Category Archives: War On Drugs

Afghanistan: The Making of a Narco State

Matthieu Aikins writes for Rolling Stone:

Poppy‘Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan is named for the wide river that runs through its provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, a low-slung city of shrubby roundabouts and glass-fronted market blocks. When I visited in April, there was an expectant atmosphere, like that of a whaling town waiting for the big ships to come in. In the bazaars, the shops were filled with dry goods, farming machinery and motorcycles. The teahouses, where a man could spend the night on the carpet for the price of his dinner, were packed with migrant laborers, or nishtgar, drawn from across the southern provinces, some coming from as far afield as Iran and Pakistan. The schools were empty; in war-torn districts, police and Taliban alike had put aside their arms. It was harvest time.

Across the province, hundreds of thousands of people were taking part in the largest opium harvest in Afghanistan’s history. With a record 224,000 hectares under cultivation this year, the country produced an estimated 6,400 tons of opium, or around 90 percent of the world’s supply. The drug is entwined with the highest levels of the Afghan government and the economy in a way that makes the cocaine business in Escobar-era Colombia look like a sideshow. The share of cocaine trafficking and production in Colombia’s GDP peaked at six percent in the late 1980s; in Afghanistan today, according to U.N. estimates, the opium industry accounts for 15 percent of the economy, a figure that is set to rise as the West withdraws. “Whatever the term narco state means, if there is a country to which it applies, it is Afghanistan,” says Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies illicit economies in conflict zones. “It is unprecedented in history.”

Even more shocking is the fact that the Afghan narcotics trade has gotten undeniably worse since the U.S.-led invasion: The country produces twice as much opium as it did in 2000. How did all those poppy fields flower under the nose of one of the biggest international military and development missions of our time? The answer lies partly in the deeply cynical bargains struck by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai in his bid to consolidate power, and partly in the way the U.S. military ignored the corruption of its allies in taking on the Taliban. It’s the story of how, in pursuit of the War on Terror, we lost the War on Drugs in Afghanistan by allying with many of the same people who turned the country into the world’s biggest source of heroin.’

READ MORE…

How Every Part of American Life Became a Police Matter

Chase Madar writes for Tom Dispatch:

‘If all you’ve got is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves “solving” social problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generally disastrous results. Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.

By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where “the War on Crime” and “the War on Drugs” are no longer metaphors but bland understatements. There is the proliferation of heavily armed SWAT teams, even in small towns; the use of shock-and-awe tactics to bust small-time bookies; the no-knock raids to recover trace amounts of drugs that often result in the killing of family dogs, if not family members; and in communities where drug treatment programs once were key, the waging of a drug version of counterinsurgency war. (All of this is ably reported on journalist Radley Balko’s blog and in his book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.) But American over-policing involves far more than the widely reported up-armoring of your local precinct. It’s also the way police power has entered the DNA of social policy, turning just about every sphere of American life into a police matter.’

READ MORE…

Are Mexico’s Missing Students the Victims of US-Backed Drug War? Interview with John Gibler and Laura Carlsen

‘Amidst outrage in Mexico over the disappearance of 43 students, we look at the U.S. role in the country’s violence. According to the Center for International Policy, the United States has spent approximately $3 billion to fund the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. Since the war on drugs began under President Felipe Calderón in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. That includes $2.4 billion in taxpayer funds through the Merida Initiative, launched as a three-year aid program for Mexican security forces under the administration of George W. Bush. The Obama administration has extended the Merida Initiative “indefinitely.” We are joined by Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy, and journalist John Gibler.’ (Democracy Now!)

