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The Failing War on Drugs

Iran/Contra affair happened in the late 80s. There will be many who do not remember this important part of drug war history -- see Drug fight in Columbia questioned (June, 2001)

The Iran Contra scandal: The proof that the Ronald Reagan administration crushed the Nicaraguan revolution by trading weapons to Iran for money to support the U.S. backed contras. A side story to this was the drug dealing enterprise of Oliver North and others who took advantage of the international flights to bring huge amounts of cocaine into North America using an airstrip in Costa Rica. Documentation for this and other stories of American international bullying can be found at pinknoiz.com.

Gary Webb

Gary Webb's Dark Alliance reports - Cocaine pipeline financed rebels - Evidence points to CIA knowing of high-volume drug network

Remember, this was all happening while Nancy Reagan was building publicity for the "War on Drugs".

... and while you are catching up on the history you missed because it was your childhood, read up on Pinochet also, Noriega, now serving time in U.S. prison. U.S. interests no longer had use for him.

The war on drugs is a war against poor people conducted by a corrupt justice system - - with the consent of the folks it is fighting. But isn't that what war has always been about?

You can't hide from this war. Everyone's family is touched by it. Prohibition doesn't work. Punishment doesn't work. The drugs which infest our streets were put there with full knowledge of governments (which now use an anti-drug stance to gain political advantage) and policing agencies. There are hundreds of Duecks (narcotics cops with histories of manufacturing cases against innocent people) and hardly any Serpicos (Remember Al Pacino's portrayal of the New York cop who did his job and couldn't be bought? -- Yes, it was that long ago!… and they do exist) Millions are dragged into the Criminal Justice System over what is properly a public health issue. inJusticebusters is committed to the just side of this horrific war.


IN MEMORIAM

Sasha Kutz - September 2, 1968 - October 20, 1998

Sasha Kutz

We miss you, Sasha

Marissa Guttormson (September 13, 1982 - January 13, 2001) the drugs that killed you are killing a whole generation of beautiful girls like you.


OFFSITE:

The following is a taken from The Injustice Line, an American site that specializes in exposing hypocrisy in the U.S. Justice System and fighting against the war on drugs.

THE LAW'S VICTIMS IN THE WAR ON DRUGS: Pulitzer prize winners Andrew Schneider and Mary Pat Flaherty 1991 investigative report on Search and Seizure, from The Pittsburgh Press

Stop the Drug War!


U.S. attack on drug laws angers top B.C. judge:

A U.S. government report criticizes the province for lax treatment of drug dealers

The United States should butt out of Canada's judicial business when it comes to drug enforcement and sentencing, B.C.'s top provincial judge said Friday.

Robert Metzger, chief judge of the B.C. provincial court, said the U.S. has more drug problems than any country he knows of, despite tough sentencing, and it has no business criticizing B.C. or Canada for what it considers to be lax treatment of drug dealers.

"I want to say to them. 'Don't talk to me about how to get rid of a drug problem. You hand out long sentences and your jails are full of people, but your problem isn't going away,' " Metzger said. "If I want to listen to anybody, it would be a country that doesn't have a drug problem, and that has solved their drug problem."

Metzger's comments come in the wake of an international narcotics control strategy report issued this week by the U.S. state department's bureau for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.

The report, which assessed drug enforcement and judicial initiatives in Canada, Mexico and Central America, was critical of B.C.'s conviction rate. It said strong efforts by the RCMP and U.S. cooperative agencies are undermined by a Canadian judiciary that often gives more weight to a drug trafficker's rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms than it does to society's needs.

The report cited a Vancouver Sun investigation that showed marijuana growers in Vancouver get lenient sentences -- sometimes serving no time and paying no fines.

"Canadian press reports indicate that only about 20 per cent of those convicted of growing marijuana in Vancouver receive jail terms, and that British Columbia has the highest rates of acquittal rates in the nation," the report said.

It cited the case of a convicted criminal who was deported after assisting two Columbian drug traffickers to escape from jail, then had to be returned to Canada at taxpayers' expense to pursue his request for refugee status.

