Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Mexico

Evil Personified

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Michelle Leonhart, Head of the DEA

“It may seem contradictory, but the unfortunate level of violence is a sign of success in the fight against drugs”

In Mexico’s brutal drug war, children are increasingly victims, innocents caught in the crossfire, shot dead alongside their parents — and intentionally targeted.

According to U.S. and Mexican experts, competing criminal groups appear to be killing children to terrorize the population or prove to rivals that their savagery is boundless, as they fight over local drug markets and billion-dollar trafficking routes to voracious consumers in the United States.

See the full article from The Washington Post here.

(with thanks to Befuzzled for the heads-up)

Written by Peter Reynolds

April 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

“War On Drugs Has Failed, Say Former Heads Of MI5, CPS And BBC”, The Daily Telegraph, 21st March 2011

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The “war on drugs” has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Drug availability and use has increased with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin

Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible.

Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country.

The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group.

The MPs and members of the House of Lords, who have formed a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform, are calling for new policies to be drawn up on the basis of scientific evidence.

It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.

Their intervention could receive a sympathetic audience in Whitehall, where ministers and civil servants are trying to cut the numbers and cost of the prison population. The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, has already announced plans to help offenders kick drug habits rather than keeping them behind bars.

The former Labour government changed its mind repeatedly on the risks posed by cannabis use and was criticised for sacking its chief drug adviser, Prof David Nutt, when he claimed that ecstasy and LSD were less dangerous than alcohol.

The chairman of the new group, Baroness Meacher – who is also chairman of an NHS trust – told The Daily Telegraph: “Criminalising drug users has been an expensive catastrophe for individuals and communities.

“In the UK the time has come for a review of our 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. I call on our Government to heed the advice of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that drug addiction should be recognised as a health problem and not punished.

“We have the example of other countries to follow. The best is Portugal which has decriminalised drug use for 10 years. Portugal still has one of the lowest drug addiction rates in Europe, the trend of young people’s drug addiction is falling in Portugal against an upward trend in the surrounding countries, and the Portuguese prison population has fallen over time.”

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1983 and 1989, said: “I have no doubt that the present policy is a disaster.

“This is an important issue, which I have thought about for many years. But I still don’t know what the right answer is – I have joined the APPG in the hope that it may help us to find the right answer.”

Other high-profile figures in the group include Baroness Manningham-Buller, who served as Director General of MI5, the security service, between 2002 and 2007; Lord Birt, the former Director-General of the BBC who went on to become a “blue-sky thinker” for Tony Blair; Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, until recently the Director of Public Prosecutions; and Lord Walton of Detchant, a former president of the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

Current MPs on the group include Peter Bottomley, who served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher; Mike Weatherley, the newly elected Tory MP for Hove and Portslade; and Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge.

The group’s formation coincides with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which paved the way for a war on drugs by describing addiction as a “serious evil”, attempting to limit production for medicinal and scientific uses only, and coordinating international action against traffickers.

The peers and MPs say that despite governments “pouring vast resources” into the attempt to control drug markets, availability and use has increased, with up to 250 million people worldwide using narcotics such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin in 2008.

By Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent

They believe the trade in illegal drugs makes more than £200 billion a year for criminals and terrorists, as well as destabilising entire nations such as Afghanistan and Mexico.

As a result, the all-party group is working with the Beckley Foundation, a charitable trust, to review current policies and scientific evidence in order to draw up proposed new ways to deal with the problem.

Climate Change Jolly In Cancun

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Cancun Conference

My blogger-in-arms, Tory Ardvaark, calls it a “cocaine and hooker-fest” and he’s probably right.  Johann Hari,  my colleague on The Independent, says that the “next crash will be ecological – and nature doesn’t do bailouts”.  See here.

So, who has the more incisive angle on the gathering next week in Mexico’s top holiday resort?  It’s a strange choice of venue and does raise questions as to the real reason that so many will be flying there on government expenses.  As destinations go it must be a CO2 hotspot.  Maybe it’s even got it’s own hole in the ozone layer to match the nasal damage that so many visitors will be suffering?  Hopefully, condoms will protect them from any other consequences of their debauchery.   As for the conference though, it will probably be a waste of time, just like Copenhagen.

That idiot, Professor Phil Jones, at UEA’s Climate Change unit has got an awful lot to answer for.  His absurd and dishonest behaviour has discredited climate change science.   I think that while it would be stupid to ignore the idea of man-made climate change, it would be equally unwise to listen unquestioningly to those corrupt scientists who are mainly concerned with securing next year’s research grant.  Both extremes of the argument are as unreliable as each other.

Thankfully during my lifetime and my childrens’ we won’t see catastrophic effects from climate change, even if the scientists prove to be right.  Hopefully, by the time my grandchildren are around, science will have got its act together a little more  – what  shall we say – scientifically?   Of course, it may be too late by then.

The only thing that is certain is that Tory Ardvaark is right.  They’re going to have a hell of a good time down Mehico way and the drug dealers and pimps will be coining it.