Saturday, July 28, 2007
The Pot Epidemiology doesn't support the headlines.
Whether cannabis can cause psychotic or affective symptoms that persist beyond transient intoxication is unclear."The idea that reclassification upwards will do anything to reduce psychosis is naive and runs the risk of perversely inflicting even greater suffering - through increasing criminal sanctions - on vulnerable individuals already afflicted with mental illness." - Prof Nutt."not evidence in itself that cannabis should be reclassified."Cannabis 'can increase risk of schizophrenia by 40%'
"There hasn't been an upward blip [in schizophrenia] of any kind since cannabis use became common in the 1960s and 1970s." - (ACMD) Prof Iverson who'se statutory Cmte I believe said it would resign if politics of pot trumped science.Cannabis 'doubles risk of psychotic illness'
"Their prediction that 14 per cent of psychotic outcomes in young adults in the UK may be due to cannabis use is not supported by the fact that the incidence of schizophrenia has not shown any significant change in the past 30 years." Prof Iverson, OxfordResearch bolsters the case for reclassification
However, this is not conclusive proof of cause and effect. As Prof Glyn Lewis from Bristol University, and the senior author on the paper, said: "It is possible that the people who use cannabis might have other characteristics that themselves increase risk of psychotic illness.''Cannabis smokers 'are taking huge risk of psychotic illness'
"Despite a thorough review the authors admit that there is no conclusive evidence that cannabis use causes psychotic illness." Prof Iverson (again)A review of cannabis is a welcome first step. Yet if it is not followed up by a more fundamental rethink on the prevalence of [all] drugs in contemporary society, we will have ignored the reality of misuse and addiction.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Chemical Uncle Tom's!
"By an unusual coincidence, almost all the politicians who have admitted to trying cannabis said they tried it only once, did not like it, or that it made them sick."
The connection between politicians and cannabinoids has been made by Prof Melamede, chair Biology:ColoradoU, where (and I paraphrase) it because excess cannabinoids in their physiology 'made them sick' or was disagreeable, and is the reason they became fervent 'anti-pot' oriented politicians. That they tried it, and broke the law escapes them. Its white privilege, and the same logic as apartheid...I'm not black so I'm endowed with the rules!
Yes, the science suggests politicians who regale against cannabis are genetically alienated. Chemical Uncle Tom's!
‹(•¿•)› Blair Anderson
Jacqui Smith now says of her dope-smoking days. "I've learnt my lesson," she adds ... One day politicians will credit the moral intelligence of the general public, and their own integrity, enough, to stand up and say: "I took drugs. And I loved it." After that, a proper conversation can start
Now there would be a refreshing bit of social debate.... /Blair
Politicians hide behind smoke screens [Telegraph, UK] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/07/21/do2105.xml
Friday, July 20, 2007
NZSIS Amendment Bill (#2) regurgitated
AMENDMENT BILL (No 2)
Paper prepared for (the people of New Zealand as represented by) Intelligence and Security Committee - Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet,
PO Box 55
Kevin O'Connell [now ALCP President] and Blair Anderson ( [former deputy leader] Policy Committee, ph 03-389-4065) on behalf of the Christchurch Branch of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, 50 Wainoni Rd, Chch.
In this submission we
- Informally analyse state and public security concerns affected by the amendments proposed in relation to core legislation, introducing wider areas of honest and appropriate governance and protection of the people.
- Isolate problem areas (especially vested interest driven exploitation) embodied in International “anti-drug” Treaties and associated foreign socio-economic manipulation.
- Advise modifications relating to definition of foreign threats, authority of warrants and application of the intelligence service for true benefit of the country.
- Advocate openness of discussions and evidence based drug legislative enhancements, to proactively challenge suppressive nature of the “war on drugs” security threat (with mid-term goal of minimising National Security maintenance).
Index to Submission
- Subjective Definition of “Security”
- Ensuring Political Neutrality
- War on Drugs is transparently subversive
- Foreign “influence” on drug matters
- Insidious Mechanism for Lowering of Interception Thresholds
- Lying Drug Warriors
- New Wars - the infonarcs and silent policemen
- Unanswered Questions?
- Subversion of “harm minimisation” by vested interests
- An international problem of dominant, yet minority “Philosophy”
We thank the Committee for the opportunity to partake in the democratic process relating to this important legislation, request the opportunity to speak to our submission, and would ask that a South-Island hearing be held in view of considerable regional interest in matters of National Security and its management.
The Christchurch Branch of the ALCP regret that Parliament saw fit to legalise the covert home invasion of people who appear to have been acting in the broader democratic and economic interests of NZ (viz. A. Choudry, etc). This sends a confusing signal especially to people who are already alienated by self-help style governance of NZ. We commend the Committee however for producing this subsequent Bill to address some concerns arising from the submissions on the recently passed 1998 NZSIS Amendments Bill.
