Trump’s war on drugs, with Duterte-style death penalty

This 12 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

President Trump has reiterated his calls for the U.S. to impose the death penalty on drug dealers, praising countries like the Philippines, China and Singapore that apply capital punishment to drug traffickers.

During a speech on Saturday, Trump recounted conversations with Chinese and Singaporean leaders who, he said, solved their countries’ drug problems by executing drug traffickers.

Trump has also repeatedly expressed admiration for Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and said he’s done an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Last month, the International Criminal Court opened a preliminary investigation into accusations that Duterte had committed crimes against humanity by overseeing the killing of up to 8,000 people in his so-called war on drugs.

We speak to Widney Brown, the managing director of policy at the Drug Policy Alliance.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

Trump demands death penalty for drug dealers as answer to opioid overdose crisis

20 March 2018

Speaking at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire Monday, President Donald Trump announced his administration’s law-and-order initiative in response to the US overdose epidemic, the centerpiece of which is his push for the death penalty for convicted drug dealers.

The reactionary proposal opens the gruesome prospect of thousands of Americans being marched to the nation’s death chambers, as many addicts often sell drugs in order to fund their habit or out of desperate need for money.

More than 64,000 people nationwide died of a drug overdose in 2016, triple the number in 1999 and higher than the number of deaths at the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Reports indicate that the numbers will be even higher for 2017 and 2018. At least 65 percent of overdoses involve an opioid.

The introduction of fentanyl and other more powerful synthetic opioids into the drug supply in recent years has pushed overdoses and deaths through the roof in most states. The CDC reports that emergency room visits for opioid overdoses increased 30 percent between July and September last year.

“We can have all the blue-ribbon committees we want, but if we don’t get tough on the drug dealers we are wasting our time and that toughness includes the death penalty”, Trump declared. “Toughness is the thing that they most fear.”

However, Andrew Bremberg, of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, contradicted the president’s fulminations, telling reporters last week that the Trump administration would seek the death penalty for large-scale drug traffickers, rather than drug dealers.

This was reiterated by an official White House fact sheet released on Monday, which announced that the “[Department of Justice] will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it’s appropriate under current law.” That would limit the death penalty to drug-related homicides that already carry a possible death sentence.

According to the fact sheet, the administration is also seeking legislation from Congress which would lower the threshold for mandatory minimum sentences for the possession of opioids that are lethal in small amounts, such as fentanyl.

The Death Penalty Information Center notes that US law currently allows for the death penalty in drug-related cases only in limited instances where drug use or distribution can be related to a murder. Otherwise there are no provisions which allow for prosecutors to seek the death penalty merely for distribution or trafficking.

While the president paid lip service to the giving addicts access to treatment options and public health initiatives during his remarks Monday—including praise for companies which have donated small supplies of drugs like Narcan, which can quickly reverse an opioid overdose—Trump presented the problem as a law enforcement issue.

He claimed that individual drug dealers are responsible for “thousands” of deaths and should not be allowed to serve limited prison sentences if they are convicted, but rather should face the prospect of life in prison or execution.

Trump blamed the ongoing crisis on America’s supposedly lax drug laws, contrasting this situation to countries that have “zero tolerance” policies which provide for the death penalty for dealers and traffickers. While he didn’t mention him by name Monday, Trump has previously lauded Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has directed the police and vigilantes to murder alleged drug dealers and addicts.

Not surprisingly the president took the time to praise the police and federal immigration agents who are carrying out his administration’s crackdown on immigrants, to promote the construction a border wall along the US-Mexico border, and to blame the drug crisis on so-called sanctuary cities as well as Mexico and China. Trump declared that it was necessary to “build the wall to keep the damn drugs out!”

New Hampshire was picked for Trump’s address because it is one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis, with an overdose death rate which is nearly double the national figure, having risen more than 340 percent over the last decade. The president repeated remarks he had made earlier this month at a rally in Pennsylvania, a state which has also been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

The highest death rate from opioid overdoses has been concentrated in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England: West Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Maryland. The largest increases in opioid overdose deaths between 2006 and 2016 were seen in Ohio and Pennsylvania, rising more than 400 percent. These two states were key to Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Drug overdose has quickly become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 years old. So many people have died in the overdose epidemic that US life expectancy fell in 2015 and 2016, a decline unprecedented in modern history.

Last year Trump declared the epidemic a “public health emergency”, a public relations maneuver which did not provide any new federal funding to the crisis, instead redirecting money from other federal programs.

