Letter to the Independent on Sunday (UK)
23 January 2010
By Damon Barrett, [International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy
Hugh O’Shaughnessy notes recent shifts in the American policy on drugs, but there is an ongoing move towards greater securitisation of the drug “threat” and fusion with the “war on terror” (”US waves white flag in disastrous ‘war on drugs’”, 17 January).
The New York Times reports that the US attorney for Manhattan is to combine the units tasked with prosecuting international narcotics and terrorism cases.
Last summer, it was revealed that the US had placed 50 drug traffickers suspected of financing the Taliban on a “kill list“, equating smugglers with insurgents. And while some US agents may have been removed from Latin America, US-funded aerial fumigation of coca continues, with spray planes accompanied by military helicopters.
While the US may have taken the lead in the drug war, it has taken the complicity of almost every state on the planet to carry it off. In country after country, people who are drug dependent are routinely denied treatment, to fight the same “threat” that justifies, in some places, torture, imprisonment without trial, and executions. The macro-economic scale of the drug trade – the basis of its ability to pose a global threat – is an unavoidable function of prohibition. The global fight against drugs goes on. But the enemy is not “invisible”. We are at war with ourselves.
[International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy