Newsbrief: Pushing National Drug Control Strategy, Drug Czar Calls for Drug War to Emulate Terror War 2/25/05

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http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/376/2005strategy.shtml

On the eve of Wednesday's official release of the 2005 National Drug Control Strategy, drug czar John Walters told Reuters the US should employ some of the techniques it uses in the "war on terror" to the war on drugs. International drug traffickers share many characteristics with terror networks, he said, although he did concede there were important differences.

"Maybe the brutal experience we've had with terror helps to make this more concrete and understandable," he said cryptically.

Drug trafficking organizations shared structural similarities with terror networks, he said. Most are no longer centrally controlled, with one organization establishing vertical control over the sale of a certain drug from production to retail distribution, or, as Walters put it, "from the farm to the arm." As a result, like terrorist networks, drug organizations are now more difficult to disrupt since individual cells that were knocked out of commission could be replaced.

Walters did not mention the contention that the creation of amorphous, "boutique" drug trafficking groups is a direct result of past efforts to disrupt vertically integrated groups like Colombia's so-called Medellin and Cali cartels.

On the other hand, Walters said, drug trafficking organizations may be easier targets than terrorist networks because of their sheer size, involving thousands of people. "We now have tools and ways of sharing intelligence and looking at these organizations more as businesses. We begin to ask questions... Where is it most particularly vulnerable? What does it take to cause a disruption in those markets?"

Walters also told Reuters that in evaluating US drug policy, success should be defined not so much by calculating the amount of drugs seized or destroyed, but by measuring the flow of drugs to US markets. That leaves him in a tough position, since by any measure, more than three decades of US "war on drugs" and tens of billions of dollars have not caused significant, long-lasting shortages of any illicit substances, as agencies such as the US General Accounting Office have trenchantly observed.

Walters did not specify in the interview just which "terror war" techniques he would apply to the war on drugs. Military attack? Torture, er, "robust interrogation methods"? Torture by proxy? Secret tribunals? Illicit renditions? Indefinite imprisonment without charge?

Look for a detailed analysis of the 2005 National Drug Control Strategy next week.

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Issue #376 -- 2/25/05

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Editorial: PROOF | Campaign Against "Souder's Law" Progresses Forward and Outward in DC and the States | Ohio Drugged Driving Bill Hits Speed Bumps in House After Quick Senate Approval | Medical Marijuana at the Statehouse 2005 -- An Overview of Progress So Far | DRCNet Book Reviews: "Drugs and Democracy" and "Dangerous Harvests" | DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature Rep. John Conyers and Kemba Smith, March 9 in Washington, DC | This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: Bush All But Admitted Past Drug Use in Secretly Recorded Tapes | Newsbrief: Pushing National Drug Control Strategy, Drug Czar Calls for Drug War to Emulate Terror War | Newsbrief: Parents More Chill About Teen Drug Use, Study Frets | Newsbrief: In Latest Border Killing, Agent Shoots Unarmed Marijuana Mule | Newsbrief: More Meth Madness -- Iowa School District to Ban Homemade Goodies for Fear of Crank Contamination | Newsbrief: Marijuana Legalization to be Debated at Canadian Liberal Party Meet | Newsbrief: Singapore's First-Ever Cocaine Bust Prompts Ad Campaign Aimed at Elite | Newsbrief: Counterculture Icon Hunter Thompson Dead By His Own Hand | This Week in History | Job Openings with MPP Nevada Campaign, and Other Opportunities | The Reformer's Calendar

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