Metzger was not impressed with the report, saying it seeks to imprint on other countries a faulty U.S. law enforcement system that engages in passive racial and social discrimination.

"The other thing that makes me angry about U.S. criticism is that they have a horrendously disproportionate number of black and poor people in their jails," he said. "They don't seem to have a grip on their problems; I don't see why they should be criticizing us for ours.

"Their whole thing is based on the false premise that if you hand out increased penalties, you will see a reduction in crime. But we know that isn't the case. If that was, they wouldn't have the highest concentration of prison population in the world."

In an October, 1999, report, The Vancouver Sun examined 112 court cases that showed only one in five people convicted of growing marijuana was sentenced to jail. One in four served no jail time and paid no fine. Those who were fined paid an average of $2,700, sparking comments from RCMP Corporal Grant Learned that Lower Mainland police forces were frustrated with the courts because of the lenient sentences.

Canada, which has more than one million drug users, 25 per cent of them cocaine addicts, has adopted a three-pronged approach of education, treatment and law enforcement.

According to 1996 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 19,000 people were convicted in U.S. district courts of drug offences that year. Of those, 16,492 were sent to jail for an average of 82 months.

Metzger said judges are limited in the kind and range of sentences they can hand out. The B.C. Court of Appeal has set out sentencing ranges, and counsel for the defendants and the Crown make presentations on what they consider to be a fair sentence in each case, he said.

Deviating beyond those ranges for "ordinary" drug cases would only encourage appeals, he said.

Metzger said he's not planning to do anything about the U.S. report except to bring it to the attention of his judicial colleagues. He said any political action would have to come from the provincial and federal governments.

B.C.'s new Attorney-General Andrew Petter didn't want to comment about the U.S. report, but his staff pointed out B.C. has complained in the past to both the U.S. and Ottawa about the lack of tough sentences.

In 1997, a federal-provincial-territorial meeting of attorneys general resulted in an agreement on a new "comprehensive drug strategy," including provision for longer mandatory sentences. But to date, that agreement has not evolved into changes to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan was not available for comment, and calls to the U.S. State Department were not returned.


Quebec brands U.S. State as International Outlaw

In Michigan, for delivery of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, or conspiracy to deliver cocaine, the following penalties apply:

under 50 grams - up to 20 years, minimum of 1 year
50-224 grams - up to 20 years, minimum of 10-20 years
225-649 grams - 20-30 years
over 650 grams - life in prison without possibility of parole
(one ounce is 28 grams, one pound is 454 grams, one kilogram is 1000 grams)

To give you some idea of the amounts involved, get 2 normal 1 pound boxes of baking soda, and empty them. Fill one box all the way up with cocaine, and fill the second box halfway up with cocaine. You have just committed a crime as serious as premeditated, first degree murder. If caught, you will never be released from prison.

On the other hand, if you filled the boxes with cyanide, enough to kill hundreds of thousands of people, your actions would be completely legal.

This law was advertised as being designed to get "drug kingpins." Cocaine is entering the U.S. by the boatload. But 650 grams is not a boatload, or a truckload, or even a suitcase-full. It is an amount so small you can hold it in one hand.

A person prosecuted under federal law for 650 grams of cocaine, if a first offender, could receive a sentence of 5 years 3 months to 6 years 6 months. If he got credit for pleading guilty and accepting responsibility for his offense, the penalty would go down to between 4 years 3 months to 5 years 3 months.

How can it possibly be that 6½ years, and life in prison without parole, are both appropriate punishments for the same person committing the same crime?

In USA v Jamieson, decided August 25, 1994 by Quebec Court of Appeals, the Court refused to extradite Daniel Jamieson to Michigan to face the mandatory 20 to 30 year sentence for a 225-649 gram case. The Court held that this penalty under the Michigan drug laws violates "the principles of fundamental justice within the meaning of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

The Court held that Michigan drug laws are "not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice," and that they are "shocking and fundamentally unacceptable to our society." The Court went on to hold that punishment under Michigan drug laws is "so excessive as to outrage standards of decency" and "so grossly disproportionate as to outrage the public conscience or be degrading to human dignity." The Court concluded that punishment under Michigan drug laws "offends the Canadian sense of what is fair, right and just." They held that anyone facing these laws will find a safe haven if they can get to Quebec.

