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Marijuana: New York City Pot Arrest Capital of the World

Police in New York City arrested more than 39,700 people on marijuana charges last year, and that is no fluke. In the last decade, nearly 400,000 New Yorkers have been arrested for carrying small amounts of marijuana, the vast majority of them black or brown.

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The figures come from a just released report by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine and Breaking the Chains executive director Deborah Small. According to the report, "Marijuana Arrest Crusade," whites constituted only 15% of those arrested, while Hispanics were 31% and blacks made up more than half of all pot arrests, with 52%.

"Racial profiling is a fact of life on the streets of New York City," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, during a news conference at the group's Manhattan headquarters.

New York is among the small number of states that decriminalized marijuana possession in the late 1970s, but that hasn't stopped police from arresting people carrying small amounts of weed and then subjecting them to average 24-hour stays in New York City jails while they await arraignment. Police get around the decrim law by "manufacturing" arrests for "possession in public view," said Levine. Police routinely stop young black and brown men on the streets, force them to empty their pockets, then charge them with the more serious "possession in public view" offense.

Since Big Apple marijuana arrests started going through the roof during the administration of Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, the city has sometimes accounted for one out of 10 marijuana arrests in the entire country. Last year, that figure was lower, with New York accounting for roughly 5% of pot arrests nationwide, still a huge number.

That makes New York City "the marijuana arrest capital of the world," said Lieberman.

In Mexico's Drug Heartland, A Debate on Alternatives to the Drug War Takes Place

About 6:30 local time Wednesday evening, the latest outbreak of Mexican drug war violence occurred in Culiacán, the capital of the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, long a drug-producing region and home to one of the most feared of the country's drug trafficking organizations, the Sinaloa cartel. Two cartel gunman and two Culiacán policemen died in a series of shoot-outs that broke out when Mexican soldiers and police attempted to arrest suspected narcos, or cartel members.

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shrine to San Malverde, patron saint of the narcos (and others), Culiacan -- plaque thanking God, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and San Malverde for keeping the roads cleans -- from ''the indigenous people from Angostura to Arizona''

The deaths occurred less than a mile from the central Culiacán hotel where a number of intellectuals, academics, and political figures were staying while they were in town for a two-day International Forum on Illicit Drugs organized by the muckraking local newsweekly Ríodoce. The bloody gun battles were poignant punctuation for a conference Tuesday and Wednesday dedicated to seeking alternatives to Mexico's drug war, which has seen nearly 1,000 people killed so far this year, and nearly 4,000 dead since President Felipe Calderón called out the army at the beginning of 2007.

While Calderón and his allies in the Bush administration are seeking a $1.4 billion anti-drug aid package to try to break the back of the cartels by ramping up Mexican military involvement in the fray under the Plan Mérida initiative, the Culiacán conference was dedicated to searching for a different path. Its subtitle was "Plan Mérida and the Experiences of Decriminalization."

Organized by Ríodoce as a response to the violence that appears to be spiraling out of control, the forum brought together leading Mexican drug experts, such as Luis Astorga, head of the UNESCO program studying the economic and social aspects of drugs and the drug trade; Dr. Humberto Brocca, a Mexico City physician who deals with street youth and drug addiction; Ricardo Ravel, a journalist for the Mexico City newsweekly Proceso and author of numerous books on the Mexican cartels; General Francisco Gallardo, the leading proponent of human rights in the Mexican military; Jorge Hernández Tinajero, advisor to Deputy Elsa Conde and founding member of AMECA (the Mexican Assocation for Cannabis Studies), and Carlos Montemayor, a towering figure among the Mexican intelligentsia, among others.

They were joined by Colombian drug specialist Francisco Thoumi, director of the Center for the Study of Drugs and Crime at the University of Rosario in Bogota; and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York City-based Drug Policy Alliance. Also in attendance, albeit briefly, were a number of local political figures, including a former state governor, a member of the state congress, the state human rights coordinator, and the state coordinator for the left-leaning Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). The attendance of the local political figures at the forum's opening session is a sign that, given a massive military presence (about 1,000 more Mexican army troops deployed to Culiacán last week, joining about 2,000 others already working in the state), rising levels of violence, and endemic corruption among law enforcement and political figures, the state's political elite is starting to look for alternatives to even more soldiers, more narcos, and more violence.

