prepared to make criminal, the drug-taking behaviour of those whose drug of choice is other than the three most popular drugs.
Controlled substances: the mechanism for defining a minority
The instrument of law for categorising psychoactive substances (drugs) and thereby the treatment of their respective users in the United States of America, is the Controlled Substances Act. Each country subscribing to the international policy regime (the 'War on Drugs') has its own variant.
The purpose of the Controlled Substances Act and its international variants is portrayed as being the protection of health and welfare in regards to psychoactive substance use. Accordingly, certain drugs are 'controlled' apparently on the basis of their capacity for harm, in order to protect the health and welfare of people
However, the two most dangerous drugs in existence, alcohol and tobacco (and caffeine), are not 'controlled'. So obviously, the purpose of the act cannot be related to addressing harm resulting from psychoactive-substance use.
In reality, the act imposes two fundamental circumstances:
It lists the substances and therefore the drug-taking behaviours that are subject to criminal sanctions. The point of interest here is that alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, the drugs of choice of law-makers, their agents (police etc) and the majority of the population, are not included despite meeting the criteria for inclusion. These criteria include: "... high potential for abuse" and "... [having] no currently accepted medical use in treatment
By 'controlling' substances other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, the act dictates that they are largely produced, distributed and sold under unregulated, black-market conditions.
So in actual fact, the Controlled Substances Act primarily defines two circumstances. Firstly, the segment of society that is subjected to criminal sanctions for an association with a drug of choice. Secondly, the substances that are supplied by a black market. The only way in which the Controlled Substances Act and its variants could have any credibility as policies concerned with drug-related harm, would be if the supply and use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine was addressed in the same manner as 'controlled' drugs.
The 'War on Drugs' is not 'Prohibition'
Current 'drug policy' is commonly referred to as 'prohibition', which was the term given to the alcohol control policy of the early twentieth century in the United States. There is however, one fundamental difference between the two policies. Under U.S. federal 'prohibition' (1920-33), possession and use of alcohol was not subject to criminal sanctions.
The amendment stated: "... the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States ... for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited".
The 'War on Drugs' is fundamentally different to 'prohibition' because it allows for the oppression of substance users via the provision of criminal penalties for possession and use.
An age-old way to garner support for a political strategy is to create a threat and then appear to provide protection to the masses from the perceived threat. If a war is believed to be a strategy that is desirable from a cynical economic point of view but undesirable from a humanitarian perspective, the illusion of an enemy can be created to provide justification for the conflict.
President Nixon achieved this with great effectiveness in 1971 when he announced that "... public enemy number one ..." was "... drug abuse" (use of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine). He manufactured the threat and instilled fear in the people. He then announced that he would protect the populace by waging "... total war ..." on the threat.
The fact that the threat did not exist and that the 'war' actually had entirely different motivations, would not have been appreciated by the vast majority of the general public.
An inconvenient truth will always exist for proponents of policy that applies criminal sanctions to users of psychoactive substances with the stated aim of protecting health and welfare; the most dangerous drugs are alcohol and tobacco.
The terminology of fear
A fundamental instrument of propaganda is the use of the word 'drug'. The word is used almost exclusively in reference to substances other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. The drugs of the majority (alcohol, tobacco and caffeine) are generally not referred to as being 'drugs', even though they are. The word, through its association with the drugs of the minority, is given a negative connotation.
This allows a false and self-serving distinction to be made: that alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are not 'drugs' and therefore are a lesser threat to health and welfare. This incorrect distinction allows the majority to believe that their drug-taking behaviour in respect to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine is not what it actually is, that is, drug-taking behaviour. This act of denial (failing to recognise what is obviously the case) allows the majority to justify and ignore the mistreatment of the minority.
Often used in combination with 'drug' is 'abuse'. 'Drug abuse' is a term almost exclusively used in reference to use of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. The term infers that use of other substances is an act that is somehow deviant, self-destructive and inherently different in nature. In actual fact, use of other drugs entails exactly the same fundamental process as does use of the three 'legal' drugs.
The term 'drug abuse' is rarely applied to the use of alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Use of these drugs is portrayed as normal, generally positive in nature and a basic right that any adult can and should be able to exercise.
The True Nature of The War on Drugs
The so-called 'War on Drugs' is not in any way concerned with reducing harm related to the use of psychoactive substances (drugs) of any kind. If its purpose was to reduce harm due to use of psychoactive substances, obviously, it would address supply and use of alcohol and tobacco.
