DEA Launches Exhibit Proclaiming Drugs = Terrorism

DEA Launches Exhibit Proclaiming Drugs = Terrorism
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2002 at 08:02:34 PT
By Bill Berkowitz
Every day Mary Lucey takes AIDS medications to stay alive. Without medical marijuana she gets so nauseous she can't keep the pills down. Lucey, a veteran activist and Interim AIDS Coordinator for the city of Los Angeles, serves on the board of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center. When the LACRC was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration in October, 2001, Lucey lost her safe, reliable source of medicine.
Jim and Roni Bowers and their children, religious missionaries working in South America, were in a plane shot down over Peru on April 20, 2001. It was a U.S. government-coordinated "drug interdiction" that went bad and Roni and her one-year-old daughter Charity were killed. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, "This summary execution of suspected drug smugglers was carried out without benefit of evidence, a trial or any opportunity for the Bowers family to defend" itself. Suspended for a while, drug-interdiction flights are expected to resume shortly. Esequiel Hernandez was tending his father's goats 100 yards from his home in Redford, Texas when he was killed in May, 1997 by U.S. Marines looking for marijuana smugglers. Hernandez, who had never been in trouble with the law, lived in a location sometimes frequented by marijuana smugglers. "His death," says the MPP, "was the inevitable result of a 'War on Drugs' fought with a real war's disregard for human life." These are some of the stories that you won't find at the United States Drug Enforcement Administration's Museum & Visitor's Center. Despite the failed drug war, the agency recently announced it was expanding the facility by 1,500 square feet. The first exhibit in the new gallery, timed for 9/11, will be devoted to the "connection" between drugs and terrorism. Beginning September 10 -- in time for the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- the DEA's Arlington, Va.-based Museum & Visitor's Center will present a new exhibit called "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You." The new show will reflect the Bush administration's recent anti-drug mantra that the "war on terrorism" is inextricably linked to the "war on drugs." The "use drugs/support terrorism" campaign organized by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP, the office of the "Drug Czar"), was unveiled with a $3.5 million ad buy during this past February's Super Bowl. The Super Bowl ads received a resounding thumbs-down from political columnists, editorial writers, entertainers and citizens across America. Matthew Briggs of the Drug Policy Alliance accused the drug czar's office of "hiding their failed war on drugs behind the war on terrorism. That's bad enough," he added, "but what's truly appalling is that they would stoop to blaming our own children." The Drug Policy Alliance pointed out that the ad campaign is: * Factually misleading: The ads "blame drugs and non-violent Americans for terror funding, when, in fact, the drug war itself is responsible for creating the illegal markets that generate those funds. Blaming Americans for funding terrorism is like blaming alcohol consumers in the 1920s for Al Capone's violence." * A waste of resources: "... the federal government is spending $10 million on a television and print ad campaign to demonize Americans when more than half of the people in the country who need drug treatment cannot get it." * Politically manipulative: "the drug czar's office is using millions of taxpayer dollars trying to persuade the American public and Congress that the failed drug war is still worth funding." * Lacks substantive educational value: They don't "educate children about the health risks of drug use, or to stimulate real dialogue among parents and children about drugs. Instead, they dishonestly link the war on drugs to the war on terrorism in a desperate and cynical effort to protect drug war budgets." The DEA Museum's current exhibit is "Illegal Drugs in America: A Modern History": "From opium dens in the mid-1800's to the international drug mafias of today ... this exhibit traces the impact of drugs on American society and the efforts by federal law enforcement to combat this growing problem. It follows the evolution of the Drug Enforcement Administration to its present-day status, ... highlights major trends in illegal drug use as well as milestones and accomplishments that DEA and its predecessor agencies have made in this global conflict." Krissy Oechslin, the assistant director of communications for the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project, visited the museum last year with a group of students. She told that "the exhibit lacked credibility, was bereft of context and provided no opposing points of view." A timeline, running the length of the museum depicts the opium wars of the late 19th century, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980's and marijuana use through the years as part of the same seamless drug problem. There were no references to the growing piles of documentation of the cynical role U.S. agencies have played in the drug trade.Targeting Americans President Richard Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration by merging its predecessor agency, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs with various law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies in July 1973. According to the agency's Web site, it is "charged with the responsibility of enforcing the nation's federal drug laws and works closely with local, state, federal and international law enforcement organizations to identify, target and bring to justice the most significant drug traffickers in the world." The DEA currently has more than 9,000 employee with 4,500 agents located in cities throughout the United States and in offices in 50 countries around the world. Here's how the DEA describes "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You." The exhibit: traces