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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘illegal

Home Office Backtracks On Cannabis – Part 2

with 12 comments

See the original article here.

The Home Office has been denying to me all week that it had changed its story.  It claimed that it had said “Drugs such as heroin, cocaine and cannabis are extremely harmful and can cause misery to communities across the country.”  It claimed that cannabis was never included in this statement.

Today it finally owned up.  It issued this statement at 5.18pm this evening:

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“There is clear evidence that drugs such as heroin and cocaine are extremely harmful substances.

“There is also clear evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can cause both physical and psychological problems. Even the occasional use of cannabis can be dangerous for people with diseases of the circulatory system, and it can contribute to heart disease and lung cancer.

“In this instance there was a drafting error with the original version of this statement, which was subsequently rectified.”

Does It Look Dangerous To You?

Now, I understand and respect the professional efforts of the Home Office PRs to damp down this story.  It just doesn’t wash though does it?

Why did it take nearly two weeks to correct this error?

Why did they try to cover up the error in the first place?

All this from a government department that emphasises how important are its “health and education messages” and that it must not send “the wrong message – to young people in particular.”

Of course, the truth is that the Home Office sends inaccurate and misleading messages about drugs all the time.  Everyone, except the Home Office ministers and mandarins, agrees that the present drug classification system is nonsense, that it amounts to nothing less than misinformation.  In fact, the Home Office is currently less than seven days away from a judicial review of its political manipulation of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  The Drug Equality Alliance co-founder, Casey Hardison, has taken it upon himself to challenge the Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in the Administrative Court for its irrational, unfair, and possibly illegal exclusion of alcohol and tobacco from control under the Act.

Even David Cameron agrees that ecstasy should not be a class A drug – see here.  The debacle and embarrassing nonsense about the ever-changing classification of cannabis destroyed Alan Johnson’s integrity for good.  Young people have been watching the government’s “messages” for years, comparing them to their own experiences and realising  that the government talks rot when it comes to drugs.  The Home Office is inconsistent, unreliable, contradictory and nothing short of dangerous when it comes to messages about drugs – as they’ve just proved, yet again.

As for the revised statement, there is evidence to show that smoking cannabis can cause the same damage to the cardiovascular system as smoking tobacco, but no one smokes anywhere near the same amount of cannabis as they do tobacco – they’d be asleep!  In fact, the very latest research shows that cannabis has an extraordinary protective effect for tobacco smokers and may actually reduce the likelihood of lung cancer.   Other recent research has also shown cannabinoids to have remarkable effects in shrinking brain, head, neck and breast cancers.

The Home Office is so far out of date it’s difficult to believe.   It still talks sensationally about the dangers of “new stronger strains of cannabis known as skunk”.   The truth is that skunk has been the predominant type of cannabis available in the UK for more than 20 years.  That’s how up to date the Home Office is.   Finally, the “psychological problems” story.  Sure, any psychoactive substance has the potential for harm but increasingly there’s evidence to show cannabinoids actually have an anti-psychotic effect.  One of the most useful applications of medicinal cannabis is in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To those who don’t already know the facts, I say simply google your questions.  Even the Home Office, much as it might try, has not yet found a way of silencing the truth.

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My MP, Richard Drax, To Write To David Cameron On Drugs Policy

with 21 comments

The Honourable Member For Dorset South

Today I met with my MP, Richard Drax.  He was just as sickeningly handsome and charming as I expected him to be!   So I showed him no mercy and bombarded him with my opinions for a good half an hour.

I realised afterwards that my favourite maxim “less is more” would have been a better strategy.  Nevertheless,  he did offer to write to David Cameron on my behalf on drugs policy and seemed genuinely sympathetic to some of the points I made.

I have just sent him a lengthy email in confirmation which I reproduce below.  If anyone wishes to use this as a template for a letter or email to their own MP, please feel free to do so.

******

Dear Richard,

Thank you so much for your time today.  I very much enjoyed meeting you.  As I said, I came with opinions not problems.  I am grateful to you for listening to me.

I realise that I made the classic mistake of bombarding you with far too much information and not giving you time to absorb any.  I hope I may correct that error by summarising here what we talked about.

1. Gary McKinnon. Thank heavens that progress seems to have been made on this. The idea of an “extradition” treaty that provides for someone to be sent to the USA for trial on an alleged crime committed here is iniquitous.  It’s particularly unfair in McKinnon’s case as he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome.  You pointed out to me that similar dangers exist with the new European arrest warrant.

I would urge you to do everything possible to ensure that if Gary McKinnon is to be tried, it should take place in the UK.

