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Legal Highs & Terrorism

By John Clarke

This past week, there has been a series of dev­ast­at­ing fire­bomb attacks on a number of pubs in the centre of Birm­ing­ham. These attacks were carried out by a mil­it­ant Islamic group seeking to put an end to the “evils of alcohol”, as it is for­bid­den by their reli­gion. In the weeks leading up to the attacks, each of the pubs tar­geted was issued a warning by the group, threat­en­ing serious con­sequences for those that didn’t shut down imme­di­ately. Other pubs in Birm­ing­ham have received a similar warning.

EthanolThe group has received sym­pathy and support from those addicted to the drug and the family and friends of those affected by alcohol.

Alcohol is a volat­ile and extremely flam­mable liquid that is used as an indus­trial solvent. Users com­monly mix it with other liquids, or “soft drinks”, to mask the unpleas­ant taste and to prevent chem­ical burns to their mouth and throat. This mixture is referred to as a “hard drink”, drawing atten­tion to the under­ly­ing viol­ence and aggres­sion asso­ci­ated with Britain’s depraved drink culture. Side effects such as dizzi­ness, con­fu­sion, head­aches and depres­sion are repor­ted by the major­ity of drink­ers, espe­cially fol­low­ing large doses.

The attacks have high­lighted the addict­ive nature of alcohol and the danger it poses to society. Birm­ing­ham offi­cials have respon­ded by calling for the closure of all pubs in the city and trying to fast track legis­la­tion for a nation­wide ban on alcohol.

Wut?!

Ahh­h­h­h­h­hhh, just kidding! Kind of.

If you replace Birm­ing­ham with Ireland, mil­it­ant Islamic group with para­mil­it­ary “vigil­ante” group known as the “Repub­lican Action Against Drugs”, pub with head­shop and alcohol with legal highs, then this is exactly the kind of bull­shit story you might have read about these past few weeks.

Basic­ally, a load of illegal drug dealers thinly veiled as a vigil­ante group are going round burning head­shops down and in one case shoot­ing someone who sold legal highs from his shop. These are acts of ter­ror­ism.

First off, the fact that these people are illegal drug dealers is spec­u­la­tion, but since half a million euros was found in the burnt out husk of just one of these head­shops, it’s not hard to find a motive. They claim they’re against drugs in general, but no one who feels that drugs are so morally wrong would go out and shoot someone — a far more immoral crime. They’re either com­pletely moral, com­pletely immoral or com­pletely nuts. The situ­ation is chillingly similar to that Chris­tian loon who shot that abor­tion doctor in the US.

“Hey! Guys! Get a hit of this crazy shit! Bring crisps.”

That aside, the biggest issue is how these blatant acts of ter­ror­ism are being repor­ted.  Just like my bull­shit news story above (c’mon, you fell for it at least for a few seconds, right?), the reports on these head­shop fires and shoot­ings somehow manage to segue past the whole ter­ror­ism thing to focus on just how bad for us these shops are. Check out these quotes from the Irish Times:

On Friday, the Nirvana head shop and a number of neigh­bour­ing outlets on Capel Street were des­troyed in a fire which began around the same time local res­id­ents repor­ted hearing a loud bang coming from the outlet at 6am on Friday.

Gardaí are treat­ing the Capel Street fire as arson although the exact cause of the blaze may never be known because most of the build­ing has had to be demol­ished for safety reasons.

Although a link between the two fires has not yet been estab­lished there has been spec­u­la­tion that the incid­ents are related to a wide­spread cam­paign to outlaw such outlets.

Reg­u­la­tions which will outlaw a range of products sold as legal highs in head shops across the State are expec­ted to be intro­duced later this year.

However, Mr Cos­tello today called for legis­la­tion to be brought forward to outlaw such products within weeks.

“There has been real anger in the local com­munity over the failure of the author­it­ies to act in rela­tion to head shops because a lot of young people around the area are cus­tom­ers buying products from them which mimic illegal drugs.

“It cer­tainly seems too much of a coin­cid­ence that there has been two such fires within days, and there is a real concern that these shops are being tar­geted, and there is a worry that not enough action is being taken either to stop the selling of these products or to protect people living near head shops who could be hurt in a fire,” he added. (My emphasis)

What the hell, Mr Cos­tello? Go and catch these ter­ror­ists! Not only does no one seem to care, but banning these products lit­er­ally diverts more profit to people that support this kind of sense­less viol­ence..