"The drug trade has become one of the most complex and important problems facing us today," said Ríodoce publisher Ismael Bojórquez as he opened the conference Tuesday morning in the Torre Académica at the Culiacán campus of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa. "Our efforts to fight it have not produced results. But it is not just a law enforcement problem, it is also a health problem. How do we protect drug consumers? Here today, we are proposing that given the failure of our drug policy, we need to look at alternatives."

[Much of the discussion at the forum focused on Plan Mérida and the militarization of Mexico's drug war. See that discussion here.]

AMECA founder Jorge Hernández Tinajero explained one alternative, the decriminalization of marijuana use and possession, as a first step on a path toward meaningful drug reform in Mexico. "We have a proposal before the congress that would remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession," he explained, arguing that marijuana smokers should be dealt with outside the criminal justice system.

Although conceding that change will come incrementally if at all, Hernández Tinajero also made a broader anti-prohibitionist argument. "It is disingenuous to say that we should rely on the military and police to reduce the supply of drugs," he said. "Who trusts the police? Nobody," he said, to cheers and laughter from the audience.

While the Ríodoce conference marked the first public gathering in Sinaloa to discuss alternatives to the drug war, it is a problem that has been festering for years, said Nery Córdova, a poet and essayist who is a member of the social sciences faculty at Autonomous University of Sinaloa. "We've been discussing this for some time, and not just professionals and academics," he told a rapt audience of students, community members, and other interested parties. "This is a problem that involves millions of people here in Mexico. Prohibition has been very profitable," he noted.

But while prohibition has been profitable for some, it also imposes steep costs on others, Córdova said. "We've seen the army raid thousands of villages, and now, in the mountains hundreds of villages are just vanishing. We have seen massacres of innocents by the military, and at the same time, we have the media telling us that killing a narco is saving the homeland. But the use of institutional force and violence only generates more violence," he said.

"Prohibition has been inefficient and useless," said José Manuel Valenzuela, a professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at the College of the Northern Frontier in Tijuana, and author of award-winning books on popular culture and "narco-culture." "Prohibition corrupts not only the police forces and the army, but also many other spheres of society. We have become accustomed to confronting this in a brutal manner," he said.

There is a better way, said Brocca, citing the experience of Holland. But getting to a better solution, he said, requires looking within. "Blaming drugs obscures real problems," he said. "We fear the truth."

Still, said Brocca, times are changing. "We are used to working in the trenches, and we've been waiting for change to come from above, but this is changing. This decrim bill is the result of a group of us -- political people, doctors, academics, celebrities -- coming together to push for change."

But while panelist after panelist made strong arguments for a paradigm shift in drug policy, it was DPA's Nadelmann, with his energetic public presentation unimpeded by the necessity of ongoing translation, who stole the show and most captivated the crowd.

"The war on drugs is a disaster; it's contrary to common sense, the laws of economics, and human rights," Nadelmann told a rapt audience. "Our policy has resulted in a global prohibition regime that uses the criminal laws with respect to some drugs, but not others. Those decisions were not based on science or medicine; they had less to do with the dangers of various substances than with who was using them," he said, citing the racist history of drug laws in the US and comparing them to the contemporary "hysteria" over the of people from Mexico into the US , an approach that resonated plainly with his Mexican audience.

While various speakers at the forum placed Mexico's drug war within the ambit of American neo-colonialism -- oh, what a difference being outside the US makes! -- Nadelmann disagreed. "It's easy to believe that American drug policy with respect to Mexico is primarily to advance American political, military, and economic interests, or that the real intention is to humiliate Mexico. I think that's mostly false," he said. "What we are seeing is simply the international projection of our domestic psychosis. We are crazy when it comes to drugs, and Mexico must be swept up. It isn't rational, and it doesn't advance our national interest. Our interest is in peace, security, and open markets, and the American drug war does not serve those interests. Our craziness undermines us," he argued.

"What's the alternative? Legal regulation must be on the table. What Mexico is experiencing today reminds of Chicago under Al Capone -- the crime, the violence, the corruption," Nadelmann continued. "These are not the consequences of drugs, but of a failed prohibitionist approach."

About the time Nadelmann was saying those words the latest killings in Culiacán took place. As audience members left the forum, went home, and turned on their televisions, Mexico's narcos, soldiers, and police were busy reinforcing the arguments heard at the Torre Académica.