Direct Democracy: U.S. voters decide on legal marijuana, fracking, GMO labeling

Federal Agencies Just Doing Whatever They Want Now

Lucy Steigerwald writes for Antiwar:

‘[…] As great as Edward Snowden’s leaks were for shedding light on the abuses of power within the NSA – and for actually getting them into the damn media for months at a time! – the problem of intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies doing whatever the hell they want dates back to the dawn of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

This week, Techdirt pointed to a shiny new book by Michael Glennon which details the extent to which unelected bureaucrats are more in charge than the officials we elect every four or six years. The book is called National Security and Double Government, which is not an encouraging title at all. Glennon, who has plenty of non-tinfoil-hat-chops, is echoing comments by folks like John Kerry who say some of these spy apparatuses are “on autopilot.” Obama, too, may be purely Captain Renault shocked – shocked! – about the gambling going on, but a more frightening proposition than that is if the NSA really is handling its own accountability without even presidential oversight.’

READ MORE…

White people are more likely to deal drugs, but black people are more likely to get arrested for it

Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post:

30_war_on_drugs_fig‘Here’s a pretty astonishing chart on the skyrocketing number of arrests of black Americans for nonviolent drug crimes. Brookings’ Jonathan Rothwell lays it out:

Arrest data show a striking trend: arrests of blacks have fallen for violent and property crimes, but soared for drug related crimes. As of 2011, drug crimes comprised 14 percent of all arrests and a miscellaneous category that includes “drug paraphernalia” possession comprised an additional 31 percent of all arrests. Just 6 percent and 14 percent of arrests were for violent and property crimes, respectively.

Even more surprising is what gets left out of the chart: Blacks are far more likely to be arrested for selling or possessing drugs than whites, even though whites use drugs at the same rate. And whites are actually morelikely to sell drugs,’

READ MORE…

Surprise: U.S. Drug War In Afghanistan Not Going Well

Ryan Devereaux writes for The Intercept:

‘A new report has found the war on drugs in Afghanistan remains colossally expensive, largely ineffective and likely to get worse. This is particularly true in the case of opium production, says the U.S. Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

In a damning report released Tuesday, the special inspector general, Justin F. Sopko, writes that “despite spending over $7 billion to combat opium poppy cultivation and to develop the Afghan government’s counternarcotics capacity, opium poppy cultivation levels in Afghanistan hit an all-time high in 2013,” hitting 209,000 hectares, surpassing the prior, 2007 peak of 193,000 hectares. Sopko adds that the number should continue to rise thanks to deteriorating security in rural Afghanistan and weak eradication efforts.’

READ MORE…

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Deirdre Fulton reported last month for Common Dreams:

‘In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

“The international drug regime is broken,” reads the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and former high commissioner for human rights at the UN Louise Arbour; and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, as well as the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Portugal.  “[O]verwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies.”

Punitive drug law enforcement has done nothing to decrease global drug use, the Commission says in “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work” (pdf). Instead, such policies have fueled crime, maximized health risks, undermined human rights, and fostered discrimination — all while wasting tens of billions of dollars.’

READ MORE…

Mexico’s Drug War is Killing Children

Laura Carlsen writes for The Guardian:

‘Many countries prohibit deploying their military for domestic law enforcement: it’s a recipe for violent authoritarian abuse.

But the Obama administration’s prohibitionist drug war is funding and encouraging abuse and brutal, corrupt, mass-grave-level murders throughout Mexico and Central America – enough that even drug-war apologists admit that the appalling increase in human-rights abuses are a result of sending the military and police into communities in the name of anti-trafficking.

In just nine years, the drug war waged by the US and Mexico has created a climate of violence that has claimed more than 100,000 lives throughout the country, many young people – including two horrific massacres and a mass disappearance in the last six months connected to law enforcement nominally tasked with battling the spread of drugs.’

READ MORE…

“Kill the Messenger” Resurrects Gary Webb, Journalist Maligned for Exposing CIA Ties to Crack Trade

‘The new Hollywood film “Kill The Messenger” tells the story of Gary Webb, one of the most maligned figures in investigative journalism. Webb’s explosive 1996 investigative series “Dark Alliance” for the San Jose Mercury News revealed ties between the CIA, Nicaraguan contras and the crack cocaine trade ravaging African-American communities. The exposé provoked protests and congressional hearings, as well as a fierce reaction from the media establishment, which went to great lengths to discredit Webb’s reporting. We revisit Webb’s story with an extended clip from the documentary “Shadows of Liberty,” and speak with Robert Parry, a veteran investigative journalist who advised Webb before he published the series.’ (Democracy Now!)

