The Good, The Bad and The War on Drugs

The Good, The Bad and The War on Drugs
Posted by FoM on July 28, 2001 at 12:06:11 PT
By Gregory Kane
Source: Baltimore Sun
The story is about a man named Andrew Chambers. The Los Angeles Times and St. Louis Post-Dispatch are among the newspapers that have written about Chambers, who may become a symbol for everything that is wrong with the "war on drugs." For 16 years, Chambers was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration. His snitching led to the arrests of more than 400 suspects and the seizure of $6 million in assets. That's the good news. But the bad news is very bad. 
Chambers lied under oath on 16 different occasions. He was arrested 13 times on various charges -- including forgery and fraud -- while an informant. DEA agents either bailed him out or finagled the "justice" system into dropping the charges. DEA agents also knew of Chambers' perjury and criminal record and hid it from prosecutors and defense lawyers. But they continued shelling out the dough to him. In 16 years, Chambers made $1.8 million. Do the math. (Lord knows, Chambers probably couldn't. He dropped out of high school). That comes to $112,500 annually for each of the 16 years Chambers was dropping dimes on drug suspects across the country. Those of you who work real jobs for 30, 40 or 50 grand a year and who graduated from high school or college must be wondering where you went wrong, because you got chumped -- we all got chumped -- by lunkhead government officials running the "war on drugs." And this is not a partisan issue. Liberals and conservatives have supported the "war on drugs" and its primary strategy: Lock up enough black inner-city drug dealers or addicts and we'll win the war. Employ as many confidential informants as we can, even if, like Chambers, they prove to be unreliable. (Rick Escobar, a lawyer quoted in one news story, said there are hundreds of informants like Chambers running around.) Stop cars on the highways and search them for drugs. Frisk passengers returning from flights abroad for drugs. Kick in doors and terrorize citizens based on the tips of these informants. If we find drugs, fine. If not, it's no big deal. We're waging a war here. Candidates, both Democratic and Republican, campaign on continuing and winning the "war on drugs." But here's what they won't tell you: We're not winning it, and it probably can't be won. We've supposedly had shortages of a number of things over the years. There was an oil shortage. Drought in the West caused a water shortage. California recently experienced a power shortage. There's even been a shortage of the paper that makes up the newspaper you're now reading. But you haven't heard of a shortage of heroin or cocaine, have you? In spite of all the arrests, all the interdiction, all the searches and the doors kicked in and the trials and the snitching, there's still enough dope in America for all its drug addicts to get happily high. We look at that evidence and then nod sheepishly when politicians tell us we need not a change, but more of the same. So who's responsible for characters like Chambers? The DEA? The FBI and IRS? (Chambers worked for them, too.) No. We are. We're the ones who pony up tax dollars for the drug war. We're the ones funding this lunacy. We're the ones not holding politicians accountable. When someone comes along, like former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, and suggests decriminalizing drugs and treating addiction like a health crisis, we haughtily thrust our noses skyward and sniff, "We will never do that. It will send the wrong message." Perhaps it's time we consider what message we send by paying an Andrew Chambers nearly $2 million to lie. Next to him, the drug addict who candidly admits, "I just want a hit of heroin or crack," seems downright refreshing. But we prefer the hypocrisy and perfidy of a Chambers to the honesty of a drug addict. Maybe that's because we're all a bit hypocritical in the messages we send. Those drinking establishments that sell drinks at reduced prices in certain time slots and call the event "the happy hour" promote the notion that drinking makes you happy, and the more you drink, the happier you are. Those television ads that tell the kiddies beer is something you can't do without are priming us for our next generation of drug addicts. Drug war advocates will protest that assertion, claiming it comes from one of those nutty drug legalizers. Well, we drug legalizers may not know about messages. But we do know what the No. 1 drug problem in this country is. It's not heroin, and it's not cocaine or crack either. It's alcohol, which is every bit the gateway drug that marijuana is. Any true drug war has to teach our children that truth, and proponents of that war must insist that "happy hours" and television alcohol ads have to go. The booze industry will not suffer. Prohibition proved that Americans will drink. They don't need happy hours or beer ads to encourage them. What they need is an end to the "war on drugs" and fewer folks like Andrew Chambers. Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)Author: Gregory KanePublished: July 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Baltimore SunContact: letters baltsun.comWebsite: Articles:DEA Shielded Tainted Informant Informer's Trail Of Lies Contorts Drug Case Drug Informant Is Caught Lying
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Comment #8 posted by freedom fighter on July 29, 2001 at 22:44:07 PT
Average informant
is just a child high on so many drugs...ff
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Comment #7 posted by rabblerouser on July 29, 2001 at 07:32:05 PT
Mr. Chambers
I know of a former narcotics agent who turned into one murdering thug. He was cut from cloth he head weaved over a period of time. It was an ugly cloth and the trail of destruction he left behind was also not a pretty sight to behold. He resides at the Crowbar Hotel.Specifics and details are not necessary; it is time to end this drug war madness. It is far worse than drugs or alcohol could ever be.