3 Responses to Legal Highs & Terrorism

  1. Sharon says:

    I agree-it is ter­ror­ism. It reminds me of when I was living in Ireland and the IRA took it upon them­selves to kill lots of can­nabis dealers (not just can­nabis dealers, other drugs too; I mention the pot dealers par­tic­u­larly because I had lovely pot dealer acquaint­ances in Belfast and I was very worried about them); they said that they were taking Direct Action Against Drugs to protect the young people. However “Secur­ity sources say that many IRA com­mand­ers, while pub­licly crack­ing down on small-time dealers, are happy enough to turn a blind eye to most drug trading in their areas, so long as the main oper­at­ors are paying size­able sums in pro­tec­tion money. The approach differs from area to area.”
    http://​www​.guard​ian​.co​.uk/​t​h​e​g​u​a​r​d​i​a​n​/​1​9​9​9​/​m​a​y​/​1​2​/​f​e​a​t​u​r​e​s​1​1​.​g23

    Just google ‘IRA shot can­nabis dealers in Belfast’ and see the list of links that comes up.

    Would Cos­tello and Reilly (from the recent Irish Times article) deny that these guys were ter­ror­ists? No, they wouldn’t/couldn’t. So how are the actions of these arson­ists any dif­fer­ent? I can’t see a dif­fer­ence myself.

    Quoting from the Irish Times article, Dr Reilly said,

    “Must we wait until some one dies after taking a sub­stance on sale in a head shop? Or is it the Government’s strategy to hope that they burn down one by one? This has been going on long enough, and it is well past time that we use the mech­an­isms at our dis­posal to protect our young people from this serious health threat”.

    Yes Reilly, fire is indeed one of the most serious health threats on the planet. We need to protect those engaged in legal activ­it­ies from the actions of arson­ists. Arson is illegal after all.

    Per­son­ally I’ve only heard of two people dying of a legal high; that batch of 2CB-Fly from Haupt-RC. On ana­lysis this turned out to be because the chem­ical was misid­en­ti­fied, and was in fact the much stronger bromo-dragon­fly.

    http://​www​.erowid​.org/​c​h​e​m​i​c​a​l​s​/​2​c​b​_​f​l​y​/​2​c​b​_​f​l​y​_​d​e​a​t​h​1​.​s​h​tml

    I was impressed at how quickly those affected took respons­ible action by report­ing it to erowid and the Drugs Forum. Pity the gov­ern­ment doesn’t follow suit and warn people about bisphenol-A, another legal chem­ical used in the making of polycar­bon­ate plastic bottles and the linings of food cans. I mention BPA because I’ve just been research­ing and writing an article about it-scary. I dread to think how many other mon­strous chem­ic­als are in the food chain, having been passed as legal addit­ives in the 60s.

    I’ve lost 3 dear friends in 2009, all dead due to the effects of legal sub­stances; 2 to alcohol; the other was addicted to alcohol, phar­ma­ceut­ic­als and meth­adone; (he died 2 weeks before his daugh­ter was born). Dev­ast­at­ing.

    Also, you know of course about the hell that Jonathan Sloan of Boun­cing Bear Botan­ic­als has recently been sub­jec­ted too, cour­tesy of the FDA and the local cops. More ter­ror­ism

    http://​erocx1​.blog​spot​.com/​2​0​1​0​/​0​2​/​b​o​u​n​c​i​n​g​-​b​e​a​r​-​b​o​t​a​n​i​c​a​l​s​-​r​a​i​d​e​d​.​h​tml

  2. Synchronium says:

    Hi Sharon. Not seen you around for a while, thought I’d offen­ded you or some­thing!

    All great points. I con­sidered writing about the Haupt RC fuck-up and the Jon Sloan thing at the time they both happened, but never got round to it (I’m a lazy bastard).

    The bro­mod­ragon­fly situ­ation was handled amaz­ingly well by the com­munity. Prob­ably the best case of drug users being respons­ible on such a large scale!

