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New Fed Law Will Make It A Felony Not To Snitch On Drug Users You Know

Have a friend who smokes grass? Well, if Republican Rep. Sensenbrenner has his way, you will be required to report that friend to police and possibly assist in his arrest by wearing a wire to get him busted, or you yourself could go to prison.
Spy vs. Spy

By Bill Piper, AlterNet. Posted May 18, 2005.

Proposed legislation would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, forcing all Americans to become foot soldiers in the war on drugs.


Neighbors spying on neighbors? Mothers forced to turn in their sons or daughters? These are images straight out of George Orwell's 1984, or a remote totalitarian state. We don't associate them with the land of the free and the home of the brave, but that doesn't mean they couldn't happen here. A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force.

Sensenbrenner, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman, has introduced legislation that would essentially draft every American into the war on drugs. H.R. 1528, cynically named "Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act," would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, and even go undercover and wear a wire if needed. If a person resisted, he or she would face mandatory incarceration.

Here's how the "spy" section of the legislation works: If you "witness" certain drug offenses taking place or "learn" about them, you must report the offenses to law enforcement within 24 hours and provide "full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution" of the people involved. Failure to do so would be a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence, and a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to police within 24 hours:

* You find out that your brother, who has children, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife;
* You discover that your son gave his college roommate a marijuana joint;
* You learn that your daughter asked her boyfriend to find her some drugs, even though they're both in treatment.

In each of these cases you would have to report the relative to the police within 24 hours. Taking time to talk to your relative about treatment instead of calling the police immediately could land you in jail.

In addition to turning family member against family member, the legislation could also put many Americans in danger by forcing them to go undercover to gain evidence against strangers.

Even if the language that forces every American to become a de facto law enforcement agent is taken out, the bill would still impose draconian sentences on college students, mothers, people in drug treatment and others with substance abuse problems. If enacted, this bill will destroy lives, break up families, and waste millions of taxpayer dollars.

Despite growing opposition to mandatory minimum sentences from civil rights groups to U.S. Supreme Court Justices, the bill eliminates federal judges' ability to give sentences below the minimum recommended by federal sentencing guidelines. This creates a mandatory minimum sentence for all federal offenses, drug-related or not.

H.R. 1528 also establishes new draconian penalties for a variety of non-violent drug offenses, including:

* Five years for anyone who passes a marijuana joint at a party to someone who, at some point in his or her life, has been in drug treatment;
* Ten years for mothers with substance abuse problems who commit certain drug offenses at home (even if their children are not at home at the time);
* Five years for any person with substance abuse problems who begs a friend in drug treatment to find them some drugs.

These sentences would put non-violent drug offenders behind bars for as long as rapists, and they include none of the drug treatment touted in the bill's name.

At a time when everyone from the conservative American Enterprise Institute to the liberal Sentencing Project is slamming the war on drugs as an abject failure, Sensenbrenner is trying to escalate it, and to force all Americans to become its foot soldiers. Instead of enacting new mandatory minimums, federal policymakers should look toward the states. A growing number have reformed their drug sentencing laws, including Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, New York and Texas, and they have proved it is possible to both save money and improve public safety.

Simply put, there is no way H.R. 1528 can be fixed. The only policy proposal in recent years that comes close to being as totalitarian as this bill is Operations TIPS, the Ashcroft initiative that would have encouraged -- but not required -- citizens to spy on one another. Congress rightfully rejected that initiative and they should do the same with H.R. 1528. Big Brother has no business here in America.

Bill Piper

homepage: homepage: http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/22048/

Well good! 22.May.2005 16:02

Rabbit Jack

Maybe the politicians will have to snitch on each other. Of course this kinda law would never be enforced in the District of Criminals, now would it?

I gotta give it to the politicians, though. They really know how to foment a grass roots rebellion.

Have no doubt about it, folks. These kinda laws are just testing the waters for something far more serious to come. If forfeiture laws are any indication, you won't even have to know that the person next door is smoking pot, and you will still find yourself in prison.

When half the American people are behind bars will we still be hearing self-righteous, supercilious politicians proclaim how great they are for doing "God's will"?

Asset Forfeiture Laws 22.May.2005 16:33

little birdie

Now it all makes sense. Last year the Feds started quietly removing from the public domain legal procedures under the Asset Forfeiture Law. They are expanding the rules to seize as much private property as they can get away with.

Perhaps the Codex Alimentarius: outlawing vitamins and food supplements can also lead to asset forfeiture.

They will never voluntarily stop tyranny. They will only expand their authority over us, until we stop them.

Easy enough to handle 22.May.2005 16:33

Sgt. Schultz

I see nothing!
I hear nothing!
I know nothing!

Thank Goodness 22.May.2005 16:57

we live

in Oregon, where marijuana is not a crime. I've lived in those other places . . .

hmmm 22.May.2005 17:32

where do we live?

i thought we lived in the united states (first and foremost) where marijuana is a crime, at least thats what they tell folks in california.

however, i live in cascadia, where natural plants are not crimes. and when enough people associate themselves as living in cascadia, perhaps we can move to the next level and take cascadia from the united states oppressors.

it IS acrime in Oregon 22.May.2005 18:03

rAT

Check out the NORML website and see!

OK, so I'll just have to report the cops I know who do drugs. 22.May.2005 18:21

Happy

For example, Dedham, MA police officer, Ed St. George was walking around Harvard Square with drugs in his pocket. His drugs were not there as evidence of a crime. He was just carrying his stash. He admitted to this.

this is one law I'd simply IGNORE 22.May.2005 19:41

I look at who makes the laws

and as result, I figured out long ago that there wasn't nothing sacred about "laws"!
They weren't chistled in stone tablets by God and sent down from the mountain to us.
They were drawn up by self-seeking/self-interest-firts fucking politicians, and thus...
...just look at the kinds of people that make our laws...then you realize that there
are some you can obey...if it suits your value system and personal sense of ethics...
and if it don't smell right...just ignore it. This lessens the impact these piss-ant
people can have on your life...just ignore those that are clearly WRONG as this one
would most certainly be.

really quite nasty 22.May.2005 21:43

NOfta

Pretty soon, if not already, there are laws that could be used to lock up EVERY LAST ONE OF US. We are all criminals now, and those who oppose the fascist Bush Regime may feel it soon. To those who hear no, see no, speak no evil, that means your friends will also have to not even joke around on the phone or computer because that will be logged, too. Really, this is horrible.

Let's 23.May.2005 12:23

Working Class Mama

get people educated on jurors rights. Jurors can refuse to enforce an unjust law by voting not guilty. All the evidence in the world cannot change that fact. Unfortunately most people don't know that. Most people think that if the person did the crime then they have to vote them guilty. This is NOT true.

It's not the best solution to this problem but it's a reaction that people can take if prevention fails.

The best solution would be to overthrow the bastards. Up Cascadia!

how long? 23.May.2005 13:24

t

how long will are we going to wait to revolt?
We should have overthrown this government along time ago.
We need to orgainize the revolution now.

This drug thing is just another fear tactic, but seriously it's gone too far. it's time to burn this fucker down.