Tag Archives: Drug Enforcement Administration

The Will Of The People Doesn’t Mean Jack To Drug Warriors

Center for a Stateless    Society

building public awareness of left-wing market anarchism

I can not say I always agree with all this site stands for but much is worth reading including the following article. (E):

Posted by  on Mar 7, 2013

The Associated Press reports that eight former DEA administrators are urging the Obama administration to sue Washington and Colorado over their voter-approved moves toward  marijuana legalization.

One former chief, Peter Bensinger, fears that successful legalization efforts will lead to “a domino effect” in the US.  Where have we heard that phrase before?  Bensinger continues breathlessly, “My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: do nothing and say nothing … If they don’t act now, these laws will be fully implemented in a matter of months.”

So drug warriors are losing their minds over Colorado and Washington.  Good!  We can only hope that Bensinger’s dire predictions come true and that more Americans are indeed waking up to the absurdity of marijuana prohibition.

The former DEA bureaucrats argue, accurately, that marijuana remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.  Even in cases involving medical marijuana, the federal government may abuse the commerce clause as a rationale to criminalize users, growers and sellers of marijuana (per Gonzales v. Raich).  The commerce clause has become the federal government’s drug war equivalent of  catch-all disorderly conduct statutes in the states.

Unfortunately, these goons have a solid case to present to US Attorney General Holder.  In New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932), US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis said, “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”  But today’s political class views federalism as archaic.

Hopefully the administration will choose to ignore this thuggish recommendation.  But if they do decide to litigate, this will be another sign that the feds don’t give a damn about the  will of the people.  Liberty-loving Americans should respond to this federal intrusion with a massive wave of civil disobedience.

Let’s start by publicly shaming the DEA heads mentioned by the AP: “Bensinger, John Bartels, Robert Bonner, Thomas Constantine, Asa Hutchinson, John Lawn, Donnie Marshall and Francis Mullen.”  Get to know their names, libertarians.  They are your enemies!

Then, let’s publicize the efforts of these authoritarians to undermine the voters of Colorado and Washington.  Ask them why they continue to support a policy with openly racist origins which has resulted in mass incarceration.  Publicly reveal the motives  of the police agencies that enforce these laws .  When drug warriors drone on about “protecting the children,” confront them with the horrific reality of wrong door raids, slaughtered family pets and children terrorized with flash-bangs.  Wherever an apologist for prohibition gives a speech or attends a meeting, he or she should be met by throngs of boisterous picketers.

As we expose these petty tyrants, we should also seek opportunities to throw a wrench into the machinery of prohibition.  A mass movement of jury nullification in drug cases may be a promising tactic.  Prosecutors can use voir dire to remove one or two questionable jurors, but what if nullification becomes widespread?  They can’t remove all of us.  In the future,  we should view jury duty as a chance to liberate non-violent people from the state’s clutches.

In Tao Te Ching, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu writes, “The more laws are posted, the more robbers and thieves there are.”  Time and time again, this observation has been proven correct. The violence of the drug war is perpetuated by government, yet officials insist they must keep fighting.  In their vile attempt to protect their old turf, former DEA bosses show their true colors.  They are gangsters with federal pensions.  They will do anything to ensure that they and their ilk continue to get their cut of drug war booty.  It is up to us to expose their racket and to finish the job sensible voters in Colorado and Washington started in November.

C4SS Fellow Dave Hummels is a Left-libertarian writer from Central Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Dave has over a decade of experience in the field of healthcare security and is also a licensed emergency medical technician.

 


Insider: CIA Orchestrated Operation Fast and Furious

Federal government allowed Mexican drug cartel to import tons of cocaine into United States

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Friday, August 12, 2011

Washington Times journalists Robert Farago and Ralph Dixon cite a “CIA insider” to make the claim that Operation Fast and Furious was a Central Intelligence Agency-orchestrated program to arm the Sinaloa drug cartel, a group that was also given the green light to fly tons of cocaine into the United States.

“In congressional testimony, William Newell, former ATF special agent in charge of the Phoenix Field Division, testified that theInternal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were “full partners” in Operation Fast and Furious. Mr. Newell’s list left out the most important player: the CIA. According to a CIA insider, the agency had a strong hand in creating, orchestrating and exploiting Operation Fast and Furious,” report Farago and Nixon.

