ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICIES IN EUROPE
UNTIL THE END OF THE PROHIBITIONIST WORLD
In Italy the war on drugs has been quite effective in brutalizing some sectors of the population, including many in our prisons and penal system. The Fini-Giovanardi law of 2006 has abolished any policy difference between heroin and cannabis, and the latter has since become the main targeted substance, accounting for 70% of all drug prosecutions. The horror pictures of some of the victims of abuses have been circulating in the world’s media, and the plight of families of the victims now constitutes an important part of our political work. Moreover, our jail system is about to explode and large areas of Italy are under the influence of criminal organizations.
These are probably the reasons why Italian drug policy reform groups consider the 55th annual meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (to be held from the 10th to the 16th of March, 2012 in Vienna) as the starting point of a voyage that will take humankind towards the end of the prohibitionist world.
We can now see that the people who don’t like the ominous trends in our world are precisely the ones who will be able to change it, and that this critical mass can become a majority. Last but not least, injustice now has a name and an address and that’s the Vienna International Center in the Wagramstrasse. Democracy in drug policy has been surrendered by most public institutions including the European Union and the United Nations. Drug policy has been turned into an evidence free area.
My country has been recently been affected by a sort of coup d’etat that has hollowed out our democracy, putting our country under the surveillance of the European Central Bank and creating a regime of shock economy controlled by prohibition, big pharma, the mafia, the Vatican and other big powers.
Italy seems totally incapable of solving many dilemmas like the overfilled prisons. The executive doesn’t want to normalize the drug markets, among the richest in Europe. A measure that, according to prof. Marco Rossi of the University of Rome, could have incredible benefits for our budget. But such an action might sound too reasonable since the government has even decided to skip the idea of taxing tens of thousands of profit oriented catholic institutions while large numbers of prisoners of the war on drugs are held in cells with less than 3,5 square meters at their disposal, only half of the legally required space they are entitled to.
Fear is one of the most powerful weapons of the system. In Italy it has become a “virus that produces sickness and profits” thanks to the 4000 new HIV positive cases. This presents a golden opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry, denounced by dr. Agnoletto of the Italian Aids League Lila who told the press that harm reduction measures have been ignored for the sake of profits.
It is no wonder that many NGOs are involved in these affairs and that international power groups have made possible the nomination of Mr. Andrea Riccardi as Minister for Integration and Drug Policies in the new Italian government. He seems to fit totally in this entanglement as founder of the Community of St. Egidio, the informal seat of the United Nations in Rome and internationally known for his strong involvement in Africa.
His company launched the program Dream, Drug Enhancement Against Malaria and Malnutrition, whose center in Malawi carries out male circumcision on the children. Their policy of male circumcision claims to have reduced by 60% the risk of transmission of HIV infection because “to bring children to circumcision today means to have significantly fewer people who will become infected by HIV tomorrow.”
Everybody knows as a matter of fact that most strategical means of prevention are ignored on purpose by the Catholic Church and that yearly 5,8 million people become HIV positive or die of Aids also because of the efforts by the Catholic Church to keep hindering any step apt to improve sex and drug education.
According to Dream, circumcision represents “another piece of the jigsaw to support the dream of raising a healthy generation in Africa and build a future in which HIV infection is defeated.” It sounds just like the other faith assisted programs supported by the Community at high level meetings of the UN.
The interesting thing is that the proclaimed enhancement or pushing of pharmaceutical drugs goes along with a mix of “armed assistance”. According to the daily ‘Il Manifesto’, Mr Riccardi has ”ever since succeeded into combining weapons and solidarity making it possible that the Italian manufactures can sell huge amounts of weapons to the same countries involved in the humanitarian aid actions”. That strategy of mutual support enables the war industry to proudly announce that “solidarity has no border. Whether geographical, nor political nor religious”.
The project is also financed by the main banks involved the arm trade while Dream is also sponsored by Glaxo, Boehringer, Merck and Farmindustria. All of them belong to the 39 companies that sued South Africa when encouraging the local companies to produce low cost Aids medicines.
The case of Italy and its relationship to Africa shows how the war on drugs is connected with its so called unattended consequences with the many interests of the international cooperation, big pharma and the war industry to increase sufference and pain and not to reduce the causes.
By: Enrico Fletzer