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Drug War Chronicle

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Editorial: Drug Prohibition from Colombia to Afghanistan This Week

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David Borden, Executive Director

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David Borden
One of the less memorable moments in US official activity (well, fairly memorable to people like us, actually) came about five years ago when Rand Beers, then the Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, later a campaign advisor to John Kerry, was forced to recant a claim he had made in a sworn statement in defense of a US corporation being sued by 10,000 Ecuadorans who claimed they had poisoned them. The corporation was DynCorp, whom the State Dept. had hired to carry out aerial spraying of coca fields in Colombia. The Ecuadorans charged that chemicals from the defoliation program had blown across the border, damaging crops and livestock and causing health problems among the human population. Beers wrote, "It is believed that FARC terrorists have received training in Al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan."

Following an expose by UPI, Beers recanted. "I wish to strike this sentence," he wrote. "At the time of my declaration, based on information available to me, I believed this statement to be true and correct." Quotes from intelligence experts in the article, however, cast some doubt on even that. "That statement is totally from left field. I don't know where Beers is getting that," said one. "There doesn't seem to be any evidence of FARC going to Afghanistan to train. We have never briefed anyone on that and frankly, I doubt anyone has ever alleged that in a briefing to the State Department or anyone else," said another. "My first reaction was that Rand must have misspoke," said a congressional staffer. "But when I saw the proffer signed under oath, I couldn't believe he would do that. I have no idea why he would say that."

Colombia and Afghanistan are both in the news this week, as often happens, with the drug war playing an adverse role. In Colombia, a military official who served along the country's Caribbean coast was removed from his post; if allegations are true, profits from the illegal cocaine industry -- which exists because of drug prohibition -- tempted Rear Admiral Gabriel Arango to join the party. Several Army officers are being investigated too, for alleged collaboration with the Norte del Valle cartel, the country's most violent drug trafficking organization. In Afghanistan, US officials are citing links between the illicit opium trade -- which also exists because of drug prohibition -- and Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, as rationale for escalating the forced opium eradication program.

And that's a big mistake, as numerous Afghanistan analysts have pointed out. For example, at a forum here in Washington last March, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, responding to a question I had posed him on the topic, said, "[E]radication doesn't work. There's a vast amount of academic literature showing that it just pushes the growers into the arms of the insurgents." Because of prohibition, both opium growing and opium eradication now help our enemies. It's not a success story for the prohibition policy -- but then again, what is?

I hope this escalation does not include spraying -- the Ecuadorans are not the only ones to explain how reckless and inhumane the practice is. Given that it can't possibly work either -- as long as there's demand, the supply will just move around, and the Afghan farmers need the money -- there is no justification for such risks based on any legitimate hopes for success. The Karzai government has thus far resisted using chemicals, and hopefully they will continue to do so. US drug czar John Walters, however, announcing an expanded US military involvement in the opium operations this week, made an ominous sounding comment on which he would not elaborate, "We expect a more permissive environment for these operations."

Given what has happened in Colombia the last several decades, given what has happened in Afghanistan -- and how it has affected us here -- is any more evidence needed of how morally and intellectually defunct is our drug war? It's time to end drug prohibition -- to legalize drugs -- and finally rescue Colombians, Afghans, and addicts here and around the world from the hell into which prohibition has plunged them.

Medical Marijuana: A Push Gets Underway in Kansas

While state medical marijuana laws are in place along both coasts, not a single state from the Great Plains to the Appalachian Mountains has passed such a law. A voter initiative last year in South Dakota was narrowly defeated, and while legislative efforts in some Midwestern states, notably Illinois and Minnesota, have progressed, none have made it to a governor's desk. For medical marijuana, the Heartland might as well be the Empty Quarter.

Now, a Kansas drug reform activist and a prominent state politician are hoping to change that. Today, Laura Green of the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas and former Kansas Attorney General Bob Stephan are holding a press conference on the capitol steps in Topeka to announce the formation of the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, which will push to get a medical marijuana law in place in the Jayhawk State.

Stephan, a Republican who was attorney general from 1979 to 1995, came out of the closet as a medical marijuana supporter to local media this week, telling reporters he had supported legalizing the medicinal use of the herb for the past 20 years. His opinion was based on his own experience as a cancer patient, as well as talking to other cancer patients, he said.

"Our objectives are simple," said Green in a press release announcing the news conference and the new organization. "To allow physicians -- not politicians -- to make decisions about what is best for patients and to protect citizens from the risk of arrest simply because they're trying to gain relief from a major medical problem. No one should face the ordeal of arrest and possibly prison because they want to feel better," Green said. "That's why the Compassionate Care Coalition is working closely with state legislators, law enforcement officials, healthcare leaders and others to pass laws that will help our fellow Kansans in their time of need."

Look for a feature article on what's cooking in Kansas next week.

Web Scan

When Neither Crime Nor Punishment Pays, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker in the Huffington Post

Country in Distress: The Upside Down Flag, Tony Papa in the Huffington Post

This Is My Street, Bulgarian activist Milena Naydenova on the HaRdCOREhARMREdUCER web site

DrugTruth Network update:
Cultural Baggage for 08/10/07 -- Thomas Schweich, State Dept Counter-Narcotics official's "plan" for Afghanistan + Poppygate (MP3)
Century of Lies for 08/10/07 -- Nurse Mary Lynn Mathre re Medical Marijuana Safety + Drug War Facts (MP3)

Weekly: Blogging @ the Speakeasy

Along with our weekly in-depth Chronicle reporting, DRCNet has since late summer also been providing daily content in the way of blogging in the Stop the Drug War Speakeasy -- huge numbers of people have been reading it recently -- as well as Latest News links (upper right-hand corner of most web pages), event listings (lower right-hand corner) and other info. Check out DRCNet every day to stay on top of the drug reform game!

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prohibition-era beer raid, Washington, DC (Library of Congress)

This week:

Phil Smith asks readers: "What's a gram of cocaine go for where you live?" and "Who Should Be the Next Drug Czar?" Some of you had answers for him.

David Borden links to a Chronicle story where user "eco" posted some heart-rending photos of the victims of Thailand police murders of purported drug offenders as the new government prepares to investigate, in "drug war killings."

And the popular blogger Scott Morgan brings us: "New Afghanistan Strategy is Exactly the Same as the Old One That Didn't Work," "Who's Planting All That Pot in the Woods?," "Police Often Lack Basic Knowledge About Marijuana" and "Plan Mexico: The Right Name for the Wrong Idea."

