Category Archive 'War on Drugs'
22 Nov 2006

Anent that 92 Year Old Lady

An Open Letter to Drug Czar William Bennett from the late Milton Friedman.

92 Year Old Lady Shot By Police

22 Nov 2006

Atlanta Police Kill 92 Year Old Woman in Drug Raid

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Another atrocity produced by our absurd drug laws. It sounds like the lady died bravely defending her home.

Houston Chronicle:

ATLANTA — Police who shot and killed a 92-year-old woman after she wounded three officers were looking for a man who sold drugs to undercover agents at her home earlier that day, authorities said Wednesday.

The agents got a search warrant after buying drugs Tuesday afternoon from a man in Kathryn Johnston’s home, Assistant Police Chief Alan Dreher said.

Johnston’s niece, Sarah Dozier, said her aunt likely had reason to shoot the three plainclothes investigators as they stormed her house.

“My aunt was in good health. I’m sure she panicked when they kicked that door down,” Dozier told WAGA-TV, adding that there were no drugs in the house. “There was no reason they had to go in there and shoot her down like a dog.”

Police insisted the officers did everything right before entering the home, despite suggestions from the woman’s neighbors and relatives that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Johnston was the only resident in the house at the time and had lived there for about 17 years, Dreher said. The officers “knocked and announced” before they forced open the door and were justified in shooting once fired upon, he said.

Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights activist and spokesman for the family, said he could understand why Johnston would have a gun because she lived in a high-crime area. “She was afraid,” Hutchins said. “This is a horrifying situation in a neighborhood where crime happens often. This incident is a result of a mix-up.”

As the officers approached the house around 7 p.m., a woman inside started shooting, striking each of them, said Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman.

One was hit in the arm, another in a the leg and the third in the leg, face and chest, with the chest shot striking a bullet-resistant vest. The officers were taken to a hospital for treatment, and all three were expected to recover, police said.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office is conducting its own independent investigation into the shooting, but said a preliminary review shows the officers had a legal right to search the home.

Hutchins said he would try to meet with Police Chief Richard Pennington and would meet with lawyers.

21 Aug 2006

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

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More than 5000 current and retired law enforcement officers have joined Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization founded to fight for the abolition of the United States’ current illiberal, ineffective, and socially destructive drug laws.

The enforcement of drug prohibition in the United States costs tens of billions of dollars per year, creates a black market fostering violent crime, and results in the incarceration of enormous numbers of American for victimless crimes. Because of the War on Drugs, the United States has the largest prison population in the world, more than 2,090,000 persons. The US imprisons a larger percentage of its population than any other country in the world. Belarus comes in second.

LEAP has produced an eloquent video which I highly recommend.

25 May 2006

The Myth of Addiction

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In the waning decades of the 19th century, Western societies experienced a wave of panic over the idea that various intoxicating substances offered pleasures so exquisite and seductive as to overcome the will and corrupt and enslave their users. One intoxicant after another became the target for prohibition efforts by ameliorist do-gooders.

All forms of prohibition make whatever is banned more desirable, and result in black markets. Black markets provide an opportunity for large profits by criminals, and typically lead to violence as rival gangsters fight over territories. The association of large profits with victimless forms of crime commonly results in the corruption of law enforcement.

Theodore Dalrymple draws on his medical experience as usual, in today’s Wall Street Journal, to debunk opiate addiction.

In 1822, Thomas De Quincey published a short book, “The Confessions of an English Opium Eater.” The nature of addiction to opiates has been misunderstood ever since.

De Quincey took opiates in the form of laudanum, which was tincture of opium in alcohol. He claimed that special philosophical insights and emotional states were available to opium-eaters, as they were then called, that were not available to abstainers; but he also claimed that the effort to stop taking opium involved a titanic struggle of almost superhuman misery. Thus, those who wanted to know the heights had also to plumb the depths.

This romantic nonsense has been accepted wholesale by doctors and litterateurs for nearly two centuries. It has given rise to an orthodoxy about opiate addiction, including heroin addiction, that the general public likewise takes for granted: To wit, a person takes a little of a drug, and is hooked; the drug renders him incapable of work, but since withdrawal from the drug is such a terrible experience, and since the drug is expensive, the addict is virtually forced into criminal activity to fund his habit. He cannot abandon the habit except under medical supervision, often by means of a substitute drug.

