The So-Called War on Drugs

Page One
Don't miss The War on Drugs, Page Two

The criminalization of marijuana in the United States in the 1930s at the behest of the oil industry and others threatened by hemp, and the maintenance of the criminal status of cannabis to this day by cryptofascist governments, principally the United States, profiting enormously, directly and indirectly, from the "War on Drugs" while callously inflicting, directly and indirectly, major harm upon their citizens, is one of the great contemporary crimes against humanity. How long are we going to let those bastards get away with this?

Just Say No to Searches   JUST SAY NO TO SEARCHES!
Message from Pat Barber, 2002-11-25

The "War on Drugs" is not a recent phenomenon. It is as old as institutionalized religion, and was present already in the 1st Century CE. Here is the Jesus railing against the prohibition of the use of the psychedelic mushroom Amanita muscaria:

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men:
for ye neither go in yourselves,
neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
— Matt., 23:13

The position of the "scribes and pharisees" is exactly like those of present-day anti-drug politicians: They prohibit but do not know what it is that they are prohibiting, except that it involves some material agent, whose possession they are able to criminalize. As regards the experiences (heavenly or otherwise) mediated by the changes in brain chemistry induced by psychedelic substances they are completely ignorant, yet they refuse to allow others to attain those states of mind.

The high-tech industry, from personal computers to Internet entrepreneurs, is full of people who make big bucks, smoke fine weed, and look the other way while thousands continue to be jailed.  Tobacco, alcohol, and crack take an enormous toll, but America has been mesmerized by a remarkable propaganda campaign that has demonized the use of soft drugs such as marijuana and psychedelics.  The war on some drugs is wrong, and it's wrong to be silent about it.  It's time for the digerati to break silence on this issue. — Howard Rheingold, December 1998

Understand? While evil is abroad in the land, as it most definitely is in contemporary America, it is wrong to be silent, to look the other way, as the "good Germans" did during the Nazi persecutions. To ignore (if you do) the evil that is obviously present around you (perhaps because you want to feel good all the time) is to allow it to flourish, to be complicit in such evils as the legal theft of people's homes and cars ("civil asset forfeiture") and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, who spend years or decades rotting in jail, for the alleged "crime" of smoking cannabis occasionally.

[U.S.] Government Insists on Keeping Reasons for Wilson Raid Secret

The "War on Drugs" is not something that cannot be made to go away. It exists because during the last few decades a comparatively small group of unscrupulous people, addicted to money and power, have lied to and deceived the American people on a massive scale. This evil can be destroyed if enough Americans resolve to understand why it exists and why it continues to exist. There is a political solution; it may take some time to implement, but the first step is to "Just Say Know".

Why the "War on Drugs" Persists

Clearly the unstated aim of the federal government of the United States of America is the attainment of total control of the Earth, including all its material resources and peoples, by economic, political and military means. The achievement of this requires the expenditure of vast amounts of money over several decades. A major part of this money comes from covert U.S. government trafficking in illegal drugs, primarily the addictive drugs cocaine and heroin. U.S.-sponsored world-wide drug prohibition, a.k.a. the "War on Drugs", is primarily a tactic to keep street prices high and profits astronomical, regardless of the huge social and personal damage done. U.S.-sponsored drug prohibition will continue until either the U.S. attains its aim of complete military and political domination of the Earth (which is still some time away, if it ever happens) or the junta which rules the U.S. and which aims at total control is removed from power. Only an alliance of anti-fascist nations, and sustained resistance by people who value their freedom, can prevent the subjugation of the Earth to those intent on controlling and exploiting it. Repeal of the laws, and of the U.S.-imposed international treaties, prohibiting possession and sale of drugs which are presently illegal would remove the enormous profits derived from wholesale illegal drug trafficking and cut off a major source of the money required by the U.S. for the achievement of its aim of total world domination. Obviously the U.S. will never repeal these laws and treaties, so it is up to the other countries of the world to do so, if they value their sovereignty, freedom and cultural tradition.

Covert government by defense contractor means corrupt wars of conquest, government by dope dealer. When the world's traditional inebriative herbs become illegal commodities, they become worth as much as precious metal, precious metal that can be farmed. ... Illegal drugs, solely because of the artificial value given them by Prohibition, have become the basis of military power anywhere they can be grown and delivered in quantity. ... To this day American defense contractors are the biggest drug-money launderers in the world.Drug War: Covert Money, Power and Policy, p.318.

