Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
An obstacle to D.C.'s medical marijuana law
By Eric E. Sterling
The April 19 editorial “Medical marijuana” made a wise observation regarding the D.C. medical marijuana law — “critical details will need to be worked out in its implementation” — but did not mention the key obstacle: the federal drug law and the Drug Enforcement Administration opposition. The D.C. law and those of 14 states are messy because they need to work around federal law. D.C. and the states would benefit from DEA cooperation, not opposition stubbornly grounded on the Constitution’s supremacy clause.
Aside from the Mexican drug trafficking organizations, the big challenge for the next DEA administrator is to help the states and D.C. implement their medical marijuana laws. President Obama’s nominee, Michele M. Leonhart, has been at the top of DEA for seven years as deputy and acting administrator. Previously she was DEA special agent-in-charge in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since 1997, she has led DEA in resisting state medical marijuana laws. She lacks an essential qualification: a commitment to working with the states to implement these compassionate laws. The Senate Judiciary Committee should look closely at her record and her willingness to carry out that mission.
The writer is president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.
Monday, April 26, 2010
"Drug addicts should be prescribed heroin on the NHS, a nursing leader says.
Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the move would drive down crime rates while helping people off the drug."
I can see a lot of value in prescribing heroin to addicts. I have no doubt that it would decrease crime and would even cut heroin use over time. But what about complete legalization? It seems to me that people ought to have the right to use any substance, subject to reasonable regulations to ensure purity and to prevent children from using. How do others feel about this? Should heroin be prescribed only to addicts, freely available, or something in between? Any of the above would be much better than the current failed policy of prohibition.
Another politician was assassinated yesterday in Guerrero. Rey Hernández García, who was member of a small left-leaning political party, was assassinated by gunmen using AK-47s as he was leaving his house in the municipality of Ometepec, Guerrero. This is the second assassination of a politician in the state of Guerrero in less in a year as the PRD party lost Armando Chavarría (who was the president of the Governmental Commission for the Guerrero Congress) in August of 2009, as he was sitting in his vehicle in front of his house.
Six police officers of the municipality of Benito Juárez were arrested due to the fact that they had escorted a convoy of gunmen who attacked a military patrol last friday. Further, the police officers, in 3 patrol cars, tried to block reinforcements trying to come to the aid of their comrades being attacked. The efforts of the police officers to assist the gangsters was of little avail, as the gunmen suffered 5 dead while the rest fled.
In Guadalajara, Jalisco 6 people were murdered, one of whom was a security official while Faustino Limón Moreno, a police commander from Mazatlán, Sinaloa was assassinated by gunmen in 2 vehicles in a drive-by shooting.
In the municipality of Angostura the dismembered remains of Doroteo Quezada Medina was discovered as were the bodies of Juan Aguirre Rodríguez and Ramón Carrillo who had been shot (located on the Pericos-Badiraguato freeway). In Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, 3 women were murdered and another 6 women wounded at a wake while another woman was shot and killed in her house.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Canadian government is going through a cabinet level drug scandal at the moment. It's difficult to know if there is any substance to the allegations, and it's important to note that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That said, the allegations themselves caused enough of a stir that the Prime Minister removed one of his cabinet ministers.
This spring, the government was expected to reintroduce legislation involving mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. I testified against this legislation, Bill C-15, last fall. However, in the current media climate, with allegations of cocaine use featured prominently in many newspapers, it is difficult to see the government increasing the penalties for drug offences.
It's ironic that unsubstantiated allegations may have done what all the scientific evidence in the world could not: derail the "ramping up" of the War on Drugs in Canada.
This is a painful way for a government to learn about drug policy.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
In the state of Nuevo León cartel gunmen attacked 4 more police officers from the municipality of Cadereyta. Fortunately, all four were only wounded. rather than killed. The alliance of La Familia, the Sinaloa and the Gulf cartels have threatened to kill 25 police officers in the state of Nuevo León due to Alliance's belief that these officers are working with the Zetas (they have already killed at least 20).