So, Michigan stands condemned as an international outlaw by our neighbors to the north and, indeed, by several US Supreme Court justices. In Harmelin v Michigan, 501 US 957 (1991), 4 justices of US Supreme Court ruled that Michigan's drug law penalties were unconstitutional because they constituted cruel and unusual punishment for being excessive. However, it took 5 votes to win.

[Note: The Canadian federal government, more interested in good relations with the US Government than it is in justice, has recently repudiated the position of Quebec, so Quebec no longer stands as a safe haven.]

Drug Sentences under Prohibition

These sentencing practices are similar to those found in Michigan under Prohibition. In 1927, Fred Palm was sentenced to life in prison for 14 ounces of gin. In 1928, Etta Mae Miller was sentenced to life in prison for 2 pints of whiskey. These are reported cases from the Michigan Supreme Court, which reports considerably less than 1% of all criminal cases in the state.

To read more about the insanity of Prohibition, and see how little has changed in 80 years, go to The Injustice Line

There are now 198 people (as of November 1995) serving life in prison without parole for drug charges in Michigan, with thousands more serving sentences of 10 years and up.

Under Michigan law, a person would get more time for handing you a packet of cocaine than for deliberately poking out your eyes with a stick, even if they left you blind and helpless for the rest of your life.

Under Michigan law, a person could go into an elementary school classroom, rape every student, and cut off their arms with an axe, without even the possibility of receiving this high a sentence.

My solution

The purpose of these sentences is to ruin people's lives with an eternity of confinement in a cell. Yet, we are also told that using cocaine can ruin your life. Why not ruin the lives of cocaine "criminals" by allowing them to use all the cocaine they want?

Here's another possible solution. Why not try convincing people not to use drugs?

Obviously, neither of these solutions will be tried anytime soon, because government policy is based on the theory that if we only had enough police, guns, handcuffs, bullets and prison cells, we could stamp out the people's desire to be free. If we had a system based on freedom and personal choice, those pesky citizens would insist on doing things their own way, instead of doing the bidding of the government.

Would the government voluntarily give up its power to run the lives of its citizens? Not likely. As philosopher Edmund Burke once said: "Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue."

And so we must live the life described by Abraham Lincoln, in a speech given May 19, 1856:

"We cannot be free men if this is, by our national choice, to be a land of slavery. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

Activities Section

1. Become a Baking Soda Kingpin

Get two one pound boxes of baking soda. Hold them in one hand. You now possess 908 grams of baking soda, in other words, more than 650 grams. Under Michigan standards, you are a baking soda kingpin. Enjoy.

2. Conduct a Countdown

Sit alone in a small room, with no radio, TV, telephone, smartphone, or window. Count "one". Wait an hour. Count "two". Do this once an hour, until you reach 87,600. You have just counted down the minimum sentence for less than 2 ounces of cocaine. Bonus activities: A. Continue counting until you reach 175,200. You have just counted down the maximum sentence for less than 2 ounces of cocaine. B. Continue counting until you reach 350,400. You have just counted down the maximum sentence for the two crimes of possessing less than 2 ounces of cocaine, and conspiring to possess less than 2 ounces of cocaine. That's right. The sentences for possessing or delivering cocaine, and the sentences for conspiring to do it, are served consecutively.

3. Take a Survey

Watch the movie The Santa Clause, or the TV show Home Improvement. Declare loudly to the audience that star Tim Allen is a dangerous criminal who should be locked up in prison for life. See how many agree with you. (Allen was arrested under Michigan's 650 gram law, but escaped with 2 years because of his great charm, and willingness to snitch on his best friend.) Bonus activities: A. If no one agrees with you, ask if his codefendant Mike Ward belongs in prison for life. B. Ask if someone (Mike Toler) who allegedly supplied drugs in California to a California resident should be serving 2 consecutive life sentences for drugs and drug conspiracy in Michigan, a state he had never been to C. Ask whether Toler's codefendant Mindy Brass, who had also never been to Michigan, is getting off too easy by getting only a single Michigan life sentence.


