Federal Government

RSS Feed for this category

Mexican alliance drives drug flow

Ciudad Juarez
The Dallas Morning News

Drug Czar Blasted for Lack of Leadership

United States

Lawmaker seeks restrictions on baking soda to fight drugs

St. Louis, MO
United States
The Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations," by Peter Andreas and Ethan Nadelmann. (2006, Oxford University Press, 333 pp., $29.95 HB)

The academic discipline of international relations pays little heed to crime control and the academic discipline of criminal justice pays little heed to international politics, note Peter Andreas and Ethan Nadelmann early in "Policing the Globe." That has left a lacunae they have nicely filled in their study of the rise of international cooperation in policing -- and where it might go from here.

You couldn't come up with a better pair to tackle this subject than Andreas and Nadelmann. Andreas, a professor of political science and international relations at Brown University, has done extensive work on the US-Mexico border. And I assume most readers are familiar with Nadelmann as head of the Drug Policy Alliance, where he serves as the country's most prominent drug reform advocate. But in addition to being an activist, Nadelmann is an academic with a long interest in the internationalization of crime control. In fact, he laid much of the groundwork for "Policing the Globe" with his 1993 "Cops Across Borders," published by Penn State University Press.

As an academic work, "Policing the Globe," while eminently readable (unlike some academic prose), is likely to be mostly read by serious researchers and students of its subject matter. That's a shame, for Andreas and Nadelmann shed considerable light on the evolution of the ever-more-integrated international police apparatus. Given the acceleration of that integration since the attacks of September 2001 and the technological advances leading us ever closer to an Orwellian surveillance society, it might behoove us to pay some attention.

While "Policing the Globe" is not indecipherable academic-speak, it is dense. But it is also chewy. It's the kind of writing where you start out underlining the really important parts, but quickly find you have to switch to quick slash-marks on the page margins because otherwise you're going to underline half the damn book.

The rise of international cooperation in crime control is because of the rise of international crime, right? Seems reasonable, but as Andreas and Nadelmann explain, it's not quite that simple. It has instead been a process lasting hundreds of years, beginning with efforts to eradicate piracy and slavery, and moving through the attempt by European states to suppress political opponents, the crusade against international prostitution, the war on drugs, and now, the war on terror.

And the liberal model of a police response to a crime problem doesn't explain it. In fact, it begs the question: What is a criminal activity and why? The most vivid examples of international police cooperation and global prohibition regimes revolve around activities that weren't even crimes a century ago: drug trafficking and use, money laundering, the traffic in migrant humans, and political violence (or terrorism, which presents its own sticky definitional and political problems).

To really explain the rise of international crime control, argue Andreas and Nadelmann, one must also incorporate some realpolitik and some social constructivism into the mix. In realpolitik, stronger states impose their wills on weaker ones, and the pair show how that has been the case here. At the beginning, cooperation among European states paved the way, but in the past century, and especially since World War II, the United States, as the most powerful state actor, has been largely able to impose its criminal justice preferences on the rest of the world. To the extent it has been able to do that, it has made international criminal law more homogenous, more in line with that of its own.

But American preferences are determined not just by economics, politics, or national security, but also by appeals to morality and the fight against evil. Indeed, what the authors call "transnational moral entrepreneurs" have played a key role in the creation of the global slavery, white slavery, and drug prohibition regimes. If we want to understand global criminality, we have to understand how it is created.

Andreas and Nadelmann spend the middle section of "Policing the Globe" carefully describing the evolution of international crime control. In sometimes exhausting detail, they note the rise of international cooperation against European anarchist assassins and other political "criminals," and their gradual displacement as the primary creators of the international crime consensus by the Americans. Now, the DEA and the FBI have offices in dozens of countries across the world.

And where will we go from here? Global drug prohibition is likely to hang around despite its failures and collateral damage, the pair predict. "The failure of a global prohibition regime does not necessarily signal its future demise," they write. Instead, its "symbolic allure" as a means of moral disapproval is likely to ensure that it continues. "Open defection from the regime is highly unlikely any time soon."

But they do point to some nibbling around the edges. The global consensus on marijuana is crumbling, they note, and the rise of coca-friendly Evo Morales to the Bolivian presidency could lead to erosion of the UN Single Convention prohibition on the coca plant, or even a direct challenge to the convention itself.

But "Policing the Globe" is larger than the drug war, and it raises serious concerns about the broader implications of what could be the coming global police state (my words, not theirs). All in all, Andreas and Nadelmann have produced an important work, one that should be essential for anyone interested in global policing. Given some of the trends the pair identify, however, this book should probably be required reading for anyone interested in the preservation of freedom in the 21st Century.

Pushing Crap: 24 Hours Of ONDCP Blogging Boggles the Brain

At tremendous risk to my sanity, I read ONDCP's blog Pushingback.com so you don’t have to. Keep in mind that the following was posted sequentially within a 24 hour period:

First ONDCP criticizes Gov. Bill Richardson for signing New Mexico's medical marijuana law:

Medical Marijuana in New Mexico: A Triumph of Politics Over Science

Next, it reports that prescription drugs now kill almost as many people as murderers:

Report: Prescription Drugs Deaths Nearly Equal Murders

Then it follows up with this:

"Anti-pot Message Needs to be Louder."

The announcement that prescription drugs are killing people at alarming rates is sandwiched between two hysterical posts about medical marijuana. Apparently, it requires massive loss of human life to distract ONDCP even briefly from its frantic campaign against patients with pot.

