In a recent talk at Pasadena Public Library to promote her recent book titled “Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, Michele Alexander explained that “Crime rates in the U.S. are actually at a historical low.” Yet there are more African-Americans in the Criminal Justice System today than enslaved in 1850’s.
In case you did not know, America, the Land of the Free, does in fact have 7 million people either in Jail, on Probation or on Parole (the Criminal Justice Program). We are told that 50% of them are African-American (that is 3.5 Million African-Americans in the System). In 1850, just before the American Civil War, where Slavery was a major issue, America had 3.2 Million slaves from Africa.
As a former clerk to the Supreme Court, and former Stanford Law graduate, and current professor of Law at Ohio State (with a husband that is a public prosecutor) – she obviously knows a thing or two about the subject. “Most of that increase is due to the “war on drugs”, a war waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color,” she said, even though studies have shown that whites use and sell illegal drugs at rates equal to or above blacks. In some black inner-city communities, four of five black youth can expect to be caught up in the criminal justice system during their lifetimes.
As a consequence, a great many black men are disenfranchised, said Alexander — prevented because of their felony convictions from voting and from living in public housing, discriminated in hiring, excluded from juries, and denied educational opportunities.“What do we expect them to do?” she asked, who researched her ground-breaking book while serving as Director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California. “Well, seventy percent return to prison within two years, that’s what they do.”
To reaffirm Alexander’s statements, the U.S. government publishes annual studies on drug use patterns and trends in the U.S. There are close to 13 Million Americans that use drugs (this is roughly similar to historic numbers); but of this number, we are now close to 700,000 active addicts to Heroin. This is a significant increase since 2001 when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. While most of the drugs coming into the U.S. come in from Latin America, the increasing supply from Afghanistan to the rest of the world has “freed up” supply for increasing volumes of drugs to enter the U.S. Obviously all this translates to big business.
There are close to 1 million Americans employed by the Criminal Justice system – what is now being called the “Prison-Industrial Complex”. This ‘selective’ enforcement is also practiced by the “Military-Industrial Complex” that seems to completely ignore Opium Production in Afghanistan …right under the U.S. military machine.
In fact on the day the U.S. (and its allies) invaded Afghanistan, domestic cultivation of Opium had dropped to near zero. The Taliban, for all their evil, actually destroyed domestic cultivation. Now, according to very recent reports (published this month by the U.N.): The production of opium in Afghanistan, a key source of income for the Taliban, is set to increase by 62 percent this year despite eradication efforts, the United Nations said Tuesday.
The cultivation area in 2011 reached 324,000 acres, compared to 304,000 acres in the previous two years, an increase of seven percent, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report.The amount of opium produced has risen from 3,968 tons in 2010 to 6,393 tons in 2011, an increase of 62 percent. I was so happy last year, that the Obama administration had supported policies that resulted in a serious decline (31%) in poppy production, attributed to a disease that ravaged the crop. But production has now returned and exceeded pre-2010 levels, the UNODC said."The Afghan Opium Survey 2011 sends a strong message that we cannot afford to be lethargic in the face of this problem. A strong commitment from both national and international partners is needed," UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said.
This increase in cultivation in Afghanistan, immediately impacts opium and heroin use worldwide, and in particular inside Iran. Iran’s “Islamic Republic Guard Corps” (the IRGC) imports over 65% of Afghanistan’s crop, and in turn re-exports most of it worldwide. But in the process, a big chunk maybe as much as 1/3rd of the imported crop is sold domestically. Iran is now ravaging under the strain of over 1 Million addicts and an estimated 7 million casual opium smokers. For those that do not believe the Government of Iran, and its military force –the IRGC – are involved directly in drug smuggling …consider a simple fact: How do you get 20,000 fully loaded trucks across the border (that they guard) every year. It is absolutely impossible for this quantity of drugs to come into Iran – without the blessing and support of the IRGC. Impossible!
And it is impossible for this quantity of cultivation to go on in Afghanistan, without the full support of the Afghan Government, and more importantly the Government of the United States. In an age when they can read newspaper articles on the ground from Satellites in Orbit – no one can tell me or anyone else that the U.S. does NOT know where this opium is cultivated…and do something about it.My simple point is the U.S. government is exercising “selective enforcement” – and is targeting specific communities and nations that they want to destroy. Why?
This, my friends, is surely not a way to create a better world for our children. Bringing democracy and stability to 15 Million Afghans should not be at the cost of Millions of drug enslaved Iranians or for that increasing African-Americans’ judicial enslavement in the U.S. There is something seriously wrong with this picture. One Wall Street Occupier’s sign reads: “Shit is fucked up and bullshit”; and there is another sign that I prefer that goes: “I love humanity, lets figure out this shit together”. It’s time for those in charge to start caring for humanity. Cause this drug shit is really fucked up.
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