Tuesday, March 01, 2011

States in bed with criminals who profit from prohibition

While it is well known that prohibition creates the turf on which organised crime operates, globalisation and new technology are enabling a frightening illegal network in which some governments ARE the criminals as detailed in a new paper by the Global Commission on Drug Policies.

Senior government officials in countries such as Russia, Albania, South Africa and Venezuela, often favourites of the President or occupying senior policing roles, have been outed as kingpins in international crime, controlling international networks smuggling drugs, weapons, dirty money and people. Drugs are probably the most lucrative of these markets.

The rule of law, human rights and democracy itself are under serious threat while relatively honest governments fight a losing battle against these global crime organisations. Such governments are hamstrung  because they operate mostly within national boundaries while their opponents operate across borders.

Effective international co-operation is not possible when dealing with other governments who ARE the criminals. Meanwhile, prohibitionist policing within borders creates the very potential for the international criminals to profit.

The paper argues that most drug control policies are out of date and focused on the wrong people - still targeting individual users and dealers while an international cartel of criminals and politicians burgeons across the planet.

This is a must-read paper, and any prohibitionists need to have a good hard think about how much harm their beliefs are causing. It makes the harms of drugs pale into insignificance.

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