The program, with its designated cover of tracking where guns went so drug lords who purchased them could later be arrested downstream, was actually a deliberate effort to prevent the Los Zetas drug cartel from staging a successful coup d’etat against the government of Felipe Calderon by arming rival gang Sinaloa, according to the Times writers, a relationship that extended to “(allowing) the Sinaloas to fly a 747 cargo plane packed with cocaine into American airspace – unmolested.”

“The CIA made sure the trade wasn’t one-way. It persuaded the ATF to create Operation Fast and Furious – a “no strings attached” variation of the agency’s previous firearms sting. By design, the ATF operation armed the Mexican government’s preferred cartel on the street level near the American border, where the Zetas are most active,” states the report.

The notion that Fast and Furious was used as a cover through which to arm the the Sinaloa cartel would explain why the feds showed little interest in following up where guns ended up once they left the United States.

The Obama administration and the ATF claim that the Fast and Furious program was part of a sting operation to catch leading Mexican drug runners, and yet it’s admitted that the governmentstopped tracking the firearms as soon as they reached the border, defeating the entire object of the mission.

It would also account for the fact that the federal government failed to prevent Sinaloa importing tons of cocaine into the U.S.

Back in April, Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, the “logistical coordinator” for the Sinaloa drug-trafficking gang that was responsible for purchasing the CIA torture jet that crashed with four tons on cocaine on board back in 2007 told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago that he had been working as a U.S. government asset for years.

According to court transcripts, Niebla was allowed to import “multi-ton quantities of cocaine” into the U.S. as a result of his working relationship with the FBI, Homeland Security, the U.S.Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But the notion that Fast and Furious was solely an effort to isolate the Los Zetas cartel isn’t consistent with the fact that one of the gang’s kingpins recently told Mexican federal police that the group purchased its weapons directly from U.S. government officials inside America.

“They are bought in the U.S. The buyers (on the U.S. side of the border) have said in the past that sometimes they would acquire them from the U.S. Government itself,” Rejón Aguilar told police.

As we reported years ago, former DEA agent Cele Castillo has blown the whistle on how the US government controls the Los Zetas drug smuggling gang and uses it as the front group for their narco-empire.

With the gang having first been trained at the infamous School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, Castillo affirms that Los Zetas are still working for the US government in protecting drug routes to keep the wheels of Wall Street well-oiled. Castillo has gone on the record to state that the commandos are working directly for the US government drug cartel in carrying out hits on rival drug smugglers who aren’t paying their cut.

Fast and Furious may have served a dual purpose for the Obama administration.

Some evidence indicates the program was a plot on behalf of the administration to discredit the second amendment. While the feds were selling guns to Mexican drug gangs, Obama was simultaneously blaming drug violence on the flow of guns from border states to Mexico.

Even after the revelations surrounding the program became public, the ATF cited the trafficking of guns to Mexico as justification for a new regulation that has led to ATF intimidation of both gun sellers and purchasers, a policy which arrived months after President Obama told gun control advocate Sarah Brady that his administration was working “under the radar” to sneak attack the second amendment.

During a March 30 meeting between Jim and Sarah Brady and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, at which Obama “dropped in,” the president reportedly told Brady, “I just want you to know that we are working on it (gun control)….We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

The quote appeared in an April 11 Washington Post story about Obama’s gun control czar Steve Croley.

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.


Patient advocates appeal federal decision to deny medical cannabis to millions of Americans

Friday, August 12, 2011 by: Kris Hermes

(NaturalNews) Last month, after patient advocates had filed a lawsuit to compel the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to answer a 9-year-old petition to reclassify cannabis (medical marijuana), it begrudgingly complied. The government’s answer to the petition filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) was, of course, “denied.” The Obama Administration has made its position clear, however wrongheaded, that cannabis is a dangerous drug with no medical value. While disappointing, the decision to ignore the science and keep a worn-out, decades-old position merely maintains the status quo.

The opportunity in the CRC petition denial, however, is that patient advocates have stymied the federal government’s strategy of delay. With this official denial, patients, doctors, scientists, advocates, and elected officials can now appeal to correct a harmful public health policy that would deny medical cannabis to millions of Americans who could benefit from it. Less than two weeks after the denial was posted to the Federal Register ,Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group and one of the original petitioners (as part of the CRC), did just that. ASA filed a notice of appeal in the D.C. Circuit on July 21st and will file its opening brief within the next couple of months.