And, of course, the tactics used by one player in the game can be used by others. Not all the poppy fields are funded by the CIA. To some it will seem that with enough money one can buy control of the entire planet. This is no doubt an idea which occurred to some people long ago. But it takes time to achieve such an ambitious goal. Ethical considerations, of course, do not enter into the calculations. Any means may be used to attain the end. One useful means is the exploitation of the urge humans have to modify their consciousness by eating, drinking, smoking or snorting substances found to produce desirable effects. Humans have done it for ages. Bring in a capitalist socio-economic system and you have a sure way to make a lot of money. Especially if consumer prices can be jacked way up. And the way to do that is to make the possession and use of these substances illegal. Then suppliers become criminals and run the risk of punishment, and so must be financially compensated for the risks they take. The higher the risk, the higher the street price. So make it all very illegal and (try to) corner the market in mind-altering substances, especially the addictive ones (a captive market, so to speak) and voila! the greatest money-making scam in the entire history of the planet! Sufficiently lucrative that with the profits one can buy everyone who needs to be bought: police, judges, customs officers and politicians. Total control! The wet-dream of every fascist dictator — now within the grasp of any sufficiently large, sufficiently well-run, sufficiently immoral organization, such as a government of a country whose wealth has been acquired by war and ruthless exploitation of natural resources and which maintains a military-industrial economy larger and more threatening than that of any other.

MACC award How long has there been a "War on Drugs"? Seems forever. (It was announced by Richard Nixon in 1971, but goes back millennia, as we saw above.) And year after year, it just gets crazier and crazier, ruins more and more lives, and drives the U.S. further into the pit of social disaster.  How is it possible that this insanity persists (even though intelligent and rational people have been pointing out for many years how crazy and evil it is)? Read this page (and page two) for an understanding of what lies behind this monstrosity.

America, with less than 5 percent of the world population, has a quarter of the world's prisoners.  There are six times as many Americans behind bars as are imprisoned in the 12 countries that make up the entire European Union, even though those countries have 100 million more citizens than the United States.  Our jails and prisons have become the 51st state, with a greater combined population than Alaska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Editorial, San Jose Mercury News, 1999-12-31.

In August [2000], the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the number of men and women behind bars in the U.S. at the end of 1999 exceeded two million and the rate of incarceration had reached 690 inmates per 100,000 residents — a rate Human Rights Watch believed to be the highest in the world (with the exception of Rwanda).  ...  The unrelenting war on drugs continued to pull hundreds of thousands of drug offenders into the criminal justice system: 1,559,100 people were arrested on drug charges in 1998; approximately 450,000 drug offenders were confined in jails and prisons.  According to the Department of Justice, 107,000 people were sent to state prison on drug charges in 1998, representing 30.8 percent of all new state admissions. Drug offenders constituted 57.8 percent of all federal inmates.Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: United States

The United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and for the first time in the nation's history, more than one in every 100 American adults is confined in a prison or jail, according to a report released on Thursday. The report by the Pew Center on the States said the American penal system held more than 2.3 million adults at the start of the year [2008]. ...  "Beyond the sheer number of inmates, America also is the global leader in the rate at which it incarcerates its citizenry, outpacing nations like South Africa and Iran," according to the report. Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, criminal justice experts say. The latest report tracked similar findings on the U.S. prison population by the Justice Department and various private groups. A report in November [2007] by a criminal justice research group found the number of people in U.S. prison had risen eight-fold since 1970. The new report said that the national prison population has nearly tripled between 1987 and 2007. — U.S. incarcerates more than any other nation, Reuters, 2008-02-28

At this time the Gulag Archipelago, the scattered islands of prisons in which hundreds of thousands of non-violent people are locked away for half their lives for their opposition to the disgraceful and immoral policies of a tyrannical and dictatorial state, is not in Russia, rather it is in the United States of America.  This is a crime against humanity by which the government of the United States, which trumpets itself as a defender of liberty and democracy, makes itself into an object of contempt in the eyes of the world.

The real problem with drugs in the modern world is that they are illegal.  Put simply, the Drug War exists primarily to support — financially and otherwise — the maintenance of the criminal status of the possession of (certain) drugs so that those (mostly on the payroll of the U.S. federal government) who profit big — directly or indirectly — from the supply of prohibited drugs can continue to do so, at the expense of everyone else, and especially at the expense of the hundreds of thousands of people imprisoned for victimless "crimes".  This is a scandal and a disgrace of the first magnitude.  It will become for the United States of America a source of enduring shame and infamy just as the Third Reich became for Germany.

The Heidelberg Declaration German translation of
an older version of this page

Stop arresting sick people! We demand:

Prohibition (1920-1933 R.I.P.) was known as The Noble Experiment.  The results of the experiment are clear: innocent people suffered; organized crime grew into an empire; the police, courts, and politicians became corrupt; disrespect for the law grew; and the per capita consumption of the prohibited substance — alcohol — increased dramatically, year by year, for the next thirteen years of this Noble Experiment, never to return to the pre-1920 levels.

