Obama's War on Weed: DEA threatens Doctors and Patients and Pharmacist and..

By Christopher R Rice Underground Newz

During his time on the campaign trail and shortly after taking office, President Obama and other high-level members of his administration repeatedly stated that they would not go after marijuana operations in states that had legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. The reasons behind the government’s about-face largely remain unclear.

Obama broke his relative silence on the issue in an interview with Rolling Stone. “What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” the president said. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana.”

Obama launches an aggressive crackdown on medical marijuana in California

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag has been seeking information about every dispensary currently open in San Francisco. The city has lost nearly half of its pot shops. Two dispensaries known for their close-knit communities of patients, The Vapor Room and HopeNet, shut down.

Department of Justice officials announced that they would be going after cannabis operations throughout the state, hundreds of dispensaries from San Diego to Yuba County have been forced to shut down.

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Sacramento U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said the votes in Washington and Colorado won’t have any immediate impact on federal enforcement efforts in California.

California passed America’s first medical marijuana initiative in 1996. Yet, the state lags in regulation of medical cannabis.

It’s an indiscriminate attack. They aren't going after dispensaries that are breaking state law; they’re investigating all of them. They’ve been pretty effective at intimidating the entire medical marijuana community. Much more so than Bush was during his time in office.

U.S. Tells Agents to Cover Up Use of Wiretap Program.”
By John Shiffman

The unit of the DEA that distributes secret intelligence to agents is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. The unit was first created two decades ago, but it’s coming under increased scrutiny following the recent revelations about the NSA maintaining a database of all phone calls made in the United States. One former federal judge, Nancy Gertner, said the DEA program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the NSA has been collecting domestic phone records. She said, quote, “It is one thing to create special rules for national security. Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

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DEA threatens Doctors with loss of Livelyhood if they prescribe Marijuana By Kay Lazar and Shelley Murphy      

US Drug Enforcement Administration investigators have visited the homes and offices of Massachusetts physicians involved with medical marijuana dispensaries and delivered an ultimatum: sever all ties to marijuana companies, or relinquish federal licenses to prescribe certain medications, according to several physicians and their attorneys.

The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug.

The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies, where some held prominent positions.

The Globe identified at least three doctors contacted by DEA investigators, although there may be more.

“Here are your options,” Dr. Samuel Mazza said he was told by Gregory Kelly, a DEA investigator from the agency’s New England Division office. “You either give up your [DEA] license or give up your position on the board . . . or you challenge it in court.”

Related article: Drug Test the President...

Mazza, chief executive of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers, which won preliminary state approval to open a dispensary in Holyoke, said the DEA investigator’s visit came shortly after state regulators announced the first 20 applicants approved for provisional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Mazza said he returned from vacation in February to find a DEA business card on the door to his home and several messages on his answering machine urging him to contact the agency immediately.


The quiet DEA crackdown comes even as the US House of Representatives approved a measure that would restrict the DEA from raiding medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal. Senate action is pending.

Tensions between federal and state officials have flared as 22 states, including Massachusetts, have legalized medical marijuana, many since 2010.

A spokesman for the DEA in Boston on Wednesday referred calls to agency headquarters in Washington.

A DEA spokeswoman in Washington declined to answer questions Thursday about the doctors’ assertions that they are being asked to choose between their drug prescribing licenses and their ties to dispensaries. The spokeswoman would not say whether the action in Massachusetts is part of a national policy or limited to the state.

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Physicians, dentists, and other health care providers who prescribe or administer narcotics and other controlled substances are required to register with the DEA, which tracks use of the drugs and strips federal licenses of those who fraudulently prescribe the medications.

At least two physicians resigned their medical officer positions with planned medical marijuana dispensaries in the past two weeks after visits from the DEA, including Dr. Carl Fulwiler.


“DEA agents can be quite direct when they want to make an impression on you,” the doctor said.

“My terrified secretary asked what to do with them, and I said I’d see them in five minutes after I finished what I was engaged in,” the physician said.

State regulators say they are now conducting extensive background checks of dispensary applicants, and Romano said those checks may be prolonged now that some dispensary companies will be searching for new medical officers to fill positions vacated by physicians who recently resigned.