LEAP on the Hill: Stories from Week of April 25, 2008

Doctors make the worst patients: Now in my 12th year in the struggle to end drug prohibition, I tell beginners to pace themselves, don’t go too fast all the time. ‘It is a marathon, not a 100 yard dash.’ My speed the nearly two years on the Hill? Like a 100 meter dash. LOL. This week I received a message from a LEAP member. It caused a profound reaction. It was the catalyst I needed to take my own advice. I rode Misty twice this week, instead of the usual once. I have slowed down = a bit closer to 40/week. My spirit needs the healing time. Thank you James. This is my response to his note: Hello James, Just finished yet another 1 day conference here in DC. One of presenters came up on break to encourage me to continue the anti-prohibition message. Earlier another panelist had told me to focus on what could be done in next 5 years. (and not waste time on the broad policy of drug prohibition). I readily admit that those are the times which try my soul. Later, another VIP in a quiet voice (in private natch) said that my message is vital to be heard. And I shoulder on. I thank you for the kind and encouraging words. I am a pretty tough hombre but this mentality in DC is a killer to the human spirit. Off to the 5 - 7 reception. At least the food is usually excellent. Cowboy
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

DrugSense FOCUS Alert: #364 Did You Read the Los Angeles Times Dust Up Debates?

*********************PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE************************* DrugSense FOCUS Alert #364 - Friday, 25 April 2008 This week the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times featured a drug war debate between Jacob Sullum, who needs no introduction; and Charles "Cully" Stimson who was a local, state and federal prosecutor, a military prosecutor and defense attorney, and a deputy assistant secretary of Defense. Currently, he is a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. The series is MAP archived as follows: Monday's DUST UP http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n414/a05.html Tuesday's DUST UP http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n415/a09.html Wednesday's DUST UP http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n418/a05.html Thursday's DUST UP http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n421/a02.html Friday's DUST UP http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08.n426.a01.html Besides being targets for letters to the editor the series provides arguments we are likely to see as efforts are made for and against initiatives which will be on the ballot in various states. Tuesday's DUST UP about medical marijuana presents arguments we may see about the Michigan initiative http://StopArrestingPatients.org/ Already one Detroit TV station has been broadcasting anti-initiative ads you may see at http://stoparrestingpatients.org/video.html The other OPEDs present arguments we may see used for or against the California's initiative, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2008 http://www.drugpolicy.org/statebystate/california/nora/ ********************************************************************** Style guides for writing effective letters to the editor are available at MAP's Media Activism Center: http://www.mapinc.org/resource/#guides ********************************************************************** Prepared by: The MAP Media Activism Team -- www.mapinc.org/resource
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Drug Truth + Barney Frank: 04/24/08

The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War From the Drug Truth Network: - US Representative Barney Frank joins us next Tuesday, live on the Century of Lies show to discuss his new marijuana bill - (To downlad these 29:00 files, click on links below. To simply listen, go to www.drugtruth.net and select the arrow below the shows description.) Cultural Baggage for 04/23/08 Norm Kent of NORML at 420 Fest, Dan Bernath of MPP, Doug McVay with Drug War Facts, Philppe Lucas of VICS & Eddy Lepp - exonerated of largest ever DEA MJ bust MP3 LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1860/FDBCB_042308.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (To be posted by Friday) Century of Lies for 04/22/08 Doctor David F. Duncan discusses the lack of valid science to support the policy of drug war + Poppygate Report with Glenn Greenway & DTN satire: "Oil Traders Heads on a Pole" MP3 Link: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/?q=audio/download/1859/COL_042208.mp3 TRANSCRIPT: (Will be posted Thursday Late Night) "World War Infinity Squared" NEW DTN Tee Shirt Design at http://www.cultural-baggage.com/drugtruth/teeshirt.htm PLEASE NOTE: We now have transcripts, potcasts, searchability, CMS, XML, sorts by guest name and by organization. Next - Century of Lies on Tues, Cutural Baggage on Wed, listen online at www.kpft.org: - Cultural Baggage 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: TBD - Century of Lies 12:30 PM ET, 11:30 AM CT, 10:30 AM MT & 9:30 AM PT: US Rep. Barney Frank, LIVE Hundreds of our programs are available online at www.drugtruth.net, www.audioport.org and at www.radio4all.net. We provide the "unvarnished truth about the drug war" to scores of broadcast affiliates in the US and Canada. Programs produced at Pacifica Radio Station KPFT in Houston. www.kpft.org Check out our latest videos via www.youtube.com/fdbecker: More than 50 Drug Policy Videos online) Please become part of the solution, visit our website: www.endprohibition.org for links to the best of reform. "Prohibition is evil." - Reverend Dean Becker, Drug Truth Network Producer Dean Becker 713-849-6869 www.drugtruth.net
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Europe: Head of Dutch Police Union Says Legalize Marijuana, a Dutch Mayor is on the Same Wave-Length

