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Global call for ending the drug war

Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, George Shultz and Paul Volcker Call for Paradigm Shift in Global Drug Policy

The Global Commission on Drug Policy will host a live press conference and teleconference on Thursday, June 2 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City to launch a new report that describes the drug war as a failure and calls for a paradigm shift in global drug policy.

The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders who have ever called for such far-reaching changes in the way society deals with illicit drugs – such as decriminalization and urging countries to experiment with legal regulation. The Executive Director of the global advocacy organization AVAAZ, with its nine million members worldwide, will present a public petition in support of the Global Commission’s recommendations that will be given to the United Nations Secretary General.

This is very big stuff, if for no other reason than the fact that a group this distinguished can generate significant press coverage and get huge mainstream cred.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can still do so before the press event on Thursday.

There’s a legitimate tendency to be a little pissed about the fact that it seems to take leaving office to see the light (or to have the guts to say so), but our ire does no good aimed at those who are now doing their part. It’s more appropriately targeted at those in office now.

That’s exactly what Mary Ann Seighart does in this excellent OpEd in The Independent: A ‘war’ we should fight no longer.

Before he was President, Obama called the war on drugs an “utter failure” and said we should think about decriminalising cannabis. Before he was Prime Minister, Cameron said Britain’s drug policy was an “abject failure” and called for a debate on legalisation of all drugs. Now that they’re in power, though, both men have had an utter and abject failure of nerve. They agree with the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, who once said, in this context: “We know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

They are not just craven but wrong. For, inexorably, the momentum is building for a more rational way of dealing with drugs. And it’s not only because baby-boomers and their successor generations now make up three-quarters of voters. The big hitters are onside too. This week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will publish a report in New York calling for a “paradigm shift” in the way we deal with drugs. It will advocate not just decriminalisation, but also experiments with legalisation and regulation. Its cast list of backers is stellar. […]

There must be a better way, and Obama and Cameron know it. If they’re serious about representing a new generation, they should stop bragging about their youth and start doing something about it. Those of us who also came of age in the 1980s don’t want to wait till they’re ex-leaders serving on a drugs policy commission.

On the other hand, you have this extremely ignorant screed attempting to preempt the Global Drug Policy announcement:

Should former presidents, prime ministers, economists and the business community decide drugs policy? NO! from the World Federation Against Drugs:

This is what happens when the legalisation movement teams up with strong financial interests pushing the agenda via normalisation, harm reduction, in order to finally reach their goal – legalisation of drugs. Pushing for a health approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against a health approach or harm reduction.

There is every reason to be critical of this so-called “health approach”. To facilitate access to drugs has nothing to do with a “health approach” or harm reduction. It is rather harm production.

Furthermore one might ask – What do former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community really know about drug addiction?

Well, morons, it’s not about drug addiction, it’s about drug war and drug prohibition policy, and former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community actually might know something about policy.

And “financial interests for legalisation”? Really? You might want to talk to your board members Robert DuPont and Calvina Fay about their financial interests in prohibition. Those are a couple of folks who know about “harm production.” They’ve been responsible for a whole lot of that in this world.

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25 comments to Global call for ending the drug war

  • warren

    These two bozos.Losing nerve does not describe it. They are lying two faced chicken shits.<period.

  • tintguy

    Horse-shit. That’s how I feel about former politicians coming out for common sense after after they’ve left office; or hinting at it before they get elected and going along with the status-qua once they get elected.

    • I agree with you on the last half of your statement. As for the former politicians, I’m not prepared to turn down support from any quarter. It’s not like we’ve got it so easy that we don’t need help.

      Also, don’t forget that we know more about drug policy and its implications than the vast majority of the people, including many politicians, cops, educators and more. Some of them really don’t learn until later in life.

      • C.E.

        Maybe we can get one of the questioners at the next presidential debate to ask the candidates if they will support an end to the war on drugs after they leave office.

      • DdC

        Cop Out Overall Pete. We know more than them is doubtful, or should be. But even if its true, there are so many red flags pointing to false statements and laws strictly to make it easier to cage stoners. Same thing as caging minorities or any other kind of scapegoat. Letting them off the hook only perpetuates the ignorance. Which is exactly what the prohibitionists game plan is. So these instant impotent enlightenments are as you say welcomed, as a small offer of legitimacy, in a two faced society of conpromising on legitimacy. Which is actually, now that I think about it. Pretty trippy. Still feels ok seeing so many sigs. Awareness is good. Reality’s better.

