The following post occurred within the context of the email list of the Drug Reform Coordination Network. The DRCtalk email list is an on-line forum for political activists sharing information and strategies to educate and enhance public awareness for the purposes of Drug Policy Reform. It should go without saying, but apparently does not, that DRCnet neither condones nor advocates any illegal activity (much less physical violence) as an effective political strategy for ending the "War on Drugs."
Posted to DRCtalk, list serve, July 15, 1996
I just heard Drug Czar McCaffery on C-Span. I have come to the conclusion that he is the most dangerous man in America. He is all over the map (no pun intended) pushing his new 5 year plan. He comes off as reasonable and articulate. He casually throws around numbers like 15 and 30 billion dollars and talks about an overall 10 year effort to win this "plague on our children". He was in Puerto Rico to address the nations governors. He's doing a great job of using MAP principles to push his strategy.
Ten more years of this nonsense will wipe this country out and you better have big guns and lots of bullets if he has his way because we will either be a completely totalitarian state or involved in full blown anarchy. We need to go after this guy in a big way.
His 'softer gentler approach' is the best possible way to sabotage the DPR Drug Policy Reform movement and further lull the public into even more apathy while we slowly go broke and move towards a country where everyone is either in prison or works for one.
Just in case you think THEY aren't watching . . .
(Posted July 16, 1996)
I just got a call from Mark Cominek (sp?) an FBI agent in the Fresno CA office. He was inquiring about my recent posts and articles on Drug Czar General Barry McCaffery in which I said that I viewed General McCaffery as "The most dangerous man in America" I went on to suggest that "We need to go after this guy in a big way."
For the benefit of the FBI and anyone that doesn't know it, and as I informed Agent Cominek, this was meant to encourage letter writers, and reformers to engage in activity that will counter the General's rhetoric and media blitz on drug policy issues. I encourage letter writing, on air debate, countering articles, and grass roots activism to help promote drug policy reform and in no way shape or form was I encouraging any form of violence upon the good General.
The Media Awareness Project (MAP) is dedicated to Non violent reform of our existing drug policies unequivocally.
I found the contact worrisome and somewhat intimidating (perhaps by design) and it has gone a long way towards increasing my paranoia about the government, but fear is the enemy and it will of course have no effect on my activism other than I will attempt be a little less ambiguous in the future.
In the agents defense he did make clear that I had the right to say anything I like but to imply a threat to General McCaffery is illegal. I was aware of this and neither intended or meant to imply any such thing.
Media Awareness Project (MAP)
I am an Information Systems contractor that supports the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). We recently received a faxed copy of an e-mail threatening ONDCP's Director, General Barry R. McCaffrey.
The e-mail in questions was dated Sat. Jul. 13, 1996, 11:08 EDT, and the subject was McCaffrey "The Most Dangerous man in America." Since our faxed copy is blurry, could you please send me a copy the e-mail you received.
Thanks for your cooperation.
Tracy A. Bare
(202) *** ****
Dear Tracy A. Bare;
You may not realize that I was the author of the E-mail post you allude to [above]. Since it seems to have generated such interest, a volunteer has posted it, as well as a disclaimer, at The following URL http://www.lycaeum.org/~painter/ENDWAR/map.html I have also attached both to this post.
PLEASE understand and endeavor to inform others, including the General, that my post was in NO WAY meant to imply a threat to General McCaffery. I may have used a poor choice of words but, taken in the context of thousands of other posts on the Internet I have on record, no rational individual would determine that I intended a threat by what I wrote.
I head the Media Awareness Project (MAP). We attempt to provide rational, honest, and accurate information to the media on all matters relating to current and future drug policy. Among other things, our group engages in media letter writing campaigns, hence the reference to "going after (the general) in a big way". For an example of what we do you may want to look at the Tuesday July 23, 1996 issue of USA Today which I have just been informed will have a number of our letters to the editor published.
I make no bones about the fact that I consider the General's rhetoric dangerous. I feel that continuing the drug war for another 10 years will completely destroy this country. I believe that General McCaffery's intentions are good, but I feel he is woefully ill-informed on the facts about the "War on Drugs" and is playing right into the hands of those who have been annihilating the Bill of Rights in the name of "protecting" our citizens from making their own decisions. Hearing about asset forfeiture laws without due process worries me much more than whether or not an individual chooses to use drugs.
I actually find some of the General's quotes extremely heartening. His recent statement that we "Can't arrest our way out of this" shows much promise. My main concern is that the General's plans will lull the nation, which is fed up with wasting $15 billion per year on programs that don't work, into more apathy.
Should the general wish to research some additional facts, an incredible amount of information is available on the worlds largest on line drug policy library at: http://www.druglibrary.org
I neither use or endorse the use of drugs. I personally don't even use legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. I have written a book on the subject entitled "The Drug Solution" which I would be happy to provide the general upon request. I have also been interviewed on over 100 radio and TV shows nationwide and had numerous letters and articles published on the subject.