You would think that an experiment with such clear results would not need to be repeated; but the experiment is being repeated; it's going on today.  Only the prohibited substances have changed.  The results remain the same.  They are clearer now than they were then. — Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, p.61.

But the current prohibition is not really an experiment — it is U.S. government policy imposed upon all peoples of the world (by threat of sanctions against their countries) in order to keep the prices of illegal drugs sky-high, thereby ensuring huge profits for the drug lords both within and without the governments of the world (including the U.S. government).

When marijuana was popularized in the 20s and 30s in the American jazz scene, blacks and whites sat down together as equals and shared "joints". The racist anti-marijuana propaganda of the time used this crumbling of racial barriers as an example of the degredation caused by the devil's weed. Harry Anslinger, head of the newly formed narcotics division, warned the middle-class about blacks and whites dancing together in Teahouses, using blatant prejudice to sell prohibition.  Reefer madness was born from the hysteria generated then.  In the early 60s cannabis was once again popularized by poetic nonconformist beatniks.  Pot helped to open the eyes of the youth and change the values of a whole generation of flower children that questioned the value of war and the sanity of global pollution.  In response President Nixon declared a Drug War upon the flower children and the threatening tendencies toward peace and their ubiquitous sacramental incense, marijuana. — Chris Bennett, Lynn Osburn & Judy Osburn, Marijuana in Magic & Religion

It is no accident that those responsible for the current prohibition of marijuana chose the metaphor of war to describe their persecution of a minority.  A militaristic mindset underlies their actions.  The hard-core supporters of the 'war on drugs' like war generally - or more exactly, they love the mass production of weapons (so profitable to them) and are always ready to threaten their use in order to keep large parts of the world economically subordinate and exploitable.

The real problem with drug use is that it is outlawed, and that sends all questions about individual decisions to take drugs to a second remove.  This illegality prevails over other factors.  The epidemic of violence that plagues the US is one direct result of making illegal drugs the most profitable commodity on earth.  Many have died in the 'war on drugs', and even police say it is beginning to resemble the Vietnam War — a war that cannot be won.Drug Hysteria: U.S.A.

The Drug War cannot stand the light of day.  It will collapse as quickly as the Vietnam War, as soon as people find out what's really going on. — Joseph McNamara, former Police Chief, Kansas City and San Jose, and Fellow, Hoover Institution

I'm for truth, no matter who tells it.  I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against.  I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole. — Malcolm X

Unquestionably, police power and resources can never eliminate drug use.  Such a goal is impossible.

Nonetheless, drug warriors have established and maintained a national consensus that American must become free of drug use.  By accepting an impossible goal and by accepting the idea that it must be achieved through police power, citizens relinquish more and more rights and revenue to police upon demand by Drug War leaders.  Continued acquiescence to these escalating demands should create a police state.

I believe authoritarians are manufacturing and manipulating public fears about drug use in order to create a police state where a much broader agenda of social control can be implemented, using government power to determine what movies we may watch, determine who we may love and how we may love them, determine whether we may or must pray to a deity.  I believe the war on drug users masks a war on democracy.

After all, what is the vision of a Drug-Free America? Millions in prison or slave labor, and only enthusiastic supporters of government policy allowed to hold jobs, attend school, have children, drive cars, own property.  This is the combined vision of utopia held forth by Nancy Reagan, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, William Bennett, Daryl Gates and thousands of other drug warriors.  News media and "public interest" advertising tell us this is the America for which all good citizens yearn.

— Richard Lawrence Miller, Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State, p. 191.

Peter Webster's review of Richard Lawrence Miller's Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State

Nazi-American stars and stripesThere is a certain difficulty in writing a review of [this book] ... but not because it is a difficult book in any usual sense. On the contrary, it is disarmingly easy to understand the author's every implication. Yet the theme of Mr. Miller's essay, a point by point comparison of the reality of Drug Prohibition in the United States today with exactly analogous situations leading up to Hitler's Third Reich and the attempted destruction of the Jewish people, is certain to repulse the very readers who need most to understand that, indeed, it can happen again.

See also:

The Nazi regime in the U.S. is causing its "Jews" to get out while they can.

Drug Queenpin or Innocent Victim?

U.S. woman weeks political asylum in Canada

So the federal government has the power to punish sick people using cannabis as medicine, on the advice of their doctors, even in states where medical marijuana is allowed. What the federal government doesn't have, even after this decision, is a good reason to do so. — Chicago Tribune Editorial, 2005-06-07, Pot and the Constitution

Although the use of psychoactive drugs has risks as well as benefits, and there have been casualties, the "war on drugs" (like previous attempts at prohibition) has caused (and continues to cause) far more harm than drugs themselves.  This "war" is a cover for a vicious persecution of people who have been made into criminals for the exercise of their natural right to modify their consciousness in a manner which they deem worthwhile (which humans have been doing for thousands of years).  And this, basically, for the sake of financial gain by a few at the expense of the many.