David Guard has been posting many repostings of press releases, action alerts and other organizational announcements. in the In the Trenches blog. And there is lots of interesting stuff in the Reader Blogs here too.

Thanks for reading, and writing...

Weekly: This Week in History

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August 18, 1989: Luis Carlos Galan, a Colombian presidential candidate who spoke in favor of extradition, is assassinated at a campaign rally near Bogota. That evening, President Virgilio Barco Vargas issues an emergency decree reestablishing the policy of extradition. In response, the "Extraditables" declare all-out war against the Colombian government and begin a bombing/murder campaign that lasts until January 1991.

August 20, 1990: The US House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations releases a report on the results of Operation Snowcap, the Reagan-Bush administration program aimed at stopping the flow of drugs into the United States at their source. Snowcap's goal had been to eliminate coca crops, cocaine processing laboratories, clandestine landing strips, and other trafficking operations in the coca producing countries of South America. The report found that less than one percent of the region's cocaine had been destroyed by this campaign and that authorities in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia were deeply involved in narcotics trafficking.

August 20, 1994: The Guardian reports that Raymond Kendall, secretary general of Interpol, said, "The prosecution of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens every year is both hypocritical and an affront to individual, civil, and human rights... Drug use should no longer be a criminal offense."

August 18, 1996: In San Francisco, a city church distributes marijuana to patients who possess a doctor's recommendation in wake of the temporary injunction closing the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club. "I believe the moral stance [in this instance] is to break the law to make this marijuana available," said Rev. Jim Mitulski of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. "Our church's spiritual vitality has always come from a willingness to act where people have been reluctant to act. This is not a bystander church."

August 17, 1999: CNN reports that federal authorities say they are sweeping up the last few indicted members of a major drug trafficking network that shipped tons of mostly Colombian cocaine and marijuana throughout the United States. Nearly 100 suspects have been indicted in "Operation Southwest Express" and 77 have been arrested in raids in 14 cities.

August 22, 2003: David Borden, Executive Director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network, writes an open letter to the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Rufus G. King III, stating his refusal to serve jury duty. "... I have determined that unjust drug laws, and the corrosion wrought by the drug war on the criminal justice system as a whole, compel me to conscientiously refuse jury service," says Borden. Read the full letter here.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

One of California's top narcs gets busted for peddling Cialis, another Florida cop goes to prison, and a pair of Florida prison guards gets popped for the usual. Let's get to it:

In Long Beach, California, one of California's top narcs was arrested Saturday for selling prescription erectile dysfunction pills to undercover police. Special Agent Henry Kim, supervisor of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement anti-gang team in Los Angeles, had advertised Cialis pills for sale on the Craigslist web site. Long Beach undercover officers responded to the ad, agreed to buy 50 pills for $250, and then arrested Kim when he met them to do the deal Saturday morning. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. But by Tuesday, prosecutors had downgraded the charges to four misdemeanor counts: dispensing drugs without a license, prescribing a controlled substance, unlawfully prescribing dangerous drugs without a prescribing physician, and unlawfully using dangerous drugs without a prescription. Kim has been released on his own recognizance pending trial. He is on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fourth Hollywood police officer has been sent to prison for running drugs for supposed drug traffickers. Former Sgt. Jeffry Courtney was sentenced last Friday to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to heroin trafficking conspiracy charges. He accepted at least $22,000 to guard purported heroin shipments for New York mobsters, but the mobsters turned out to be FBI agents. Courtney is the fourth Hollywood Police Department officer to be sent to prison in the sting, known as Tarnished Bronze. A fifth is set to be sentenced in October for lying to FBI agents about letting word of the sting leak out.

In Naples, Florida, two Florida prison guards were arrested August 8 for arranging to smuggle cocaine to a prisoner. Guards Jawaan Rice, 21, and Modeste Pierre, 18, are charged with cocaine trafficking, smuggling a controlled substance into a correctional facility, and prison employee receiving a bribe. The pair, who were trainees hired in June, went down after prison officials overheard Rice and an inmate conspiring to bring a large quantity of coke into the prison. The prisoner turned informant and arranged a cocaine delivery with Rice and Pierre. An undercover police officer made the delivery and the subsequent arrests. The pair have been fired.

Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle?

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Announcement: DRCNet Content Syndication Feeds Now Available for YOUR Web Site!

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Are you a fan of DRCNet, and do you have a web site you'd like to use to spread the word more forcefully than a single link to our site can achieve? We are pleased to announce that DRCNet content syndication feeds are now available. Whether your readers' interest is in-depth reporting as in Drug War Chronicle, the ongoing commentary in our blogs, or info on specific drug war subtopics, we are now able to provide customizable code for you to paste into appropriate spots on your blog or web site to run automatically updating links to DRCNet educational content.

For example, if you're a big fan of Drug War Chronicle and you think your readers would benefit from it, you can have the latest issue's headlines, or a portion of them, automatically show up and refresh when each new issue comes out.

If your site is devoted to marijuana policy, you can run our topical archive, featuring links to every item we post to our site about marijuana -- Chronicle articles, blog posts, event listings, outside news links, more. The same for harm reduction, asset forfeiture, drug trade violence, needle exchange programs, Canada, ballot initiatives, roughly a hundred different topics we are now tracking on an ongoing basis. (Visit the Chronicle main page, right-hand column, to see the complete current list.)

If you're especially into our new Speakeasy blog section, new content coming out every day dealing with all the issues, you can run links to those posts or to subsections of the Speakeasy.

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Contact us for assistance or to let us know what you are running and where. And thank you in advance for your support.

Announcement: DRCNet RSS Feeds Now Available

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RSS feeds are the wave of the future -- and DRCNet now offers them! The latest Drug War Chronicle issue is now available using RSS at http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/feed online.

We have many other RSS feeds available as well, following about a hundred different drug policy subtopics that we began tracking since the relaunch of our web site this summer -- indexing not only Drug War Chronicle articles but also Speakeasy blog posts, event listings, outside news links and more -- and for our daily blog postings and the different subtracks of them. Visit our Site Map page to peruse the full set.

Thank you for tuning in to DRCNet and drug policy reform!

Press Release: Marijuana Dealers Offer Schwarzenegger One Billion Dollars

(press release from the newly-launched LetUsPayTaxes.com web site)

August 6 -- A coalition of California marijuana growers and dealers has offered Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger one billion dollars to solve the current state budget crisis. The group, calling itself Let Us Pay Taxes, makes the offer through its web site LetUsPayTaxes.com. The offer comes at a time when the California legislature is deadlocked on a new budget and California has stopped issuing checks for vitally needed social services. Legislators are currently arguing over which programs will be cut in order to balance the budget.

