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19 October 2007


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frank durkee

No question our drug policies can only be described as functionally insane, made worse by the combination of cost and ineffectiveness.

Charles I

Marquer, Martin et al; The war on drugs is not fought on some kind of harm reduction calculus. It is no mere pet peeve to me. Rather, it is a perverse and immoral criminalization of one of humanity's most basic impulses calculated to sustain vast symbiotic empires of profit, oppression, corruption and hypocrisy. It is far too profitable in terms of cash and power, not to mention the utility of drugs, diamonds and arms as currencies in themselves, for the armies of narks, crooks, prosecutors, fear-mongering law and order politicos, bankers, petty tyrants and Wall Street plutocrats to ever voluntarily give up the fight. They are addicted to their raison d'etre. Imagine all these being told they'd have to make an honest, moral living without concerning themselves as to their victim's mood altering proclivities as practiced in the comfort of their own home on their own dime. Whatever would one do with the reserve army of largely minorities incarcerated for the mostly petty crime Prohibition breeds? Or their keepers?

But much more critically, Big Pharma will never countenance the further legalization of any other unpatented mood alterer stronger than herbal tea.


It seems Bhutto's vehicle was surrounded by two rings of security. An inner ring around the lorry composed of trusted members of her political party, and an outer ring, state supplied, of police and and secret service.

The bomber(s) got past the outer ring, but not the inner ring.

The man in charge of that outer ring?

Brig. Ejaz Shah .... former handler of Mullah Omar and Osama Bin Laden.



[heroin legalization] more or less completely stops the spreading of the disease since there will be no reason to push

I do expect that the greater availability would result in a somewhat increased number of addicts. However, the worst sequelae of addiction would be markedly reduced by allowing addicts to get their drugs inexpensively and with medical supervision close to hand.

Someone once said to me, "But we can't legalize heroin. The lower prices will tempt more people to try it!"

I asked what their own personal price point was, at which they would feel inexorably compelled to use heroin.

Without waiting for an answer, I went on to note that I personally would not take heroin even if it were completely free of charge and delivered to my doorstep. Economists would like to have us believe that all human behavior is a deterministic function of price incentives. They are wrong.

As an anecdotal side note to this post, I have a friend who lives on the edge of a rough urban neighborhood. His statement of the problem is pithy.

"We have junkies here, and we have winos. In some ways very similar. When they both have gotten what they want -- the wino his bottle, the junkie his fix -- they both pretty much go sleep it off for hours on end. Trouble is minimal. It's what happens next where things go wrong, when they wake up again. The junkie's fix costs fifty times what the wino's bottle costs. The wino can beg or scrounge to make his buy. The junkie has to resort to felony theft."



Well, well ... if this isn't a fine mess we have for new year.

Musharraf is our 'bastard' we put him there (with tacit approval) and we think we know the game. But we didn't. We play Pakistan like it's 1965, that national boundary is stable. Screwing up in one country probably doesn't affect much. At worst localized war.

But instead everything is subtly interconnected and the game is very complex and can cascade to regional conflict. (specially global economy, energy supply, and public safety.)

Back to Pakistan. The idiots in states dept. and neocon think they can change Pakistan. (democracy, regime change, military aid, local resistance, secret service, bla bla, etc.)

Just like the neocon was taunting Iran and Syria early in Iraq war. The thinking is by tweaking Pakistan, we can do afghanistan war on the cheap. They think a country as collection of simple chess pawn instead of dynamic structure holding people together. Move around the pieces and the game still called chess. (instead, it's more like whacking hornet nest)

Now Pakistan becomes unstable. The political dynamic, social stability, political processes are all weakened. Note that Iraq is next to Pakistan. You can bet terrorists group are being ship back and forth between the huge borders.

The high politics now has mixed with street fight. Taliban can start playing their usual game in Pakistan. Fanning social political tension to destroy civil society structure. Any random small group trained in Iraq can create massive damage in the "-stan" region. (guerilla war 101, folks)

Pakistan is a huge country, somebody better starts thinking straight, less we want to enlarge instability in the entire central asia.


1. Afghanistan clown show is over. Fix that country properly instead of turning into corruptions nest and short term military tours.

2. Stability in Pakistan is paramount. (that means we have to work with China, whom we have nasty trade fight. India, Iran and Russia. All are countries we screwed grandly in public.)

