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Stupid U.K. Tricks

bullet image Shootingthe Messenger

The UK’s chief drugs adviser has been sacked by Home Secretary Alan Johnson, after criticising government policies.

Professor David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, criticised the decision to reclassify cannabis to Class B from C.

What I really love is the reason given by the home secretary:

“I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as chair of the ACMD.

“I would therefore ask you to step down from the Council with immediate effect.”

Got that? Can’t have “science” mucking up the policy we’ve decided we want. Those pesky facts keep getting in the way of our bad policy.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said the decision to sack the adviser had been “disgraceful”.

“What is the point of having independent scientific advice if as soon as you get some advice that you don’t like, you sack the person who has given it to you?” he said.

Mr Huhne said if the government did not want to take expert scientific advice, it might as well have “a committee of tabloid newspaper editors to advise on drugs policy”.

I thought that’s what they had — although it seemed to me like there was just one: the editor of the Daily Mail.

bullet image In other news across the pond (and yes, this is actually reported in the Mail), it seems that British police got themselves a pretty new asset forfeiture law a few years back, and, wanting to cash in like their American counterparts have been doing regularly in the war on drugs, decided to take this law to lengths undreamt of…

After being turned down at least once by a judge and shopping around for one that didn’t know enough about the law and would give them the warrant, they raided a series of public safe deposit vaults at once, and broke open all 6,717 safe deposit boxes, taking all the cash (53 million pounds), jewelry, and lots of other valuables. They then assumed that all were the result of illegal activities and required the owners to prove otherwise.

Some of the contents just vanished in the procedural maze, never to be seen again.

One goldsmith from north London fought for over a year to get his £40,000 cash and valuables back, then claimed it was not all there. He has now filed an official complaint.

‘The police kept saying, “Why have you got all this cash?” and I showed them my books.’

His premises were raided twice, the second time by 20 officers.
‘They found nothing because I had done nothing and eventually this summer, everything was returned to me. But £10,000 was gone – and my wife’s diamond earrings.’

Sure, there were definitely illegal items in some of the boxes (cocaine, etc.) But it’s now looking like the vast majority was seized from innocent victims of the police raid.

Of the 6,717 boxes targeted by detectives in the biggest raid in the Met’s history, just over half were occupied. And of those that were full, 2,838 boxes were now handed back, a figure that represents 80 per cent of the number of boxes seized.

Eight out of ten box owners were provably innocent. Taylor said: ‘Of the £53 million in cash that the police took, £20 million has also been given back and £33 million is now being referred to as “under investigation”, of which only £2.83 million has been confiscated or forfeited by the courts.

Many of the innocent victims had the resources to retain very good lawyers.

In fact, the operation may end up costing the taxpayer a fortune. Rize has certainly helped put a number of hard-line criminals behind bars, but at what cost?

And, of course, it’s not just a financial cost. There is the huge cost in the lack of confidence in a government that can step in and steal your stuff whenever they want.

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11 comments to Stupid U.K. Tricks

  • R.O.E.

    The veil is being pulled back people. Government is corrupt and evil. It exists to sever its self.All the while weaving lies and deception to fool the people.

  • kant

    Congrats UK. You’ve become as bad as us.

  • paul

    No, actually I think the UK is much, much worse off than we are. It’s true that asset forfeiture in America is a spectacularly wicked and perverse practice that incentivises official banditry (and in a big way), but this scheme to just seize everyone’s safe deposit box beggars belief.

    The UK has plenty of other outrages to contend with on a daily basis, and it looks like it is micromanaged by the bureaucracy much more closely. They have the drug laws, the surveillance cameras, and no constitutional rights. And they also have the new pervert witch hunt taken to extremes that will blow your mind if you start to follow the stories.

    I don’t live there and have only visited once, but from the outside it looks like the UK has become a police state. People wonder if they will reach a tipping point and become an openly fascist country, but it looks like it is simply sliding into it bit by bit. The form of the authoritarianism is different. I think people are more on guard for a racist or religious fascism, but this is evolving in a different way.

    Imagine the cojones it would take to come up with a scheme to seize thousands of bank boxes at random and then demand people prove they own their own property. No American police force would dare conceive such a plan–people would not tolerate it, and probably a few of the gun owners may become violent.