Now the issue heats up in federal court. The D.C. Circuit will be asked to review the evidence and make a determination on whether cannabis should remain in Schedule I, the highest category of controlled substances. Because this issue is so political and because so much money rides on the aggressive enforcement of federal marijuana laws, the Obama Administration has been put in the difficult position of defending an indefensible policy. The evidence behind the therapeutic value of cannabis, whether clinical or anecdotal, is overwhelming. It was overwhelming in 2002, when the CRC petition was filed, and it’s more overwhelming today.

“By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that shows the medical efficacy of cannabis, the Obama Administration is playing politics at the expense of sick and dying Americans,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed appeal. “For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government’s flawed position on cannabis.”

Patient advocates argue that by failing to reclassify cannabis, the federal government has stifled meaningful research into a wide array of therapeutic uses, such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea suppression, and spasticity control among many others. In 1988, the DEA ignored the ruling of its own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young who said that, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

Since the CRC petition was filed, an even greater number of studies have been published showing the medical benefits of cannabis for illnesses such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. Recent studies even show that cannabis may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Earlier this year, the National Cancer Institute, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Servicesadded cannabis to its list of Complementary Alternative Medicines, pointing out that it’s been used therapeutically for millennia.

Ironically, less than a year ago, in December 2010 the Obama Administration issued a memorandumon “the preservation and promotion of scientific integrity” of the executive branch. Yet, the application of such integrity appears to be applied selectively and not with regard to cannabis. “With science on our side, we will put an end to the government’s political posturing,” continued Elford, “and force the Obama Administration to adhere to its own stated policy of emphasizing science over politics.”

When the latest petition was filed by the CRC in 2002, eight states had adopted laws recognizing and decriminalizing the medical use of cannabis. Today, sixteen states and the nation’s capitol have passed medical cannabis laws with many more states considering similar legislative proposals.

About the author:
Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Americans for Safe Access
www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org
Original Article:
http://www.naturalnews.com/033302_medical_cannabis_DEA.html#ixzz1UunnqX8X


The Beast is Exposed!

Silencing Siobhan

by William L. Anderson
by William L. Anderson
Recently by William L. Anderson: Progressivists Should First Heal Themselves

As a former collegiate middle-distance runner, I have a high tolerance for pain. In fact, I only have “lost it” one time, and that was when I showed up in the emergency room with a kidney stone. (At that point, I realized that if I were tortured, I would talk.)

Thank goodness, a friend of mine was the ER doctor on call and he quickly gave me four hits of morphine, which quickly quieted me and made the rest of the morning a bit more tolerable. It was only the second time I had taken morphine, and both times the alternative was experiencing pain beyond my toleration limits.

When I was in graduate school at Auburn University, my wife worked as a counselor at a local hospital, and one of her clients was a man who was 92 years old who had been put into care because he was “suicidal.” What had driven him to such a state? The government said he was “addicted” topain medication and denied him the drugs that kept him from being in a state of constant pain.

Unfortunately, this man’s story is the story of a lot of people in this country who live in agony due to health conditions or have complications post-surgery that leave them debilitated. Siobhan Reynolds had a husband with a serious congenital connective disorder who seemed to be responding to treatment from Dr. William Hurwitz, who then was a highly-respected pain specialist practicing in Virginia.

Unfortunately for both Soibhan’s husband and Dr. Hurwitz, Paul McNulty was the U.S. attorney in that area and he had dedicated himself to the directives from then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, which ramped up not only the Drug War but also the entire culture of lying and misconduct that now is utterly out of control at the U.S. Department of Justice (sic). One of the areas of emphasis for the McNulty-Ashcroft DOJ was going after doctors writing pain prescriptions, and Dr. Hurwitz’s high profile made him the perfect target for the feds.

Harvey Silverglate gives the case a lot of attention in his outstanding Three Felonies a Day. McNulty’s efforts to destroy Dr. Hurwitz also translated into an effort to destroy those patients who had responded positively to the doctor’s treatments, and one of those patients was Siobhan’s husband Sean.

Two years after Dr. Hurwitz was convicted by a federal jury, Sean died of a cerebral brain hemorrhage, and whether or not it was due to the fact that his debilitating pain elevated his blood pressure to dangerous levels, nonetheless he was dead and his wife blamed the feds. Unlike many people who just accept federally-sponsored injustices and just go away, Siobhan Reynolds fought back by establishing thePain Relief Network, which became a voice in support of doctors accused by federal prosecutors of writing pain prescriptions that, according to the government, “have no medical purpose.”