The DEA investigators were “quite congenial” but adamant, according to Mazza, that he couldn’t keep his DEA license to prescribe controlled substances if he maintained his position at the dispensary.

Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers: The DEA’s War on Prescription Painkillers By Ronald T. Libby
The medical field of treating chronic pain is still in its infancy. It was only in the late 1980s that leading physicians trained in treating the chronic pain of terminally ill cancer patients began to recommend that the “opioid therapy”(treatment involving narcotics related to opium) used on their patients also be used for patients suffering from non terminal conditions. The new therapies proved successful, and prescription pain medications saw a huge leap in sales throughout the 1990s. But opioid therapy has always been controversial. The habit-forming nature of some prescription pain medications made many physicians, medical boards, and law enforcement officials wary of their use in treating acute pain in non terminal patients. Consequently, many physicians and pain specialists have shied away from opioid treatment, causing millions of Americans to suffer from chronic pain even as therapies were available to treat it.

The problem was exacerbated when the media began reporting that the popular narcotic pain medication OxyContin was finding its way to the black market for illicit drugs, resulting in an outbreak of related crime, overdoses, and deaths. Though many of those reports proved to be exaggerated or unfounded, critics in Congress and the Department of Justice scolded the U.S.Drug Enforcement Administration for the alleged pervasiveness of OxyContin abuse.

The DEA responded with an aggressive plan to eradicate the illegal use or “diversion” of OxyContin. The plan uses familiar law enforcement methods from the War on Drugs, such as aggressive undercover investigation, asset forfeiture, and informers. The DEA’s painkiller campaign has cast a chill over the doctor-patient candor necessary for successful treatment. It has resulted in the pursuit and prosecution of well-meaning doctors. It has also scared many doctors out of pain management altogether, and likely persuaded others not to enter it, thus worsening the already widespread problem of underrated untreated chronic pain.

DEA driving OxyContin users to heroin

The result of the War on Drugs in the 1980s and 1990s was to fill one-quarter of America’s prison cells with drug offenders. The availability of street drugs remained unchanged, and the price of heroin and cocaine dropped by more than half. Drug dealers also began to sell purer versions of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Recently, the DEA has shifted its focus to physicians who prescribe opioids such as OxyContin, some of which is undoubtedly diverted or abused, although sensation-seeking journalists fueled the perceptions of a “crisis.” The shift prompted a letter from the attorneys general of 30 states, who complained that patients were not getting needed pain relief because doctors were afraid to prescribe. “If enough doctors are jailed or scared into not writing prescriptions, it’s conceivable that this drug war could have more impact than the ones against heroin and cocaine—doctors, after all, are harder to replace than crack dealers,” writes John Tierney. “But even if there’s less OxyContin on the street, is that worth the suffering of patients who can’t get the prescriptions they need?” And what has been the impact on drug abuse? A field survey on drug use in Cincinnati by the White House drug-policy agency found that “because diverted OxyContin is more expensive and difficult to purchase, users have switched to heroin” (John Tierney, “Handcuffs and Stethoscopes,” NY Times 7/23/05).

Almost overnight The Oxycontin and Fentanyl was turned into useless plastic and millions of scripts across the country were shut down with the exception of those few in truly chronic pain.

Simultaneously and amazingly as if by magic, that very day every city in America suddenly had a fresh two ton supply of high quality vary affordable heroin. In fact the prices have never been lower and the quality never higher.

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Living with Pain: The DEA’s War on Pain Patients Reaches California
By Mark Maginn

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has expanded the war on pain patients from the shores of Florida to the shores of California — with a tsunami of confusion, pain and the inevitable deaths from their repressive policies.

Recently, the New York Times published an article on the DEA’s efforts to reduce the supply of opioid analgesics by bringing pressure on large pharmaceutical distributors. The agency, using heavy-handed tactics, is also targeting pharmacies they deem to have sold more analgesics than the DEA feels is appropriate.

The focus of the Times article was Mike Pavlovich, an award-winning pharmacist and owner of the Westcliff Pharmacy in Newport Beach, California. It was only after Pavlovich did not receive his usual shipment of opioid medicines from his distributor that he discovered the distinctive footprint of the DEA.