2. Ian Tomlinson. In my view the failure to prosecute the policeman who assaulted him is an outrage and Keir Starmer’s reasons entirely inadequate.  Now that the credibility of the pathologist in the case has been destroyed by a GMC panel, Starmer should at least reconsider and hopefully reverse his decision.

References here:


http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/killer-cop-harwood-must-be-charged/

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/keir-starmer-the-next-lord-widgery/

I would urge you to press for a re-consideration of the decision not to bring charges.  If no criminal charges are brought, at the very least the disciplinary hearing should be held in public as the rules allow.  The Tomlinson family are entitled to justice.

3. Drugs policy. You very kindly agreed to write to David Cameron on my behalf.  I am very concerned at the conduct of the Home Office at present and particularly James Brokenshire, the Minister for Crime Prevention who is causing great damage to both the coalition governemnt and the Tory party by promoting ideas and policies that contradict virtually all expert opinion, including the government’s own scientific advisers.  He also seems to be completely at odds with the calls for drug law reform which both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have made consistently over the last 10 years.

This is not a peripheral or secondary issue.  According to Baroness Meacher in the House of Lords on 15th June 2010, “There is no more obvious waste than the £19 billion annual cost of the UK’s war on drugs”.

There is a huge amount of reference material on this subject on my blog:

http://pjroldblog.wordpress.com/?s=drugs

I would also refer you to the Transform Drug Policy Foundation which has highly detailed and almost universally acclaimed proposals for drug regulation:

http://www.tdpf.org.uk

Virtually all experts agree that the “war on drugs” has failed. In exactly the same way as alcohol prohibition in the US led to a massive increase in crime and violence, so drug prohibition has created an illegal market said to be worth £350 billion per year. It has also financed civil war in Latin America for 25 years and is the principal source of finance for Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Our soldiers are dying every day because of the illegal trade in opiates.  Why don’t we just buy up the whole crop for the next 10 years?  It would be much cheaper in both cash and lives than the Afghan war.

Virtually all experts agree that regulation would be a better solution.  I have distilled the following five point plan from everything that I have read and learned over more than 30 years:

1. An end to oppression of drug users (at least 10 million UK citizens)
2. Removal from the criminal law of any offence for possession and/or social supply
3. Fact and evidence-based policy, information and regulation
4. Re-direction of law enforcement resources against real criminals
5. Treat problematic drug use as a health issue

Five years ago, while campaigning for the Tory party leadership, David Cameron called for “fresh thinking and a new approach” towards drugs policy and said that it would be “disappointing if radical options on the law on cannabis were not looked at”. Nick Clegg has promised to repeal “illiberal, intrusive and unnecessary” laws and to stop “making ordinary people criminals”. There can be no better example of this than the laws against personal use and cultivation of cannabis, particularly for medicinal reasons. The coalition government’s new Your Freedom website has been inundated with proposals to legalise cannabis and to end the futile war on drugs.   In July a poll carried out for the LibDems showed 70% of people in favour of legalising cannabis.

The Home Office and James Brokenshire are completely out of touch with expert and public opinion as well as the declared views of both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.

In my view, regulation means tighter control on the most dangerous drugs such as heroin, cocaine and alcohol and lighter regulation on relatively harmless substances like cannabis and ecstasy.

There is also the very important question of medicinal cannabis.  The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1998 has led to an ever-escalating volume of evidence of the medicinal value of cannabis.  In June the MHRA approved Sativex as an MS medicine in the UK.  It is a whole plant extract yet presently, the Home Office refuses to consider a regulated system of the plant itself for medicinal purposes.  This is completely irrational and absurd.  The House Of Lords scientific committee recommended such a system should be introduced 12 years ago.  Medicinal cannabis is available and regulated throughout almost all of Europe, Israel and 14 states in the USA (with 12 more in the planning stage).  The UK stands almost alone in its obstinate refusal even to consider such a system.

Already this is leading to quite obscene injustices where patients have been prescribed Sativex by their doctor but their health authority has refused to fund it and patients are then facing criminal prosecution for cultivating their own plants.  There is a case of exactly this going on in the Dorchester Crown Court at present and the CPS insists it is in the public interest to prosecute!

Thank you once again for listening to me Richard. I hope these notes are useful in composing your letter to David Cameron and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Kind regards,

Peter Reynolds

British Justice On Trial

with one comment

Thugs, Slimeballs And Grunts

At last, four of the Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group are to stand in the dock charged with assault causing actual bodily harm and a jury is to decide their fate.   They are PC Nigel Cowley, PC Mark Jones, PC Roderick James-Bowen and DC John Donohue.