Meanwhile, murderous FDA-approved medicines are massacring Americans left and right, a fact to which the ONDCP pays lip service before exclaiming, in its very next post, that medical marijuana must really be very dangerous precisely because it hasn't been approved by the FDA.

ONDCP's mantra that FDA-approved medicines are safe and effective and that non-approved medicines are dangerous and unpredictable is exposed as utterly hollow and meaningless right on the front page of its own blog. And they have no clue because the actual human consequences of various medical decisions are the furthest thing from their minds when they write this malicious drivel.

Only by ending the fraudulent campaign against marijuana can the anti-drug movement salvage the credibility necessary to warn people about drugs that can kill you. But they're not ready for that. ONDCP is still busy touting these very same killer drugs as alternatives to medical marijuana. If attempting to comprehend the unintended irony of all this makes you nauseous, you're not alone.
United States

Information: NIDA Drug Library Closed Due to Budget Woes

The National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) massive collection of journals and books related to drug use and addiction has been shut down because of budget cuts, according to the organ of the Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists, SALIS News. The fate of the 12,000 journal volumes and 8,000 books in the collection is unclear at this point, but it will likely be scattered between the National Institute of Health, other drug and addiction collections, and the personal libraries of researchers.

While the collection was used primarily by NIDA staff, it also contains many historic documents. The collection dates back to 1929 and includes every article published by program staff since NIDA's predecessor, the Addiction Research Center, was founded in 1935. Also among the holdings are the entire set of the Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence meetings abstracts/minutes since its inception in 1929, and numerous other government documents and materials only found in such special collections.

NIDA gets over a billion dollars a year to conduct research on drug abuse and addiction, but it can't seem to find the money to keep this resource going. As the SALIS News noted: "What will this mean in the long term for those who had relied on [the NIDA Library] for the information they sought? Will it be just a few clicks on Google for them to find the information? What about the history of this research unit so long a part of the early drug addiction research in America? And gee, I thought drug abuse was supposed to be one of the major problems in America."

Analysis: U.S. drug czar in Afghanistan

Washington, DC
United States

Reefer Madness

United States
The Austin Chronicle

Book Offer: Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics

Normally when we publish a book review in our Drug War Chronicle newsletter, it gets readers but is not among the top stories visited on the site. Recently we saw a big exception to that rule when more than 2,700 of you read our review of the new book Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Much of this reading took place during a week that had other very popular articles as well, so clearly the topic of this book, which was authored by respected academics Matthew Robinson and Renee Scherlen, has struck a chord. As well it should.

Please help DRCNet continue our own work of debunking drug war lies with a generous donation. If your donation is $32 or more, we'll send you a complimentary copy of Robinson and Scherlen's book to help you be able to debunk drug war lies too.

Over the coming weeks I will be blogging on our web site about things I've learned reading Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics. Stay tuned!

Your donation will help DRCNet as we advance what we think is an incredible two-year plan to substantially advance drug policy reform and the cause of ending prohibition globally and in the US. Please make a generous donation today to help the cause! I know you will feel the money was well spent after you see what DRCNet has in store. Our online donation form lets you donate by credit card, by PayPal, or to print out a form to send with your check or money order by mail. Please note that contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, our lobbying entity, are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations can be made to DRCNet Foundation, our educational wing. (Choosing a gift like Lies, Damn Lies, and Drug War Statistics will reduce the portion of your donation that you can deduct by the retail cost of the item.) Both groups receive member mail at: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.

Thank you for your support, and hope to hear from you soon.


David Borden
Executive Director

P.S. You can read Chronicle editor Phil Smith's review of the book here.

Methamphetamine: Feds Make First Cold Medicine Bust Under Combat Meth Act

An Ontario, New York, man last Friday won the dubious distinction of being the first person arrested under the 2005 Combat Meth Epidemic Act. According to a DEA press release, William Fousse was arrested for purchasing cold tablets containing more than nine grams of pseudoephedrine within a one month period.

Busted for Bronkaid
Under the Combat Meth Act, passed with little scrutiny when it was attached to a bill renewing provisions of the Patriot Act, chemicals widely used as cold remedies or other non-prescription medicines that can also be used in home meth manufacture, such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, are now "scheduled listed chemical products."

Products containing these chemicals are now kept behind the counter. In order to purchase them, one must show identification and sign a log book at pharmacies. DEA and state and local law enforcement monitor those logbooks to see if anyone is buying amounts over the limit.

"This is a first for DEA," crowed DEA Western New York Special Agent in Charge John Gilbride. "DEA's focus is to dismantle clandestine methamphetamine labs and trafficking organizations and to also monitor the products that are illegally used to produce methamphetamine. DEA is committed to keeping our communities safe from the dangers of methamphetamine production and abuse. Today's arrest is a warning to those who violate the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act."

Fousse is alleged to have purchased more than 400 Bronkaid tablets containing a total of more than 29 grams of ephedrine during the month of January -- more than three times the legal limit -- at one pharmacy and to have purchased a like amount at two others. It was a call from the first pharmacist to the DEA's Buffalo office that set the wheels in motion.

DEA agents visited Fousse at his home on February 13. According to a police affidavit, Fousse said he was unaware of the law, was not selling the pills to meth cooks, and was using the stuff himself. That was not good enough for the DEA and federal prosecutors. He faces a May 1 court date.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School