Supply and use of these two drugs and caffeine, is not addressed by the policy.
So obviously, the policy has intentions other than the reduction and prevention of harm from drug use. The 'War on Drugs' is foremost an intentional policy to create and maintain extremely lucrative economic systems based upon the inequitable treatment of a minority.
These systems can be categorised into two general income sources:That derived from the black market. This amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars annually, worldwide bullet pointThat derived from government. This amounts to tens of billions of dollars annually, in the U.S. alone.
The so-called 'War on Drugs' is actually an intentional, world-wide economic system of enormous proportions.
And what makes these economic systems possible? The creation and maintenance by law, of a minority. A class of people that are lawfully able to be used as a resource and whose treatment enables financial and political gain. These people are those who happen to use a drug other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
In order to enable and sustain vast economic systems, these people are able by law to be detained, fined, imprisoned, have their assets seized and not be entitled to a regulated and safe supply of their drug of choice, amongst other things.
This occurs simply because they are a minority and it is therefore politically achievable to impose upon them things that would never be imposed upon the law-makers, their agents and the majority of the population.
Of course, the double standard that underpins and enables the phenomenon is that the drug-taking behaviour (in respect to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine) of those who make the laws and carry out the arresting, imprisoning and asset seizure, is not subject to criminal sanctions.
Again, the 'War on Drugs' has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of any substance or its capacity for harm; substance use is merely a convenient way of defining those who comprise the economic resource.
Primarily, the 'War on Drugs' is about money, whether it is derived from the black market or government. It is also about political advantage. It is not concerned in any way with preventing or reducing harm related to the consumption of psychoactive substances (drugs) of any kind.
The creation of a minority legally able to be exploited for financial and political gain is achieved by the application of criminal sanctions to the behaviours surrounding drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
The Drugs Themselves
The drugs are simply a way of defining a minority. Drug use itself cannot be used as a way of defining those who are to be arrested, fined, imprisoned or have their assets seized etc., as the vast majority of people use drugs (alcohol, tobacco and caffeine). Therefore, the strategy used to define the minority is the type of drug used.
Opioid users are the obvious example. A very small number of people use opioids due to their unpleasant side effects: nausea and constipation. These people are portrayed as an undesirable segment of the population and as engaging in a uniquely dangerous and unnacceptable behaviour: use of a drug other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
A small number of 'demonised' people has no political power, therefore it is possible to treat them in a way that the majority would not accept being treated themselves.
An 'enemy' to be feared is created, in this case, drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. In reality, alcohol and tobacco are the most dangerous 'recreational' drugs by far. However, to create an 'enemy', drugs other than these two (and caffeine) are falsely portrayed as being uniquely dangerous and therefore to be feared.
Demand will never cease. Demand for psychoactive substances will continue regardless of controls put on them. This ensures the ongoing viability of the economic systems built around their supply and use.
The 'War on Drugs' is not a policy device to reduce the supply and use of dangerous psychoactive substances. It is a cynical system of contrived economic enterprise based on the oppression of a minority. The drugs themselves are merely the commodity that happens to be convenient as a way of defining the minority. The minority is thereby arrested, fined, imprisoned and in some countries, executed, using the false justification of the particular drug they use.
The Money, Where It Comes From And Who Benefits
Money From The Black Market
It is basic economic theory that if demand for a product exists and the supply is restricted, the price increases. In regards to psychoactive substances, the principle is equally relevant. Demand for drugs of any kind will remain strong regardless of any controls placed upon their supply.
This situation occurred during alcohol 'prohibition' and led to the involvement of organised crime in the supply of alcohol due to the large tax-free profits able to be made.A 2014 report estimated the amount spent on cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in the U.S. alone, to be $100 billion annually. As far as the worldwide amount spent on 'illicit' drugs of all kinds, the figure must be truly staggering.
Who benefits from the black market?
Those who are prepared to risk criminal penalties including imprisonment and even execution to profit from the supply of substances. The endeavour can be lucrative, with substantial tax-free profits possible, but obviously for some, it can entail substantial risks. There are always those who will accept the inherent risks to engage in such an enterprise.
If we remove the double standard, what is the fundamental difference between a supplier of alcohol and a supplier of opioids? Absolutely nothing. Both parties are supplying a central nervous system depressant drug. One (alcohol) is far more dangerous than the other (opioids), but they are both drugs of choice taken voluntarily by people for their psychoactive effects.