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Thanks to Susan for this link and translation. m.
Creel is a village. The very Command and Control center whose camera/s
recorded this atrocity is located in Creel. I wonder if one of the guys in these pictures is also the CIPOL police agent who was recently arrested, along with several others, for the minor offense of assault/robbery................ there have been no apparent leads, investigations,or arrests in this or any other massacre or the numerous forced disappearances taking place in the Sierra Madre, in and around Creel.
Cipol Narcovideo broadcast by Denise Maerker where masked commando
massacres 9 member of Creel family without any response from state
This Thursday, Denise Maerker, anchor of the Televisa program Punto de
Partida, broadcast a chilling 7 minute narcovideo that has flown around the world. In the video recorded by the Police Intelligence Control Center (Cipol) (Cuerpo de Inteligenica Policial) also (Control de Investigacion, Prevencion, Operacion y Logistica) in Creel, a dozen gunmen arrive in the village and with complete impunity massacre 9 members of a businessman's family, including a 14 year-old adolescent.
The events took place at sunrise on March 15, where several major massacres have occurred. During almost 90 minutes, the video in the possession of Punto de Partida clearly records the faces of the bad guys, including when they consume cocaine almost by the handfuls from a plastic bag. Additionally, they can be observed beating and terrorizing drivers who happened to pass by the scene of the crime in their vehicles. All of the details of the slaughter by dozens of mercenaries aboard a dozen SUV's, were taped by the State Police and as Denise Maerker did well to question, not a single authority did anything to pursue the assassins.
Governor Reyes Baeza has maintained silence regarding this case, which illustrates the savage and brutal un-governability of the State.
El Gobernador Reyes Baeza ha guardado silencio sobre este caso que
ilustra la salvaje y brutal ingobernabilidad del Estado.
> PEPTOBISMOL PLUS EN PALACIO
> Publicado el 09 Abril 2010
> Recorre el mundo narcovideo de Cipol difundido por Denisse Merker donde comando encapuchado masacra 9 integrantes de una familia en Creel sin que gobierno estatal haga algo
> CHIHUAHUA.- El dolor de estómago es una epidemia en Palacio.
> Este jueves, la conductora del programa Punto de Partida en Televisa, Denisse Merker, difundió un escalofriante narcovideo de siete minutos, que ha dado la vuelta al mundo.
> En el video grabado por el Centro de Mando de Cipol en Creel, una docena de sicarios llega al poblado y en total impunidad, masacra 9 integrantes de la familia de un empresario, entre ellos una adolescente de 14 años.
> Los hechos fueron al amanecer del 15 de marzo en ese poblado, donde ya han ocurrido otras matanzas mayores.
> Durante casi 90 minutos, el video en poder de Punto de Partida graba claramente los rostros de los maleantes, incluso cuando consumen cocaína casi a puños de una bolsa de plástico.Además se observa como golpean y atemorizan a los conductores que pasan en sus vehículos por la escena del crimen.
> Todos los detalles de la matanza por decenas de mercenarios a bordo de una docena de camionetas, fueron grabados por la Policía Estatal y como bien cuestionó Denisse Merker, ninguna autoridad hizo nada para perseguir a los asesinos.
> El Gobernador Reyes Baeza ha guardado silencio sobre este caso que ilustra la salvaje y hrutal ingobernabilidad del Estado.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
You would think he would be discouraged. I first talked to Peter Christ (rhymes with ‘wrist’) nearly 20 years ago. He is hardly any further along in the fight now than he was then. But there is no weariness in his words, no sag in his step. Keeping the faith is easier, I guess, when you believe that common sense is on your side and an ever-growing mountain of evidence argues in your favor.Nice work, Peter.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
But has anything changed since Calderón's December 2006 initiative, his all-out war against the drug cartels?
The short is: "yes" things have changed, but for the worse.