    It seems Jon got raided not for any­thing he was actu­ally charged for, but because of his large quant­ity of syn­thetic can­nabin­oid-based smoking mixture, K2. Since they couldn’t touch him on that, they made up a bunch of other shit. Accord­ing to a source from the US (who wishes to remain anonym­ous):

    FDA has come up with a bogus, made up, non exist­ing law, which they are using to seize any “Incense” product nation­wide. Accord­ing to them, ANY sub­stance listed as “drug of concern” by the DEA requires an FDA license to import or sell. They are using this to stop JWH sales, but accord­ing to this non exist­ing law, Salvia also falls into the same cat­egory, as well as Kratom and any other legal plant which has ended up on the DEA’s List of Drugs of Concern.

    Ter­ror­ism indeed!

  3. Sharon says:

    Sorry I made you think you’d offen­ded me you barm-pot (not meant to be an offens­ive term-more a term of endear­ment). It’s been a unin­spir­ing end to 2009/​start to 2010, (I could do with some reju­ven­at­ing magic mush­rooms), but still I’m always happy to see my Syn­chronium news­let­ter in the inbox.

    That is very bad news about the made-up, non-exist­ent law which the FDA are using to steal ‘Incense’ products. It must be a big worry for Eroc, for one.

    The FDA, What a bunch of _ _ _ _ S. They can’t even conduct their own research sci­en­tific­ally. When I was research­ing bisphenol-A, I read this letter, from Diana Zuck­er­man, pres­id­ent of the National Research Centre for Women and Fam­il­ies (http://​www​.center​4re​search​.org/​n​e​w​s​/​B​i​s​p​h​e​n​o​l​A​_​0​2​-​0​9​.​h​tml). It’s addressed to the Science Board, on Bisphenol-A Use in Food Contact Applic­a­tions. Here’s an extract,

    “We are pleased that the FDA plans to do a new study of BPA levels in cans of infant formula. This decision responds to cri­ti­cisms we made in Septem­ber, echoed by the Science Board sub­com­mit­tee on BPA, that the safety levels for infant formula were based on an inad­equate sample-a sample of infant formula that was out­dated, too small, and not gen­er­al­iz­able to a national sample.”

    And another one,

    “The FDA is pro­pos­ing new research using Sprague-Dawley rats. The use of Sprague-Dawley rats was cri­ti­cized at the Science Board sub­com­mit­tee meeting because those rats are inap­pro­pri­ate for use in BPA research: they are less sens­it­ive to estro­gens than other types of rats. If the FDA’s goal is to do object­ive research, these are not the right rats to use.”

    Gov­ern­mental level sci­ent­ists con­duct­ing unscientific research-I ask you, would you have got away with this at uni? I doubt it.

    BPA is far more wor­ry­ing than any kratom, salvia etc because it affects every­one in the world, includ­ing foetuses (htf do you spell that word?) and wild­life. Research­ers in eco­tox­ico­ge­n­om­ics took samples of pol­luted water from the Tamagawa river in Japan and by using cloning etc (have to gloss over this bit because I don’t under­stand eco­tox­ico­ge­n­omic meth­od­o­logy) and found,

    “In the fresh­wa­ter snail, Marisa cornu­ar­i­etis, BPA and octyl­phenol (OP) at con­cen­tra­tions as low as 1 μg/​L induced devel­op­ment of an addi­tional vagina, enlarge­ment of the access­ory pallial sex glands, and enhance­ment of oocyte pro­duc­tion.”

    and,

    “In the marine proso­branch, Nucella lapil­lus, the same con­cen­tra­tions of BPA and OP reduced the length of the penis and the size of the pro­state gland”

    http://​www​.ncbi​.nlm​.nih​.gov/​p​m​c​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​s​/​P​M​C​1​8​7​4​1​66/

    Despite not being a sci­ent­ist myself, this, and other research, seems to suggest that these endo­crine-dis­rupt­ing chem­ic­als (BPA is a xen­oes­tro­gen) have the poten­tial to fem­in­ize males, thus dis­rupt­ing the eco­lo­gical balance. Will the FDA raid all of the shops that sell BPA con­tam­in­ated polycar­bon­ate water bottles, food cans and liquid baby milk cans? No, they won’t; they’re too busy wasting resources and time ter­ror­ising vendors of herbs. Drugs of Concern indeed.

    I’m getting angry now; I’d better stop and make a cup of tea. Sorry for getting on me BPA soapbox.

    Keep well and give my love to Jo 🙂

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