British Conservative politicians on drugs

This 8 June 2019 musical parody video from Britain says about itself:

Gove on Coke (to the tune of “Girls on Film“)

Michael Gove on cocaine.

British teachers march against Gove when he was Education Minister

From daily News Line in Britain:

GOVE ADMITS DRUG LAW-BREAKING! – as do six Tory leadership contenders

10th June 2019

TORY leadership candidate Michael Gove admitted on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday that he had acted illegally in relation to using cocaine.

The former Justice Secretary said that he was ‘fortunate’ that he hadn’t been imprisoned, but still boasted that he is the best candidate for the post of unelected prime minister.

He said: ‘Of course, the decisions we made in the past we should be held accountable for. But for this election, what we are reflecting on is who has the ideas, the vision, the experience in office, to be able to lead in the future, and I’m ready to lead on day one.’

Marr said: ‘You’ve talked about your use of cocaine, do you accept that it was a crime?’

Gove said: ‘Yes, it was a crime.’

‘Should you have gone to prison?’ asked Marr.

Gove said: ‘I was fortunate in that I didn’t.’

‘How many times did you take cocaine?’

He replied: ‘I took it on several occasions, on social occasions more than 20 years ago when I was working as a journalist.’

‘Was it a habit?’

‘No, I don’t believe it was.’

Marr continued: ‘Looking at the dates, you were about 30 at the time, you weren’t a young man, you weren’t a teenager. Did you have any sense then of the damage that this was doing to other kids on the streets of London, many of whom could be in prison right now?’

He replied: ‘I do have a profound sense of regret about it all and I am very, very aware of the damage that drugs do.’

Marr said: ‘The crime that you committed, the maximum sentence for it is seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. And again, right now there are people who did what you did who are in prison and there are lots of kids, basically, who supplied cocaine to people like yourself, who have either been stabbed or are dead.’

Marr asked Gove if he has blood on his hands.

He replied: ‘It is a mistake which I profoundly regret, absolutely … Look I’m very conscious of the fact that I was fortunate.’

Marr said: ‘When you became a minister did you tell the government that you had taken Class A drugs?’

Gove replied: ‘No-one asked. I don’t think the question was ever raised.’

‘Not on the vetting form?’

‘I don’t ever remember being asked in any way about it.

‘Including on the ESTA form for travel to the United States? They do ask that question, “have you used Class A drugs?”’

Gove replied: ‘I don’t believe that I’ve on any occasion failed to tell the truth about this when asked directly.’

‘But it would be on the form and you would have to say yes or no and if you’d said yes you could have been banned for life from entering the United States,’ said Marr.

Gove responded: ‘I think it is the case that if I were elected Prime Minister of this country then of course it would be the case that I could go to the United States and I think it’s foolish to suggest otherwise.’

‘Let’s look at another job that you did, as Education Secretary. On your watch, as I understand it, any teacher caught with Class A drugs could be suspended as teacher for life. Is that true?’

Gove replied: ‘We would be talking here about people who were using it in the course of their professional life.’

Referring to a newspaper article that Gove wrote at the time of his admitted use of cocaine 20 years ago, in which he condemned the use of Class A drugs, Marr said: ‘You have been accused on the front pages of the newspapers today of hypocrisy about this and when one reads the article that you wrote at the time, that’s a fair charge is it not?’

Gove replied: ‘No. I think anyone can read the article and make their own minds up.’

Six out of the 11 candidates for the Tory leadership have admitted to the illegal use of drugs.

Trump wants death penalty for drugs

This 15 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Advocates Death Penalty For Drugs

Trump just advocated the death penalty for drug dealers because…China? John Iadarola breaks it down on The Damage Report.

So, after Trump’s Saudi cronies … Trump’s Filipino crony Duterte … the president of Sri Lanka … and Trump himself in 2018 … President Trump of the USA advocates a really bloody war on drugs.

CALIFORNIA GOV. TO ISSUE DEATH PENALTY MORATORIUM The 737 inmates on America’s largest death row are getting a reprieve from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who plans to sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on executions. The Democratic governor called the death penalty “a failure” that “has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation.” [AP]

US Attorney General William Barr has directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to reinstate the death penalty for federal inmates, setting the stage for the execution of inmates on federal death row for the first time in 16 years. Barr’s directive reverses what has been an essential moratorium on the federal death penalty: here.

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.

POPE SHIFTS CHURCH ON DEATH PENALTY The catechism has been revised by Pope Francis to call the death penalty “inadmissible.” Here’s what that means for Catholic politicians. [CNN]

128 years after the first US electrocution. Tennessee revives “Old Smokey,” the electric chair, for an execution: 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.