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Does Smoking Cannabis Really Support Terrorism?
The Connection Between Terrorism and the Drug Trade
by Erowid
Feb 12, 2002 - v 1.1

Ask Erowid Question from Tom:
"I saw a television commercial today which said that 'using drugs supports terrorism'. Is that true? Does smoking pot really support terrorists? How about taking Ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms? My friend said that they were really just talking about heroin and cocaine. Whats the story?"

The entire area of drug policy is extremely complicated, but the simple answer to the question is: "No, generally speaking, using psychoactive drugs cannot reasonably be construed as supporting terrorism." In spite of the advertisement's claims about drugs in general, the evidence for a psychoactives-terrorism connection is debatable for heroin and cocaine - and nonexistent for other drugs. The amount of terrorist funding derived from psychoactive drugs is likely less than that derived from other sources such as gasoline, direct US government aid, private donations, and other businesses. Many users have a choice of sources and can influence where their money goes.





Introduction
While signing a new anti-drug bill on Friday, December 14, 2001, United States President George W. Bush, Jr. said "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terrorism." (AP) Many had predicted this new direction for the Drug War immediately after September 11, but this was the first official mention by the Bush Administration that it would begin to leverage its political successes with the War on Terrorism back into the failing War on Drugs.

The new ad campaign was launched with a series of advertisements during the Super Bowl (American football championship game) on February 3, 2002, with disturbing ads including one where individuals say things like "I helped a bomber get a fake ID", "I help blow up buildings", and "I helped torture someone's dad". The ad implies that the speakers are casual recreational drug users and that their use directly supports such terrorist acts. In addition to the television advertising, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP - the so called "Drug Czar's Office") announced that it would be running print advertising in over 290 magazines and newspapers nationwide. The next week, major papers ran full-page ads such as "I helped torture someone's dad." and "I helped murder a family in Columbia." which equate casual, weekend recreational use of unspecified drugs with explicit acts of terror.

Erowid decided to publish this somewhat argumentative piece about this topic because the staff felt that the misinformation and factual problems with the campaign warranted comment. Despite our normally a-political stance, we consider commenting on media campaigns within the scope of our information-service mission.

The ONDCP's new ad campaign is the latest attempt to prop up the failed policies of prohibition through propaganda. The campaign is based on a narrow political/moral agenda rather than real-world concerns, and is deceptively vague about which drugs are supposedly involved in international terrorism. It also fosters irrational fear and hate for psychoactive users. It does not mention that prohibition itself creates criminal markets and increases violent crime. Finally, this "Drugs & Terrorism" campaign fails to provide any persuasive evidence to back up the claim that a significant portion of the profits from the underground psychoactive drug trade goes to terrorist groups.

"It's so important for Americans to know that the traffic in drugs finances the work of terror, sustaining terrorists, that terrorists use drug profits to fund their cells to commit acts of murder."
President George W. Bush
Dec 14, 2001
I: Politics of Morality, Not Health
The first thing to consider about the new media campaign by the ONDCP is that it is a political campaign, intended specifically to increase disapproval for recreational psychoactive use, demonize those who choose to use them, and use the War On Terrorism as a way to bring new energy and money into the militaristic War on Drugs. The new campaign does nothing to help communicate the real risks and dangers associated with the use of strong psychoactives. It is a campaign based on the same belief that has always fueled the War on Drugs: the use of psychoactive plants or chemicals for pleasure is morally abhorrent.

II: Intentionally Vague About Which Drugs
The primary problem with most of the ONDCP's media campaigns is that they rely on a ill-defined concept of bad "Drugz", which lumps all disapproved substances together without addressing the diverse nature of the effects, legality, and sources of available psychoactives. The ONDCP has spent billions of dollars trying to sell this as a political, legal, and social concept.

The new Drugs & Terror campaign was launched with advertisements which did not mention any specific plant or chemical, and used the phrase "buy drugs and you could be supporting [terrorism]". The viewer is expected to make the association between Terrorists (the Boogieman du jour) and an unspecified list of disapproved psychoactives. One wonders if the designers of the campaign are suggesting that taking DXM (cough syrup) or huffing paint thinner supports terrorism. Are we to believe that Whitehall-Robins (the maker of Robitussin) is a supporter of Osama Bin Laden? Or are we to assume that they only mean illegal drugs? Is the viewer expected to believe that the Al Qaeida network has broken into the psilocybin mushroom market?