The federal government distributed just $1 billion to states in 2017 to assist in efforts to confront the crisis, and Congress recently approved another $2 billion in funding over two years. This pales in comparison to the $32 billion in federal funds for HIV/AIDS research and prevention last year. Only a public health effort on that scale could make serious inroads into the opioid crisis.

At the same time, federal and state agencies have turned a blind eye as pharmaceutical companies flooded communities across America with cheap and easy to obtain prescription opioids, while cracking down on small time distributors and imprisoning a growing number of addicts who often find limited treatment options in prison.

Trump’s pick to head the Office of National Drug Policy (the “drug czar”), Representative Tom Marino, was forced to withdraw last year when it was revealed that he played a key role in limiting the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration to block the pharmaceutical industry’s flooding of low income rural areas with prescription opioids.

A new review has compiled the best, most up-to-date source of information on alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use and the burden of death and disease. It shows that in 2015 alcohol and tobacco use between them cost the human population more than a quarter of a billion disability-adjusted life years, with illicit drugs costing a further tens of millions: here.


Berlin atrocity, drugs and secret service

This 22 December 2016 video is called Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri was under surveillance for months.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Assault perpetrator of Berlin was a drug user and dealer’

Today, 11:09

Anis Amri, the terrorist who committed the attack in Berlin on 19 December, used XTC and cocaine and was a drugs dealer. This writes the newspaper Welt am Sonntag on the basis of an interim report on the investigation that will be discussed in the Bundestag [parliament] tomorrow.

The message is clear according to the newspaper that Amri had also been guilty of drug offenses in his native Tunisia. The researchers are now wondering whether, at the time that he had used a truck against visitors to a Christmas market he also had used drugs. …

The Bundestag group of [left party] Die Linke wants clarification on whether Amri worked as an informant for intelligence agencies. “There are many indications that something is not right”, said the deputy party leader to Bild am Sonntag. “We need to know whether the services had information previously.”

Last week, the Berliner Morgenpost and Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB) reported that the perpetrator of the Berlin Christmas Market attack, Anis Amri, may have been incited by an undercover agent for the North Rhine-Westphalia State Criminal Bureau (LKA). The agent, “VP 01,” with the cover name “Murat,” who had close contact with Amri, is said to have sought support for attacks, including one using a truck: here.

Was the 2016 terrorist attack on the Berlin Christmas market an “intelligence operation with deadly collateral damage?” Here.

French secret police knew ISIS would attack church, did nothing to prevent it, and covered that up.

Bush’s ‘new’ Afghanistan, more and more opium

This video from the USA says about itself:

Karzai Brother on CIA Payroll

28 October 2009

The New York Times reports that the brother of Afghanistan’s President Karzai, an alleged opium smuggler and war profiteer, has been taking money from the CIA.

According to United Nations research, over 2,000 square kilometer in Afghanistan is now used for growing opium poppies.

The harvest for 2016 is estimated to be 4800 tonnes, nearly 50% more than last year.

Even though the George W Bush-imposed president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is no longer president. And though Hamid Karzai’s brother, drug kingpin Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been killed by a rival.

US air strikes kill scores of civilians in Afghanistan: here.

Social services and foster care programs across the United States are overwhelmed by the influx of children from families shattered by the opioid epidemic. In West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states, thousands of children have been orphaned and placed into foster care or living arrangements with relatives who struggle to make ends meet with inadequate compensation: here.

British children abused as drugs guinea pigs

This video from the USA says about itself:

23 February 2012

GUINEA PIG KIDS – A BBC documentary exposes how the city of New York has forced “HIV” positive children under its supervision to be used as human guinea pigs in tests for experimental Antiretroviral drug trials.

All of the children in the program were under the legal guidance of the city’s child welfare department, the Administration for Children’s Services. Most live in foster care or independent homes run on behalf of the local authorities and almost all the children are believed to be African-American or Latino.

The BBC identified pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline as one of the companies that provided the experimental drugs for the tests. In the documentary, parents or guardians who refused to consent to the trials claim that children were removed by ACS and placed in foster families or children’s homes. Then, acting over their objections, ACS authorized the life-ending Antiretroviral drug trials.


A video from Britain used to say about itself:

Schoolchildren given experimental drugs without their parents’ consent in 1960s Home Office experiment

22 August 2016

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given an anticonvulsant drug in a trial backed by Home Office doctors.

