Tag Archives: War on Drugs

U.S. Marines protect Afghan’s poppy fields | General Says 20,000 Troops Should Stay in Afghanistan

poppy nacartics afghanistan troops

Many news stories about U.S. Military protecting poppy fields fail to point out some of the very obvious hypocrisy.

It’s not just that poppies are grown for opium, that can be turned into heroine. If the fact that our military budget assists in other countries drug problems, that would be a small, but relevant point of hypocrisy. The larger picture is that these opium fields are also used to supply opium all over the world and are used to create pharmaceutical drugs that we use in the United States as well as everywhere else in the world.

Yes, as usual, the wealthy mega-corporations exploit the poor and exacerbate their problems to make a profit.

U.S. Marines protect Afghan’s poppy fields

Dr. Paul L. Williams   Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Marines of Bravo’s Company 1st Platoon sleep beside groves of poppies Troops of the 2nd Platoon walk through the fields on strict orders not to swat the heavy opium bulbs. The Afghan farmers and laborers, who are engaged in scraping the resin from the bulbs, smile and wave at the passing soldiers.

The Helmand province is the world’s largest cultivator of opium poppies – the crop used to make heroin.

Afghanistan grew 93 percent of the world’s poppy crop last year, with Helmand alone responsible for more than half of the opium production in the country, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

we are all born ignorant but one must work hard to remain stupid benjamin franklinHeroin, as it turns out, represents the only staple of the Afghan economy. The country manufactures no domestic products for exportation and the rocky terrain yields no cash crops – – except, of course, the poppies.

The poppies fuel the great jihad against the United States and the Western world. More than 3,500 tons of raw opium is gleaned from the poppy crops every year, producing annual revenues for the Taliban and al Qaeda that range from $5 billion to $16 billion.

Destroying the fields could very well put an end to terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But the Obama Administration remains intent upon protecting the poppies so that the Afghan farmers and local drug lords can reap the benefits of what purports to be a bumper crop.

Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation.

http://publicintelligence.net/even-more-photos-of-usnato-troops-patrolling-opium-poppy-fields-in-afghanistan/

General Says 20,000 Troops Should Stay in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The American commander in the Middle East said on Tuesday that he had recommended that 13,600 United States troops remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends in 2014, a number slightly higher than the one being considered by NATO and Pentagon officials.

The officer, Gen. James N. Mattis of the Central Command, revealed his recommendation during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he also said that a NATO contribution to an enduring mission in Afghanistan could equal half of the American deployment, for a total alliance troop presence of 20,000 under his proposal.

President Obama has not decided on the size of any troop deployment after 2014, which would also require agreement with the government in Kabul.

During a session of NATO defense ministers last month, alliance officials discussed a proposal for training, support and counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan after 2014 that envisioned a force of up to 9,500 American troops and up to 6,000 more from other coalition nations.

George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, said those talks focused on a smaller range of 8,000 to 12,000 troops over all, including American and allied contributions. There are about 66,000 American troops in Afghanistan today, with that number to drop to 32,000 by early next year.

Discussing Syria, General Mattis told the Senate that providing weapons and other lethal aid to rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad was complicated, and potentially self-defeating, since the situation was so chaotic that the arms could end up in the possession of militants linked to terrorist organizations.

His assessment of Iran’s nuclear program is that Tehran is enriching uranium at a pace far beyond any peaceful purpose, but that he fully supports economic sanctions. General Mattis warned Iran not to view reductions in American deployments in the region as a sign of weakness; they were brought on by budget cuts under the sequester.

poppy nacartics afghanistan troopsIn particular, he noted that he had other combat assets to make up for the decision to deploy just one aircraft carrier in the region, rather than two. “I have what it takes to make it the enemy’s longest day and their worst day,” General Mattis said. “And we’ll get the other carrier out there quickly to reinforce.

General Mattis testified alongside Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the Special Operations Command, who also was questioned on the impact of the sequester on his ability to carry out training and missions.

Admiral McRaven said the sequester cut of $900 million per year for the Special Operations Command would be made even worse by reductions in money to the various armed services that support his organization and its personnel.

“So the service cuts that they take compound the problem of Special Operations support,” he said. “I get a tremendous amount of my support from the various services, and that will absolutely affect the Special Operations capability of this nation.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/world/middleeast/us-general-says-20000-troops-should-stay-in-afghanistan.html?_r=0

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Grenade Burns Sleeping Girl as SWAT Team Raids Billings Home

Flash Grenade Burns 12 Year Old Girl

Thoughts on Meth and the “War on Drugs”

Although I am far from approving of meth production, the current “war on drugs” does scare me quite a bit more than a meth lab. If you consider the risk of a meth lab in a community, yes, there is a risk of explosion. However, it seems that law enforcement come with equal risk.