The ONDCP's official website is mostly silent on the issue of what the advertisements are meant to communicate. The primary message in their online documentation is that they chose this message because their focus groups showed that "59 percent of children age 12-17 said knowing that illegal drug use helps finance terrorist attacks against America would make them less likely to use drugs."(ONDCP) The ONDCP chooses not to promote accuracy in this campaign, but rather to use whatever has been successful in modifying the opinion of focus groups to their agenda.

"Apparently, in The World According to George W. Bush and his drug czar, John Walters, the kid smoking a joint at a party is the moral equivalent of Osama bin Laden or Mohammed Atta." --
Arianna Huffington, Feb 7 2002 - Salon.com
III: Campaign Demonizes Peaceful, Non-Violent Activity
The ad campaign's impact is based on short clips which suggest that casual use of "drugs" is directly responsible for murder and death. For example, on theantidrug.com (an ONDCP webpage) and in a television spot, there is an implied user of an unidentified drug saying "I helped kill a judge."

The ONDCP has decided to target individuals for choosing to take disapproved psychoactives and blame them directly for violence associated with terrorism and the international drug trade. The ONDCP's website states, "The illegal drug trade is linked to the support of terror groups across the globe. Buying and using illegal drugs is not a victimless crime--it has negative consequences that can touch the lives of people around the world."

Expecting people to take them at their word with little data to back them up, the ONDCP is attempting to create the impression that anyone who uses a socially-disapproved psychoactive drug is complicit in violent terrorist acts around the world. The vast majority of those being accused of supporting terrorism are real people who are doing nothing to support international terrorism; they stand falsely accused with no ability to respond.

"Terrorism is now being used and has been used pretty much the same way communism was used. If you want to press some agenda, you play the terrorism card. If you don't follow me on this, you're supporting terrorism."
Noam Chomsky
Feb 8, 2002
IV: Prohibition Supports Terrorism
There is little question that the only reason that criminal organizations can profit from the sale of illegal drugs is the fact that they are illegal. The ONDCP does not claim that Pfizer's (a large pharmaceutical manufacturer) sale of the recreational drug Viagra or the widespread sale of pharmaceutical amphetamines are powering Terrorist Organizations, nor should they. While "open legalization" may not be the best public policy -- no one knows what the best public policy is -- if the problem drugs were provided to addicts through regulated and controlled sales, a huge portion of the profits available from the illegal market sale of psychoactives would be taken away.

A rough rule of thumb is that 20% of the users consume 80% of the supply. If the heavy users of heroin and cocaine were provided with their substances through government-approved sources with monitoring, there would be little room for large underground-market profits. Consequently, the size and influence of the international drug networks would diminish substantially.

It is well understood that prohibition as a public policy results in an extremely profitable illegal drug trade. This trade is used by many people and organizations as a means to make money: from the cannabis grower who grows in their closet, to the street corner cocaine dealer, to the starvingly-poor Peruvian farmer, to the relatively wealthy distributors of cocaine. It would not be hard to make the counter argument that that the ONDCP and U.S. Prohibition are directly responsible for the black market and the use of the profits by terrorists.

Exactly as the Prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's in the United States helped launch a huge network of organized crime, the drug prohibition currently underway creates extremely profitable businesses for the underground economies.



ONDCP print advertisement suggesting casual drug users are responsible for terrorist violence, published in hundreds of newspapers across the U.S. in Feb 2002.
V: Lack of Evidence
Even cocaine and heroin -- the drugs targeted in the ONDCP's "in depth" online resources for students, parents, and teachers -- are far from clear cut cases. In the suggested lesson plans for high school teachers a small amount of evidence is given to support vague assertions. Nor is an in-depth analysis offered of the world-wide trade of these items to see where the profits are really going and no evidence is provided for students to be able to make up their own minds.

In one example, the ONDCP's documents say "The Taliban government in Afghanistan, which supported the Al Qaeda terrorist network and Osama bin Laden, also supported the trafficking of opium, even as the Taliban said it was banning the trade." In May 2001, only months before the destruction of the World Trade Centers in New York, the U.S. Government paid 43 million dollars to the Taliban government to stop its opium production.(MapInc)
If the Taliban government can be equated with terrorists, then is it also reasonable to say that paying taxes to the U.S. Government is supporting terrorism?

