Editor’s Note: kcactive.com introduces a new column, "Higher Ground," by John Sinclair and Larry Gabriel for the Detroit Metro Times. Their column will appear here also from time to time.
Conspiracy theories - Reader reactions to drug policy enlighten
by John Sinclair
It's going to be hard to follow the brilliant and incisive work of Larry Gabriel ("When science goes to pot") in last week's Higher Ground, but one thing I've noticed over the years is that when the government commissions a study into the adverse effects of marijuana and the answer comes back "none," the report is simply ignored and the government goes right on with its program for the harassment and eradication of recreational drug users.
My memory isn't that great anymore, but I can't remember a single study that concluded marijuana is bad for human beings or has any negative effect on the workings of our society. As far as I've read, no deaths have resulted from marijuana use. It's not toxic, it's not addictive, it doesn't lead to violent or abusive behavior, and, in fact, marijuana offers great medicinal and healing benefits not found elsewhere — with the added attraction of blessed mental relief from the incessant poundings of daily life.
None of this fits with the orthodox mythology, however, so findings are routinely ignored, alcohol continues as the authorized social drug of choice, the pharmaceutical industry continues to boom as the nation's official drug supply, and the political underwriters of the established policy keep up their barrage of gibberish while voting billions for the relentless enforcement of their endless laws against recreational drug use.
Nixon got one of these reports just before firing the opening salvos of the War on Drugs that's raged almost 40 years and torn apart the lives of millions of American citizens who chose to reject the government's phony science and to smoke marijuana or get high in other prohibited ways in informed defiance of the law.
We've paid dearly for these choices; some think that's the point. Robert Carpenter writes, "It is, of course, true that the drug war has failed, insofar as its stated goals are concerned. The question, however, is whether the stated goals made in support of policy by the political class are necessarily the actual goals. ...
"On the Watergate tape recordings, President Nixon left no doubt as to his deep hatred of hippies, the counterculture, every minority group one can name, gays, and of course blacks. On the tapes Nixon demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of racial slurs and says words to the effect that the problem with the country now is the blacks. And H.R. Haldeman famously remarks that what's needed is a program, which can deal with the blacks while not appearing to do so.
"What he means of course is that, in the wake of the civil rights legislation, a new means of containing blacks must be devised, now that the Jim Crow laws have been dismantled. That new means was the War on Drugs in which Nixon deployed his DEA and militarized civilian police forces with his SWAT programs, tanks, armored carriers and the like.
"With the War on Drugs, I believe Nixon — perhaps the most cynical and diabolically ingenious president of all time — understood that with the DEA interdictions he could drive up the street price of drugs, entice the poor, black urban underclass into dealing in them, and use the newly militarized civilian police forces as the front lines of a massive plan to begin turning blacks into felons and creating a ruling class in poor black ghettos where, as W.F. Buckley put it, the drug dealers would become the overlords.
"In brief, I think Nixon's War on Drugs can best be described as a strategy for producing delinquents. ... His problem was how to reverse the integrative processes under way, to delinquintize black populations so as to quell integration and instill in whites a great fear of a dangerous, delinquent black class.
"On that score," citizen Carpenter concludes, "the War on Drugs has been a resounding success, and, as many point out, nearly one out of three young black males in urban areas are under the administration of the Justice Department — in jail awaiting trial, as convicted felons, incarcerated or as parolees.
"There are, of course, many other goals and interests one could name in the War on Drugs — from asset forfeiture, which turns law enforcement into third-party beneficiaries, to the prison guard unions, the treatment centers and so on. But I believe Nixon, the president who federalized on a massive scale the War on Drugs, had in mind the delinquintization of newly emancipated blacks as his primary goal for the program."
Here's another reader, Justin Kline: "I recently had a friend serve up the idea that 'prohibition' was due to Henry Ford manufacturing cars with newer engines that ran on corn liquor (ethanol). Prohibition was contrived to force the farmers to keep using the output of the fledgling oil industry. i.e.,protecting a special-interest group [that] was an entire industry.
"Next, my friend claimed that marijuana was declared illegal nearly to the day that nylon was invented. The grand obfuscation was to word the law with the name 'hemp' as the general scheme of the scam, which is a general category that merely includes marijuana. Almost nobody knows, even now, that the law reads 'hemp.'
"Thus, the true mission was cloaked right from the beginning, i.e., protecting a special-interest group — nowhere close to the claims of health or morals. ... Let me know if this starts to look like something worthy of your time and not just another rant from the 'conspiracy theory squad.'"
It's good to think of all these potential causes in our search for truth, because we know the official anti-drug gobbledygook is false. It's sad to keep beating this same dead horse, but they've got to drag it off the track and let real life return for our nation's recreational users.
Asset forfeiture: I was tipped off by Eapen Thampy of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, a nonprofit group based in Kansas City, to the chilling article "Stealing Camp Zoe: The Forfeiture Gang Strikes," where William Norman Grigg of the Pro Libertate blog and radio program details the massive raid on a rural Arkansas music venue by federal, state and local law enforcement authorities "dispatched to clean out the personal and business accounts of Jimmy Tebeau, the musician and entrepreneur who owns and operates the campground."
Camp Zoe was opened in 2004, by Tebeau, bassist in a popular band called the Schwag, and "by some accounts, the 330-acre Camp Zoe is Shannon County's largest employer. ... Tebeau himself is not accused of a crime. Yet Camp Zoe has been seized and Tebeau's personal financial assets have been confiscated by a motley assortment of 'law enforcement' groups [who] ... will be permitted to keep [the assets] and divide [them] among themselves unless Tebeau can prove a negative — namely, that he did not knowingly permit the sale and use of proscribed substances by others."
This will take some readers back to the vicious felony prosecution of the promoter of the Goose Lake Pop Festival in 1970. Then they just wanted revenge: Now they want the land itself.
I'm out of space now so I'll try to explore asset forfeiture more fully in future columns. Let me close with the words of reader Kimberly Miller, who points out that "Americans have been consuming, growing and distributing pot from the time settlers set foot on this land, with or without the approval or guidance of anyone else but themselves. ... And those who don't understand or care about the remedies marijuana has to offer, guess what? "You don't have to use it." —Amsterdam, Jan. 13, 2011
Former Detroiter John Sinclair is an author, broadcaster, longtime activist, subject of a John Lennon song and one-time manager of the MC5. He writes for the Detroit Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.