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Category Archives: War On Drugs

Philippine citizens protest Duterte’s drug war on anniversary of dictatorship overthrow – Deutsche Welle

Posted: February 25, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Thousands of people protested on Saturdayagainst Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly war on drugs after the arrest of his most high-profile critic.

Duterte’s political opponents and left-wing activists transformed a traditional celebration of a “People Power” uprising against dictatorship three decades ago in Manila into a protest march condemning his war on drugs.

The group warned thatDuterte’s authoritarian rule could return the country to a dictatorship, demanding an end to the extrajudicial killings thathave claimed more than 7,700 lives in the past seven months.

The military-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos was toppled in a bloodless “People Power” revolution 31 years ago to the day.

“We are taking the matter seriously. We are warning our people about the threat of rising fascism,” Bonifacio Ilagan, who led one of the protests, told news agency AFP.

Protesters warned of a return to conditions under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos

Senator imprisoned

The protesters gathered outside the national police headquarters, where opposition figure Senator Leila de Lima was detained two days ago on charges that she took bribes from imprisoned drug traffickers.

“There is a president who is threatening to reimpose martial law and openly support the killings of thousands of people,” de Lima said in a message from her detention cell a day after she was arrested.

“The grim truth: In the last seven months under Duterte, there were more deaths compared to the 14 years of martial law under the Marcos regime.”

The former human rights commissioner said her arrest was an effort to silence her and an act of revenge for her decade-long efforts to expose Duterte as the leader of death squads during his time as mayor of the southern city of Davao.

“President Duterte is effectively expanding his drug war from the urban poor to the legislative branch of government,” Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Protester Ilagan, a playwright who suffered horrific torture over two years in a police prison under Marcos’ martial rule in the 1970s, cited to AFP the “culture of impunity” engendered by Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown. More rallies in support of de Lima were organized for later in the evening.

aw/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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Opponent of Duterte’s drugs war arrested in Philippines on drug charges – Reuters

Posted: February 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm

MANILA A Philippine senator and staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs was in police custody on Friday following her high-profile arrest for drugs offences that she described as a vendetta that would fail to silence her.

Leila de Lima, who last year led a Senate probe into alleged extrajudicial killings during Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, said the arrest was payback for taking on a president who had acted like a dictator.

On Tuesday she called Duterte a “sociopathic serial killer” who had a “criminal mind”.

“The truth will come out at the right time,” de Lima told reporters outside the Senate office where she spent the night, moments before law enforcers marshaled her into a waiting van.

De Lima, her former driver and bodyguard and a former prison official were ordered arrested after a judge found merit in criminal charges filed by the justice ministry last week.

She faces two more drug-related charges in the same court and described the cases as “all lies”.

Bail is not permitted under the charges and if found guilty, de Lima faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a close ally of Duterte, described her arrest as a victory of the war against drugs, adding “no one is above the law, not even a senator”.

But de Lima’s supporters quickly came to her defense, with Vice President Leni Robredo describing the arrest as “political harassment”.

Senator Paulo Benigno Aquino, a cousin of former president Benigno Aquino, called it “a concern for anyone who will dissent on any of the policies of this administration”.

The criminal complaint alleged de Lima received 5 million pesos ($99,850) from a former prison official when she was justice minister between 2010 and 2016.

The allegations she was in cahoots with drugs gangs surfaced when she led a Senate investigation, which probed alleged summary executions during Duterte’s bloody drugs war and a pattern of similar killings over the 22 years in which he was mayor of Davao City.

That investigation found no proof of wrongdoing by Duterte, who disparaged de Lima almost daily in televised speeches in which he made lurid allegations about her private life and even suggested she hang herself.

She filed a complaint with Supreme Court to try to muzzle the president.

At the heart of de Lima’s campaign has been the 7,700 deaths since Duterte took office eight months ago, more than 2,500 in police operations. The cause of many of the other deaths remain in dispute and human rights groups believe many of them were extrajudicial killings.

De Lima was removed as head of her Senate probe by Duterte’s allies and days later came under investigation herself in a congressional inquiry in which witnesses, several of them convicts, identified her as a key player in the narcotics trade.

Phelim Kine of the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Duterte had “effectively expanded his ‘drug war’ from the urban poor to the legislative branch” by arresting de Lima.

(Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato and Martin Petty; Editing by Nick Macfie)

BEIRUT/ISTANBUL An Islamic State car bomb killed more than 50 people on Friday in a Syrian village held by rebels, a war monitor said, a day after the jihadist group was driven from its last stronghold in the area.

WASHINGTON A proposal the Trump administration is considering to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization has stalled over warnings from defense and intelligence officials that the move could backfire, according to officials familiar with the matter.

KUALA LUMPUR VX nerve agent, a chemical the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction, was used to kill the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a bizarre murder in Malaysia last week, police said on Friday.