Life in Prison for $80 of marijuana

Trial of Robert Cotner filled with irregularities

Police criminals get slap on the wrist for far more serious crimes

On March 18, 1991, Robert E. Cotner sold his mobile home to a police informant. He moved to his Mother's home 15 miles away. On July 20, 1991, Creek County, Okla. Deputy Sheriff Fugate called him at his Mother's home in Bixby, Okla. and asked him to return to the mobile home. He went and was arrested, but wasn't charged for 17 days later. About 8 months later he went to trial.

The DA that prosecuted him was under indictment by a federal grand jury for perjury for illegally selling automatic weapons with silencers from his office, the Judge's niece sat on the jury, a neighbor of the Judge sat on the jury, the defense attorney's brother worked for the DA's office. The Judge had worked in the DA's office for 26 years.

Fugate was found by District Court Judge Thompson to have committed perjury against Mr. Cotner, but this evidence was with held from the jury. The Sheriff had to resign his position because he had made illegal traffic stops and conducted illegal strip searches of women, to whom Creek County had to make restitution.

The jury, DA, Judge, Deputy Sheriff all had lunch and dinner at the local diner, and were overheard to say that they were to find Mr. Cotner guilty. Mr. Cotner was found guilty and sentenced to 4 LIFE sentences, running back to back. #1 LIFE for $80.00 marijuana, (which in trial was stated to be unsmokable or unfit for human consumption), #2 LIFE for $40.00 worth of Meth., #3 LIFE for NO TAX STAMP for the marijuana, #4 LIFE for a non-working wall replica of a gun, which the police informant confessed was hers.

Of the two cars that were on the warrant at the place in question, where Robert Cotner no longer lived, one belonged to the police informant and the other to a women who was married to a drug dealer from Tulsa, Okla.

One deputy that testified against Robert at trial got in trouble himself, but had much better results. 1½ years after Robert went to prison, he pleaded guilty to tampering with the evidence, embezzling evidence, and stealing evidence from the police property room, from Cotner's case and 31 other cases. He received 15 years, suspended 12 years and only served 60 days in the State Prison before he was paroled.

The police informant confessed to the fact that all of the drugs were hers and her friends, but all charges were dropped against her, and the police admitted withholding evidence they had that proved Cotner's innocence.

Robert filed suit against the Creek County police dept. 7 months before he went to trial, about the police stealing his belongings. There were 7 items on the original search warrant and the police took over 277 items! None of the items were introduced as evidence against Cotner and it was stated on April 7th, 1992, in trial transcript, that he was not being prosecuted because he was guilty, but because he had a suit filed against the police department to try to get his property back from the police, because they had stolen it from him. Two weeks after Robert went to prison, the sheriff's dept. conducted another search and took many more items. None to this day have ever been returned to him, even though the police were ordered to by the courts, because they had been stolen from the police property room.

We have sworn affidavits, court documents newspaper articles, and his trial transcript to prove his innocence and the State's admission that he is not guilty. All drugs and the gun were found 15 miles away from where Cotner was living, and they were all removed 4 hours before he was ever called to come over and talk with them. Is there anyone that can help us? Cotner has his case in the Federal Court on appeal where it is uncontested.


Steve and Michele Kubby arrested in California

In the latest effort to thumb their nose at the will of the people and California law officials arrested Steve and Michele Kubby for marijuana possession and the usual bogus related charges, including conspiracy, despite the fact that both are bona fide medical marijuana users and that Steve Kubby was the Libertarian candidate for Governor of California in the recent elections. Libertarian chair Mark Hinkle issued a press release condemning the action. Full story here

A Kubby Legal Defense Fund has been set up. Those wishing to contribute to what may be a precedent setting case please send checks in any amount to

KUBBY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND c/o Dale Wood Attornet at Law 10833 Donner Pass Road Truckee CA 96161 (530) 587-3450