the historic and contemporary connections between global drug trafficking and terrorism. Starting with the horrific events of September 11, 2001 and moving back in time to the ancient Silk Road, this exhibit ... will present the visitor with a global and historical overview of this deadly connection. The visitor will have many opportunities to explore the often-symbiotic relationships that exist between terrorist groups and drug trafficking cartels and the personal impact those connections have on the visitor."When I saw the press release announcing the new exhibit I felt sick to my stomach," Oechslin told me in a telephone interview. "I was disgusted by the use of a drawing of the twisted metal shards of the World Trade Center inside of a wraparound banner advertising the new exhibit." Former Arkansas Sen. Asa Hutchinson became President Bush's Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration on August 8, 2001. While raiding medical marijuana clubs has not been his only focus, in his first year as agency director Hutchinson has conducted an assault on several California medical marijuana facilities. The DEA's February 2002 raid on a San Francisco medical marijuana distribution facility was "an outrageous, unfounded attack on an organization that has a long history of working with local police authorities," said Bruce Mirken, MPP's communication director. In an early-June article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Lori Carter reports that "Despite the DEA's denials that it is targeting marijuana clubs, court records show that last week's federal raid on a Santa Rosa club had been four months in the making." A recent press release from the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws noted that "Since September 11, when the federal government promised to focus their resources on fighting terrorism, federal agents have raided medical cannabis buyers cooperatives in Los Angeles, Santa Rosa and San Francisco." Steph Sherer, the executive director of Americans for Safe Access, which she describes as "a network of patients, advocates and caregivers who defend patients' access to medical marijuana," told me that "There have been more arrests for medical marijuana cultivation and distribution since September 11, than there have been for any acts of terrorism in California." In response to these raids, in early June Dr. Mitch Katz, director of public health for San Francisco, sent a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, calling for hearings on the DEA's priorities. Katz wrote: "these actions [the San Francisco raids] have resulted in 4,000 persons with chronic illness left without access to critical treatment upon which they rely."Targeting the DEA "The new exhibit appears to be a grotesque desecration of the memories of the people who were killed on September 11," Mirken, said. "Imagine if Osama bin Laden sent squads of armed men into the U.S., stormed medical clinics, stole confidential patient records and literally took medicine from the sick and dying, how would George W. Bush respond? He'd be promising to hunt these terrorists to the end of the earth. All he's got to do is to look at the DEA. What the DEA is doing in California sure looks like terrorism to me." The Marijuana Policy Project is preparing to counter the DEA's much publicized exhibit with one of their own. However, lacking taxpayer funds, MPP's exhibit, called "Target America: The DEA and You" is slated to be a Web-only production. Although the exhibit wasn't online as of this writing -- it is scheduled to go up the week of September 2 -- Mirken gave a sneak preview. Parodying the DEA's own language, he told me that MPP's counter Web-exhibit "examines the deadly connection between the 'War on Drugs' and terrorism, the often-symbiotic relationship between drug warriors and terrorist drug cartels and the personal impact those relationships have on the average American." MPP's exhibit focuses attention on the victims of the DEA -- AIDS patients deprived of medicine, medical marijuana dispensaries raided and shut down, and stories about innocent people killed by the DEA and other "Drug War" agencies. Each of the three sections contains photos, graphics and extensive documentation. The Web-exibit deconstructs the DEA's myths and public relations gimmickry. The DEA's "Traffickers ..." exhibit appears to be following the script of the Bush administration's effort to link drug use -- including marijuana -- with terrorism. That is about as accurate a depiction of the "drug wars" as Quinn Martin's late '60s television series "The FBI" was about J. Edgar Hoover's agency. In a November 2001, Zogby Poll commissioned by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), pollsters asked: "In light of the tragic events of September 11th and the increased attention to the threat of terrorism, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers?" Three-fifths (61 percent) of likely voters opposed the arresting and jailing of nonviolent marijuana smokers; one-third (33 percent) supported arrests and jail time; and 6 percent are not sure. "The public is waking up to the futility and destructiveness of the so-called war on drugs," Mirken said. "This exhibit's dishonest, hypocritical attempt to hitch the DEA's wagon to the popular effort against terrorism is a sign of how desperate they've become. I wonder how Asa Hutchinson sleeps at night."Note: But Has The 'War On Drugs' Caused More Casualties Than Good? Bill Berkowitz is a long time political observer and columnist. Source: Author: Bill Berkowitz Published: August 28, 2002E-Mail: editor tompaine.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:LACRC: Policy Project: Policy Alliance: Traces History of Drug Use Missionary Relives Plane Tragedy Fed Records Show Focus on Pot Clubs Pollster Who Answered a Higher Calling Cracks Down on Med. Marijuana in California 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on September 03, 2002 at 09:22:51 PT
DEA Museum Web Site
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Comment #11 posted by qqqq on August 29, 2002 at 16:10:24 PT
...As Expected......