The U.S. Government's financial support of the Taliban's War on Drugs seems to suggest that the U.S. believed that the Taliban was working to reduce opium production. According to the UN, the Taliban reduced the production of opium by 94% after their July 2000 edict banned opium poppies.Washington Times, Jan 14, 2002 See below for more information about this tentative link

The ONDCP is silent about how one makes the complicated distinctions necessary to decide which supports terrorist organizations more, purchasing motor oil or purchasing cannabis. What percentage of the street price of heroin went to the Taliban? If I buy heroin now, am I still supporting terrorists? I thought the Taliban had been destroyed? This raises questions about all types of commerce. If I know that a portion of the money I pay for electricity is going to potential criminals (Enron), do I choose to go without elecricity? If I know that my software manufacturer has been convicted in federal court (Microsoft), should I stop using the software or stop buying their products? The ONDCP seems to be begging the question of where the money that is made on the sale of street drugs (or anything, for that matter) goes, and they don't provide any resources with which to answer that question.

VI: Each Drug Is Different and Specifics Matter
The ONDCP's vagueness and lack of evidence could be met with an analysis, by class of psychoactive drug, about the potential for profit from its trade going to terrorist groups.

Cannabis
The most commonly used Schedule I psychoactive is cannabis. Nowhere in the ONDCP's scant documentation do they bother mentioning marijuana. From their advertisements, the unskilled media consumer may assume the ONDCP is talking about this omnipresent weed and its flowers. While it is true by definition that any organization in the U.S. which is involved in the open trade or sale of cannabis is a criminal enterprise, a huge portion of cannabis sales are not part of any international crime system.

In fact, attempts to remove cannabis sales from the underground market have been blocked by the U.S. Federal Government. In California and other states which have approved the use of medical cannabis, the White House and the DEA have done everything in their power to stop the states from regulating sales through approved producers and government licensing.(see below) While some of the lower-grade cannabis brought into the U.S. from Mexico is certainly packed and distributed by organized criminal groups, there is no published evidence that known terrorist organizations are involved in the cannabis trade. Users who purchase locally grown cannabis can reasonably assume that none of their money is going to support terrorists.

LSD and Mushrooms
The ONDCP also fails to mention LSD or other schedule I psychedelics such as psilocybin mushrooms. Little is published about the trade of psychedelics by the ONDCP or DEA, but it is believed that most of the psychedelics are produced by specialty organizations and isolated individuals, then distributed through a wide variety of informal networks. The DEA says that "much of the LSD manufactured [in the U.S., is made] in clandestine labs ... believed to be located in Northern California."(DEA) Psychedelics are not likely to provide any measureable profit to terrorist organizations, and there is no published evidence that they do.

Entheogens
Entheogen-class plants and plant preparations such as ayahuasca, peyote, yopo snuffs, San Pedro, and Salvia divinorum are traded primarily through dedicated entheogen networks (religious groups such as the Native American Church, Unăio do Vegetal, etc.), exotic herb dealers, and general nurseries. Entheogen-class plants and preparations are extremely unlikely to be part of any terrorist support and there is no evidence that they are.

Ecstasy
The ecstasy-class stimulant empathogens have been implicated in organized crime in the last few years by the DEA, but there is still little to no evidence published that terrorist organizations named by the ONDCP are involved in its production or trade. Of the recreational psychoactives besides cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, ecstasy is perhaps the next most likely to be profitable enough to attract large-scale underground organizations. While the DEA has published reports claiming that Israeli organized crime groups are now major distributors of ecstasy into the US, the DEA has long said that a prominent portion of ecstasy is produced in the Netherlands, an area not generally considered a center of terrorist activity. There is no published evidence that any named terrorist organization trades in or profits from ecstasy.

GHB
GHB-class drugs primarily come diverted from the trade in industrial solvents which occur inside the United States. There is no evidence currently published which connects the trade of GHB-class drugs with any terrorist organization. It is unlikely that this drug-group provides any significant profit to terrorist groups.

Grey-Market & Research Chemicals
Grey-market and exotic chemical psychoactives are primarily produced on the fringe of normal business, in college laboratories, and by individuals for themselves and their friends. The markets for these chemicals tend to be small, the chemicals are scheduled once they become popular, the resellers usually sell somewhat directly to their target user groups, and these exotic markets require very specialized expertise. All these factors mean these chemicals are not likely to be managed by terrorist organizations or distributed by terrorists.

This class of psychoactive is a good example of how the grey-area status removes them from the black market trade and therefore the profit motives for international criminal organizations. Because the retailers and producers can operate on the fringes of legitimacy, they do not rely on underground market distribution systems, and thus do not require criminal organizations to support their sale. There is no published information implicating any terrorist organization in the trade of exotic quasi-legal psychoactives.