"It is ridiculous that California can't pay its bills," said spokesman Clifford Schaffer. "It is a tragedy that they will cut badly needed services and programs such as medical care for the elderly and prison drug treatment when the money to fund all these programs and more is there and available. Everyone who is currently waiting for a check from the state should be enraged at this foolishness."

Regulation and taxation of marijuana could produce six billion dollars in additional tax revenue, according to economic studies linked from LetUsPayTaxes.com. In addition, it could save up to ten billion dollars in enforcement costs. "That is a conservative estimate," said Schaffer. "By other estimates, the revenues could be five times that. The economists are with us all the way on this one. Marijuana prohibition is an economic disaster."

"Let's face reality," Schaffer says. "Marijuana legalization is inevitable. The situation is already beyond control in California. The state and local authorities have offered safe harbor for medical marijuana use and the Federal Government simply doesn't have the resources for effective control." More importantly, says Schaffer, the operators of the medical marijuana clubs are no longer afraid of the Federal Government. "If you talk to them, you will find that they know they are going to win this battle. They know that the DEA is vastly outnumbered and can't begin to prosecute all of them. The few that are prosecuted are accepting their fate as martyrs because they know that what they are doing is right. They are willing to sacrifice themselves to make the point that the Federal Government has just gone too far in interfering with very personal and private decisions. There is no way the DEA is going to win this battle. At this point, it is all over but the counting of the money -- and the victims of the DEA."

Schaffer went on to say that the national market for marijuana has been estimated from a low of ten billion dollars per year to more than fifty billion dollars per year. "The first states to regulate and tax marijuana will receive an economic bonanza bigger than the original California Gold Rush," says Schaffer. "Some states will get rich like the Saudis." Schaffer predicts that it will not take long for some local areas to wake up to the economic possibilities. "We are talking potentially big bucks here," he said. "The Canadians are already starting to take note of a cannabis-fueled economic boom in some areas. Politicians can't resist fresh cash, especially when it is coming to their local community. There will be big winners and losers here. The winners will be the ones who recognize the foregone conclusion first."

The group also cites foreign terrorism as a reason to regulate and tax marijuana. "Drug Czar John Walters is being dishonest when he says that marijuana money goes to criminals and terrorists. The only reason any of that money goes to criminals or terrorists is because of the prohibition that Walters supports," said Schaffer. "Marijuana prohibition makes criminals rich just like alcohol prohibition did. The criminals are now so rich and powerful that they can challenge the legitimate governments of their own countries. There is no reason to send billions of dollars per year to foreign criminal gangs when patriotic Americans make the best products in the world. There is no reason to suffer such a huge foreign trade deficit when that money could be providing jobs and funding badly needed services right here in the USA."

Let Us Pay Taxes calls upon all US citizens to sign their petition at their web site http://LetUsPayTaxes.com and press the issue with their lawmakers. "Take the money, please," said Schaffer. "These people want to contribute. Now it is up to our politicians to tell us why they want to send those billions to foreign criminal gangs rather than to their own voters."

Announcement: New Format for the Reformer's Calendar

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With the launch of our new web site, The Reformer's Calendar no longer appears as part of the Drug War Chronicle newsletter but is instead maintained as a section of our new web site:

The Reformer's Calendar publishes events large and small of interest to drug policy reformers around the world. Whether it's a major international conference, a demonstration bringing together people from around the region or a forum at the local college, we want to know so we can let others know, too.

But we need your help to keep the calendar current, so please make sure to contact us and don't assume that we already know about the event or that we'll hear about it from someone else, because that doesn't always happen.

We look forward to apprising you of more new features on our web site as they become available.

Medical Marijuana: Feds Seek Oregon Patient Records in Probe of Growers -- Patients Cry Foul

Oregon medical marijuana patients and their supporters are up in arms after it was revealed that a federal grand jury next door in Yakima, Washington, has issued subpoenas demanding medical records for 17 Oregon patients. The subpoenas were issued in April as part of a federal investigation into a small number of Washington and Oregon marijuana growers.

Subpoenas were served to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, the state office that issues permits to patients and growers, as well as The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a private Portland clinic where doctors examine patients to see if their conditions can be alleviated by medical marijuana.

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Donald DuPay, official 2006 election photo
As part of the same investigation, DEA agents in June raided the home of medical marijuana patient and caregiver Donald DuPay, seizing 135 plants he was growing for other patients. DuPay, who hosts a local cable TV show about marijuana, was not arrested. He is among the 17 people whose records were subpoenaed.

For Oregon patients, the experience has been frightening and disturbing. "It's crazy. It's really scary. If they can get my records, they can get Gov. Kulongoski's, they can get yours," DuPay, a former Portland police officer and 2006 candidate for Multnomah County sheriff, told The Oregonian on Saturday.

For medical marijuana advocates, it looks like a new tactic deployed by the feds in their ongoing effort to thwart state medical marijuana laws. The grand jury subpoenas are the first ever issued for patient records in a marijuana case, "and of course, it is very worrisome," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "People have an expectation of medical privacy, and I think they have a right to expect medical privacy," Mirken said. "It's one thing to talk about people selling a product that is in fact not legal under federal law. We may think that's stupid. But that's in a whole different realm than obtaining people's medical records."

"This sends a message to the other states and their programs that they're vulnerable to federal interference," said Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access. "It doesn't take a brick to hit you over the head to know that the federal government is trying to undermine California's medical marijuana law, given all the raids and threats to landlords. This is one step further that shows the federal government is very serious about going after patients."

Patients and their advocates are fighting the subpoenas. On August 1, attorneys representing the state of Oregon, and the ACLU representing The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, went before Chief US District Court Judge Robert Whaley in Yakima to urge him to throw out the subpoenas.

In that hearing, Assistant US Attorney James Hagery, who is leading the federal investigation, admitted that the subpoenas were too broadly written. He told the judge the grand jury is investigating "four or five" Washington and Oregon growers for using the medical marijuana laws to cover up their marijuana sales, that the 17 patients were people who got medical marijuana from the growers in question, and that the grand jury wants only current addresses and phone numbers, not "medical records" for those patients.

Hagerty did not explain why, if he is investigating alleged non-medical marijuana sales, he needs to look at registered medical marijuana patients.

A ruling on the subpoenas will come soon, the judge said.