The "war on drugs" is in part a propaganda war.  The techniques of propaganda were first raised to an art by the Bolsheviks, and were refined and used by fascists of various colors from the 1930s in Europe to present-day America.  The political scientist Leonard Schapiro, writing of Stalin, said:

The true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought reveals itself as a jarring dissonance.

To the extent that the "drug warriors" (the metaphor of a "war on drugs" is itself one of their propaganda techniques) are successful in their propaganda campaign, any support for the decriminalization of drug usage (not to mention any suggestion that some kinds of prohibited drugs may actually have great potential benefit) will be received by the general public as an opinion obviously deranged, deriving clearly from someone of unsound mind (resulting, of course, as the propagandists would have us believe, from their prior drug usage).

This propaganda war must be exposed and defeated before there can be any change in the social and legal status of drug usage.  It is also important to understand the real motivation for this "war on drugs", which is not moral righteousness but simply the desire for financial profit.  There is nothing "holy" about this "war".  Speaking out in a rational and civil manner (or simply talking to one's friends) to point out the benefits of some drugs which are now illegal (such as cannabis) and to draw attention to the enormous harm to society resulting from the criminalization of drug usage is a way to defeat this propaganda campaign, even though it will require sustained effort by numerous people.

As an example of propaganda we need look no further than an article about ketamine in Time magazine of 1997-10-20.  Here is a reply to that article:

The U.S. government propaganda about the "war on drugs" disguises the fact (if we must speak of "war" at all) that this is a war on people — people who (responsibly or otherwise) choose to use drugs — or rather, drugs whose use authoritarian governments actively discourage — in contrast to their encouragement of the officially-condoned disease- and death-causing drugs alcohol and tobacco.

In a civilized society, war is a response by the government to a military attack from a hostile power.  In a civilized society, the government does not make war upon its own people.  Viewed from the perspective of the "war on drugs" the United States is no better than some tin-pot dictatorship in which those whom the government disapproves of regularly disappear and the rest live in fear of the same thing happening to them.

In America the "war on drugs" is big business.  Lots of people make a lot of money from it — police, judges, lawyers, probation officers, prison guards, companies that build prisons, companies that provide "security", hand gun manufacturers and many others — including those supposedly "rogue" elements in the government itself (which are hardly "rogue" if they originate from the highest levels of government) that import heroin and cocaine to supply both the inhabitants of urban ghettos and the inhabitants of corporate boardrooms (more cocaine goes up the noses of affluent whites than of poor blacks).  This is one reason why development of a saner drug policy is so difficult in the U.S.  — there are too many people in positions of power profiting from prohibition.

Another reason is that any major revision of the government's prohibitionist position would require it to admit it has been wrong all these years, that it has in effect lied to the people while claiming to provide reliable information and guidance, and that its policies of encouraging the use of dangerous drugs and prohibiting the use of drugs which have few (if any) harmful effects have resulted in enormous suffering and loss of life.  A government which prides itself on being a superpower — and (according to its view of itself) practically infallible — is unlikely to admit voluntarily that it has made a mistake of this enormity.

In Rethinking Drug Prohibition Peter Webster also points out that there are multiple factors sustaining the Drug War:

Legalize! These are all reasons why the "war on drugs" is entrenched.  But the supporters of the status quo (those who benefit from it in one way or another) may be making a false assumption: that people who know they have a perfect right to use drugs (if they do so without directly harming anyone else) will continue forever to put up with the active repression of their rights (in this and in many other respects) by a paternalistic, dictatorial, hypocritical and corrupt government-military-corporate complex which seems interested only in maintaining them, for its own financial benefit, in a condition of ignorance, fear, impoverishment and economic slavery.

Interview with a Former Underground Chemist

[Drug law reform] runs squarely against the interests of the major organized stakeholders in the more than half-trillion dollar annual global drug market. Their main source of revenue depends on continued global prohibition. With such enormous annual revenues, there is little doubt that these organizations have very firm stakes in regular economies, regular banking, and regular legislation, and not just in Columbia! What we see happening in the US today is that the War on Drugs and related erosion of personal rights and freedoms drive up prices and increase the customer base. It is not too farfetched to suggest that major organized crime, with its power to influence legislation in its interests, is using drug prohibition as a business tool.

By the end of the 1980's it was calculated that the illegal use of drugs in the United States now netted its controllers over $110 billion a year. — Modern Times, p.782.

Where does this money go? The public is supposed to believe that the evil drug barons spend their ill-gotten gains on material luxuries for themselves and their families. But it is impossible to spend that much money on houses, cars, fine food and wine, holidays in France, etc. (and of course they don't have to pay for their drugs). So what really happens to the profits generated by the illegal drug trade?