..unfortunatly,,I'm afraid this is just the beginning of this new campaign....I predict we will be seeing alot more drugs = terrorism garbage from Walters and Hutch,,,,,they have obscene amounts of our money to hire the best of Madison Avenue ad firms...Look at it this way;;;The same huge advertising firms that make commercials for Gatorade,,Nike,,Levis,,Pepsi,,etc... are the same firms who make commercials for the army/navy.,,and the ondcp! ...We are talking about millions of dollars,,and I predict we will soon see a new ad campaign that stresses the drug/terror thing...after all,,it will serve to boost the drug war,,and it will also serve to boost the terror war...both of these fabricated wars are necessary to maintain the empires powermongering cartel of racketeers and henchmen!!
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Comment #10 posted by observer on August 29, 2002 at 14:49:14 PT
rejecting ''jail''
In a November 2001, Zogby Poll commissioned by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), pollsters asked: "In light of the tragic events of September 11th and the increased attention to the threat of terrorism, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers?" Three-fifths (61 percent) of likely voters opposed the arresting and jailing of nonviolent marijuana smokersPlease, please, note the wording of the poll: they didn't ask "do you support legalizing?" ... they phrased it it terms of jail. Again, don't ask people to support "legalization" ... it is wiser to let them reject jail, instead. 
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Comment #9 posted by Snatchmo on August 29, 2002 at 13:31:11 PT
I'd like to see...
...a museum exhibit showing the connection of both Bush administrations, Oil, and War in the Middle East. They want control over the oil. People need to realize that the sole purpose for the "regime change" in Afghanistan was to resume building on an oil pipeline.
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Comment #8 posted by kaptinemo on August 29, 2002 at 13:00:26 PT:
Asa sleeps quite soundly, I'd bet
Because it requires a having a conscience to be troubled to have problems sleeping. Asa has amply demonstrated, with his actions in ordering the DEA to attack the sick and dying, that he lacks one. He is another Bush whore, who pimped himself after making himself so useful in not investigating the doings of 'Poppy' (how ironic; poppy as in opium and her more dreadful sister heroin) Bush and his crew at Mena, Arkansas in the 1980' his former jurisdiction.Expecting anything other than sycophantic obedience to his masters from this Brookes Brothers suited $20 hooker is to truly engage in 'pipe dreaming'.
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Comment #7 posted by canaman on August 29, 2002 at 12:17:58 PT
"Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You
Sorry I think I'll miss your propaganda exhibit guys, oh Assa Hucksterson it should read, "DEA Targets America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You!" Mean people suck!
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Comment #6 posted by greenfox on August 29, 2002 at 09:27:51 PT
War is peace...
"war on terrorism", and of course, freedom is slavery, war is peace, and ignorance is....strength!-gf
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Comment #5 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on August 29, 2002 at 09:08:53 PT
Actual ONDCP quote
"Substance abuse should be recognized for what it is -- a major health problem -- and dealt with accordingly."They actually say this, on page ten of this new booklet on drug testing in schools. By the way, does anyone know who produced this slick lookin' little pamphlet? I'm guessing Ogilvy and Mather, although there's no credit. With the little quotes and the blue-shaded generic "school" pictures, it reminds me of a corporation's annual report. I was enjoying making up humorous quotations to fit these photos - I think the best was on page 17, where I'd love to see beneath the picture, "I can't believe they watched me pee!"
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Comment #4 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 29, 2002 at 09:03:28 PT:
Have We Reached Critical Mass?
I sense that the government is increasingly desperate and pitiful in their propaganda campaign on behalf of the War on Drugs. Fewer people are accepting the standard lines. In the spirit of that bumper sticker, "My karma just ran over your dogma," I believe that it is all over but the crying for the Feds. The coming months will be yet more dangerous for those who espouse an opposing viewpoint. We must hope that shreds of the Constitution are still meaningful to those holding the reins of power.
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Comment #3 posted by CannabisMan on August 29, 2002 at 08:20:56 PT:
The DEA needs a taste of its own medicine
How about the people raid the DEA? Anyone else agree with this?Im sick of *anyone* trying to fuck with cannabis as it is one of the most useful plants for human beings on this planet.I am going to fight for cannabis liberation until my death.
DEA Office Locations
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Comment #2 posted by darwin on August 29, 2002 at 08:16:46 PT
nicely written
Drug museum? What the hell does that accomplish? Who the hell is going to go to this museum besides foaming at the mouth fundamentalists? This does this help reduce drug use. the only real function of the DEA. Are parents going to take their children to this as a vacation?Come on kids, were going to Virginia to go to the "Drugs=Terrorism" exhibit!
The wasting of money by the WO(s)D is getting way outta hand.
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Comment #1 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on August 29, 2002 at 08:15:39 PT
John Walters and a bunch of caucasian prohibitionists were just on C-SPAN2 discussing the new booklet on school drug testing which they've released. A bunch of sickening drivel, I'm going to cut this short and ingest a powerful anti-emetic. But I would like to point out that the "Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America" has a very appropriate set of initials - "CACA"!!
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