First, Stephen Sackur spent much of the program with one Venezualan woman complaining that her sun could not find a job in marketing. Hey, I would love to find a job in marketing. Who wouldn`t? How on earth does her complaint merit so much attention? However on the whole the series on Venezuala deserves some credit. Like Oliver Stone, the BBC is at least providing some clarification in the face of U.S propaganda. The U.S, like the Nazi regime, as in Orwell`s ´1984´, simply repeat lies, abusing language, as a form of propaganda. The U.S have a history of defining anyone who is not pro capitalism as their enemy, and our enemy. How can they be so brazen as to continue calling the president of Venezuala a `Dictator`when he has be re-elected several times in fair elections, which is more than can be said about many U.S elections, and with a greater majority than any U.S or `free-world` politician has ever enjoyed?
Now, back to the issue of drugs, which also fits into the rubric of `propaganda`. Sackur interviewed the psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and psychopharmacologist Professor David Nutt, who was fired from his job as Chairman of the council advising the government on drug abuse, for stating the obvious fact that alcohol and tobacco produce massively more harm than ecstacy, cannabis, and do, in terms of economic, medical, and social costs.
Professor Nutt echoes what I and the leading health research bodies have been arguing for decades. The laws regarding the use of many `illegal`drugs are simply misinformed, unjust, inappropriate, and plain wrong. Cannabis in no more a `gateway`to other drugs or to criminality than tobacco or alcohol. Ecstasy is less dangerous or addictive than the nicotine in tobacco. Alcohol poisoning results in one death per day in the U.K alone. Of course the occasional death from ecstacy is what is reported in the media which are dependant on advertising revenues from tobacco and alcohol.
What dissappointed me was that Sackur himself never referred to alcohol as a drug, despite the fact that Professor Nutt consistently reminded us it was a dangerous drug. Nutt informed us that marijuana consumption had decreased in the Netherlands since it had been legalised, and that its decriminalisation in Portugal was associated with a decrease in crime and the spread of H.I.V.
So, to remind you all. Democratically elected presidents are not dictators, even if you disagree with their politics, and those of their supporters. Democracy means that if more people like the guy your don`t, then he still gets elected, whether or not you like it. That is the nature of democracy. And alcolohol and tobacco are drugs. They are the worst drugs ever known to humankind, in terms of their health, economic, and social costs. In a sane world it would be criminal to allow such products to be promoted and marketed.
If illegal drugs should be banned because they are ´intrinsically bad´, as Sackur put it, then surely there is no place for the most damaging of all drugs, alcohol and tobaccor, in a sane world.
And yes, I do want to be interview by Sackur on `Hardtalk`. I would love the chance to bring him up to speed on TROONATNOOR.
P.S According to the World Health Organisation, every 6 seconds someone dies from smoking related diseases, making tobacco responsible for one in ten of all deaths worldwide since WWII.