In each and every particular, this picture is not only mistaken, but obviously mistaken. It actually takes some considerable effort to addict oneself to opiates: The average heroin addict has been taking it for a year before he develops an addiction. Like many people who are able to take opiates intermittently, De Quincey took opium every week for several years before becoming habituated to it. William Burroughs, who lied about many things, admitted truthfully that you may take heroin many times, and for quite a long period, before becoming addicted…

Why has the orthodox view swept all before it? First, the literary tradition sustains it: Works that deal with the subject continue to disregard pharmacological reality, from De Quincey and Coleridge through Baudelaire, Aleister Crowley, Bulgakov, Cocteau, Nelson Algren, Burroughs and others. Second, addicts and therapists have a vested interest in the orthodox view. Addicts want to place the responsibility for their plight elsewhere, and the orthodox view is the very raison d’être of the therapists. Finally, as a society, we are always on the lookout for a category of victims upon whom to expend our virtuous, which is to say conspicuous, compassion.

The myth of addiction has a powerful appeal to the human imagination, and is enormously useful in exculpating personal misbehavior. But a society which holds more than a million people in prison for victimless crimes is paying a terrible price in order to cling to its illusions.

29 Apr 2006

Mexico Decriminalizes Drugs

Reuters reports that bot houses of Mexico’s Congress have passed legislation decriminalizing possession of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by Congress.

The measure given final passage by senators in a late night session on Thursday allows police to focus on their battle against major drug dealers, the government says, and President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law.

“This law provides more judicial tools for authorities to fight crime,” presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said on Friday. The measure was approved earlier by the lower house.

Under the legislation, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine.

Settlement in Mexico by Baby Boomer retirees is likely to increase dramatically, significantly benefiting the Mexican economy.

04 Apr 2006

Man Does 40,000 Hits of Ecstasy in 9 Years

A 37 year old Briton has shattered all previously known records of indulgence by seeking treatment after doing an alleged 40,000 hits of MDA (Ecstasy, to you) in the course of the last nine years. The poor fellow “suffers from severe physical and mental health side-effects, including extreme memory problems, paranoia, hallucinations and depression. He also suffers from painful muscle rigidity around his neck and jaw which often prevents him from opening his mouth.” But he also smoked so much dope, it’s pretty hard to tell what it was that messed him up.

03 Mar 2006

Captive Jihadi Reveals Frankish Tortures

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O, my Beloved, in order to vindicate the justice of the Islamic cause, and in order to reveal the greatness of God, and to make known to the entire world the wickedness and cruelty of the Franks, Time Magazine (blessings and peace be upon it!) informs the world of the struggles of the brave jihadi Mohammad al-Qahtani. (Identified by the intelligence forces of the Great Satan as having been intended to be the 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001, travelling on Flight 93. But who was prevented by the enemies of God from entering the United States, was deported, and then re-captured by the infidels in Afghanistan a few months later.)

Brother al-Qahtani has obtained legal representation by infidels made mad by God and compelled to battle against those who would protect them from the vengeance of the Faithful.

Consequently, in accordance with Allah’s will, the mujahid Mohammad al-Qahtani now proclaims that all of his earlier statements and confessions (providing intelligence and identifying Al Qaeda personnel) were lies extracted from him by such brutal tortures as intrusions into his personal space, the pouring of water he declined to drink upon his head, and worst of all (Have pity, O Believers!): the hanging ’round his neck of images of beautiful women clad only in swimming suits!

So ever may the Faithful be permitted to confound the unbelievers and thus bring them ever nearer to their appointed destruction. Allahu Akhbar!

84 page Interrogation Log — Detainee 063 23 November 2002 — 11 January 2003

17 Feb 2006

Another ex-CIA Officer Replies to Paul Pillar

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Guillermo Christenson replies with devastating results to Paul Pillar’s recent attack on the Bush Administration in Foreign Affairs:

CIA officers on the cusp of retirement often enroll in a seminar that is supposed to help them adjust to life after the agency — teaching them, for example, how to write a resumé. I’ve begun to wonder if part of that program now includes a writing seminar on how to beat up on the Bush administration. The latest such blast comes from Paul Pillar, who, over the course of his long career, was arguably a central player in the CIA’s analysis of the Middle East, in particular Iraq. But now Mr. Pillar has decided to disclose to the world, in a recent article in Foreign Affairs, that he thought all along that the war was a bad idea, and that the president and his advisers ignored his intelligence.

