After sparking outrage from across the political spectrum by demanding that Obama crush marijuana legalization approved by voters in Colorado and Washington State last year, the United Nations and its largely totalitarian member regimes gathered in Vienna, Austria, this week to advance a more vigorous global “war” on unapproved plants and substances. Despite openly admitting that drug use has not declined after decades of prohibition, the top global narcotics bureaucrat — a former Soviet diplomat — claimed the UN-mandated drug war must expand.
Gathered at the 56th session of the UN “Commission on Narcotic Drugs” (UN CND), which runs March 11-15, self-styled international “authorities” and national governments discussed the fact that, despite trillions of taxpayer dollars spent and hundreds of thousands killed in recent decades, the prevalence of illegal drug usage was not decreasing. Rather than rethinking the controversial global war, as many prominent critics have suggested, the assembled drug warriors insisted that more and more war was necessary.
Unsurprisingly, UN officials also claimed they needed more money and power to fight and lead the so-called “war on drugs.” Among the top targets this year are the United States, which — despite slavish devotion to waging and financing the deadly UN war around the world — has increasingly defied UN drug treaties at the state level. Indeed, almost two dozen states have nullified unconstitutional federal statutes and UN treaties by legalizing marijuana for recreational or medicinal use.
During his opening remarks at the summit on March 11, Executive Director Yury Fedotov of the UN “Office on Drugs and Crime” (UNODC) claimed his planetary bureaucracy “has a primary institutional role to play in defining the international drug control system of the 21st Century.” The former Soviet Communist diplomat-turned UN drug czar also bragged that the global “war” was expanding under his leadership, boasting of all the new offices and regional schemes popping up around the globe.
“The [UN] CND has the knowledge, experience and commitment to provide the international community with a roadmap to confront these threats and challenges,” Fedotov claimed, sparking mixed reactions from the more than 1,000 attendees at the Vienna summit. “We are introducing regional and country programs that deliver assistance where it is needed. We are building strong partnerships with other UN agencies, and promoting political commitment at the highest international levels.”
The former Soviet diplomat, who got his “foreign service” career started as a U.S.S.R. delegate to the UN “Disarmament Committee” in 1972, also touted the "International Cooperation against the World Drug Problem" resolution adopted by the dictator-dominated UN General Assembly last year. He told the summit in Vienna that, in addition to promoting so-called “sustainable development,” the world needed to follow the UN plan on narcotics, “which emphasizes the importance of both the universality of the three international drug conventions, as well as their effective implementation.”
In other words, regardless of national sovereignty or the wishes of voters, the draconian UN drug ban must apply to the whole earth and every person inhabiting it. On top of that, the prohibition must be implemented in a way deemed acceptable by increasingly power-hungry planetary bureaucrats. According to Fedotov, though, the global narcotics regime is about much more than just establishing worldwide regulation over unapproved substances while further empowering the UN.
“Building synergies between our approaches to law, health and alternative development is a necessity,” the former Soviet diplomat concluded, though he did not explain why such a controversial idea was even desirable — let alone needed. “All of these activities must also be reinforced by a sense of shared responsibility, which we should never allow to be weakened.”
Speaking before the UN summit in Vienna, another top international narcotics bureaucrat blasted voters and certain American states for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and — in Colorado and Washington so far — recreational use as well. UN “International Narcotics Control Board” boss Raymond Yans claimed — falsely, of course — that U.S. states were not free to set their own drug policies because legalization or decriminalization would allegedly violate invalid, decades-old UN treaties.
"They also undermine the humanitarian aims of the drug control system and are a threat to public health and wellbeing," Yans claimed, though he did not elaborate on how putting sick people in prison for consuming medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor could be considered “humanitarian.” It was also not immediately clear how medicinal use of cannabis was a “threat” to public health or wellbeing, though Yans alleged that medical marijuana initiatives were actually "a back-door to legalization for recreational use."