The most fundamental reason for the long-time continuance of the illegality of (some) drugs is basically that it finances the drive by the U.S.A. for world domination. If that domination cannot be achieved by political and economic means — and since the rest of the world is not stupid it is clear that it cannot be so achieved — then the U.S.A. will attempt to achieve it by military means (it has had a basically military economy ever since World War II and shows no signs of changing). This does not necessarily mean war and overt military conquest. It means acquiring such an overwhelming military superiority that all other nations will be completely intimidated, unwilling to resist the dictates of Washington in anything but the slightest degree. These dictates will lead to a one-world government, with the U.S. "at its core" (to adapt a phrase from NATO's war in Kosovo).

To achieve that overwhelming military superiority requires money. Lots of it. Many, many, billions of dollars. And for many years. This sort of money cannot be raised by taxation alone, not even extortionate taxation (such as is currently practiced in the U.S. anyway). Another source of money is required. That source is the U.S.-government's trafficking in cocaine and heroin (all done in secret, of course). That money goes into the Pentagon's "black budget" — which is, of course, super-secret. Not even most members of the U.S. Congress know how much money the Pentagon actually receives and spends, or where it all comes from. It comes in part from the import and sale of illegal drugs. Only by keeping such drugs illegal can these profits be maintained. And only by pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into military development can the U.S. hope to achieve its aim of world domination.

Illegal drugs will remain illegal until such time as the U.S. government is master of the world (attaining what the Nazis were aiming at), at which time it will no longer need the profits from its drug trafficking. Then maybe we'll be able to smoke a joint in our own home, provided we express no criticism of the Glorious World Government, associate only with people that we are permitted to associate with (family and co-workers), read and watch on TV only what we are permitted to, go only where we are allowed to go and generally do what we are told to do ("Just follow orders, asshole!"). But even that much is unlikely, since probably the only drugs permitted for recreational use will be those which numb the mind, suppress the imagination and restrict thinking. Better to fight now (any way we can) than condemn ourselves and our descendants to a lifetime of ignorance, fear, impoverishment and slavery.

Socio-historical aside:

The basic reason that the U.S. is working toward the attainment of military domination of the entire globe is that America (having been caught unprepared in 1941) basically failed to demobilize at the end of World War II, and retained its wartime economy (both in industrial production and in the organization of industry). It has been on a permanent war footing ever since. Its economy is basically a military economy, and the metaphors in terms of which it thinks of itself are those of permanent warfare (hence the "War on Drugs"). But a society cannot really provide for the long-term welfare of its people if it is continually geared up for warfare, and we see the results. According to some estimates the Pentagon consumes 51% of what the U.S. produces. No wonder there are grave social problems.

A military economy requires a military threat to justify maintaining itself in existence. If there are no enemies at hand then they must be sought out; if none can be found then they must be invented ("Islamic terrorism", "narco-traffickers" and "rogue states"). The U.S. government is mentally ill; the craziness is deep-seated and unfortunately for the American people, who deserve better, there's no short-term solution. It will require either a profound political revolution from within or a military-economic catastrophe (perhaps even total annihilation such as happened to Germany at the end of WW II) to restore the U.S. eventually to sanity.

Officials trying to maintain support for the "war on drugs" seldom acknowledge that drugs (even prohibited drugs) are of many different kinds, but rather lump them all together the better to confuse the issue and to denigrate those who propose saner policies.  While the use of addictive drugs (such as heroin, cocaine and nicotine) carries considerable risk (the antidote to which is information not incarceration), psychedelics (a.k.a. entheogens) such as LSD and psilocybin not only are safe but when used responsibly are a means to psychological and spiritual growth.

One of the best writers on the potential that psychedelics have for spiritual development is the discoverer of LSD himself:

The characteristic property of hallucinogens, to suspend the boundaries between the experiencing self and the outer world in an ecstatic, emotional experience, makes it possible with their help, and after suitable internal and external preparation, as it was accomplished in a perfect way at Eleusis, to evoke a mystical experience according to plan, so to speak.

Meditation is a preparation for the same goal that was aspired to and was attained in the Eleusinian Mysteries.  Accordingly it seems feasible that in the future, with the help of LSD, the mystical vision, crowning meditation, could be made accessible to an increasing number of practitioners of meditation.

I see the true importance of LSD in the possibitity of providing material aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality.  Such a use accords entirely with the essence and working character of LSD as a sacred drug.