The law enforcement officers raided a families home because they had information that there was a meth lab inside. However, their raid produced no meth, no lab and no arrests. Rather, it produced painful injuries to a 12 year old child who was sleeping peacefully until a flash grenade went off right next to her and damage to the home from the blast.

The problem with these increasingly common SWAT style raides on private citizens in their homes is that law enforcement personnel are simply human and will frequently make mistakes as humans, regrettably, do. It is extremely predictable that law enforcement will make mistakes / not be superhuman. It goes without saying, then, that law enforcement should be limited and restrained to their constitutional roles rather than raiding private citizens homes with grenades.

The fact that these police were acting within the confines of the law, shows how important it is that our laws be changed. Meth is less of a threat to citizens than an out of control government who has all rights while private citizens have none. The victim was right in saying, “”If anybody else did that it would be aggravated assault.”

BILLINGS, MT – Grenade burns sleeping girl as SWAT team raids Billings Home

A 12-year-old girl suffered burns to one side of her body when a flash grenade went off next to her as a police SWAT team raided a West End home Tuesday morning.

“She has first- and second-degree burns down the left side of her body and on her arms,” said the girl’s mother, Jackie Fasching. “She’s got severe pain. Every time I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes.”

Medical staff at the scene tended to the girl afterward and then her mother drove her to the hospital, where she was treated and released later that day.

A photo of the girl provided by Fasching to The Gazette shows red and black burns on her side.

Police Chief Rich St. John said the 6 a.m. raid at 2128 Custer Ave., was to execute a search warrant as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation by the City-County Special Investigations Unit.

The grenade is commonly called a “flash-bang” and is used to disorient people with a bright flash, a loud bang and a concussive blast. It went off on the floor where the girl was sleeping. She was in her sister’s bedroom near the window the grenade came through, Fasching said.

A SWAT member attached it to a boomstick, a metal pole that detonates the grenade, and stuck it through the bedroom window. St. John said the grenade normally stays on the boomstick so it goes off in a controlled manner at a higher level.

However, the officer didn’t realize that there was a delay on the grenade when he tried to detonate it. He dropped it to move onto a new device, St. John said. The grenade fell to the floor and went off near the girl.

“It was totally unforeseen, totally unplanned and extremely regrettable,” St. John said. “We certainly did not want a juvenile, or anyone else for that matter, to get injured.”

On Thursday, Fasching took her daughter back to the hospital to have her wounds treated.

She questioned why police would take such actions with children in the home and why it needed a SWAT team.

“A simple knock on the door and I would’ve let them in,” she said. “They said their intel told them there was a meth lab at our house. If they would’ve checked, they would’ve known there’s not.”

She and her two daughters and her husband were home at the time of the raid. She said her husband, who suffers from congenital heart disease and liver failure, told officers he would open the front door as the raid began and was opening it as they knocked it down.

Damage from a flash grenade on a bedroom wall

Damage from a flash grenade on a bedroom wall

When the grenade went off in the room, it left a large bowl-shaped dent in the wall and “blew the nails out of the drywall,” Fasching said.

St. John said investigators did plenty of homework on the residence before deciding to launch the raid but didn’t know children were inside.

“The information that we had did not have any juveniles in the house and did not have any juveniles in the room,” he said. “We generally do not introduce these disorienting devices when they’re present.”

The decision to use a SWAT team was based on a detailed checklist the department uses when serving warrants.

Investigators consider dozens of items such as residents’ past criminal convictions, other criminal history, mental illness and previous interactions with law enforcement.

Each item is assigned a point value and if the total exceeds a certain threshold, SWAT is requested. Then a commander approves or rejects the request.

In Tuesday’s raid, the points exceeded the threshold and investigators called in SWAT.

“Every bit of information and intelligence that we have comes together and we determine what kind of risk is there,” St. John said. “The warrant was based on some hard evidence and everything we knew at the time.”

But Fasching said the risk wasn’t there and the entry created, for her and her daughters, a sense of fear they can’t shake.

“I’m going to have to take them to counseling,” she said. “They’re never going to get over that.”

A claims process has already been started with the city. St. John said it’s not an overnight process, but it does determine if the Police Department needs to make restitution.

“If we’re wrong or made a mistake, then we’re going to take care of it,” he said. “But if it determines we’re not, then we’ll go with that. When we do this, we want to ensure the safety of not only the officers, but the residents inside.”

No arrests were made during the raid and no charges have been filed, although a police spokesman said afterward that some evidence was recovered during the search. St. John declined to release specifics of the drug case, citing the active investigation, but did say that “activity was significant enough where our drug unit requested a search warrant.”

Fasching said she’s considering legal action but, for now, is more concerned about her daughters.