Managing a Nightmare: The CIA Reveals How It Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb

Ryan Devereaux writes for The Intercept:

dark_alliance_540‘Eighteen years after it was published, “Dark Alliance,” the San Jose Mercury News’s bombshell investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua’s Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California, remains one of the most explosive and controversial exposés in American journalism.

The 20,000-word series enraged black communities, prompted Congressional hearings, and became one of the first major national security stories in history to blow up online. It also sparked an aggressive backlash from the nation’s most powerful media outlets, which devoted considerable resources to discredit author Gary Webb’s reporting. Their efforts succeeded, costing Webb his career. On December 10, 2004, the journalist was found dead in his apartment, having ended his eight-year downfall with two .38-caliber bullets to the head.

These days, Webb is being cast in a more sympathetic light. He’s portrayed heroically in a major motion picture set to premiere nationwide next month. And documents newly released by the CIA provide fresh context to the “Dark Alliance” saga — information that paints an ugly portrait of the mainstream media at the time.

On September 18, the agency released a trove of documents spanning three decades of secret government operations. Culled from the agency’s in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, the materials include a previously unreleased six-page article titled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story.” Looking back on the weeks immediately following the publication of “Dark Alliance,” the document offers a unique window into the CIA’s internal reaction to what it called “a genuine public relations crisis” while revealing just how little the agency ultimately had to do to swiftly extinguish the public outcry. Thanks in part to what author Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer at the time of publication, describes as “a ground base of already productive relations with journalists,” the CIA’s Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.’

READ MORE…

New BBC chief sued over claims HSBC laundered terrorists and drug cartels’ money

Alasdair Glennie reports for The Daily Mail:

‘The BBC’s chairman-elect is being sued over her involvement in the HSBC money-laundering scandal, it was revealed yesterday. Rona Fairhead, who is set to become the first woman to lead the corporation, had her appointment approved by MPs yesterday.

But hours after the Commons hearing it emerged the 53-year-old is facing a class action lawsuit by HSBC shareholders over allegations the bank allowed terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to launder money.

Mrs Fairhead chaired the bank’s ‘risk committee’ in 2012, when it was fined £1.2billion by US authorities to settle allegations that it allowed drug traffickers to launder millions of pounds. The bank was also accused of breaching sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Burma and Zimbabwe.’

READ MORE…

Immigrant America: Murder and Migration in Honduras

‘Last summer, Americans were stunned by images of children and families from Central America turning themselves in at the US-Mexico border. More migrants are now coming from the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula and surrounding areas than anywhere else in Central America. The society there has yet to recover from a 2009 coup that crippled the economy and unleashed extreme levels of violence and inequality… VICE News traveled to San Pedro Sula — the most violent and second largest city in Honduras — to find out why so many families and young people are risking it all to migrate illegally to the US.’ (VICE News)

Report: Torture in Mexico rose 600 percent during past decade

Kate Kilpatrick reports for Al Jazeera:

‘According to the report, use of torture by Mexican police and military is widespread, with a 600 percent rise in the number of reported cases over the past decade. Yet despite the huge increase in incidents, there is little being done to combat it or, in fact, discourage it.

“Torture is so widespread in Mexico and sort of expected as an investigative technique,” said Maureen Meyer, the Washington Office of Latin America associate for Mexico and Central America.

Meyer authored a 2010 report on human rights violations committed by the military in Mexico, with a focus on Ciudad Juárez, where cartel violence combined with federal militarization made it the deadliest city in the world from 2008 to 2010. “It’s not sanctioned. It’s not necessarily a state policy to torture but in fact it’s very much permissive and the torturers are never investigated,” she said.’

READ MORE…

Mexico Turns to Army, Drones for Security

From The Associated Press:

‘The Mexican government say it is increasingly using the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of Marine forces. In an annual report on the state of the nation submitted to Congress Monday, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration said army patrols had increased 52.2 percent in the nine months ending in July compared with the same period the year before.