· Views on the definition of international economic security are subjective.
· We believe there needs to be a full Inquiry into the purpose and workings of the NZSIS and GSIB.
· Our particular concern is the role of the international “War on Drugs” and the potential for subversion, terrorism and abuse of democracy and genuine national security represented therein.
Subjective Definition of “Security”
“Protection of NZ from acts of espionage, sabotage, terrorism and subversion.”
National security must be defined in an evidence based and open manner. Currently it might appear that “national” refers to the current minority government, rather than the national population as intended. Any government which ignores extreme scale abuse of civil liberties while actively promoting drug-user discrimination, is a government to be wary of.
We perceive that international “security” and enforcement agencies currently largely operate to protect lucrative and counter-productive interests (such as Prison Building Corporations who benefit from the illegality of certain drugs) from being accountable to the people. In a genuine democracy, security intelligence services should really function to protect the people from such foreign driven and politically loaded subversive agenda as represented by the war on drugs.
Ensuring Political Neutrality
We recommend that SIS warrants both domestic and foreign must also be signed by Leader of Opposition to “ensure political neutrality” as intended by amendments to the principal Act. This would lessen concerns such as that which arises from the fact that the minister in charge of the SIS is not currently elected to the station [of Prime Minister] with default responsibility.
As supporters of a political organisation which challenges the moral authority of the party currently in power, (thus undermining that party’s hold on power), members of the ALCP and in many cases their immediate family are constantly fearful of intimidation, of being under surveillance, and of having our computer files (particularly personal mail, web pages and press releases) decrypted and their personal right to privacy destroyed. We require an assurance of political neutrality in issuing of SIS warrants.
The Commissioner for Mental Health has publicly (CHTV Chch May 12, 1999) recognised that such social duress is a cause of mental disorder, and that harm prevention model should be a principle motive in laws and policy that have such outcomes.
The scene of surveillance in the context of the prohibition of cannabis, has no boundaries. The media constantly reinforces the notion that the War on Drugs is global, and “real TV shows” demonstrate the exaction of such policy in an “armed siege” mentality, where the goodguys are not always as well behaved as we might wish. Politicians are aware of the sincerity of those who acknowledge TV violence and Kids, seem to ignore the “fears” created in these news stories are indeed having outcomes in our general social perception of drug issues, threats to privacy, or even just being “collateral” damage in what is principally a war of moralities. Noam Chomsky, refers to this process as “Manufacturing Consent”. The select committee is asked to note the popular support demonstrated in towards Mr Chomsky on his recent lectureship tour of the New Zealand Universities.
The Hon PM, Jenny Shipley, acknowledges the broad spectrum of “strong opinions” on the issue. We draw to the committee’s attention that Mental Health prejudices are at issue where deep seated values are being challenged, and the environment appears so physically threatening that it breeds paranoia. Only an evidential resolution of strong opinion is possible.
The existence of the SIS in its current orientation represents a tangible threat to the mental well-being of the nation. While the SIS function is non-transparent, it is if you will, silently disturbing the recipients of small town Ashburton, 24 hours a day.
The Security and Intelligence Committee’s attention is drawn to the serious effects of combining prohibition, propaganda and paranoia, with gun culture and mental illness (the latter purported to have been triggered by an incident of police harassment) as manifested in the tragedy at Raurimu, central North-Island, on 8 February 1997. Anderson later claimed that cannabis law was;
(2April 1997- private correspondence)
War on Drugs is transparently subversive
The leaders of New Zealand need to wake up and protect the people from this international facile guise of protecting the public health and international security. The war on drugs enables a mechanism by which politicians perpetrate brain-washed propaganda, perhaps without even realising. There would not be traffickers and pushers and billions to be made out of others’ misery, if drugs, especially marijuana, were subject to controlled availability as nature intended.
In New Zealand the subversion of “drug” truth is a major impediment to understanding the real problems. For example it is a “given” in politically correct discussions of marijuana, that the link between drug use and problems experienced is a causative one- so much so that this issue never gets debated in politically correct circles. Research shows, however, that in reality it is people who have problems who tend to use drugs, and that many problems may be actually caused not by drug activities in themselves, but by the marginalisation of such activities through discriminatory law.
By way of illustration, recently (Dominion, March 15, 1999) the Health Minister linked cannabis use causatively to suicide, accepting a pat on the back from a coroner for “not decriminalising”. However, evidence of the Canterbury Suicide Project clearly shows that the suicide/cannabis connection is actually “by association as opposed to causation”. (p15 Inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis- Health Select Committee 1998)- Moreover, there are serious implications of association related to the legal status covered on page 34 of that report- i.e. that labeling young pot smokers criminals increases the risk of suicide.
We give Mr Creech the benefit of doubt- and suggest his statement was based on ignorance: however this does demonstrate how false “givens” are perpetuated unchallenged, and the truth is subverted. In the wider public interest, we suggest that the Prime Minister correct the Health Minister on his error.