Ironically, physicians do not determine what constitutes a “medical purpose.” That is done by political appointees and bureaucrats at the Drug Enforcement Administration and DOJ, even though none of them are medically qualified to make such judgments. However, they are “politically-qualified,” and they do have the power and authority to destroy the lives of others, and many of them revel in just that.

Ms. Reynolds was not someone who would be silenced, and her efforts grabbed notice from bothNewsweek and the New York Times. Among the things she did was to publicize the problems inherent in targeting pain specialists and she also provided information for doctors under investigation by the government’s drug warriors.

Unfortunately for Ms. Reynolds and for all of the people she had helped, the feds decided that the last thing they wanted was a public critic who might actually be responsible for holding federal prosecutors and investigators responsible for what they were doing and saying. When Ms. Reynolds and the Pain Relief Network decided to support Stephen and Linda Schneider, who were on trial in Kansas for (What else?) writing pain medication prescriptions that “had no medical purpose, federal prosecutor Tanya Treadway fought back by abusing the law.

Treadway unsuccessfully demanded a gag order against Ms. Reynolds and the PRN, and then sought a change of venue, which the judge in the case also refused. Undaunted, Treadway first started a campaign of harassing Dr. Schneider’s patients and then Treadway decided to seek possible criminal charges for “obstruction of justice” against Ms. Reynolds.

What makes things even worse is that Treadway is demanding that the grand jury proceedings and material be kept secret. The irony should not be lost here. Federal prosecutors are notorious for leaking grand jury material when it helps their cases. For example, the reason Martha Stewart even met with federal investigators (the meeting that was ground zero for the charges against her) without counsel was because U.S. Attorney James Comey’s staff illegally was leaking grand jury material to the media in order to damage the stock price of Martha Stewart Living.

(While it is a felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison for leaking grand jury material, no federal prosecutor ever has been indicted or convicted of such acts, despite the fact that this is a known and regular practice of the feds. So, Treadway is able to pursue a “Heads I win, tails you lose” strategy, given that she does not have to worry about accountability.)

The investigation has depleted the funds for the PRN and Ms. Reynolds finally shut it down. In announcing the closing of her organization, Ms. Reynolds pointed out the legal irony in a recent Facebook post:

It is important to note that PRN has been refused standing in federal court to sue the federal government in defense of the patients’ Constitutional rights; this, when the Sierra Club has been given leave to sue powerful entities on behalf of insects.

She closes with this warning:

The Drug War is a beast. I believe that the only effort that has a chance at changing the current state of affairs is the Liberty Movement, informally led by Congressman Ron Paul. (Emphasis mine)

Thus, it ends for Siobhan Reynolds. A federal prosecutor is trying to bring criminal charges against someone who simply had the courage to speak out against prosecutorial misconduct and to stand up for those patients who must suffer needlessly because, frankly, prosecutors want to boost their own careers by destroying the lives of doctors, their families, and their patients.

Ms. Reynolds did not quit because she lost courage; she quite because the government stacked the deck against her. She quit because a federal prosecutor is able to manipulate the legal system and the judges refuse to object to an obvious injustice.

Siobhan Reynolds is a remarkable person, someone who has my full admiration and the admiration of many other people. Furthermore, she has paid a real price for standing up to the feds and now has exposed just what a morally-bankrupt operation the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) really is, and the feds do not take kindly to people who reveal the immorality of federal prosecutors.

Indeed, the Drug War is a beast, but it is a beast only because of the beasts that inhabit that zoo known as the DOJ. The beasts at the DOJ demonstrate the conscience of a snake and the morality of a shark. Would be that Siobhan could have stood against them longer, but even for that brief time, she was able to get out the message that those who pursue the Drug War against doctors do not do so because of concern for patients, but because the real purpose of the DOJ is to destroy the innocent.

January 1, 2011

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

The Best of William Anderson

 


NORML: Give Thanks And Praises!

We do not celebrate Dec. 25th as any kind of special day for reasons I would be glad to elaborate upon for anyone who cares to ask. That said I wanted to include this letter since Allen St. Pierre speaks to a number of things that will offer hope and encouragement to those who were disappointed by the loss of Prop 19 in California in the November elections. (Ed)

December 24, 2010

Dear NORML Members and Supporters,

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen. This is the message we took away from the November 2010 election, an election that will influence NORML’s work in 2011 and beyond.

