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Philippines update

Dear reformer:

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte met for the first time, during the ASEAN Summit in Manila which Duterte hosted. As predicted, Trump did not raise human rights during their meeting, although a White House spokesperson claimed it came up "briefly" during a private discussion.

The top human rights issue Trump might have brought up with Duterte is the campaign of drug war killings that Duterte promised during his presidential campaign, and which he has followed through on since taking office in June last year.  Human rights organizations and media have given estimates ranging from 7,000 to 14,000 killed already.

In a sign-on statement I organized, which has been endorsed by nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals and which we released this week in advance of the Trump-Duterte meeting, we note that the Philippine National Police (PNP) acknowledge over 3,900 people have been killed in anti-drug operations under the Duterte administration, plus nearly 2,300 more drug-related murders and thousands still "unexplained."  Our statement also notes the Philippines saw a roughly 50% increase in its official homicide rate, starting immediately when Duterte took office – hard to explain in the absence of an official policy of extrajudicial killing.

The statement was covered in articles on four important Philippines news outlets, including the Inquirer, Rappler (8th and 12th most read web sites in the Philippines respectively), the Philippine Star and InterAksyonThe Interaksyon article credited our coalition with renewing global calls for a UN-led probe into the drug war killings.  Leading human rights organizations in the Philippines, Filipino American groups, top NGOs like NOW and Doctors of the World, and many others supported the statement.  More than 50 of the NGOs endorsing it are based in Asia, including groups from a majority of the ASEAN states.

Should Trump have met individually with Duterte, and should he have pressed Duterte on human rights when he did?  World leaders need to communicate with each other, and there's room for debate as to how best a US president should juggle competing interests.  Unfortunately, Trump's silence on human rights during ASEAN leaves standing some incredibly harmful statements he has made on the matter in the past:

We will never know for sure if Trump's greenlighting of Duterte's mass killing campaign led to more such killings, but it's possible.  Clearly the president of Indonesia, who launched his own drug war mass murder campaign as part of a reelection strategy in August, must have taken note.

If the president won't lead on human rights, or even arguably helps to make things worse, then Congress should step in.  That's why we are supporting S. 1055, "The Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017," bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Although not perfect, S. 1055 would impose important human rights conditions on law enforcement assistance to the Philippines, and would fund positive health programs as well as the work of Philippine human rights defenders.  Among the bill's supporters are Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the iDEFEND human rights coalition in the Philippines, the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance, US Filipinos for Good Governance, and our close partners the Drug Policy Alliance.

Along with sending you this update, I also have the following three requests:

  1. If you are a US voter, please write to Congress in support of S. 1055, using the online write-to-Congress form we've set up.  Please follow up on your email by calling your state's two Senators and your Representative.  (But please do use the form too – this will enable us to contact you if you live in a key state or district.)  The time to do this is now, because we are trying to influence the pending State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, over the next few weeks.
  2. Please help to publicize our statement and S. 1055.  You can use the set of sample social posts we've prepared for Facebook and Twitter, copied below my signature.  You can also go straight to our Twitter page, @stopthedrugwar, where we have already retweeted some of these as posted by others.  We'll be posting more to Twitter and to our Facebook group later as well.
  3. We need your financial support for this effort, and for other work like publishing the Drug War Chronicle newsletter, a key tool for advocates and many others in the issue.  Tax-deductible donations to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit, DRCNet Foundation, will support work like the Philippines statement and the newsletter.  Non-deductible donations to our 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Drug Reform Coordination Network, will support our legislative work directly supporting S. 1055, and other legislative matters in the US.  If you would like to designate a gift for a specific program, please leave a note in the comment box on our donation form, or with your check if donating by mail.  Links to both nonprofits' donation forms can be found at http://stopthedrugwar.org/donate, and our mailing address is P.O. Box 9853, Washington, DC 20016.

Thank you for helping and for your time reading this update.  As we noted in the closing paragraphs of our Philippines statement, "[S]upport for th[e] global system of responsibilities and rights has become uncertain[, and] lawlessness and extrajudicial violence must not become a model for more countries.  When human rights are attacked, all are called on to act… The time for action is now."

