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FC: U.S. war on drugs targets technology, by Lewis Koch
From: Declan McCullagh <declan () well com>
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2001 21:07:02 -0500

Law enforcement officials have been complaining about technology hampering the WoSPIDs (war on some politically-incorrect drugs) for a while:

BTW, some folks (rightfully) complained about TANSTAAFL; one explanation is here:



From: "Chris Fedeli" <cafedeli () erols com>
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan () well com>
Subject: War On Drugs Targets Tech
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 16:28:00 -0500

Declan, this looks like a matter of interest for politech readers.   - Chris



Friday February 02 01:16 PM EST
War On Drugs Targets Tech
By Lewis Z. Koch Special To Interactive Week, Interactive Week

The new scapegoat for the failed War on Drugs is, of all things, technology.

The 120-page December 2000 International Crime Threat Assessment report -
created by basically every federal law enforcement agency in the U.S. - is
riddled with examples of how computer technology has advanced the cause of
national and international crime. Modern telecommunications and information
systems, state-of-the-art communications equipment, computers - they're all
to blame.

What the report fails to squarely acknowledge is that the oil that fuels
organized crime in the U.S. and abroad, including terrorist organizations,
is profit from the trade in illegal drugs bound for the U.S. - billions of
dollars in profit from drug sales that enhance the power of international
crime cartels and their ability to corrupt police, judges and governmental
officials from Tijuana to Tanzania.

"Through the use of computers, international criminals have an unprecedented
capability to obtain, process and protect information and sidestep law
enforcement investigations," the report stated. "They can use the
interactive capabilities of advanced computers and telecommunications
systems to plot marketing strategies for drugs and other illicit
commodities, to find the most efficient routes and methods for smuggling and
moving money in the financial system and to create false trails for law
enforcement or banking security."

It goes on to assert: "More threateningly, some criminal organizations
appear to be adept at using technology for counterintelligence purposes and
for tracking law enforcement activities."

In other words, it's not our flawed drug policy that's to blame - it's new

Where All This Began

In 1937, Harry J. Anslinger, six years into his 30-year-reign as director at
the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf
of the "Marihuana Tax Act." This delighted the Hearst newspapers, which,
lacking a real war to increase newspaper sales, launched an all-out battle
against demon marijuana. Here are a few excerpts from Anslinger's sworn
testimony. Clearly, our drug policy traces its roots to reasoning that was
as racist and alarmist as it was wildly inaccurate:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are
Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz
and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana can cause white women
to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."


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