The number of marine patrols decreased 28.3 percent in the same period. The marines have made some of the biggest arrests of major drug lords. The government also gave a detailed accounting of its use of drones, saying it had flown 149 drone missions with over 581 hours of flying time. The report said homicides, especially those relating to organized crime, had dropped over the last year.’

SOURCE

How companies are profiting from police crackdowns

Alex Kane writes for AlterNet:

Ferguson is big business: How companies are profiting from police crackdowns‘The tear-gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs fired in Ferguson, Missouri have fed outrage over police militarization in the U.S. In response to the shocking images, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said, “We need to de-militarize this situation.” Journalists reporting live on the demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown expressed befuddlement as to why the police needed high-caliber weapons better suited for war zones than protests in an American city.

But one group of people is decidedly happy about the militarized response in Ferguson: those who work in the weapons industry. The array of police forces–the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis county and city police and local Ferguson officers–that descended on the largely black Missouri city have used the products these corporations are selling in abundance. Tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, stun grenades, armored personnel carriers, sound cannons and high-caliber rifles have all been deployed to quell the unrest, though they have contributed to anger over police tactics.

The police response is the perfect showcase for the companies that manufacture military equipment for law enforcement use. They can point to the police tactics to sell their products to other law enforcement agencies preparing for demonstrations. And in Missouri, the police’s massive use of armaments like tear gas mean that their stock is becoming depleted and they will need to re-up their purchases. These companies will profit from the tension in Ferguson, and could fuel even greater militarization of the police, a trend that began with the war on drugs and has accelerated in recent years with the advent of the war on terror.’

READ MORE…

Congress Members Who Approve Militarization of U.S. Police Receive 73% More Money from Defense Industry

From Washington’s Blog:

‘Americans of all stripes oppose the militarization of U.S. police forces.

For example:

  • A new Pew research poll shows that a plurality of people think that the police have gone too far in Ferguson, Missouri

So why does Congress continue to approve militarization? For the same reason that Congress members vote for NSA spying on Americans and go easy on Wall Street criminals: money.’

READ MORE…

Is Police Militarization A Distraction From Understanding Ferguson?

Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster

Heather Parton writes for Salon:

Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster‘Sometime after 9/11 strange stories began to emerge about small town police agencies all over the nation receiving grants from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security to buy all kinds of high-tech equipment to fight “terrorism.”

…As Radley Balko thoroughly documented in his book “Warrior Cop” the military industrial complex has created a new industry: the police industrial complex. And it’s been quietly militarizing our police agencies for quite a long time. Indeed, he traces this trend back to the early 1980s under the freedom- and liberty-loving Ronald Reagan. The Gipper deemed the drug war to be a real war and easily passed the Military Cooperation With Civilian Law Enforcement Act, “which allowed and encouraged the military to give local, state, and federal police access to military bases, research, and equipment.” The police got training from the armed forces to use their new war-making equipment and the military became involved with intelligence and operations in the drug war. Every president since then, including the current one, has reauthorized the program, putting more and more money on the table. Balko wrote, “Then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney declared in 1989, ‘The detection and countering of the production, trafficking and use of illegal drugs is a high priority national security mission of the Department of Defense.’”

So this really isn’t a new thing. But it’s been on steroids since 9/11 with the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security. Needless to say, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Since 9/11 the United States has been spending vast sums of money through DHS to outfit the state and local authorities with surveillance and military gear ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat at home.’

READ MORE…

Keeping count of Mexico’s missing

Emily Pickrell reports for The Christian Science Monitor:

‘One of the startling unknowns in the story of Mexico’s recent wave of violence is just how many people can be counted among its disappeared.

An estimated 14,000 to 45,000 people disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012. That’s a big discrepancy, and depends on whether you’re looking at recently revised government statistics or numbers compiled by human rights groups.

But Mexico’s disappearances – a country that isn’t officially at war or suffering a dictatorship – rival the numbers of missing from notable conflicts around the region. Roughly 30,000 people disappeared under Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and ’80s, and the more recent estimates of 30,000 disappeared in Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict.’

