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drug war | human & civil rights

Is this the future of our own "War on Drugs"?

A vicious crackdown in Thailand makes our own war on drugs look almost tame in comparison (at least for now...)
2,274 dead in Thai drugs crackdown
Wednesday, May 7, 2003 Posted: 7:00 AM EDT (1100 GMT)


BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thailand's prime minister has defended his controversial war on drugs trumpeting the successful conclusion of a campaign that left more than 2,200 people dead in a three-month period.

Speaking to journalists in Bangkok Wednesday Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra denied accusations of extra-judicial killings and said the world should be grateful that Thailand was taking such a tough line on drugs.

"The success of this campaign has helped the whole world, especially the Western countries," he said.

"Everything that has been done is according to our modern constitution... everything is according to law," he added, defending the high death toll.

According to official Thai government figures a total of 2,274 people died nationwide during the nationwide crackdown.

Of those killed, Thaksin said, police had shot about 35 out of self-defense -- an act he said was permissible by law.

Most of the other killings he said were the result of fighting between drug gangs and the orders of "big bosses" who ordered hits on suspected informers out of fear that "fingers would be pointed at them."

'Eye-for-an-eye'

Thaksin has labelled the drug problem the number one threat to Thai society.
The campaign, which officially ended at the end of April, was dubbed "an eye-for-an-eye" by Thaksin who has declared the drugs problem the number one threat to Thai society.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have condemned the crackdown, labeling it a government sanctioned shoot-to-kill policy against anyone even suspected of involvement in the drugs trade.

The United Nations and several Western governments also expressed concern about the high death toll from the policy saying that in most cases there had been no official inquiry in line with standard police procedures.

On Wednesday the Associated Press quoted a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok as saying Washington had "serious concerns about the number of killings."

The unnamed spokesman said the United States had urged the Thai government to "investigate all unexplained killings and identify and prosecute those responsible."

One can only hope... 07.May.2003 08:21

Wally

One can only hope that the US will someday realize that drug dealers need to be executed, and drug users need to be imprisoned for very lengthy periods of time. I would wholeheartedly support efforts of the type seen in Thailand here in the US.

Huh Wally? 07.May.2003 08:45

red dwarf

Are you serious? If so lets discuss this.....

ok Wally 07.May.2003 08:58

Raven

If you want to have that policy in the U.S. then lets start with the CIA. They are well implicated in the importing and distribution of drugs in this country. The Bush family has ongoing and historical ties to drug smuggling. The main accomplishment so far of the attack on Afghanistan was to get the heroin trade going again in that country. Numerous elements in power in this country are profiting from that.

Then let us examine the pharmaceutical companies which have made and marketed numerous dangerous and deadly drugs.

For Wally 07.May.2003 11:56

happy drug user

As a drug user and a productive member of society, I take enormous offense at your idea that I should be imprisoned, and that my friends who get drugs for me should be killed. Wally, perhaps you can open your mind just a little here. Is it possible for you to see that at least 20 percent (that's one out of five) people in Portland use some sort of illegal drug on a regular basis, mostly pot, of course. The vast majority of this group lead normal, happy, and productive lives, threatened, its true, with jail for their personal lifestyle preferences. But despite this facistic threat, most of us drug users work jobs (I happen to be very well respected in my work), raise children (my daughter is in her second year of college), coach Little League, help our neighbors out when they need it, and basically are the same as anyone else you might know. As a matter of fact, Wally, I will virtually guarantee you that people you know, like, and respect use drugs. You don't know it because they are otherwise the same as everyone else. What you are saying is that one fifth of our society should be thrown into jail or killed. Is this really what you want? Who will treat the patients of the doctors (I know several doc who smoke pot) you would have arrested? Who will teach the children, and give the traffic tickets (yup, even cops smoke pot), and raise the food, and run the businesses that you right wingers so cherish?

Sorry, Wally. You and those like you who would impose their own shallow version of morality on the rest of the world are wrong here. Drug prohibition is immoral, literally a crime against humanity. Every drug prisoner is a political prisoner. Until they are all set free, the US will remain a police state, not the bastion of freedom it claims itself to be.

Wally, I have a specific question for you. Do you believe in freedom? Perhaps you could let us know what kind of freedom you believe in. Does freedom mean that people can live the way they want? Or must they follow Wally's rules in order to be free? I really want to know.

One can only hope indeed....... 07.May.2003 12:33

Oaktree

Wally, One can only hope that the people of the US will awake from their propagandized, sanitized cocoon they live in and wake the hell up. This War on Drugs is a sham. It's perpetuated by the very people who are supposed to be fighting the WOD, as the happy drug user said. Yes, it's all true. There are many many good resources out there for your investigative prowess that will enlighten you to the real happenings behind the scenes of the WOD. The billions of dollars that are wasted on the WOD could be the very same dollars that keep Oregon schools open so our kids can get an (propagandized, sanitized) education. So our hungry, homeless, mentally-disabled, seniors, and veterans can get the aid and help they need.
Perhaps you would like to peruse the rest of this site. You'd probably be thrilled by the article about the "drug raid" in Eugene.
That's right up your ally.......
I love my country, but I don't trust my government.

All wrong... 07.May.2003 14:07

Dark Woodsman

I think all of you have it wrong. There never has been a war on drugs and there never will be. For example, look what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US Government really wanted to declare "war" on drugs we could lay waste to the three main areas in the world where drugs are produced and it would be over with in a matter of weeks. Trouble is, this would upset the balance and order of things. For one thing its nice to have a certain segment of the population hooked on narcotics. For the most part they have jobs and usually quite docile and easy to control. On the other hand, you have the violent junkies who will commit crime to get the money for their drugs. Thats why we need so many cops... don't you get it?

War on Drug Users 07.May.2003 14:49

not so happy right now

Dark Woodsman is clearly right about one thing. The drug war is not intended to get rid of drugs. It is, instead, a war against drug users, whose lives are destroyed, who are killed or kidnapped and imprisoned or put into such a state of poverty and paranoia that they cannot lead productive lives. The war on drugs is a masquerade for a war on the left. Another author pointed out that the vast bulk of imprisoned drug users are African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, effectively giving the Republigans a 2 or 3 percent boost in every election. In this way the drug war is a political scam, turning lifestyle choices into felonies (imagine locking everyone who eats meat, arguably as personally dangerous and socially costly a practice as taking drugs), distracting the population from real dangers to society, and punishing those who, to a large extent, don't share the value system of the ruling elite.

End drug prohibition now.

for Raven 07.May.2003 21:53

mE

Generally, when you make somewhat outrageous claims, it is wise to back those claims up with some references. Then people won't think you're a paranoid conspiracy theorist


I'm all for a War on Drugs and Arrests of the dealers 08.May.2003 09:06

peace rebel girl

The real drug dealers are the pharmaceutical corporations. Legally prescribed "medications" kill more people every year than illicit drugs do. And what a HUGE $$ maker with top gov't officials sitting on the boards and taking a piece of the pie.

Prozac and it's counterparts Paxil and Zoloft are damn dangerous as is Ritalin. Now there is a monumental crime, to have our children drugged on Ritalin. Mind control starts very young and sets kids up for a future life of amphetamine abuse and addiction, since that is all Ritalin is.

Of course, the drug traffiking carried out by the CIA is gigantic too. Personally speaking I think that is one big reason to be drug free, to not be supporting the CIA. And it's true, keeping people drugged - "it's all good, man" - is a way to keep people subdued to fend off rebellion and rabble rousing. That goes for the television opiate too.

WOD 08.May.2003 16:15

AA

The US is losing the "War on Drugs" .....
That means that the people on drugs are winning.
Heh.