In an apparent effort to justify his bloated salary, Yans and his UN office also claimed that there were dangerous new drugs constantly appearing on the market in need of global regulation. So, in addition to requiring more money and power for the UN, national governments also need to hop on the bandwagon to deal with an essentially infinite number of substances that the planetary drug warriors potentially may not approve of.
As The New American reported in November, Yans sparked outrage from across the political spectrum last year when he publicly demanded that Obama smash state sovereignty and ignore the will of voters in jurisdictions that had approved legal marijuana. Liberals were outraged that the successful nullification efforts to legalize marijuana were under attack. Conservatives, meanwhile, blasted the notion that the Obama administration — much less the widely criticized and ridiculed UN, composed primarily of autocrats — had any business or authority meddling in state affairs.
Of course, the U.S. federal government has no constitutional power to regulate drugs or any other substances, either domestically or abroad — that is why alcohol prohibition, for example, required a properly ratified amendment to the Constitution. Despite being a party to invalid UN drug treaties, the U.S. government cannot expand its powers beyond those delegated to it in the Supreme Law of the Land simply by ratifying a treaty.
There are misinformed individuals — and others out to deliberately deceive the public— who claim that ratification of an international treaty supersedes the U.S. Constitution. That absurd myth, however, is easily debunked, and has been since America’s founding. “I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless,” noted Thomas Jefferson in 1803. “If it is, then we have no Constitution.”
More recently, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark 1957 Reid v. Covert case on the obvious fact that Washington, D.C., could never expand its lawful powers just by signing and ratifying an international treaty. In its ruling, the high court found that "no agreement with a foreign nation can confer power on the Congress, or on any other branch of Government, which is free from the restraints of the Constitution."
The UN, however, is apparently either unaware of the U.S. Constitution, or is simply seeking to make it irrelevant. UN INCB boss Yans said last week that he had “warned” Obama that medical cannabis had to be “properly” regulated. "In some U.S. states they are being operated in a way that is completely inappropriate and outside of the [UN] conventions," claims the latest report from his global bureaucracy, released shortly before the summit in Vienna.
Apparently, instead of laughing at the demand, disgraced U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “reassured” the global agency on the issue, promising that unconstitutional federal prohibition statutes would remain in force. Despite those assurances, however, some 20 states have already nullified the unconstitutional federal “laws” and the UN treaties purporting to mandate them. More are already working to do the same.
Holder, meanwhile, is still facing criminal Contempt of Congress charges for lying about arming Mexican drug cartels in operation Fast and Furious, which used taxpayer money to send thousands of high-powered weapons to murderous cartels. While the Justice Department chief is currently abusing his position to shield himself from prosecution, analysts say it will be hard to escape justice forever.
Ironically, while American voters are under UN fire for nullifying lawless power grabs by the U.S. government and self-styled international “authorities,” the Islamic dictatorship in Iran is being celebrated. “In war on drugs, Iran is the number one partner of the United Nations,” a UN ODC official was quoted as saying over the weekend in regime-run media outlets.
In multiple news reports, Iranian propagandists boasted that the theocratic dictatorship has already spent some $700 million to seal its borders as part of the regime’s own UN-mandated anti-drug efforts. Meanwhile, the state-run press reported that around 4,000 Iranian police officers have been killed waging the war over the last three decades. The UN is apparently quite pleased.
While Iran, Obama, and the UN pursue and expand their lawless international drug war, critics of the scheme are growing in number and strength every day. Across Latin America, even heads of state are calling for legalization and an end to the admittedly failed policy of international prohibition. In the United States, the tide of public opinion is turning as well, with most voters already supporting marijuana legalization.
Like governments throughout history, the UN and its member regimes want more power, and the drug problem is just one of the myriad justifications for more power offered in recent decades. However, as with the increasingly discredited global-warming alarmism, it appears that the global war on narcotics may end up backfiring as well.
Photo of UNODC Executive Director Yuri Fedotov speaking at the conference in Vienna March 11: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at