We require that the SIS act to protect NZ citizens from government driven subversion of truth.
Foreign “influence” on drug matters
Recently the Prime Minister was seen to publicly take “drug policy” advice from Prime Minister Howard of Australia (who presides over 600 preventable heroin deaths a year), and Judge Louis Freeh of the FBI (who apparently arrived in NZ with 16 armed security staff). Both “advised” against decriminalisation of marijuana. -The subsequent rejection of the Health Select Committee recommendations appears thus to have been staged (and quite possibly pressured), and has certainly not been shown to be fully evidence based.
Fear based drug policy (particularly cannabis) deters open public debate, permitting abuse of civil freedoms to be perpetuated unchecked. Arresting over one hundred thousand innocents for cannabis per year is effectively domestic terrorism. The New Zealand Public need protection against this foreign influenced control, and “activities prejudicial to security”.
It is surely not the intent of Parliament to warrant 109 000 cannabis search and seizures arrests in a single year, without assessment as to cost and impact. Why is it happening?
Insidious Mechanism for Lowering of Interception Thresholds:
The anti-gang legislation of 1997, introduced by NZ parliament and unproved in its application since, is a classic example of how “anti-drug” / “anti-gang” hysteria has been used to make surveillance intrusions increasingly permissible. Because the target was “drug trafficking”, few objected to the Police being given powers to wire tap people involved in “substantial” (one ounce) quantities of cannabis trade where at least 3 people were involved in this “organised crime”.
Effectively this has empowered the police to spy on users of a drug more widely used now in New Zealand than tobacco. Given that around one quarter of the population choose to use cannabis, this degree of possible intrusion is absurdly disrespectful and requires repeal.
Yet because drugs are the target, few object to the increased busy bodying. Every one who publicly advocates drug reform is called “pro-drug”- so people are deterred from expressing what they really think. The undertow of silence that surrounds drug issues in New Zealand is suppressive and undemocratic.
Drug hypocrisy is the real mechanism for social decay- not drugs. We would not need to be so fearful of the effects of Internet evils such as bomb recipes and pornography, if we did not alienate and bully the vulnerable to start with through misguided anti-drug moral postures.
The NZ government has made no formal acknowledgment of the harms of making these things illegal- nor taken note of evidence of the lack of effectiveness in improving public safety of prohibition policies, particularly in relation to cannabis and opiate markets.
[See ALCP submissions to Justice and Law Reform Select Committee (Sale of Liquor and Crimes Home Invasion amendments) on politicised subversion of evidence based minimising of harms relating particularly to cannabis use in the New Zealand National Drug Policy (see also our web site, http://www.alcp.org.nz).]
Lying Drug Warriors
Words spoken contrary to evidence are effectively lies. The top man in the USA fighting drugs is a proven liar. When discussing murder rates of Amsterdam vs New York last year, General Barry McCaffery mistakenly used Dutch figures for “attempted” murders, projecting relatively higher levels of crime and saying “that’s drugs”. However, even when his mistake was exposed, and it turned out Dutch murder rates are one quarter New York’s, McCaffery could only say the higher rate of attempted murders was because the Dutch were too stoned to do the job properly.
It is unfortunate that this “protector” of the people of the USA is allowed to continue influencing the highest incarceration rate in the civilised world, and world wide anti-drug strategies. There is much evidence of institutionalised corruption in the “drug enforcement” area (see Smoke and Mirrors, the politics of failure, Dan Baum, 1996- [in the Honorable PM’s current possession, courtesy of Blair Anderson]). Consider also the finding of the NSW Woods Commission 1997 linking corruption at all levels, to black markets in drugs.
Prohibition is a multi-billion industry world wide- understandably very interested in its own self-preservation (through means such as suppressing open debate), than actually achieving its impossible goal of a “drug free world”.
There are many groups and corporations that benefit from the money to be made or saved by defining cannabis users as criminal. For example failure to pay out insurance can be justified on basis of simple cannabis record. Newspapers, Banks, Drug Companies, Beer Companies, Oil Companies, Arms Manufacturers also make money out of the problems created by banning the versatile resource which is cannabis-hemp.
If the international agenda is “free trade”, we would draw attention to the benefits of the same economic model applied to cannabis. The illicit trade in drugs is second only to guns and bombs in global terms of dollars plundered- this scale of insanity is a corruption.
Supporting the war on drugs may keep Mafia, big business and international partners happy, and further the job application opportunities for retiring politicians, but it does not provide for genuine domestic security. To advocate reform is not to say “smoking hooch is OK”. Rather it signals that people should not be punished disproportionately to their sin, and that openness is crucial to a healthy supportive community.
Leaders of New Zealand on the Security and Intelligence Committee should note that the ALCP represent considerable public skepticism about motives for government’s refusing to “review the appropriateness of current cannabis policy”.