— Albert Hofmann, "LSD Experience and Reality", Chapter 11 of LSD, My Problem Child

For further information concerning the use of psychedelics as aids to spiritual development see the web site of the Council on Spiritual Practices, where we read:

Throughout recorded history, those inclined towards the sacred have employed a variety of techniques intheir spiritual practices, including prayer, meditation, silence, yoga, martial arts, fasting, plant sacraments,chanting, drumming, and dancing.  Practitioners value these methods in their own right and for the benefits they cultivate in everyday life.  An occasional effect of such disciplines is the direct perception of unity and immediate encounter with the sacred, or primary religious experience.

There is a yearning for community, spirituality, and primary religious experience in contemporary Western society.  For many people, spiritual practices are among the most valuable activities in their lives, and in the United States, the free exercise of religion is given the highest legal protection.  Furthermore, a growing body of literature provides evidence that primary religious experience benefits everyday life, teaching deeper understanding and respect for ourselves, for others, and for the balance of nature.  ...

Natural and synthetic psychedelics can thus be a means toward psycho-spiritual development, and the prohibition of their use constitutes restriction of religious freedom.  It is outrageous that most governments deny to individuals seeking a greater spiritual understanding the opportunity to use psychedelics to this end.  It is even more outrageous that individuals who nevertheless seek to widen their experience and knowledge by the use of psychedelics run the risk of spending years locked away in prison.  This is religious persecution, and is as despicable as all the other religious persecutions known to history, especially in the U.S.A., where freedom of religion is — supposedly — legally protected.

The informed use of entheogenic, consciousness-enhancing plants and drugs presents a direct and powerful challenge to any system that seeks to spoon-feed the masses with false ideals of nationalism, racism, sexism or pre-digested religion, and this is precisely the reason they have been criminalized. One does not go back to being led around by the nose once the fullness of one's humanity is realized, nor to eating pap once the full pleasures of eating are learned; besides, we need roughage or we fill up with our own waste. Expanded consciousness is one genie that can't be put back in the bottle and we're better off for it.

The cat is out of the bag. Pandora's box lies open. The cover has been blown off the ark of the covenant. Wisdom cries in the streets and shouts from the rooftops, once again trying to make herself heard above the din. Whoever has ears should listen. Whoever has a voice should consider speaking up, for the time of the end is near, as it always is in this brief life.

— Clark Heinrich, "Last Word" in Strange Fruit

Millions of us who sampled the psychedelics in the 1960s experienced profound, life-changing spiritual and philosophical revelations that were of incomparable personal value.  These experiences paralleled discoveries made with the aid of sacramental vegetable products by indigenous peoples from all parts of the world since ancient times — discoveries that are enshrined in the sacred scriptures and spiritual traditions of many of the world's religions.

The "legal" persecution of those of us who freely choose to follow this ancient and honorable spiritual path — the yoga of light-containing herbs — is ethically indistinguishable from the persecution of witches and heretics, or the persecution of early Christians by the Roman state.

Whether or not the use of sacramental vegetable products meets with the approval of the civil authorities — or anyone else — it is a personal matter that clearly deserves the protection of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which promises that the "free exercise of religion" will not be abridged.

— Dale R. Gowin, Confessions of An Amerikan LSD Eater

In Drug Control in a Free Society (pages 31-32) J. Bakalar and L. Grinspoon write:

"Members of the Native American Church, an Indian group, are allowed to take peyote in their religious rituals.  Here federal courts have found a fundamental right of the individual that overrides a state interest in suppressing nonmedical drug use; the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  In other words, the drug use has to be more than a pleasurable taste or pursuit before the law will allow it.  To refute the presumption that nonmedical drug use is negligent, ignorant, and generally worthless, there must be overwhelming evidence that the drug users know what they are doing, consider it important in their lives, and believe seriously in its intrinsic value.  But even that is not enough.  The courts have made it clear that they will not accept merely individual religious beliefs (much less consciousness expansion) as a justification for drug use, and they have said that they will scrutinize very skeptically the claims of any new organized churches.  The drug must be not only religiously important to its user but also an essential part of a traditional rite with a communal significance.  So far, the exception made for the Native American Church is unique.  It is as though mountain climbing were regarded as generally so dangerous and useless that climbers would be fined and jailed unless they could prove they were making a pilgrimage to a holy site on the peak certified by an established church."

Although in practice it may be necessary to work within the "system" to obtain legal rights to the use of psychedelic sacraments, there should not be any restriction on such rights in the first place.

Who do these judges think they are, that they attempt to deny the right of individuals to use plants or synthetic compounds for the purposes of consciousness exploration and personal development? On what basis do they presume to tell us what is or is not good for us? We are the best judges of what is good for us.  We do not have to justify the use of psychedelic drugs for psychospiritual (or any other) purposes before any court.  We have a natural right to change our mood or consciousness anyway we wish, provided we do not thereby cause harm, or likely harm, to others.