Sincerely,

 

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
P.O. Box 9853 / Washington, DC 20016
http://stopthedrugwar.org
"U.S. and U.N. Drug Policy Reform"

 

Here are the sample social media posts:

 

Please help us by spreading the statement and news coverage on social media.  Following are sample posts for Facebook and Twitter.

 

Twitter samples:

 

Posts highlighting S. 1055, the Philippines human rights appropriations bill in the US Senate:

 

Congress should press Philippines @OfficialDuterte to stop drug war killings, if @realDonaldTrump won't: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/633065/british-paper-s-banner... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wibl5h2YZdM

#StoptheKillings #StartTheHealing WRITE CONGRESS: https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2

 

@SenBobCorker @RepEdRoyce Please sponsor and move the Philippines Human Rights Accountability Act through your committees! http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1055 #StoptheKillings #StartTheHealing WRITE CONGRESS: https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2

 

Thank you @TLHumanRights Lantos Commission co-chairs @RepHultgren @RepMcGovern for highlighting Philippines extrajudicial drug war killings. https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... WRITE CONGRESS: https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2 #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/human-rights-con...

 

@SenatorCardin @marcorubio Thank you for sponsoring Philippines Human Rights Accountability Act – civil society supports! http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1055 #StoptheKillings #StartTheHealing WRITE CONGRESS: https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2

 

@RepSpeier Thank you for speaking out against Philippines extrajudicial killings at @TLHumanRights – civil society supports! http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... #StopTheKillings https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/human-rights-con... WRITE CONGRESS: https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2

 

Excerpts from the Statement:

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "We call for a process of accountability, starting with a UN-led investigation. We… call on world leaders attending [#ASEANSummit] to unequivocally call for an end to the [Philippines drug war] killings…" https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings @UNHumanRights

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "Since the Philippines escalated its 'drug war'… over 3,900 people have been killed [by police] operations, with nearly 2,300 more drug-related murders and thousands still 'unexplained'" say police. http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "If a government is unwilling or unable to seek justice, treaties allow for intervention by the International Criminal Court…" https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings @IntlCrimCourt

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "When human rights are attacked, all are called on to act… The time for action is now." http://www.interaksyon.com/on-eve-of-asean-summit-more-than-270-groups-i... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "We… urge the international community to fund Philippine human rights defenders at a level

matching the crisis." http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... @iDefendPH https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGsJsfgvj_w @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Articles to Link:

 

Global coalition calls for end to Philippine drug war killings ahead of Trump's Philippines visit: http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

International coalition calls for 'decisive actions' against drug war killings in Philippines: https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... @jodeszgavilan @rapplerdotcom @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Ahead of ASEAN, international coalition calls for probe into drug war killings: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... @gaeacabico @PhilstarNews @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

On eve of ASEAN summit, more than 270 groups, individuals renew calls for UN-led probe of drug war killings: http://www.interaksyon.com/on-eve-of-asean-summit-more-than-270-groups-i... @interaksyon @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Press Release: Global Statement Calls for International Action on Philippine Drug War Killings

https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine_killings @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Trump Celebrates "Great Relationship" With Philippine President Duterte at ASEAN Summit

http://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2017/11/trump-celebrates-great-relationship-philippine-president-duterte-asean-summit @MMcFarlandSM @DrugPolicyOrg @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Other:

 

@amnesty @hrw reports show government responsible for drug war killings: https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/if-you-are-poor-you-are-killed-extraj... https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/03/02/license-kill/philippine-police-kil... #StopTheKillings https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine... @stopthedrugwar

 

Thank you @JustinTrudeau for pressing @OfficialDuterte on human rights, Philippines drug war: http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/trudeau-raises-conc... #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar

 

Thank you @jacindaardern for pressing @OfficialDuterte on human rights, Philippines drug war: https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/188439-jacinda-ardern... #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar

 

Facebook sample posts:

 

Posts highlighting S. 1055, the Philippines human rights appropriations bill in the US Senate:

 

Congress should press Philippines to stop the extrajudicial drug war killings, if President Trump won't – enact S. 1055 to put human rights conditions on aid: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/633065/british-paper-s-banner... Read the NGO statement at https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/asean-philippines-sign-on-statement-nov... #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing  (US write to Congress https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2.)

