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Duterte’s war on drugs looks just like…war

Sixty people have been killed by security forces in the Philippines capital Manila and the bordering province of Bulacan under President Rodrigo...
  1. perro-salchicha614

    Sixty people have been killed by security forces in the Philippines capital Manila and the bordering province of Bulacan under President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent crackdown on alleged drug users and dealers. By Thursday, the three-day operation had resulted in 223 arrests.

    Reuters reports that this is the deadliest three days in Duterte’s campaign against drugs and crime that has left over 9,000 dead across the country since the strongman took office in June 2016.

    The reasons for the bloody sweeps – known as “one-time, big-time” operations — remain unclear, as national police chief Ronald dela Rosa told reporters that, “The president did not instruct me to kill and kill.”

    He added: “I also don’t have any instructions to my men to kill and kill. But the instruction coming from the president is very clear that our war on drugs is unrelenting. Those who were killed fought back.”

    Duterte – who has been praised by President Donald Trump as doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” — on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction with the start of the operations.

    “Let’s kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country,” he said. And on Thursday, he said that he would not only pardon the police officer involved in the extrajudicial killings, but promote them as well.

    He also ordered police to shoot rights activists observing the police sweeps, which drew an immediate response from Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director Phelim Kine. “President Duterte’s threats against human rights activists is like painting a target on the backs of courageous people working to protect the rights and upholding the dignity of all Filipinos,” Kine said. “Duterte should retract his reprehensible remarks immediately before there is more blood on his hands.”

    Trump is in the minority of world leaders complimenting Duterte on his approach, which has drawn criticism from the international community as well as rights groups.

    In response to calls to maintain the rule of law and respect human rights, the Philippines in May issued a defiant response to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Using a term coined by Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, the response said that reports of the killings were based on “alternative facts.”

    The extent of drug use and addiction in the Philippines is somewhat unclear – statistics available up to 2015 show a serious reduction in the number of drug users since 2004.

    Hannah Hetzer, senior international policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance, told ThinkProgress that the number of people “using drugs problematically” is “actually a very small percentage overall…it’s estimated that around five to ten percent of people who use drugs overall develop problematic behaviors.”

    She said that while drugs like shabu can be “extremely harmful” what Duterte is doing is using his drug war as “a smokescreen” to crack down on the poor.

    But, of course, statistics don’t tell the whole story. Even if the country is facing a drug epidemic that isn’t being captured by polling snapshots, the consensus among Western countries is that treatment, rather than crackdowns, is the way to cope with an addiction crisis. An adequate response, said Hetzer, would be providing voluntary treatment and heal care for people struggling with drug addiction.

    Given U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s memo on changes to charging and sentencing policies, and given Trump’s clear approval of Duterte’s hardline methods, Hetzer worries that U.S. drug policy might be backsliding.

    “We’re very concerned about an escalation in the drug war [in the U.S.] that would take us back to the policies of the 80s and 90s, especially in the hands of Jeff Sessions,” said Hetzer.

    The worry, she said, is that what was done in the last years of former President Barack Obama’s administration – moving away from harsh, mandatory sentencing – will be undone.

    “It harks back to the drug policy of the 80s and 90s, which showed no abatement in drug use and only served to fuel mass incarceration in this country,” said Hetzer.

    Original Source

    Written by: D. Parvaz, Aug 17, 2017, Duterte’s war on drugs looks just like…war, ThinkProgress

Recent User Reviews

  1. Guacamole
    "Very descriptive!"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Sep 10, 2017
    Only thing missing would be more detailed citing of references near the beginning. Other than that *****

    Thanks for sharing this.


  1. detoxin momma
    so....5 - 10 % of drug users develop problematic behaviors, whats their point?

    whats the percentages of sober people who develop problematic behaviors? I wouldnt be surprised if the numbers are even higher than 5 - 10%.
      Loveheartshapedrock likes this.
    1. Loveheartshapedrock
      That is so true.

      They underestimate how much poverty and desperation is to blame for bad behaviour.

      Drug prohibition mixes poverty and crime with drug use and creates drug dealers, thieves and increases drug supply. It takes working age adults on to the wrong side of the law and separates them so they don't provide for their family.

      The world has millions of drug users and of us enjoy our drug use with out hurting anyone and millions of people who hurt people without the influence of drugs.

      You just have to look at the drug culture prior to the drug war to how it is now... The problem isn't drugs... It is the drug war.
  2. zahava
    I'm reminded of a recent multi-part documentary on The History Channel. If my memory serves me correctly, it was called, "The War On Drugs".
    One of the more memorable parts, for me, was when President Nixon started our American "War On Drugs". It was in the midst of the social and political turbulence of the late 1960s; a vastly unpopular Vietnam War, the racially charged Civil Rights Movement, and the socially unsettling Women's Liberation Movement. The old, Eurocentric, paternalistic, capitalistic-style colonialism was being "attacked", according to some, from all sides.
    The powers that be were feeling very threatened indeed, and decided something had to be done. The War On Drugs was thus born, killing many more than two birds with its one stone.
    The War On Drugs would prove to stigmatize and shift money and power from blacks, liberal hippies, returning war veterans from Southeast Asia who had become disillusioned with war and bigotry, and poor people in general. Of course, all of those groups included plenty of females, and the feminist "women's libber's" were seen by some as a bigger threat than all of the other groups put together. Groups or individuals of the above types using even the most harmless drugs (marijuana?) would thereafter be labeled Enemy #1. Un-American, dirty, sub-human, unfit to live in society.
    Nearly fifty years later, here we are. It's not surprising to me at all that Trump endorses Duterte's murderous tactics. The President "of many sides", the Pussy Grabber In Chief, would likely allow thousands of non-violent US drug users to be killed by law enforcement, just like in the Philippines.
    Perhaps the only things stopping the above scenario is: 1) the government is actively involved in drug smuggling and trade to finance its secret international missions, and 2) the growing privatization of the prison industry is such a gigantic money-maker in the USA, that some of the biggest GOP supporters want more people to imprison.
    In my opinion.
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