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America’s long-running and expensive “War on Drugs,” despite claims that it protects citizens from the harms of dangerously addictive drugs, has been most aggressively focused on cannabis (marijuana, hemp; Cannabis sativa). Cannabis is not physically addictive and has been consumed by humans for thousands of years without any documented deaths from its use alone. To even begin to catalog the harms of prohibition itself would take a book and cannot be undertaken seriously until the war is over.
“It’s a race war. Almost entirely, from the first moment, the orders given to the police as to how to deal with drugs were, ‘You don’t go into the suburbs and arrest the white stockbroker sniffing coke in the evening, but you do go into the ghettos, and if a kid has a joint in his pocket, you put him in jail.’ So it starts with police action, not the police themselves, but the orders given to them.”
A crack epidemic was raging in Philadelphia in 1989 when Hallam Hurt, then chair of neonatology at Albert Einstein Medical Center on North Broad Street, began a study to evaluate the effects of in-utero cocaine exposure on babies. In maternity wards in Philadelphia and elsewhere, caregivers were seeing more mothers hooked on cheap, smokable crack cocaine. A 1989 study in Philadelphia found that nearly one in six newborns at city hospitals had mothers who tested positive for cocaine.
US soldiers are operating inside Mexico as part of the drug war and the Mexican government provided critical intelligence to US agents in the now-discredited Fast and Furious gun-running operation. Those are among the claims being made by a Mexican diplomat in email correspondence with a Texas-based private intelligence firm called Stratfor.
A new voice from the past has emerged in the House of Death mass-murder case — in which a US government informant is accused of assisting with up to a dozen murders, the bodies of the victims later found buried, covered in lime, in the backyard of a house in Juarez, Mexico.
Ever since ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running operation was catapulted into the national spotlight in early 2011, the focus has been on the politics influencing the police work and the manipulations behind intelligence operations, with little to no attention paid to the dysfunction of the drug-war bureaucracy.