Drug War Winners

A very insightful article by Juan Gabriel Tokatlian in the Guardian (UK): The only winner in the ‘war on drugs’: The real effect of militarising drugs policy in Latin America has been to cement the hegemony of the US Southern Command

As always with the war on drugs, it’s so important to look at the money, and look at the power. Know who benefits in both those areas, and you know the real players pushing for prohibition.

One of the most interesting and challenging paradoxes of debate on the “war on drugs” is how little examination there has been of its major warrior: the military. In Latin America, that means the US Southern Command (SouthCom). […]

At first, there was a certain reluctance on the part of the military to being sucked into an unconventional, politically-driven fight against the illegal drug trade. But they were eventually won over to participation in anti-narcotics efforts – thanks, in part, to growing anti-drug budgets approved by Congress. […]

After 9/11 and the rise of the so-called “new threats” (the supposed amalgamation of international terrorism, organised crime, drug trafficking and weapons of mass destruction), Washington ceased to observe a distinction between internal security and external defence. SouthCom experienced a “great leap forward”: its role was already extensive, but now it developed into a more autonomous protagonist in the “war on drugs”. Plan Colombia, first, and the Mérida Initiative, more recently, were emblematic of the core rationality of a coercive anti-drug strategy – a strategy that, by definition, placed the military centre-stage in a prohibitionist crusade in the Americas. […]

What we are witnessing practically everywhere in the Americas is a coercive prohibition campaign that brings neither a partial nor a total solution to the drug question. Unless its premises are challenged, a permanent sense of a “clear and present danger” with regard to narcotics will be fostered both in the United States and in Latin America – which, in a circular way, will only serve to justify the existing repressive policies. The role of the US Southern Command in the Latin American front of the “war on drugs” is key to the prohibitionist paradigm.

Powerful stuff. And right on target.

This is, in part, why I feel it’s unlikely that we’ll get anything really useful from the State Department memos from WikiLeaks (although I’m willing to be surprised) — the only real conflicting opinion that’s likely to be found is over who gets the lion’s share of the power and funding from continuing the drug war.

Oh, and don’t forget: Drug Czar Kerlikowske ended the drug war last May.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Drug War Winners

  1. Dark Days Indeed.... says:

    Ok so he said he ended the ‘drug war’. So then , then question is, what is this war that is still being fought?

    There hasnt been enough violence spill over the border into the US to include it into the ‘war on terror’ yet, has there? I guess that depends on your defintions and who you ask.

    Certainly if Mexico fall into total chaos , it will be included into the ‘war on terror’ . Where will that leave us reformers and occasional tokers? Are we already being seen as terrorists? If not now , we will be. Then what? They start rounding us up as enemy combatants? Enemy sympathizers? Its not a stretch to see this. We are already blamed for the cartels vast power and money. It would be an easy step to call us criminals. The word “reformer” could become the word”detainees” . Government is always redefining words so it fits thier agendas.

    They are currently doing this with Julian Assange , They dont arrest ‘reporters’ for reporting secert document leaks. So they are now redefining what a ‘reporter’ is so as to give them ‘legal right’ to arrest him.

    So when will the word refromer be twisted to their needs?
    After all, the DEA is making law now.

  2. ezrydn says:

    And, don’t forget that Nepalitano of Homeland has already labeled we vets as “potential terrorists.” Anyone who doesn’t think as they do is automatically considered a “terrorist.” They really like that word, don’t they?

  3. darkcycle says:

    Well, not the ONLY winner. For another multi billion dollar boondoggle try googling “Boeing Virtual Fence”. They tried to bring ‘Star Wars” technology to the drug war (one boggles at how it will work stopping ICBM’s when it can’t even handle slow movers like smugglers and menial workers). The budgets of customs and border patrol are doing pretty well in the current environment. And lets not forget the private prison industry, who seem pretty happy with this.
    The politicians benifit too, they get to campaign on it. It provides one thing they all need: a boogey-man with whom to frighten, distract and divide the populace. Better the vote based on fear than the vote based on real issues.
    The Media is easily distracted by big shiny wars too. It helps keep the public spotlight off stuff like global warming and the energy crisis. Or the death of manufacturing in this country and the cooresponding death of the middle class. And it seems nobody but the ‘lunatic left’ is even squeaking about the huge concentration of wealth accrueing to the top one percent of the population at the expense of everthing from our personal incomes to our children’s educations and our retirements.
    Drug wars are not fought over drugs, just like the the military campaigns are never about what they are dressed up to be. Just like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were never about terror.