After making several inquiries, Pavlovich learned that the DEA had accused Cardinal Health, his distributor, of supplying too many opioids to Florida pharmacies and not having adequate controls to detect diversion. After being heavily fined, Cardinal Health started checking the records of its pharmacy customers in other parts of the country. The number of prescriptions Pavlovich was filling for opioids and other controlled substances was too high for their comfort level.

There’s a good reason for all those prescriptions. Pavlovich is a trusted pharmacist who works with doctors who specialize in treating patients who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain. He was the only pharmacist on the U.S. Olympic Committee’s medical  team to travel to China for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He’s also a mentor and has tried to educate others on the safe filling of opioid prescriptions.

Pavlovich says he has never been cited by the State Board of Pharmacy or the DEA for any transgressions. He was not running a west coast version of an east coast pill mill.

Pavlovich fears for patients who rely on opioids for pain control. Because of the reduced supply of  opioids he’s been unable to fill prescriptions for many of his customers. He has to turn away two or three of them daily.

“DEA’s recent policy enforcement has made it virtually impossible for a pharmacy that serves patients with chronic pain as their primary niche to meet the needs of its patients,” says Pavlovich.

As I’ve written in previous columns, this repression of a powerless class of citizens can and will have deadly effects on people with chronic pain.

Pavlovich points to the rising use of heroin and other street drugs. It is no wonder to him and to others that this is the direct result of restricting lawful opioid analgesics for legitimate pain patients.

We will witness a rise in overdoses and deaths. And it is likely that there will also be a spike in suicides among desperate pain patients unable to find relief from scalding torture.

The DEA is using a meat cleaver when a scalpel would do. To simply cut off pharmacies without first determining the nature of the customers being served suggests something more sinister.

DEA official blames pharmacists, doctors for pain-med denials

Following the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s recent crackdown on unscrupulous doctors and questionable pharmacy practices, many patients have complained of increasing difficulty filling legitimate opioid prescriptions.

But a DEA spokesman said the agency is not trying to limit access to opioid painkillers. And if legitimate pain medication prescriptions are not being written or filled, it’s the fault of doctors and pharmacists, not the government.
“We’re not doctors. We’re regulators and enforcers of the law. If something is prescribed for a legitimate medical purpose, we’re certainly not going to get in the way,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told the National Pain Report. “If a pharmacy chooses not to fill a prescription for someone, that’s their decision. It’s not the DEA’s decision,” he said.

Cardinal Health, for example, in 2012 was fined $34 million for failing to report suspicious hydrocodone orders. And both Walgreens and CVS have been fined millions for violating federal rules for dispensing controlled substances.
As a result Walgreens and other pharmacies have established stricter rules for dispensing controlled substances.

“Folks tend to overcorrect the other way to the point where it becomes a chilling effect and no one wants to do anything because they’re afraid [DEA will] be hiding out in the bushes,” Payne told the National Pain Report.

Pain Clinics Test Patients for Marijuana Use
By Dale Gieringer, California NORML
From O'Shaughnessy's

Like many medical marijuana users, Kristin Redeen needed additional prescription medications for her severe chronic pain. For seven years she had been treated at a private pain clinic in the Central Valley, where a doctor maintained her on Percocet, a semi-synthetic opioid. One day Kristin was unexpectedly asked to submit a urine sample.

“They already knew about my medical marijuana use,” says Kristin, who contacted California NORML. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.”

When the test  came back, Kristin was informed that the clinic would no longer renew her prescription because she had tested positive for an illegal controlled substance. Her doctor at the clinic cited legal concerns, claiming –falsely– that DEA regulations forbid giving prescription narcotics to users of marijuana or other illegal drugs.

Kristin was cut off from her Percocet and began suffering seizures.

Kristin is one of a growing number of medical marijuana patients discriminated against by pain clinics. “I must have heard of 25 cases this year,” says Doug Hiatt, an attorney in Washington state. “It’s Jim Crow medicine.”

NORML has received a surge of complaints within the last six months.  Many medical marijuana users report that they can’t find a clinic willing to take them on.  Others, like Kristin, have been abandoned by clinics that suddenly adopted aggressive drug-screening policies.