3. Fix diplomacy with Iran. One cannot keep rattling the cage without expecting things to turn nasty.

4. Fix Israel. This country is complicating the entire region politics and diplomacy. (Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, now Pakistan) Total and complete loose cannon. One missile launch from Israel, everybody in the region will start shooting.


If I have to make prediction how the bozos in charge will do it.

1. start panicking and screwing up Pakistan. (push and pull, regime become unstable, social rift, economic collapse) All this happens slowly, ad hoc of course, over 2-3 years.

2. This then are mixed with Iraq/Afghanistan incompetency. (refugee movement, civil war, economic collapse, car bombs, assassinations)

3. Pakistan upper leadership becomes so unstable everything finally collapses. At the very least massive economic damage to Pakistan that create major social upheaval.

4. Russia, China, India, Iran.. start panicking. Global economy is affected. They are going to do something about it... pray they are more competent.

Whatever it is. the fundamental game in central asia will change if Pakistan collapses.

The clown show is over. at least Iraq is somewhat stabilizing.


Things are going to get complicated now.

Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto killing
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - ”We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat mujahideen.” These were the words of al-Qaeda’s top commander for Afghanistan operations and spokesperson Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, immediately after the attack that claimed the life of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto on Thursday (December 27).

Bhutto died after being shot by a suicide assailant who, according to witnesses, also detonated a bomb that killed himself and up to 20 others at a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Bhutto, with Western backing, had been hoping to become prime minister for a third time after general elections next month.

“This is our first major victory against those [eg, Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf] who have been siding with infidels [the West] in a fight against al-Qaeda and declared a war against mujahideen,” Mustafa told Asia Times Online by telephone.



The US diplomatically orchestrated the return of B. Bhutto. It reminds me of playing someone in chess who leads early with their queen. The US played their queen hastily and now the best politician who had a chance to grab the mantle of democracy in Pakistan is dead. When you send someone to the snake pit you better make sure the snakes are dead. Here is where the mistake of invading Iraq instead of rooting out the Al-Qaeda elements in Afghanistan and Waziristan have again bit the Bush administration in the butt. This is why Bush looked pissed off today. There are no longer any viable strategies in Pakistan.


Martin K

I had a long discussion with a pakistani friend of mine about this two days ago, over serveral glasses of Aquavit and beer, and he again and again stressed that the real problem here lies in the clans and the families of Pakistan getting more and more divided between the "Pakis" and the "brits": The "brits" is the faction that wants to build Pakistan on a western model, typically lead by well (foreign) educated folks, supported by the south and the technocrati. The "pakis" are of a mind to turn away from all this new technologybusiness and go (sarcastically speaking) back to the good old days of living in mud huts where a man could kill his wife without any of all of this shouting. This tension runs through all of pakistani society. Mr. Musharafs fight with the supreme court could in that light be seen as Musharafs fight with the "brits" in order to prove to the "pakis" that he is a neutral actor, and it backfired with the military state and mrs. Bhuttos return, etc.

So now mrs. Bhutto, Queen of the "brits" has been killed, and there is little surety of who did this. And all the local ISI and army departments, who are locally led by persons more often chosen through family and bribes than through competence, must make a lot of hard choices.


Posted by: Martin K | 29 December 2007 at 10:12 AM

There are a lot of similarities with other ex colonial countries.

This is typical, after first generation/independent leaders dies and second generations fight with the third. The typical idological fight is between the corrupt status quo/western backed, or religious conservatives. (answer: neither one of them. new leadership will emerge as long as there is no economic collapse and civil war)

Pakistan is at the crossroad. Either it learn power succession peacefully or it will collapse.

PPP is the founding father party. It has a lot of charisma. And it starts accusing musharraf and friends. If the political bickering continues, things will turn into bloodbath and show of force.

We should not meddle.

The only coherent power left right now is military backed dictatorship under our support. Or Islamism party.

If I have to choose upon observing various options. Leave Pakistan alone to sort their mess. People in general do not like Islamism government. They are corrupt, incompetent and totally clueless. They will be promptly kicked out of office after one session.

Just make sure the military doesn't start shooting the people and the legal mechanism can function during brief right wing experiment.

Protecting the military status quo (ala Chile, Argentina, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia) only prolonged the inevitable.

Backing military dictatorship creates long term instability, taliban or no taliba.

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