MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘drug war’

Three Ways Law Enforcement Must Be Reformed Right Now | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on June 11, 2020

https://mises.org/wire/three-ways-law-enforcement-must-be-reformed-right-now?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=8b216a96ca-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-8b216a96ca-228343965

I don’t know which acts of police abuse and brutality are motivated by racism and which are not. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that we could end all racial bias immediately through some magic spell or button we could press. Would this end police abuse, or even most of it?

Experience tells us no. The data is clear that police abuse is not limited to any particular group. Indeed, a majority of those shot by police are white.

For example, when police officer Phillip Brailsford gunned down Daniel Shaver, it’s unlikely that he was motivated by some sort of ethnic or racial bias. The same was probably true when police shot Duncan Lemp in his sleep during a no-knock raid, or when police pinned Tony Timpa to the ground until he died. After Timpa died police joked about it, and apparently found the situation quite hilarious. This is not limited just to local police personnel. When federal agents massacred more than eighty (mostly white) men, women, and children at Waco, law enforcement officers probably weren’t motivated by the race of their victims, either.

Police also appear to have no aversion to being callously indifferent toward victims of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. When police elected to cower outside Stoneman Douglas High School rather than face the gunman slaughtering children inside, it’s unlikely that they paid much attention to the racial makeup of the student body (a majority of which was white.)

Unfortunately, anecdotes like these could be recalled for hours and hours.

“But nonwhites are more often targeted proportionally!,” some might say. This may be so, and indeed some may decide that turning police into equal-opportunity abusers is a type of progress in itself, but it hardly addresses the systemic foundations of police abuse.

And the underlying problems are substantial. They are systemic and built into the law enforcement community in the United States for several reasons.

First, police are protected from accountability both by laws granting them legal immunity and by police labor unions that shield abusers. Secondly, the proliferation of laws designed to target nonviolent people for petty offenses (most commonly drug offenses) provides police with nearly endless opportunities to stop and harass people who have committed no real crime.

Murray Rothbard has illustrated how the ideal in this situation would be a type of police privatization. But for those who are not yet ready for such a radical reform, much can be done in the meantime through more mild, yet very necessary, reforms.

One: End Legal Immunity for Police

At the core of the issue is a lack of accountability and legal liability on the part of government employees who enforce the laws. Thanks to activist progovernment judges and legislation designed to shield police, it is extremely difficult to hold abusive law enforcement agents accountable.

Chris Calton explains:

The doctrine of qualified immunity essentially says that for a police officer to be held accountable, there must be a statute specifying all the particularities of his or her unique situation. Anything even remotely ambiguous falls under the broad category of “discretion.” In theory, legal immunity is “qualified,” but in practice, it is effectively absolute.

This way of thinking, however, is only a few decades old. It was solidified in American law by activist Supreme Court judges in 1967. Their ruling essentially created new law which erected new barriers against holding police accountable for abusive behavior.

As ABC reported this week:

While the Civil Rights Act of 1871 gives Americans the unambiguous ability to sue public officials over civil rights violations, the Supreme Court has subsequently limited liability to only those rights that have become “clearly established law.”

Critics say the standard is near-impossible to meet.

“In order for a plaintiff to defeat qualified immunity, they have to find a prior case that has held unconstitutional an incident with virtually identical facts to the one the plaintiff is bringing,” said UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz. “And over the last 15 years, the court has made it a more and more difficult standard for plaintiffs to overcome to go to trial.”

Last month, a Reuters report noted that “the doctrine has become a nearly failsafe tool to let police brutality go unpunished and deny victims their constitutional rights.”

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Regime Change through the Drug War – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 3, 2020

U.S. officials knew that it would look bad to simply invade the country and effect a regime-change operation through force of arms. Undoubtedly, they considered a state-sponsored assassination through the CIA, which specialized in that form of regime change, but for whatever reason that regime-method wasn’t employed.

https://www.fff.org/2020/04/01/regime-change-through-the-drug-war/

by

The Justice Department’s securing of a criminal indictment of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro reminds us that when it comes to the U.S. government’s regime-change operations, coups, invasions, sanctions, embargoes, and state-sponsored assassinations are not the only ways to achieve regime change. Another way is through a criminal indictment issued by a federal grand jury that deferentially accedes to the wishes of federal prosecutors.

The best example of this regime change method involved the president of Panama, Manuel Noriega.

