Monday, November 30, 2015

The War On Drugs: How the “Land of the Free” Became the “Home of the Slaves” for 2.3 Million Americans

30th November 2015
By Cortland Pfeffer with Irwin Ozborne
Guest Writers for Wake Up World

“Prisoner number [XX]… It is time to go home.” The most beautiful words she had ever heard. She had dreamt about the day that phrase would be uttered for the past ten years. Today, she will get to see her daughter that has been out of her life and begin the process of reunification.
As she takes her first steps outside the prison walls in a decade, it is like stepping into a foreign land. Outside the concrete confinement she is overwhelmed by the simplicity of feeling the fresh breeze, the sunlight, the green grass, and of course her family. Her daughter, mother, and brother await her release in what feels like another world away. Her lower lip starts to tremble uncontrollably – which it always has done when she becomes emotional – only to see her 13-year-old daughter’s lower lip mirror that of her own. Mother-and-daughter are able to embrace for the first time in years as they share an electric bond that cannot be broken, despite so many unanswered questions over the years. 

“Why is Mom in jail? Why didn’t I get to have a Mom while growing up? Why wasn’t anyone there to do the things that everyone else enjoyed with their Mom? Where was my Mom all this time?”
These are the questions the little girl repeatedly asked throughout her lifetime without an answer that ever seemed to make sense. She once even wrote a letter to the judge, prior to her mother’s sentencing. It was written in 6 year old writing, in a blue crayon. It said:
“Please help my mommy, I don’t want her to go to jail for a long time. I want her to get better.”
This woman was a prisoner of war — the War On Drugs. Another unnecessary and ineffective war that has destroyed far more lives than it has helped. A war that has built the highest population of incarcerated people per capita in the history of civilization — and yet the enemy (drug use) is at an all-time high.
The War on Drugs is the longest active war in American history and continues to run with no end in sight because it benefits the rich at the expense of the poor. Society’s most vulnerable people are literally being reduced to a number, while corporations, politicians, and congressmen that write the laws of the land are profiting from the lives they are helping to tear apart. 

The Great Prison Marketing Scheme:

On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon officially declared the War on Drugs:
“America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse. In order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”
A war is defined as a conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state. But, to declare a war on an inanimate object or concept means that there is no clear enemy – hence, no end.
And this is intentional. In fact, it is one of the greatest marketing schemes never told. It is drawn out as follows:
1) The President tells you the greatest risk to our safety is a concept, object, or philosophy (Communism, Drugs, Terror, etc.).
  1. Declares a war that is not really a war (Cold War, Drug War, War on Terror).
  2. The American people are asked to pay the bill because money is not an issue – this is for our safety and security.
  3. They create a special agency that makes their own laws in their war (CIA, DEA, NSA, Homeland Security, etc.)
2) Laws are changed that support fighting this war – leading to mass incarcerations of anyone not in compliance.
3) The prisons become over-crowded, and therefore, private prisons run by corporations need to be built to house prisoners.
  1. Corporations are for-profit, which means more prisoners equals more money
  2. They sign contracts with the government guaranteeing high occupancy rates (usually between 90-100 percent for up to twenty years).
  3. This gives incentives to lock up more people, because they have to pay regardless as to whether or not the bed is filled
  4. The quality of care and supervision is poor, because it is a business and they seek cheap labor and cost-cutting techniques like every business
  5. Corporations then rent prisoners for free labor- also known as slavery
4) The private prisons then lobby Congress to make stricter laws that enable more people to be locked up.
5) Congress obliges because it helps them win elections and:
  1. Congress makes the laws of the country – and they don’t bite the hand that feeds
  2. Then, since they know the laws, they buy stock in these same private prisons
  3. Profit off their investments
6) Then the war against a concept shifts overseas.
  1. This allows our government to overthrow poor countries under the disguise as a war against our greatest threat.
    1. Allowing to steal natural resources
    2. Install a puppet government that benefits our corporate interests
  2. Politicians that declare war also have stock in Arms manufacturers like General Electric, Raytheon, etc.
    1. More wars means more arms need to be built
    2. They profit off their investments again
  3. In order to overthrow governments without making it obvious to the public, they hire guerilla insurgents to do so.
    1. They train these rebel groups and supply arms
    2. In turn, these groups pay for the arms by supplying illegal drugs
7) The CIA returns these illegal drugs into the inner cities of America.
8) They then arrest people and put them into private prisons (from which they profit), by selling the same drugs they brought into the country (from which they profit) to arm rebel groups to overthrow governments and install puppet governments which support U.S. Corporations and gain further profit (in which the law-makers also have stock interests).
The War On Drugs - How the “Land of the Free” Became the Home for the Slaves - US Prison Population 1972-2014
This approach to increasing the prison population has been incredibly successful, with more than a 700% increase in incarceration rates since 1972. It is such a brilliant concept that we have recently followed suit by launching a War on Terror — another war without a clear enemy, against a concept, which will never have a definitive outcome, and which only profits those with heavy stock interests (i.e. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, has made $26 million off his investments directly related to the War on Terror; but that is not a conflict of interest??)
This is not freedom, this is fascism.
The US proudly claims to be “Land of the Free” yet it has more people locked up than any other civilization in the history of the world, with the majority of them in there for non-violent drug offenses. The United States is home to only 5% of the world’s population, but holds almost a quarter of the world’s prison population, while the total correctional population nears 7 million (including people on parole, probation and juvenile detention, but not including detained refugees and military prisoners).

