Thursday, November 17, 2005

H-Wars: From Afghanistan to Bristol

The UK is about to take the lead role in trying to stabalise/occupy Afghanistan. We all know the stories of the Taliban/al Qaeda insurgency that seems to be gathering pace there, but not that much has been said on the subject that will impact on most people in relation to Afghanistan – drugs. Smack, Brown, Skag – whatever you call it, 60% of the Afghan economy is based on Heroin. I suspect a significant, though much lower percentage of Bristol’s economy is also based on drugs. We know that the city is the top of the 10 most violent drink-related centers in the UK, alcohol being a drug and we know that St.Pauls is the major gateway for class A drug dealing in the South West. Bliar said that we needed to bomb the shit out for self interest – stopping the H trade. Well plenty of Afgans and occupation soldiers have died. Tones of high explosives and been dropped on one of the poorest countries in the world and…has the Heroin trade stopped in Bristol? No. It seems pretty much the same to me. Same people pushing and taking. What is going to stop the drug war is calling it for what it is – a lost cause. Bristol based Tranform Drug Policy group note, "As Paul Goggins MP (and Home Office minister with the drugs brief) sets out on his 9-stop drug policy tour of the UK, Transform, the UK's leading drug policy reform think tank have drawn attention to the shocking failure of current drug policy, and how the Government doesn't want you to know about it…It demonstrates that enforcement strategies to eliminate or reduce the trade in heroin and cocaine have failed to halt their production, supply or use. In a powerful and detailed critique, the report demonstrates that the war on drugs is actively counterproductive - causing many of the harms that it is intended to reduce."

Now over the other side of the pond a new group have formed, LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, easy to spot their members because of their buzz cuts amd extremely large lettering on their brightly colored t-shirts: "Cops Say Legalize Drugs. Ask Me Why." Here’s more on LEAP:

A LEAP panel discussion yielded shocking stories from the drug war front lines. Admissions from LEAP Director and former New Jersey state police lieutenant Jack Cole, a 26-year veteran and narc, surprised even this drug war-savvy crowd. "We lied regularly about the numbers of drugs we were seizing," Cole said, explaining that if his fellow officers were lucky enough to bust someone for one ounce of cocaine, they’d immediately look for a cutting agent to double the amount of the seizure. And if a seizure’s street value stood at $1,500, the cops would bump it up to $20,000. "Who’s to question it," Cole asked.

The war on drugs has failed and is failing us. It’s a war on freedom and an excuse by the state for social control. The war on terror seems to be going the same way. Its all very fucked up.

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