        How can anyone believe the stories with no victims or knowing millions who use and don’t suffer from it. Ok ah… virgin births, curing the dead, parting waters, our ancestors coming from mud and spit and given paradise if they don’t eat fruit from serpants and loaves and fishes and camophlaged blood suits to sneak into heaven, may have assisted. The corruption is too obvious to think its just lack of education. Except the “education” is more and more corporate sponsored and censored and edited as the Bible, to sell the story. History being agreed upon lies. We’re the good guys. We live on top of the globe. Not in the cold part. More direct DARE Youth Leagues. Politics heading Science Departments. Ending tenure making it easy on manipulating teachers. Killing Unions pitting individuals against corporate lawyers. Unbalanced dysfunction. When “harm reduction” means going from prisons to asylums for rehabilitation. Pod people?

        I was guilty of believing in the internet in the mid 90’s. Sure that once the people heard the truth it would be over. Medicinally it was becoming accepted here for hospice work I was doing in the early 90’s. But larger scale like WAMM was still being busted locally and then by the Feds. When we went out and gathered signatures and Prop 215 passed all that was left was overturning the CSA. But then Peter McWilliams and Rene and Todd were raided by Lungren. Then they went to Canada and Peter basically was sentenced into a torture chamber to suffocate. People still getting busted and now after scores of dead activists and those sitting in cages I won’t make that mistake again. Its clearly not lack of education its mean spirited ADD based insanity. Just because the majority are effected doesn’t mean they’re not insane. Mass stonings is all that can save us and for those abstaining, they will succomb to the sheopledom life of blind obedience and fear. Serving the Wall St. Profits. Theyre becoming what they worship, plastic.

        Only The PotHeads Will Survive

      • tintguy

        “Some of them really don’t learn until later in life.”

        I just find that so hard to believe. What I find easier to believe is that these folks’ have an agenda that has given them a need to ride with the herd of common sense for a while to get where they’re looking to go. And just like our current POtuS has only tried to change the meaning of hope, so will go these critters too.

  • daniel

    As with all laws ignorance is no excuse.

  • Mark

    President Pussy didn’t “lose nerve,” but was just doing what any “long legged mack daddy” would do. He LIED to steal your vote.

    Goddamn, I hope people realize him for the ass-kissing bag of manure politician he has really shined himself up to be. I HOPE they vote to CHANGE him for anyne else. Smae as Bush ever was.

  • Paul

    Well, regarding Obama, the betrayal doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, does it? There are not many policies Bush would have done differently than Obama–just the names of the beneficiaries of the pork the government distributes.

    If Paul or Johnson were to backtrack on drug policy after entering office (yeah, I know, fat chance), now THAT would be a genuinely bitter betrayal.

  • Scott

    “Pushing for a health approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against a health approach or harm reduction.”

    That nails the prohibitionist strategy, though it can be tweaked a bit:

    Pushing for an anti-crime approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against an anti-crime approach or harm reduction.

    Just say no to hypocrisy, prohibitionists.

    “What do former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community really know about drug addiction?”

    Given essentially no change in policy for decades, they know at least as much as the current people deciding that policy.

    For the sake of identifying and eliminating corruption, everyone should wonder what takes someone from denouncing the war on some drugs as an “utter failure” to supporting that utter failure.

    We are clearly going up against powerful forces. But those forces continue to go up against the most powerful force when awareness supports it, the whole truth (and nothing but).

    • Yage Panther

      “Pushing for a health approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against a health approach or harm reduction.”

      Isn’t the prohibitionist’s league pushing the health approach as part of their plan to undermine basic human rights?

      “What do former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community really know about drug addiction?”

      Well, former presidents and prime ministers know at least as much as current presidents and prime ministers. Further, economists’ understanding of economic aspects of drug trade is much better than law enforcement officers’ understanding of the psychological aspects of drug addiction.

  • Scott

    “Isn’t the prohibitionist’s league pushing the health approach as part of their plan to undermine basic human rights?”

    Yep.

  • yang

    I like how the WFAD makes no other argument except for an appeal to paranoia.

    How does someone manage to think that the legalization movement is financed by drug dealers seeking to expand their business? I mean, I wish it was so, we’re talking of the 3rd largest commodity market right after oil and weapons. There would not be any goddamn drug war if any of those profits were invested into political lobbying for legalization but drug dealers don’t lobby, they shoot people. I wonder why…

  • Dante

    “This is what happens when the legalisation movement teams up with strong financial interests pushing the agenda via normalisation, harm reduction, in order to finally reach their goal – legalisation of drugs. Pushing for a health approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against a health approach or harm reduction.”