He's Got To Go

Perhaps Keir Starmer, Director Of Public Prosecutions, thinks he will win back some credibility through this after his catastrophically bad judgement in the Ian Tomlinson case.   Not a bit of it.  In fact, the decision to prosecute now after a successful civil claim against these thugs, proves how negligent the original decision was.  The CPS is charged to uphold the public interest by statute.   It should not have to be harried to the Court reluctantly by civil action.  Yet again, Keir Starmer should hang his head in shame.  In fact, he should resign

These officers have already been proven on the balance of probabilities to have illegally assaulted Babar Ahmad in 2003.  Last year the High Court heard that he  was subject to “serious, gratuitous, prolonged, unjustified violence” and “religious abuse”.   Now the criminal courts will seek to extend that proof to beyond a reasonable doubt.   Meanwhile, the Met, which decided against any disciplinary action, chooses not even to suspend these proven thugs and bullies.  Sir Paul Stephenson should join them in the dock.  His disrespect for due process is astounding.  How can he have such men under his command?  The IPCC also failed in this case – yet again.  In 2007, it decided to take no action against any of the officers.

Keeping Mum

Almost every day now, new horror stories of illegal, brutal or simply dumb police behaviour are revealed.  This is the reward we have reaped from the massive investment and huge increase in salaries we gave to the police in the 80s.  According to my contact with inside knowledge it is due to a “collapse in supervision…and an arrogance due to few cops having much other work experience”.  The police service is no such thing for the average British citizen.  It is a self-serving bureaucracy with an aggressive sub-culture, acting as a revenue generating workforce for the state.  It is institutionalised racism, brutality, prejudice, bullying, corruption, cowardice, freemasonry, all dressed up in a jack-the-lad, paramilitary uniform.   It isn’t even any good at what it does.    Aside from dealing with road accidents and high-level anti-terrorism, I know of little good work done by the British police.  It has become an out of control monster that avoids doing what the public wants and picks and chooses what to devote its resources to.

PC Simon Harwood

If Keir Starmer can reverse his decsion on these thugs who beat up a suspected terrorist, he can also reverse his decison on the fatal assault on Ian Tomlinson, an entirely innocent bystander.   Meanwhile we await impatiently the coroner’s inquest on his death and the disciplinary hearing against PC Simon Harwood, which must be held in public in accordance with the statutory provisions.

Every time that a police officer breaks the law or exceeds his powers he breaches our trust.   It is the same as a bank employee stealing from his bank.  It must be punished particularly severely.  This must be the standard that British police adhere to.  We must never relent from calling the corrupt and incompetent to account.

We Wait For Justice

Whether a conviction is possible in this latest case, seven years after the events took place, I don’t know.  On the basis of its own rules the CPS must believe a conviction is more likely than not or it wouldn’t be proceeding .  Justice delayed though, is justice denied for Babar Ahmad and the policemen.  This repeated and continuing incompetence by the prosecution and regulatory authorities is every bid as dangerous as the deterioration in the police.   Suspicions of corruption, collusion and conspiracy are inevitable and must be answered.  These are serious threats to British justice.

Who Is The Unfairest Of Them All?

with 3 comments

Amidst the roar of gunfire from the deliberate, calculated massacre by evil Israeli stormtroopers and the tragedy of a crazed lunatic in Cumbria, there is yet another political scandal that cannot be allowed to pass.

Overpaid, Incompetent And Unfair

John Fingleton, Chief Executive of the Office Of Fair Trading, the man who let the British banks off the £40 billion they stole from British consumers, turns out to be the highest paid civil servant in the country.  See here.  This is the most unfair trading of all and makes a mockery of any concept of “fairness”.

He is responsible for the disastrous failure to protect British consumers from the greedy banker robbers who plundered their accounts with outrageous and illegal charges.  He led the badly organised legal challenge to the banks thievery which the Supreme Court turned away as misdirected.  The Supreme Court then invited the OFT to revert to them on a different basis but for reasons that have never been properly explained, Fingleton just gave up.  See here for the full story.

This man is not only unfair but incompetent.  No one is responsible for more unfair treatment of British consumers than he.  It is a scandal that he is even still in his job let alone paid at such an exorbitant rate.

OFT – Incompetence, Conspiracy, Paper Tiger Or All Three?

with 3 comments

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I recovered over £2000 of illegal penalty charges from the Nationwide and HSBC a couple of years back before the High Court stayed all the claims.  I had the great pleasure of walking into HSBC’s Kilburn branch with a judgment stamped by the Bow County Court (local to its Canary Wharf headquarters).  I demanded my money there and then and created a right hiatus in the branch!  I didn’t get it then but I did the following day in crisp £50 notes.

Den Of Thieves

It goes without saying that the banks are all, without exception, cheats, thieves, liars and lowlife scoundrels.  That’s why millions of people were relying on the Office Of Fair Trading to stand up for them.  The OFT’s decision now to drop their action against the banks is a national disgrace of monstrous proportions.  Although we cannot be sure of exactly who is behind this scandal, the fact that dishonesty, corruption and theft are at the root of it is manifest and crystal clear.