Hans van Duijn, head of the Dutch police union, told Radio Netherlands Wednesday that the struggle to arrest marijuana growers and providers was pointless and that marijuana should just be legalized. Under Dutch practice, the sale and consumption of small amounts of marijuana are illegal but tolerated, while police continue to seek to arrest the people who supply the coffee shops where the weed is sold, as well as people who are growing or selling outside the coffee house system.

But attempting to arrest growers and suppliers detracts from police ability to deal with other, more serious, crime issues, van Duijn said. Unfortunately, the retiring union head added, Dutch politicians are reluctant to consider that possibility because of international pressure. They are "sticking their heads in the sand," he said.

Van Duijn also called for letting hard-core drug addicts use drugs under supervision. He said that is the only effective way to fight crime.

Meanwhile, the substitute lord mayor of Terneuzen, a city of 60,000 close to the Belgian border, has called for a pilot program for legal marijuana cultivation. Access to a legal supply of marijuana would solve the "backdoor problem" for the Dutch, wherein coffee shops can sell the weed, but no one can legally provide it for them. Substitute Lord Mayor Co Van Schaik told the Dutch news source PZC it was time for such a program.

Feature: North Dakota Man Facing Years in Prison After Buying Salvia Divinorum On eBay

In what is likely the first arrest for possession of salvia divinorum anywhere in the nation -- and definitely a first in North Dakota -- a Bismarck man now faces years in prison after he bought a few ounces of leaves on eBay. Kenneth Rau, a bottling plant worker with an interest in herbalism, altered states, and religion and spirituality, was arrested by Bismarck police on April 9 when they searched his home looking for his adult son, who was on probation for drug charges.

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Kenneth Rau
Police found a marijuana pipe, eight ounces of salvia leaf, a quantity of amanita muscaria mushrooms, and a number of other herbal products. Rau now faces multiple charges, said Burleigh County States Attorney Cynthia Feland.

"He is being charged with possession of salvia with intent to deliver, as well as possession of psilocybin with intent, and possession of marijuana," she said. Although Rau told the Chronicle he thought he would be charged with a school zone violation as well, which would have made his intent offenses Class A felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison, that is not the case, said Feland. "He is not being charged with a school zone violation," she affirmed.

(The psilocybin charges could go up in smoke. The amanita muscaria mushrooms that he possessed are not controlled substances under federal law and, while hallucinogenic, do not contain psilocybin. The active ingredient in amanita muscaria mushrooms is muscimole.)

Rau was being charged with possession with intent because of the weight of the leaves, she said. "We look at the typical use quantity," she said, "and it is similar to marijuana, with a typical use dose of .25 grams to .5 grams, and he had significantly more than that," she said.

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salvia leaves (courtesy erowid.org)
Salvia divinorum, a member of the Mexican mint family, has been used by Mazatec shamans for hundreds of years. Smoking or chewing the leaves, or more commonly, concentrated extracts, can produce intense, albeit short-lived hallucinogenic experiences. While the plant has become notorious through YouTube videos of young people smoking it and behaving strangely, it is also of interest to "psychonauts," or people attempting to explore consciousness through herbal means.

Researchers say that while salvia's effects on consciousness may be disquieting, the plant has not been shown to be toxic to humans, its effects are so potent it is unlikely to be used repeatedly, and its active property, salvinorin A, could assist in the development of medicines for mood disorders.

There are hazards to messing with hallucinogens, one expert was quick to point out. "It's an hallucinogen, and while its hallucinogenic actions are different from those induced by LSD and other hallucinogens, it has the liabilities that hallucinogens do," Bryan Roth, a professor of pharmacology at University of North Carolina's School of Medicine, the man who isolated salvinorin A, told Drug War Chronicle last month. "When people take it, they are disoriented. If you don't know where you are and you're driving a car, that would be a bad experience."

