Tag Archive: drugs


Swat raids and paramilitary civilian police forces threaten our beliefs and our way of life.

In the United States many people still believe that our homes are private and as such should be free from government intrusion. Further many believe we have the right to defend our home and family from unlawful intruders and that the constitution guarantees this. After all we fight wars in the name of freedom and protecting our god-given as well as civil rights even now. It appears we are in danger of losing our fourth amendment rights, and once gone they may be gone forever.

The implications for Americans are huge. For some time now we have seen increasing use of militarized SWAT teams across the country invading American homes, even killing our citizens and their pets on what looks to be the flimsiest of excuses many times. Countless innocent people have been killed or injured during these raids.

According to the New York Times,

“More than 60 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the police were not entitled to enter a residence without a warrant merely because they smelled burning opium, this has been the law of the land since.”

The Supreme Court of the United States recently took up the issue in arguments of a case about what the police were entitled to do upon smelling marijuana outside a Kentucky apartment. Concerns have been raised and there is a very real possibility that the court may be poised to vacate the previous ruling, requiring police to get a search warrant before entering our homes.

“Aren’t we just simply saying they can just walk in whenever they smell marijuana, whenever they think there’s drugs on the other side?” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor during the recent arguments. “Why do we even bother giving them a warrant?”

The current precedent requiring search warrants was established by the Court in 1948 with Johnson v. United States: The smell of opium is insufficient cause to enter a premises without a search warrant.

Justice Jackson delivered the opinion of the court: “No reason is offered for not obtaining a search warrant except the inconvenience to the officers and some slight delay necessary to prepare papers and present the evidence to a magistrate. These are never very convincing reasons and, in these circumstances, certainly are not enough to bypass the constitutional requirement. ”

There are literally thousands of militarized raids every year (perhaps as many as 40,000). Even when police get a search warrant which is not very difficult these days they often misrepresent the facts or raid the wrong house terrorizing innocent families including children like this case in Spring Valley New York last week.

Police Terrorize 13-Year-Old Girl In Botched Pot Bust.

Police conducting drug raids early in the morning woke a family dragging them out bed, even pointed a machine gun at a 13-year-old girl and threatened to shoot the family poodle…..one big problem and this happens often in these full military type raids they had the wrong house and the wrong family. Luckily this time no one was killed but many other times the innocent victims of the police raid were not so lucky. Here is a list of a few of those not so lucky victims of police para military raids.

In the recent Spring Valley raid, David McKay said “Their guns were drawn, they were screaming ‘Where’s Michael, Where’s Michael. ” At least 10 heavily armed officers had stormed the house at 5:30am. McKay’s daughter was so terrified and traumatized he had to take her to Nyack Hospital, for treatment after she had an asthma attack and fainted following the ordeal.

Mckay is quoted in an article by Radley Balko on January 13 2011.

“They pulled me outside in the freezing cold in my underwear, manhandle my wife, point a gun at my daughter and they won’t even tell me what they are doing in my house,” said McKay. “It was terrifying and humiliating beyond belief.”

Thirteen law enforcement agencies (LEA’s) were involved in the raids. This was just one of the many joint federal/local drug sweeps for pot that occur daily around the U.S. In Hawaii county we recently saw something similar in the coordinated raids again by 13 agencies, against Roger Christie’s THC ministry and the “Green 14″. In that case the government brought in a C-140 Coast Guard cargo plane specifically to whisk the 14 defendants off the Big Island to federal detention in Honolulu.

The amount of money they spend on these raids is hard to pin down but mind boggling when you start adding it up. Christie still has not gotten a trial of any kind yet is being held without bail as a “danger to the community” for a marijuana crime, more than 6 months  after police found a measly 2 pounds of marijuana, and $21,000.00.

That’s it – after a 2 year investigation by the 13 law enforcement agencies – at a cost that already runs in the millions of dollars – 2 pounds of marijuana. In the recent New York raid as police were preparing to leave, McKay and his bewildered family asked them again what they were doing and why they entered the house. “They wouldn’t say,”  “All they would say was ‘You’ll read about it in the paper tomorrow.’ ”

In the search warrant case now before the U.S. Supreme court, police officers in Kentucky were looking for a suspect who they claim had sold cocaine to an informant. They further claim they smelled burning marijuana coming from an apartment, knocked loudly and announced themselves. That according to an article by Adam Liptak, published January 12, 2011 in the New York Times, and entitled Justices Look Again at How Police May Search Homes.

The article reports that police claim to have heard sounds from inside the apartment, leading them to believe evidence was being destroyed, so they kicked in the door.  While they did find marijuana and cocaine, the suspect in the original cocaine case was not there. The Kentucky Supreme Court sided with the defendants and suppressed the evidence. The court found that any risk of drugs being destroyed was the result of the decision by the police to knock and announce themselves rather than to obtain a warrant. Now the state of Kentucky and the federal government want the U.S. Supreme court to overturn Kentucky’s Supreme court ruling. Essentially the government is asking the court to take away the 4th amendment rights of all Americans.

In Mr. Liptak’s article he states Justice Sotomayor was even more direct.

“Aren’t we just doing away with ‘Johnson’?” she asked.

He also points out that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked why the police could not simply roam the hallways of apartment buildings, sniffing; knock whenever they smell marijuana; then break in if they hear something suspicious. All in all it’s a great article that points out that the other Justices seem inclined to rule in the government’s favor. If that happens we will lose even more of our ever-eroding rights in this country, and can look forward to many more military-style swat raids terrorizing families around the nation.

We continue to see ever increasing militarization of civilian law enforcement in this country, including Hawaii county, where I live. This has led to a dramatic increase in paramilitary police units (SWAT) being used for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today in Hawaii county and around the nation is to serve drug warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into our homes. A large number of those raids are for marijuana. Swat was originally brought about to be used in hostage situations, but has been co-opted to gradually militarize civilian police departments over the last few decades. As we see, the result has been the erosion of the civil liberties we enjoy, as we have moved to the point of becoming  a virtual  police state.

With the ever-increasing numbers of SWAT raids in America, the number of nonviolent drug offenders, innocent bystanders, and wrongly accused U.S. residents, injured or even killed has been rising.  The terror of having your homes invaded while sleeping, usually by large teams of heavily armed paramilitary forces, has not escaped even the mayor of the small town of Berwyn Heights MD, very near the capitol of our nation.

A police SWAT team raided the home in 2008, shooting and killing the family’s two dogs. They falsely accused the mayor of receiving 32 pounds of marijuana. Was this military type swat raid necessary? Of course not.

“My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs,” Calvo said.  Imagine what they do to people that are not so prominent or god forbid actually guilty of a marijuana crime.  Must see articles and video here:

Gung Ho SWAT Team Kills Mayor’s Dogs In Botched Pot Raid

Maryland Mayor’s Dogs Killed During No-Knock Raid

Police shot the families 7-year-old dog Payton, handcuffed the mayor’s mother-in-law (making her lie next to the dead dog on the floor), shot the other 4-year-old dog Chase in the back, and then handcuffed Calvo in only his boxer shorts. Mrs. Calvo said, “They were my kids. All I could see was the blood and the tissue of the dogs”–the police apparently tracked the dogs’ blood through the house. The police claim they had a no-knock warrant, but failed to produce one until 71 hours later according to Mayor Calvo.