Semanal: Esta semana na história

15 de agosto de 1988: Em seu discurso de aceitação à Convenção Nacional Republicana, George Herbert Walker Bush declara: "Quero Estados Unidos livres das drogas. Hoje à noite, desafio os jovens do nosso país a fecharem os traficantes do mundo todo... O meu governo vai dizer aos traficantes: 'O que tivermos que fazer, faremos, mas os seus estão contados... Vocês já eram'".

11 de agosto de 1991: Após dez meses de muita investigação, o Pittsburgh Press começa uma série de seis dias sobre o que chama de "uma reviravolta assustadora na guerra contra as drogas": o embargo e confiscação que causam enormes danos colaterais aos inocentes.

16 de agosto de 1996: Enquanto visitava São Francisco, o secretário antidrogas Barry McCaffrey afirma à mídia: "Não há nem a mais mínima prova científica que mostre que a maconha fumada é útil ou necessária. Isto não é ciência. Isto não é medicina. Isto é um embuste cruel e parece mais algo saído de um show do Cheech e Chong". Os partidários apontam depois que há provas científicas que dão sustentação à maconha medicinal.

12 de agosto de 1997: O Ministério da Justiça dos EUA anuncia que não haverá nenhum indiciamento no assassinato de Esequiel Hernández, Jr., um cidadão estadunidense de 18 anos morto por fuzileiros navais estadunidenses em uma patrulha antidrogas enquanto pastoreava bodes perto de uma cidade fronteiriça de Redford, no Texas. O tenente-general Carlton W. Fulford, que realizou uma revisão militar interna do incidente, disse que o assassinato poderia não ter acontecido se as agências civis de segurança houvessem estado patrulhando a fronteira.

13 de agosto de 1998: A Reuters informa que os EUA escandalizaram várias vezes a presidência colombiana de Ernesto Samper com alegações de que usara dinheiro de drogas de grupos anti-estadunidenses para financiar a campanha dele à presidência de 1994 e, enfim, os EUA usaram isso como pretexto para tirar a certificação da Colômbia e retirar a ajuda a países estrangeiros.

14 de agosto de 2002: Mil e duzentos pacientes de maconha medicinal, muitos dos quais sofriam de doenças mortais, perdem a sua oferta de remédios quando a polícia de Ontário sitia o Toronto Compassion Centre.

Medical Marijuana: New Mexico Balks At Growing It

Update: Gov. Richardson has ordered the Health Dept. to implement the law, and has urged President Bush to stop the medical marijuana prosecutions.

When the New Mexico legislature passed the state's medical marijuana law this year, the law was unique in mandating that the state would oversee the production and distribution of the herb. But Wednesday, the state health department announced it would not comply with that portion of the law for fear of the feds arresting state employees.

"The Department of Health will not subject its employees to potential federal prosecution, and therefore will not distribute or produce medical marijuana," said Dr. Alfredo Vigil, who heads the agency.

The decision was not exactly a surprise. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King warned last week that the department and its employees could be criminally prosecuted by the feds and that his office could not defend state workers in criminal cases.

But while lifting the threat of potential federal prosecution from the health department and its employees, the move may open them to legal action from supporters of the law. The agency is "leaving itself open for a lawsuit," Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico office head Reena Szczepanski told the Associated Press Wednesday. "I remember certain legislators talking about how they didn't want their grandmother to have to go into some alley and deal with some criminal element," said Szczepanski.

Asset Forfeiture: Austin Police Use of Seized Funds Probed

Austin, Texas, Police Chief Art Acevedo announced August 9 that a criminal inquiry is underway into how Austin police spent money seized in the past five years and whether they violated rules governing how such funds are to be used. Acevedo, who has been on the job less than a month, said he wants to look closely at several payments made from the millions of dollars seized by the department during that period.

The probe comes after the Austin American-Statesman reviewed thousands of transactions obtained under Texas open public records laws. The review found that much of the money was spent on vehicle maintenance, training, and equipment purchases, but not all of it. Other spending included:

  • $13,000 in college tuition for a police commander.
  • $12,025 in October 2002 for an awards banquet.
  • $3,314 for clothing for the department's running team in November 2005.
  • $1,895 in May 2005 for a "race clock."
  • $625 in October 2001 for coffee mugs.

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Austin police -- busted?
A memo prepared for Chief Acevedo found more problems. It said the department had used seized funds in 2005 and 2006 to balance its budget. In fact, the department's seized funds account began running a negative balance in June because the money had been spent to balance the 2006 budget.

Both the state of Texas and the federal Justice Department have rules regarding how seized funds may be spent. The feds, for instance, bar funds from being used to pay salaries or supplant existing funding or from spending such funds before they are actually received. Texas law says that money can be used for salaries, overtime, officer training and investigative equipment and supplies. Other items may be bought with state funds only if used by officers in "direct law enforcement duties."

Acevedo said he had hoped to reveal the results of an internal investigation last week, but that was derailed when it morphed into a criminal investigation.

South Asia: India's Shravan Pilgrims Bring Profits to Marijuana Sellers

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Pilgrims celebrating the Hindu month of Shravan (mid-July to mid-August) are filling the pockets of marijuana sellers in the Deoghar district of Jharkand, according to a report in the News Post of India. Considered auspicious by followers of Lord Shiva, the month is marked by, among other things, a pilgrimage by millions of adherents to pour water on the Shiva Linga at the Baidyanath temple in Deoghar.

The pilgrims, clad in saffron, smoke marijuana (ganja) as part of the observance. According to one estimate cited by the News and Post, devotees are buying and smoking 50 to 65 pounds of marijuana a day from happy Deoghhar pot vendors.

Police are aware of the sales, but turn a blind eye, the newspaper reported.

"Marijuana is liked by Lord Shiva. There is nothing wrong in smoking ganja. It makes the 110 km journey from Sultanganj in Bihar to Deoghar easy," one pilgrim told the newspaper.

Marijuana has been used for spiritual purposes for thousands of years in India. It is currently cultivated in at least 10 districts in Bihar and Jharkhand, and Maoist guerrillas reportedly are also getting into the business.

Latin America: Colombian Admiral Fired in Growing Probe of Military Drug Corruption

A Colombian rear admiral who served along the country's Caribbean coast was removed from his post Monday for alleged links to drug traffickers. Rear Admiral Gabriel Arango is only the latest in a series of military officers investigated in what has become a widening probe of connections between the military and the country's powerful drug trafficking organizations.