New Wars - the infonarcs and silent policemen
"The New War" is explored in Senator John Kerry's (Dem, MA) book examining the global enemies of law and order. He cites the use of high-tech weapons, off-shore banks, and the Internet, featuring encryption, by rogue nations and organized criminals who are hiring the best and brightest lawyers, programmers, cryptographers and ex-spooks who once looked to the US Government for secure careers, and who also pay top dollar for premium products and skills once affordable only by the military.
He wonders how governments can compete with these new cash-flush criminals. The answer: new laws and new global arrangements.
His view on global crypto is almost identical to that of Senator Kerrey (Dem, KA), Professor Denning and others who appear to be working in concert with the US administration to advance global Government Access to Keys (GAK), while admitting that some harm to privacy may be necessary. All nations must act in concert, Kerry says, to prevent the spread of dangerous technologies. (esp. encryption.). For a similar view, see Denning's synopsis of a paper on criminal use of encryption and developing technology to be published shortly:
We've also heard from the USA BXA that new regulations for the Commerce Control List and EAR to bring them into accord with the Wassenaar Arrangement will be out in "a month or two." This will probably be coordinated with the issuance of similar regulations by the 33 signatories of the regime, including New Zealand.
The ALCP has legitimate fears that the imposition of a global GAK regime that Kerry, et al, suggest is a primary weapon in The New War.
Members of the ALCP executive deplore the recent signatory status changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement (http://www.wassenaar.org) that further limit the availability of encryption software by including it in the Wassenaar agreement's list of export controlled software (section 5.A.2.a.1 of the list of dual-use goods, WA LIST 98 (1)).
This has been done in a less than consultative manner.
Strong cryptography is essential to the security of the Internet and its users; restrictions on its use or availability will leave us with a weak, vulnerable network, endanger the sovereign privacy of users and materially damage the commercial fidelity and confidence in business, and undermine the growth of electronic commerce in New Zealand.
The new restrictions will have a particularly deleterious effect on smaller technology countries, in particular New Zealand, where there is not enough of a local market or local expertise to support the development of indigenous cryptographic products.
Everyone is adversely affected by this; the Internet is used world-wide, and even sites with access to strong cryptographic products must be able to talk to those who do not. This in turn endangers their own security.
It has been estimated that after a modest capital investment, a company or criminal organization could crack the current 64-bit cipher in less than a day with about US$2500 per solution. This cost will only drop in coming years.
Internet Crypto rules are just speedbumps in the criminal highway, who will still be able to freely resort to "secure" non-legal communications. The parallel of ‘availability vs restrictions’ is not at all dissimilar to the outcomes in world trade in drugs, only those trading in the dark never get seen.
GILC Publishes Global Survey of Privacy and Human Rights
A new comprehensive report, "Privacy and Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Practice," has been produced by EPIC and Privacy International on behalf of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC). The report details the state of privacy in 50 countries around the world, outlining the constitutional and legal conditions of privacy protection, and summarizing important issues and events relating to privacy and surveillance. Among the report's key findings:
Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in all major international treaties and agreements on human rights. Nearly every country in the world recognizes privacy as a fundamental right in their constitution, either explicitly or implicitly. Most recently drafted constitutions include specific rights to access and control one's personal information.
New technologies are increasingly eroding privacy rights. These include video surveillance cameras, identity cards and genetic databases, bio-identity, pattern matching and cross matching.
There is a growing trend towards the enactment of comprehensive privacy and data protection acts around the world. Currently over 40 countries and jurisdictions have or are in the process of enacting such laws. Countries are adopting these laws in many cases to address past governmental abuses (such as in former East Bloc countries), to promote electronic commerce, or to ensure compatibility with international standards developed by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The ALCP is particularly concerned that this GILC report highlighted that Surveillance authority is regularly abused, even in many of the most democratic countries. The main targets are political opposition, journalists, and human rights activists. The U.S. government is leading efforts to further relax legal and technical barriers to electronic surveillance. The Internet is coming under increased surveillance.
New laws on criminalization. The Government proposes amendments to the Criminal Code and other statutes as necessary to criminalize the wrongful disclosure of keys, deter the use of encryption in the commission of a crime, deter the use of cryptography to conceal evidence, and apply existing interception, search and seizure and assistance procedures to cryptographic situations and circumstances.
Anyone with a computer, running Netscape “could be potentially harboring secrets”.
"If we meet criminals on the information highways, we have to fight the criminals -- not the highways,"
Henrikas Yushkiavitshus, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication, Information and Informatics
Mr. Yushkiavitshus promotes world-wide, implementation of articles enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, highlighting that the Internet offers "almost unlimited opportunities for the practical implementation of Article 19," which upholds the "freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
The natural response of a bureaucracy that is more concerned with its own power to wiretap (on suspicion of simple possession of cannabis), than it is with making the right decisions for its citizens, is to move its crypto maneuvering overseas into "diplomatic meetings", held under cover of diplomatic secrecy, where they can lie and twist arms with impunity.