The family maintains the two black Labradors were harmless and said police apparently killed them “for sport,” gunning down one of them as it was running away.” “Our dogs were our children.”

Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin High and other officials refuse to apologize for killing the dogs, maintaining the officers felt threatened (clearly they are in the wrong profession). We all know how scary dogs can be while they’re running away from you. Imagine if the U.S Supreme court rules police really don’t need a warrant what will happen. The only reason we heard about this is because Calvo was the mayor.

This is a much more common occurrence than most people are aware of or would like to believe. These raids are very violent in nature and are used against even nonviolent drug offenders including misdemeanors offenses, as we see many victims of these raids turn out to be completely innocent. It is clear, in many instances the raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence or people who’s only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There have been dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects, and those responsible for this are rarely if ever held accountable or brought to justice.

There is no doubt this is happening, the scary part is it’s getting worse as the Kentucky case now at the Supreme Court demonstrates. The government and judicial system are condoning –even supporting– more attacks against us, when the real problem is the failed drug war.

The solution is to review and change the drug laws that are the underlying cause of not only everything in this article, but the majority of the drug abuse in this country. Drugs are a health problem. Criminalizing drugs has manufactured criminals and crime. In business and life the policy is responsible for the results it gets, not so in the war on drugs or it would have ended long ago. Somehow common sense and rational thought do not count when we consider the drug war.

Here are some more very disturbing police abuses that are being condoned and facilitated.

South Dakota School Officials Terrorized Kindergarten Classes with Drug-Sniffing Dogs.

“The very notion of there being a drug problem in the kindergarten is ludicrous.”“

But read what happened, this is your government doing this nobody else. Its even worse as this case has racial overtones and these laws are being used in discriminating manners as this case exemplifies.

A school official who accompanied the police instructed the students to put their hands on their desks and avoid petting or looking at the dog or making any sudden movements. In some classrooms, a school official told students that any sudden movement could cause the dog to attack. Is this what we call a free country now? The drug laws are a bigger problem than the drugs, the police are more dangerous most often than anyone else. In at least one instance, the ACLU complaint said, the dog escaped its leash in a kindergarten class and chased students around the room. Some students had been traumatized by previous dog attacks and one young girl still has the scars of a previous attack on her face. Many began crying and trembling and at least one urinated involuntarily. What lesson did this teach these children?

Again these are just some of the ones you here about, most of them are never reported:

These drug raids are far more dangerous to everyone than marijuana ever could be. In one case Police opened fire with children in the house killing the family dogs in front of those children. It’s a miracle no people were killed. Those children were endangered by the police and traumatized in ways that will be with them the rest of there lives, they did this over marijuana. They could easily have arrested the father away from the home but chose to do it this way because there are no consequences for them.

It’s time to legalize marijuana and put an end to this once and for all.  This is not only dangerous and socially destructive to families and the community it is economically unsustainable. Hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted on these raids and laws and look at the results. Look at what we get for that money. We could reduce drug abuse in this country and slice hundreds of billions from our budget while improving the lives of millions of families by simply reforming the laws and the policies of prohibition and treating this like the health problem it is. We could cripple the drug cartels over night, in fact we could hardly have a worse policy if we tried, creating crime and filling our prisons while enriching drug cartels and bankrupting our country. This may go down as the worst policy in American history when we finally wake up to the fact that it is responsible for the mess in which we find ourselves.

 

source: http://hawaiinewsdaily.com/2011/01/u-s-supreme-court-to-decide-does-smelling-marijuana-justify-warrantless-police-raids/

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With at least 25,000 people slaughtered in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón hurled the Mexican Army into the anti-cartel battle, three questions remain unanswered: Who is being killed, who is doing the killing and why are people being killed? This is apparently considered a small matter to US leaders in the discussions about failed states, narco-states and the false claim that violence is spilling across the border.

President Calderón has stated repeatedly that 90 percent of the dead are connected to drug organizations. The United States has silently endorsed this statement and is bankrolling it with $1.4 billion through Plan Mérida, the three-year assistance plan passed by the Bush administration in 2008. Yet the daily torrent of local press accounts from Ciudad Juárez makes it clear that most of the murder victims are ordinary Mexicans who magically morph into drug cartel members before their blood dries on the streets, sidewalks, vacant lots, pool halls and barrooms where they fall dead, riddled with bullets. Juárez is ground zero in this war: more than one-fourth of the 25,000 dead that the Mexican government admits to since December 2006 have occurred in this one border city of slightly over 1.5 million people, nearly 6,300 as of July 21, 2010. When three people attached to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez were killed in March this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the murders „the latest horrible reminder of how much work we have to do together.“

Just what is this work?
No one seems to know, but on the ground it is death. Calderón’s war, assisted by the United States, terrorizes the Mexican people, generates thousands of documented human rights abuses by the police and Mexican Army and inspires lies told by American politicians that violence is spilling across the border (in fact, it has been declining on the US side of the border for years).

We are told of a War on Drugs that has no observable effect on drug distribution, price or sales in the United States. We are told the Mexican Army is incorruptible, when the Mexican government’s own human rights office has collected thousands of complaints that the army robs, kidnaps, steals, tortures, rapes and kills innocent citizens. We are told repeatedly that it is a war between cartels or that it is a war by the Mexican government against cartels, yet no evidence is presented to back up these claims. The evidence we do have is that the killings are not investigated, that the military suffers almost no casualties and that thousands of Mexicans have filed affidavits claiming abuse, often lethal, by the Mexican army.

Here is the US policy in a nutshell: we pay Mexicans to kill Mexicans, and this slaughter has no effect on drug shipments or prices.

This war gets personal. A friend calls late at night from Juárez and says if he is murdered before morning, be sure to tell his wife. It never occurs to him to call the police, nor does it occur to you.

A friend who is a Mexican reporter flees to the United States because the Mexican Army has come to his house and plans to kill him for writing a news story that displeases the generals. He is promptly thrown into prison by the Department of Homeland Security because he is considered a menace to American society.

On the Mexican side, a mother, stepfather and pregnant daughter are chased down on a highway in the Valle de Juárez, and shot in their car, while two toddlers watch. On the US side, a man receives a phone call and his father tells him, „I’m dying, I’m dying, I’m dead.“ He hears his sister pleading for her life, „Don’t kill me. No don’t kill me.“ He thinks his niece and nephew are dead also, but they are taken to a hospital, sprayed with shattered glass. The little boy watched his mother die, her head blown apart by the bullets. A cousin waits in a parking lot surrounded by chainlink and razor-wire on the US side of the bridge for the bodies to be delivered so that he can bring them home. The next day, the family takes to the parking lots of two fast-food outlets in their hometown of Las Cruces, New Mexico, for a carwash. Young girls in pink shorts and T-shirts wave hand-lettered signs. They will wash your car and accept donations to help bury their parents and sister, to buy clothes for two small orphans. „This was just a family,“ says cousin Cristina, collecting donations in a zippered bag. She says they are in shock, the full impact of what happened has yet to sink in. So for now, they will raise the money they need to take care of the children. An American family.

