Sunday, October 9, 2022

Biden and Simple Possession of Marijuana

 Gary Fouse

fousesquawk

http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


President Biden has made his pitch for the pot-smoking vote this week by announcing that he is issuing pardons for anybody who has been convicted on the federal level for simple possession of marijuana. This raises a lot of interesting points.

As a retired DEA agent, I did have occasions to work marijuana cases. Actually, most all of those cases were when I was a US Customs agent prior to joining the newly-created DEA in July 1973. With Customs, I was assigned to a group exclusively investigating the smuggling of large, commercial quantities of marijuana by aircraft, something that was quite prevalent at the time in the Southwest area bordering Mexico.

As my career continued in DEA from 1973-1995 when I retired, marijuana understandably became a lesser priority compared to heroin, cocaine, and later drugs like methamphetamine. The biggest priority now for DEA is fentanyl, of course.

At this point, I would like to introduce the federal drug law dealing with simple possession of controlled substances (drugs requiring a prescription or simply drugs that are illegal on their face, like heroin). The federal laws regarding drugs are under Title 21 of the US Code. These were the laws I enforced as a Customs and DEA agent. The statutes we were most concerned with and most often charged were smuggling, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to do the same. There is a statute for simple possession. It is 21 USC 844.

It is important to note that no federal prosecutor would accept a case that involved someone arrested for simple possession of a personal quantity of drugs, especially marijuana. I cannot speak for every state and local jurisdiction, but at a federal level, we only cared about commercial quantities. That means that we didn't care about some guy smoking a joint in his home. But if his home contained 500 kilos of marijuana, that was not for his personal use. That was clearly what we called a commercial quantity. He was trafficking.

So now you might ask why is this 21 USC 844 on the books? In practice, it is used for plea bargaining purposes. Pleading to a lesser charge. It is especially handy when a defendant has cooperated with law enforcement to a great degree and deserves a big break. Let me give you an example. Let's say DEA arrests a guy transporting a load of cocaine in his vehicle, let's say 20 kilos. It turns out that he is just a "mule" who is being paid to carry the drugs from one place or one person to another person or place. The driver agrees to cooperate. He names the person who gave him the drugs and the name of the person he is supposed to deliver the drugs to. He also agrees to go through with the delivery to the intended recipient, which he does under the control of the agents. To make a long story short, everybody is arrested on both ends, and the driver testifies in court. In return, he is allowed to plead to a lesser offense (21 USC 844 in many cases).

That's what we are talking about. Nobody at the federal level is chasing pot smokers and throwing them in federal prison for having a personal supply of marijuana or any other drug. The US Attorney's office would never accept such a case. So this is no great act of mercy by President Biden. 

Biden also wants the government to review whether marijuana is properly classified as a Schedule One drug, like heroin. On its face, it seems ludicrous that marijuana and heroin would be in the same classification or schedule. The reasoning is-you can agree or disagree- that like heroin, marijuana is judged to have a high potential for abuse and has no medically recognized use. You can read the list of schedules under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 here. Interestingly, cocaine and fentanyl are listed under Schedule Two because they do have certain legal medical uses.

The bottom line is that virtually all the beneficiaries of this pardon are people who actually committed more serious offenses, but were allowed to plead to the lesser charge of 21 USC 844-simple possession either because they cooperated with law enforcement and/or simply agreed to plead to the lesser charge.

You are not going to see Cheech and Chong walk out of federal prison where they have been serving time because DEA agents found them smoking marijuana on a street corner.


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Austrian President Wants All Women to Wear Head Scarves

 Gary Fouse

fousesquawk

http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


-"Mommy, why are we fleeing Austria?"
-"So I don't have to wear a fricking scarf"!



Notwithstanding recent events in Iran, the president of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, thinks that it is about time to ask all Austrian women to wear headscarves out of solidarity with Muslims. Fortunately, the position of president in Austria is largely ceremonial, and most political power rests with the chancellor.

How about defending the right of Muslim women in Austria not to wear a head scarf if they so choose? How about solidarity with Mahsa Amini, the young Iranian woman who recently died in police custody after being arrested for not "properly" wearing a head scarf? How about solidarity with the people in  Iran who are protesting Amini's death and being killed by Iran police and Revolutionary Guards?