READ MORE…

It’s Not About Fighting Terror, It’s About Having Power

Lucy Steigerwald writes for Antiwar:

‘As we’ve been told since 9/11, the government needs certain special powers in order to keep us safe from terrorism. The PATRIOT Act, FISA Courts, telecom immunity, the NSA looking at your naked pictures – all of this is made or enhanced in the name of fighting the type of monsters who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. Certainly the Fourth Amendment can be weakened in the name of that most noble of goals.

And man, has it! But as I have previously mentioned in this space, the convenient thing for the security state fanatics is that so much of the anti-terrorism work has been done for them already in the name of another cause all together. Frequently, that would be the war on drugs.’

READ MORE…

Latin America’s military is making a comeback

Simeon Tegel reports for The Global Post:

‘It was a momentous day for Latin America: On March 11, 1990, Augusto Pinochet, the region’s last military dictator, finally handed power to an elected civilian president. Since then, democracy has put down roots in the Americas to such an extent that few expect a repeat of the bloody coups that frequently punctuated the region’s history.

But now, across Latin America, the military is flexing its muscles once again and taking on more central roles in society, including in ways that experts warn are posing subtler risks to constitutional rule.

The most obvious way is the armed forces’ increasingly upfront participation in crime fighting, with the public, media and politicians demanding a “mano dura,” or firm hand, against rampant street violence and ruthless drug cartels.’

READ MORE…

Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega sues Activision over ‘Call of Duty’ game

Paresh Dave reports for the L.A. Times:

Manuel Antonio Noriega‘Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega is suing the Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. for depicting him and using his name without his permission in one of the fastest-selling video games.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Noriega alleges that “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” portrays him as “a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state.” This was done “to heighten realism in its game,” which “translates directly into heightened sales” for Activision, the lawsuit states. Noriega, 80, is seeking lost profits as well as damages. His attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

A U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989 ended Noriega’s military dictatorship and landed him in U.S. prison for about two decades on drug-trafficking charges. For a time, he had been a close ally of the U.S. government. He has lived in Panama since 2011.’

READ MORE…

How the War on Drugs and the War on Terror Merged Into One Disastrous War on All Americans

Alex Kane writes for Alternet:

‘It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one in the United States.” With those words, Nixon ushered in the “war on drugs,” the attempt to use law enforcement to jail drug users and halt the flow of illegal substances like marijuana and cocaine.

Thirty years later, another president, George W. Bush, declared war on another word: terrorism. But the war on drugs hadn’t ended yet.  Instead of one failed war replacing another soon-to-be-failed war, both drugs and terrorism remain targets for law enforcement and military action that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and have cost billions of dollars.

In fact, the war on terror and the war on drugs have merged to form a hydra-headed monster that rapaciously targets Americans, particularly communities of color. Tactics and legislation used to fight terrorism in the U.S. have been turned on drug users, with disastrous consequences measured in lives, limbs and cash. And money initially used to combat drugs has been spent on the war on terror. From the Patriot Act to the use of informants to surveillance, the wars on drugs and terror have melted into one another.’

READ MORE…

Border Children: The Obama-Backed Coup that the Media Doesn’t Talk About

Ted Rall writes for Common Dreams:

‘If you’re reading this, you probably follow the news. So you’ve probably heard of the latest iteration of the “crisis at the border”: tens of thousands of children, many of them unaccompanied by an adult, crossing the desert from Mexico into the United States, where they surrender to the Border Patrol in hope of being allowed to remain here permanently. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention and hearing system has been overwhelmed by the surge of children and, in some cases, their parents. The Obama Administration has asked Congress to approve new funding to speed up processing and deportations of these illegal immigrants.

Even if you’ve followed this story closely, you probably haven’t heard the depressing backstory — the reason so many Central Americans are sending their children on a dangerous thousand-mile journey up the spine of Mexico, where they ride atop freight trains, endure shakedowns by corrupt police and face rapists, bandits and other predators. (For a sense of what it’s like, check out the excellent 2004 film “Maria Full of Grace.”)