Children at an approved school were given experimental drugs in a 1960s trial backed by the Home Office, it is reported.

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire allegedly participated in the trial without their parents’ consent.

They were given the anticonvulsant drug Beclamide for six months in a bid to control their behaviour, National Archive files show.

Home Office doctors also approved a similar trial of the powerful sedative Haloperidol on girls at Springhead Park Approved School in Rothwell near Leeds.

However, it reportedly did not go ahead.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Children used in 60s drugs trials

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

NATIONAL ARCHIVES: Children at a young offenders’ school in the 1960s became unwitting guinea pigs in an experimental drug trial that was approved by Home Office doctors.

National Archive files released yesterday show that disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given the anticonvulsant drug beclamide, which is no longer widely used, for six months. Dizziness, memory loss and fatigue are some of its common side effects.

The trial went ahead with neither children and parents being consulted. Nor is there any record of outcomes.

Philippines death squads, paid by United States tax payers

This video about the Philippines says about itself:

Amnesty International Concerned Over Duterte‘s Human Rights Record

8 December 2015

The human rights watchdog raised alarm over the presidential candidate [meanwhile: president]’s alleged links to the Davao Death Squad.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Philippines: Activists demand to end police killings

Thursday 4th August 2016

OVER 300 human rights groups have written to condemn what they see as trigger-happy attitudes by Philippine police towards drug gang suspects.

Their joint letter to the International Narcotics Control Board and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which was published yesterday, urges them to condemn police killings and to demand that they end.

“International drug control agencies need to make clear to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the surge in killings of suspected drug dealers and users is not acceptable ‘crime control’ but instead a government failure to protect people’s most fundamental human rights,” said Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phelim Kine.

A clash yesterday between commandos and armed bodyguards of a town mayor linked to illegal drugs killed six suspects and brought the running total of suspected drug criminals shot dead since Mr Duterte took office on June 30 to 402.

Senator Leila M De Lima decried on Tuesday what she called the “do-it-yourself justice” system under the Duterte presidency.

“We must call for the accountability of state actors responsible for this terrifying trend in law enforcement and the investigation of killings perpetrated by the vigilante assassins,” she said.

Regional police chief Elmer Beltejar said that police had been patrolling near the house of Mayor Rolando Espinosa in the town of Albuera when they were fired upon by his bodyguards.Police fired back, killing six of their attackers.

Mr Espinosa surrendered to national police chief Ronald de la Rosa on Tuesday after being warned to do so or risk being shot on sight.

This video says about itself:

Death toll rises as Philippines intensifies war on drugs

31 July 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to rid his country of crime and corruption within his first six months in office.

But a harsh crackdown has seen more than 400 suspected drug criminals killed in less than two months.

Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan reports from Manila.

By Joseph Santolan in the Philippines:

Kerry backs Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign: “Placing a cheapness on the lives of Orientals”

4 August 2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte July 30 in Manila and pledged $32 million to fund Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, an operation that involves death squads, police murders and concentration camps. Since Duterte took office at the end of June, more than 500 alleged criminals have been killed by police and vigilante groups.

Kerry has come a long way since he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 and denounced the conduct of the US military in Vietnam in terms of moral outrage. He told the committee that “we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals.”

Kerry has long since overcome any such moral compunctions, integrating himself into the Democratic party apparatus, running unsuccessfully as the party’s presidential candidate, and finally becoming the top diplomatic face of US imperialism. He is now the one who hangs Washington’s price tag on the cheapness of human lives.

The $32 million he dispensed to fund the murder of impoverished Filipinos is meant to secure Manila’s support for Washington’s anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia.”

For US imperialism, “the lives of Orientals” have always been cheap. William McKinley bought the colony of the Philippines from Spain for $20 million in 1898. The bill of sale was written in the blood of over a million Filipinos who were killed in the war of conquest that marked the entry of the United States onto the world stage as an imperialist power.

From the installation to the presidency of Ramon Magsaysay, hand-picked in 1953 by the “quiet American” CIA operative Edward Lansdale, to the full support it gave the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Washington has ruled its former colony with near total control, preserving it as a foothold in the Asia Pacific region.

The United States is seeking to maintain its global hegemonic dominance through military means, encircling Russia and China and escalating tensions to the threshold of a new world war. Under the previous Philippine administration, headed by Benigno Aquino, Manila played a key role in spearheading the US pivot in the South China Sea, filing a legal claim against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague and signing a deal to allow the unlimited basing of US forces in the country.

