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Are you scared yet?

 
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Ferre
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2003 10:47 pm    Post subject: Are you scared yet? Reply with quote

The Institutionalization of "Nacro-terror"

By Stephen Young

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft wants you to stop worrying about your privacy and civil liberties. Since fear of terrorism doesn't seem to be a strong enough incentive, he may be ready to play the drug card.

Ashcroft is touring the country giving presentations to private groups, including some law enforcement groups. The public is not welcome. Many news reports suggest that Ashcroft is simply interested in mustering support for the controversial PATRIOT Act, which several local governments have officially criticized. Some other reports indicate he's pushing new legislation that surpasses the PATRIOT Act - the VICTORY Act.
An apparent draft of the VICTORY Act - http://www.libertythink.com/VICTORYAct.pdf - starts off this way:

"A Bill to combat narco-terrorism, to dismantle narco-terrorist criminal enterprises, to disrupt narco-terrorist financing and money laundering schemes, to enact national drug sentencing reform, to prevent drug trafficking to children to deter drug-related violence, to provide law enforcement with the tools needed to win the war against narco-terrorists and major drug traffickers, and for other purposes."

The rest of bill is just as troubling. As presented, the bill drags the Office of Homeland Security into the drug war, giving it the power to seize assets of narco-terrorists.

According to the draft, accused narco-terrorists don't have to know that any of their work was related to terror in order to be prosecuted under the act.

The language in the draft goes way beyond drugs, alarming civil libertarians - see http://www.talkleft.com/archives/003998.html - and privacy advocates - see http://nccprivacy.org/handv/030815villain.htm

And everyone should be scared, according to an ACLU lawyer quoted in an ABC News report on the VICTORY Act: "Absolutely nothing would
prevent the attorney general from using these subpoenas to obtain the records of people who have no connection to terrorism, drug trafficking or crime of any sort."

The idea of narco-terror has been widely publicized through a series of propaganda ads, which, mercifully, have ceased to run. Those ads were allegedly meant to help drug users to confront the ugly realities of their habits. I doubt the ads worked at all on that level, but I think they were actually geared to provoke fresh disgust for drugs and drug users.

We must ask the real reason for the VICTORY Act. Surely current federal drug laws aren't so weak that they don't apply equally well to drug kingpins who have a connection with terror. Naturally, when this bill is officially introduced, supporters will pledge not to abuse it.

I hope, however, the feds show more restraint than prosecutors in North Carolina, which has its own state terror laws. Common meth cooks without broader connections are being indicted as terrorists - - http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n1070/a03.html

The drug war itself causes terror - look at the violence associated with prohibited drugs in any major city, or even in more rural places, like Kanawha County, W. Virginia, where a series of sniper killings has been linked to the illegal drug trade - http://www.herald-dispatch.com/2003/August/21/LNspot.htm

It's not about the drugs - are any snipers settling scores in the alcohol or tobacco trade? It's about economics.

Formalizing the link between illegal drugs and terror protects us from neither.

Stephen Young is an editor with DrugSense Weekly and author of Maximizing Harm - www.maximizingharm.com

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