Bill Weinberg's blog

Philippine strongman's bloody drug war: year one

Posted on June 26th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaJune 30 marks one year since the ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines, on a pledge to halt the "virulent social disease" of drug abuse. Officials boast that crime has dropped, thousands have been arrested on drug offenses, and a million users have turned themselves in for treatment programs instead of jail. The usual totalitarian rhetoric is employed to justify the price in human lives for this supposed progress—the bloodletting is necessary for the health of the nation. "There are thousands of people who are being killed, yes," Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told Reuters for a one-year assesment of Duterte's crackdown. "But there are millions who live, see?"

Hong Kong cannabis interceptions soaring

Posted on June 22nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Hong KongCannabis seizures are rapidly escalating in Hong Kong—whether due to greater quantities on the market or stepped-up enforcement, or both. The city's South China Morning Post reports June 19 on a haul of 35 kilos in 136 baggies ready for sale, uncovered in a vehicle during a police raid on a car park. Three were arrested. Police estimated the street value of the load at HK$10 million (about US$1.3 million). As recently as May 27, the SCMP reported a police raid on an industrial building in the city's Tai Po district that netted 110 kilos, worth HK$19 million. (Obviously, the math is not adding up here, raising questions about how the Hong Kong cops arrive at their estimates.)

Cannabis at issue in Philando Castile case —yet again

Posted on June 17th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterProtests broke out in Minnesota's Twin Cities the night of June 16, after the acquittal of a police officer in the notorious slaying of Black motorist Philando Castile—a St. Paul school cafeteria worker who was 32 at the time of his death. As I write, the first arrests are taking place, as thousands of demonstrators attempt to shut down Interstate 94. Black Lives Matter protesters are again mobilizing in cities across the country.

Does North Korea have a more tolerant cannabis policy than South?

Posted on June 16th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

KoreaWell, absolutely not, but you could be forgiven for thinking so, based on a cursory review of recent headlines.

Although it hasn't made much of a splash stateside, the big news in the South this week is the "marijuana scandal" surrounding a singer from the suggestively named K-pop boy-band Big Bang, who goes by the stage-name T.O.P.

Kurdish guerillas behind Turkey's hashish trade?

Posted on June 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

TurkeySecurity forces in southeastern Turkey, where authorities have been waging a brutal counterinsurgency war against Kurdish guerillas, reported the seizure last week of 2,290 kilograms of hashish and 6,632 kilograms of unprocessed cannabis "in an operation against the drug activities of the PKK terrorist organization."

Philippines: protests against martial law

Posted on June 12th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

South East AsiaProtests are emerging in the Philippine against ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao last month. Over 100 former and current lawmakers, religious leaders and activists gathered in Manila for an interfaith rally on June 11, the Philippines' Independence Day., demanding an end to the official suspension of basic democratic rights in Mindanao.

US guns to Brazilian narco-gangs

Posted on June 9th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

BrazilAmid fast-escalating nightmarish narco-violence in Brazil comes disconcerting word that police in Rio de Janeiro seized 60 assault rifles hidden in a shipment of swimming-pool heating equipment that had just arrived on a flight from Miami. Pulse News Agency reported June 2 that the AK-47s and AR-10s were discovered in the cargo terminal of Rio's international airport. Photos of the haul showed weapons in the foam packaging they were flown in.

California assembly passes cannabis 'sanctuary state' bill

Posted on June 5th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaPortending an unprecedented showdown with federal power, California's State Assembly on June 1 approved a bill that would bar state and local law police from cooperating with the DEA and other federal agencies in cannabis enforcement efforts, unless compelled to do so by a court order. "Prohibiting our state and local law enforcement agencies from expending resources to assist federal intrusion of California-compliant cannabis activity reinforces...the will of our state's voters who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 64,” Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), lead author of the bill, told the Los Angeles Times when it was still pending.

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