Those who form part of the 'legitimate' economy but who benefit from the money that the 'illegitimate' or 'black' economy produces. The black market in 'illicit' substances generates enormous profits. Much of this money is subject to laundering processes and is then deposited in banks as 'legitimate' money.
Money Delivered From Government
As regards money derived from government, the EDROM is quite simply a massive re-distribution system for government money, justified as a 'war' to control and defeat a fictitious enemy. The 'enemy' is portrayed as psychoactive substances (drugs) other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and the people who use them.
However, the substances themselves are inanimate objects: it is the people who exhibit the behaviours of supplying and using them who are subject to exploition and oppression.
The people that use the substances are portrayed in a patronising manner as needing 'treatment' or punishment for doing something that is deemed 'wrong' or deviant. In fact, they are exhibiting exactly the same behaviour as most of those who arrest and imprison them: they are merely using a drug of choice.
Enforcement agencies are charged with the task of apprehending and supposedly punishing people apparently on the basis of the drug they have used or supplied. Enormous amounts of public money are provided to sustain these activities. But as noted previously, these 'control measures' are highly selective as regards who is subject to them.
Only those whose drug of choice is other than alcohol, tobacco or caffeine are subject to criminal sanctions due to a simple association with a psychoactive substance. The selective nature of the policy demonstrates that it is merely a contrived justification for the spending of government money for job creation and profit motives and the political advantage this brings.
Since the industrial revolution and the advent of mechanisation, there has been a huge reduction in the amount of manual labour required to produce goods and services. With increasing population and decreasing demand for manual labour, a way of supporting those who were surplus to the economys' requirements was required to prevent a continuing situation of humanitarian disaster.
Welfare was thereby introduced. In applicable societies, the 'state' (government and its agencies) assists monetarily, those who cannot support themselves via employment or economic enterprise.
In many societies however, the distribution of welfare can be dishonest and selective. Welfare to the poor and unemployed is portrayed as being a financial liability and therefore to be minimised, whilst at the same time, money is generously distributed to others under the guise of an accommodating strategy.
These strategies attempt to hide the fact that the money being distributed is indeed, 'welfare'. One of these strategies is unfortunately, war. Hence the 'War on Drugs'.
In Australia in 2009-10, it is estimated that $1.123 billion was spent on enforcement of 'drug' policy. (3a:p33) What does this mean? It simply means that a number of Australians were employed to hunt down fellow human beings and arrest, make formally criminal and imprison many of them.
It is to be noted that many of those involved in the arresting, criminalising and imprisoning of others, apparently on the basis of psychoactive drug use, use the two most dangerous drugs in existence: alcohol and tobacco (and caffeine).
The (false) justification for this treatment of others is that it is a necessary measure designed to protect health and welfare. The actual purpose of the policy is job creation, profits and the political advantage this brings.
An astonishing amount of money is devoted to the EDROM each year in the United States, with "... a total of more than $31.1 billion dollars ... requested for Federal drug control programs for 2017". A considerable sum is also spent by the states, with the total amount spent comprising many tens of billions of dollars.
Who benefits from government money?
Law enforcement organisations. The obvious example is the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States, as it is solely concerned with enforcing 'drug control' laws. It is part of the U.S. Department of Justice, and employs "... more than 9000 men and women ...".
In 2015, DEA agents arrested 31,027 people in the United States alone. It had an annual budget for the financial year 2016 of $2.98 billion. The organisation has an international presence with "... 89 offices in 68 (2016) countries around the world".
Imagine a world in which there was a government organisation who's sole purpose was to forcibly involve in the criminal justice system, people who chose to be involved in the supply of alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. Obviously this would only ever be a hypothetical scenario.
It would not be seriously considered, as apart from being untenable, it would rightfully be identified as a human-rights abuse. This situation is however, happening right now in regards to currently 'illicit' drugs.
Law enforcement organisations worldwide are involved in an ongoing human-rights abuse as part of their work. This is their enforcement of so-called 'drug laws'. This involves them forcibly involving in the criminal justice system, those who happen to be associated with substances other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.
As an indicator of the inequity of the situation, consider the hypothetical scenario of a law-enforcement officer being arrested for possession of their drug of choice, be it alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. This would obviously be an untenable and undesirable situation from their and society's perspective.