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Comment #6 posted by jAHn on July 28, 2001 at 20:22:31 PT
How much $$$
...are the "stupid drunks" raking in day to day? Talk about Wasted Ideology! I HOPE i live to see this Prohibition on Pot lifted...just so i can, freely, share pieces of mind. Instead of being sooo freaked by DOJ "people."
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Comment #5 posted by mayan on July 28, 2001 at 18:19:21 PT
Our government has lost the war on drugs. It's over,it's done - put a fork in it already.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on July 28, 2001 at 17:37:20 PT:
Please Mr. Kane, don't squeeze that trigger again
Ah-hem. Would some kind soul quietly and calmly go over to Mr. Kane and very gently pry his fingers away and remove the pistol that he doesn't know he's holding? Because he's in danger of shooting himself in the foot, again. And we don't need any crippled allies. "It's alcohol, which is every bit the gateway drug that marijuana is.Given what we know of cannabis, thanks to studies such as the DEA 1988 Francis Young Study and the IoM study, we know cannabis is most decidedly not a 'gateway drug'. So, Mr. Kane should be apprised of this fact by the suggestion of adding "...supposed to be" at the end of the relevent sentence. A point which I will write about in my next missive to him, as soon as I am through with this. Might I suggest we reformers all do likewise?
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Comment #3 posted by peaceman on July 28, 2001 at 17:23:37 PT
It is an unjust war
All we are saying is - give grass a chance.All we are saying is - give grass a chance.All we are saying is - give grass a chance.
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Comment #2 posted by E. Johnson on July 28, 2001 at 13:08:57 PT
Glasnost and perestroika are here
So we've reached the Glasnost phase of the Drug War, where the self-censorship of the press has begun to diminish, and we're also in the Perestroika phase of the Drug War, where the coddled apparatchiks are telling us that the failing system can be repaired with some minor fine-tuning.The day is still coming when everyone finally decides to quit the Party at once.
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Comment #1 posted by aocp on July 28, 2001 at 12:51:32 PT
Yea, boy-eeeeee!...
Any true drug war has to teach our children that truth, and proponents of that war must insist that "happy hours" and television alcohol ads have to go.Uckin'-fay. Bring that to a public forum and watch the truly one-sided "debate" take place that will tear the drug war to shreds like so much unwanted junk mail.The booze industry will not suffer.Oh, but if their squealing was public, it'd be one hell of a sight!! I'd call in sick just to tune in...Prohibition proved that Americans will drink.That about sums it up. As i've said before, the above is, IMHO, the biggest stumbling block the sheeple encounter. That is, they assume they're stopping drug users from using at the end of their moralizing gestapo. Fiddle-faddle. If you GIVE the regulation of a substance to criminals, don't come crying to me, complaining that you haven't actually got a grip on anything. Accept, Understand, Regulate, and Succeed. Otherwise, we're talking Confident, Cocky, Lazy (NonThinking), Dead (Unsuccessful) ... in that order.They don't need happy hours or beer ads to encourage them.What's the understated reaction to the action of booze ads? We're SENDING A MESSAGE that booze is not only acceptable, but freaking ENCOURAGED!!! The very fact that this idea is put into this article is not just a ray of shining hope to me, but a beacon in the storm. We hardly use our brains at all ... let's at least use the small proportion we have access to. Sheesh.
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