Newsbrief: Prohibition-Terror Link? 12/26/03

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The US Navy seized three vessels carrying drugs in the Persian Gulf in the last two weeks, and those seizures could provide the first concrete evidence that drug prohibition is helping to fund Al Qaeda. Two of the small wooden ships, known as dhows, were seized Saturday, with Navy personnel finding 130 pounds of methamphetamine on one and 75 pounds of heroin on the other. Five days earlier, a naval vessel intercepted another dhow, this one carrying nearly two tons of hashish.

According to unconfirmed reports from the US military, some of the crewmen on the boats could have connections to Al Qaeda. "We are investigating potential Al-Qaeda connections to these operations," Rear-Admiral Jim Stavridis, commander of the Enterprise aircraft carrier strike group, said in a brief statement. The seizures are "indicative of the need for continuing maritime patrol of the Gulf in order to stop the movement of terrorists, drugs and weapons."

"An initial investigation uncovered clear ties between the smuggling operation and Al-Qaeda," US Central Command said Monday in a statement from its Florida headquarters. It refused to provide any information to back up that claim.

Drug warriors in the US have been eager to link the tired and tarnished drug war with the shiny new "war on terror," and they are certain to leap on this alleged connection as further proof that, as one of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's widely ridiculed ads put it, drug users support terrorism. "Where do terrorists get their money?" one ad asked viewers. "If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you."

But according to James Gurule, a former US Treasury Department official involved in tracking terrorist finances, Al-Qaeda would find drug smuggling attractive "because of the huge profit margins involved. I wouldn't be surprised at all," he told the AP. Those profits, it should be noted, are a function of the black market created by global drug prohibition.

Maybe we need some new ads. How about: "Where do terrorists get their money? If you support drug prohibition, you're supporting terrorists."

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Issue #317, 12/26/03 Message from the Executive Director: Another Year at DRCNet and in Drug Policy Reform | Canadian Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Law -- Cannabis Battle Heads Back to Parliament | The New Jersey Weedman is Back! Forchion Announces House Bid Before Arrest at Liberty Bell Pot-Smoking Religious Demo | Newsbrief: The Complete List of President Bush's Drug War Prisoner Pardons | Newsbrief: Return of the Undead, Part I -- "B-1 Bob" Dornan to Challenge Rohrabacher in House Race, Attacks Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Return of the Undead, Part II -- Arch-Drug Warrior McCollum Seeks Florida GOP Senate Nod | Newsbrief: Prohibition-Terror Link? | Newsbrief: Cable Giant Censors Medical Marijuana Issue Ads in New Hampshire | Newsbrief: Todd McCormick Released from Federal Prison | Newsbrief: Why Don't People Seek Treatment? | Popular Television News and Drama Programs to Discuss Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in January | BUSTED: New and Improved Video Offer from DRCNet | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar

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