California Legalization Initiative: Prop. 19
I’m sure that by now you know the news. Forty-seven percent of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 19, which made the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis lawful for adults. No legalization initiative in any state has ever received so much voter support, nor has any effort generated such positive national discourse. In fact, by the end of the campaign even our staunchest opponents had to concede that America’s present criminal prohibition is an unequivocal failure. They recognize that the question is no longer, ‘Should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ but, ‘How should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ This marks a monumental shift in the public and political debate over marijuana policy.

But that’s not all. Let us remember one of the tangible and significant victories of the campaign: The signing into law of Senate Bill 1449 reducing the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a $100 fine—no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. Passage of this law, which arguably would not have happened if it were not for advocates’ stepped up lobbying efforts regarding Prop. 19, will spare tens of thousands of Californians from criminal prosecution in 2011 and beyond.

Am I disappointed we failed to gain the support of 50 percent of California’s electorate?

Of course.

But I am proud of the progress we made, and of the broad coalition of political and civil rights organizations who endorsed our efforts, including the California NAACP, The Latino Voters League, the SEIU (one of America’s largest unions), and the Black Police Officers Association. That is why I remain confident that we can – and will – bring about the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults in California in 2012, and that is why I believe that we can extend these same freedoms to the citizens of other states in the years to follow.

Elections Matter; Threats Ahead
Yet when I view the ever-changing political landscape nationwide, I recognize there are many significant hurdles before us. This fall’s resurgence of Republican-elected officials in both Washington, DC, and throughout the nation threatens to undermine many of our recent gains. As I write to you today, U.S. Senators are in the process of confirming Michele Leonhart – who has ordered more than thirty raids of state-sanctioned medical marijuana providers – to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, and House members are likely to promote Texas Republican Lamar Smith – arguably the most reefer-mad member of the U.S. Congress – to head the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

At the statewide level, New Mexico’s newly elected Gov. Susan Martinez has threatened to repeal the state’s three-year-old medical cannabis law, which so far has licensed 17 dispensaries to produce and provide marijuana to nearly 3,000 authorized patients. In Michigan, incoming Attorney General Bill Schuette has also pledged to roll back the state’s popular medical cannabis law, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008. And in Montana, lawmakers are planning an all assault upon the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law, despite its passage with over 60 percent of the vote.

Drug warriors are emboldened by the statewide initiative defeats of medical cannabis proposals in Oregon (regarding the regulation of state-licensed dispensaries) and South Dakota (regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes), and advocates’ razor thin margin of victory in Arizona (which became the fifteenth state to authorize the medical use of marijuana since 1996), but NORML remains unbowed. We will continue to forge ahead with our push for full legalization in states like Colorado, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Rest assured, we have not lost our momentum, and we do not intend to let our opponents roll back even one of the many statewide victories that we – and all of you – have worked so hard to achieve.

“What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger”
In fact, according to the most recent Gallup national public opinion poll, momentum in favor of adult legalization and regulation has never been stronger. According to the October survey, a record 46 percent of voters nationwide now support making marijuana legal, and only 50 percent support prohibition (an all-time low.) To put these percentages in proper perspective, consider this. A decade ago, fewer than 30 percent of Americans said that they backed ending cannabis prohibition and a whopping 70 percent supported it.

This is why our opponents are running scared, and it is why they have targeted 2011 as the year they strike back. They have no other choice. They are aware, just as we are, that public opinion is moving exponentially in favor of marijuana law reform, and that this trend shows no signs of abating. We may have lost a battle in November, but we are clearly winning the war – and the drug warriors know it.

NORML: Putting The ‘Grass’ Into Grassroots Since 1970
As we approach 2011, our prohibitionist opponents are keenly aware that they have lost the hearts and minds of the electorate, and they are preparing to wage one final stand. We plan to meet them head on – and defeat them. Will you support our efforts? Your continued financial support will assure that we hold the line in 2011, and it will allow us to continue the national dialogue that is turning a record number of Americans toward cannabis liberation. Victory is at a hand, but only if we keep the pressure on – and only if we have the resources to fight back when necessary.

Supporting NORML and NORML Foundation is both simple and rewarding. If you want your donation to be employed for political purposes, such as for lobbying state and federal policy makers, please direct your donation to NORML. If you’d prefer a tax-deductible donation, which will be used for education, litigation, advertising and social organizing, please direct any cash or stock donations to the NORML Foundation.