 

Sen. Corker, Rep. Royce, please sponsor and move the Philippines Human Rights Accountability Act through your committees! http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1055 #StoptheKillings #StartTheHealing (US write to Congress at https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2.)

 

Thank you Lantos Commission co-chairs Reps. Hultgren and McGovern for highlighting Philippines extrajudicial drug war killings in your July hearing. Civil society supports you: https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... #StopTheKilling #StartTheHealing (US write to Congress at https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2.)

 

Thank you Sens. Cardin and Rubio for sponsoring Philippines Human Rights Accountability Act -- civil society supports you: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing

Thank you Rep. Speier for speaking out against Philippines extrajudicial killings https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/events/hearings/human-rights-con... – civil society supports you: http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing (US write to Congress at https://secure.everyaction.com/VuEJ0J0PW0uzZg1JzrB6bg2.)

 

Excerpts from the Statement:

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "We call for a process of accountability, starting with a UN-led investigation. We… call on world leaders attending [#ASEANSummit] to unequivocally call for an end to the [Philippines drug war] killings…" https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "Since the Philippines escalated its 'drug war'… over 3,900 people have been killed [by police] operations, with nearly 2,300 more drug-related murders and thousands still 'unexplained'" say police. http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "If a government is unwilling or unable to seek justice, treaties allow for intervention by the International Criminal Court…" https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "When human rights are attacked, all are called on to act… The time for action is now." http://www.interaksyon.com/on-eve-of-asean-summit-more-than-270-groups-i... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing

 

Nearly 300 NGOs and prominent individuals say: "We… urge the international community to fund Philippine human rights defenders at a level

matching the crisis." http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... @iDefendPH #StopTheKillings

 

Articles to Link:

 

Global coalition calls for end to Philippine drug war killings ahead of Trump's Philippines visit: http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump... @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

International coalition calls for 'decisive actions' against drug war killings in Philippines: https://www.rappler.com/nation/187940-international-coalition-decisive-a... @jodeszgavilan @rapplerdotcom @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Ahead of ASEAN, international coalition calls for probe into drug war killings: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/11/10/1757565/ahead-asean-interna... @gaeacabico @PhilstarNews @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

On eve of ASEAN summit, more than 270 groups, individuals renew calls for UN-led probe of drug war killings: http://www.interaksyon.com/on-eve-of-asean-summit-more-than-270-groups-i... @interaksyon @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings

 

Press Release: Global Statement Calls for International Action on Philippine Drug War Killings

https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine_killings @stopthedrugwar #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing

 

Trump Celebrates "Great Relationship" With Philippine President Duterte at ASEAN Summit

http://www.drugpolicy.org/press-release/2017/11/trump-celebrates-great-relationship-philippine-president-duterte-asean-summit #StopTheKillings #StartTheHealing

 

Other:

 

Amnesty International Report report shows government responsible for drug war killings: https://www.amnestyusa.org/reports/if-you-are-poor-you-are-killed-extraj... #StopTheKillings Civil society calls for international action: https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine...

 

Human Rights Watch report shows government responsible for drug war killings: https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/03/02/license-kill/philippine-police-kil... #StopTheKillings Civil society calls for international action: https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2017/nov/09/concern_over_philippine...

 

Thank you Prime Minister Trudeau for pressing Duterte on human rights in the Philippines drug war: http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/trudeau-raises-conc... Civil society supports you -- http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump...

 

Thank you Prime Minister Ardern for pressing Duterte on human rights in the Philippines drug war: https://www.rappler.com/world/regions/asia-pacific/188439-jacinda-ardern... Civil society supports you -- http://usa.inquirer.net/8011/global-coalition-calls-end-ejks-ahead-trump...

 

– END –

Human Rights Challenge: Responding to Extrajudicial Killings in the Drug War

On Thursday March 16th our international drug policy work took a new turn, when we presented "Human Rights Challenge: Responding to Extrajudicial Killings in the Drug War," a side event at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna. The event addressed the situation in the Philippines, in which the new president of the country, former Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, entered office last summer promising to slaughter large numbers of purported drug suspects. More than 7,000 people have been killed in the Philippines at the time of this writing, by police or vigilantes.