Prescription Psychoactives
Legally-produced Amphetamines, prescription methamphetamine, ritalin, hydrocodone, benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax), and other prescription psychoactive drugs are very popular. They have huge industries and distribution networks associated with them, and a percentage is diverted for illegal use. Their trade is not substantially associated with violent organized crime and there is no expectation that any terrorist group derives significant profits from their sale.

Over The Counter Psychoactives
DXM, nitrous oxide, inhalable solvents, dimenhydrinate, and other Over The Counter (OTC) psychoactives are produced legally and distributed through normal commercial businesses. None of the OTC recreational psychoactives are considered at all related to terrorism or international crime organizations.

Methamphetamine
While street methamphetamine is trivial to make in small amounts anywhere in the world, and much of its production and trade happen outside of organized crime, it is likely that a majority of the non-prescription methamphetamine consumed in the United States passes through organized underground business networks at some point. The DEA claims that a large portion of methamphetamine is produced inside the US and Mexico (DEA), and for decades, "meth" has been notoriously associated with biker-gangs. While there is no independently documented link between large scale methamphetamine trade and any of the ONDCP's named terrorist groups, the underground methamphetamine market and its prohibition could result in some of the profits from its sales funding violent, organized criminal businesses. Because meth appears to be primarily produced in North America, it is unlikely to provide significant profit to any international terrorist organizations.

In August, 2002, unnamed DEA officials claimed that an unspecified portion of some sales from a pseudoephedrine sales ring (a methamphetamine precursor) in the US had been funnelled into a terrorist group in the Middle East. "There is increasing intelligence information from the investigation that for the first time alleged drug sales in the United States are going in part to support terrorist organizations in the Middle East," DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson said on August 30, 2002. From the Associated Press. Unfortunately, the DEA is not a reliable source of information as their claims are rarely substantiated, there is no oversight to the factual statements they make, and the DEA currently has a conflict of interest in that they are vying for "War on Terror" money with other police agencies in the US and have been struggling to show the Drug War is relevant to the new political focus on Terrorism. When these cases are prosecuted in court, the details should hopefully be added to the public record. The information did not give any indication about what portion of methamphetamine sale-dollars in the US were involved or exactly which terrorist organizations received the money.

Tobacco
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, a recent story about cigarette smuggling inside the United States turned out to be the first conviction based on the use of psychoactive drug sales to support terrorism since US. The story in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/22/national/22SMUG.html on June 22, 2002, tells of 2 men who were convicted of smuggling cigarettes between states with different tax regulations and sending some of the profits to the group Hezzbollah, which has been designated as an illegal group by the White House.

Coca & Cocaine
Coca is grown primarily in Central and South America and requires large plantations and processing facilities to turn it into the extremely popular cocaine powder. Cocaine is one of the substances which has an extremely wide base of consumption around the world, yet cannot easily be produced locally. It therefore requires large business enterprises to facilitate its production and distribution to consumer countries (primarily North America and Europe).

Because cocaine is a very profitable commodity (50-100 USD per gram or 500-2000 USD per ounce at retail prices), a large number of organizations are involved in its sale and distribution, including some groups currently labeled as 'terrorist' by the U.S. Government, such as the opposition group FARC in Columbia. However, other groups in Columbia that the U.S. supports also profit from the trade in cocaine (WSJ, Sep 24, 2001), and the issue of who is a Terrorist and who is a Freedom Fighter is certainly one that requires more careful analysis.

In fact, the New York Times article that the ONDCP offers as documentation of the link between "terror and drugs" says that a vast majority of the murder and killings in Columbia are a result of the para-military forces the U.S. has supported, and not the rebels involved with the coca trade:
The leftist guerrillas are kidnappers and drug traffickers, but the paramilitaries are responsible for 80 percent of Colombia's stunning levels of political violence. -- New York Times, January 21, 2002
The ONDCP does not supply an analysis of what portion of the cocaine trade ends up supporting groups which divert the money into weapons and fighting, but it is clear that some portion of the cocaine trade profits end up supporting war efforts around the world.