The prison industry. In the U.S. in 2015, 92,000 people were in federal prisons due to "drug offenses". (6:p15) This was almost 50% of prisoners. The average sentence length for 'drug offences' was an alarming 11.3 years.
Categorised on the basis of race, "three quarters of ... drug offenders were black or Hispanic". In state-run prisons in 2015, "twenty-five percent of female ... prisoners (23,500 persons) and 15% of male ... prisoners (182,700 persons) were sentenced for drug offenses".
This is a staggering total of 298,200 people imprisoned in one country alone on the basis of their possession, use and/or involvement in supply of drugs other than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Mass imprisonment of people purely on the basis of an association with a drug of choice, something taken as a basic right in respect to alcohol, tobacco and caffeine
.But the drugs themselves only serve as the false justification for involving a minority in the criminal justice system and thereby one of its mechanisms, imprisonment. The imprisonment of these people helps sustain the prison 'industry'. This is the obvious and obscene human tragedy of current 'drug' policy.
Bush Administration Convicted of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity
Former U.S. President George W. Bush recently dedicated his Presidential Library in Dallas. The ceremony included speeches by President Obama, ex-President Bush, and every other living ex-president. But none of the speeches so much as mentioned to Iraq war — the undertaking that dominated George W. Bush’s presidency, and will define his historic legacy.
This omission might be due, at least in part, to the fact that Mr. Bush is now a convicted war criminal who dares not travel abroad out of fear of being arrested.
In February 2011, Bush was forced to cancel a scheduled appearance in Geneva, Switzerland after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint charging him with violating international treaties against torture.
His trouble increased dramatically a year ago when Bush — along with former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and several other top Bush administration officials — were convicted of war crimes in absentia by a special war crimes tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal was convened and conducted according to internationally recognized procedures and rules of evidence, and the week-long hearing ended with the five-member panel unanimously delivering guilty verdicts.
What is the significance of that tribunal? Is its verdict legally binding? Are there troublesome aspects to the idea that a foreign tribunal can sit in judgment of a U.S. President — whatever we may think of his actions? We will discuss these vitally important questions with Dr. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He served as a prosecutor at the tribunal.
George W Bush, the former US president, is promoting a book of paintings, entitled Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors, depicting American soldiers - veterans from the ongoing "war on terror".
The George W Bush Presidential Center tells us that the book "brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our Nation with honour since 9/11 - and whom he has come to know personally".
The hardcover edition costs an affordable $35; the deluxe, signed and personalised edition sets you back $350, with proceeds from sales going to a non-profit organisation that helps veterans.
Bush's latest efforts received a largely positive review from Mimi Swartz in the New York Times. The title of her article, Art of Redemption, hints - in its use of the word "redemption" - that having sinned and fallen from grace, "W" is trying to regain possession of his soul and his humanity through his paintings.
Bush, who is famously a "Born-Again Christian", does not need to make these paintings in order to seek absolution from his God. However, he clearly feels the need to do something to gain favour from his earthly critics.
Admittedly, Bush's portraits depict thoughtful engagements with his subjects - their contemplative expressions sometimes hinting that they have turned inward, sitting before the man who sent them to war. However, these paintings - with each painful stroke attempting to honourably depict individual American "warriors" - are also about recapturing Bush's legitimacy as the former Commander in Chief of US Armed Forces.
'Shock and awe'
Swartz, in her New York Times article, notes that audiences and art critics were in "shock and awe" at Bush's growth as a painter - tastelessly referencing the name that US military gave the 2003 bombings of Baghdad using Tomahawk cruise missiles,
killing more than 6,700 civilians during the initial phase of the invasion. But even she admits that these wars are "otherwise known as Mr Bush's disastrous venture in the Middle East".
The number of US military casualties from Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, as confirmed by the US Central Command, is now at 6,877, according to Military Times. In March 2013, Veterans Affairs - the body responsible for providing vital services to US veterans -
stopped releasing statistics on non-fatal war casualties to the public, claiming unspecified "security" reasons; what is known is that 900,000 service personnel were treated by December 2012 after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
And while the budget allocated for Veterans Affairs in 2014 was an astonishing $152.7bn ($182.3bn for 2017), it was estimated that 40 veterans died while waiting for healthcare. The scandal exposed systemic incompetence, mismanagement and corruption.
M I Ro
photos by pixabay.com