To the Minister of Commerce:
Is his ministry involved in a process of developing encryption restrictions or key escrow mechanisms for New Zealand, or to further regulate the export of encryption technology from New Zealand, or to restrict New Zealanders right to use encryption technology?
To the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
New Zealand’s version of the export controls implemented under the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement contains an exception to the General Software Note (GSN) which blocks the free export of encryption software as allowed by other countries. Which government agencies were involved in setting the exception to the GSN, at what point was it decided to add the exception, and what were the reasons for the exception?
To the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
The signatories to the Wassenaar arrangement meet in Vienna to discuss various issues including encryption policy and encryption controls. Which government agencies represented New Zealand at these meetings, and what position did they present? Were they in favour of increased restrictions (for example the blocking of export over the Internet), no change in the current restrictions, or relaxed restrictions? What was their position on the GSN, which allows the free export of mass-market encryption software with no key size restraints?
Subversion of “harm minimisation” by vested interests
Role of the privileged United Nations and Dignitaries in suppression of drug debate:
There is blind adherence to the Drug War in the higher echelons of privilege represented by the United Nations, which gives the ALCP grave concern for national safety.
Pino Arlacchi, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention has spoken, in a follow up to UNGASS, on a united world effort against drugs-and since there are no dissenting voices, there is no debate. The plan details a world wide satellite surveillance network and includes “a plan of action for the elimination, or significant reduction of cannabis cultivation world wide”. This is wholly undemocratic and inflicts on the world a view that is morally misguided, and especially unjustified considering every Commission on the drug, including NZ’s own Inquiry last year, has effectively exonerated the plant.
Eliminating marijuana, the “soft” drug, will mean that synthetic and more harmful alternatives will take over, worsening an already insidious threat to harm reduction aims of the National Drug Policy. There is already an alternative for marijuana available. It is called “whatever you can get your hands on”. If paraphernalia for use of these drugs is also prohibited, unsafe means will be substituted. The success of NZ’s needle exchange programme demonstrates the value of harm reduction initiatives.
An international problem of dominant, yet minority “Philosophy”
Mr Arlacchi of the UN drug strategy also talks of “changing societal attitudes, beliefs and values, and sustained long term education” which is all very well, except it depends on the assumption that created plants like cannabis can’t be used wisely without the interference of international and domestic enforcement agencies.
Nothing short of a frontal lobotomy will cure the “values” of millions of people world wide who do not object to their brothers and sisters who enjoy an innocent smoke of marijuana from time to time. Pino Arlacci and the unanimous body of UN representatives represent the views of the NZ public no more than the current NZ minority government.
We believe there are vested interests who want misinformation spread and cannabis suppressed because it is a useful industrial commodity with many fibre, food and fuel implications- including the potential to put the ecologically destructive fossil fuel, and hamburger industries out of business.
A conspiracy of silence and vested interest links interests such as Newspapers, Banks, Insurance Companies, Beer Companies, Oil Companies, Arms Manufacturers, Governments, Enforcement Agencies, and Drug Prevention groups. There are too many people and organisations who benefit from the discriminatory and ill-justified definition of cannabis users as criminals.
Fears for personal safety of activists and whistle blowers need to be recognised by the M.P’s on the Security and Intelligence committee, and protections put in place. If the bill is truly for the protection of the people, then we want their protection and we want it good since this is our noble right as citizens of this dominion.
We don’t know why you, the leaders of NZ, let yourselves be deceived and in turn the NZ population, but we ask you to realise that whatever the reason, it must change and must change now for you to validate effective leadership - debate leads public opinion and genuine progress- please get over your insidious political safety and fulfill you ethical obligation to protect the truth and the people.
Disabling the War on Drugs from a domestic angle will send a strong message to the oppressors of the world that they can’t continue their terrorist activities, but it will also require the SIS to work extensively in the short term for protection of honest New Zealanders.
Summary of Intelligence Committee Recommendations:
1. That the committee acknowledge the fear that the SIS do not actually function to protect NZ democracy from international subversion;- rather it appears that the service acts to protect international subversion from NZ democracy.
2. That there be a full Inquiry into the purpose and workings of the NZSIS and Government Security Intelligence Bureau, covering international agreements such as the Wassenaar agreement on encryption technology.
3. That SIS warrants, both domestic and foreign, must also be signed by Leader of Opposition to “ensure political neutrality”.
4. That the Security and Intelligence Committee recognise that NZ’s own approaches to national security, particularly drug related, are inherently flawed placing New Zealanders under insidious threat of “1984” style manipulations and fear-based complicity.