The record in Central America shows that the U.S. has selectively prosecuted individuals and groups involved in the coca trade on the basis of their politics. During the 1980s, the U.S. Government provided support for the Nicaraguan Contras (a group Ronald Reagan called "freedom fighters"), despite the fact that the CIA and those working there knew the Contras used the coca trade to fund their rebellion against their government:
"CIA employees did nothing to verify or disprove drug trafficking information, even when they had the opportunity to do so. In some of these, receipt of a drug allegation appeared to provoke no specific response, and business went on as usual." -- U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Subcommittee report, as quoted by Corsortium News
A report by the Department of Justice also found some evidence of the CIA's passive complicity in the cocaine trade in Central America, and Congressional hearings make it clear that senior White House staff (such as Oliver North) who were in charge of coordinating the Contra's efforts were aware of the coca trafficking connections. This issue is far too complex to describe in detail here, for more info see the links section below.

Opium & Heroin
The Opium & Heroin trade has long been part of the labyrinthine world of international crime and underground trade. The ONDCP's superficial introduction to the issue suggests that one of the strongest connections between "drugs" and "terrorism" is the now-reviled Taliban. But the issue is far from clear in even this case.

The only "terrorist group" the ONDCP singles out in their literature as trading in Opium & Heroin is the Taliban (former government of Afghanistan). The Taliban is widely documented to have been in power while huge amounts of opium poppies were grown in their country. In May of 2001, the U.S. Government paid the Taliban 43 million U.S. Dollars to stop opium production, which the Taliban had already been doing successfully since they made a formal edict against opium production almost a year earlier. The U.S. Government has subsequently said that the Taliban was simply "stockpiling" the opium and using the ban on opium sales to drive up prices. However, the fact remains that U.S. tax dollars were used to directly pay cash to the Taliban government, suggesting a legitimacy that belies the ONDCP's overly simplistic view that heroin use "supports terrorism" because it profited the former government of Afghanistan.

The trade in opium also supported the Northern Alliance, which was integral in the overthrow of the Taliban. Reliable news groups have reported that the Northern Alliance used profits from their opium trade to support their civil war against the Taliban:
"While the Taliban was last year cashing a cheque for $US 43 million from the Bush administration as a token of Washington's gratitude for Kabul's pronouncement that "opium growing is against the will of God", the Northern Alliance was shipping out by way of Russia and neighbouring ex-Soviet republics what the UN estimates was 200 tonnes of opium."
-- The Age, Australia. Jan 6, 2002.
"They will no doubt be aided by the Northern Alliance warlords who, it is estimated, ran more than 400 heroin processing labs in their territory prior to Sept. 11."
-- The Hawkeye,
"The UN's own research shows that many of the Northern Alliance commanders who dominate the interim government have long histories of growing poppies."
-- Chicago Tribune, 26 Dec 2001
As further evidence that the link between the Taliban and the opium trade is quite complex, the Taliban asked repeatedly for assistance in combating the opium trade. Most sources agree that it was very successful in destroying the opium trade in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan:
"With a religious decree and some serious resolve, the Taliban has virtually eradicated opium-producing poppy flowers in less than a year, but at great cost to tens of thousands of farmers who have been stripped of a livelihood in a nation already wracked by civil war and the worst drought in three decades. Since the Taliban outlawed poppy cultivation last July, calling it a violation of Islam, programs for planting alternative crops have failed."
-- Times of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), June 28, 2001
There were also some prescient discussions of the "Faustian Deal" the Bush Administration joined when it started paying the Taliban:
"The Taliban may suddenly be the dream regime of our own drug-war zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure. Our long sad history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession."
-- Marysville Globe (Washington State), May 30, 2001
In one of the documents cited as evidence by the ONDCP, William Bach, a U.S. State Department counter-narcotics official, said that al-Qaeda does not use opium trafficking as a major source of income -- "[it] just doesn't seem to be the major resource for al-Qaida."(Ken Guggenheim, Oct 3, 2001) -- although al-Qaeda did benefit indirectly from the trade because of their links to the Taliban.

Further, although the ONDCP states that "Afghanistan was the source for 72 percent of the world's opium/heroin supply at one point.", the Center for Defense Information (CDI) and the United Nations Drug Control Program state that "only 5 percent of the heroin in the United States comes from Afghanistan." (CDI)

The informed reader is left wondering how it is that the ONDCP can put up the Taliban as the clear example of the link between terrorism and "drugs", given that the Taliban had been frighteningly successful in their totalitarian crackdown on the production of opium by their own population. The ONDCP provides no additional documentation to support their view or even really clarify what their view is.