Still, said Roth, while it may make you freak out, it isn't going to kill you. "There is no evidence of any overt toxicity, there are no reports in the medical literature that anyone has died from it. The caveat is that there have been no formal studies done on humans, but the animal data suggests that it doesn't kill animals given massive doses, and that's usually -- but not always -- predictive for human pharmacology."

The DEA considers salvia a drug of interest, but has yet to move to place it under the Controlled Substances Act. A DEA spokesman told the Chronicle recently that the plant is being reviewed to see if it meets the criteria for inclusion on the list of controlled substances.

But driven by little more than the YouTube videos and the story of one Delaware youth whose parents blamed his suicide on salvia, state legislators have not waited for the DEA's measured considerations to act. Since Delaware became the first state to ban salvia, a handful of others, including North Dakota, followed suit. Moves are currently afoot in a number of other states to join the club.

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salvia (and criminal defense) ads on web version of ND news station report on Rau's bust
Salvia became illegal in North Dakota on August 1, after a bill sponsored by three Republican lawmakers, state Sens. Dave Oelke and Randel Christmann and state Rep. Brenda Heller sailed through the legislature earlier this year. None of the three legislators responded to Chronicle requests for comment this week.

After Rau was arrested earlier this month, Bismarck police warned that it could be only the beginning in the fight against the member of the mint family. "It sure looks like there could be a market, based on the amount he had", Lt. Bob Hass told reporters. "This is the first we've seen of it." Hass did not return Chronicle calls for comment this week.

While salvia information web sites like Salvia.Net do place a single dose of salvia leaf at between .25 gram and one gram, similar to County Attorney Feland's estimate, intent to deliver still seems a stretch. "I bought eight ounces of leaf on eBay by bidding $32 for it," said Rau. "Now they're charging me with possession with intent. That's silly. Nobody wants leaves. Everyone is buying those 10X and 20X and 30X extracts." [Ed: Not to mention that on eBay one buys what is being offered a sale, not half or a tenth or twentieth of it.]

Rau was also not impressed by the prosecutor's dosage estimates. "This is a clear ploy to exaggerate the number of saleable units," he complained. "These drug warriors have long used this ploy to make dealers out of everyone. Accepting those figures, an ounce of Salvia Divinorum would give 120 doses and make anyone holding an ounce of it a dealer. This is ridiculous since an ounce is clearly the standard saleable unit for leaf. Applying the prosecutor's standard marijuana dosage and saleable quantity would be the amount that would fit in the end of a pinch hitter. This standard would make anyone holding even an eighth ounce of marijuana a dealer."

Rau also scoffed at the notion that anyone is going to be buying fractions of an ounce of salvia leaf. "You can buy an ounce online for as little as $10," he pointed out. "Who is going to split that up into smaller quantities? Hell, you would probably end up spending more on baggies that you did on the leaf," he said.

"This is ridiculous legislative overreaching," said Rau of the new law. "They only based it on those wacky YouTube videos, and even on those, you see people trying to abuse the stuff as much as possible and ham it up, and it still doesn't hurt them. And why jump from selling it in stores to making it a felony," he asked, "don't they do misdemeanors anymore? I didn't even know it was illegal here, and with their first prosecution they go for the max."

The local TV station's web site has inadvertently supported Rau's point. At the time of this writing, an online version of the news report about Rau's arrest was still pulling up salvia ads by Google. Rau emailed the link to Drug War Chronicle, proving that the salvia ads are showing up on computers in North Dakota.

A mild-mannered 46-year-old, Rau's interest in salvia derived from a broader interest in herbalism, religion and spirituality, as well as efforts to deal with his own inner demons. "I read that salvia facilitates lucid dreaming, so I tried chewing some leaves before bed time, and it was interesting because I would see faces and remember names I had long forgotten."

He also tried salvia as a cure for depression. "I have some childhood issues to deal with. They had me on Paxil," he said. "They want you to take their pharmaceuticals, but if you want to take an herbal remedy, they want to throw you in prison. Are they going to save me from myself by throwing me in prison for years?"

Now, Rau is fighting for his freedom, but there aren't many resources in North Dakota, and he doesn't even have a lawyer yet. "The ACLU doesn't even list anyone in the state," he said. "I've emailed the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, but I haven't heard back from them yet."

Still, he said, his arrest has motivated him. "Maybe this is an opportunity for me to join the fight," he said. "I've never been a drug user, never been arrested. I started experimenting with this stuff because I thought it was legal. I didn't want to get into trouble, but now they're treating me just like some meth dealer."