5. That the MP’s on the Intelligence and Security Committee recognise Government’s unjustifiably invasive cannabis legislation (and signatory status to UNGASS measures) fail to comply with the Bill of Rights Act (and Magna Carta) and are subversive and unreasonable and thus unlawful.
6. That there be a full evaluation and assessment of the value of foreign treaty obligations and their local interpretation, especially relating to Cannabis products.
7. That the SIS actively prevent the manipulation of New Zealanders by international War on Drugs propaganda.
8. That the I&SC institute a Royal Commission [truth and reconciliation] into the Workings of the Misuse of Drugs act as they relate to
· corruption and subversion of agencies and governments,
· suppression of cost-benefit & “harm minimisation” evidence,
· socio-economic manipulation and
· degradation of civil and democratic rights.
9. That the War on Drugs be dismantled domestically, and SIS activities be directed in order to protect New Zealanders against the influence of this particularly dangerous cross-border threat to economic well-being, public health and community safety.
10. That as an initial step, until priority legislation is in place to facilitate regulated trade in cannabis-hemp, that parliament enforce a moritorium on arrests for simple cannabis “offenses”. This is likely to greatly facilitate efforts to domestically minimise drug related harms, and undermine internationally the War on Drugs, which is necessary to ensure the long-term security of the NZ community.
11. That if the dominant international agenda is “free trade”, that the benefits of the same economic model be applied to cannabis-hemp as resource and commodity.
12. That the collective adoption of the above protocols is the minimum standard required to effectively address interrelated security initiatives.
13. Any compromise evidences a threat to New Zealand Sovereign right to self-determination.
K O’Connell, B Anderson, COPYRIGHT 1999
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Judge McMeeken told Bellas: “You have behaved in an incredibly stupid way.” She accepted that he was using the cannabis himself, for medical purposes – “but that’s no defence at all.”
"what is incredibly stupid is a law in disrepute and that it empowers your prejudices, McMeeken! This decision has absent moral authority" / Blair Anderson
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The following press release is yet another uninformed presumption of guilt before due process. It characterises much of what Candor says in its legacy of press releases. Lets not let facts get in the way of some merchandisable prejudices to willing and receptive ears.
In the absence of any evidence of driver impairment due to substance misuse, Candor's long straw linking cannabis to recent tragic rail crossing circumstances perpetuates, indeed invites youth rejection of the value system. Candor is now part of the problem.
If they want to educate folk, Candor should start from a factual position, anything else endangers the prophylactic message. (see impediments to health promotion elsewhere) . Setting aside the research that shows cannabis consumers are no more likely to be culpable drivers in accidents (Australian qualitative Research on who causes accidents and who may have consumed cannabis or alcohol or any other drug) and that on balance (in fact less so than non-cannabis users), moderate consumers of the herb are typically law abiding thus safe drivers. Where there are exceptions, and there will be, it is atypical that blanket and punitive rules are less effective in getting results than enabled driver education. Candor thus does Road Safety a disservice with its entirely speculative mongery and tiresome agenda as to what might have happened in this tragedy. On Candor's merits, we could just do away with Coroners all together. /Blair
Scoop: Train Crash Raises Cannabis Query:
Friday, 15 June 2007, 1:40 pm
Press Release: Candor Trust
CANDOR TRUST MEDIA RELEASE
Train Crash Raises Cannabis Query
Inspector Rob Jones says Police haven't yet ascertained the cause of the crash at a Bay of Plenty rail crossing which killed driver Keeley Jamieson, aged 20 and her brother Ryan Jamieson, aged 22.
Witnesses say warning bells rang while the train driver blasted his horn frantically before he slammed into the victim's car, as it crept slowly over the crossing.
Candor Trust Educator Urs Tiaho says that given the scenario of this day-time disaster two main possibilities must spring to mind.
It is more typical for coronial inquests to youthful road deaths in NZ to find use of cannabis was a factor than drunkenness in deceased NZ drivers of 20 or under.
Cannabis use is 3 times more common in deceased young drivers per early findings from the ongoing ESR drug driving study.
(Of course the linking of acquisitive crime to the policy base 'creating the mayhem' has not been made. Why? Could this be explained by the predisposition to political expediency or National Party blatent nonfeasance on drug policy that lead to his burglary, the remarkable police response, non-investigation and his speculation. He is no doubt well insured? /Blair)
Opposition leader John Key says drug users probably burgled his Auckland home to get goods to feed their addiction.
Mr Key and family were on holiday in Hawaii this month when burglars smashed a window and took jewellery from the main bedroom.
(also see Christchurch Mayoral Candidate burglary from two weeks ago)
The $8 million house in Parnell has a large fence and gate controlled by a keypad.
The burglars were thought to have scaled the fence before breaking a bottom floor window.
'I suspect they were getting stuff to sell for money for drugs -- that's what a lot of burglars would do,' Mr Key told the New Zealand Herald. (see John Key blamed druggies for burgling house )
The burglars were thought to have been in and out in minutes, before police arrived and as the burglar alarm sounded.
