Reuters – June 2, 2011
A high-level international commission on Thursday declared the global “war on drugs” a failure and urged nations to consider steps such as legalizing marijuana to help undermine the power of organized crime.
The Global Commission on Drug Policy urges international leaders to take a new approach to reducing drug abuse, to replace the current strategy of strictly criminalizing drugs and incarcerating drug users while battling criminal cartels that control the drug trade.
“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” according to the report issued by the commission.
The 19-member panel includes current Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and former heads of state; former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan; businessman Richard Branson; and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz.
The commission said that fundamental reforms are urgently needed in national and global drug control policies.
Among the commission’s recommendations:
█ Replace the criminalization and punishment of people who are drug users but do not hurt other people with the offer of health and treatment services to those who need them.
█ Encourage governments to consider legalizing marijuana and perhaps other illicit drugs “to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.” It said that decriminalization initiatives do not result in significant increases in drug use.
█ Countries that continue to invest mostly in a law enforcement approach should focus on violent organized crime and drug traffickers.
Other members of the panel include: former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo; former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss; former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria; former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; and former U.S. Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker.
“Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption,” the report states.
“Apparent victories in eliminating one source or trafficking organisation are negated almost instantly by the emergence of other sources and traffickers. Repressive efforts directed at consumers impede public health measures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose fatalities and other harmful consequences of drug use,” the report states.
The commission’s report added that money spent by governments on futile efforts to reduce the supply of drugs and on jailing people on drug-related offences could be better spent on different ways to reduce drug demand and the harm caused by drug abuse.
— The report is posted on the Internet here
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Jon Boyle)
Comment – June 2, 2011
Just as the “War on Terror” concealed official involvement in sponsoring terror – such as 9/11 and 7/7 – so the war on drugs has been used to obscure high-level involvement in the drugs trade itself.
This can be seen most clearly in Afghanistan. Where in May 2000 the Taliban had all but shutdown the lucrative drugs trade. Less than six months later in October 2000, the Western Coalition embarked on a campaign to remove the Taliban from power.
Once they had done so and installed compliant satraps the drugs trade quickly resumed and expanded. Since then it has grown, much to the alarm of neighbouring Russia and Iran who’ve seen the effects of the narcotics trade spill over their borders.
This is probably as intended. After all along with sanctions drugs are another useful means to help undermine the regime in Tehran
And let’s not forget that Western powers have history of fighting wars to ensure the continuation of the drugs trade. They did so in China during the Opium Wars when the British sent an expeditionary force half-way round the world after the Emperor confiscated and destroyed opium stocks held by European merchants.
So using drugs to undermine enemies or sudue a potentially rebellious populace is a matter of historical record. Adding to their appeal drugs can also produce large amounts of revenue, which doesn’t have to be accounted for.
Great for funding projects that the public don’t have to know about.
It’s also interesting to note that the report recommends that governments reconsider legalisation on marijuana. Interesting because even as the relevant authorities are being urged to remove laws that make possession of the drug a criminal offence, pharmaceutical giants are moving to monopolise the market in medical marijuana.
And no doubt the tobacco are making similar plans for recreational marijuana.
Now history is repeating itself in Afghanistan although don’t expect anyone in the corporate media to say as much. Ed.