Saturday, August 12, 2006

Terrorist bake sales

Check out this excellent coverage of our protest against the DEA museum exhibit entitled: "Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause." This protest was organized by Pete Guither of Drug WarRant, who is quoted in the story alongside SSDP's Jeanne Barr and Tom Angell. Out of all the media coverage of the museum, the Washington Post seems to be the only major newspaper with the cojones to fully cover our side of the story, instead of simply toeing the line and unquestioningly regurgitating the government's propaganda.
But advocates of legalization who are leafleting outside the exhibit say the DEA is leaving out an important part of the story. Critics agree that drug trafficking provides a potentially lucrative revenue stream for terrorist organizations. But they say the profit is actually fueled by the government's war on drugs, which creates a situation akin to prohibition of alcohol.

"If we taxed and regulated drugs, terrorists wouldn't have drugs as a source of profit," said Tom Angell of the nonprofit Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which focuses on restoring financial aid for college students with drug convictions.

"With the connection to Prohibition in Chicago we should know better," said Pete Guither, a professor of theater management at Illinois State University and founder of the blog
It looks like the DEA wasn't even expecting to get any press out of this, because their quotes are obviously unprepared and sloppy:
DEA spokesman Steve Robertson responded: "We're a law enforcement agency -- we enforce the laws as they are written. Congress makes the laws. People say if we didn't have [drug] laws there wouldn't be a problem, but there was a problem before and that's why laws were established."


"For al-Qaeda it's hard" to prove a link, said DEA public affairs chief Garrison Courtney. "I don't think we're saying 9/11 was caused by drug financing. But we're saying there is a link between drugs and terror, and September 11 is a poignant example of terrorism. Terrorists don't hold bake sales to raise money." [emphasis added]
Now that's an interesting idea...

SSDP activists, here's a new fundraising idea: a terrorist bakesale! Dress up like your favorite jihadist, drug smuggler, or DEA agent and have a bake sale on your campus. Explain to passerbys that if we legalized drugs, this is the only way these people would be able to make money. Then sell them a cupcake and snag their e-mail address!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Keep Pissing Away Cash!

With federal funding set to expire in September 2007, North Hunterdon/Voorhees Regional School District officials are planning a full review of a random drug and alcohol testing program.

In one year, the district spent between $15,000 and $16,000 on tests for the program, which is reimbursed by the federal grant, according to Anita Lamison, the district human resources coordinator.

Besides funding, Peabody expects the task force will scrutinize the district's reasonable suspicion policy in light of June's North Hunterdon High School prom debacle. Thirteen students were booted from the prom because administrators believed they had been drinking alcohol and were sent for blood tests, which is according to the policy.

As they did during board meetings after the prom, he expects they will suggest the district buy breath tests and oral swab kits so students can be tested on site. "Personally, I don't think it's a bad idea," board of education member Garry Peabody said of the breath test.


Now $15,000 is a large chunk of cash for most high schools. I know it could have been put to good use at mine. So is drug testing really the best way the district can spend $15,000 to not even prevent, but just catch, students that might be using drugs? Why not put $15,000 into extra-curricular after school activities? Students have a better chance of using drugs right after school is over because many times parents are still at work and not home with students that are potentially at risk. Put that $15,000 into improving or creating new after school clubs/organizations or athletics and maybe these at risk students will be more involved in a "drug-free" atmosphere for a good portion of the day. Use the money to create a Drug Resource Center where student are given non-biased, fact based information about drugs, not ONDCP propaganda.

Now the students that are already involved in these extra-curricular activities are at risk of being kicked out. Drug testing is not always accurate and many times turns up false positives were innocent students are punished for an error in the test. And the students that really have used an illegal drug that shows up on the test, where are they going to go after school now? If its not football or band practice, it might be drug use.

And of course Mr. Peabody thinks the breath test is a good idea. He is not a student and regardless if he shows up to the prom after a few cocktails, he won't be tested.

I personally wish there was a breath test at my high school prom. I didn't drink before arriving to the dance, but that wouldn't have stopped me from dropping the breathalyzer on the floor and stomping it to pieces with my shiny, rented, tuxedo shoes...

Making Sense of Student Drug Testing

Monday, August 07, 2006

Drug prohibition causes terrorism

CONTACT: Tom Angell, SSDP - (202) 557-4979
Pete Guither, DrugWarRant - (309) 287-8586

DEA Propaganda at Museum of Science and Industry Ignores Costs of Prohibition

Chicago, IL -- Chicago-area residents and national groups are asking the Museum of Science and Industry not to display a government exhibit linking drug use to terrorism. The citizens say that the Drug Enforcement Administration exhibit, displayed from August 11-December 3, hides the true link between drugs and terrorism: drug prohibition itself. (a popular blog), along with local chapters of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (a nationwide group that educates about the harms of the War on Drugs), has organized a response and supplement to the DEA exhibit, including a website and materials to be distributed by volunteers, along with other events to take place throughout the run of the exhibit.

The counter-exhibit (available at http:// ) highlights the parallels between the lawless days of alcohol prohibition under Al Capone and today's drug prohibition. As noted at the website, even the FBI acknowledges Al Capone's rackets were "spawned by enactment of the prohibition amendment."

According to Kris Krane of Students for Sensible Drug Policy: "Just as Al Capone financed his criminal empire with illegal alcohol sales, today's terrorists like Al Qaeda are funding their shameful activities with the profits of the new prohibition."

According to Pete Guither, a drug policy researcher and editor of "This is a blatant publicity effort by the DEA aimed at tying its budget to the war on terror. It's also desperate and hypocritical. The DEA has received a failing grade from the White House Performance and Management Assessments for their taxpayer-funded war -- a war that actually makes criminal drug trafficking obscenely profitable."

Jack Cole, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP -- an organization of current and former cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens who all believe in ending prohibition) says: "If you ended prohibition today, there wouldn't be any of those drug lords making a penny on drugs tomorrow." Retired police captain (and LEAP co-founder) Peter Christ adds: "America's drug use is a serious problem, but in reality it is America's drug policy that creates the underground economy that supports terrorism."

None of the groups or individuals involved in the response advocates illicit drug use. In fact, they believe that the DEA and prohibition add to the problems of drug abuse by putting the control, safety, and age regulation in the hands of criminals. They point to the recent Chicago-area deaths from fentanyl-laced heroin as a grim echo of the startling number of Chicago residents who died from tainted alcohol during alcohol prohibition.

DrugWarRant and Students for Sensible Drug Policy hope to counter what they consider to be a one-sided exhibit, and to engage the Chicago community in a dialog to discover more effective alternatives to the failed drug war. As they note on their website: "The drug war is a great deal for traffickers, terrorists, and especially the DEA, but not for communities dealing with the war's violence, or the American citizens who pay the bill."

According to Jeanne Barr, history teacher at Chicago's Francis W. Parker High School: "As educators, we look to the MSI to enlighten the community, not to promote political propaganda that selects self-serving elements of truth out of a more complex whole. It's not good science, and it's not good history. Da Vinci and the DEA under one roof? What are they thinking?"

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