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>> The Institute on Global Drug Policy


By Alberto Carosa Assessing the results of recent ballot initiatives in some US states on the legalization and/or decriminalization of marijuana, conducted simultaneously with the mid-term elections, the US anti-drug czar John P. Walters comment was that "common sense has prevailed" over pro-drug propaganda. In his opinion, "today’s results affirm what most Americans already know. That no family, no community, no state is better off with more drug use". These results are all the more remarkable because they were achieved, in the words of John Walters, despite "a super wealthy few" bent on forcefully pressing their pro-free drug agenda. Recently USA TODAY online ("Trio put cash into marijuana initiatives", November 11th, 2002) gave us a clue as to who these "super wealthy few" are when it reported that "two billionaires and a multimillionaire are bankrolling campaigns to legalize marijuana in three states and Washington, D.C. Purported grassroots campaigns in Nevada, Ohio, Arizona and Washington are being run by political advocacy firms in New York and Washington, D.C., with money from financier George Soros and University of Phoenix founder John Sperling, billionaires both, and multimillionaire Peter Lewis, retired CEO of Progressive Insurance…Their ultimate goal is to legalize drugs everywhere". And everywhere does not mean solely the US, but also the world at large, including Europe. That’s probably why Arnold Trebach, who started the Soros-funded Drug Policy Foundation and whose agenda is "to make opposition to the drug laws decent and respectable", was reported as having been one of the protagonists at the first convention of anti-prohibitionist legislators in the European Parliament in Brussels on 15-16 October 2002. The convention took place under the aegis of the Trans-national Radical Party, headed by the notorious drug legaliser Marco Pannella, and the International Anti-prohibitionist League. In the letter of invitation the organizers called upon all those who had denounced the failure of the war on drugs to get together and "promote drug regulation through an anti-prohibitionist reform of the UN conventions of Narcotics". In a press release the Sweden-based leading anti-drug NGO Hassela Nordic Network (HNN) decries the initiative as an attempt to undermine the UN conventions on drugs with the ultimate aim of ending prohibition and therefore get rid of global treaties against drugs. "Everybody is entitled to his-her opinion on drugs", HNN goes on saying, "but an elected assembly, the European Parliament, should definitely not be used for the purpose of getting rid of UN conventions aimed at decreasing demand and supply of drugs". As a result of this appeal, Swedish MEPs Jan Andersson and Olle Schmidt wrote to their colleagues urging them to join a "We will not give up-appeal against legalisation of drugs in Europe" protest meeting on 8 October in the EU Parliament in Brussels. "Restrictive policies on drugs have shown to be successful and should thus remain the solution for the future", their letter says. "Consumption, possession and trafficking of all drugs must be illegal". Another Swede, HNN deputy director and former Green MEP Malou Lindholm, called upon the European Parliament Questor Mary Banotti to withdraw the permission for the above anti-prohibitionist lobby groups to use the European Parliament and its facilities for their seminar/assembly. "I find it outrageous, to say the least", she points out, "that the European Parliament, financed by European tax payers, should be used to encourage activities to break international conventions and agreements". In her opinion, "the already existing criticism of financial mismanagement within the central bureaucracy in Brussels should be more than enough to make sure available finances and respect for international Conventions and treaties would not allow for exercises aimed at legalising drugs". A similar ploy was previously thwarted in early 1998 by the European Parliament in Strasbourg following the prompt reaction of a number of (mostly Swedish) MEPs in an unwitting alliance with Italian anti-drugs NGOs, which on that occasion had associated under an umbrella committee For Traditional and Family Values in Italy to lobby the EU institutions from outside. Also at that time MEPs Malou Lindholm and Jan Andersson were spearheading the action against drug liberalisers, while the liberalisers front was being led by the then European Commissioner Emma Bonino (cf. The Wanderer of March 5th, 1998). The renewed efforts by the above free drug advocates are taking place right in moment in which the Italian-born Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP), who assumed duty in May, told a Washington audience last September 25 that terrorism, narcotics trafficking and organized crime form "another axis of evil". In the wake of the anti-prohibitionist convention in Brussels, the confrontation between the two camps has taken a new turn with the decision by HNN to launch a worldwide collection of signatures for "The 2003 Vienna Declaration" in support of the UN Conventions on Drugs, seeking to maintain restrictive drugs policies against any legalisation of illicit drugs, including cannabis. The 2003 Vienna Declaration fully supports the contents of the UN Conventions on Drugs and rejects all demands for amendments to the Conventions that would promote or facilitate use of illicit drugs. In April 2003 there will be a mid-term review in Vienna of the results achieved since the 1998 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS). In connection with the mid-term review pro-drug advocates will try to get political support to amend or repeal the UN Conventions on Drugs in order to facilitate use of illicit drugs, including legalisation of drugs. Efforts to legalise drugs are a serious violation of the contents of the UN Conventions on Drugs, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, especially article 33: "States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as defined in the relevant international treaties and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances." By ratifying the Convention, national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s health and have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. If you do not want your children to have easier access to drugs and ultimately do not want to play into the hands of the above "axis of evil" based on terrorism, narcotics trafficking and organized crime, then sign "The 2003 Vienna Declaration" at and convince others to sign it.

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