Many of NORML’s members and supporters generously donate to both!

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen, and it is happening. That is why NORML needs your support now more than ever. 2011 promises to be a battle, but with your continued financial contributions I know that we will emerge victorious.

NORML @ 40-Years-Young
Lastly, as the collective calendar is turned, NORML—a remarkably enduring and resilient hub for a now sprawling social justice movement and medical cannabis industry—embarks upon it’s 40th year of representing the interests of cannabis consumers by, among other services, providing legal assistance and moral support to the many tens of thousands of consumers, growers and sellers (our brothers and sisters) arrested and incarcerated annually because of our nation’s antiquated Cannabis Prohibition laws.

NORML provides both in-office and 24/7 online support services formedical cannabis patients; citizens facing drug testing concerns; the victims of civil forfeiture; studentsresearching papers; also, NORML’s staff provides over 3,000 local, State, national and internationalmedia interviews annually. On thetightest budget in the drug policy reform movement, NORML produces the most popular cannabis-centric conferences, as well as the most popular cannabis-related webpageand daily podcast on the Internet.

None of this is possible without thesupport of thoughtful and engaged citizens like you!

Again, your end-of-the-year donations to either NORML or NORML Foundation is proof positive of your stakeholdership in a really important 40-year-old Washington, D.C. institution among public interest organizations.

Here’s to a safe and hemp-filled holiday and New Year to all! Thanks, as always, for caring and sharing!

Cannabem liberemus,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORMLNORML Foundation

*Have you seen some of the unique ‘thank you’ gifts for members and donors?

 

 


Why The Drug War Must End

Your Government Dealing Drugs

By Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell

Drugs, Guns, and Government

The heroin epidemic that ravaged our cities during the 50s and 60s basically originated with the CIA out of Southeast Asia. Almost from the moment of their founding in 1947, the CIA was giving covert support to organized drug traffickers in Europe and the Far East, and eventually the Middle East and Latin America. During the Vietnam War—hold onto your hats!—heroin was being smuggled into this country in the bodies of soldiers being flown home, coded ahead of time so they could be identified at various Air Force bases and the drugs removed.

Toward the end of American involvement over there in 1975, a former Green Beret named Michael Hand arranged a 500-pound shipment of heroin from Southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle” to the U.S. by way of Australia. That’s where Hand had set up shop as vice chair of the Nugan Hand Bank, which was linked by the Australian Narcotics Bureau to a drug smuggling network that “exported some $3 billion [Aust.] worth of heroin from Bangkok prior to June 1976.” Several CIA guys who later came up in the Iran-Contra affair (Ted Shackley, Ray Clines and Edwin Wilson) used the Nugan Hand bank to channel funds for covert operations. By 1979, the bank had 22 branches in 13 countries and $1 billion in annual business. The next year, chairman Frank Nugan was found shot dead in his Mercedes, a hundred miles from Sydney, and the bank soon collapsed. Two official investigations by Australia uncovered its financing of major drug dealers and the laundering of their profits, while collecting an impressive list of “ex”CIA officers.

Drugs Funding Reagan’s War in Nicaragua

After the CIA’s involvement with the Southeast Asian drug trade had been partly disclosed in the mid-1970s, and the U.S. left Vietnam to its fate, the Agency started distancing itself from its “assets.” But that only left the door open to go elsewhere. Which the Reagan Administration did big-time, to fund its secret war in Nicaragua. The 1979 Sandinista revolution that overthrew Anastasio Somoza, one of our favorite Latin dictators, was not looked upon fondly by Ronnie and his friends. He called the counterrevolutionary Contras “freedom fighters,” and compared them to America’s founding fathers. In his attempt to get Congress to approve aid for the Contras, Reagan accused the Sandinista government of drug trafficking. Of course, Nancy Reagan had launched her “Just say no” campaign at the time, but I guess she hadn’t given the word to her husband. After his administration tried to mine the Nicaraguan harbors and got a hand slap from Congress, it turned to secretly selling missiles to Iran and using the payments—along with profits from running drugs—to keep right on funding the Contras. Fifty thousand lost lives later, the World Court would order the U.S. to “cease and to refrain” from unlawful use of force against Nicaragua and pay reparations. (We refused to comply.)

