Re: War On Drugs Targets Tech

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sun Feb 04 2001 - 04:30:46 MST

On Sat, Feb 03, 2001 at 10:17:05PM -0800, John Marlow wrote:
> I repeat:
> 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.

You missed a subsidiary use for it: enforcement and expansion of
domestic surveillance facilities into the international arena,
and a useful stick with which to beat foreign governments into
cooperation. In the absence of a credible superpower threat, it's
interesting to see NSA and CIA attempts to justify their existence
by offering support for the war on drugs: an identical phenomenon
is occuring in the UK (with GCHQ and SIS turning their attention to
drug smuggling). And then there was the invasion of Panama and the
arrest of General Noriega on drugs charges -- a rather interesting
way of dealing with a foreign head of state, that.

Basically, the WOD is facilitating the construction of a planet-wide
policing and surveillance system that can bypass local legal standards
and bring an astonishing amount of force to bear.

(Any analogies to The Emergency in Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky"
will be applauded.)

-- Charlie

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