From an American perspective, I would defend the right of Muslim women in the US to wear a headscarf if they feel it is their religious duty. I would also defend their right not to wear it if they don't want to. But the bottom line is that this foolish Austrian president is misdirecting his "solidarity".

Mahsa Amimi
The below article from Unzensuriert (Austria) is translated by Fousesquawk.

 https://www.unzensuriert.at/content/156135-vdb-wir-werden-alle-frauen-bitten-muessen-ein-kopftuch-zu-tragen-aus-solidaritaet/

Caption: Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen asks Austrian women to wear headscarves out of solidarity with Muslims

Federal presidential election  29 September 2022 16:24

Van der Bellen: "Will have to ask all women to wear a head scarf-out of solidarity".

"Beloved Austria", "Austria with all my heart" is written on the ad posters of Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, with which he campaigns nationwide for his reelection. But how much credibility are his messages? Can we trust a federal president and really elect him as head of state if he asks women to wear a head scarf out of solidarity with Muslims.

"Not just Muslims, every woman can wear a head scarf"

Many, perhaps, have already forgotten, but when Alexander Van der Bellen was hardly in office, he said verbatim on the ORF-Broadcast, "Report":

"It is the right of a woman to dress however she wishes, that is my opinion on this. Incidentally, not just Muslim women, every woman can wear a head scarf. And if it continues with this Islamophobia actually spreading, the day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear a head scarf. All in solidarity with those who do it for religious reasons."

Why doesn't Van der Bellen wear a head scarf?

When the federal president made this statement, he had been in office almost one hundred days. In social media, there was a lot going around because of the call for solidarity. Die Presse pointed out a few critics.

"Does anyone know if (Van der Bellen wanted to make a joke?" Peter Bussjaeger, Professor of Federalism at the University of Innsbruck, subsequently asked. Manfred Juraczka, former club chairman of the Austrian Peoples' Party in Vienna, likewise used the statement for critique via Kurznachrictendienst (Headline Service). "So much for the election claim that hashtag vdB (Van der Bellen) is a man of the middle." Another user also immediately made another suggestion to the head of state: "Mr Van der Bellen, why don't you set a good example and wear a head scarf?" 


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Italy: The Human Cost of Illegal Migration

 Gary Fouse

fousesquawk

http://garyfouse.blogspot.com


This article from Il Giornale is rather long. It took me two days to translate it, but it is well worth a read. This is how immigration has gone off the rails in Italy (as well as other Western European countries). No control over who is allowed in and who isn't. The result is hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, radical Muslims, and various and sundry types of criminals. That has resulted in dead Italians, raped Italians, and Italian police being assaulted by people who should not even be in the country. 

The article mentions San Siro, a  neighborhood where I lived during my years in Milan in the 1980s. How sad to hear how it has been taken over by squatters and riff-raff.  

 https://www.ilgiornale.it/news/cronache/immigrazione-criminale-i-reati-compagine-straniera-2041566.html

Rapes, fights, "cultural" crimes: The criminal immigration that frightens Italy

17 June 2022 - 07:23

The violent side of immigration between sexual crimes and attacks on police: " In Italy, a stable presence of the foreign component"

Francesca Bernasconi and Rosa Scognamiglio

Women and girls molested or raped in the middle of the street. Police officers and Carabinieri punched or threatened with knives. And girls mistreated or killed by their own relatives because they rejected the traditions of their own culture and wanted to live Western style. These are the crimes and attacks that appear on the news pages and involve criminal foreigners. And the phenomenon of criminal immigration, born contemporaneously with the arrival in Italy of social and cultural groups from various countries in the world, a phenomenon which, from the 1970s, has transformed the peninsula into an immigration state. But how has this trend transformed the criminal panorama?

The presence of different social, ethnic, and cultural groups inevitably brings about a transformation of criminal-specific points, (as) explained to Il Giornale by the criminologist Francesca Capozza, author of the book, Criminal Immigration, which analyzes the phenomenon, showing the face of foreign crime in Italy. "You see the stable presence of the foreign connection that takes the form of organized crime, within that municipality, of terrorism, as well as culturally-motivated crimes".

The numbers of foreign crime

Immigration is not synonymous with criminality. It's the opposite. Beginning in the 1970s, however, in our country, an increase in the arrival of people from other parts of the world with different customs and habits has been recorded. In addition to people who migrate legally, there are those (who migrate) illegally. This new movement has brought about a change in crime because, in addition to Italian crime, there is added the foreign component, which has gone on to change the general panorama of criminality and security.