Clinics say they are legally compelled to drug-test chronic pain patients so as to avoid liability for overdoses and diversion of prescription drugs, particularly opioids such as OxyContin –which have nothing to do with cannabis.

Chronic pain patients have good reason to object to being denied medical access to cannabis. Chronic pain is the leading indication for medical cannabis use, accounting for 90% of the patients in Oregon’s medical marijuana program.   More than 60 studies have shown cannabinoids to be effective in pain relief, according to a compilation by the International Association of Cannabis Medicine which includes four controlled studies of smoked marijuana by California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

Studies indicate that cannabis interacts synergistically with opioids in such a way as to improve pain relief [1, 2].    California medical cannabis specialists consistently report that patients are able to reduce use of opioids –typically by 50%– when they add cannabis to their regimen.

Kristin says her doctor told her that “the DEA requires him to drug test all his clients, that he has no choice, it is the law.”

In fact, there is no law requiring clinics to drug screen patients for marijuana.   “It’s BS,” says Hiatt.  Not a single case is known in which pain doctors have been sued or prosecuted for allowing medical marijuana use along with opiates.

Given that cannabis is notably less toxic and addictive than other prescription narcotics,  it seems highly ironic that pain clinics are discouraging its use.  The prejudice against marijuana has nothing to do with medical science, but rather with political and legal pressures to crack down on prescription drug use. Non-medical use of prescription drugs has recently emerged as the nation’s number-one drug problem du jour.

A new government report, ominously entitled the “National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment,” reported 8,500 deaths in 2005 from prescription pain relievers (mainly opioids), more than double the 2001 total. “Diversion and abuse of prescription drugs are a threat to our public health and safety – similar to the threat posed by illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine,” warned Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske.

Finally, we spoke to a legal expert on pain medication, Ms. Jennifer Bolen, a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, who has a useful website devoted to the subject.

Ms Bolen pointed to three recent developments that have increased the pressure to conduct drug screening of pain patients.  First,  pain doctors have suffered a string of stinging legal judgments for over-prescribing opioids to patients who subsequently overdosed. One notable example involved Dr. Thomas Merrill of Florida,  whose life sentence was sustained by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

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(Number of Painkiller Prescriptions Written Annually In The US) "Prescribers wrote 82.5 OPR [Opioid Pain Reliever] prescriptions and 37.6 benzodiazepine prescriptions per 100 persons in the United States in 2012 (Table). LA/ER [Long-Acting or Extended Release] OPR accounted for 12.5%, and high-dose OPR accounted for 5.1% of the estimated 258.9 million OPR prescriptions written nationwide. Prescribing rates varied widely by state for all drug types. For all OPR combined, the prescribing rate in Alabama was 2.7 times the rate in Hawaii."

Leonard J. Paulozzi, MD1, Karin A. Mack, PhD2, Jason M. Hockenberry, PhD, "Vital Signs: Variation Among States in Prescribing of Opioid Pain Relievers and Benzodiazepines — United States, 2012," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 4, 2014, US Centers for Disease Control, p. 564.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

(War on Pain Doctors) "The government is waging an aggressive, intemperate, unjustified war on pain doctors. This war bears a remarkable resemblance to the campaign against doctors under the Harrison Act of 1914, which made it a criminal felony for physicians to prescribe narcotics to addicts. In the early 20th century, the prosecutions of doctors were highly publicized by the media and turned public opinion against physicians, painting them not as healers of the sick but as suppliers of narcotics to degenerate addicts and threats to the health and security of the nation."

Libby, Ronald T., "Treating Doctors as Drug Dealers The DEA’s War on Prescription Painkillers," CATO Institute (Washington, DC: June 2005), p. 21.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

(Undertreatment of Pain More Common Among African-American Patients Than Whites) "Undertreatment of pain among African Americans has been well documented. For example, children with sickle-cell anemia (a painful disease that occurs most often among African Americans) who presented to hospital emergency departments (EDs) with pain were far less likely to have their pain assessed than were children with long-bone fractures (Zempsky et al., 2011).

"In general, moreover, a number of studies have shown that physicians tend to prescribe less analgesic medication for African Americans than for whites (Bernabei et al., 1998; Edwards et al., 2001; Green and Hart-Johnson, 2010). A study that used a pain management index to evaluate pain control found that blacks were less likely than whites to obtain prescriptions for adequate pain relief, based on reported pain severity and the strength of analgesics provided.