Prohibition of the spiritual or psychotherapeutic use of psychedelics by individuals is a fundamental violation of human rights, and no legislation can change this fact.  The criminalization of what every responsible adult has a natural right to do does not thereby negate that natural right.  No matter how many laws are passed in how many countries, making possession or use of drugs illegal, our natural right to use drugs remains undiminished.

Humans have been using psychoactive plants for thousands of years, probably for tens or hundreds of thousands of years.  Humans were using drugs (in plants) to change their consciousness long before any human legal system was invented.  The imposition of authoritarian structures in the form of legal systems, etc., cannot change the basic fact that humans have a natural right to continue an archaic human tradition of sacred plant use, now with the help of modern synthetic chemical knowledge to provide pure compounds and occasionally new ones.

Legalization now!
Legalization now!
The present state of prohibition results from the imposition of the will of a minority (the drug lords, the legislators they buy, those who profit from the prison industry, lawyers, etc.; not to mention the, by now, practically self-funding — by the sale of siezed assets — "law enforcement" agencies that have arisen on the basis of the many asset forfeiture laws) upon a majority (those who know that they have a natural right to use drugs — or who don't think much about rights but just want to use drugs anyway), while the remainder of the citizens are hypnotized by the propaganda campaign they see nightly on TV and read daily (if they read at all) in the mainstream media.

The Drug War should have only one outcome — the admission of the present prohibitionists that those who use drugs have a right to do so (all such rights being subject to the condition that the exercise of the right does not constitute a harm to others) and in particular, a legal right.  In other words, the Drug War should have only one outcome — the defeat of those who began it.  This would happen if enough people were willing to stand up and defend their rights.  This may be a vain hope.

As one of the most perceptive writers on drugs, David Lenson, has written:

We must understand that the War on Drugs is a real war, one in which neither side will ever be able to bring the other to unconditional surrender.  No lasting peace can ever come from the will of one side alone.  This war will end as all intractable wars do, when the parties are sick of bloodshed.  There must be a formal cease-fire, to be followed by peace talks.  Let all the diplomatic protocols apply, just as if the enemy were not ourselves.  The silence wrought by the "Just Say No" campaign must be replaced by words, many, many words.  And those words must come not only from police, doctors, sociologists, criminologists, and the usual experts, but from gang members, drug users, drug dealers, and underground manufacturers.On Drugs (1995), pp.200-201.

If you (and your children, if you have any) are not to continue to live in a tyrannical police state, without freedom or dignity, it is time to stand up, speak out, and make your views known.

Intelligent consideration of the "war on drugs" may lead one to believe that it is inexplicable, irrational and unsustainable.  It is none of these.  It is a rational subterfuge perpetrated for a particular purpose, namely, the profits resulting from the importation and distribution of huge quantities of heroin and cocaine, and those who are behind the "war on drugs" are the same as those who are responsible for the widespread use of these addictive and life-destroying drugs.  Unless they are stopped the "war on drugs" and all its attendant horrors will continue to ruin America.

Just one CIA drug ring, that of Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo based in Guadalajara, Mexico was smuggling four tons A MONTH into the U.S. during the same period! Other operations including Manuel Noriega (Panama), John Hull (Costa Rica), Felix Rodriguez (El Salvador), Juan Ramon Matta Ballesteros (Honduras) and elements of the Guatemalan and Honduran military were dealing close to two hundred tons a year or close to 70% of total U.S. consumption at the same time! All of them have been connected to CIA by documentation and testimony which already exists! This coke was smoked, snorted and injected by people of every race and in every state; in the cities and on the farms.

The CIA smuggling cocaine? U.S. covert action organizations responsible for flooding the U.S. with addictive drugs? Farfetched? Far from it — the evidence is now overwhelming.

Put simply, in order to keep making enormous profits, those responsible for the distribution of addictive drugs in the U.S. (and it is not only the CIA) must keep the use of these drugs illegal. Were drug use legalized their profits would disappear overnight.  So how to keep drugs illegal? Simply buy up enough legislators to block any steps toward revealing the facts of the matter or toward reversal of the present state of prohibition.  The profits of the drug lords, and the corruption of the legislators, makes this possible.

So drug use is demonized, those who use drugs are turned into criminals, and to make it appear that "the authorities" are sincere in their attempts to combat "the drug problem" hundreds of thousands of drug users are arrested and thrown into jail for up to forty years.  Those responsible for this, and for the addiction of millions of Americans and others for the sake of profit, can only be described as evil.

Not only are users of the life-destroying drugs heroin and cocaine caught up in this pogrom but also users of non-addictive life-enhancing drugs such as LSD, THC (marijuana), psilocybin (mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy).  The users of such substances are often some of the kindest and most non-violent people you'll ever meet (I've met plenty of them), but for the sake of perpetuating the profits of the drug lords (both American and foreign) many of them have had their lives ruined and most of the rest live in fear of persecution.