Latin America: Argentine Court Decriminalizes Drug Possession in Buenos Aires

A federal court in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires Tuesday decriminalized drug possession in the capital in a ruling that could be altered by the country's high court, but which is in line with the position of the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. In issuing its ruling, the federal court threw out thousands of drug possession cases pending in the federal district.

The ruling from the federal court of appeals came in the case of two young people arrested for possession of marijuana joints and ecstasy tablets at an electronic music concert in 2007. In those cases, the court held that the 1989 drug law that punished simple drug possession or consumption is unconstitutional .

Under that law, drug users were seen as the base of a chain that led directly to drug traffickers. But the appeals court held that that law generated "an avalanche of cases against users without managing to ascend the links of the chain to the drug traffickers."

The current government is in favor of reforming drug laws. During a recent UN session, Argentine Justice and Security Minister Aníbal Fernández called the policy of punishing drug users "an absolute failure."

Now, a federal appeals court has ratified that opinion.

Inmate Count in US Dwarfs Other Nations

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/us/23prison.html

European Pressure: Turkey Must Fight Drug War, or Else

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kalif Mathieu is an intern at StoptheDrugWar.org. His bio is in our "staff" section.

I traveled to the city of Istanbul last week to stay for a few days with my school program of Peace and Conflict Resolution. Istanbul (and Turkey as a whole) is the perfect conduit for heroin being produced in the middle-east to reach Western European markets. Heroin and other drugs are commodities like anything else, and travel through the same general trade routes as other goods. Turkey is so strategically placed that according to Le Monde diplomatique in 1995 “An estimated 80% of the heroin on the European market is being processed in Turkish laboratories." (La Dépêche Internationale des Drogues 1995, Nr. 48)

So you might ask, “what’s so special about heroin traveling through Turkey? It’s just like any other trade between the middle-east and Europe.” The troublesome point is who controls the trafficking through the country and receives the profits of the trade. This happens to be the PKK, or Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a militant organization with a 30-year history of fighting the Turkish government to establish a separate Kurdish state. “According to Interpol […] the PKK was orchestrating 80 % of the European drug market” back in 1992, and “[o]ther sources similarly indicate that the PKK controlled between 60 % to 70 %” in 1994 reported the Turkish Daily News.

The state of Turkey has been increasing its process of Westernization recently in its desire to join the EU, and this has meant adopting a Western policy on drugs. Turkey has been very successful recently in increasing its police and border control effectiveness and eliminating corruption. The Turkish Daily News gave some convincing numbers: “According to the deputy customs undersecretary, there was a 400 percent increase in drug-operation success in the period between 2002 and 2006, when compared to the 1999-2002 period.”

However, even though Turkey has been, in recent years, dealing more and more forcefully with both the PKK militants and the drug trade, has this actually reduced the trafficking of drugs and the profits of the PKK? In the Turkish Daily News: “[t]he annual revenue made by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has increased to 400-500 million euros, a top Turkish general said late Tuesday.” If the PKK’s revenue has increased, then it is logical to assume Turkey’s military campaign against them may not be considered a huge success. Not only that, but “200-250 million euros of [the PKK’s] revenue comes from drugs […] Gen. Ergin Saygun, deputy chief of General Staff said.” That makes drug trafficking 50% of the organization’s income!

The Turkish state has had a history of valuing the effectiveness of force. It was born from war, and the constitution has a controversial but often-utilized article that allows the Turkish army to organize a coup to eliminate the possibility of having a religious party in power. What is the point of these so-called ‘hard-line’ approaches to dealing with the nation’s problems if they are rather ineffective? Very little of course. The trouble comes from what the state could say to its citizens, to the international community, if it negotiated with the violent PKK or began to take the drug trade into the light by moving it towards legalization and either private or state control? If Turkey tried to clean up its smuggling and black market in such a way the majority of Europe, if not the greater ‘global community,’ would probably condemn the entire nation of betraying humanity and literally becoming evil. The reaction of many Turkish citizens would be perhaps lighter, but of a similar nature if the state sat down to negotiations with the ‘terrorist’ PKK. These are strong influences on the Turkish state, and severely limit its options. Therefore it seems Turkey doesn’t have much of a choice but to pursue the same policy of force it has pursued for more than 30 years, whether it benefit the people or not.

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