    You mean, just like the prohibitionists have been pushing for a “security approach” in order to accomplish their goals?

    You know, saving the children and all that.

  • darkcycle

    What? No comments at WFAD, AWWWWWW….

  • Hope

    Good old George Shultz. He’s been with us in our efforts, a long time. Criticizing, circling, fighting, trying to put some fetters the drug war/prohibition beast, doing all we can to stop it killing and injuring more people and wrecking more lives.

  • denmark

    Harm Production.
    Love it when appropriate words come together and truly describe Prohibitionists.

  • Buc

    I guess once you become an ex-leader your sense of compassion, empathy and reason suddenly return to you.

    Also known as, they no longer have a stake in prohibition.

    Just once I’d like to see somebody man up and say something like that when they’re still in power and they DO have something to lose. Until then, actions speak louder than words and they can say all they want but none of them did much of anything when in power to prove themselves as reformers.

  • Richie

    This global drug policy commission consisting of “former” politicians is a good start but they need to do a lot more than present some bureaucratic-style report. If they didn’t speak out against this moral evil while in office, then they are indebted for the remainder of their lives to ending the drug war in the name of all those families impacted by this tragedy. They need to invest as much as possible their time, money and political connections to further drug policy reform efforts in their countries and speak out against countries like the US that try to intrude in their drug policymaking. In other words, they need to get dirty!

  • once again I have to use myself as example on this topic… in 1973 I was w/ the USAF in Thailand where we were busy bombing Cambodia and my work was integral to accomplishing that task. One evening I had an epiphany that had me understanding I didn’t like bombing short brown folks and the folks in Cambodia suffering under our bombs were prolly just as nice as the folks in the town I lived in. Since that day I have worked from that epiphanal point…

    What makes these folks any different? They’ve been saddled w/ the same quirks that come w/ being human as all the rest of humanity. I seriously doubt there are few here that are perfect either…

    Like Pete says, we all ain’t that powerful that we can dismiss assistance/recognition/validation from such a qroup as this. Besides… the way some of us recognize the way the saying most apropos to some of these folks goes? “Welcome home…” It’s never too late to embrace peace… to become a real neighbor and citizen of humanity.

    • darkcycle

      P.S. If you’re gonna be at the ‘fest, I’ll be hanging around the NORML/HT booth most of Saturday, not sure about Sunday. Look for the drugwarrant baseball cap. Come by, say howdy.
      oops, this didn’t show up in the right place, it should be below the following post…oh well.

  • darkcycle

    I’m with you, Allan, I’m grateful to have their help. ….but we really needed it then…. just like now. I’m not likely to have much- or any, sympathy toward our current president when he comes around to see the light. Seeing as he had that epiphany many years ago and has fully rejected it. I’m also not prepared to believe that these smart, savvy folks (at least some of them) didn’t know what they were doing somehow while they were doing it. Now, we can all come to the light, but absolution is not a given. Amen.

    • well there’s the rub eh? Of course my opinion is that this global commission missed the boat by not including folks like Norm Stamper, Jim Grey, Joe McNamara, or that multi-lingual cowboy hat wearing man-with-horse-about-town Howard Wooldridge. And a question that just came to mind… why doesn’t the US have such a distinguished commission? Isn’t time to unite under that single banner – Fuck the WOD? If the highest profile US dpr types could come together for a big group hug before launching the anti-WOD smack-down on the hypocrites and know-nothings. I mean it really pisses me off that I go around with this fucking list of names in my head that pops up all the time. I find I’m constantly drifting to this names, you know the ones… Charity and Ronnie Bowers, Peter McW, Jennifer Odom and her crew, Donald Scott, Zeke… that’s where the absolution will come from darkcycle… when folks know those names and those stories… and feel real anguish over the devastation the WO(sf)D has wrought on humanity worldwide and realize they have work to do, on a grand scale.

      But until then (and after working with LEAP’s speakers for a few years I have to give them props… that and the fact that stoners and cops standing together for legalization I found to be one of those reality is always stranger than fiction moments.

      Right before I was discharged from the USAF I was ripped off for all my stereo equipment and vinyl (records for you pups). So I called the cops. That was the last time I ever called a cop in Del Rio, Tx… this old boy drove up and I saw that big old belly, that cowboy hat and those shades and said to myself “please lord…” one of those very few times being a GI with short hair came in handy!

      Back then I woulda never thunk it, cops for legalizerization…

      • totally agreed allan (but you already knew that) — hence my constant harping against the totally useless jackasses who call themselves the “leaders” of drug law reform. a real leader would have had the troops all marshaled, trained and effectively deployed long ago.