    I guess my point is that police in the UK have taken the measure of the public and find they are so beat down and cowed by the bureaucracy and the cops that police can do anything…ANYTHING they want. And nobody can stop them.

    And THAT is what I call a police state.

  • kant

    Well I have to admit that my knowledge of UK laws is limited but I still think America hs it worse, even if marginally.

    Yes, this particular incident was quite audacious but if this same even happened in the US under the pretext of the drug war, I doubt anything beyond some grumbling would happen. Keep in mind that we essentially did this same thing in Tulsa, only instead of raiding safety deposit boxes we arrested people. Yes those people were later reimbursed but there was no immediate backlash.

    Consider the fact that principals (not cops) can strip search girls based on rumors. Don’t have probable cause? don’t worry we’ll just call in the drug dogs and get it whether or not you actually have drugs.

    The UK might be more organized in their acts but our police are better as individuals at violating our rights.

  • kaptinemo

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. – Frederick Douglass

    It doesn’t matter what country, form of government, etc. The dynamic is the same. The Founders knew long ago that governments always, always, ALWAYS seek to accumulate power at the expense of the individual, and when they have achieved a certain degree of power, become despotic.

    As we have under the DrugWar.

    And the process rarely happens at lightspeed; it usually is applied bit-by-bit, one quarter-turn of the screw at a time, to accustom the masses to having their freedoms curtailed. If those turning the screws are not in fear for their lives for their effrontery, the screws are turned again…and again…and again. Until finally freedom is crushed in the press, and innocent blood pours out from between the jaws of the vise.

    Again, as has happened with the DrugWar.

    It usually takes two things to get the masses so pissed off that they do something, and those two things are threatened children and stolen money.

    In the article above this one, we read how parents are horrified that their children are being observed engaging in one of the most intimate of acts as if those children were no more than cattle in a pen. Well? THAT’S JUST WHAT THOSE PARENTS ACCEDED TO WITH THEIR SUPPORT OF THE DRUGWAR!

    That they would be so shocked at this turn of events is only more evidence at just how far rights and freedoms have been so spinelessly surrendered by those who evidently never valued them to begin with, for they even went so far as to strip their own children of them, and now they have the temerity to complain? FOOLS!

    And now police in the UK are (just as predicted, thanks to the example provided by US police) acting like the very highwaymen of Merrye Olde England, stealing from their paymasters and daring said paymasters to do something about it.

    If this keeps up, the predations of The State will one day be answered with those ‘words, or blows, or both’; witness the armed Tea Baggers at public gatherings. The time is coming soon when those predations may be answered with force. And the predators may learn much to their surprise that what they thought were sheep were every bit as good marksmen as the predators believed themselves to be.

  • Tim

    Only hours before, at a special briefing, teams from SCD6 (the Economic And Specialist Crime unit) and C019 (Specialist Firearms Command)

    Big Brother’s machine is so well organized, it has code numbers for each section. Scary.

  • warren

    These sick bastards have turned into what they fought during world warII.

  • DdC

    Not new stupid tricks… Remember the reporter wingnut that was going to inject cannabis to show the dangers and to re-classify it back to a schedule “B”. Which they did.

    Reefer madness across the pond

    Reporter Smokes Marijuana to Enhance Story comments

    The BBC is understood to be keen to show the film on the eve of a decision by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, to recriminalise cannabis by upgrading it from C to B status. Her decision is expected in the spring.

    How’s that war on drugs going? Brit/Mex\DeCrim

    Brits Copycat U.S. D.E.A.th… A-Motivated?

    It’s Official: Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith Have Lost Their Minds

    Yep, despite all the evidence and the science,
    British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is calling for cannabis
    to be re-classified back up to “B” from “C.” Pete Guither

  • Duncan

    A new phrase could be on the verge of entering the vernacular because of this. ‘Nutt sacking’ which describes a person that does his job thoroughly, with the highest ethical standard, and to the best of his exceptional ability, and gets fired because of it.

    Damn, the dude got Nutt sacked! Bummer.

    (PS, not my original idea, I’ve seen it on the web in two places. 3 if you include this site.

  • kaptinemo

    I thought my generation fought the Cold War to prevent things like Lysenkoism from happening. Looks like we failed…