Because such an index is a way to quantify a person’s response to pain medication alone, it is likely that people in this study did not receive other types of treatment for pain either."

Institute of Medicine, "Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research" (Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 2011), p. 68.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

(Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Availability of Opioid Analgesic Availability) "Disparities in pain assessment and treatment on the basis of race and ethnicity are well documented.29 Diminished ability to obtain access to opioid analgesics in local pharmacies is a significant barrier to quality pain care. The present investigation provides evidence that Michigan pharmacies in predominantly minority areas were significantly less likely to have sufficient prescription opioid analgesic supplies when compared with predominantly white areas. Regardless of median income and median age, significant differences were found in opioid analgesic availability on the basis of ethnic composition. These results support the findings of Morrison et al38 that pharmacies in predominantly minority neighborhoods stock insufficient opioid analgesic supplies more so than those in predominantly white neighborhoods. However, these results also extend their findings by demonstrating the role of both social class and income on opioid analgesic availability. More specifically, the odds for not having sufficient opioid analgesic supplies are significantly higher among pharmacies in low income areas when compared with higher income areas, regardless of race. More importantly, we identified that the odds of having insufficient supplies in minority neighborhoods changed significantly on the basis of income (ie, high or low) (OR, 13.36 vs 54.42). Thus, social class and poverty seem to play a role for whites more so than minorities. Noncorporate pharmacies were also more likely to have sufficient opioid analgesic supplies than corporate pharmacies. These results suggest that if an opioid analgesic is prescribed for pain management, persons living in minority zip codes (even in higher income areas) or those living in low income zip codes (regardless of minority status) face additional barriers to quality pain care. Thus, vulnerable populations (eg, minorities and low income individuals) are at increased risk for inefficient and lesser quality pain care."

Carmen R. Green, S. Khady Ndao-Brumblay, Brady West, and Tamika Washington, "Differences in Prescription Opioid Analgesic Availability: Comparing Minority and White Pharmacies Across Michigan," The Journal of Pain - October 2005 (Vol. 6, Issue 10, Pages 689-699, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2005.06.002), p. 695.
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16202962
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

(Oxycodone Production Quotas) "Until 2011, the DEA had increased the quota for oxycodone every year since 2002101 with the exception of 2008, when the quota remained unchanged from 2007.102 In 2010, the quota for oxycodone available for sale was 105,500,000 grams.103 In 2002, the quota for oxycodone available for sale was 34,482,000 grams, which means that over that eight-year period, the DEA permitted a 206% increase in the oxycodone quota.104 The DEA decreased the quota to 98,000,000 grams in 2011.105 OxyContin is available in seven dosage strengths, ranging from ten milligram to eighty milligram tablets.106 Although oxycodone is used in other medications, if one assumes, for illustrative purposes, that OxyContin was the only medication manufactured from oxycodone, the 2010 quota would permit the production of between 15,050,000,000 (for ten milligram tablets) and 1,881,250,000 (for eighty milligram tablets) tablets of OxyContin. Although the DEA has the power to limit OxyContin production through its quota authority, the DEA has dramatically increased the availability of oxycodone over the last eight years. While this may be warranted for legitimate users, the increase remains in stark contrast to the limited availability of addiction-assistance medications.107 Additionally, while the rate of marijuana dependence or abuse has remained steady over the last eight years, the number of people suffering from pain reliever dependence or abuse has increased from 1.5 million to 1.9 million over the same period of time.108"

Ferrara, Melissa M., "The Disparate Treatment of Medications and Opiate Pain Medications Under the Law: Permitting the Proliferation of Opiates and Limiting Access to Treatment," Seton Hall Law Review (South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall University, May 24, 2012) Volume 42, Issue 2, pp. 751-752.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

(Legal Opium Producers) "Almost half14 of global opium is legally produced for processing into various opiate based medicines. Any country can formally apply to the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs to cultivate, produce and trade in licit opium, under the auspices of the UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961 and under the supervision and guidance of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB). As of 2001 there were eighteen countries that do, including Australia, Turkey, India, China and the UK."