NPR and other mainstream news outlets are parroting the White House, which blames unscrupulous “coyotes” (human smugglers) for “lying to parents, telling them that if they put their kids in the hands of traffickers and get to the United States that they will be able to stay.” True: the coyotes are saying that in order to gin up business. Also true: U.S. law has changed, and many of these kids have a strong legal case for asylum. Unfortunately, U.S. officials are ignoring the law.

The sad truth is that this “crisis at the border” is yet another example of “blowback.”‘

READ MORE…

Honduras president blames U.S. drug policy for migrant surge

From Reuters:

‘Honduran President Juan Hernandez blamed U.S. drug policy for sparking violence in Central American countries and driving a surge of migration to the United States, according to an interview published on Monday.

Hernandez, who took office in January after winning on a pledge to be tough on crime, said only a drop in violence would curb the wave of families and unaccompanied minors fleeing Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras who have overwhelmed temporary detention facilities on the U.S. border.

“Honduras has been living in an emergency for a decade,” Hernandez told Mexican daily newspaper Excelsior. “The root cause is that the United States and Colombia carried out big operations in the fight against drugs. Then Mexico did it.”

Those operations pushed drug traffickers into Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, he suggested, adding: “This is creating a serious problem for us that sparked this migration.”‘

READ MORE…

Security, Refugees, and Profit at the U.S. Border: Interview with Todd Miller

Todd Miller: As record numbers of child migrants from Central America arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, the crisis should be a treated as a refugee issue, not a security issue (The Real News)

66% of Americans Now Live in a Constitution-Free Zone

Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation reports for TomDispatch:

‘[…] Imagine the once thin borderline of the American past as an ever-thickening band, now extending 100 miles inland around the United States—along the 2,000-mile southern border, the 4,000-mile northern border and both coasts—and you will be able to visualize how vast the CBP’s jurisdiction has become. This “border” region now covers places where two-thirds of the US population (197.4 million people) live. The ACLU has come to call it a “constitution-free zone.” The “border” has by now devoured the full states of Maine and Florida and much of Michigan.

In these vast domains, Homeland Security authorities can institute roving patrols with broad, extra-constitutional powers backed by national security, immigration enforcement and drug interdiction mandates. There, the Border Patrol can set up traffic checkpoints and fly surveillance drones overhead with high-powered cameras and radar that can track your movements. Within twenty-five miles of the international boundary, CBP agents can enter a person’s private property without a warrant. In these areas, the Homeland Security state is anything but abstract. On any given day, it can stand between you and the grocery store.’

READ MORE…

Tennessee Arrests Its First Woman Under its New Pregnancy Criminalization Law

April M. Short reports for Alternet:

‘Two days after she gave birth to a healthy baby, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola of Tennessee was arrested. She was the first person to be charged under a law that went into place last week, which criminalizes women for narcotic drug use while pregnant. Tennesse’s is the first U.S. law to directly criminalize pregnant women for their actions while pregnant, and has been widely criticized. The frightening implication of the law for women is that once one of your eggs is fertilized—accidentally or not, and whether you’re aware you’re pregnant or not—there goes your right to medical privacy.

“Our state chooses to waste tax dollars locking up women instead of getting them the health care they need,” Rebecca Terrell, chair of Healthy and Free Tennessee, told ThinkProgress via email according to a recent article. “We are already receiving reports of women seeking out non-licensed health providers to avoid having a medical record and risking arrest. This is extremely dangerous.” Healthy and Free Tennessee is a vocal opponent of the law, which states that  “a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.”’

READ MORE…

Graham Hancock on TED Censorship, Lost Civilizations & the War on Consciousness

Abby Martin interviews author and philosopher, Graham Hancock, about the mysteries of ancient civilization, hidden societies from the past, censorship by TED Talks and the difficulty in getting these ideas accepted by mainstream archaeologists and historians.’ (Breaking the Set)