Or, you visit the room where nine people were shot to death in August 2008 as they raised their arms to praise God during a prayer meeting. Forty hours later, flies buzz over what lingers in cracks in the tile floor and bloody handprints mark the wall. This was the scene of the first of several mass killings at drug rehab centers where at least fifty people have been massacred over the past two years in Juárez and Chihuahua City. An evangelical preacher who survived the slaughter that night said she saw a truckload of soldiers parked at the end of the street a hundred yards from the building and that the automatic rifle fire went on for fifteen minutes.
Or you talk with a former member of the Juárez cartel who is shocked to learn of a new cabinet appointment by President Calderón because he says he used to deliver suitcases of money to the man as payment from the Juárez cartel.

The claim that ninety percent of the dead are criminals seems at best to be self-delusion. In June 2010, El Universal, a major daily in Mexico City, noted that the federal government had investigated only 5 percent of the first 22,000 executions, according to confidential material turned over to the Mexican Senate by the Mexican Attorney General. What constituted an investigation was not explained

On June 21, Cronica, another Mexico City paper, presented a National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) study that examined more than 5,000 complaints filed by Mexican citizens against the army. Besides incidents of rape, murder, torture, kidnapping and robbery, the report described scenes like the following: „June 1, 2007, in the community of La Joya de los Martinez, Sinaloa de Leyva: Members of the Army were camped at the edge of the highway, drinking alcoholic beverages. Two of them were inebriated and probably under the influence of some drug. They opened fire against a truck that drove along the road carrying eight members of the Esparza Galaviz family. One adult and two minors died…The soldiers arranged sacks of decomposing marijuana on the vehicle that had been attacked and killed one of their own soldiers, whose body was arranged at the crime scene to indicate that the civilian drivers had been the aggressors and had killed the soldier.“

The CNDH also names the army as responsible for the shooting deaths of Martin and Brayan Almanza Salazar, aged 9 and 5, on April 3, 2010, as they traveled to the beach in Matamoros with their family. The only thing noteworthy about these cases is that they ever became public knowledge. Many more victims and survivors remain silent—afraid to report what has happened to them to any Mexican official or news reporter.

Such incidents pass unnoticed in the US press and apparently do not capture the attention of our government. Nor does the fact that in the midst of what is repeatedly called a war against drug cartels by both the American and Mexican governments and press, Mexican soldiers seem immune to bullets. With over 8,000 Mexicans killed in 2009 alone, the army reported losses of thirty-five that year. According to Reporters Without Borders, a total of sixty-seven journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, while eleven others have gone missing since 2003. Mexico is now one of the most dangerous places in the world to be reporter. And possibly the safest place in the world to be a soldier.

When there is a noteworthy massacre, the Mexican government says it proves the drug industry is crumbling. When there is a period of relative peace, the Mexican government says it shows their policy is winning. On the night of July 15, a remote-controlled car bomb exploded in downtown Juárez, killing at least three people—a federal policeman, a kidnap victim dressed in a police uniform and used as a decoy and a physician who rushed to the scene from his private office to help dozens of people injured in the blast. A graffiti message attributed the blast to the Juárez cartel and claimed it as a warning to police who work for the Sinaloa cartel.
On July 20, the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, minimized the Juárez bombing, saying that it was not aimed indiscriminately at civilians and that it did not indicate any escalation in violence. He parroted the declaration of Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chávez that the motivation for the bombing is economic, not ideological, and that „we have no evidence in the country of narco-terrorism.“ US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual also indicated that this violence in Mexico, which also included a grenade attack on the US Consulate in Nuevo Laredo a few months ago, “is disturbing but has not reached the level of terrorism.” We are supposed to believe in their evidence that 90 percent of the dead are criminals, but that they have no evidence at all of narco-terrorism? This, despite numerous incidents of grenades and other explosives being used in recent attacks in the states of Michoacan, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sonora and many other places in Mexico. And that “armed commandos” dressed like soldiers and wielding high-powered machine guns are witnessed at the scenes of hundreds of massacres documented since 2008.

No one asks or answers this question: How does such an escalation benefit the drug smuggling business which has not been diminished at all during the past three years of hyper-violence in Mexico? Each year, the death toll rises, each year there is no evidence of any disruption in the delivery of drugs to American consumers, each year the United States asserts its renewed support for this war. And each year, the basic claims about the war go unquestioned.

Let us make this simple: no one knows how many are dying, no one knows who is killing them and no one knows what role the drug industry has in these killings. There has been no investigation of the dead and so no one really knows whether they were criminals or why they died. There have been no interviews with heads of drug organizations and so no one really knows what they are thinking or what they are trying to accomplish.
It is difficult to have a useful discussion without facts, but it seems to be very easy to make policy without facts. We can look forward to fewer facts and more unquestioned and unsubstantiated government claims.

Such as the response by General Felipe de Jesús Espitia, commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, to a 2008 report by El Diario de Juárez that one out of three Juárez citizens believed the army occupation of the city had accomplished little or nothing. „Those who feel this way, it is because their interests are affected or because they are paid by the narco-traffickers,“ he said. „Who are these citizens?“

General Jorge Juárez Loera, the first commander of the Joint Operation Chihuahua, put it this way: „I would like to see reporters change their articles and instead of writing about one more murder victim, they should say, ‚one less criminal.‘ “

source: http://www.thenation.com/article/379…exico?page=0,0

PORTO, Portugal—This country’s move to decriminalize illicit substances—Europe’s most liberal drug legislation—turns 10 years old this month amid new scrutiny and plaudits.

Portugal’s decriminalization regime has caught the eye of regulators in Europe and beyond since it was implemented in 2001. Proponents credit the program for stanching one of Europe’s worst drug epidemics. Critics associate it with higher crime and murder rates. Approaching a decade in force, it is providing a real-world model of one way to address an issue that is a social and economic drag on countries world-wide.

Norway’s government formed a committee to look at better strategies for dealing with drug abuse and sent two delegates to Portugal in early May. Danish politicians have also talked of moving toward full decriminalization. In March, Danish parliamentarian Mette Frederiksen of the opposition Social Democrats praised the Portuguese model.

„For us, this is about the addicts leading a more dignified life,“ she told Danish daily Berlingske. „We want to lower the death rates, the secondary symptoms and the criminality, so we look keenly to Portugal.“

Markel Redondo for The Wall Street JournalA patient takes her methadone dose at a Porto rebab center that is part of Portugal’s decadelong experiment with drug decriminalization.

PORTDRUG

PORTDRUG

Decriminalization has been criticized by United Nations bodies. In its 2009 annual report, the International Narcotics Control Board expressed „concern“ over approaches that decriminalize drugs or introduce alternative treatments. „The movement poses a threat to the coherence and effectiveness of the international drug-control system and sends the wrong message to the general public,“ the board wrote.

In July 2000, Portugal moved beyond previous liberalization regimes in places like the Netherlands by passing a law that transformed drug possession from a matter for the courts to one of public and community health. Trafficking remained a criminal offense but the government did away with arrests, courts and jail time for people carrying a personal supply of anything from marijuana to cocaine to heroin. It established a commission to encourage casual users to quit and backed 78 treatment centers where addicts could seek help.

Portugal’s Fight Against Drugs

About 500 patients from Porto’s Cedofeita rehab center take methodone daily.