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Opponent of Duterte’s drugs war arrested in Philippines on drug charges – Reuters

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Trump administration signals new war on drugs, crackdown on marijuana use – ThinkProgress

Posted: at 7:03 pm

During his press conference on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked whether the Trump administration plans to crack down on states like Colorado and Washington that have legalized recreational marijuana.

Spicer signaled that the Trump administration will break with the Obama administrations policy of not enforcing federal law criminalizing marijuana in states that have taken a different approach.

There are two distinct issues heremedical marijuana and recreational marijuana, Spicer replied. Medical marijuanaIve said before that the president understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs including medical marijuana can bring them.

But when the topic turned to recreational marijuana, Spicer conflated it with opioids and indicated the Trump administration is equally opposed to people using it.

When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in some the states in the country, the last we should be doing is encouraging people, Spicer said. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature. So, I think there is a big difference between medial marijuana which the states where its allowed have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana and thats a very, very different subject.

In response to a follow-up question about whether the federal goverment [is] going to take some sort of action around this recreational marijuana in some of these states, Spicer said that while its a question for the Department of Justice, he does think you will see greater enforcement of it.

Spicers comments dont bode well for those who support relaxing marijuana laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is staunchly anti-marijuanahe said last year that good people dont smoke marijuana and called Obama-era drug policy reforms a tragic mistake.

His comments also represent a break from what Trump said during his campaign, when he said, in terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state.

But the Trump administrations inconsistent interpretation of which issues are states issues and which are federal was on display during other parts of Thursdays news conference.

In a statement sent to ThinkProgress, Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell cited a Quinnipiac University poll that was released Wednesday and shows 71 percent of Americans oppose efforts to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it.

If the administration is looking for ways to become less popular, cracking down on voter-approved marijuana laws would be a great way to do it, Angell said. On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states. With a clear and growing majority of the country now supporting legalization, reneging on his promises would be a political disaster and huge distraction from the rest of the presidents agenda.

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How Rodrigo Duterte’s War On Drugs Looks In Colombia – Worldcrunch

Posted: at 7:02 pm

-OpEd-

BOGOT Any Colombian observing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs might remember our former president Csar Gaviria.

Gaviria, who governed in some of the worst days of our drug violence, is a lightweight compared to Duterte. The highly popular Filipino leader has no qualms about employing language that few presidents would use. He used expletives in describing former U.S. president, Barack Obama, and has said some nasty stuff about the Pope too. Its nice to see our Colombian leaders outdone in brutality for a change.

In spite of my animosity toward Gaviria’s administration, I cannot place him on the same level as Duterte and his program. Gaviria’s war on drugs did not include a brazen call to physically eliminate drug users and small-time dealers as Duterte did in his campaign with frightening results. Amnesty International estimates there are more than 1,000 extrajudicial killings a month in the Philippines.

Inevitably, when you give state agencies carte blanche to kill over and above the established, official targets (which is horrible enough), opportunistic violence proliferates. Recently Filipino police kidnapped, tortured and killed a Korean businessman; policemen had apparently sought to involve him in drug dealing in order to extort money from him.

Csar Gaviria in Mexico, in 2015 Photo: Ivan Stephens/El Universal/ZUMA

There is another way to view this. The Philippines has a different culture to Colombia and half its GDP per person. It has suffered lengthy periods of internal fighting and faces two significant insurgencies: one of Maoist guerrilla groups and the other Islamist (or an amalgam of radical Islamist groups). The government is talking to both.

Earlier this year when Duterte began formal dialogue with the Maoists, the first point of discussion was farming and land, much like in Colombia. But Duterte was prepared to take his reformist agenda much further than his Colombian counterparts have in their wildest moments of generosity. In the Philippines, the government is considering a rearrangement of the countryside as a key component of long-term national growth.

This suggests that the affairs of distant countries may not be as different as they seem from afar. Peacemaking does not need a dogmatic outlook but it needs basic understanding. This goes further in resolving, or at least improving the solutions to, our problems.

The sociologist Tzvetan Todorov, who recently died in Paris, understood this. He rejected the now prevalent idea that anything attractive must be right and true. For Todorov, heroes are not people who sacrifice their lives but those who can recover other people’s fragile, passing humanity. I couldn’t agree more.

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Palace: Arrest order vs De Lima a ‘fulfillment’ of war on drugs – Inquirer.net

Posted: February 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Malacaang welcomed Thursday the issuance of an arrest order against Sen. Leila de Lima as a fulfillment of President Rodrigo Dutertes war on drugs.

The issuance of a warrant for the arrest of Senator De Lima is a major step forward in the administrations anti-drug war, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

It is a fulfillment of the campaign promise of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to rid Philippine society of drugs, crime and corruption, Abella added.

The Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued on Thursday de Limas arrest warrant over charges of illegal drugs filed aginst her.