The fact is, with most of the cocaine that flooded the country in the 80s, almost every major drug network was using the Contra operation in some fashion. Colombia’s Medellin cartel began quietly collaborating with the Contras soon after Reagan took office. Then, in 1982, CIA Director Casey negotiated a little Memorandum of Understanding with the attorney general, William French Smith. Basically what this did was give the CIA legal clearance to work with known drug traffickers without being required to report it, so long as they weren’t official employees but only “assets.” This didn’t come out until 1998, when CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz issued a report that implicated more than 50 Contra and related entities in the drug trade. And the CIA knew all about it. The trafficking and money laundering tracked right into the National Security Council, where Oliver North was overseeing the Contras’ war.

Here’s what was going on behind the scenes: In the mid-1980s, North got together with four companies that were owned and operated by drug dealers, and arranged payments from the State Department for shipping supplies to the Contras. Michael Levine, an undercover agent for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), later said that “running a covert operation in collaboration with a drug cartel . . . [is] what I call treason.” The top DEA agent in El Salvador, Celerino Castillo III, said he saw “very large quantities of cocaine and millions of dollars” being run out of hangars at Ilopango air base, which was controlled by North and CIA operative Felix Rodriguez (he’d been placed in El Salvador by Vice President Bush’s office, as a direct overseer of North’s operations). The cocaine was being transshipped from Costa Rica through El Salvador and on into the U.S. But when Castillo tried to raise this with his superiors, he ran into nothing but obstacles.

Iran-Contra Affair: Drugs, Arms and Hostages

Early in 1985, two Associated Press reporters started hearing from officials in D.C. about all this. A year later, after a lot of stonewalling by the editors, the AP did run Robert Parry and Brian Barger’s story on an FBI probe into cocaine trafficking by the Contras. This led the Reagan Administration to put out a three-page report admitting that there’d been some such shenanigans when the Contras were “particularly hard pressed for financial support” after Congress voted to cut off American aid. There was “evidence of a limited number of incidents.” Uh-huh. It would be awhile yet before an Oliver North note surfaced from July 12, 1985, about a Contra arms warehouse in Honduras: “Fourteen million to finance came from drugs.”

Contra rebels

Also in 1986, an FBI informant inside the Medellin cartel, Wanda Palacio, testified that she’d seen the organization run by Jorge Ochoa loading cocaine onto aircraft that belonged to Southern Air Transport, a company that used to be owned by the CIA and was flying supplies to the Contras. There was strong corroboration for her story, but somehow the Justice Department rejected it as inconclusive.  Senator John Kerry started looking into all this and said at one closed-door committee meeting: “It is clear that there is a network of drug trafficking through the Contras…We can produce specific law-enforcement officials who will tell you that they have been called off drug-trafficking investigations because the CIA is involved or because it would threaten national security.”

What became known as the Iran-Contra affair came to light in November 1986. We were selling arms to Iran, breaking an arms embargo in order to fund the contras. Fourteen Reagan Administration officials got charged with crimes and eleven were convicted, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Of course, Poppa Bush pardoned them all after he got elected president. And do you think a word about drug-running came up in the televised House committee hearings that made Ollie North a household name? Fuhgedaboutit.

[Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV.]

The thousand-page report issued by Senator Kerry about his committee’s findings did discuss how the State Department had paid more than $800,000 to known traffickers to take “humanitarian assistance” to the Contras.  The New York Times then set out to trash Kerry in a three-part series, including belittling him for relying on the testimony of imprisoned (drug-running) pilots. The Washington Post published a short article heavy on criticisms against Kerry by the Republicans. Newsweek called him “a randy conspiracy buff.” (Wonder what they were snorting.)

But are we surprised? In 1987, the House Narcotics Committee had concluded there should be more investigation into the Contra drug allegations. What was the Washington Post‘s headline? “Hill Panel Finds No Evidence Linking Contras to Drug Smuggling.” The paper wouldn’t even run Chairman Charles Rangel’s letter of correction! That same year, a Time correspondent had an article on this subject blocked and a senior editor privately tell him: “Time is institutionally behind the Contras. If this story were about the Sandinistas and drugs, you’d have no trouble getting it in the magazine.”