Friday, July 13, 2007
US Mayors Anti-Drug War "bottom line"
The US Conference of Mayors held its 75th annual meeting June 22-26, 2007 in Los Angeles, CA. One of the resolutions they adopted at the conference urges an end to the status quo "war on drugs" and calls for a "New Bottom Line" in US drug policy.
The drug war resolution runs from page 47 through page 50 of the resolution packet. The major text of the resolution is as follows:
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Conference of Mayors believes the war on drugs has failed and calls for a New Bottom Line in U.S. drug policy, a public health approach that concentrates more fully on reducing the negative consequences associated with drug abuse, while ensuring that our policies do not exacerbate these problems or create new social problems of their own; establishes quantifiable, short- and long-term objectives for drug policy; saves taxpayer money; and holds state and federal agencies accountable; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that U.S. policy should not be measured solely on drug use levels or number of people imprisoned, but rather on the amount of drug-related harm reduced. At a minimum, this includes: reducing drug overdose fatalities, the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis, the number of nonviolent drug law offenders behind bars, and the racial disparities created or exacerbated by the criminal justice system; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that short- and long-term goals should be set for reducing the problems associated with both drugs and the war on drugs; and federal, state, and local drug agencies should be judged – and funded – according to their ability to meet specific performance indicators, with targets linked to local conditions. A greater percentage of drug war funding should be spent evaluating the efficacy of various strategies for reducing drug related-harm; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a wide range of effective drug abuse treatment options and supporting services must be made available to all who need them, including: greater access to methadone and other maintenance therapies; specially-tailored, integrated services for families, minorities, rural communities and individuals suffering from co-occurring disorders; and effective, community-based drug treatment and other alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent drug law offenders, policies that reduce public spending while improving public safety; and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference supports preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases by eliminating the federal ban on funding of sterile syringe exchange programs and encourages the adoption of local overdose prevention strategies to reduce the harms of drug abuse; (Christchurch already has this strategy in place, implemented in hte mid 70's by Dr John Dobson/Blair) and
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the impact of drug use and drug policies is most acutely felt on the local communities, and therefore local needs and priorities of drug policy can be best identified, implemented and assessed at the local level. A successful national strategy to reduce substance abuse and related harms must invest in the health of our cities and give cities, counties, and states the flexibility they need to find the most effective way to deal with drugs, save taxpayer dollars and keep their communities safe."
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Make drugs legal and regulate like mad
Make drugs legal and regulate like mad, says the Laws, MICHAEL LAWS that is, Mayor Michael Laws.
"One of the worst things about parenthood is the instinctual wisdom that some day, somehow, somewhere, something will go wrong with your kids. "
Prohibition did not work with alcohol. It won't work with drugs. Instead we need to separate the good from the bad, the less harmful from the pernicious, and then regulate, regulate, regulate. Besides, anything the government is involved in is always boring.
Take the fun and frisson out of dabbling with drugs. Make them legal. / M. Laws, Sunday Star Times
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Apple i-PotView blog reactions
Friday, July 06, 2007
On graffiti, pride and due process
re: "If citizens took pride in their surroundings and painted over tags immediately,it would disappear." / (as seen on the Canterbury Issues Forum here)
At the root of the 'problem' of graffiti is a culture. It cannot be painted over.
A culture poorly understood by administrators, politicians and media commentators.
The question one needs to ask to have insight into graffiti, is why, what engenders this response?
Painting it out is, as many will attest, simply preparing a blank canvas for the next graffiti. It is, as it were, solving a territorial problem for whom ever wishes to either claim or reclaim that space. Just as advertising hoardings have a commercial value associated with mind share, so to does graffiti have a social value. It is an indicator, a signal, and it is yelling out 'we reject your value system'.
Ratepayers are forking out big time yet we choose to know nothing and there is the first clue. The community wrongly characterises the problem domain clouding and obsfucating it with prejudices before principles.
Youth, at least those within the domain of this subject, are alienated from rule of law. And for that WE as a community have a lot to answer for. We are collectively, the architects of this prejudice.
It is not a simple matter, and it wont be solved by just this community, for is the solution space is hampered by an entrenched culture of 'us vs them', corporate and societal failure to value youth on a global scale, and, at the risk of alienating every adult reader of this blog... entrenched 'white privilege.'
That all said, it behooves me to say, just because the problem is bigger than us.. (the few readers here) and bigger the civic domain of 'canterbury' that is not an excuse for not have the required conversations.
Make no mistake, that having read on the subject for thirty odd years, the single biggest impediment to the required biopsychosocial change is to be found in drug policy.
'bling bling... ' - ring any bells anyone.