In 2008, the last year for which figures are available, more than 40,000 people used the rehab centers and other treatment programs, according to the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction, a branch of Portugal’s Ministry of Health. The ministry says it spends about €50 million ($64.5 million) a year on the treatment programs, with €20 million more provided through a charity funded by Portugal’s national lotteries.

Before decriminalization, Portugal was home to an estimated 100,000 problem heroin users, or 1% of the country’s population, says João Goulão, director of the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction. By 2008, chronic users for all substances had dropped to about 55,000, he says. The rate of HIV and hepatitis infection among drug users—common health issues associated with needle-sharing—has also fallen since the law’s 2001 rollout.

Portuguese and European Union officials are loath to give publicly funded treatment centers sole credit. They say the drop in problematic drug users could also be attributed to heroin’s declining popularity in Portugal and the rising popularity of cocaine and synthetic drugs among young people.

At the same time, Portugal’s drug-mortality rate, among Europe’s lowest, has risen. Mr. Goulão says this is due in part to improved methods of collecting statistics, but the number of drug-related fatalities can also be traced to mortality among those who became addicted to heroin during the country’s 1980s and 1990s epidemic.

Violent crime, too, has risen since the law’s passage. According to a 2009 report by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, Portugal’s drug-use and murder rates rose in the years after decriminalization. The general rise in drug use was in keeping with European trends, but the U.N. noted with some alarm that cocaine use doubled and cocaine seizures jumped sevenfold from 2001 to 2006.

Murders rose 40% in the period. The report tentatively links that with drug trafficking, but points out overall murder rates in Portugal remain low.

Pedro do Carmo, deputy national director of Portugal’s judiciary police, says he doesn’t see link the rise in violent crime with decriminalization. Instead, he praises the program for reducing the fear and stigma attached with drug use. „Now, when we pick up an addict, we’re not picking up a criminal,“ he says. „They are more like victims.“

The Portuguese began considering drug decriminalization following a leap in heroin addiction decades ago in the country, a major entry point for drug trafficking from Latin America and North Africa.

The then-ruling Socialist Party government of Prime Minister António Guterres launched a political debate to discuss how to resolve the problem. Members of the right-wing People’s Party decried any tolerance for drug use, saying it would invite drug tourism.

Mr. Guterres’s government pushed through a full decriminalization law. A subsequent center-right coalition led by José Manuel Barroso, now president of the European Commission, didn’t repeal it.

The legislation was the first in a series of liberal policy shifts in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. In May, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva ratified a law allowing same-sex marriage, making it the sixth European country to do so. In 2007, Portugal went from having among the toughest restrictions on abortion to among the most liberal.

Portugal’s focus on close-knit community and protecting the family may be at the heart of many of these reforms, say some observers. In a 1999 report that paved the way for new drug legislation, current Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates implored that „drugs are not a problem for other people, for other families, for other people’s children.“

Portugal’s rehab clinics, called Centros de Atendimento de Toxicodependentes, are central to the strategy. In the lively northern port city of Porto, dozens of patients pop in daily to the Cedofeita rehab center to pick up free doses of methadone. Others have scheduled therapy or family counseling sessions, also free.

„The more they can be integrated in their families and their jobs, the better their chances of success,“ says José González, a psychiatrist at Cedofeita. Mr. González says that about half of his 1,500 patients are in substitution treatment, 500 of which take methadone daily. He says there is no defined model or timeline for treatment.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, a Lisbon-based European Union agency, says methadone or other substance-substitution programs are generally viewed as successful but has observed that some Portuguese are beginning to question long-term methadone therapy.

„Now that the epidemic is under control for the most part, people start asking questions,“ says Dagmar Hedrich, a senior scientific analyst with the EMCDDA. „The question now is what is going to happen next? There is a part of the population who do not have the possibility of leaving the treatment.“

In April 2007 Ciudad Juárez—the sprawling Mexican border city girding El Paso, Texas—won a Foreign Direct Investment magazine award for “North American large cities of the future.” With an automotive workforce rivaling Detroit’s and hundreds of export-processing plants, businesses in Juárez employed 250,000 factory workers, and were responsible for nearly one-fifth of the value of U.S.-Mexican trade. The trans-border region of 2.4 million people had one of the hemisphere’s highest growth rates.

Just three years later, as many as 125,000 factory jobs and 400,000 residents have vanished. More than ten thousand small businesses have closed, and vast stretches of residential and commercial areas are abandoned. It is no surprise that the Great Recession temporarily shuttered factories and forced layoffs in a city intimately tied to American consumers. Mexico’s economy contracted by 5.6 percent in 2009, far worse than the United States’s “negative growth” of about 2 percent.

But Juárez has suffered from much more than recession. Its murder rate now makes it the deadliest city in the world, including cities in countries at war with foreign enemies. On average, there are more than seven homicides each day, many in broad daylight. Some 10,000 combat-ready federal forces are now stationed in Juárez; their armored vehicles roll up and down the same arteries as semis tightly packed with HDTVs bound for the United States. Factory managers wake up in El Paso—one of the safest U.S. cities—and go to work in the plants of a city bathed in blood.

To Americans the most notable killing was the March assassination of a U.S. consular employee and her husband on their way home from a child’s birthday party. Witnesses say their car was chased down a boulevard that once symbolized peace between the United States and Mexico and mutual prosperity. It rammed a curb within yards of the bridge to El Paso. Though the killing took place practically under the noses of armed forces stationed in the highly sensitive area, just a few bullet casings were recovered from the scene, indicating that the executioners took their time to clean up and cover their tracks.

Three weeks later the army arrested the alleged killer—a member of a gang aligned with the Juárez Cartel—but almost no one believes this crime will ever be “solved.” And with good reason. In recent years less than 2 percent of Mexican homicide cases have concluded with the sentencing of the perpetrator. In Juárez alone, there are some 200 unidentified corpses dating back to January 2008. As of June 2010 Juárez is in its 30th month of open warfare.

Can Juárez be saved? Will the factories reopen, as they have after past economic downturns, or is the city too dangerous for the business of making legal consumer goods? The economic questions are, perhaps, beside the point. For even if legal manufacturing returns, salvation may remain a distant goal. The economic model—low-wage export-oriented assembly—that investors celebrated also helped Juárez become the illegal narcotics capital of the Western hemisphere, perhaps indelibly.

A tale of two cities
I first got to know Juárez during the 1990s, when I lived and worked there as a graduate student in anthropology. It was exciting then: Juárez was at the heart of debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Coming fast on the heels of the Soviet collapse in 1989, NAFTA launched the current era of globalization. In Juárez I had a front-row seat for the unfolding of free trade.

It was a place of head-spinning extremes—gleaming high-tech industrial parks ringed by worker slums. One of the world’s most profitable Walmarts sat within view of settlements without decent water, sewers, or paved roads. Amid the inequalities, however, ordinary, middle-class Juarenses were enthusiastic about their city’s future.
I recently returned to Juárez and was unprepared for the city’s shocking transformation. Friends cautioned against crossing the border. Some had closed their businesses there, or had moved their families north. A few warily ventured into Juárez, but they always hurried back to the United States before dark. For the first time, I heard the once-optimistic Juarenses lament their city.