Like many corrupt and brutal dictators around the world, Noriega was a partner and ally of the U.S. government. In fact, he was actually trained at the Pentagon’s School of the Americas, which is referred to in Latin America as the School of Assassins. He later served as a paid asset of the CIA. He also served as a conduit for the U.S. government’s illegal war in Nicaragua, where U.S. officials were using the Contra rebels to effect a regime change in that country.

But like other loyal pro-U.S. dictators, Noriega fell out of favor with U.S. officials, who decided they wanted him out of office and replaced with someone more to their liking.

The big problem, of course, is the one that always afflicts U.S. regime-change aspirations: Noriega refused to go voluntarily.

U.S. officials knew that it would look bad to simply invade the country and effect a regime-change operation through force of arms. Undoubtedly, they considered a state-sponsored assassination through the CIA, which specialized in that form of regime change, but for whatever reason that regime-method wasn’t employed.

So, the regime-changers turned to the U.S. Justice Department, which secured a criminal indictment against Noriega for supposedly violating America’s drug laws. The U.S. rationale was that the U.S. government, as the world’s international policeman, has jurisdiction to enforce its drug laws against everyone in the world.

On December 20,  1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama to bring Noriega back to the United States to stand trial on the drug charges. One might consider the invasion to be one gigantic no-knock raid on an entire country as part of U.S. drug-war enforcement.

An estimated 23-60 U.S. soldiers were killed in the operation while some 300 were wounded. An estimated 300-800 Panamanian soldiers were killed. Estimates of civilian deaths ranged from 200 to 3,000. Property damage ranged in the billions of dollars.

But it was all considered worth it. By capturing Noriega and bringing him back for trial, U.S. officials felt that they had made big progress in finally winning the war on drugs. Equally important, they had secured the regime change that had been their original goal. At the same time, they sent a message to other rulers around the world: Leave office when we say or we’ll do this to you.

Noriega was convicted and received a 40-year jail sentence. When his lawyers tried to introduce evidence at trial of his close working relationship with the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national security state, not surprisingly federal prosecutors objected and the judge sustained their objections. Better to keep those types of things as secret as possible.

Alas, Noriega’s conviction and incarceration did not bring an end to the war on drugs, as this crooked, corrupt, failed, and racially bigoted government program continues to this day. Moreover, as Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro might soon find out., the drug war continues to provide an effective way for U.S. officials to effect regime change.

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How To End the Drug Cartel Violence in Mexico – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 7, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/11/john-j-baeza/how-to-end-the-drug-cartel-violence-in-mexico/

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Nine Americans-including three women and six children-were gunned down by drug cartel members in Mexico’s northern state of Sonora. Eight young children survived the gunmen’s attack. Although violence of this type occurs in Mexico on a regular basis this attack caught the attention of the American news media due to the citizenship of those killed.  They were U.S. citizens with dual Mexican citizenship.  And it was a horrible attack.

Both President Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) have come up with solutions to stop the cartel violence.

President Trump made his solution very clear in the following tweet:

“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively,” Trump tweeted. “The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador refused the offer and proposed his own solution-“hugs not bullets.” Obrador also thinks that helping the poor is in some way going to affect the way the drug cartels operate.

Both leaders are dead wrong. There is only one way to end the drug cartel violence in Mexico and that is to end the drug war by legalizing all drugs immediately. This would also end the drug violence we see in cities across the United States. When alcohol prohibition was ended we didn’t see Coors and Budweiser shooting it out on the street for territory. They had courts to take care of business. They no longer needed mobsters. And when drugs are legalized we will see the same peaceful transition.

The drug war industrial complex is very big and very powerful. There are only a few politicians who would dare to propose legalization of all drugs. But this is what is needed if we want to end the cartel violence in Mexico and here in the United States.

The cartel violence we have seen take thousands upon thousands of lives in Mexico is blowback from our failed domestic policy on drugs. It is the U.S. demand for drugs that drives the market and the violence. We are at least partially responsible for the failed Mexican state. A state where every politician and every policeman are corrupt.

As a former frontline drug warrior I know ending the drug war is the only way out of this mess. All the task forces, narcotics courts, and military cooperation will not stop it.

End the drug war now!

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Double Standards Are Rampant in Canada’s Drug War | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2019

https://mises.org/wire/double-standards-are-rampant-canadas-drug-war

On October 17, 2018, recreational marijuana was legalized in Canada, ending 95 years of prohibition. For those who believe, as I do, that individuals should have the freedom to determine their own consumption, this is good news. However, I am not congratulating Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party for making good on a campaign promise made three years earlier. Instead, I point out the inconsistency of not applying their rationale for pot legalization to the legalization of all drugs.