The statistics, reported in the XIII Report of the Antigone Association on conditions of detention, tell of a rise in the number of foreigners present in Italian jails, which, beginning in the early 1990s, has undergone an "unstoppable" increase. Now, according to the data from the Justice Ministry, updated on 31 May, 2022, detained foreigners make up 17,136, of a total of 57,067 people in jail: a percentage that slightly surpasses 30%, as also confirmed by Francesca Capozza, who speaks of official data," which do not record, therefore, any unverified, subsequent involvement". In the large cities, however, this percentage goes up so much that, according to what is specified in Il Giornale by counselor Riccardo De Corato, "in Milan, over 70% of the prison population of San Vittore is composed of immigrants."

It is necessary, however, to point out that among the foreign detainees, the percentage of illegal migrants, reported in the Antigone report, is "between 60-80% depending on the type of crime. Not just that.  "Almost all of the migrants who commit crimes have previous arrests," points out Counselor De Corato. "I believe many of the illegals present in Italy are fleeing their own country of origin because they evidently have unfinished business with the justice (system), they probably can't walk around free or they risk heavy sentences. Otherwise, you cannot explain the motive in which they prefer to pay money to the smugglers, risking their lives at sea, rather than reach Italy by other means. I do not believe that they are all fleeing from war."

These percentages refer to criminality in general. But the activity of the foreign component varies according to the type of crimes committed. The XIII Antigone Report of 2017 connected the presence in jail of foreign criminals mostly to property crimes, relative to drugs, and connected to prostitution. "The type of crime mostly committed by them," Dr. Capozza explained to Il Giornale, concerns crimes against property (27%, in particular, thefts and robberies), against persons (31%, particularly deliberate personal injuries), violations of drug laws (about 31%)". On the other hand, the percentage of foreigners detained for Mafia-type crimes is low.

Rapes and  sexual molestations

It was shortly after dawn on August 9, 2021, when a 26-year-old Italian-South American was surprised from the back, dragged by the arm, and raped in an excavation ditch for water pipes in a construction site at Cascina Gobba, just steps from the San Raffaele Hospital, by a 31-year-old Egyptian without a regular residence permit. On the other hand, last December 6, a young (female) commuter was attacked on the Milan-Varese train by two young men in their early 20s. The first, who was reportedly the "lookout", is an Italian with drug addiction problems; the other-the material perpetrator of the attempted rape- is a Moroccan with a prior police record and illegally in Italy. And then the horror of New Years' Eve: nine young girls were molested by a gang of foreigners just steps from the Duomo (Cathedral) of Milan during the festivities for the beginning of the new year.

"I beg you, stop" That desperate cry, then the horror from the illegal (migrant)

"The data from Istat (Italian National Institute of Statistics) speak clearly: Foreigners are 5 times more (often the perpetrators) in respect to crimes of sexual violence than Italians," points out Counselor Riccardo De Corato-notwithstanding the tightening of sentences, the molestations and the rapes are not diminishing. The policies that (protect) women do not seem to have taken effect within part of the foreign population-and the serious episode that took place New Years' Eve in Duomo Square confirms it- that they continue to consider the woman as an object, a property, with which, the man can do as he wants".

On June 2, five adolescents were harassed with shocking molestations on a train to Peschiera returning from a day spent at Lake Garda. The perpetrators, not yet all identified, reportedly directed racist insults at the young victims."You are white, you shouldn't be here (on the train-editor's note) ". A worrisome phenomenon, which signals a negative record in Lombardy (region), relative to sexual crimes. "In our capital (Milan-editor's note), the trend of the past few years has never seen a drop, unfortunately," adds De Corato-"On the contrary, it is rising slightly given that from 273 cases in 2011, it has passed 285 in 2021. In my opinion, the situation is very troubling."

"Culturally motivated" crimes 

No less alarming is the tendency relating to so-called "culturally motivated crimes", i.e. those crimes that ripen in a cultural context in contrast with the systems of rules and values in the host country. "The explanatory theories of foreign crime identify (multiple factors) of delinquent behavior in which the interior conflict between the culture of origin and value systems of the host country," explains Dr. Capozza, "which, within the same person, produces a contrast between  divergent cultural systems and norms (and) can lead to discomfort, insecurity, and confusion with the risk of maladjustment, psychiatric disturbance, and criminality."