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too much trouble over this plant -- just legalize it already
"There is a very advanced investigation currently under way regarding Arango's illegal activity," Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said in an interview with RCN Radio. "I cannot deny that the investigation is related to the drug trade and that several other members of the navy appear to be involved."

Arango protested his innocence, pointing to his record in seizing drugs as a naval commander. "Never in my life have I been linked to any drug traffickers," he told Caracol Radio.

It's not just the navy. Colombian prosecutors are currently investigating at least eight army officers for alleged collaboration with the Norte del Valle cartel, the country's most violent drug trafficking organization.

The Colombian military has been the recipient of billions of dollars in US counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency aid under Plan Colombia. But coca and cocaine production have remained relatively steady despite the billions.

That's because there are too many vested interests benefiting from the drug trade and the drug war in Colombia, a now-imprisoned former paramilitary commander told Reuters this week. Salvatore Mancuso, former leader of the murderous Northern Bloc paramilitary drug trafficking organization who surrendered in a sweetheart deal in 2004, said those vested interests include politicians and military officers who collude with drug smugglers, contractors connected to a multibillion-dollar US anti-narcotics program, and companies that sell chemicals used to process cocaine.

"As long as there is a conflict in Colombia, all this will flourish," Mancuso predicted. "We have to cut off the guerrillas' oxygen supply, and that oxygen supply is cocaine."

Mancuso, whose sweetheart sentence is now threatened by a Colombian Supreme Court ruling demanding harsher treatment of those who killed innocents in their fight with leftist guerrillas, is not a disinterested observer. He is now offering his anti-cocaine strategy and services to the US government, undoubtedly in hopes of getting a US indictment for drug trafficking dropped.

Mancuso's prescriptions sound familiar, too. "First we need all-out coca eradication. Second a coherent plan for security and a state presence in these rural areas," Mancuso said. "Then there has to be social and economic development for each community."

Meanwhile, drug prohibition and Colombia's drug war drag on, and those in a position to profit are doing so.

Busca na rede

Após a guerra contra as drogas: Ferramentas para o debate, uma publicação de 76 páginas da Transform Drug Policy Foundation do Reino Unido

o parlamentar britânico Harry Cohen discute a proibição e seu fim no Parlamento

a crítica do IDPC do Relatório Mundial sobre as Drogas

Interpretando advertências vagas sobre a maconha e a saúde mental, Mitch Earleywine e Paul Armentano no Huffington Post

Budthirsty: A polícia estadual de Washington há quase qualquer coisa para prender um cultivador de maconha, de Dominic Holden para The Stranger, Seattle

A Detenção de Michael C. Kelley, o primeiro de uma série de relatórios de Christine Beems, Gozarks.com, Arkansas

o vídeo de Howard Lotsof que discute a ibogaína, a página Drug War Log do HaRdCOREhARMREdUCER

Legalizem as drogas para vencer os terroristas, Willem Buiter da Faculdade de Economia de Londres, Financial Times

Uma revisão do contrato de cultivo de cannabis entre o Ministério da Saúde do Canadá e os Sistemas de Plantas de Pradeira, relatório de Rielle Capler da British Columbia Compassion Club Society

O tratamento químico não é uma solução infalível, Tony Papa no Detroit News

DrugTruth Network:
Cultural Baggage de 03 de agosto de 2007: Valerie Corral, diretora da Women's Alliance for Medical Marijuana e Bruce Mirken do Marijuana Policy Project (MP3)
Century of Lies de 03 de agosto de 2007: O juiz James P. Gray, autor de "Why our Drug Laws have Failed and What We Can Do About It -- A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs" [Por que as nossas leis sobre as drogas fracassaram e o que podemos fazer a respeito - Um indiciamento judicial da guerra contra as drogas] (MP3)

o programa da BBC, "Hecklers", discute a abolição da prisão em Real Audio

Latin America: Nicaraguan President Warns of DEA's "Unexpected Interests" and "Terrible Things"

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Monday he does not trust the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) because its operations hide "unexpected interests" and "terrible things." Ortega did not elaborate, but he undoubtedly has keen memories of the DEA and the Reagan administration attempting to portray his Sandinista government in the 1980s as major drug traffickers while the CIA and Oliver North were, at best, turning a blind eye to cocaine running operations funding the US-backed anti-Sandinista Contra rebels.

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Daniel Ortega (courtesy Wikimedia)
"You have to be careful with the DEA. You can't be blind," Ortega said in remarks during the celebration of the Nicaraguan Navy's 27th anniversary. "We have to wage the war against drugs, but don't come to us with stories about involving your Cobra helicopters and troops," Ortega said, apparently addressing the US government. "The best combatant is the Nicaraguan soldier."

The Ortega government has cooperated with the DEA. Nicaraguan soldiers seized more than 6,100 pounds of cocaine with DEA collaboration in the past year. Ortega said he would continue cooperating with the DEA in order take advantage of the agency's technology and experience.

But with one eye on Colombia, where hundreds of US soldiers and mercenaries are stationed as part of the US counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency effort there, and one eye on Mexico, which is apparently about to reach a major counter-narcotics assistance agreement with Washington, Ortega is signaling that such a massive US intervention would not be welcome in Nicaragua.

Feature: In Strategy Shift, US Troops to Join Battle Against Opium in Afghanistan

The United States military is melding counterinsurgency with counternarcotics missions in Afghanistan in what officials called "a basic strategy shift" in its Afghan campaign. Up until now, the US military has shied away from anti-drug operations in Afghanistan, leaving them to the DEA, the British, and Afghan authorities in a bid to avoid alienating Afghan peasant populations dependent on the poppy crop for an income.

But with Afghan opium production at an all-time high last year and predicted to go even higher this year -- Afghanistan accounted for 92% of the global opium supply in 2006 and will account for close to 100% this year--despite nearly a billion dollars in US anti-drug aid, officials in Washington have decided after long discussion that the Afghan drug war must be ratcheted up.

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(source: state.gov/p/inl/rls/rpt/90561.htm)
US officials are increasingly concerned about links between drug traffickers, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda militants, especially in southeastern Afghanistan, where both the insurgency and poppy production are most deeply rooted. Some 70 US soldiers, 69 NATO soldiers, and hundreds of Afghan police and soldiers, Taliban fighters, and Afghan civilians have been killed in fighting so far this year, the third year of the Taliban resurgence.

The new policy was announced in a new report US Counternarcotics Strategy for Afghanistan released last week and rolled out at an August 9 State Department briefing by Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP--the drug czar's office) head John Walters and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Thomas Schweich.

"We know that opium, maybe second only to terror, is a huge threat to the future of Afghanistan," said Walters. "The efforts by the Afghan people to build institutions of justice and rule of law are threatened not only by the terror, but the drug forces that are both economic, addictive and, of course, support in some cases terror, not only through money, but through influence and moving people away from the structures of government toward the structures of drug mafias and violence," he said.

The new strategy is a combination of carrots and sticks, heavily weighted toward the sticks. Out of the $700 million budgeted for anti-drug activities this year, only about $120 million to $150 million will go to alternative development, with the remainder dedicated to eradication, interdiction, building up the Afghan criminal justice system, and going after high-level traffickers.

Some $30 million will go to farming communities that agree to give up poppy production, but this is a pittance compared to the $3.1 billion the trade is estimated to be worth, or even the roughly $700 million estimated to end up in the hands of peasant farmers. While most of the incentive money will go to the north, where production is down, the more Taliban-friendly east and southeast will get forced eradication and increased efforts to go after high-level traffickers. Ambassador Schweicher qualified the tougher approach as "substantially harsher discincentives" for those areas. And the US military will be involved.

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the opium trader's wares (photo by Chronicle editor Phil Smith during September 2005 visit to Afghanistan)
"There is a clear and direct link between the illicit opium trade and insurgent groups in Afghanistan," the State Department report said. The Pentagon "will work with DEA" and other agencies "to develop options for a coordinated strategy that integrates and synchronizes counternarcotics operations, particularly interdiction, into the comprehensive security strategy."

What exactly that means remains unclear. At the August 9 briefing, Walters dodged repeated questions about the exact nature of US military involvement. "We expect a more permissive environment for these operations, given the plans and commitments here," Walters said. "Again, what -- your question was what counter-narcotics operations is the military going to do. That's not what this is doing, is saying the military is going to become the eradication force or the interdiction force. What we're going to do is create -- we've now created, we believe, the structures to allow counter-narcotics operations, whether they're arrests of people by Afghans, whether they're interdiction, whether they're eradication to be integrated into the security effort that's going on."

It might work, but there are gigantic obstacles in the way, said Raheem Yaseer of the Center for Afghan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Improving the security situation is critical, said Yaseer.

"The bombers and the Talibans are crossing the border from Pakistan with all these weapons and getting across the checkpoints and getting in among the villagers, where they shoot at the allied forces. Then the allies bomb the villages, and that creates a lot of resentment, and the people won't listen to the allies," he said. "The US can track a bullet crossing the border, but they can't find the Talibans," he said, a note of frustration in his voice.

Alternative development could attract peasant farmers if the security situation were stabilized, he said. "It's the bigger warlords and drug lords who are the problem," Yaseer argued. "And yes, there are some high government officials, big shots, involved in drug trafficking, too. All of them have been nourished by this money for years and don't want to see it go away. But ordinary people would be satisfied with a little money because they know growing poppies is condemned by their tradition and religion."

Endemic corruption is another problem. Even anti-drug aid and alternative development assistance is likely to be siphoned off, said Yaseer. "The corruption is very deep, and a lot of money will vanish into people's pockets. You have to watch the people at the top, too, or it won't be effective," he said. "You'll only be spending money uselessly."

Congressional leaders called the new strategy a "welcome recognition" that new initiatives had to be hatched to address the Afghan opium problem, but worried that it wasn't enough. "What the plan lacks is the recognition that Afghanistan is approaching a crisis point, and that immediate action is required to eliminate the threat of drug kingpins and cartels allied with terrorists so we can reverse the country's steady slide into a potential failed narco-state," said House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) and ranking minority member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in a statement responding to the new strategy.

Lantos and Ros-Lehtinen aren't the only members of Congress concerned. Others have called for an entirely different approach. Following the lead of the French defense and drug policy think tank the Senlis Council, which has been calling since 2005 for licensing the poppy crop, Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO) has suggested licensing Afghan farmers to grow the crop for legal pain medications, similar to the way the international community diminished the drug trafficking problem in India and Turkey. Senator John Sununu (R-NH) has suggested the US buy opium crops from the farmers and destroy them. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has suggested switching the focus away from poor farmers and toward disrupting the cartels that are moving the drugs.

But the drug czar and the State Department explicitly rejected licensing as an impractical "silver bullet" that would not work and have similarly rejected proposals to buy up the crop. And they will definitely be going after poor farmers as well as high-level traffickers.

But more of the same isn't going to do the trick, said the Drug Policy Alliance. "The so-called 'carrot and stick' approach has failed in every country it has been tried in, including our own," said Bill Piper, the group's director of national affairs. "As long as there is a demand for drugs, there will be a supply to meet it. Drug prohibition makes plants more valuable than gold."

More of the same may even make matters worse, Piper argued. "The US is dangerously close to turning Afghanistan into the next Iraq," said Piper. "Forced eradication of opium crops is driving poor Afghans into the hands of our enemies, strengthening the Taliban, and feeding the insurgency there. The war on drugs is undermining the war on terror and pushing Afghanistan to the brink of civil war."

The Bush administration has belatedly figured out it has a very serious problem in Afghanistan. The question now is whether this vigorous new strategy will calm the situation or only inflame it.

Chronicle Book Review: "The Cult of Pharmacology: How America Became the World's Most Troubled Drug Culture," by Richard De Grandpre (2007, Duke University Press, 294 pp., $24.95 HB)

Phillip S. Smith, Writer Editor

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Phil Smith
Ritalin is a popular stimulant used to control the behavior of hyperactive children. It is legal, widely prescribed, and much adored by many parents and educators. Cocaine is an illegal stimulant, harshly penalized, and is reviled by the guardians of the common good. Yet Ritalin and cocaine act on the brain in a very similar fashion. In laboratory experiments, subjects -- human and animal -- do not differentiate between the two. So why is one legal and accepted and the other illegal and proscribed?

In other lab experiments, heroin users falsely told that their doses were being reduced reported withdrawal symptoms. Conversely, heroin users told their doses were being maintained when they were really being reduced showed no withdrawal symptoms. What's up with that?

In "The Cult of Pharmacology," drug researcher, former fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and author of "Ritalin Nation" Richard De Grandpre takes a serious crack at answering those questions. In a fascinating and provocative read, De Grandpre provides an illuminating social history of drug use in America, an eye-opening window into the legal drug industry, and a harsh, Szaszian critique of the increasingly popular disease model of addiction.