Graffiti, like Gangsta Rap is (just another) product of the matrix of drug policy dysfunction rendered upon all of us... one cannot discuss youth, gang violence and a myriad of other 'impediments to health promotion' without meeting a wall of resistance centered around this vexing subject, but until we are prepared to collectively trumpet at these walls they will not crumble.
I have repeatedly asked Garry Moore to explore this core community issue via 'time to talk', If he (and his replacement) prefer to sit at the head of the table of 'Healthy Christchurch' and fail to have this conversation, then we are destined to endlessly paint over the mistakes of the past. The mess, and its not limited to just graffiti, is occurring on the current administrations watch.
(note: Garry shut down any discussion centred around alternative solution options at the forum, stating to the Chair "we don't need to hear from him!".... Further I was prohibited from asking ANY question at the subsequent media conference. Ironically it was the PRESS who suggested I 'be there', but city admin staff tried to have me 'ejected' (on whose bl#@* authority?) meanwhile tagging remains the evidence of failure. Does this signal the continuing failure of citizen participation and due process, or is it just more of that all to familiar expedient agenda based politics? Every Mayor attending saw this behaviour and by their collective silence perpetuate failure.
Reform of our community's duty of care demands appropriate due process, the required 'all voices at the table'.
While this issue may well be a bridge to far for the so called 'mayors forum', it is certainly one that should have status in the mayoral debates.
For those who think drug policy is a central government issue, think alcohol licences, tobacco outlets. Who administers these?
We have to get our collective heads out of our proverbials and ENABLE the conversations.
Our sister city, Seattle has taken owndership of the issue at a community AND civic level and real results and meaningful discussions (and due process) are a result.
If I were Mayor.. I would start by inviting Seattle's retired Chief of Police Norm Stamper and on e of the lead organisations behind the Seattle Initiative, the King County Bar Association, out here. I would give the required resources to the appropriate sister city commitee to lubricate the 'conversation'. I have already confirmed they would be available. Airfares It would cost about 1% of what we currently spend on graffiti. Im confident the Canterbury Law Society would at least host one of them for a dinner. Rotaries may even help. (they certainly did for my last law men. We did 28 Rotaries in 10 business days) Their is no lack of will here, just no one piloting the ship and no baseline resources.
This is where we find the stuff of social capital.
BTW Sally and the tagbuster, I was in Lyttleton recently with my partner, she commented to me about the awful tagging prevalent where we walked, the general condition of the parking area (behind the supermarket) was disgusting. This is where the farmers market used to be. I now regret not taking a snapshot. Local businesses may need to take a bit more pride, and sure, the taggers didn't help, but lets not get to down on them while the general environment looks so third world.
sig. Blair4Mayor.com ‹(•¿•)› Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Is New Zealand a safe place to live?
75% of you said, no it isnt
25% of you said, yes it is.
Are drugs more of a problem than alcohol?
70% of you said yes drugs are more of a problem
30% of you said no.
[and we'll pretend the media has nothing to do with creating this illusion.... /Blair.]
When the NZ Herald ran the story back in mid-March regarding the RSA (UK) report on ABC classification and NZH asked the question Your Views: Have drugs been wrongly demonised? the public response was overwhelmingly in agreement that prohibition has served us badly, but few readers and commenter's (if any) actually appeared to have read the RSA and Medical Research Council reports which explained WHY the ABC classification is both bereft of reason AND counter productive. These were not populist vote catching 'tough on crime' opinions, but rather the balanced, reasoned conclusions drawn from the social record distilled by an august body of experts in science and philosophy.
While heartwarming to see so many well written arguments by a good sample of Kiwi's in the online version of the NZHerald, I for one, cannot understand why investigative journalists (both print, radio, and television) cannot ask politicians hard questions, instead accepting political double speak surrounding 'illicit' drugs as some form of gospel according to UN Convention.
Here is a classic example
Clark pledges assault on P-fuelled crimes of violence ... very worrying and there are resources going in." Police Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls said yesterday alcohol and drugs were fuelling violent crime. ...
Where are the hard questions like Why is NZ having a problem with prevalence of P (meth)?
There is a paucity of evidence in the medical literature that supports the contention that the pharmacology of meth is inherently violence inducing. Whereas meth black markets are. We have a legacy of drug related murders, the latest is unravelling in Taupo. Which journo is going to be first to ask "How did P cause this?".
While a feel a certain sadness for the victim, his family, I equally feel the same for the family of the person charged with murder. We have no idea what happened... it may have been a Mexican stand-off in which case the outcome could have been the other way round, but as we all know.. in an illicit market, there are no lawyers. There is no dispute resolution process.
But there is one victim not accounted for here... and that is us. We ALL pay for this mess. It was, as were many other drug related murders and bashings these past 40 years, entirely avoidable.
There is little that can be said for the current prohibitionary model that is precautionary in principle. The evidence is that prohibition is deviancy amplifying by nature. We owe it to ourselves to come to this understanding. It is the stuff of social capital.