The following is the April 15th issue of IAL-Fax, the monthly journal of the International Anti-Prohibition League. DRCNet will not be distributing this document on a monthly basis, because of its length, out of consideration to those subscribers who pay by the byte. Those of you who wish to receive IAL-Fax on a regular basis, send email to "[email protected]" to request a free electronic subscription.
The so-called new world order has created very favourable conditions for international drug traffickers, the head of U.S. drug policy said Monday. Lee Brown, director of the National Office of Drug Control Policy, explained that "a drug trafficker can (now) launder profits in Poland, as easily as in Panama." Brown spoke at the opening of a four-day conference of Latin American experts on the worldwide effects of drug trafficking and consumption, taking place in the Venezuelan capital. Offering another example, Brown said that "Nigerian drug mafias act as world messengers and intermediaries for heroin, cocaine and other drugs." More than 100 regional experts are participating in the U.S.-sponsored conference. Maria Cristina Requiz, president of the local Jose Felix Ribas Foundation, told IPS that the primary goal of this first Conference of Latin American Drug Experts is to establish a connection between all those who fight drug use in the region. The conference will allow experts to evaluate risk factors in drug consumption, global drug legislation proposals, and the usefulness of the media and educational programs in schools. At the first session of the conference, Venezuela's Minister of Interior Relations, Ramon Escovar, said that the principal risk factor in Latin America is poverty. Escovar said the problems of drug consumption and trafficking have grown as fast as the quality of life has declined. Brown urged governments and civil organisations of the region not to interpret internationl efforts against drug trafficking as a threat to national sovereignty. "Drug traffickers understand very well the power of the concept of sovereignty as a political force in Latin America," he said. In terms of arguments for the legalisation of drug use, Brown was adamantly opposed. "The Swiss experiment with a more permissive drug policy has had disastrous effects on the increase in addiction and loss of life," Brown said.
GOVERNMENT OF VENEZUELA OPPOSED TO LEGALIZATION
The Venezuelan Minister of Justice, Ruben Creixems, stated today that "the legalization of drugs is not planned in the country", but assured that he respects the position of other countries with different positions. "The legalization of the use of drugs involves very delicate legal questions, and for this reason we must respect the decision of each nation in order to prevent the issue from disturbing the fight against drugs," said the minister. Creixems took part on Monday in the opening day of the First Latin American Conference of Drug Experts, held in Caracas under the patronage of the United States. Creixems, an academic and the youngest member of Rafael Caldera's cabinet, thus joined the debate which has been in progress since the beginning of the year on the advantages and disadvantages of partial legalization of the use of drugs. Although opposed to legalization, Creixems does not support the hardline position of the United States, which is against any form of depenalization of drug use in the countries of Latin America. In Venezuela, according to the statistics available, the use of drugs has not reached alarming levels, but the country is increasingly a bridge and a centre of drug-trafficking operations, as well as a centre of money laundering.
COURT WARNS THAT DRUGS MONEY IS CORRUPTING POLITICS
El Pais, 22.3.94.
Javier Zaragoza, second-in-command in the anti-drugs force, yesterday told the court during the Operation Mago trial that the infiltration of the institutions and political corruption through drugs money is "just around the corner". According to Zaragoza, "the incalculable profits of the drug traffickers, channelled into legal activities through money laundering, aim to influence political affairs." The trial of the Galician cocaine and hashish bosses began six months ago and has involved 450 witnesses. I n his concluding report, Zaragoza warned that the aim of the drugs networks is to gain power through threats, coertion, corruption and "if necessary, assassination". Zaragoza, who asked for a total of about 700 years imprisonment for the 45 defendants, underlined the need to collaborate with reformed traffickers in order to fight what he calls the main problem of society. The public prosecutor warned of the incipient "mafia organizations", which aggravates the situation in Galicia, a region that "has very chance of becoming a little Sicily".
CRACK ABUSE SPEADING IN PARIS
Fran ois Devinat
For a long time, the police and drug addiction experts hesitated to announce the arrival of crack in France, fearing that such publicity would have devastating effects. They claimed that there was no evidence that crack, the "cocaine of the homeless" whic h has spread like wildfire in America since 1986, had reached Europe. Now, however, a French study, the first of its type on the subject, sounds the alarm by concluding that "cocaine in the form of crack is now a major feature of the drugs scene". In France, crack began to be mentioned by the police in 1989. At that time people spoke of "caillou" or "Antillean crack", not produced from "paste" (a cocaine base containing a number of chemical additives) but from purified products, less harmful, in th eory, than American crack. In June 1993, the Paris Police Chief Philippe Massoni admitted that "it's true, crack can be found in the capital. Don't ask me to tell you where, I don't want to worsen the phenomenon" (interview with France Soir). Dr Ingold, in charge of the study carried out by the Institute for Research into the Epidemology of Drug Dependence, while pointing to the risk of a spread to the large cities in the provinces, concluded with a pessimistic observation: "It is much too lat e for a so-called "information campaign". Users will have to learn for themselves that crack is an infinitiely more destructive drug than heroin and other products."