The economic model that investors celebrated helped Juárez to become the illegal narcotics capital of the Western Hemisphere.
Some see the roots of Juárez’s violence in its recovery from the Mexican Revolution, which ravaged what was in the 1910s and ’20s a frontier town. Certainly part of the city’s personality—and maybe its pathology—can be traced to that period.

Like its booming neighbor to the north, it needed schools, libraries, and hospitals. Instead it got bars and whorehouses. Because of Prohibition, El Pasoans had to find their entertainment across the border, in the richly appointed American-owned casinos and nightclubs. Juárez of the 1920s was like Las Vegas of the 1950s: elegant, exotic, uninhibited.
Older Juarenses speak of the post-Revolution city as if it were two: by day Juárez was a quiet Mexican town modeling itself on the progress it saw in the United States. At night it morphed into a world of exported vice and carnal pleasure. The growth of Fort Bliss during World War II and El Paso’s lingering blue laws reinforced that split personality.

In the late 1960s an experiment in export-oriented manufacturing seemed to give Juárez-by-day the upper hand. Under an agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments, American firms set up shop across the border and imported materials duty-free from the United States. The companies employed Mexican labor to transform those materials into finished goods for export back, also duty-free. The firms, called maquilas by the locals, found favorable conditions: third-world wages, a government that promoted unionization in name only, and no oversight of the treatment of manufacturing byproducts. Moreover, maquila managers could work “overseas” during the day, and return home at night, thereby avoiding Mexican poverty, environmental problems, and crime. Success begets competition. The trickle of U.S. firms that abandoned their costly Midwestern labor forces became a torrent in the 1980s.

But while Juárez-by-day had triumphed for the time being, Juárez-by-night had not been tamed completely. Factory managers loved their assignments: they enjoyed the comfort and security of their El Paso homes, and, when they wanted, the thrill of Juárez nightlife, including the venues that everyone suspected were fronts for drug money.

Global change comes home
In the summer of 1992, during my first visit to Juárez, a change was snaking its way through the city’s impoverished working-class settlements. Deteriorating rural economic conditions, together with relatively high maquila wages (typically $5-7 a day) prompted a huge immigration to Juárez. The steady stream of potential workers—more than a hundred new residents arrived each day in the 1990s—kept wages down and the costs of housing and services up. Despite their improved conditions, then, workers could enjoy few benefits from their labor. They struggled to meet basic needs, including fees for schooling that would qualify their children for factory work once they were old enough to earn a living.

All the families I met relied on at least one factory salary. But there were plenty of unemployed, too. Mostly young men, these idlers were the right age to be working or in school, but instead they hung around wearing baggy Dickie pants, hair nets, and other insignia of cholo (gang) affiliation. My research assistant, a former Catholic catechist, taught me to recognize and steer clear of the real cholos, who were dangerous, and to salute and acknowledge the others, who were just posing.

The settlements blanketing the steep ravines of the mountains surrounding the city’s center had no infrastructure to speak of, but they did have corners. And boys hung out on those corners day and night. They huddled on their haunches in winter and they lolled in whatever shade they could find in summer. They were guarding turf; they menaced the school kids and factory workers forced to cross their paths, sometimes beating them bloody.

Some idlers were getting high, though not from illegal narcotics. Rather, they mined stolen factory materials—paint thinner, acetone, and buckets of solvent-soaked rags used to wipe down finished televisions. They would distribute “sniffs” to their neighborhood buddies.

But in the mid-1990s life for these young men began to take on another character. A friend who worked in drug treatment told me that she and her co-workers were scrambling to identify new addictions, as banned drugs supplanted the inhalants.

On a 1996 tour of settlements, my friend showed me some of the places where dealers had set up shop. They were not selling injectable narcotics—a syringe was an extravagance in these desperately poor communities—but drugs that could be consumed directly. She spoke of pills, though their identification was elusive. These small retail outlets laid the groundwork for the harder stuff that would soon follow. Over time I realized what the idle kids were up to. They were working, perhaps earning only pennies, for the new dealers.

My observations in Juárez reflected a shift in global drug markets that began far from the city. As globalization of manufacturing ramped up in the 1980s, it did so in parallel with dramatic changes in the production, distribution, and consumption of illegal narcotics. In the early ’90s the global pressures that disrupted the trade routes for cocaine that ran from Andean jungles to U.S. consumer markets converged on Juárez.

This was not obvious then. The local change that seemed most consequential for Mexico’s future was the 1992 election of an opposition party member as mayor of Juárez. Francisco Villarreal Torres, owner of a small chain of house-ware stores and a political outsider, campaigned on promises of good governance and clean conduct. His election proved the viability of the National Action Party (PAN), which went on to win the 2000 presidential election, thereby ending 70 years of one-party rule.

Villarreal’s true rival once he took office was not his political opponent, but Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the subordinate, rival, and successor of famed rural drug lord Pablo Acosta, who died in a 1987 shoot-out with Mexican and U.S. forces. Carillo Fuentes moved operations from the sparsely populated Big Bend region of Texas to Juárez, a relocation that mirrored and exploited the globalization-driven economic success of Juárez.

Acosta’s business had focused on smuggling Mexican pot and heroin across the border to U.S. buyers. Distribution was in the hands of informal dealer networks, from which, reportedly, Acosta only infrequently took a direct cut. With two significant changes to Acosta’s business model, Carrillo Fuentes would turn cocaine into the cornerstone of a multinational, vertically integrated enterprise with diversified products stretching from the Andes (and other source sites) to United States (and other) markets.

In the past, Colombians had used Mexican marijuana smugglers to transport only a small portion of their merchandise; the main trafficking routes wound through the Caribbean. By some estimates, cocaine importation and money laundering accounted for a third of Miami’s economic activity in the 1980s. But the 1993 killing of Pablo Escobar decapitated the Medellín Cartel, and, beginning in 1991, the Cali Cartel was weakened by seizures and arrests (though its leaders remained at large until 1995). When the U.S. Department of Justice began to seize Miami bank assets and prosecute the Colombian traffickers’ lawyers, the Mexican cocaine trade picked up pace and volume.

Trafficking drugs is effectively a licensed affair, the exclusive and protected rights to which are controlled by the military and the police.
Seeing his opening, Carrillo Fuentes shifted from bagman to distributor—the first of his two innovations. He also took advantage of another vacuum: in the years prior to his rise, the prosecutorial assault on crack-cocaine in the United States had jailed and killed thousands of street-level dealers and their bosses. Carrillo Fuentes filled that void with his own retail agents in U.S. cities.

Like any vendor, Carrillo Fuentes looked for new markets and new products. And like transnational firms that sprawled across the city, he saw a business opportunity in the booming factory-worker population of Juárez. His second innovation—perhaps the single action most responsible for the rise in violence—was to call an end to drug traffickers’ long-standing voluntary prohibition against local sales.

Local-market development began modestly enough. Sometime in 1990 or 1991—before the Colombian cartels had ceded their supremacy—residents in a handful of Juárez’s scrappy, tar-paper-and-adobe settlements found their first samples of a narcotic previously limited to export markets: cocaine. It was neither pure nor of high quality—cut several times with talc and baking powder—but it was coke, for the first time, for the Mexican masses.