Transform Drug Policy Foundation, "After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation," (Bristol, United Kingdom: September 2009), p. 32.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Pain#sthash.0t3o4uoL.dpuf

"It will be the implementation of drug testing in all state licensed pain clinics that will be the strongest tool for cutting into the state’s prescription drug black market."

“Drug testing allows the pain clinic physician to know whether the patient is taking the prescribed medication to manage his pain, or is doing something else with that medication,” says Brian Slattery, media liaison and co-owner of Avee.

Clearwater, FL — Avee Laboratories, a leading national toxicology facility based in Clearwater, Florida, has established an information hotline (1-866-928-9877) for physicians practicing pain management, their patients, and members of the general public who have questions.

Congress stated in the Controlled Substances Act, these drugs “have a useful and legitimate medical purpose and are necessary to maintain the health and general welfare of the American people.”

Much like when abortion was illegal, you force these victims of pain into back door alleyways, store front pain clinics and worse. They receive no counseling on how to take their medication and often don't know what they are taking. Like in the past, by treating victims of pain this way, you force them into seeking help and relief outside of the law. Not surprisingly heroin overdoses have spiked all across the country.

Heroin, Mexico and the CIA

Many leaders of Drug Cartels were actually trained in the U.S. at the infamous military training center known as School of the Americas.

And a
separate report based on allegations by CIA and DEA insider Phil Jordan is even more explosive. He is claiming that the Obama administration was selling Los Zetas military-grade weaponry through a front company set up in Mexico.

"They've found anti-aircraft weapons and hand grenades from the Vietnam War era," former CIA pilot Robert "Tosh" Plumlee, who supported Jordan’s claims,
told the El Paso Times.

New revelations also indicate that American taxpayers were even financing the cartels’ arms acquisitions through multiple federal agencies. And available evidence shows that approval for the programs reached into the highest levels of the Justice Department and other parts of the Obama administration.

In the past, the CIA has been implicated in numerous scandals involving drug and weapons trafficking. From Contra-Cocaine, Vietnam-Heroin and Iran to Latin America, the agency has repeatedly been caught importing narcotics and exporting arms to support its illegal and subversive purposes.


Source: SlowDecline

If we are to believe the U.S. goals in Afghanistan were to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and also to stop drugs. It has failed badly.

The sharp rise in heroin smuggling is a direct result of U.S. policy, according to high-ranking Pakistani military officials and sources in the drug trade. They ought to know. After all, they cooperated with the U.S. in establishing the heroin trade in the first place. 

The CIA gave the Mujahadeen drug making lessons. The CIA helped train a few Afghans and showed them how to make heroin out of opium. They convinced them, this is how you finance your war, like they did with the [Nicaraguan] Contras in the 1980s.

The CIA “needed more money than they could provide to Afghans for their war,” says Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani Army brigadier general. He says the CIA instructed top generals in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to sanction the drug trade. General Qadir says while the DEA tried to stop the heroin smuggling, the CIA “as a matter of policy was saying its okay.” CIA officials justified drug dealing on the grounds they were promoting a greater good, according to Qadir, who bases his conclusions on conversations with fellow generals and top ISI officers.

Throughout the 1980s, the CIA shipped increasingly sophisticated weapons to the Mujahadeen through the Pakistani port of Karachi, then by truck to border towns, and then by mule over the mountain passes into Afghanistan. Heroin followed the same route on the return trip, according to many sources.

Tariq Zafar, who heads a major Pakistani drug-rehabilitation program in Islamabad, says U.S. support of drug smuggling had a devastating impact on Pakistan. “Every city along the smuggling route from Afghanistan to Karachi saw an explosion in drug addiction,” he says.

Guns, drugs, and anticommunist politics became inextricably intertwined. By the time the Mujahadeen came to power in 1992, heroin was the country’s number one export. The Mujahadeen warlords almost immediately began fighting among themselves and used the heroin trade to finance their wars. They either directly controlled the trade or taxed the smugglers. Those warlords who survived the civil war, and later battles with the Taliban, renamed themselves the Northern Alliance.