Speakers Chito Gascon, Alison Smith and Marco Perduca (photo by Joey Tranchina)
Our session unexpectedly drew high-level political interest, and Vice President Leni Robredo of the Philippines, opposition leader and a critic of the killings, recorded a video to be presented there. The video and event were covered by TIME as part of being made public (one article featuring the video then another interviewing Robredo), and the news wire services Reuters and Agence France Press published articles, as did numerous outlets in the Philippines. At the time of this writing the video has garnered over 167,000 views.

Other speakers at the event included the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Chito Gascon; former prime minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva (also by video), the Chair of our partner group the Council of Asian Liberals & Democrats; and experts on international criminal justice.

Unfortunately, allies of Pres. Duterte as well as other rivals of Vice President Robredo seized on the video to attack her politically, claiming that the video constituted a "betrayal of the public trust" that she should be impeached for. Political figures including the Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives and the president's spokesperson claimed falsely the video's release was timed to coincide with the filing by a member of Congress of an impeachment complaint against the president.

On the same day as the session, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for an end to the killings and for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima, another prominent critic of the killings who has been jailed on charges that are widely viewed as unsupported. The critics of the vice president, which include Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator who lost by a narrow margin to Robredo in the vice-presidential election and is challenging it in court, have charged that Robredo was behind all three events and is engaged in a "destabilization campaign" against the Duterte government to make herself president.

By the time the actual session took place, it was already controversial, and the heated political conflict the video prompted has raged in the Philippine media during weeks since then, only now possibly slowing down. A Google News search on "Robredo" turns up dozens of articles about it, most of them mentioning the video and our UN event. We've been able to play a helpful role at times -- the Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article this week which primarily featured an interview with our executive director (Group Say Duterte, Not Robredo, Upsetting Int'l Community), shared over 7,600 times according to the newspaper's web site, and several outlets including CNN Philippines published a statement we issued clarifying that the video's release was not related to the impeachment complaint against the president.

We have full footage from the event prepared, which we are shopping around to major media outlets before posting, but which we hope to make public by next week. We hope that seeing footage from the actual event will help to turn the discussion in the Philippines back to what's important: the extrajudicial killings and other abuses in the president's drug war, and the failure of the drug in the Philippines, US and elsewhere.

In the meanwhile, you can help by circulating the vice president's powerful video message on your networks. If you have a web site, you can post an embedded copy of the YouTube video, or you can post it to your social media pages. (When posting to Facebook, we recommend you use this Facebook copy, as we've heard that Facebook deprioritizes YouTube videos.)

Here is the event flyer:

And here is Vice President Robredo's video.

Vienna International Centre
Vienna
Austria

ALERT: Urge President Obama to Grant Blanket Clemencies

President Obama's historic visit to a federal prison, July 2015
In April 2014, the Obama administration issued an historic call for clemency petitions. Since that time, Pres. Obama has released more than 1,200 people under this program, most of them nonviolent prisoners who've served ten years or more for low-level offenses

The next few weeks are Obama's last chance to show such mercy to more people. A range of organization and individuals, including mayors, foundation executives and philanthropists, formerly incarcerated including past clemency recipients and others, have urged the president to take a broader approach that will help more people. Advocates have also noted the program to date has largely left out prisoners convicted of marijuana offenses, and that it has failed to proportionately help female prisoners, many of whom were charged for the drug trafficking offenses of their partners under conspiracy laws.

Please use our form to urge Pres. Obama to grant as many more appropriate clemencies as he can. When you're done, please use this call tool from Weekly Actions to Resist Trump to call the White House too. Lastly, please use the comment board on this web page to post any petitions or other efforts you know about that advocate on individual clemency appeals or in support of the general clemency effort.

