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Call Off the Global Drug War- Jimmy Carter

New York Times

OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

By JIMMY CARTER

Published: June 16, 2011

Atlanta

IN an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

These ideas were widely accepted at the time. But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries.

This approach entailed an enormous expenditure of resources and the dependence on police and military forces to reduce the foreign cultivation of marijuana, coca and opium poppy and the production of cocaine and heroin. One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.

The commission’s facts and arguments are persuasive. It recommends that governments be encouraged to experiment “with models of legal regulation of drugs … that are designed to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens.” For effective examples, they can look to policies that have shown promising results in Europe, Australia and other places.

But they probably won’t turn to the United States for advice. Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about anexplosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!

Some of this increase has been caused by mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws. But about three-quarters of new admissions to state prisons are for nonviolent crimes. And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that, in 1980, 10 percent of his state’s budget went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons; in 2010, almost 11 percent went to prisons and only 7.5 percent to higher education.

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Ga. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

To help such men remain valuable members of society, and to make drug policies more humane and more effective, the American government should support and enact the reforms laid out by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on June 17, 2011, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: Call Off the Global Drug War.

On Secular Fatwas

A very balanced article on double standards of “secular” activists! – Moderator

MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR, TNN Apr 22, 2011, 12.00am IST

The disdain with which leading lights of the anti-corruption movement – Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava et al – are publicly threatening to dislodge Anna Hazare from the leadership role because he praised Narendra Modi’s rural development work in Gujarat indicates that the poor man was only being used as a convenient symbol that can be discarded as arbitrarily as he was chosen to lead the ‘movement’.

Human rights activists can retain their credibility only as long as they remain steadfastly non-partisan. To the person killed, it matters little whether the murderous mob was shouting ‘Lal Salaam’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘National Unity’ as did the mobs that massacred over 10,000 Sikhs in north India following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, the secular brigade shows a consistent soft corner for those who kill under the Maoist or communist banner as well as those who verbally profess secularism.

Narendra Modi’s acts of commission and omission during the 2002 riots deserve the strongest of condemnations. Those crimes need to be impartially investigated and the guilty punished. Just as we are proud that our democratic system ensured a fair trial even for a publicly identified ISI-associated terrorist like Kasab, so also we should let the courts take the Gujarat trials to their logical conclusions.

Those who ask for Modi’s head would do well to remember that hordes of Congressmen in Gujarat gleefully joined the BJP and RSS goons who went around massacring innocent people.

The overall track record of the Congress in this matter is no better, if not much worse, than that of the BJP. In addition to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in north India, it masterminded numerous other riots through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. None of the killers of politically engineered riots in Meerut, Malliana, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, HyderabadMumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and scores of others were ever punished. The Congress also injected terrorism into Punjab by its covert support of Bhindranwale’s Khalistani brigades in order to wrest control of the SGPC that presides over well-endowed gurdwaras. It did incalculable harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils by creating a Frankenstein’s monster like the LTTE. The secessionist movement in Kashmir owes its origins and draws sustenance from the Congress party’s penchant for rigging elections to install puppet chief ministers.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-22/edit-page/29459685_1_narendra-modi-riots-congress-leaders

———————————–

Madhu Kishwar is a well known activist who has worked on behalf of street people, minority rights and authored number of books.  See her profile at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhu_Purnima_Kishwar

Sign the Petition: Open letter to Pres., India- Police Brutality at Ramlila Grounds

Date: Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 5:25 PM
Subject: [BSTUSA} Open Letter to the President of India – Sign Up Campaign against Delhi Police’s brutalities on hundreds of thousands peaceful Satyagrathies on June 4th Night at Ram Lila Ground

Dear All,


OM!

Please click the link below for Sign Up Campaign against Delhi Police’s brutalities on hundreds of thousands peaceful Satyagrathies on June 4th Night at Ram Lila Ground and please forward it to as many people as possible.

Letter To President Of India

Smt. Pratibha Patil
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi,
India.

Honorable Smt. Pratibha Patil:

This is to express our vehement condemnation of the merciless use of force on more than a hundred thousand Indian citizens including women and children who were unarmed, sleeping, fasting and exercising only their constitutional democratic rights to draw attention of Government of India by peaceful means to skyrocketing plundering and widespread corruption, during the “Satyagraha” against corruption on Ram Lila grounds in New Delhi on June 4th 2011.

The brutality of the police revisited the atrocities committed by British colonial rulers and emergency rule of Mrs. Indira Gandhi during 1975, which many of us have personally experienced and heard from our parents. Innocent, peaceful Satyagrahis assembled were tear-gassed, beaten up in lathi-charge and trampled by thousands of violent policemen under order from the UPA government.

The state-sponsored violence in a closed compound could have even led to an uncontrollable  stampede resulting in the loss of an enormous numbers of innocent lives. This cannot be Democratic India; this cannot be Mahatma Gandhi’s India; this is not India governed by rule of law and a democratic constitution, ensuring the fundamental rights of all citizens for assembly and peaceful protest and demonstration.

These events have left the people of Indian origin around the globe, particularly here in the USA, shocked and horror-stricken. We are thoroughly embarrassed for our native land, asking in disbelief what indeed is the difference between Indian democracy under UPA leadership and the Chinese dictatorial system, where no peaceful demonstration is allowed and any legitimate criticism against the ruling Communist Party is crushed with brutal violence as in Tiananmen Square.