  4. darkcycle says:

    Ez, they don’t ‘like’ that word, they LOVE that word. They recruit, train, equip, employ and then discharge. They then “thank you for your service” by watching you out of the corner of their eyes for the rest of your life. Makes me wonder how they feel about the guys I knew who got ’employment’ in Angola after they were discharged.

  5. Duncan20903 says:

    A clear and present danger that has persisted for almost 100 years.

  6. Duncan20903 says:

    Just in time for the new push against “drugged driving”:

    Toxicology report shows driver in fatal U.S. 23 crash had used marijuana <—-big headline

    No way to tell if it had role in U.S. 23 wreck <—-little headline


  7. chris says:


    What’s this… a parent honestly educating his 6 year old son about the legal status of cannabis in breckinridge colorado after seeing a group of people smoking near a ski lift? He could have just been a good parent instead and said “its illegal and bad for you, never touch or look at it and never bring up the subject again”, then called the police on those good for nothing potheads.

  8. Duncan20903 says:

    chris, it’s legal in Breckenridge as far as the town’s concerned.

    Breckenridge CO decriminalized petty possion of cannabis as well as praphernalia:

    The law is now effective:

    But don’t worry, skiing while stoned is still illegal because it’s so “dangerous”. Ross Rebagliati is surely out there somewhere laughing his ass off at the very thought.

    It’s very likely that Lance Mackey is doing so as well. I’m not sure because I guess I think that it’s very possible that dogsled racing is safer than skiing.

    Face it, you’d have to get the dogs to agree to do something really stupid. Kind of like how before the automobile if someone dot two drunk to ride on his horse the other drunks would secure him to his mount, point the horse in the right direction, slap it on the ass and the horse would get him hope none the worse for wear. You can drive a car over a cliff but you have to trick a horse into doing so.

    It really would be the safer choice for society to prohibit the owning and operating of motor vehicles. Do you have any idea how many chilled wrens die in car wrecks every year? It got so bad around here that they started posting signs saying, (insert neighborhood name.” ) has plenty of chilled wrens but none to spare. Cars are dangerous to chilled wrens, won’t somebody think of the child wrens?” /wailing and gnashing of teeth

  9. Duncan20903 says:

    Hey, does everyone know that Santa Claus is the patron saint of prostitutes?

    Yet I’ve heard no outcry about allowing this man to sneak into houses with vulnerable, innocent chilled wrens, in the middle of the night, and seduce them with candy, toys, shiny trinkets and junk. We desperately need a prohibition on this dirty pervert to protect the chilled wrens!

    Everybody seems to think he favor the “good” chilled wrens over the “naughty”. No, he just has an extra special treat for the naughties.
    So here’s a joke for everyone. I will post the punchline later tonight:

    Three prostitutes standing on the street hoping for generous gentlemen to sample their wares.

  10. Duncan20903 says:

    Sanity Clause really is a hard working son of a gun. Aside from circumnavigating the earth once a year, he is also the patron Saint of

    the falsely accused,
    repentant thieves,
    and pawnbrokers


    Despite his workload he still finds time to smoke his pipe!

  11. darkcycle says:

    Where do you think the Ho-Ho-Ho comes from. His eyes must be as rosy as his nose. And that North Pole shit makes those reindeer FLY!

  12. DdC says:

    Suppressing the Immune system, Again…
    Links and Ref’s to the latest Ganjawarts Science Fiction

    As always with the war on drugs, it’s so important to look at the money, and look at the power. Know who benefits in both those areas, and you know the real players pushing for prohibition.

    This is along the same deceptive lines…

    WTF are these leeches going to come clean? Another Nahas is borned. My own observations of patients actually using Ganja could either provide contradictions in different patients or maybe, ah, a multi purpose remedy, eh? duh! Since it works for them I’d say the later. It suppresses the immune when the immune is over producing, to treat arthritis and gout and has nothing to do with fighting cancer. That is a switch in a cell turned off by amplifying the cannabinoids these quacks haven’t even studied. More private research on cancer treatment with Ganja than most illnesses. Breast, lungs, brain tumor research suppressed from the corporate media reporting these woddlers. Merdénol has no medicinal use especially for nausea. But it would keep it in the white powder biz.

    The Science community has known about the immune reaction since Nahas tried ram rodding his gutter research. I mean really, is this new guy getting tax dollars? The car has brakes and an accelerator, does he confuse them or push junk science condemning one function over the other. Not hard to persuade politicians or citizens of findings when you leave out half of the equation. Yes the car might be able to provide a mode of transportation if the brakes don’t suppress the car’s acceleration functions — potentially slowing the speed of some auto’s, but possibly helping in the fight against walking in the rain.

    Oh but heeeere’s Merdénol until we pray the DEAth grants another permission slip to do medicinal research, with the monopoly schwag the feds roll and ship to 4 remaining patients. Then if sucsessful it can go to the IOM to verify, as they did in 1999. Then they can apply to the HHS to authorize it for the FDA to test. Then 10 years and a billion or so later… hat is taking a lot for granted since it has never made it to the FDA. The HHS is still sitting on the IOM since 99, but we can wish. With the alphabet channels and yellow rags investigative reporting this Ganjawar should be over in time for the sun to supernova. Another reefer mad attempt to maybe, perhaps, potentially, could be, might be, half assed report from the University of South Carolina? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    Research Shows Marijuana’s Medical Perils, Promise
    By Joey Holleman, McClatchy Newspapers
    CN Source: Boston Herald December 05, 2010

    Chemical compounds in marijuana can suppress the body’s immune functions — potentially speeding the growth of some cancers but possibly helping in the fight against arthritis, multiple sclerosis or allergies.

    Incredibly, a famous study which found that cannabis reduces tumors was originally ordered by the Federal Government on the premise that pot would hurt the immune system. This was based on the “Reefer Madness” studies done by the disreputable Dr. Gabriel Nahas of Columbia University in 1972.
    ~ Nahas’ Studies
    A Perscription for Bloated Police Budgets

    1986: “Marijuana leads to homosexuality,
    the breakdown of the immune system,
    and therefore to AIDS.”

    —Carlton Turner
    X Drug Czar getting rich on pisstastes

  13. Duncan20903 says:

    Ah well puffenstuff. Here’s another “drug driving” tragedy.

    Eight riders killed by marijuana smoker in Italy


    Why the heck would a man from Morroco be smoking “marijuana”? I’ve heard that there might be more than a few bricks of hash in his home country.

    Well I’ll be goddammed. I’ve been telling that stupid joke going on 20 years now, every Christmas season. Congrats DC you are the first to figure out the punchline.

    Three prostitutes standing on the street hoping for generous gentlemen to sample their wares.

    Ho Ho Ho

  14. DdC says:

    The psychedelic secrets of Santa Claus
    by Dana Larsen (18 Dec, 2003)

    Modern Christmas traditions are based on ancient mushroom-using shamans.

    Although most people see Christmas as a Christian holiday, most of the symbols and icons we associate with Christmas celebrations are actually derived from the shamanistic traditions of the tribal peoples of pre-Christian Northern Europe.

    The sacred mushroom of these people was the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom, also known as “fly agaric.” These mushrooms are now commonly seen in books of fairy tales, and are usually associated with magic and fairies. This is because they contain potent hallucinogenic compounds, and were used by ancient peoples for insight and transcendental experiences. continued…


    – The Hidden Meanings of Christmas, Mushroms and Mankind, by James Arthur
    – Santa Claus & the Amanita Muscaria, by Jimmy Bursenos
    – Who put the Fly Agaric into Christmas?,
    Seventh International Mycological Congress, December 1999, Fungus of the Month
    – The Real Story of Santa, The Spore Print, Los Angeles Mycological Society, December 1998
    – Santa and those Reindeer: The Hallucinogenic Connection, The Physics of Christmas, by Roger Highfield
    – Fungi, Fairy Rings and Father Christmas, North West Fungus Group, 1998 Presidential Address, by Dr Sean Edwards
    – Fly Agaric, Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for December 1999
    – Father Christmas Flies on Toadstools, New Scientist, December 1986
    – Psycho-mycological studies of amanita: From ancient sacrament to modern phobia, by Jonathan Ott, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs; 1976
    – Santa is a Wildman, LA Times, Jeffrey Vallance