“I would like to see whoever threw those grenades in my daughter’s room be reprimanded,” she said. “If anybody else did that it would be aggravated assault. I just want to see that the city is held accountable for what they did to my children.”

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/grenade-burns-sleeping-girl-as-swat-team-raids-billings-home/article_71d1f226-1474-11e2-b4b4-0019bb2963f4.html

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Should Marijuana be Legal and Why So or Not?

Responding to an article in LibertyCrier.com, I would like to point out that I don’t agree with their entire viewpoint. The following quotes are from LibertyCrier.com and my responses are not in quotes.

Marijuana prohibition does not work. The better policy is to legalize it, license it, regulate it and tax it.

However, I think that it would be best just to decriminalize it and leave it at that.

The question for voters is not whether marijuana is good. It is whether prohibition is good. It is whether the people who use marijuana shall be subject to arrest, and whether the people who supply them shall be sent to prison. The question is whether the war on marijuana is worth what it costs.

In my opinion, prosecuting marijuana use or distribution has never been worth the cost. I don’t think that anyone should be imprisoned, prosecuted or publicly scorned for using a substance that grows naturally, can be used without chemical or unnatural processing, has very few, if any, negative side effects, is shown by research to be much safer than many LEGAL substances, etc. The prosecution of marijuana has never accomplished anything other than plugging up our court systems with superfluous crap, costing people time and money unnecessarily. Families have been torn apart, swat teams have been used to raid houses at night and shoot family dogs in front of children, all in the name of “saving” the public from marijuana. I ask you, is it worth it? No!

Initiative 502 says no.

Good for them!

If marijuana killed people, or if smoking it made people commit violence and mayhem, prohibition might be worth all its bad effects. But marijuana does not kill people; there is no lethal dose. Marijuana befuddles the mind and stimulates the appetite, but it does not make people commit arson and brigandage.

Very true. Marijuana hasn’t ever been associated with crime other than the use of marijuana itself. It has been called a “gateway drug” but I don’t think it “leads” to harder drug use as much as it is one of many illegal drugs available and probably one of the easier ones to gain access to. Therefore the people who feel a need, for some reason, to use an illicit substance, will often start with what is readily available. I am not trying to say that people who use marijuana are never involved in other crime. I am simply saying that marijuana is not a deciding factor in whether or not they commit other crime. For instance, a violent criminal will not become violent because of marijuana use. If they are violent to begin with they will still be a violent criminal over the long run. It won’t be because of marijuana use, and marijuana use is not likely to cause any beneficial effect over the long run either. It is just a pit stop along the road of violent criminal behavior.

Some people abuse it, just as with alcohol, but cannabis is less of a social problem than liquor, wine and beer. And society manages those as legal, commercial products.

Very true. Some people abuse golf too. It leads to neglecting home and family due to the many hours a week spent away unnecessarily playing golf.

What would legal marijuana be like? Consider what has happened in Seattle. The city has become a sanctuary for medical marijuana, with aboveboard dispensaries. Recreational marijuana is readily available in Seattle on the illicit market, and users of small amounts are no longer prosecuted. For several years, recreational marijuana has effectively been decriminalized in Seattle, and there has been no upsurge in crime or road deaths from it.

Other countries have also had similar experience with legalizing marijuana, either for medicinal use or decriminalizing for possession of small amounts.

But even in Seattle, recreational marijuana is still supplied by criminals — by definition. Prohibition creates criminals. In the 1920s, when alcohol was banned nationwide, alcohol money fed Chicago gangster Al Capone just as marijuana money feeds the Mexican gangs now.

I guess the question to me is, was and always will be the same: “Why must the government involve itself in everything no matter how minor?” Take the controversy over raw milk, for instance. Sting operations have been deployed to catch people in the act of selling unpasteurized milk off of a farm to knowing customers who desire the product.

Bad farming practices from industrial agriculture have recently caused mass quantities of contaminated produce such as spinach, tomatoes, peanuts and other produce to be released to the public, but no one demands that they be cooked before being sold. These contaminated produce items have caused far more illness than dairy products ever have, and yet, do to the American Dairy Council and government regulations that are shoddy at best and criminal at worst, the public gets fed contaminated produce and is restricted from purchasing unpasteurized milk even if there is a real need for it.

Why can’t we just take a bunch (I mean a BUNCH) of laws off of the books and make our society ACTUALLY free instead of theoretically “free”. As it is, there is probably not one person in this country who could not be prosecuted for SOMETHING no matter how straight laced their life is. Do we really want to make laws that CREATE criminals, out of good, ordinary, thoughtful, considerate and hard-working people? I don’t!

http://libertycrier.com/front-page/seattle-times-approve-initiative-502-its-time-to-legalize-regulate-and-tax-marijuana/

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