July's ACLU Freedom Files: Drug Wars Shows the Sham That Is the "War on Drugs"

July 6, 2006 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — The ACLU Freedom Files helps viewers get to know everyday people whose rights are threatened and shows the human side of our fight to protect civil liberties. The “Drug Wars” episode, premiering this July, shows how the “war on drugs” has turned out to be a war on the American people.

“The war on drugs has done nothing to reduce the prevalence, use or abuse of drugs in our society,” said Graham Boyd of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Drug Law Reform Project. “Rather, it has directly resulted in systematic racism, record incarceration, and erosion of our fundamental rights on an unprecedented scale, while diverting scarce resources from crucial law enforcement activities and proven social services.”

“Drug Wars,” which airs on July 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Link TV and on July 15 at noon ET/PT on Court TV, shows how the massive amounts of money and manpower devoted to policing drug related offenses has been wasted. The program highlights the harmful impact of the “war on drugs” on everyday Americans.

In Hearne, Texas, 27 young African Americans were arrested in a drug bust based on the word of a single unreliable informant. Regina Kelly, a mother of four and victim of the bust, took action to bring an end to this all too common practice. Le’Quan Simpson and Kayla Dandiles recall a raid at their high school, ostensibly targeted at black students, in which a SWAT team pointed guns at students’ heads as dogs ripped apart their backpacks. No drugs were ever found. Valerie Corral found that marijuana relieved her debilitating seizures, leading her to help author the first state law allowing the use of medical marijuana and start a hospice to help people in similar situations. Nevertheless, federal agents stormed her hospice and home, arresting her and her partner and terrorizing terminally ill patients.

Nationwide, local groups are using The ACLU Freedom Files to start discussions, build awareness, and take action. ACLU affiliates and outside groups are hosting viewing parties, “talk-backs,” and other innovative activities around the programs.”

Freedom Files brings our national struggles much closer to home,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “The men and women featured in this episode could be your sons, daughters, neighbors and friends — and they are being senselessly criminalized.”

The ACLU and award-winning producer/director Robert Greenwald (Outfoxed, Unconstitutional) teamed up to create The ACLU Freedom Files, a series of 10 half-hour episodes. The series tells personal stories and features well-known actors, comedians, activists, and the attorneys who bring these stories before the courts. The show is produced and directed by Jeremy Kagan. In addition to airing on Link TV and Court TV, the previously aired episodes are available for free viewing at www.aclu.tv, and DVD copies of the shows can be purchased on the Web site.”

In late July, the collector’s edition two-disc set featuring this season’s ten 30-minute episodes will be distributed by The Disinformation Company and available in retail stores. The set will offer subtitles in Spanish, Arabic, and closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

For more information, visit www.aclu.tv

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