As for those Canadians who opposed the legalization of pot, they may have hoped that Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative Party, would be their champion if he wins the election later this year. However, Scheer also employs a double standard on this issue.

Justin Trudeau

In 2013, in reference to hundreds of thousands of criminal convictions because of marijuana, Trudeau said “Those are lives ruined.”

The Liberals 2015 campaign platform with respect to marijuana legalization stated that “too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug. Arresting and prosecuting these offenses is expensive for our criminal justice system. It traps too many Canadians in the criminal justice system for minor, non-violent offenses.”

In May of last year, Trudeau said “that legalization would squeeze organized crime out of the lucrative cannabis market,” and the government is focused on legalizing marijuana because “the current system hurts Canadians.” Trudeau was not exaggerating the harm done to Canadians. German Lopez at vox.com wrote that “In Canada, tens of thousands of people are arrested for marijuana offenses each year, ripping communities and families apart as people are thrown in jail or prison and gain criminal records.”

The harmful effects of Canada’s illegal drug markets mirror the effects of the drug war in the United States which has done almost nothing to curb drug addiction. Former U.S. Federal Judge Nancy Gertner said, “We were not leveling cities as we did in WWII with bombs, but with prosecution, prison, and punishment.” As Laurence Vance wrote, “The drug war is not only a failure, it is a monstrous evil that has ruined more lives than drugs themselves.”…

Conclusion

Sadly, the double standards of Scheer and Trudeau are matched by the behaviour of almost every politician in the country. In their pursuit of power, they seem willing to say or do whatever it takes in order to get elected, and unprincipled politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises post-election. Trudeau broke promises. His predecessor (Harper) broke promises. They all do, at every level of government.

For those of us who consistently promote the cause of liberty, we can be thankful for the legalization of marijuana in Canada, but this does not mean we should give any credit to the government. Sometimes, we win by accident. Trudeau and the Liberals were under intense political pressure to keep that promise because they had broken so many others.

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Mom of Newborn Reported to State for Eating a Poppy Seed Bagel – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on August 12, 2018

(Drug) War is a racket and no one is safe.

https://reason.com/blog/2018/08/08/mother-poppy-seeds-drug-use-test

When a mother in labor seemed to test positive for opiates, that alone was enough to get her reported for drug use. To make matters worse, she claimed that she hadn’t actually been using drugs.

Baltimore County mother Elizabeth Eden was in labor at St. Joseph Medical Center when a doctor informed her that she tested positive for opiates, WBAL-TV reports. Earlier that day, Eden had consumed a poppy seed bagel. She remembered hearing in a health class that the poppy seeds could lead to a false positive in a drug test.

“I said, ‘Well, can you test me again? And I ate a poppy seed bagel this morning for breakfast,’ and she said, ‘No, you’ve been reported to the state,'” Eden recalled. After giving birth, Eden’s daughter, Beatrice, was forced to remain in the hospital for five days. Eden was also assigned a caseworker, who conducted a home check. When the caseworker concluded that the poppy seed defense was legitimate, the case was closed. Still, Eden called the ordeal “traumatizing.”… Read the rest of this entry »

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Official Robbery – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2017

https://lewrockwell.com/2017/03/john-w-whitehead/official-robbery/

Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head.  With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.”—“ Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture,” Institute for Justice
The drug war, how government pays for it and pays itself is worse than the original crime.

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U.S. drug war in Afghanistan has been miserable failure

Posted by M. C. on March 9, 2017

ttp://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/03/06/editorial-u-s-drug-war-in-afghanistan-has-been-miserable-failure/?_sm_byp=iVVV1hSBt3fr2Zvh

There is no delicate way to put this: The federal government’s “war on drugs” in the U.S. has been a stupendous failure. The only way it doesn’t look quite so bad is when it is compared to the mess we have made conducting a drug war as part of the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

More importantly, Afghanistan is responsible for 90 percent of the world’s illicit opiates, such as heroin, and opium production increased 43 percent just in the past year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported in October.

Whoops. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Better Solution Than the Wall – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 31, 2017

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/01/ron-paul/better-solution-wall/

Speaking of Trump’s wall…

The solution to really addressing the problem of illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and the threat of cross-border terrorism is clear: remove the welfare magnet that attracts so many to cross the border illegally, stop the 25 year US war in the Middle East, and end the drug war that incentivizes smugglers to cross the border.
It would pay Trump to listen to Ron Paul.

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