Pubdate: Thu, 27 Apr 2000
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 Canberra Times
Author: Dave Michon


YOUR editorial on the American Gulag is important ("It's political if
US jails 1.9 million", CT, April 24). Australians should understand
just what America seeks to export to other countries under the guise
of the "Drug War".

Last year's veiled threats when Australia dared to hold public
discourse on Drug War alternatives should convince your people what
our Government is capable of.

The Soviet Union no longer exists as an exporter of tyranny. In a
twist of fate, the US has inherited that position, but it seems that
our people here have taken little notice.

Much of the heavy-handed nature of our Government today, they merely
accept, as each new "War on X" mandates some little portion of our
lauded Bill of Rights be voided.

Your editorial missed one point: the population which is not yet
imprisoned has come increasingly to live in fear of this Government.
There is a huge cost in basic daily living.

The national psyche has begun to cower, like all societies which have
come under the boot. There has been no malignant revolution or coup
d'etat; the transformation has occurred by degrees.

The Drug War has extended its influence into all areas of our society,
excepting, of course, the upper strata. Your televisions will show you
Americans enjoying the fruits of our burgeoning economy and, it is
true, the wealthy have little to fear yet from the regime. Our country
is richer than ever before, yet our Government has yanked all support
for the poor.

What your editorial did not present is how the fear of government has
crept into our national psyche here in America. I, for one, feel it
just driving down the road. I know that if one of the ubiquitous squad
cars hails me, anything is possible.

Our incredible laws of forfeiture, more "friendly fire" from the Drug
War, have turned the highways into a sort of game-show for local
police authorities. They get money from the seizures, incredible as
that may seem.

A recent law designed to blunt criticism is a farce. The news of
police tactics in Los Angeles, with that city's planting of drugs and
guns by police and its police murder of civilians, is horrifying to
anyone who fits a certain profile.

To the average American our police are paramilitary

The Drug War was the seed from which the excess police powers

The average American is just like the average Australian. We want,
more than anything, to be let alone. It was that way here once, but
those days are gone.

I hope you learn from our experience here in the former "Land of the

Spooner, Wisconsin, USA
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