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, long-time human rights attorney and director of the city’s prison from 1995 until 1998, described to me the explosion of tienditas, retail drug outlets. According to de la Rosa, in 1990 there were fewer than 50 neighborhood dealers. By 1995 the number had climbed to 300. The current estimate exceeds 1,000. Some of these tienditas are distribution centers, employing as many as 50 roving peddlers. And the city is now saturated with dealer-addicts, the “fivers” who sell just enough (about five hits) to cover the costs of their own high. Charles Bowden, in his new book Murder City, estimates that as many as 25,000 Juarenses may be involved in petty drug sales. At the height of the Great Recession, that meant one drug dealer for every four or five employed factory workers.

But this explosion of corner dealers was not responsible for the city’s dramatic transformation. That change came with the system of dealer protection. Each corner dealer works not only under an officer in the cartel, but in tandem with a beat cop. The cop protects the dealer and his gang against encroachments by other neighborhood gangs. The tiendita system is thus a logical extension of the rules of the Mexican drug “plaza,” the long-established formal arrangement between traffickers and security forces.

When foreigners talk about the Mexican drug business and the drug war, they talk about cartels carving up territory among each other and then going after each other’s turf. Mexicans, by contrast, begin with the plaza, a government concession sold to a preferred bidder. Trafficking drugs is effectively a licensed affair, the exclusive and protected rights to which are controlled by the military and the police.

In the tiendita system, it is not only locally “licensed” dealers who send their earnings up the chain of command. Beat cops, too, pay their supervisors and commanders. Hence the Juárez name for what the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) calls the “Juárez Cartel”: la línea—“police line.”

Chronically underpaid Mexican police traditionally have made their living livable with bribes—the famous mordita (“bite”). But historically they did not defend violently their right to bite. Street drugs changed that. De la Rosa told me that in the mid-1990s, only two of the city’s then-estimated 500 gangs were known to be armed. Now, 80 percent of them are.

The violence intensifies
This local retail model was highly successful, and it quickly became the industry standard. By 1997 it was dispersed widely across the industrial north. Carrillo Fuentes had risen in seven years to become Mexico’s wealthiest and most powerful drug trafficker, with a fortune estimated at $25 billion. His “assets” included General José de Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, the Mexican drug czar. In February 1997, just weeks after his appointment to the job, an investigation revealed that he had been on the Cartel’s payroll. Carrillo Fuentes also bought shares in a Mexican bank, a move that helped simplify his money laundering efforts.

When Carrillo Fuentes died while undergoing plastic surgery that summer, a violent power struggle predictably followed. But by today’s standards it was mild: a mere 72 deaths over eight months. Now, about a hundred are killed every two weeks in Juárez.

The narcoguerra following Carrillo Fuentes’s death introduced Juárez to “message killings”: bodies tortured, dismembered, and stuffed into boxes, car trunks, and barrels. Also new and shocking were the open-air executions: gangland-style killings at jam-packed restaurants. At the time, such crimes were rare enough that the media could follow them up and report on their continued lack of resolution.

The battle for succession remained mostly isolated to the top command in both the Cartel and the police (the probable first victim of that narcoguerra was a high-ranking federal police officer, killed by commandos just four days after Carrillo Fuentes’s botched surgery). With the confirmation of new leadership—Amado Carrillo Fuentes’s younger brother Vicente, according to conventional wisdom—the killing abated. But it never went away. And it never went back underground. Restaurants and bars became safe again, but killings continued in the neighborhoods where tienditas had taken root. There, factory workers lived tensely with the growing groups of tough, largely unemployed men and boys who moved constantly in and out of alliance with the more organized gangs.
There are 6,600 gun shops in the four U.S. border states. Of the 11,000 guns turned over to the ATF in 2009, almost 90 percent were traced to U.S. gun shops.

Meanwhile the city continued to gorge on the profits of local and international narcotics sales. Though few admitted it, everyone knew how the gaudy houses that popped up in the old moneyed enclaves were financed. Ditto the origins of the flashy princesses who began to grace the newspapers’ society pages. City elites chose to overlook the excesses of the trafficking business. “We tolerated the narco,” an upper–middle class friend recently told me. “That was our mistake.” I asked her why conventional, conservative-Catholic Juárez put up with the traffickers. “Look at all those businesses up and down the Avenida de las Americas,” she said, “it’s all money laundering. But it gave us restaurants to enjoy and boutiques to shop in.”

The price of permissiveness grew increasingly steep. In 1993 a no-nonsense retired accountant named Esther Chavez Cano noticed routine newspaper stories on the discovery of female corpses. The details were gruesome: some were found tortured and raped, almost all were tossed to the side of a road, as if they were litter. Chavez Cano began a newspaper column in which she demanded action and accountability. Her writing campaign soon launched a social movement that garnered international attention for the same city that was then proudly boasting of its manufacturing triumphs. She and those she inspired tallied 427 women dead or disappeared between 1993 and 2007, an undeniable symptom of the city’s violent alter ego.

But these horrific killings of young women eclipsed a more prosaic body count: that of the men who turned up dead all over the city with increasing regularity. It is easy enough to see how the murdered girls and women focused the world’s attention on Juárez’s perverse, misogynistic, and violent appetites. Nonetheless, for every publicized female corpse there are ten overlooked male counterparts, according to government data. Whatever the explanation for the high numbers of women killed, the one incontestable fact is that the killing of both women and men began in earnest the very year that the DEA says cocaine trafficking shifted from Miami to Juárez. This was not a coincidence.

The world’s deadliest city
I moved away from the border in 1999 but returned to visit in 2001. I caught up with two friends, also academics, who had been raised in the city’s toughest neighborhoods. We met at a cute bar on the corner of Avenida de las Americas and Avenida Lincoln. It was the kind of place then multiplying around town: refrigerated air, an impressive sound system, and swanky drinks. It shared a parking lot with a California-style sushi bar that in 1997 had been the site of the dinnertime execution of a businessman with suspected drug ties.

We talked about cholos. “Today’s cholo is different,” one of my friends remarked. “Yesterday’s cholo used to compete with merely his attitude, his fashion, and his posture. If the cholos really needed to fight, they fought with what they had available: rocks, stones. And then they got knives. But now some of them have guns.” Today, “some” would be “nearly all,” but as recently as 2001, guns were rare.

That summer I took pictures of a sixteen-year-old boy. He sported a bandana and an oversized tee shirt depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe and his initials in Gothic letters. He smiled so sweetly and eagerly that he hardly looked tough in his portrait. He and his mother beamed when I brought them copies. She surprised me with the pride she took in her son’s apparent cholo ambitions. I had never met such a parent.

That summer I was also surprised by what seemed to me an astronomical increase in the number of kids just hanging out, guarding turf on corners. Neighborhood toughs were now everywhere. And they belonged to a bewildering array of ranked groups, mysteriously nested within hierarchies that most of the teenagers I talked to only vaguely understood.

In 2001 I could see that what was once isolated in the bars and nightclubs and conducted its affairs after hours, had woken up to business in the daytime and set up shop close to home. The gap between Juárez-by-day and Juárez-by-night was narrowing to a sliver.

Today, the sliver has vanished. The Juárez Cartel and its rival, the Sinaloa Cartel, fight each other in the streets, and Mexican federal forces allegedly fight the traffickers. Rumor has it that a third trafficking organization, the Zetas, may have entered the market.