The newly installed Duterte administration has been more hesitant in provoking China, hoping to forge expanded economic ties with Beijing.

Duterte is a fascistic figure, openly contemptuous of human life. He has granted impunity to the police and military and called upon them to exterminate “criminals.” He declared in a speech that he would leave office as the Idi Amin of the Philippines, a reference to the Ugandan dictator and mass murderer.

The Obama administration has established a pattern of funding and support for far-right and fascistic forces around the world in pursuit of US imperialist interests. In 2013, it backed the military coup by the Egyptian butcher General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. In 2014, it supported a fascist-led coup in Ukraine as part of its campaign against Moscow. It armed the al-Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as a proxy in its campaign to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

The Obama administration has no qualms about funding the murderous Duterte government if it will facilitate the economic, political and military isolation and destabilization of China.

Duterte is putting Washington’s funds to good use. The number reported killed by police and vigilantes ranges from fifteen to twenty a day. Those murdered come from the most impoverished layers of the population, the shantytown dwellers and the informally employed, who dwell, in their millions, on the margins and in the interstices of Philippine cities, particularly Manila.

According to the New York Times, over 114,000 people, fearful of being killed in the anti-drug drive, have surrendered to the police. They have been crammed into the country’s barbaric prison system.

The British Independent published a photo essay on July 31 revealing the conditions in these jails. The fetid cells, as well as the open courts and stairwells of the prisons, are so densely packed that there is no room to breathe. Industrial livestock have far better conditions than these human beings.

Duterte proposes to relieve the overcrowding by constructing concentration camps. He is calling for the building of high-wire-enclosed facilities in the center of military bases throughout the country to house those he claims are “no longer of service to humanity.” The initial funding Duterte will use for these concentration camps was supplied by John Kerry.

The New York Times on August 2 claimed that Duterte’s crackdown was “hugely popular” with Filipinos. As evidence, it cited an opinion poll on the new president’s trustworthiness conducted before he even took office, as well as his “overwhelming victory” at the polls. In truth, Duterte won the presidency by a plurality, receiving a mere 38 percent of the vote. The base of support for Duterte comes overwhelmingly from the petty-bourgeoisie and big business.

The new president has announced that he supports the basing of US forces in the country, and since Kerry’s visit, he has begun to escalate his rhetoric against China. Washington will happily continue funding Duterte’s death squads and concentration camps as long as he toes its line against China.

In the 2016 US elections, the Democratic Party is presenting itself as the premiere party of US imperialism, in the interests of which it will continue to promote far-right governments and political forces internationally. The danger represented by the fascistic Donald Trump cannot be opposed through support for the party that is funding the death squads of Rodrigo Duterte. Only the independent struggle of the working class in the United States, the Philippines and around the world in the fight for socialism can put an end to war and the growing threat of fascism.

Ronald de la Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) testified Monday before a Senate investigation into the extra-judicial killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 1. He said the official police count of those who were killed by either police or vigilantes for the first six weeks of the Duterte administration was 1,789: here.

White House praises Duterte’s drug crackdown: here.

Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’, racism and militarism

This video from the USA says about itself:

Nixon Invented War On Drugs To Attack Black People And Leftists

9 April 2016

John Ehrlichman was one of the henchmen for Richard Nixon. He was sent to prison for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. He was also part of a much broader conspiracy, which has only recently come to light. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Former aides to President Richard Nixon disavowed a recently published, provocative quote from a colleague about the racial motivation behind the war on drugs, and suggested that the colleague was being sarcastic.

The statement — attributed to Nixon’s chief domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman — alleged that the administration’s drug war was meant to cripple black communities and the “antiwar left.”

Journalist Dan Baum wrote in the April cover story for Harper’s that Ehrlichman told him in 1994 that the Nixon campaign and Nixon White House considered those two groups to be their enemies. “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman reportedly said.

But three former Nixon aides say the quote just doesn’t sound like Ehrlichman, and if he did say it, he was mistaken.”

Read more here.

NIXON TRIED TO DELAY VIETNAM PEACE FOR CAMPAIGN POINTS Richard M. Nixon told an aide that they should find a way to secretly ‘monkey wrench’ peace talks in Vietnam in the waning days of the 1968 campaign for fear that progress toward ending the war would hurt his chances for the presidency, according to newly discovered notes.” [NYT]