CHRONICLE OF A LOST WAR
Le Monde Diplomatique, April 94. Christian de Brie
The war on drugs has been lost. This is admitted, in France and elsewhere, by police officers, judges, and doctors. A thirty-year war conducted by an international prohibitionist coalition, led by the United States, is drawing to a close. The general publ ic are still not ready to accept this defeat, no more than the political leaders are prepared to draw the consequences. And yet, in the face of such a great disaster, reversals are already taking place and new strategies are being developed, while measure s are being taken to try to limit the damage. Begun during the sixties and seventies, the war on drugs, that is the policy of prohibiting the production, trade and use of drugs classed as illegal, has been backed by a powerful and growing arsenal of repre ssive measures. In order to ensure the application of international conventions, regional agreements and many restrictive national laws, often a threat to individual liberties, have created a vast network of bureaucratic bod! ies at all levels. The police, armies, customs, the legal system, penitential, fiscal and financial administrations, medical teams and health services, and committees and commissions for research and co-ordination have perfected and diversified their act ivities and expanded their staffs and budgets. Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of agents take part in the fight and hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year. All this in a climate of all-out war, with repeated episodes of increasin g violence, with the media keeping the general public permanently on guard against the "enemies" - from the warlords in the Golden Triangle to the Chinese triads in Hong Kong, from the French Connection chemists to the Arab and Pakistani BCCI bankers, fro m General Noriega to Pablo Escobar, from the gunmen of Bogota to the gangs of Los Angeles. The results of the war are incontestable: during the same period, the traffic and use of illegal drugs continued to increase. In the first place the cultivation zones, the production centres and the transit routes of the principal drugs (cannabis, heroin and cocaine), previously restricted to specific areas, began to spread and now cover almost the entire planet. In fact opium production and the traffic of morphine and heroin have expanded from the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent to Central Asia a nd China, Eastern Europe and Russia, and even Africa.
US REPORT ON DRUG TRAFFIC PUBLISHED
La Repubblica, 6.4.94. Arturo Zampiglione
The emergence of Nigeria as a world "paradise" for drug trafficking. The challenge to cocaine from heroin in the United States. The global role assumed by the Russian mafia in the exportation of opium produced in Afghanistan and many countries of the form er Soviet Union.The boom in the cultivation of coca in Bolivia and its decline in Peru. These are some of the new developments in the international drugs trade contained in the Department of State report published on Monday in the US capital. Since 1986, by order of Congress, the US government has published an annual analysis of the war on drugs in the different areas of the world: the main aim is to identify the countries which are not collaborating with international efforts, so that they can subsequent ly be excluded from US financial support. In truth, the strategy has so far not had the desired results because the countries identified were those with which the US had already reduced relations to a bare minimum. This year the list includes four countries: Myanmar (Burma), Iran, Syria, and Nige ria. Whilst the first three had already been included in the past, Nigeria appears on the blacklist for the first time. Robert Gelbard, Under-Secretary for the international anti-drugs campaign, explained that "Nigeria has become a major centre for drug t rafficking."
EUROPEAN ANTI-DRUGS OPERATION
Le Soir, 28.3.94.
On Friday evening Belgian, Dutch and French police launched a large-scale operation against drugs tourists who come to the Netherlands from Belgium and France. The police operation, divided into two parts, was organized in Belgium by the Police Central Re search Bureau and the chief magistrate. The first part, aimed at the drugs-runners, involved the Belgian police alone. The second part, directed against the "drugs tourists", consisted in simultaneous controls carried out along the main road and rail rout es from the Netherlands.
Founded in Rome (Italy) the International Antiprohibitionist League (IAL) started its activities in 1992 after a federative agreement with the Transnational Radical Party.
The IAL is an association of scientists, drug experts, journalists, politicians from all over the world whose aim is to work for the reform of prohibitionist laws on drugs.
As a multicultuiral and independent association, the IAL encourage studies and research projects on the consequences of prohibition and proposes alternative at both political and social levels.
The IAL activities include:
- organization and distribution of information between members of scientific community and media, through bulletins, press releases, printed reports as well as the sponsorship of conferences, seminars, debates;
- organization of initiatives to inform international parties and public administrations, with special concern for members of National parliaments;
- support for the creation of local associations with the same goals.
Among its activities, the IAL sponsored a conference on the damage of prohibitionism in Bruxelles, worked in close contact with the Italian anti-prohibitionist movement, and helped the organization of similar associations in Spain, Portugal, France.
Mostly focused on International information-exchange, the IAL has regular contatcs with associations like the European Cities on Drug Policy (ECDP) and the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF).
Recently, the IAL released a report "For a Revision of the United Nations Conventions on Drugs," distributing it among members of the European Parliament and other National Parliaments.
The most immediate goal of the IAL is the organization of an International Conference on the alternatives to drug prohibition to be held under the approval of the United Nations in 1995.
Financially supported by its members and private contributions, the IAL has three different levels for its annual membership - ranging from US $ 50 to $ 300. Reporting events and news on drug policy from all around the world, the IAL biweekly newsletter - IALFax - is currently distributed to more than 300 journalists in Europe and its electronic version is freely available upon request.
For further information and for subscription to IALFax, email:
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