Another very confusing element of making the link between the Taliban, terrorism, and opium/heroin use is that, according to the U.S. Government, the Taliban have been destroyed and are no longer in power. Who is now profiting from the sales of opium and heroin? Most experts are reporting that they expect "farmers will once again turn to poppy production as a more reliable means of livelihood" (CDI). Once again, a non-terrorist, U.S.-supported country will again profit from the illegal trade. (See Notes)

VII: Buy Domestic: Know Your Source & Grow Your Own
One of the implications of the ONDCP's Drugs & Terror campaign is that users should learn more about the source of the psychoactives they ingest. Many psychoactive users have a choice about when to buy and who to buy from, even in the underground market. The ONDCP's campaign is yet another reminder that individuals should know as much as possible about the psychoactives they are using, to avoid supporting businesses and organizations they would prefer not to support.

An amusing implication of the ONDCP's campaign is to encourage cannabis smokers to grow their own plants and for others to produce their psychoactives at home, to avoid supporting terrorist networks. It has long been argued that if personal cultivation of cannabis were encouraged rather than heavily prosecuted, this alone could dramatically reduce the profitability of underground businesses based on cannabis sales. A somewhat less rosy implication is to encourage amateur chemists to produce their own methamphetamine and other chemicals at home. The problems with this include increased risk of production of toxic wastes which are disposed of improperly, poorly made psychoactive chemicals with higher levels of unwanted residues, and other dangers of badly-handled home labs such as fires, explosions, and carcinogenic fumes.

If recreational psychoactives are produced locally or by known manufacturers and are distributed directly or person-to-person, there is no room for organized crime or terrorists to profit.

VIII: How Much Money? Size Matters
The ONDCP's failure to provide specifics discredits the concept that casual recreational users "support terrorism". The discussion cannot only be one of whether any portion of any money from the underground drug trade ever reaches any terrorist group. It must also address what portion of the money spent on specific psychoactives ends up profiting violent and undesireable groups, and what portion of a terrorist group's financing comes from the psychoactive drug trade.

The reason this analysis is required is that any business can be run by those who divert money to support terrorist or violent acts; such associations are not unique to psychoactives. If the standard is to be "any" income (which the ONDCP is implying), then what about gasoline? Purchasing gasoline is known to fund terrorism, since groups such as al-Qaeda have received funding from Arab oil sales. Clearly the ONDCP is not suggesting that everyone who purchases gasoline should stand up and say "I murdered a judge."

IX: Campaign Trivializes Violence and Terrorism
Another concerning side effect of the White House's campaign is that it trivializes terrorism and violence by suggesting that non-violent activity is their moral equivalent. Approximately 50% of the United States population under the age 40 has tried cannabis (this number is higher in urban areas). Most of these people are well aware that smoking cannabis is not the moral equivalent of "murdering a judge" or "killing someone's dad". By equating the two, the White House tries to cash in the public outrage about civilian deaths, and in doing so devalues the horror of terrorist acts. What next? Parking in loading zones helps terrorism because it distracts police officers? The ONDCP continues to choose campaigns which not only destroy the integrity of the White House, but also undermine trust in law enforcement agents in the eyes of the informed public.

Immediately after the campaign began, the phrases chosen by the ONDCP to try to shock and horrify casual users and potential users away started being used by cynical teens and bemused adults to denote "getting high". On USENET, on many webboards, and in conversations since the campaign began, we have seen numerous instances of "I killed a judge" to mean "I smoked pot." This highlights the cultural danger of exaggerating associations in order to support bad public health policies. One wonders what the other unintended consequences of this type of social engineering might be.

"If you're buying illegal drugs in America, it's likely that the money is ending up in the hands of terrorists." - G.W. Bush lied to the US public during a press conference on his new Anti-Drug campaign on Feb 12, 2002.

Unfounded claim made by G.W. Bush to the US public during a press conference on his new Anti-Drug campaign. Feb 12, 2002.
Conclusion
The new "Drugs & Terrorism" campaign by the ONDCP is another in a long series of insults to American society by morality-based prohibitionists. The issues are complicated and difficult, but it seems that the ONDCP's single-minded desire to reduce social acceptance of an ill-defined set of Bad Drugz will lead them to try any tactic, including explicitly blaming casual recreational psychoactive drug users for murder and terror.

The White House continues to act as if no one will ever question their unsubstantiated claims. Without providing data to back up these claims, it is difficult to take the ONDCP seriously. The world will breathe a sigh of relief when rationality and health-based concerns rule U.S. public policy.


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