In any case, the violence escalates. There were many milestones along the way: 1993, the year that femicide was first recorded, the year when Amado Carrillo Fuentes reportedly assumed sole leadership of the Juárez Cartel; 1997, the escalation of violence after his death; 2000, when, with considerable fanfare, the FBI announced its mission to Juárez to locate the rumored remains of as many as a hundred victims buried in narcofosas, “drug graves” (only four bodies were found). Also crucial was 2004. That year, the United States lifted its ban on assault weapons, making it that much easier for traffickers to obtain their arms of choice. There are 6,600 gun shops in the four U.S. border states. Of the 11,000 guns turned over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) by Mexican forces in 2009, almost 90 percent were traced to U.S. gun shops.
Homicides in Juárez nearly doubled from 123 to 234 between 1993 and 1994. The rate stabilized for the next dozen plus years, dipping in some, ranging from a low of 176 in 1999 to a high of 294 in 1995. The 2007 spike to 316 murders generated much year-end hand-wringing, but within a month 2007 appeared to be the calm before the storm. Violence exploded in January of 2008, with 46 killings. The total for February was 49. And in March, when President Felipe Calderón deployed thousands of troops to secure the city, the murder count doubled to 117. Now it rarely dips below those levels. One hundred deaths in a month would be considered a respite. May 2010 saw 253.

Mexicans, schooled in the reality of the drug business, find it hard to believe that security forces can fight traffickers. The two groups are indistinguishable.

The familiar explanation for the spasm of violence that has seized Juárez since January 2008 starts with Calderón’s vow upon taking office two years earlier to rid Mexico of all traffickers and his rapid deployment of troops to cartel hot spots. But almost from the start, skeptical observers have suggested that Calderón’s forces appear to be routing all traffickers but one: the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, headed by Joaquín Guzmán Loera, a.k.a. El Chapo (“shorty”). For Mexicans, schooled in the reality of the plaza, it is hard to believe that security forces can fight traffickers; they are, as one journalist put it to me recently in an email, indistinguishable from each other.

Consider the evidence that Mexicans never forget or overlook: shortly after President Carlos Salinas left office in 1994, his older brother’s wife was caught using a fake passport to withdraw more than $80,000,000 from a Swiss bank, part of the fortune her husband somehow managed to amass while working as a government bureaucrat. The disgraced ex-president fled into self-imposed exile in Ireland, a country that has no extradition treaty with Mexico.

His successor, Ernesto Zedillo, declared a U.S.-style war on drugs and then appointed Gutiérrez Rebollo as his drug czar, only to find that Carrillo Fuentes was paying Gutiérrez Rebollo his monthly rent for a national concession.

Even the first opposition president in Mexico’s modern history is not free of suspicion. Shortly after Vicente Fox’s election in 2000, he spent a weekend at the private Cancun retreat of Roberto Hernández Ramírez, CEO of Banamex (Mexico’s second-largest bank) and alleged drug trafficker.
None of this explains the extent of Juárez’s homicidal violence. One major difference between 1997 and 2008, as Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson pointed out, is that the current war is being fought at every level of the trade, down to the street-level vendor and his protection and tribute network. As Charles Bowden puts it, this is not a war against drugs, it is a war for drugs. One related theory put forward by veteran observer Bill Conroy of Narco News is that the army moved into Juárez to take the concessionaire role away from the police.

The story of the two cities of Juárez thus applies to the entire country: what started in Juárez has become Mexico. The attempt to cripple the drug business in Juárez has meant crippling the city; doing the same in Mexico at large may mean crippling the nation.

Innocent victims
President Calderón has sought to make his drug war palatable by asserting that the country’s war dead—estimated at 23,000 since January 2006 for the country as a whole—deserved to die: their deaths implicate them in illegal activities.

When he first learned about what Juarenses have come to call the “massacre at Villas de Salvarcar,” Calderón hinted that the thirteen teenagers who died at the hands of professional executioners were common criminals and city low life. He could not have been more wrong. In fact they were honor students and athletes who had gathered to celebrate a friend’s seventeenth birthday. They had the misfortune of belonging to a football club whose initials, “AA,” were mistaken for the initials of the Sinaloa cartel’s local enforcers, the Artistic Assassins. And so, in the middle of the night, while the teens danced in a room cleared of furniture, they were gunned down. Seven hours later, when the first daylight photos were taken, the concrete floor where they died still glistened with their clotting blood.

The escalating war over the Juárez plaza coincided with a particularly unpleasant moment in the global market system—in the midst of massive factory layoffs prompted by the economic downtown beginning in 2007. Locals easily grasp that little of the current day-to-day violence in Juárez has much, directly, to do with any cartel. Look at who dies with grim regularity: a gang of teenage car thieves, a group of former cholos who opened a funeral home, a guy pilfering doors from an abandoned neighboring house. Not all victims are entirely innocent—the city is filled with scrappy, hard-working men and women, some of whom have turned to Juárez-by-night for survival now that Juárez-by-day has so little to offer them—but they are not drug dealers or corrupt police, either.
Accommodating the drug business has become a shockingly ordinary part of life. Working-class parents ask few questions when their studious daughters and sons lose factory jobs while their wayward siblings provide the household’s only income.

In February I spent a day with the director of a nonprofit day-care organization as she visited centers her group helped to launch. The owner of one home-based establishment related with good cheer being confronted by a nicely dressed middle-aged couple and their armed bodyguard. They advised her to start paying a $1,000-per-month protection fee. She and her family went into hiding for a few weeks before they reopened—quietly, and with great trepidation. The director laughed when I asked which cartel the extortionists work for. “People like that don’t work for anybody,” she replied. “They extort for a living because no one stops them!” The couple had shaken down the entire block of small family-owned businesses. Little matter that across the street stretched the vast army encampment, home to troops sent to end the city’s lawlessness.

Later my guide told me that Juarenses even have their own terms to distinguish between organized crime and opportunistic crime. The most common form of the latter is the secuestro express: a kidnapping that lasts no more than a few hours, just long enough to pressure a family to cough up an “affordable” ransom, but not long or expensive enough to attract the interests of enterprises that might want a cut.

Night falls
For decades, the maquilas’ critics longed for border businesses to be in control, rather than simply in service, of multinational capital. This is the irony of Carrillo Fuentes’s innovation: he became the Mexican-border trade baron who accomplished all that and more. His generation of traffickers adapted the maquila model to their own use by taking advantage of its infrastructure to move and market their products. No wonder Forbes recognized their achievements by including El Chapo Guzman in its 2010 list of global billionaires.

And what of the maquilas? The signs are not promising: in mid-January university researchers calculated industrial park vacancies at 14 percent—a historic high, up from an already-alarming 10 percent the year before. That month a Siemens customs manager was gunned down on his way to work. In October his subordinate had met her end after U.S. officials found drugs smuggled in a shipment. Mid-level staff are frequent targets, prompting some companies to consider extending their security measures beyond plant executives. It is probably just a matter of time before manufacturing firms move on.