First, the police are still vulnerable to corruption because of the poor pay, widespread impunity and insufficient "Internal Affair" offices. Further, with no civilian oversight, no mechanisms of accountability nor transparency, the citizens of Mexico have no means to gauge how well the police operate. In fact, the communities of Mexico are still in grave danger because the police are now better trained and have better weapons to commit crimes and work on behalf of the cartels. From the community's point of view, one large group of well-armed men in uniforms being is replaced by another large group of well-armed men in uniforms.
Second, intelligence sources in the US are now starting to say that, after 3 years of unbelievable bloodshed, one cartel is now in a dominant position, the Sinaloa cartel headed by Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán. Before President Calderón's war on drugs there were several powerful cartels that ensured their control through violence, corruption of the police and politicians as well as dealing very harshly with anyone who crossed them. Now, after the deaths of nearly 20,000 people there is one mega-cartel which will ensure its control through violence, corruption of the police and politicians as well as dealing very harshly with anyone who crosses it. Thus, through a Hobbesian evolution, Guzmán's organization has no competition and, as a bonus, has, at its disposal, a very experienced, well-trained, well-equipped cadre of gangsters willing to do anything they are told (and who may, or may not be in uniform).
If this is indeed the outcome then I would argue that the tens of billions of dollars invested by the Calderón government to bring about this state of affairs is money that could otherwise have been spent on education, job training and infrastructure. Calderón should have waged a war on poverty, or a war on unemployment, because, aside from the tens of thousands of sons, brothers, fathers, sisters, mothers and daughters killed in the most gruesome fashion, Mexico has gained nothing other than more dangerous threat.
It is true that the violence will drop, it will recede back into the shadows, but the reality is that the communities are not any safer, Mexico is not any safer, the US is not any safer and, the certainly world is not any safer by such outcomes.
To punctuate this, another 22 were killed yesterday bringing the total to 2825 for 2010 with an average of almost 29 per day. This includes an incident where 80 to 100 narcos took over an entire town, terrorized the citizens for over 5 hours and burned the State Police station to the ground in Yécora, Sonora.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
The National Institute for Women, in Mexico, released data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that revealed in the year 2008 nearly 28 thousand women working in federal government agencies have experienced sexual assault. That translates into 138 a day (for 200 working days a year) or, for an 8 hour work day, 17 sexual assaults per hour. Of these, only 7796 were reported to authorities, a mere 28%, because of fear of reprisals and/or losing their job for "making waves".
Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Alan Bersin, has gotten off to a very inauspicious start with his uneducated comment that legalizing marijuana would herald the end of the drug cartels. His rebuttal to the legalisation question is disengenous at best (and is based upon a "strawman argument").
ONE of the arguments for the legalisation of marijuana (amongst many) is that it would reduce the amount of illicit income that flows to the drug cartels, no one has said that it would mean the demise of the cartels. HOWEVER, I am sure that there would be an impact to the Mexican drug cartels if 40% of their financing through the sale of marijuana to the millions of willing purchasers in the US (part of a 40 to 60 dollar billion dollar market) was eliminated. All level-headed thinkers recognise that other illicit forms of income (such as prostitution, gambling, smuggling, extortion, etc) would remain in place.
But, if Mr Bersin wants to be simplistic, then I would like to note to him, that it is solely due to his government's drug policy (prohibition) that enables the tens of billions of US dollars to flow to the Mexican drug cartels....a policy that is within that government's power to reverse.
I hope this was simple enough to be clear
A little about Amercia's northern neighbour: geographically, Canada is the second largest country in the world (with Russia being the largest). Although still basking in the glow from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the nation will also be hosting the G8 & G20 summits in Ontario this June. Canada is one of the healthiest and safest countries in the world, and yet its citizens still suffer unnecessarily from the twin scourges of drug prohibition and drug abuse. Successful drug policy reform in Canada would certainly be noticed in the United States and around the globe.
This trip is one aspect of a larger effort currently underway to expand LEAP's presence in Canada, and I'm very excited to see how it turns out.