War on Drugs Race

All the drug laws in America have their racist and discriminatory foundations. The first drug-law came in 1875 in San Francisco, which was a banning of Opium Dens as a discrimination against Chinese-American immigrants. National headlines linked cocaine to causing violent behavior in African-Americans and laws were soon put in place. Marijuana was first used recreationally in the Southwestern United States by Mexican immigrants 1920’s, and laws were established that was geared at incriminating Mexicans.
But these were just the early battles before war was officially declared. Today, approximately 12% of the US population is African-American, but they make up 60% of the nation’s male inmates (source: U.S. Department of Justice). There are also more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined, while the US currently has more black men and women behind bars per capita than in the Apartheid-era South Africa. Furthermore, a 2012 registry of exonerated criminals showed that African-Americans make up 50% of all innocent people imprisoned in the US.
In June of 1971, Nixon declared the War on Drugs making most street drugs illegal with stricter penalties. Two years later, the DEA was created to enforce drug laws and bring those “criminals” to justice.
More arrests, meant more people in jails and prisons. The prisons started to overflow and they need for more prisons arose. Corporations got involved and built private, for-profit prisons. They arrange contracts with the government to remain at high occupancy’s, further incentives for the government to arrest non-violent drug offenders and keep them for longer sentences.
In the notorious, “Kids for Cash Scandal” two judges in Pennsylvania were convicted of taking cash payments from private prisons as bribery to sentence more juveniles to fill their beds. They were locking up kids for minor offenses — such as mocking a school principal on Myspace, or trespassing in a vacant building — changing innocent lives forever, all for sums of money. And these are just the judges that got caught.
The prison industry spends millions of dollars each year lobbying with the US Congress to change and retain laws that allow locking up more and more people for non-violent drug offenses. In turn, many members of Congress – the people who write the laws – have investments in private prisons, encouraging them to keep these laws that help their stock portfolios.

Prison Labor

An increased prison population helps out more than just the prison industry, many other corporations have invested in prison labor. At least 37 states have legalized contracting of US prison labor – a workforce of over 2 million, or around 1 in every 110 Americans – including corporations such as IBM, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Dell, Honeywell, Target, and many more mount their operations inside of prisons.
This is also known as slavery.
In fact, this idea of convict leasing arose after the Civil War. The South was built by stealing Native American land and utilizing free slave labor to build America into one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. But after slavery was abolished and African-Americans were emancipated, the corporations needed cheap labor. Freed slaves started getting charged with petty crimes and sentenced to many years in prison. Once in prison, they were leased to work, picking cotton and building railroads – just slavery with a different name.
Since the Drug War launched in 1971, the prison population has skyrocketed, locking up Americans and, in particular, African-Americans at an alarming rate, to work for free for corporations. As a society, we really have not changed, we have just found new and creative ways to hide our human rights crimes better.
The War On Drugs - How the “Land of the Free” Became the Home for the Slaves 3


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