Violence is so far removed from the game plan of both myself and my organization that it would be laughable if so many had not misconstrued my statement and taken it out of context. I even had a contact from the FBI asking what I meant by my post. I am as opposed to threats and violence as I am to the "War on Drugs." Neither have any hope of accomplishing their objective.
I have any number of resources that I can provide to help educate interested parties on the FACTS about the "War on Drugs." I would be most happy to engage the general in Email conversations to elaborate on my views. I would also happily debate him on the subject or provide contact information for any number of others that are opposed to current drug policy such as Dan Baum author of "Smoke and Mirrors," Ethan Nadelmann of The Lindesmith Center, William F. Buckley who is often quoted in the "National Review" and many others should the general wish to engage in open and frank discussions on our various philosophical views.
Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Mark Greer E-Mail: email@example.com
Media Awareness Project (MAP)
From: Tracy A. Bare ONDCP
To: Mark Greer
The following is from Bob Brown, ONDCP's Deputy Chief of Staff
"Saw your updated response on the Web Site regarding the threatening language toward the Director of National Drug Control Policy. While your personal intention in the original document may not have been to threaten the Director's safety, others who may have received or read it on the Internet may not have had a similar disposition.
"General McCaffrey now fully understands that you meant no harm by your statement. He is committed to facing the drug menace which causes 20,000 deaths and 67 billion dollars in social costs to the United States each year.
"Perhaps you can review the 1996 National Drug Control Strategy found at http://www.ncjrs.org and provide your thoughts on how to reduce the suffering of the 3.6 million chronic addicts of illegal drugs in our country today. If you review the various speeches General McCaffrey has made you will see that he routinely rejects the metaphor of a 'war on drugs' as being inadequate for the complexity of the issue. One key point he makes is that unlike a war, addicts are not our enemy but rather our children, friends and fellow workers."
Dear Mr. Bare,
Sincere thanks for forwarding Bob Brown's response to me. I'll see that it's posted with the rest of the thread on the web page at http://www.lycaeum.org/~painter/ENDWAR/map.html. I am glad the misunderstanding has been corrected and will endeavor to be more precise in my rhetoric in the future.
I will indeed review the ncjrs web site (and actually used many ncjrs stats in my book and subsequent interviews) My initial response as to how to end the suffering and deaths of addicts and other drug users would be to suggest that we stop putting them in prison and allow them access to safe, government-tested drugs. The cause of death among most drug addicts is accidental overdose and adulterated drugs (inconsistent potency or dangerous "cuts"). These deaths would cease to exist with consistent quality control. Pretending that we can or should stop drug use with ineffective and unenforceable laws is, in my view, a long failed policy that has cost our society significantly more than the $67 billion alluded to.
If General McCaffery is open to logic and reason, as he appears to be, he will have no choice but to realize that our current policies of prohibition are doomed to fail. No desired product has ever been effectively prohibited in a free society nor will prohibition ever be a viable alternative. Drugs have not even been eradicated in Singapore where one can hang for possession with intent to sell.
Education of our children, while an admirable objective, will be only marginally effective until the "reefer madness" type of hyperbole is eradicated. Nothing sabotages a young persons respect for authority more effectively than finding out they have been lied to by that authority We have been lying to our youth about drugs for three generations. Is it any wonder youth violence and drug use are increasing? Truth and accuracy are the keys.
"The land of the free" has more prison inmates per capita than communist China or any other totalitarian dictatorship. Our inner cities have been completely wiped out, not by drugs, but by drug policy. If an individual chooses to use drugs, and continues to a point where it is causing him serious harm, he at least has a chance of seeing the error of his ways and getting help. This is not so if he's spending 20 years in prison. Once this occurs, the individual is destroyed for life both mentally and socially.
It is my rather radical view that whether or not an individual takes drugs is absolutely no business of the government or police until and unless that individual causes, or threatens to cause, direct harm to the person or property of another or begins to make a public nuisance of himself. This is the point at which authorities should intervene whether the disruption is due to drunkenness, drug ingestion, or a coffee overdose. "Protecting" an individual from making his own life choices is folly and antithetical to the principals upon which this country was founded.
As I said, I will provide a more detailed response as soon as possible and after studying the latest information on your web site. I would also like to forward a copy of "The Drug Solution" to you and ask Dan Baum author of "Smoke and Mirrors" to do the same. In my view it is absolutely impossible to read these two books and remain convinced that current policies are in any way viable or sensible. If you will provide me with an address I will see that the books are forwarded directly.
My views as expressed in "The Drug Solution" are quite controversial and certainly unique. They are often questioned even among the drug reform community. It is likely that the best solution lies somewhere in the middle between existing policy and radical reform scenarios.
Thank you for opening this opportunity for communication. In my view, a rational and reasonable discussion of drug policy alternatives, devoid of the nonsensical rhetoric occasioned on both sides of the debate, is the single greatest hope in moving us towards a sensible solution to our drug problem.
Media Awareness Project (MAP)