Suggestions for the president include:

  • issuing blanket commutations for crack cocaine prisoners still serving the longer sentences Congress repealed in 2010;
  • giving special priority to veterans, elderly prisoners, and prisoners sentenced to double mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses;
  • granting relief to prisoners who have multiple convictions but whose sentences were triggered only by drug offenses;
  • granting blanket relief to any drug war prisoners serving a more than 20-year sentence, possibly excepting only the highest-level kingpins, as well blanket relief to prisoners with much shorter sentences who have just one or two convictions;
  • reconsider clemency petitions from marijuana prisoners and women who may have been convicted under conspiracy laws; and
  • use existing categorizations about prisoners' risk of re-offending, based on prison officials' determinations as well as age and past offenses, as an expedited vetting process to be able to get these done before January 20th.

This is a brief moment in time when it is possible to change the lives of drug war victims in the most dramatic way possible. Your emails and phone calls to Pres. Obama could make all the difference for any number of people. Thank you for taking a stand for justice.

The Wolves Are At the Door

The wolves are at the door! Donald Trump's nominations to his Cabinet and other key positions include many, many drug warriors. They are likely to take apart much of the progress we've made on marijuana legalization, sentencing reform and other critical issues, if our movement doesn't present a strong enough resistance to them.

We need your help, now and in the coming year, to make the drug war too politically costly for Trump to wage it or Congress to allow him to. Will you donate to StoptheDrugWar.org today to help us stop Trump's drug warriors?

The threat is very real. Trump's attorney general pick, Jeff Sessions, blocked modest bipartisan sentencing reform in the Senate and claims that "marijuana users are bad people." His HHS pick, Tom Price, is one of the most consistently anti-marijuana figures in the House of Representatives. His pick for EPA chief is the Oklahoma attorney general who sued Colorado over its legalization initiative. His reported pick for drug czar is Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, who campaigned against the state's medical marijuana initiative. And there are more.

Trump's reported nominee for the FDA, Jim O'Neill, is a prominent supporter of marijuana legalization, which is good, but one person at the table isn't going to be enough. Trump himself said he would respect state's marijuana laws – but Trump has said a lot of things, and personnel are policy. Trump apparently praised Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte for his murderous drug war, in which 6,000 people have already been killed without trial by police or vigilantes at Duterte's urging. Reportedly he offered to have Duterte over at the White House too, an obscene invitation that would stain the nation's honor and set back human rights efforts.

If I sound alarmed, it's because I am. But I don't think all is lost -- not by any means -- and we don't know for sure what the new administration or Congress will do. What I do know is we need every good drug policy group to be in as strong shape as possible, starting now. That's why I hope you will make a generous end-of-2016 donation or sign up for a recurring donation to continue in 2017.

Visit http://stopthedrugwar.org/donating to donate by credit card or PayPal (note the new URL), or visit our About page for info on donating by mail or contributing stocks, or to read more about our programs. We accept tax-deductible donations for our 501(c)(3) nonprofit, as well as non-deductible donations for our 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit.

Thank you for supporting drug policy reform and for standing with us at this challenging time.

Sincerely,

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org
P.O. Box 9853, Washington, DC 20016
http://stopthedrugwar.org

P.S. Please write your senators and ask them to oppose the Sessions nomination.

Please take our survey on how we should navigate the Trump presidency, online here.

SURVEY: Please Help StoptheDrugWar.org Navigate the Trump Presidency

Like everyone else, we at StoptheDrugWar.org are thinking through how to respond to the challenges of the new political environment. Please help us with that process by taking our survey on drug policy reform during the Trump presidency. The survey should appear below, or if it doesn't then click here.

We are also seeking donations as 2016 draws to a close. If you are willing to help us in that way, please visit our online donation form, where you can donate by credit card or PayPal. For information on donating by mail or contributing stocks, or for more information about our programs, please visit our About page.

Thank you for your survey responses or donations, and for your continuing support for drug policy reform.

Against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Dear reformer:

We need your help to save marijuana legalization, sentencing reform, police reform, everything.

Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, is one of the worst drug warriors in Congress. He almost single-handedly blocked mild sentencing reform bills that members of Congress from both parties supported. He opposes marijuana legalization and has even claimed that "good people don't use marijuana."

Please take one minute to write your US Senators in opposition to the Sessions nomination.

Sen. Sessions was rejected for a judgeship by a Republican-controlled Senate because of racism and false prosecutions he brought against civil rights activists. He is not a likely leader for continuing the much-needed work that has begun on police reform; in fact he's more likely to worsen the divisions in our country, not improve them.

