America’s November elections resulted in George W. Bush and the Republican Party controlling the entire federal government, a majority of state legislatures, and most governorships.
The US Supreme Court is already seen as a Republican tool, and the election results make it almost certain that one or more Court justices will retire so that Bush can nominate ultra-conservative justices and get them approved by the Senate. The federal judiciary is already stacked with right wing judges who implement ideology instead of impartiality, and Bush has dozens more conservative federal judgeship nominees poised for confirmation by Republican Senate that will take control in January.
The president’s most urgent agenda is the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which would be an unprecedented domestic spy and police agency totally under the control of the president; it would function without oversight.
Many civil libertarians expect the Department to begin surveilling and arresting dissidents and activists, and indeed, such actions are already taking place even before the Department is formally chartered. One need only look at the example of Doug Stuber, an official with the North Carolina Green Party, who was detained and interrogated by local, state and federal officials when he was trying to fly to Prague. Stuber was photographed, questioned about Green political activities, his family and friends, and finally prevented from flying. He says that his captors showed him a Justice Department document equating Greens with terrorists.
Similar incidents are being reported at the US-Canadian border, where militarization and use of sci-fi monitoring technology has reached unprecedented levels. Even before 9-11, the border was being militarized so that the US could interdict Canadian cannabis coming into the US. The US officials has attempted to subvert Canadian sovereignty by placing DEA agents in Canada and by attempting to pressure the Canadian government into backing off of its pro-marijuana policies, studies and recommendations.
Now, journalists are being told by Canadians, especially young Canadians who fit an alleged drug courier profile (long hair, dreads, beards, brains, friendly, honest, driving VW vans, etc.), that Canadians are being harassed, detained, strip-searched, refused entry, and even arrested by US Customs and other personnel.
Such incidents are accompanied by increased use of computerized entry databases on both sides of the border that seek to access travelers’ entire life history and which often result in travelers being refused entry because of misdemeanor drug charges, dismissed charges, false charges, and other charges or situations that normally would not prevent border crossing.
Inside the US, government at all levels is clamping down on civil liberties. Peaceful med-pot users, growers and activists in California report being harassed and arrested with increasing frequency, usually by federal agents acting in contravention of the state’s medpot law, Prop. 215.
Protesters and activists have been arrested, beaten, tear-gassed, shot, and otherwise harmed by police who are protected from prosecution and lawsuits by laws granting them immunity for crimes they commit against progressive citizens. Increasingly, peaceful protesters advocating on behalf of cannabis, the environment, civil liberties and womens’ rights are seeing their marches and other formerly lawful activities shut down by officials invoking the mantra of “terrorism.”
Pot people and their progressive allies are wondering what to do in the face of what seems to be a rising tide of fascism in the US. The overwhelming defeat of pro-marijuana ballot measures in Nevada, Ohio and Arizona, and voter support for anti-marijuana candidates like Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose daughter is in jail and treatment for crack cocaine addiction, indicates that the majority of Americans support the war on marijuana, despite the over-optimistic spin placed on the election results by representatives of drug reform organizations, and misleading polls which allegedly show that Americans favor medical marijuana and generalized decriminalization.
The Bush administration plans to rev up the drug war by lobbying for increased penalties for drug crimes, by appointing judges who believe the drug war justifies suspension of civil liberties, and by trying to convince Americans that drug use supports terrorism. Other Bush inititatives, such as Homeland Security and nationwide snitch networks, are also expected to be widely used against pot people.
In general, honest observers admit that election results show the majority of Americans favor war, destruction of the environment, and other Republican ideals. The Democratic Party (with a few individual exceptions such as Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, and Barbara Lee) is no different from the Republican Party in terms of drug war policy and other issues. It has shown itself to be politically impotent and irrelevant. The US cannot anymore truly be called a democracy, but the American people, most of them anyway, can truly be called “sheep.”
These are dark days in the United States, as every person of conscience realizes that fighting for freedom, justice and liberty is more and more becoming a risky endeavor. Many people have contacted me to say that they are going underground, moving to Canada, or otherwise camouflaging themselves to avoid detection and arrest.
Other people, following the example of Marc Emery and others who are apparently unafraid of police, prosecutors and laws, are choosing to stand up for their rights despite the consequences. These people are activating their beliefs by ordering Emery seeds and growing them, by becoming more politically active, and by refusing to give up their marijuana or their progressive lifestyles.
East Coast attorney Steve Rosenfield, who has been a civil liberties attorney for 25 years, said recently that he cannot recall a time of such peril in the USA.
“It will mean more work for civil liberties attorneys,” he said, referring to the government’s crackdown on free speech and protests, “but it isn’t the kind of business we would want. It’s going to be mostly poor people, or even middle class people, who can’t afford to pay to defend themselves against the government’s might and resources. A lot of good people, innocent people, are going to be harmed.”
TRAVEL ALERT: THE US JUST ANNOUNCED THAT FEDERAL AGENTS WILL BE MAKING RANDOM TRAFFIC STOPS IN A ZONE EXTENDING 25 MILES FROM THE CANADIAN BORDER IN AND AROUND DETROIT, MICHIGAN. THESE STOPS ARE TARGETED AT PEOPLE WITH “DRUGS” IN THEIR VEHICLES. AVOID THIS AREA, BUT IF YOU ARE STOPPED, REMEMBER TO REMAIN SILENT AND TO REFUSE TO CONSENT TO A SEARCH OF YOUR PERSON OR VEHICLE. IN THE US, ANYTHING YOU SAY (OTHER THAN YOUR NAME AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN) CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU IN A COURT OF LAW.