Re: War On Drugs Targets Tech

From: John Marlow (
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 23:17:05 MST

I repeat:

On 29 Jan 2001, at 0:41, John Marlow wrote:

Huge waste of resources--but, hey, the Drug War is not about drugs;
if it was it would be called off as the multibillion-dollar fiasco it
is. The Drug War is successful at only one thing--arguably its only
true purpose: Reduction/elimination of citizen rights in the United
States and simultaneous expansion of governmental police powers.
Thus, it will continue indefinitely.


On 3 Feb 2001, at 12:25, Matthew Gaylor wrote:

> War On Drugs Targets Tech > > > Friday February 02 01:16 PM EST > War On Drugs Targets Tech > > By Lewis Z. Koch Special To Interactive Week, > > The new scapegoat for the failed War on Drugs is, of all things, technology. > > The 120-page December 2000 International Crime Threat Assessment report - > created by basically every federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. - is > riddled with examples of how computer technology has advanced the cause of > national and international crime. Modern telecommunications and information > systems, state-of-the-art communications equipment, computers - they're all > to blame. > > What the report fails to squarely acknowledge is that the oil that fuels > organized crime in the U.S. and abroad, including terrorist organizations, > is profit from the trade in illegal drugs bound for the U.S. - billions of > dollars in profit from drug sales that enhance the power of international > crime cartels and their ability to corrupt police, judges and governmental > officials from Tijuana to Tanzania. > > "Through the use of computers, international criminals have an > unprecedented capability to obtain, process and protect information and > sidestep law enforcement investigations," the report stated. "They can use > the interactive capabilities of advanced computers and telecommunications > systems to plot marketing strategies for drugs and other illicit > commodities, to find the most efficient routes and methods for smuggling > and moving money in the financial system and to create false trails for law > enforcement or banking security." > > It goes on to assert: "More threateningly, some criminal organizations > appear to be adept at using technology for counterintelligence purposes and > for tracking law enforcement activities." > > In other words, it's not our flawed drug policy that's to blame - it's new > technology. > > Where All This Began > > In 1937, Harry J. Anslinger, six years into his 30-year-reign as director > at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testified before the U.S. Senate on > behalf of the "Marihuana Tax Act." This delighted the Hearst newspapers, > which, lacking a real war to increase newspaper sales, launched an all-out > battle against demon marijuana. Here are a few excerpts from Anslinger's > sworn testimony. Clearly, our drug policy traces its roots to reasoning > that was as racist and alarmist as it was wildly inaccurate: > > * "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are > Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz > and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana can cause white women > to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others." > > * "The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate > races." > > * "Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, > criminality and death." > > * "Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind." > > With Hearst's backing, Anslinger's war on marijuana escalated to an all-out > war on narcotics. > > Now, after six and a half decades of speeches and hundreds of thousands, > perhaps millions, of arrests, convictions and sentences, what signs point > to even modest success in this multitrillion-dollar war against drugs? Drug > trafficking is the most profitable of all illegal activities, according to > the International Crime Threat Assessment. > > Where Do We Go from Here? > > Instead of rethinking the sanity of our basic policy on drugs, federal > police agencies appear bent on blaming technology - unbreakable encryption > via e-mail, encrypted cellular phones and faster, cheaper networked > computers - for the losses sustained in the drug war. This is clearly > nonsense. > > In 1999 alone, Americans spent an estimated $63 billion on illegal drugs, > according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. And the National > Institute on Drug Abuse stated: "The estimated total cost of drug abuse in > the United States - including health care and lost productivity - was $110 > billion in 1995, the latest year for which data is available." > > In addition, a U.S. Customs Service report said the department will soon be > able to inspect only 1 percent of all goods entering the U.S. > > This is the score after six and a half decades of our drug policy. Do we > have to wait until 2037 to recognize that we lost the Hundred Years' Drug > War? And,! in the meantime, will we see more and more attacks on technology > as the evil ally of narcotics? > > The obvious yet politically difficult solution here is to remove the > profitability factor from drugs. Will there be more casualties? Will more > people succumb to addiction? Maybe. But don't we already have casualties? > You have to employ some tortured logic to rationalize how removing the > profit incentive from drug use could make things any worse than they are. > > Now the Feds want to escalate the war as an excuse for having their way > with encryption. But encryption is an essential business tool and a means > of protecting our privacy. Outlawing it as a scapegoat of our drug policy > is like trembling in fear before the great Wizard of Oz and paying no > attention to the discredited man and his policies behind the curtain. > > Introducing Lewis Koch's "First Annual George Orwell 1984 Award" > > The prize, a 1949 first-edition copy of Orwell's 1984, worth about $100, > will be awarded to the reader who supplies the best tip about an > egregious assault on personal privacy. The judges will be yours truly, plus > Richard M. Smith and other officers of the Privacy Foundation. > > E-mail all suggestions to lzkoch@< All tips > will be held in strictest confidence, so the award might well go to > "anonymous." All suggestions will be fully investigated and thoroughly > checked. > > ************************************************************************** > Subscribe to Freematt's Alerts: Pro-Individual Rights Issues > Send a blank message to: with the words subscribe FA > on the subject line. List is private and moderated (7-30 messages per month) > Matthew Gaylor, 2175 Bayfield Drive, Columbus, OH 43229 > (614) 313-5722 Archived at > ************************************************************************** >

John Marlow

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