Abella said the arrest of de Lima demonstrates the Presidents strong resolve to fight pushers, peddlers and their protectors and that his government will not yield until the last pusher and trader are out of the streets victimizing the Filipino youth.

This we owe to the Filipino youth and the future generations for whom we build a nation worthy of Filipinos; and Filipinos worthy of the nation, he said.

De Lima is facing drug charges in connection with her alleged involvement in illegal drugs when she was still a justice secretary. /atm

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War on drugs: a failing battle against suffering – The Suffolk Journal

Posted: at 1:45 pm

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For those of us seriously concerned with the ever-failing war on drugs, Donalds Trumps presidency is proving to be as regressive on social and public health reforms as anyone thought, having taken the wrong step on yet another key issue.

Earlier this month, Trump passed three executive orders related to crime and justice, which bring to mind images of the Nixon and Reagan administrations deeply misguided rhetoric about drugs in this country. The outcomes of those policies were overpopulated prisons, racial discrimination, and most ironically no decrease in our countrys drug problems. Trump seems to be under the impression that by taking a tougher stance on drugs which is precisely what led to our mess in the first place he can win a war that nobody else could until now.

If there was anything to feel at ease about during Trumps campaign, it was his uncharacteristic sensibility on certain drug-related issues. Unfortunately, his very characteristic dishonesty that is driving his actual actions. His campaign touted leaving marijuana laws up to the states, focusing on treatment for drug users, and increasing access to overdose reversal medicine. Unsurprisingly, the executive orders made no mention of any of these campaign promises. In fact, the slow but visible progress made under the Obama administration in reversing some of the damage done by decades of failing policy is soon to be lost.

It has become increasingly clear that our current criminal justice system needs to be reformed. Our country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and most people imprisoned for drug crimes are nonviolent offenders, not to mention disproportionately minorities. Instead of reform, these executive orders only double down on issues like police force and harsh minimum sentencing.

Trump wants to see if building a wall or other ways of getting tough on the supply-side of the illegal drug trade will improve the drug problems in America. Luckily, history has shown us whether that approach works; the experiment has already been done, and it failed by virtually every metric. It would be a shame if we didnt learn from our mistakes.

Putting all of our resources into hurting the supply will do nothing to mend the problem. People have been using drugs for thousands of years, not to mention currently legal ones such as alcohol, and there is no reason to think this demand will change. As history and basic economics have shown with alcohol, amphetamines, marijuana, and everything else: if there is a demand, someone will emerge to supply it, regardless of government efforts. A study by the British Medical Journal concluded that despite the billions of dollars spent globally on the drug war, drugs have become more widely available, cheaper, and purer.

Although it seems to make sense on the surface, the drug problem cannot be stopped by attempting to cut off the supply. Cutting off supply permanently is simply impossible. The key is to focus on the demand side, helping addicts with treatment and promoting truthful drug education and harm-reduction. Arresting and punishing drug users makes very little sense if our goal is to help them. Trumps rhetoric about drugs poisoning our youth is touching, so the question is, why does he want to put them in jail?

These actions go against the belief of public health experts, economists, and most American citizens who believed the war on drugs has failed. For a president that brags about smart people and experts, he sure doesnt seem to be listening to them.

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War on drugs: a failing battle against suffering – The Suffolk Journal

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Ureport: WAR ON DRUGS NOT ABOUT PERSONAL FIGHTS – The … – The Standard (press release)

Posted: at 1:45 pm

Claims that the ongoing fight against drug abuse is aimed at harassing Opposition leaders are misleading.

The fight against drug abuse and the warlords behind the cartels has been ongoing during previous regimes and did not begin with the Jubilee regime.

The fact the Jubilee administration, under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, has taken the war a notch higher is a clear indication that they care about this country.

But some leaders have described the war as a personal vendetta.

It is clear that the crackdown against drug warlords has been fought by past regimes, including those led by retired presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki.

Personalities implicated in the drug cartels have been named and are in the public domain.

The fact that Uhuru and his deputy have in recent months made several visits to the coastal region, which is believed to be the gateway for drug dealers, is a clear indication that they are out to fight the vice.

The past cannot solve the future and credit should be given where it is due.

The fight against drugs is not the work of the Jubilee administration alone but involves a combined effort of leaders and individuals who mean well for the country.

Zero tolerance to drugs requires the support of all. It is not about politics and witch-hunting but what is good for society, especially youths, who are the most affected.

Past leaders, including former vice president, the late George Saitoti, played their role and the current administration is also keen to achieve its mandate of not only ensuring that the country is drug-free but also that poverty is eradicated as it is underlying factor for drug abuse.

What is required in the ongoing war against drugs is constructive criticism rather than personal vendettas against the Jubilee leaders.