The banks were making around £7 billion a year in charges, most of which were for unauthorised overdrafts.  Claimants would have been able to claim for six years of charges so the banks have been let off a £40 billion hook.  Never have the British people been so let down by those who are supposed to protect them.

The High Court first made the extraordinary decision that these charges were not penalty charges.  This is nonsense.  HSBC actually described many of their charges to me as “card misuse” – so is that a penalty or not?.  Of course they were and as such were illegal and unenforceable at law.  When the banks debited your account like this they were committing theft and they’ve got away with it scot free.

It has now been well established that the actual cost to the banks of these transactions were less than £2 each when they were charging their customers up to £40 a time.

It must be truly astonishing to any right minded person that the OFT has backed down.  Even in the last Supreme Court judgement the OFT was given a clear hint, more like an invitation, that it should revert to the Court on a different basis.  So what possible reason can there be for abandoning the claim?

There can be no doubt that this decision is improper.  I wonder why it was announced on 22nd December when the entire country was at the peak of its pre-Christmas mass hysteria?

Two Faced Coward

John Fingleton, the OFT’s chief executive, should resign immediately.  He is either corrupt or weak.  He certainly has no integrity because whatever pressure or bribery has been put upon him he should have fought to his last breath to stop this massive crime by the banker robbers.

We cannot rely on these paper tigers of consumer protection.  We certainly cannot rely on government.  It is doubtful that our self-serving, whipped and bullied MPs will do anything meaningful.   It seems the only option now may be molotov cocktails through the door of every bank premises throughout the country.   How else are we supposed to protect ourselves when we are so badly let down?

We live in an entirely monetised society.  It is impossible to function without a bank account.  Therefore, the banker robbers must be regulated virtually to death.  Their policies and profits must be ruthlessly controlled.  Their crimes must not be overlooked but punished severely with massive multi-billion pound fines for the institutions and long prison sentences for the responsible executives.

UK Ministers Surrender Mckinnon To US Kidnap

with 5 comments

It’s said that when Gordon Brown offered Alan Johnson the Home Office he rejected it as a poisoned chalice.  He’s probably right.  It seems to be destroying his reputation just as it has so many others.

Abandoned

Nevertheless, the shameful and deeply treacherous conduct of this disgraced government towards Gary McKinnon cannot be excused.  There is no greater duty on any government than to protect its citizens, particularly those who are vulnerable.  There can be no basis in any system of justice for allowing a foreign power to abduct an accused person away from the scene of their alleged crime.  This is not extradition.  It is illegal rendition, as extraordinary as any.  It is kidnapping.

Alan Johnson, Gordon Brown and the rest are kowtowing to big bully USA.  British justice is in tatters as they offer up another sacrifice to America.  Believe me, they’d do the same to any of us: you, me, your grandmother, your starving babies and our injured soldiers if it suited them.  If they wanted to take Gary Mckinnon to Guantanamo Bay I don’t believe our government would have the courage to stop them.

Spineless Cowards

I call for the entire cabinet to be indicted on charges of dereliction of duty.  Will not even one of these excuses for men or women have the courage and decency to resign over this issue?

These people who call themselves our leaders are a disgrace to each and every one of us.  They are cowardly and spineless charlatans who are dragging our great country through the mire of ignominy and shame.  Gary Mckinnon is a victim of their cowardice.  Nothing can excuse what they have already put him through, let alone what is to come.

The Evil Of Organised Religion

with 12 comments

If we lived in a world without religion there wouldn’t be any conflict in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The Twin Towers would still be standing.  We wouldn’t be hearing the dreadful news about child sexual abuse in Ireland.  The Christian Church and Islam are both condemned for thousands of years of violence and evil.  They are both as bad as each other.  If I had my way they would both be disgraced and proscribed by appropriate public ceremony.

“Too many have died in the name of Christ for anyone to heed the call”

Teach Your Children

These are the immortal words of Crosby Stills & Nash.  Substitute “Christ” with any deity you care to mention.

I accept that in all organised religions there are people who do good. However, an accounting of the last two thousand years: the Crusades, the Inquisition, Palestine, the vile behaviour of priests and nuns, so many wars – shows that religion is seriously in the red and, quite seriously, perhaps it should be illegal.

Worship who or what you want as you want.  The minute that two or more of you get together to promote ideas that lead to death and suffering – well then you’re in a conspiracy.

Shame on the Irish Catholic Church for what it has done to Ireland.  No consequences could be too great or severe for this godless institution.

I pray to the God I believe in for justice and healing.