Please help us stop the Sessions nomination now! Use the form below to write to your US Senators who are staying in office next year, or click here if that doesn't work. Scroll down for links to statements by some of our allies and media articles. Thank you for taking a stand.

 

Here are some links to statements our allies have issued on the Sessions nomination, and mainstream media articles as well as one of our own:

 

Against Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

URL: 
http://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2016/nov/22/against_jeff_sessions_attorney_g
summary: 
The president-elect's nominee for Attorney General is a big-time drug warrior who could derail both sentencing reform and marijuana legalization. Please write your Senators in opposition to this nomination.

URGENT: Congressional Vote on Permitting State Marijuana Laws!

Call Congress This Afternoon to Protect State Marijuana Laws!
Congress may vote as soon as tonight on the McClintock-Polis amendment, which would prohibit the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from spending funds to interfere with state-legal marijuana laws. This amendment would renew similar legislation passed last year to protect medical marijuana, and would expand it to include regulated marijuana for personal use as well.

Please call your member of Congress this afternoon to ask for a YES vote on the McClintock-Polis amendment. Our system will look up who your representative is, based on your address, and will provide the phone number. Here are a few points you can make, if you get into discussion with the staff:

  • The McClintock-Polis Amendment will only apply in states that have adopted marijuana law reforms.
  • Today people who are acting in compliance with their states' marijuana laws remain at risk of federal prosecution -- a large and growing number of ordinary businesspersons and citizens.
  • The amendment doesn't require states to legalize marijuana, nor will it impact on any state's ability to enforce their own marijuana laws
  • There is substantial support across a range of the political spectrum for allowing states to set their own marijuana policies, including legalization -- even from people who themselves don't support legalization in their own states.

Visit http://capwiz.com/drcnet/callalert/index.tt?alertid=66234626 to take action now!

Write and Call Congress TODAY for Vets' Access to Medical Marijuana!

Late this afternoon or this evening (Wednesday, April 29), the House of Representatives is expected to vote on an amendment to allow Veterans Administration physicians to recommend and sign off on medical marijuana for their patients, helping qualified patients obtain state-legal marijuana in the more than 20 states that have medical marijuana laws. This amendment failed on a close vote last year, and stands a great chance of passing this year, with your help!

Please click here to write to your US Representative, and please click here to CALL your Representative TODAY!

Although this amendment stops short of legalizing medical marijuana federally, every positive vote that Congress takes brings us closer to the day when they'll be ready to finally get the federal government out of the way of patients and their doctors, and it will help veterans who use VA facilities in the meanwhile. And that's why we hope you'll step up today and help.

If you are a US voter, please call your US Representative today to voice your support for the Veterans Equal Access Amendment to H.R. 2029, the FY 2015 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. Thank you for taking a stand! Click here for information on the Veterans Equal Access Amendment, click here to read the current VA policy, and click here for information on H.R. 2209.

URGENT: Call Congress TODAY to Save DC Marijuana Legalization!

Last month, 70% of voters in Washington, DC approved an initiative to legalization possession and home growing of marijuana. Later in the month, a committee of DC's city council advanced "tax and regulate" legislation that would authorize store sales too. Unfortunately, drug warriors in Congress led by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) got language included in the pending "Continuing Resolution" omnibus bill to fund the government that would block tax and regulate legislation in the District, and which might block the initiative too. The rumor is that some (not all) Republicans wanted to stop DC from moving ahead, and that Democrats cut a deal.

There is only a little time left to influence this process. Please call your US Representative and your two US Senators and ask them to block the Harris Amendment to the omnibus spending bill that would block marijuana legalization in the Districut of Columbia. You can reach your legislators (or find out who they are) through the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, You can also look up that information on our web site's Congressional lookup tool here. When you're done, please send us a note to let us know what they said. (If you'd like a little help with what you're going to say on the phone, you can find a sample script from our friends at the "Just Say Now" campaign here.)

If you're in DC, there's a protest you can join today (Wednesday 12/10) -- a march from the Dept. of Justice at 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, to the US Capitol, meeting at 5:00 with the march starting at 6:00pm.

Thank you for taking action -- time, and the truth are on our side!

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