This is a citizen journalism website. The views expressed here do not represent that of the Standard Group Ltd. Read the terms and conditions

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Ureport: WAR ON DRUGS NOT ABOUT PERSONAL FIGHTS – The … – The Standard (press release)

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Shots fired in war on drugs – Commonwealth Journal’s History

Posted: at 1:45 pm

Local law enforcement capped a particularly busy few days with a round up aimed at some 30 suspected drug traffickers.

Officers from various agencies divided into teams and fanned out across the county early Tuesday morning to serve both grand jury indictments and district court warrants pertaining to a variety drug offenses. The majority of offenses were for Trafficking in Controlled Substances including heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone, methadone, suboxone and hydrocodone.

Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck noted that officers dont find many meth labs anymore with passage of legislation that makes it more difficult to obtain some of the precursors but that crystal meth is still being transported in mainly from Mexico.

If we keep doing this, hopefully, theyll get the message, Sheriff Speck said of the roundups deterring the local drug trade. He also expressed a hope that staying vigilant can prevent overdose increases locally as has been reported recently in Madison and Jefferson counties.

More than half of the suspects being sought were arrested during the roundup and processed at the Hal Rogers Fire Training Center before being lodged in the Pulaski County Detention Center by deputy jailers. They include:

Kenneth Gill, 35, Tateville first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (Methamphetamine) (Indictment)

Paige Flynn, 49, Bronston first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Indictment)

Barry Bray, 37, Burnside first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense Drug (unspecified) (Arrested)

Jerry Phillips, 61, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (Indictment)

Brenda Sammons, 45, Science Hill first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (unspecified) (Arrested)

Chelsea McGowan, 26, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense

Jason Lewis, 34, Burnside first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Theresa Sweeney, 48, Burnside second-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (Arrested)

David Mahaffey, 43, Nancy second-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (3 Counts) (Arrested)

Jesse Morgan, 38, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Shannon Lockard, 42, Bronston first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested)

Kensey Jones, 25, Monticello first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (heroin) (Arrested)

Robert Coffey, 34, Nancy first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (heroin) (Arrested)

Greg Marlow, 56, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (3 Counts) (Arrested)

Cheri Wilson, 42, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (drug unspecified) (Arrested)

Joseph Meeks, 28, Somerset first-degree Trafficking in a Controlled Substance, 1st Offense (methamphetamine) (Arrested).

Two other arrests were made that were not part of the initial roundup list. Samantha Henson, 47, of Somerset, was charged with Violation of Condition of Release. Joshua Wilson, 29, of Somerset, was charged with Failure to Appear.

Sheriff Speck anticipates more arrests will come within the next 48 hours.

PCSO was assisted by several law enforcement agencies including the Somerset Police Department, the Kentucky State Police, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force, the Burnside Police Department, the Ferguson Police Department, the Eubank Police Department, the Science Hill Police Department, and 1st District Constable, Danny Weddle.

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Philippines to defend Duterte’s drug war at UN rights body – Reuters

Posted: at 1:45 pm

MANILA The Philippine foreign minister on Thursday said he would tell a United Nations rights body that the killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs were not state-sponsored.

More than 7,700 people have been killed since Duterte unleashed the drugs war in June, about 2,500 in what police say are shootouts during raids and sting operations.

Most of the rest are under investigation and activists believe many were extrajudicial killings. Police blame the killings on vigilante groups over which they have no control.

Perfecto Yasay said he would address the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, comprised of 47 nations, during a session set to run from Monday until March 24.

“Our justice system does not tolerate violations of human rights, does not tolerate any state-sponsored extrajudicial killings,” Yasay told reporters. “That’s the truth.”

Last month, Duterte dismantled police anti-drug units after a South Korean businessman was killed inside the national police headquarters, but vowed to forge ahead with his war on drugs until the last day of his term.

“Divisive fear-mongering” has become a dangerous force in the world, the secretary general of rights group Amnesty International, Salil Shetty, said in a statement this week.

He described leaders like Duterte, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people”.

(Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia has requested Interpol to put an alert out to apprehend four North Korean suspects in the murder of the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Malaysia’s police chief said on Thursday.

MEXICO CITY Mexico will relay its anger to senior U.S. officials on Thursday about a bid by President Donald Trump to deport non-Mexican illegal migrants south across the border, the latest point of tension between the two neighbors.

GENEVA Syrian peace talks in Geneva resumed on Thursday after breaking down 10 months ago as the battle for Aleppo escalated, with the U.N. mediator hoping to corral the warring sides into a rare face-to-face meeting.

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Our Aggressive "War on Drugs" Is Not Actually About Drugs – AlterNet

Posted: February 22, 2017 at 4:45 am

Our Aggressive "War on Drugs" Is Not Actually About Drugs
AlterNet
In his address to the Nobel Committee, suggested that The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally orperhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined. It is time to change our strategy." The

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