    – Mushrooms and Mankind, by James Arthur
    – Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, by Gordon Wasson
    – Mushrooms, Poisons and Panaceas, by Denis R. Benjamin

    Santa’s Red Mushrooms December 18, 2001
    Excerpt: During a recent seminar, Dr. Edwards recounted to the audience that the story of flying reindeer originated with the Sami people of Lapland, one of the oldest indigenous cultures in the world. It later spread south to Central Europe in the 19th Century and eventually morphed into the tale small children of the world know so well today.

    The True Spirits of an Old-Time Christmas 01/01/02

    Wantonness, Misrule and Chambering

    Excerpt: Well, of course they had a good time during those wonderful nostalgic Christmases of the Good Old Days! Dressing up in the opposite sexes clothes, or some other uproarious costume, drowning in a steady flow of booze, and empowered by the anonymity and safety of unsanctioned public holiday gatherings! Back when agricultural cycles determined the pace and tone of human life Christmas was a month or more carnival of ritualized class upheaval, and generalized social and personal “Misrule.” Let me be your Digital Ghost of Christmas Past and show you a bit of a Christmas past now so denied as to be forgotten by our cultural memory.

  15. DdC says:

    Eight riders killed by marijuana smoker in Italy by Conal Andrews
    Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury

    Overtaking car hits group with tragic consequences

    Eight riders, all believed to be amateurs, have been killed in a head-on crash with a speeding car in southern Italy.

    The accident happened on a two-lane road near Lamezia Terme, located in the ‘toe’ of Italy. The car was trying to pass another when he hit the group of riders.

    According to AP, police said that he had been smoking marijuana.

    Eight amateur riders killed in Italy.
    Eight riders killed by a speeding car in Italy.
    Eight riders killed overtaking a car on a two-lane road in Italy.
    Eight riders killed by marijuana smoker in Italy, police said.
    Eight riders killed by marijuana smoker in Italy according to AP.

    Italy Seeks To Bring in Tough Law on Drugs 12/01/03
    Italy’s centre-right government has approved a proposal making it an offence to possess and use even the smallest quantities of mild narcotics. The move could give Italy some of Europe’s most severe anti-drugs laws.

    Italy’s New Hard Line on Soft Drugs Sparks Row
    A bill drawn up by the deputy prime minister and leader of Italy’s former neo-fascists, Gianfranco Fini, abolishes distinctions between “hard” and “soft” drugs and introduces stiff penalties for possession as well as trafficking.

    Catholic Church on Cannabis
    Catholic Church Calls on World Governments to Reject Drug Legalization,
    But Says Repression Cannot Be Sole Response

    In a new pastoral manual issued last week by the Vatican, the Catholic Church called on the governments of the world to resist the temptation to legalize the drug traffic. The manual, “Church, Drugs, and Drug Addiction,” was produced by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry after Pope John Paul II called in 1997 for a study of “the distressing drug problem in the world.”


    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty,
    He is always in alliance with the despot,
    abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”

    ~ Thomas Jefferson, 1814

    “Now it seems in most DEA sponsored country’s
    and every so often, almost on a whim,
    the drug worriers have been hostile to liberty,
    Always in alliance with the Czars,
    abetting their abuses in return for protection to their own profits.”
    Remember Fascism? It started in Rome,
    2010 years and going strong…

  16. kaptinemo says:

    So now it’s become so blatant it can’t be hidden.

    The megacorps that want SA resources but don’t want to have to pay a fair price for them are using the ‘drug card’, and as usual it’s the military that is being used to strongarm poor nations who’ve had enough of being on the short, sharp and sh*tty end of the economic stick. Their peoples are electing leaders who share their sentiments…which is where this fear of ‘radical populism’ comes from.

    Too late: many SA nations are in the process of building coalitions that have nothing to do with US economic interests, such as the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) economic pact. It’s only a matter of time before a US ‘anti-drug’ force is invited to leave, as they have been in Venezuela and Ecuador, as their ‘influence’ was only wanted by the US’s lackeys (significant glance in Colombia’s direction) and nowhere else.

Comments are closed.