Drugs, Panama and Beyond

The list of government skullduggery goes on, and it’s mind-boggling. Remember when Poppa Bush ordered our military to invade Panama back in 1990? The stated reason was that its leader, Colonel Manuel Noriega, had been violating our laws by permitting drugs to be run through his country. In fact, Noriega had been “one of ours” for a long time. After Noriega was brought to the U.S. and convicted by a federal jury in Miami and sentenced to 40 years, filmmaker Oliver Stone went to see him in prison. There Noriega talked freely about having spied on Castro for the U.S., giving covert aid to the Contras and visiting with Oliver North. Noriega and Bush Sr. went way back, to when Bush headed the CIA in 1976. The brief prepared by Noriega’s defense team was heavily censored, but it did reveal significant contact with Bush over a 15-year period. In fact, Bush had headed up a special anti-drug effort as vice president called the South Florida Task Force, which happened to coincide with when quite a few cargoes of cocaine and marijuana came through Florida as part of the Contra support network. So why did we finally go after Noriega? Some said it’s because he knew too much and was demanding too big a cut for his role in the Agency’s drug dealing.

It’s a proven fact that the CIA’s into drugs; we even know why. It’s because they can get money to operate with, and not have to account to Congress for what they’re doing. All this is justified because of the “big picture.” But doesn’t it really beg for a massive investigation and trials and a whole lot of people going to jail? This includes the big banks that allow the dirty money to be laundered through them.

Go back to Chicago and Prohibition, when Al Capone became more powerful than the government because we’d outlawed the selling of liquor. Legalize marijuana and you put the cartels out of business! Instead, we’re going to further militarize our border and go shoot it out with them? And if a few thousand poor Mexicans get killed in the crossfire, too bad. I don’t get that mentality. I don’t understand how this is the proper way, the adult answer, when they could do it another way. Eventually, after thousands more people get killed, they’ll probably arrive at the same answer: legalization. Because there’s nothing else that will work. 

And legalization would go a long way toward giving us a more legitimate government, too—a government that doesn’t have to shield drug dealers who happen to be doing its dirty work. There are clearly people in government making money off drugs. Far more people, statistically, die from prescription drugs than illegal drugs. But the powers that be don’t want you to be able to use a drug that you don’t have to pay for, such as marijuana. Thirteen states now have voted to allow use of medical marijuana. Thank goodness Barack Obama just came out with a new policy stating that the feds are not going to interfere as long as people are following state law. That’s a great step toward legalization.

‘You can’t legislate stupidity’ is an old saying I used in governing. Just because you make something illegal doesn’t mean it’s going away; it just means it’ll now be run by criminals. But is using an illegal drug a criminal offense or a medical one? I tend to believe medical, because that’s customarily how addictions are treated; we don’t throw you in jail for them. In a free society, that’s an oxymoron—going to jail for committing a crime against yourself.

The government is telling people what’s good for them and what’s not, but that should be a choice made by us, not those in power. Look at the consequences when it’s the other way around.

A neat little Graphic that illustrates the article above perfectly (E):

Thanks to:

Marijuana Two Minute Truths

Gateway Myth

The Addiction Question

Did you hear that? Marijuana is about as addictive as COFFEE. Scary!

 

Marijuana and the Brain

Doesn’t Cause Lung Cancer

Marijuana “Overdose”

Thanks to the Marijuana Policy Project

 

 


Former U.S. Surgeon General Supports Prop. 19 in California

Joycelyn Elders

Image via Wikipedia

(CNN) — Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders told CNN Sunday she supports legalizing marijuana.

The trend-setting state of California is voting next month on a ballot initiative to legalize pot, also known as Proposition 19. The measure would legalize recreational use in the state, though federal officials have said they would continue to enforce drug laws in California if the initiative is approved.

“What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people. And we use so many of our excellent resources … for things that aren’t really causing any problems,” said Elders. “It’s not a toxic substance.”

Supporters of California’s Prop. 19 say it would raise revenue and cut the cost of enforcement, while opponents point to drug’s harmful side-effects.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter, obtained by CNN Friday, that federal agents would continue to enforce federal marijuana laws and warned Prop. 19, if passed, would be a major stumbling block to federal partnerships between state and local authorities around drug enforcement.

His letter was a response to an August letter from several former directors of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration urging the White House to block Prop. 19 if it’s approved next month.

Elders stressed the drug is not physically addictive and pointed to the damaging impact of alcohol, which is legal.

“We have the highest number of people in the world being criminalized, many for non-violent crimes related to marijuana,” said Elders. “We can use our resources so much better.”


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