With American politicians poised to make the disease model of addiction official dogma by congressional fiat -- Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) bill that would define addiction as a brain disease is moving on Capitol Hill -- De Grandpre's intervention into the never-ending drug debate in America couldn't be more timely. Biden, along with a large portion of the biopharmacological research community and the American public in general are what De Grandpre would call victims of "the cult of pharmacology."

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What is that? While in days of yore, drug actions were considered the work of spirits or demons, we have advanced beyond such silliness through science, right? We know that psychoactive drugs affect the brain in certain ways, right? Well, maybe not. In De Grandpre's own words:

"As a drug ideology derived from the eternal notion that psychoactive compounds contain a unique spirit or essence, the cult of pharmacology legitimized the belief that these spirits bypassed all social conditioning of the mind and by themselves transform human thought and action. Unlike other worldly modes of influence on mind and human experience, and despite many advances in the pharmacological sciences in the twentieth century, psychoactive substances continue to be treated in the main as spirits that could enter into a body and take possession of it. Yes, soul was transformed into mind and spirit into biochemistry, giving the appearance that science and medicine had done away with the myths surrounding what had come to be called 'drugs.' Drugs were not demythologized, however, but rather remythologized. Psychobabble and biobabble replaced magical explanations of drug action, creating what had become by the end of the century a new, molecular pharmacologism."

As De Grandpre illustrates with the heroin experiments, among many others, neither people nor lab animals necessarily respond to drugs in the predictable manner expected by the disease model. One of the most striking and well-known lab animal experiments gave monkeys unfettered access to cocaine, which some used until they killed themselves. But a much lesser known and remarked upon follow-up found that when the animals were given a chance to select another stimulus -- sugared water -- their cocaine use dropped dramatically.

I can't help thinking of the current wave of methamphetamine use and its destructive consequences in this context. As De Grandpre points out, Americans gobbled down billions of amphetamine tablets from the 1940s through the 1970s (when they were restricted, only to be replaced a few years later by Ritalin) without the horrid consequences that seem to obtain among tweakers these days. It's not the drugs that have changed -- amphetamines are amphetamines, and methamphetamine is an amphetamine -- but the social context and what De Grandpre calls the "placebo text" -- the set of beliefs one carries about how the drug is supposed to affect you -- that have changed.

Like lab rats in a sterile environment with no stimulus except cocaine, today's tweakers, and I'm speaking of the stereotypical Western and Midwestern poor, rural, white users (who as a South Dakotan I know well), may be so tweaked out not because of the pharmacological properties of the demon drug meth, but because of their sterile social environment and dim prospects… and because that's how meth's placebo text tells them to respond to the drug.

My mother and millions of women like her, on the other hand, took methamphetamines in the 1960s as a diet aid -- not a recreational drug -- and responded quite differently. Yes, she cleaned house like crazy and got pretty chatty, but she did not become "addicted" to the drug, nor did she engage in the kind of pathological behaviors associated with tweakers. Instead, she quit using it because she didn't like the fact that it kept her up at night.

Perhaps, as De Grandpre concedes, it is not only set and setting that make the difference. While he doesn’t directly discuss the pharmacodynamics of meth, in his discussion of Ritalin and cocaine, he notes studies suggesting that the manner of ingestion of the drug (oral, say, versus injected or smoked) can have an effect on the drug user's experience. My mother wasn't shooting up or smoking speed, she was popping little yellow pills.

Was it the placebo context that kept my mother from tweekerdom? Was it the fact that she swallowed pills instead of injecting powders? Or that she took small doses instead of large ones? We don't know. What De Grandpre convincingly argues is that we do (or should) know that it is not something deterministically inherent in the methamphetamine molecule that caused her (and millions of other slightly overweight women in the 1960s and 1970s) to walk away from it, but made poor, rural, white people into tweakers in the 1990s and 2000s.

My mother was fortunate. Her drug use was sanctioned. If she had been taking the same drugs illegally, she would have faced prison. As De Grandpre notes, that's because the last century saw a bifurcation in dealing with drugs: Some drugs -- notably heroin, cocaine, and marijuana -- are "demon drugs," full of pharmaceutical malice, ready to enslave the unwary user, while others, notably the prescription pharmaceuticals, are "angel drugs," here to save us from the troubles of the day with their molecular magic.

We can thank the American Medical Association and the pharmaceutical industry for that, according to De Grandpre. Rather than being rivals for market share, as was the case in the era of patent medicines before the Food and Drug Act of 1906, the two groups decided to split the booty. The pharmaceutical companies would develop and market psychoactive drugs and the doctors would sanction and prescribe them as "ethical medicines" as opposed to dangerous drugs.

This historical process gave rise to "differential prohibition," or the demonizing of some drugs and the sanctifying of others -- even if, like Ritalin and cocaine, they are essentially the same thing -- as well as to the two faces of an authoritarian state: the therapeutic state that classifies drug taking as a disease and wants to treat it, often with other drugs and the prohibitionist state that sees drug use as immoral and wishes to punish it.

There is much, much more to "The Cult of Pharmacology." Even as a wizened veteran of the drug scene, there is much that challenges my beliefs and preconceptions about drugs and their interactions with humans. De Grandpre's theses may be controversial and even unpopular in this period when much of the mainstream political discourse seems to consist of calling for treatment instead of prison and for dealing with drug "addicts" as victims instead of miscreants. But he should definitely be read by anyone concerned with drug policy in America and why it's gone so terribly awry.

América Latina: Prepara-se um tremendo pacote de ajuda antidrogas entre EUA-México

O governo do presidente mexicano Felipe Calderón e o governo Bush estão negociando em silêncio um pacote de ajuda antidrogas que pode levar a um aprofundamento do comprometimento dos EUA ao sul da fronteira. As negociações acontecem enquanto a violência relacionada à proibição das drogas matou cerca de mil pessoas até este momento do ano no México e 3.000 desde o começo de 2006. 2007 está bem encaminhado para ser ainda mais sangrento do que o ano passado.

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patrulha antidrogas mexicana
Calderón respondeu vigorosamente à violência relacionada à proibição desde que tomou posse no fim do ano passado. Atualmente, mais de 20.000 efetivos do exército mexicano e da polícia federal estão patrulhando cidades como Monterrey, Tijuana, Acapulco, Mazatlán e Culiacán e também estão no campo, nas regiões produtoras de drogas do país. Embora tenham feito algumas prisões e apreensões de drogas muito noticiadas, o trabalho não causou um impacto perceptível seja sobre o fluxo de drogas rumo ao norte, seja em refrear as organizações rivais do narcotráfico.

