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September 2003
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Drug Czar Attacks the Dutch

Sunday’s Baltimore Sun details one of our Drug Czar’s latest tricks. He’s already attacked medical marijuana patients, pushed for practically unlimited budgetary authority to demonize his opponents, attacked Canada, and now he’s going after the Dutch.
A picture named netherlands.jpg

[Walters] was critical of the Dutch for failing to give police greater authority to move against drug gangs. The Dutch have been reluctant to enact laws that could be seen as infringing on civil liberties.
…there simply have not been adequate steps taken by the government of the Netherlands to control this,” Walters said.
“There is a limited ability to use wiretap and informant information that makes it harder when you have a criminal conspiracy to enforce laws,” he said.

Yep. Walters wants the Netherlands to give their police more powers and forget about the civil liberties of their citizens. Sound familiar?
What really ticks Walters off is that the Dutch have had better success with a combination of harm reduction, separating drugs, and easing restrictions on marijuana, than we have had with prohibition and interdiction.
Drug War Facts has some strong figures that show that United States, with its “superior” police powers is higher than the Netherlands in marijuana use, heroin use, incarceration rate, per capita spending on law enforcement, and homicide rate. Somehow, I don’t see how the Dutch are going to be thrilled to have Walters tell them what to do.
And an article earliier this year showed:

The latest United Nations study on global drug trends shows the Netherlands wouldn’t even crack the top 50 in marijuana consumption…
“Marijuana is just no big deal here,” said Henk Lokhorst, who lives just outside Amsterdam. “It’s lost that taboo feel. Most of my friends don’t smoke. It’s just not a part of their lives and not something you think about.”

Again, this shows how interconnected the war on drugs is with the war on civil liberties. Over the past decades, our rights have been weakened in the name of the drug war. This has opened the door to provisions in the Patriot Act and the proposed Victory Act (which intends to expand drug crimes by defining them as terrorism. At the same time, we learn that the Patriot Act (designed to combat terrorism) has been used for a potporri of domestic law enforcement purposes.

Justice Department officials said such criticism has not deterred them. Said Mark Corallo, a department spokesman: ”I think any reasonable person would agree that we have an obligation to do everything we can to protect the lives and liberties of Americans from attack, whether it’s from terrorists or garden-variety criminals.”

And where do we turn for protection from the government?
[See this startling analysis from TalkLeft for more on the interconnectedness of terror legislation.]

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