It's about time that Americans woke up to the fact that it is the prohibition of drugs which is making possible these profits, is corrupting their government and which is likely (if not corrected) to be the ruin of their country. The information regarding who is profiting from the illegal status of drug usage is available now, and no-one will be able to say, as the "good Germans" of the Nazi era said, "we didn't know."

Just say "Know"!

On 1997-05-22 the late Terence McKenna said, on the Art Bell radio talk show, in response to a caller's question as to why psychoactive drugs are illegal:

Terence McKenna for President!Let me say this ... I mean, I'm a bit of a pessimist on this subject.  Because I take psychedelics so seriously, I can't imagine them ever being really legal unless there's a total social transformation because my analysis of it is, the reason everybody from a Marxist state to a Christian oligarchy to a high-tech industrial democracy can get together and agree that psychedelics are a terrible terrible thing is because the social effects of psychedelics being taken by large numbers of people is a kind of deconditioning from the cultural myths, whatever they are.  It's no knock on any given society, it's just that if people start taking psychedelics, they start questioning what they've been told about reality.  And culture is in the business of keeping you inside a set of predetermined answers to those questions.

Although Terence McKenna had some interesting to say about drug usage (and called for the legalization of all drugs), here he misses the opportunity to point to the profit motive driving the "Drug War".  It is true that psychedelics are de-conditioning agents, and that they lead to questioning of mainstream premises defining reality (and perhaps even contribute to the dreaded questioning of authority — though no drugs are needed for this), but this is not the fundamental reason that the Drug War continues.  The fundamental reason is money.  As stated above, it is the enormity of the profits from the international illicit drug trade that requires drugs to remain prohibited. Nothing much can be done to end the Drug War until this fact is recognized (recognition will come more quickly to those who read James Mill's book, The Underground Empire).  To assert, as McKenna did, that prohibition continues because legislators are afraid of youth questioning authority, suggests that the solution is to reassure and re-educate those legislators so that they see the light.  Such a re-education is certainly desirable, but it will do very little to bring an end to the Drug War as long as the fundamental economic basis for prohibition is not recognized and acknowledged.

In the meantime the insanity continues ...

And the carnage continues ...

As the Hopsicker article shows, the U.S. State of Arkansas is one of the murky epicenters of the CIA's smuggling of addictive drugs into America.  Finally some light is falling upon the creepie-crawlie characters in this cesspool.  The case of Dan Harmon is interesting:

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  Those interested in the drug scandals of Arkansas can read more on the CIA page and in the selected messages from the CIADRUGS mailing list.

Some people don't really give a damn about corruption in government, couldn't really care less that hundreds of thousands of people are in jail for victimless crimes, and maybe even never use drugs themselves and are unconcerned about the persecution of drug users. To these people I say ... do you know that you have to die one day? Do you understand that this might be a painful process? Do you know that morphine and heroin will relieve the pain, and may be the only drugs that will do so? Do you know that, because of the "War on Drugs" and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, your doctor will refuse to give you these pain-relieving drugs, unless you can pay, until the last few hours of your life (and maybe not even then)?

The Narcotics Law has achieved one thing for sure: on the pretext that some natural drugs are too dangerous for people to handle, the government has confiscated these herbs and created a protected monopoly for the American Medical Association. The economic motive behind this is very easy to understand: money. Raw opium is 40% morphine. For a morphine-pump that will ease a terminal cancer-patient's excruciating pain, the AMA charges $500 per day, at least a 2,000 percent markup, all to administer a drug that would cost something like $25 per day in a free-market. The DEA effectively rations the amount of morphine that physicians have available to prescribe, meaning the drug is likely to be administered only during the last few hours of life, if at all. They will make you cry, first. You will wait, and suffer when your time comes. I hope you like aspirin. Inquire, I dare you. Another surprise they have in store for you is this: Medicaid and most private insurance plans will not cover the cost of a morphine-pump. It seems the "dangerous" drugs have been placed in those hands that shall intentionally cause us the greatest possible pain and abuse. They got you where it hurts. Do you understand? Dying is painful, and by denying us the right to relieve pain ourselves, by known means, the AMA is making sure that we will not dare to die outside of their care. When the time comes, they shall proceed to administer treatment according to your ability to pay. — Which Drugs are Drugs?

Or maybe not at any price.

Still think the "War on Drugs" is no concern of yours? Wait 'til it's your turn to die. But by then it'll be too late for you to do anything about it.

Morphine Remains Scarce for Pain Sufferers Worldwide

A Drug War Reading List

Links to Web Sites Concerning the Drug War


A copy of the Serendipity website is available on CD-ROM.  Details here.

Top of page The So-Called War on Drugs, Page Two
A Drug War Reading List Civil Asset Forfeiture Serendipity Home Page