The irresponsible, callous, fascist and totalitarian attitude of the UPA government is evident from the fact that neither the UPA Chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi nor Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh considers it necessary to provide an explanation and extend an apology to the nation. The prime minister even made a ridiculous statement that there was no other way except use of violence, near the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi himself – a global beacon of non-violence.

This display of naked power clearly appears to be yet another attempt to crush the ever-increasing strength of anti-corruption movements by the masses all over India, unfortunately implying UPA government intense desire to preserve the culture of corruption among their own political ranks and within the thoroughly corrupt bureaucracy they control. These were the actions of people who do not believe in either human rights for their citizens, freedom of speech guaranteed by the Indian Constitution or Indian values.

This is a serious threat to the fundamental rights of our brothers and sisters in India. The entire Diaspora around the globe as NRI, PIO and responsible Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) unequivocally condemn this act by the Government of India. We are convinced now more than ever as to why the UPA government is trying to brutally crush any and all peaceful anti-corruption movements. Irrespective of our political affiliation, we are totally united in expressing our disgust and anger against unconstitutional violation of democracy and human rights.

Sreemati Patil, as the President of India you have the constitutional duty to uphold democratic norms guaranteeing the freedom and inalienable right of all Indian citizens for peaceful assembly and protest, and also to dismiss a corrupt government which has clearly exhibited no desire to curb rampant corruption and hence lost all moral authority to govern the country. We fervently hope that you will restore freedom, human rights and democratic rights of the citizens by dismissing the corrupt UPA government.  People of India deserve a chance to democratically elect new leaders who will root out corruption.

Thank you for your consideration and thoughtfulness.

Sincerely,


IAIF CONDEMNS FORCEFUL EVICTION AND ARREST OF BABA RAMDEV AND TORTURE OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS IN DELHI

INDIAN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS FORUM
Tel: (718) 478-5735/(718) 271-0453
Katarian@aol.com

Narain Kataria in New York

PRESS RELEASE:
ndian Americans are deeply disturbed and shocked at the forceful eviction/arrest of Baba Ram Dev and attack by 5000 policemen on thousands of peaceful Indian citizens in Delhi. They consider it a dangerous attack on democratic setup in India.

Baba Ramdev’s intent behind this movement is to bring back approximately 9 trillion dollars stolen from poor Indians and stashed in foreign countries; and he is determined to reverse this awful trajectory.

The petulant arguments advanced by the corrupt Government for its diabolical action against peaceful volunteers that Baba Ram Dev’s campaign against corruption would have caused a law and order problem does not hold water, and is an insidious attempt to cover up its hidden agenda to crush the movement.

That thousands of people from all over India should respond to the call of Baba Ramdev for removal of corruption from India, and come to Delhi and fast, is symptomatic of a deeper malice afflicting 1.2 billion Indians.

Baba Ramdev’s allegation that there was a sinister conspiracy to kill him has to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The reign of repression let lose against thousands of peaceful men, women and children by 5,000 Delhi policemen should be vehemently condemned with the contempt it deserves. It is a naked fascism as practiced by dictators in Middle Eastern countries.

Recently, India’s home minister, P. Chidambaram, said that more than 900 people, including almost 600 civilians were killed in Maoist-related incidents in 2009.

Since 2005, Islamic terrorist attacks have killed 780 people in India. (http://islamicterrorism.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/islamic-terrorist-attacks-have-killed-780-in-india-since-2005/)

It is a matter of great regret and shame that deadly Islamist-Leftist combine carrying on a corrosive covert war to destabilize and deracinate India is treated with kid gloves, and peaceful nationalists like Baba Ramdev are treated like a criminal!

It is not only unbecoming but also below the dignity of some politicians, who, in their eagerness to please their Queen, are using unparliamentary, dirty, disgusting and foul language against Baba Ram Dev who is adored by millions in India. These politicians have been marked by Janata (people) and will have to pay heavily in the next elections for their misdemeanor against a Saint.
Sonia Gandhi and her cronies will rue the day they chose to heap the brutalities on hapless and peaceful Indian citizens who were exercising their fundamental right to express their legitimate opinion against their rulers who have indulged in the massive plunder of India since Independence. Sonia Gandhi should also remember that India is not the fiefdom of her family.

If, by inflicting savageries on peaceful but united Indians, Sonia Gandhi Government believes that it can demoralize and consequently terrorize Indian citizens into submission, she is sadly mistaken.

We know that Sonia Gandhi is a devout Catholic. She rules India through remote control and with an iron hand. Indian tradition and culture enjoins on Indians to respect her religion. At the same time, it is incumbent on her not to misuse her political authority to crush peaceful Indians who demand accountability for billions of dollars stolen from them! Sonia Gandhi has been completely exposed by now. According to Rocky Saggoo’s blog – posted on February 22, 2011, Wikipedia says that Sonia Gandhi has $18.66 billion in Swiss Bank accounts. She should see the writing on the wall otherwise she may have to quit India.

The Indians are determined to take back Government of India from their corrupt rulers. Make no mistake; they are waking up silently, slowly but surely. And they are not going to stop till the goal is reached.

The Dharm Yuddh (the battle for righteousness) started by Baba Ramdev on June 4th, will result in the decimation and doom of corrupt Dynasty in the next general elections. The world will soon witness the spectacle of rapid and inexorable rout of Sonia Gandhi and its cronies. The corrupt ruling politicians and their buddies will suffer cataclysmic consequences for their egregious violations of Human Rights against humanity. They will be bundled out and thrown in the dust bin of History like other tyrants who unleashed unprecedented atrocities on Indians.

The writer can be reached at Katarian@aol.com.

Narain Kataria
President

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