As Sessions Promises Drug War Escalation, Listen To Drug War Prisoners

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By Doran Larson for The Conversation – Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a return to a pre-Obama policy of seeking maximum penalties for all drug crimes, including low-level, nonviolent offenses. Criticism from politicians, criminologists, lawyers and others was swift and unambiguous. Based on a discredited belief in a zero-sum relationship between crime and incarceration rates, the thinking behind this policy was called “one-dimensional,” “archaic,” “misguided” and “dumb.” America’s unprecedented attempt to jail its way out of crime long ago passed the point of diminishing returns. Drug trafficking in particular sees a replacement effect: Removing one drug seller simply makes room for another (often accompanied by a violent reshuffling of territories). Excessive incarceration can also damage communities and can actually make an individual more, not less, likely to reoffend. I have been facilitating a writing workshop inside Attica Correctional Facility since 2006. For the past eight years, I have solicited, collected, helped publish and digitally disseminated the first-person writing of incarcerated Americans. Those on the receiving end of the attorney general’s misguided policy will naturally feel his words more deeply than others. The writers among them will be burdened with responsibility to make those feelings known.

Tear Down The Walls Mexico Delegation

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By the Alliance for Global Justice. The United States is building walls and militarizing both the US-Mexico border and Mexico’s southern border. The US is also building prison walls throughout Mexico and militarizing police as living walls to repress and reign in popular movements. When Mexican police fire on striking teachers and normal school students, they’re using weapons made in the USA. When indigenous and labor activists are locked away as political prisoners, they’re locked away in US funded jail cells. The Alliance for Global Justice Tear Down the Walls Mexico delegation will visit with indigenous and labor leaders, family and supporters of political prisoners, ex-political prisoners, anti-torture activists and experts on police, border and prison militarization. We will investigate US prison imperialism in Mexico and relate that to similar programs in other parts of the world.

Trump Homeland Security General Still Believes In Failed Drug War

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By Jacob Sullum for Reason – Like Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, the man he wants to run the Department of Homeland Security, John F. Kelly, is an old-fashioned drug warrior who is alarmed by the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition. But the secretary of homeland security, unlike the attorney general, does not have much power to interfere with state marijuana laws. And unlike Sessions’ complaints about the Obama administration’s toleration of marijuana legalization, which sit uneasily with Trump’s commitment to respect state decisions in that area…

Duterte Says Children Killed In Philippines Drug War Are ‘Collateral Damage’

Paramedics attend the scene of an extrajudicial killing in Manila in September. Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has vowed no let-up in his war on crime. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

By Oliver Holmes for The Guardian – Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, has referred to innocent people and children as “collateral damage” in his war on drugs because police use automatic weapons when confronting criminals. Asked in an interview with al-Jazeera about minors caught up in the violence, Duterte said those cases would be investigated but added that police can kill hundreds of civilians without criminal liability.

Newsletter - Outing The Prison-Industrial Complex

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. What do you call a system in which private entities partner with law enforcement to spy on peaceful protesters and arrest them, in which the poor and people of color are preyed upon to meet private prison quotas in order to provide slave labor, in which drug use is treated as a crime rather than the public health issue that it is, and in which police are heavily militarized and violate the law without being held accountable? Like the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex (PIC) has become a behemoth that feeds personal and corporate profits through human exploitation. Its tentacles reach into many parts of our society. It is necessary to understand how the many aspects of the PIC operate in order to confront it and stop it from swallowing up our families and communities.

Oakland Green Lights Drug War Reparations, Passes Marijuana Equity Program

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By David Downs for East Bay Express – Oaklanders who’ve been jailed for pot in the last ten years will go to the front of the line for legal weed permits under a revolutionary new program enacted by the City Council Tuesday night. The first-in-the-nation idea promises to make international headlines, and redefine the terms of reparations in post-Drug War America. Council voted unanimously to pass the historic “Equity Permit Program,” which bucks national trends in legal pot policy. Normally, convicted drug felons are barred from entering the legal cannabis trade. Instead, Oakland will reward them.

UN Seizes Letter To Ban Ki Moon Calling For End To Global Drug War

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By Staff of The Drug Policy Alliance – (New York, New York) – On the opening day of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) gathered more than 60 performers dressed in costumes from the era of U.S. alcohol prohibition to greet attendees at the entrance to the United Nations and hand them copies of the “Post-Prohibition Times,” a newspaper printout of aletter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

Movement To End The Drug War Hits The UN

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By Phillip Smith for AlterNet – The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs is set for UN Headquarters in Manhattan next week, and civil society and some European and Latin American countries are hoping to make limited progress in moving toward more evidence- and public health-based drug policies. But, knowing the glacial pace of change at the UN and well aware of how little of substance is likely to emerge from the UNGASS, some eyes are already turning to the post-UNGASS international arena.

Cradles & Climate Crisis, Drug War’s Sidekick And Dissent

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By Staff of Occupy – This week, the climate crisis IS a reproductive crisis. The founders of Conceivable Future talk to us about the intersectionality of parenthood and climate change. Next up, the Drug War has wreaked decades of havoc in our country – but what about Latin America? School of the Americas Watch and the Peace, Life & Justice Caravan hi-light this southern path of destruction and invite you to join in the fight against both the drug war and the violent US-backed crusades in South America, Central America and Mexico. Finally, let’s get cozy and dissent. But first, I’d need less money if I had some more…

No More Drug War Caravan Visits Five Countries On Way To UN

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By Laura Krasovitzky and Ted Lewis for AlterNet – Starting in Honduras on March 28th, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice will travel through El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States with the goal of reaching New York City on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs beginning on April 19. Made up of a diverse group of people including victims of the drug war, families who have lost relatives to violence or incarceration, human rights defenders, journalists, faith leaders, activists and others…

Day #2: Caravan For Peace, Life And Justice

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By Mackenzie McDonald Wilkins. Honduras -Today (March 29, 2016), the Caravan for Peace, Life, and Justice visited La Ceiba, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. We met with leaders from Garifuna and indigenous communities that are being forced from their lands by US and Honduran military forces who claim the communities are trafficking drugs. There have been multiple assassinations and massacres, including of innocent women and children, in Garifuna, Tolupan, and Miskito communities. The news says that cartel members were killed. The military forces want to instill fear in these communities and force them to leave their coastal communities, leaving the land open for plantations and the beaches open to hotel and resort companies. The communities are fighting back though.

Caravan For Peace, Life And Justice

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By Global Exchange. For decades, international policies to prohibit drug use have been a colossal and violent failure. Not only has prohibited drug use grown dramatically, so have violent criminal organizations that use the vast profits from their illicit trade to arm themselves and generate corruption at all levels of our societies. The war on drugs has not only failed in its stated goal of reducing drug abuse – but has created a violent, militarized and politically powerful underworld that operates its criminal trade with high levels of impunity. The cost of this war is measured in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions incarcerated, and more than a trillion dollars spent. As violence has surged in Mexico and across the region in recent years, serious discussion of drug policy reform has gained traction in Latin America. The urgent need for a new kind of international drug policy – guided by principals of public health, human rights and harm reduction – is evident.

Newsletter: The Times Are A-Changing

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. Sometimes, when in the midst of transformational change, it is difficult to recognize that it is happening. We are in a transformational moment now. The new political culture that erupted with the occupy movement in 2011, but which has roots going back decades, and its evolution into activism on key fronts of struggle such as wages, racism, trade, militarism, capitalism and other issues, has grown to be so impactful that it is fracturing the two corporate political parties. A lot of change is occurring on many fronts. That should encourage all of us to keep building the movement of movements so we can create the transformation we need.

Harm Reduction Drug Policies Gaining Momentum

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By Sharda Sekaran for Drug Policy Alliance. United States – It’s been a groundbreaking month in the national dialogue about opiate dependency and addiction. From halls of government to family living rooms, the country is positioning for a dramatic shift in attitudes about drug policy that might finally mean an end to the drug war in favor of a public health and human rights approach. In early February, a series of bills were introduced in the Maryland state legislature that would decriminalize small amounts of drugs for personal use, expand access to treatment in emergency rooms and hospitals, and allow for consumption rooms where people would be able to use safely under medical supervision.

Activism Freed One Marijuana Lifer, But Others Still Need Our Help

Juvenile marijuana plants cloned from more mature plants start to grow in the nursery at RiverRock Organic Cannabis in Denver, Co. (Marc Piscotty/The Washington Post)

By Tony Newman for Drug Policy Alliance – More than 1,500 folks from 71 countries met in the DC Metro area last month at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference to come up with an exit strategy from the unwinnable war on drugs. The gathering left people inspired and energized. One of the people who attended the conference was Jeff Mizanskey. Jeff was just released from prison a couple of months ago after serving 22 years behind bars. Jeff was serving a life sentence for marijuana. The draconian sentence was because of Missouri’s three strikes laws.