LCCC From:
Subj:   special review U.N. Drug Session

The UN Special Session On Drug Control Policy June 8th-10th 1998

Cures-Not-Wars led protests in New York City across the street from the UN during the United Nations "Special Sessions on Drug Control Policy" June 8th-10th 1998.  The Special Sessions stated  goal was to have a "drug free world" by the year 2008!  Of course they were not talking about freeing the world of alcohol and tobacco, the two drugs that kill most people. This shows that the focus was on extinguishing the culture around illegal drug use, not the reality of substance abuse.

A few months prior, the UN decided that only proposals of expanding the current War on Drugs could be presented.  The problem with this special session was that there was no critical discussion of the existing "zero tolerance policy" towards drugs.  There were two extremely reactionary proposals.  One is to use aerial spraying of toxic herbicides, which is being done in Colombia right now because of the special session.  (for more info  The other proposal was for Internet Censorship "to remove objectionable drug information from the internet by creating working groups and arrangements with telecom providers" which to our knowledge has not started (but they want to).

A coaliton called The Global Coalition Against the Drug War was formed to bring some rationality to this session on drugs.  This group was spearheaded by Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy Reform, and Adam Smith of DRC Net. There was also support from the Lindesmith Centerof NY, as well as the Trans National Radical Party, and of course Cures Not Wars.

The Lindesmith Center, under the direction of Ethan Nadelman, placed a 2 page ad in the NewYork Times with 500 signatures of heads of state intellectuals, academics, and cultural luminaries.  Names on the list included Milton Friedman, George Soros, Geogre Schultz (former White House Chief of Staff), and Walter Cronkite, denouncing the special session's goal of a "Drug Free World" They stated explicitly, "We think the War on Drugs does more harm than good." This ad was in the NewYork Times June 8, 1988, center section, first page.

Kevin Zeese, of Common Sense for Drug Policy, put together a televison ad with an audio dub, having President Clinton denouncing the special sessions foolish goals, and asking for a drug policy similar to the Dutch.  However CNN International refused to run the ad.

The Trans National Radical Party, with some negotiation, was able to address the general assembly at the UN late on Monday, the first day of the special session as well as early on Tuesday.

Cures Not Wars, with a great deal of difficulty, were able to secure the right to demonstrate and hold press conferences outside of the UN.  On Monday, the only day President Clinton was in town, Cures, with the great help of Albany NORML, held a demonstration across from the UN to convey to the media that there are people against the continuing American Drug War.

The press conference included spokespeople such as Howard Lotsof, inventor of the Ibogaine detox for addiction, to Harry Levine, professor at Queens College, and many others, (both Spanish and English speaking).  The Monday demonstration was covered by ABC radio, am/fm, WRO local radio, Community Radio WBLI and WBAI,  Channel ABC TV news at five and eleven pm,  FOX news, and local TV channels 41 and 47 at six and eleven pm.  Our Wednesday press conference was covered by CNN UN affiliate, television of Venezuela, Univision channel 41, and radio of Mexico, as well as a newspaper from Madrid, Spain.

Due to our successful press presence at the UN, the UN radio network called Cures Not Wars, and asked organizer Robert MacDonald to give his over-all view on the special session.  This event allowed Cures to successfully work with other groups, using the media through demonstration and press, to counter the Nation's prohibition position.  We could not have the success we did without the help of Arron Wilson of the Marijuana Reform Party, and Howard Lotsof,  of Friends of Ibogaine, due to their time and effort in formating the press releases and sending them out.


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