As organizações narcotraficantes mexicanas ganham dezenas de bilhões de dólares todos os anos transportando cocaína, maconha, metanfetamina e heroína rumo ao norte para os mercados consumidores insaciáveis nos EUA. Têm usado os seus lucros para subornar a polícia e demais funcionários públicos que se prestam a isso e para comprar armas a fim de lutar contra aqueles que não o fazem.

Na quarta-feira, de acordo com um relato no Christian Science Monitor, o pacote que está sendo discutido "pode chegar a centenas de milhões de dólares e incluir de tudo, de helicópteros Blackhawk e outros equipamentos militares sofisticados a mais treinamento e habilidades de vigilância". Se for verdade, isso significaria que o México vai receber ajuda antidrogas dos EUA em um nível visto antes só na Colômbia.

Na verdade, a assistência proposta já está sendo conhecida como "Plano México" em alguns círculos, uma referência nada condescendente ao Plano Colômbia, que, após anos de despesas infrutíferas dos EUA, finalmente busca ser cortado pelos democratas no Congresso neste ano. Atualmente, o total da assistência antidrogas dos EUA ao México é de $40 milhões ao ano aproximadamente.

Oriente Médio: Mais execuções por drogas na Arábia Saudita

Três infratores da legislação antidrogas estão entre os cinco executados na Arábia Saudita na sexta-feira passada, um dos dias mais ocupados do carrasco em algum tempo. De acordo com o Ministério do Interior saudita, o número total de execuções até este momento do ano totaliza 117, quatro a mais do que o número executado no ano inteiro de 2000, o ano recordista anterior.

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Em Riade, o paquistanês Omar Sardar foi executado por "contrabandear heroína escondida no seu estômago". O compatriota dela, Jahangir Zarin Bin Adam Khan Mhanid foi executado em Jidá pelo mesmo delito. O nigeriano Nureddin Mohammed também foi executado em Jidá, por tráfico de cocaína.

As outras duas pessoas executadas na sexta-feira passada eram paquistaneses condenados por roubarem táxis.

Em um relatório sobre as execuções por crimes de drogas da Associação Internacional de Redução de Danos (IHRA, sigla em inglês) lançado no mês passado, o autor citou a Anistia Internacional que descobriu que 26 das 50 execuções sauditas em 2004 foram por crimes de drogas e "pelo menos" 33 mais aconteceram em 2005. Ainda não há dados disponíveis para o ano passado.

De acordo com o relatório da IHRA, o número de países que têm dispositivos de pena de morte para crimes de drogas aumentou de 22 em 1985 para 34 neste ano. Embora cerca de três dúzias de países, inclusive os EUA, prevejam a pena de morte para alguns crimes de drogas, as execuções só foram levadas a cabo mesmo na China, no Egito, na Indonésia, no Kuwait, na Malásia, na Arábia Saudita, em Singapura, na Tailândia e no Vietnã.

Canadá: Ministério da Saúde canadense autoriza Sativex para pacientes de câncer

Na terça-feira, o Ministério da Saúde do Canadá anunciou que aprovou o Sativex, um aerossol sublingual derivado da maconha, para o consumo como analgésico em pacientes que sofrem de câncer em fase avançada. O Sativex contém THC, o principal ingrediente psicoativo na maconha, e cannabidiol também, um componente não-psicoativo.

Agora, a droga, fabricada pela GW Pharmaceuticals, um negócio britânico, e a Bayer, pode ser consumida por pacientes adultos de câncer que experimentarem dores moderadas a intensas embora usem as doses mais altas toleradas de analgésicos opiáceos. Antes, o consumo dela no Canadá estivera limitado a pacientes de esclerose múltipla.

Como o seu uso para a EM, o consumo de Sativex nos pacientes de câncer foi aprovado segundo a política Nota de Conformidade com as Condições do Ministério da Saúde canadense, o que significa que embora o Sativex tenha demonstrado benefícios promissores, tenha alta qualidade e possua um perfil aceitável de segurança, ainda precisa de mais estudos.

"Os cannabinóides têm um papel importante no tratamento de dores complexas no câncer, particularmente na dor neuropática, e demonstram um efeito positivo junto às opções de tratamento atuais", disse o Dr. Lawrence Librach, o diretor do Centro Temmy Latner de Atenção Paliativa no Hospital Mount Sinai de Toronto, em um comunicado do Ministério da Saúde do Canadá.

"A GW está encantada por receber a aprovação regulamentar do Sativex de parte do Ministério da Saúde do Canadá no alívio das dores do câncer", disse o presidente da GW, o Dr. Geoffrey Guy. "O Sativex tem demonstrado proporcionar o alívio importante das dores à maioria dos pacientes de alta necessidade que sofre de câncer em fase avançada. Temos a satisfação de poder oferecer a perspectiva de uma qualidade de vida melhor para as pessoas que antes tinham poucas oportunidades desse tipo".

Semanal: Blogando no Bar Clandestino

Junto com a nossa reportagem investigativa da Crônica, desde o verão passado a DRCNet também esteve proporcionando conteúdo diário na forma de blogagem no Bar Clandestino Stop the Drug War, assim como links às Últimas Notícias (canto inferior esquerdo) e mais informações. Cheque a DRCNet todos os dias para ficar a par da reforma das políticas de drogas!

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reide anticerveja da época da lei seca, Washington, DC (Biblioteca do Congresso)

David Guard esteve fazendo suas muitas republicações de notas à imprensa, alertas de ação e demais anúncios organizacionais de sempre. Nesta semana, do restante do pessoal:

Scorr Morgan escreve: "Jury Duty: A Day in the Life of Our Corrupt War on Drugs" [Serviço de júri: Um dia na vida da nossa guerra corrupta contra as drogas] e "Marijuana Dealers Offer Schwarzenegger One Billion Dollars" [Traficantes de maconha oferecem um bilhão de dólares a Schwarzenegger] (uma publicação relacionada chegou à liderança no Digg!)

Phil Smith pergunta: "What's a gram of cocaine go for where you live?" [Quanto custa um grama de cocaína onde você mora?] e "Who should be the next Drug Czar?" [Quem deveria ser o próximo Secretário Antidrogas?].

David Borden publica: "and yet another letter from a medical marijuana patient that the feds claim don't exist..." [E mais uma carta de um paciente de maconha medicinal que os federais afirmam não existir...].

Una-se aos nossos Blogs do Leitor aqui

Obrigado por ler, e escrever...

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