  • Sean K Savarese

    The “War on Drugs” approaches a near pinnacle of perfection with regards to stupidity, foul hypocrisy of the first order and immorality (that’s right…the Drug War, NOT drug use, is the real moral travesty) that has ever visited human kind in any shape, way or form. This is so, primarily, because of the very insidious, and oftentimes incredibly subtle, ripple effects that traverse EVERY aspect of our government, economy and society as a whole. It is like a cancer devouring the whole without conscious awareness: that is, until it’s too late.

    What is the PRIMARY reason cannabis , opiates (at least without a prescription), cocaine, etc are illegal? Discrimination and an attempt, made during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to be on a “moral” footing with Victorian Great Britain; the primary power and sovereign of the day (even though the Queen herself indulged in our modern controlled substances, particularly opiate derivatives!), and NOT, as many erroneously believe, the result of some well thought out and scientifically derived conclusions. “Coke-crazed” blacks in the south motivated that particular drugs inclusion in the Harrison Act (although caffeine was a close second!), Chinese immigrants in San Francisco trying to “enslave” white women in their nefarious opium dens, and then, of course, the “barbaric” inhabitant’s of the America’s Marijuana (tobacco’s okay though for of course snuff, pipes, cigars, etc. were used nearly everywhere both in and out of government!).

    Then, of course, we have the all pervasive U.N. Single Convention which binds UN member nations to abide by America’s drug policy. (Yes people! That is why morphine, cocaine, marijuana, etc. is illegal in many nations…NOT because they each discovered that, although alcohol and nicotine aren’t the best of things, at least there’re not the insidious “drugs” that the U.S. so sagaciously identified! Incredibly enough, people do not realize this ALL important fact of history which has served to spread our contagion worldwide.) Henry Cabot lodged summed up this pitiful ignorance and blatant discrimination very well when he stated, in so many words, that alcohol and other intoxicants should not be sold to undisciplined and inferior races. What a God awful shame! When I contemplate the sickening and utterly disgraceful conduct of our nation’s leaders over the past one hundred years on this head, and the complicity of the body politic at large–as painful as it is for me to admit–I am, in all honesty, truly ashamed of my nation; when I compare and contrast the brilliance and foresight of our founders with the bigots and imbeciles of today and the early twentieth century who have, in short: 1) helped to fuel the most noisome corruption among government officials 2) opened a ready black market to cartels and ruthless criminals which puts each and every one of us in peril on the streets and in our homes 3) put money into the hands of terrorist bent on bringing the U.S. to it’s knee’s 4) completely decimated entire households with outrageous sentences for personal possession of a COMPLETELY arbitrarily denominated “controlled substance” 5) incited carnage across the borders (most notably Mexico of late, but certainly not confined to that travesty of a nation as a result of America’s Drug War) 6) created an atmosphere where a lot of hard-working and productive citizens HAVE to resort to a life of crime to fulfill their biochemical dependence which, according to leading medical authorities and the AMA itself decades back, is a psycho-physiological DISEASE (how would one judge a society that incarcerated and ruined the lives of diabetics for “shooting up” insulin?) 7) turned our “Republic” into a Gestapo force (i.e. the DEA) which has assumed authority which contravenes every precept and intention of our constitution, and, in VERY short 8) been complicit in opening a Pandora’s Box full of the most disgusting, abominable and immoral conditions to metastasize like an inexorable growth upon our very society with a brain-washed populace born and bred to believe one version (the wrong one), a biased and complicit media, and cowardly and dishonorable politicians all along not questioning the very paragon of hypocrisy–I cannot, in good conscience, remain silent anymore on this issue.

    If we don’t wake up soon people, and I mean VERY soon, so help us God, we WILL most surely feel the certain wrath of this evil and bigoted policy implementation that has been in existence for so many decades and all along with our unthinking support of it in such a way as this country has never experienced in its history. It’s a hydra that has too firm a control on nearly every major aspect of our society (albeit, once again, insidiously) for the dictates of reason and human experience to deny. If people do not take action NOW in DEMANDING the IMMEDIATE cessation to this horrid and nightmarish abomination of moral, constitutional and civil law, we will have deserved–each and every one of us–every bit of anguish and societal destruction we deserve. For Heaven’s sake people: WAKE UP and help me in this noble and moral quest to end this sickening and disgusting blemish on this nations history. We CAN do better, and the blood of millions of our forefathers to bring this nation into existence and defend it’s integrity and her citizens, demands our action now…without a moments delay.

    Sean K. Savarese