Why Mr. Pillar would even attempt to argue that the White House ignored the CIA’s intelligence is beyond me — as innumerable investigations have demonstrated, all of the “intelligence” within his responsibility was 100% in agreement that Iraq posed a serious danger and that it had an active program for acquiring WMD. Over the course of a decade and a half, and thousands of pages of intelligence analysis, it is hard to think of anyone in the government who was more directly involved in reaching the wrong conclusions about what was going on in Iraq than Mr. Pillar himself.

But let’s put all that aside for the moment and conjecture that Mr. Pillar actually did change his mind about all that work he’d done, and that he really did think the intelligence didn’t support the case for war. If that was truly so, no one was better positioned to make the case against war within the government than Mr. Pillar himself. He could have personally drafted a National Intelligence Estimate, or any number of other types of memoranda, for senior readers in government, recording for all in black and white what was really going on in Iraq. He could, furthermore, have shared that analysis with every single member of Congress by writing less-classified summaries of the conclusions, as is often done.

So why did Mr. Pillar fail to take these steps? Again, as the person in charge of assessing Iraq, if he really believed that Iraq posed no threat to the U.S., we’re owed an explanation of why none of the consequences of going to war — economic costs, military and civilian casualties — were important enough for him to do something about it when it mattered. According to Mr. Pillar, it was only a year into the war that such an analysis was even undertaken, and then only at the request of the administration. The other major intelligence estimate performed before the war was the 2002 NIE on WMD, “infamous,” as Mr. Pillar calls it, because it was so wrong.

The fact is, no other issue in the history of the CIA is as deserving of the title “Mother of all Intelligence Failures” as the debacle over the CIA’s analysis of Iraq. Take your pick of the many studies that have tried to understand why the intelligence was so inaccurate, but the basic conclusion underlying all of them is the same: The CIA’s analysis and collection on Iraq was flat-out wrong over the course of many years — first in missing the fact that Iraq had WMD before the Gulf War, and then, well, you know the rest.

Paul Pillar was right in the thick of the process and substance that reached those conclusions. Had he actually written a warning to the administration against going to war before the war, his conclusions could not have rested on any of the CIA’s intelligence analysis, but instead on his own political views against the administration — something which he has made no bones about in discussions with think-tank audiences long before he left the agency. This, incidentally, is prohibited behavior according to the professional practices of the CIA, the equivalent of betraying attorney-client confidentiality.

Not merely content to have played a leading role in the Iraq intelligence failure, Mr. Pillar is now following in the footsteps of others like Michael Scheuer, in undermining whatever credibility and access the CIA still may have with policymakers. By violating his confidences, Mr. Pillar is ensuring that those who succeed him — those who are, I hope, trying to fix the many problems facing the CIA — will be even less likely to see any real impact from their work because the president and his advisers will be loath to trust them.

For decades, there has been a common understanding that CIA analysts play a role roughly analogous, for policymakers, to experts whose opinions are sought in confidence, such as lawyers or accountants. Presidents and their advisers have felt comfortable in relying on analysts, in theory at least, for unbiased information and conclusions — and for keeping their mouths shut about what they learn. Presidents, secretaries of state, and others have given the CIA access into the inner sanctum of policymaking in the belief that the CIA would not use the media or leaks to influence the outcome.

For a CIA officer to discard this neutral role and to inject himself in the political realm is plain wrong. It will end up making the CIA even less relevant than it is today — if that is possible.

Earlier Post

20 Dec 2005

Bad News and Good News for the War on Drugs

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On the one hand, the front runner in Bolivian presidential race is leftist Evo Morales, who campaigned promising to legalize cocaine production. On the other hand, Morales is a socialist who is planning to introduce new government planning and production controls. Just watch coca production plummet under Socialism. Shortages may soon be expected.

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