“We have an apprehension about the Northern Alliance warlords expanding drug smuggling,” says Brig. General Inam Ul Haq, head of Pakistan’s Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) in Peshawar. The ANF is Pakistan’s DEA. Karzai “is appeasing the warlords, and [allowing drug trafficking] could be one way to do that.”

The U.S. could make international aid to Afghanistan contingent on poppy eradication, says Brig. General Ul Haq somewhat wryly, noting that for years the U.S. used such threats to pressure Pakistan to cooperate with American efforts to stop heroin smuggling from Afghanistan. “Now the shoe is on the other foot,” he says.

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Why is Marijuana illegal?

By Christopher R Rice

Have you seen the governments latest anti-marijuana commercials that claim “Buzzed driving is drunk driving”?

Buzzed driving is not drunk driving. Weed will never turn you into a stumbling drunk. Yeah, but don’t all of the government funded independent studies show proof?

Myth busters

Science and research are solely funded by big government. One of the governments biggest hoaxes is the MRI that shows marijuana smoke killing brain cells. This MRI still shown in classrooms around the country today was conducted on reise monkeys who were denied oxygen while being forced excessive amounts of marijuana smoke via a face-mask. It was only this denial of oxygen that killed their brain cells not the marijuana smoke as seen in the MRI.

The government lies! Why does the government lie? You only need to lie when you have something to hide. What does the government have to hide? Bribes, murder, treason!

Why is marijuana illegal?

The pharmaceutical and health products industry spend more than $1.6 billion on federal lobbying, every year. Or about $1.2 million a day that Congress has been open for business. But why is marijuana illegal? The pharmaceutical and health products industry do not want to compete with a safer alternative. That grows for free in all 50 states.

Consequences of the governments lies can be seen everywhere. Police have conducted strip searches on the side of highways, forced anal exams looking for drugs that didn’t exist plus all the fines racked up from people who’s only crime was smoking a doobie. If you get pulled over and you’ve smoked weed you will be cited for being under the influence while driving!

I’ve looked high and low, but I can’t find the disastrous consequences of marijuana/drug use apparent anywhere other than the Drug Czar’s predictably propagandized press releases. Whenever the government claims that marijuana will cause you to crash your car, just look for the corpses. Where are they?

We can no longer in good conscience trust the politicians, the corporations or the pigs to police themselves. Resist tyranny. There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and the cartridge box. 

Most of the news you receive comes from Six Mega corporations that have BANNED this info.

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Prohibition KILLS

America is the largest drug market in the world. We're 5 percent of the world's population — we consume 25 percent of the world's illegal drugs. Mexico has the misfortune to share a 2,000 mile border with the largest drug market in the world. At the end of the day, they'll run out of products. It's the illegality that makes those territories so valuable. If you criminalize anything only criminals can sell it. If only criminals can sell it, there's no recourse to law, there's only recourse to violence. That's created the cartels. It's our simultaneous appetite for — and prohibition of — drugs that makes those border territories worth killing for.

On the effect legalizing marijuana (just in Washington and Colorado) has had on Mexican trafficking

Just two states that have legalized marijuana, do you know what's happened in Mexico? Forty percent of Mexican marijuana imports, they've been cut by 40 percent. In Durango and Sinaloa, where most of the marijuana is grown, they've almost stopped growing it now, because they can't compete with the American quality and the American market. I'm not making this up; you get this from Customs and from DEA, from the people who are trying to intercept it on the border and judge how much is coming through as a percentage of how much they seize, and what they're telling us is it's down 37 percent over the last two years. So by stopping fighting, just two states stopping fighting the war on that drug, it has been effective.

Recognize drug laws as the price-support program that they are. If this stuff was trading at its actual cost, without the illegality premium, there wouldn't be enough money in drugs to support the cartels. But don't take my word for it, just ask Al Capone. Notice gangsters don't sell liquor any more. And there are no more drive-bys by bootleggers.

The US drug policy has caused the deaths and incarceration of hundreds of thousands, as prohibition did in the 30's with booze. It has allowed these cartels to become powerful and deadly. Now the US has created this monster and it's loose. And as long as drugs remain illegal the dead bodies will continue to pile up.

Oakland-based freelance journalist Reese Erlich traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan on assignment for Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio and Common Ground Radio. A version of this article originally appeared in the East Bay Monthly magazine in Berkeley.

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