Then there are other factors to take into consideration, for example, "the precarious economic conditions in which the immigrants are in," the expert continues. "The social marginalization of which they are often victims with the subsequent risk of "labeling", the absence of social groups and family references can favor the adoption of delinquent behaviors."

Among the culturally oriented crimes, those connected to the phenomenon of forced marriages are notably on the increase. According to the latest data released by the Viminale (Interior Ministry), two out of three victims are foreigners with a strong incidence of Pakistani women. "I believe that there is, at least on the part of some, also a large problem underestimating certain phenomena that are ignored and characterized as habits and customs of a culture (that are) to be respected," adds De Corato. "I am referring, for example, to the niqab (face covering) and female genital mutilation, the latter practice to which many children, daughters, and (non-EU) foreigners in our country are being subjected."

Estimates relative to infibulation (University of Milan, Bicocca 2019), on the other hand, account for 87,600 victims in Italy. Of these, 7000 are (female) children and girls little more than adolescents. "There is evidently still much to do to spread the culture of respect and equality in respect to women," concludes the security counselor for the Lombardy region. "Sometimes, we open our eyes realizing how serious the condition of cultural segregation is in which women are kept, here (Italy) as well, when incidents like that of Saman (Abbas) occur. Then everything falls back into forgetfulness, and we pretend not knowing that many Muslims consider women to be anthropologically inferior and subordinate to men." 

Attacks on police

Not just rapes, thefts, robberies, or "culturally-motivated" crimes. Violent immigration also affects the police. The latest incident goes back a few days when at Pisa, a (non-EU) foreigner, aged 30, attacked a policeman, hitting him with a violent punch. Not just that: During the episode, the young man reportedly destroyed the glass of the patrol car. 

In May of 2021, instead of being attacked, two police officers were working in Milan when a pair of North Africans in the country illegally went into a rage insulting the officers. Then the violence: Kicks and punches directed at the officers, both injured, so much they had to go to emergency care. One of the two police officers was treated for a fractured hand with a (recovery) prognosis of 25 days, while the other was diagnosed with a contusion on his elbow. Earlier, in January 2021, a group of foreigners had surrounded police officers, threatening them with a broken bottle and punching them several times.

According to the report, "Beaten cops" in 2021, furnished by ASAPS. the Association for safety on the streets, in 2021 physical attacks on officers totaled 2,655, more than 7 per day. Of these, 37% were caused by foreign citizens. But why this fury directed at police and Carabinieri, with the risk of being arrested? "On the one hand, the linguistic difficulty and knowledge of the culture and the rules make it difficult for the foreigner to be able to communicate and comprehend the social and judicial system in which he is inserted," explained the criminologist Francesca Capozza. But there is more. In fact, the expert continues, "on the other hand, the police at the time of the crime, represent the limit and the law from which they themselves are fleeing, or that they struggle to understand and accept, thus reactive emotions connected to them pour out."

The risk of radicalization

The data relative to the phenomenon of violent immigration, which clearly concerns only the extremist and radical fringe of the foreigners who reach Italy, outlines scenarios that are not very reassuring for the future. Milan, where the presence of illegal migrants has reached 50,000, is among the Italian cities most at risk. "It is evident that the choice of moving to Milan is not accidental. There is money, well-being, and work.  But there is also the question. The point at which many neighborhoods of the city are now (run by) the foreign element," explains De Corato. The public housing of San Siro, for example, is almost all occupied by Arab squatters. The same can be said for Corvetto, where there is a strong presence of foreigners from Eastern Europe, Roma (Gypsies), and Africans. They are all places where the government has lost contact with reality, and where, in my opinion, the situation is irreversible. And it is obvious then that the risk rising, violent criminality is elevated." 

Though the prospects are not encouraging, and the process of radicalization is a conceivable eventuality, we are not facing an irreversible crisis. "The only solution to guarantee the safety of our citizens is the presence of police on the ground. In Milan, for example, up until some time ago, there were neighborhood watches. Where did they go? The only deterrent is the presence everywhere of men in uniform, on foot, and the social concierge," concludes the Lombardy counselor. "But in the current state, with entire neighborhoods under assault by foreigners, it is practically impossible to apply solutions of this type. The people are afraid."