What will be left of Juárez then? In El Paso, there are nightclubs, boutiques, fancy restaurants, and thriving industries. That city is growing in ways that seemed unimaginable even a decade ago. Even the mayor of Juárez has fled north of the border, and that was before he received a threat to his life in February—a severed pig’s head marked with his name.
Those who haven’t abandoned Juárez may be watching the death of it, both day and night.

source: http://bostonreview.net/BR35.4/hill.php

Mittlerweile sind 10.000.000 Kinder und Jugendliche in den USA permanent unter den Einfluss von Drogen wie Ritalin, Prozac, Valium und anderen Medikamenten!

Das ist Wahnsinn, zeigt aber auch die verbrecherischen Machenschaften des US-Amerikanischen Systems!

oder auch hier in der Vollversion:

http://www.cinepx.com/2009/12/generation-rx-2008.html

The first few minutes are in dutch, but the rest is in english. The war on drugs has been going on for more than three decades. Today, nearly 500,000 Americans are imprisoned on drug charges. In 1980 the number was 50,000. Last year $40 billion in taxpayer dollars were spent in fighting the war on drugs. As a result of the incarceration obsession, the United States operates the largest prison system on the planet, and the U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska. Try to imagine the Drug Enforcement Administration erecting razor wire barricades around two states to control crime and you’ll get the picture. According to the U.S. Dept of Justice, the number of offenders under age 18 imprisoned for drug offenses increased twelvefold from 1985 to 1997. The group most affected by this propensity for incarceration is African-Americans. From 1985 to 1997, the percentage of African-American young people put in prison increased from 53 to 62 percent. Today, 89 percent of police departments have paramilitary units, and 46 percent have been trained by active duty armed forces. The most common use of paramilitary units is serving drug-related search warrants, which usually involve no-knock entries into private homes.

The WAGER Vol. 9(11) – Attribution, Addiction, and Gambling: Series Conclusion

Series Special Editor: Sarah E. Nelson

Attributions play a role in all aspects of addiction. Attributions for wins and losses can influence the development of gambling problems (see WAGER 9(6)); attributions about peers’ drinking behavior can affect a person’s own drinking behavior (see WAGER 9(7)); being labeled as a heavy smoker can alter people’s attributions about their smoking (see WAGER 9(8)); people’s attributions about their own addictive behavior differ in predictable ways from attributions they make about others’ addictive behaviors (see WAGER 9(9)); and the attributions people make about their addictions can predict their own chances for recovery or likelihood of relapse (see WAGER 9(10)). This week’s WAGER reviews an article that attempts to model the way attributions change across the course of addiction (Davies, 1996).
Davies’ theory of attribution change rests on the idea that the explanations people make for their behaviors are functional: people make different attributions for the same  event in different contexts (i.e., depending on the setting and the goals of the interaction) (Davies, 1996; Schlenker & Weigold, 1992; Tedeschi & Reiss, 1981). For example, in a group of heroin users, Davies found that subjects made different attributions for their own heroin use to an interviewer who substance using habits were unknown than they did to a fellow heroin user (Davies & Baker, 1987). When it comes to explaining our own behavior, the attributions we make often reflect an ego-defensive bias: that is, attributions about the self serve to protect self esteem, meet self-presentational goals, and preserve self-concept (Schlenker, Weigold, & Hallam, 1990). Davies’ model reflects how attributions might serve this self-protective function in relation to an addiction.

In several different studies, Davies and his colleagues conducted interviews in Scotland with drug and alcohol users both in and out of treatment. Based loosely on these interviews, Davies outlined five attributional stages through which a person might progress as an addiction develops. Each stage is marked by a different attribution style for substance-using behavior. In Davies’ model, attributions can vary in terms of purposiveness (i.e., how intentional the behavior is portrayed), hedonism (i.e., how positively the behavior is described), contradictoriness (i.e., whether attributions contradict across the course of the interview), and the inclusion of addicted self-ascription (i.e., whether attributions make use of the concept of addiction as an explanation for behavior). (1)

During the first stage, presumably before the substance using behaviors become a problem, subjects’ attributions for their drug or alcohol use are high on purposiveness and hedonism – people enjoy using the substance and consider it under their control. During stage two, as problems begin to surface, subjects’ discourse becomes contradictory, varying from context to context between the positive and negative aspects of drug use, and the controlled and uncontrolled aspects of their using behavior. These attributions reflect the ambivalence that emerges during the development of addiction (e.g., Shaffer, 1997). During stage three, people refer to themselves as addicted, explain their substance use as out of their control, and view it as negative. At stage four, people begin to reject the usefulness of the concept of addiction in explaining their behavior and their discourse again becomes mixed and contradictory. Finally, people are able to proceed to a fifth stage that is either positive or negative. In either version, their attributions are relatively stable (i.e., the attributions don’t contradict from one context to another) and do not refer to substance using behavior in terms of addiction. In the positive version, people might have given up drugs or alcohol, but return to a view of their past behavior as controllable and a description of their use that highlights both the positive and negative aspects of that behavior. In the negative version, although the concept of addiction has been dropped, people continue to use substances and see themselves as “down and out” – their behavior is uncontrollable and their substance use is negative. Although these stages tend to relate to the progression of an addiction, people can move back and forth between stages. The one exception to this, according to Davies, is an irreversible transition from stage two to stage 3, which often occurs when subjects enter treatment and may persist long after; consider the Alcoholics Anonymous practice of participants introducing themselves, “Hi, my name is X and I’m an alcoholic.” .

Wager911table1

To test this model of attributions, interviews with drug and alcohol users were transcribed and coders rated the attributions given in each interview in terms of the dimensions outlined in the model. The investigators assigned each respondent to one of the six stages based upon those ratings. Consensus between four judges rating the same twenty subjects was good: average agreement between the judges was 71% (.’s ranged from .49 to .75). In all cases, the judges never disagreed by more than one stage.
Although Davies demonstrated the reliability of his model (i.e., ability of coders to identify the attribution patterns associated with each stage) and stated that these stages related to the stages of an addiction, he did not provide information about hwo the attributional stages correspond to the actual temporal progression of addiction in his interviewees (e.g., whether the majority of subjects classified as stage 3 were in treatment at the time of the interview). Given his claim that movement between at least two of the stages is irreversible (a claim that contradicts established research on addiction stages — see Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente, 1994; Shaffer, 1997), this research is needed to verify the model. Also, although he developed his model based on years of observations and interviews of substance users, in this paper he only tests it on twenty interviewees. Given the theoretical basis of the model (i.e., that attributions vary according to context), it is important to test this model and its stages in different samples of substance users and different settings.

Davies’ model of attribution change needs to be validated, but is important for the questions it raises. How do these attributional stages relate to the stages of change described in more well-studied models (e.g., precontemplation, contemplation, preparation or determination, action, maintenance, and termination; Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente, 1994)? If these attributional patterns do reliably correspond to different stages of an addiction, it is important to determine

whether these attributions predict change (e.g., provide explanations that refer to being addicted as precursors of treatment-seeking behavior) or reflect change (e.g., provide explanations that refer to being addicted as an attempt to understand and explain past behavior within the treatment context). Both possibilities (i.e., predictive and reflective) and the research reviewed in this WAGER series stress the importance of people’s subjective understanding and interpretation of behavior in guiding future behavior. This attribution-behavior cycle is a crucial, often neglected piece of the study of addictions.