Monday, 18 July 2016

The photo competition is heating up

The photo competition is heating up with one well in front, so I ask YOU ALL, take a look at the album of 'All About My Hat' Readers' Pics and give a LIKE or two and help somebody win a mystery prize; just follow the link and click wisely https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1553921764890883.1073741856.1476339182649142&type=1&l=43cbc44fa2

Better still, get the book and submit a photo of your own, there is still chance for anyone to win. It's on Amazon or you can get a signed copy from me.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Readers photo competition - help by giving some pics a LIKE on Facebook: All About My Hat - The Hippy Trail 1972


Reader's Pic Competition - top scores so far - please share the link on your page and generate more votes:
VOTES SO FAR  ( 16/7/16  )
    
Paul FourTwenty Kelly 52 
Melissa Dawdaughter 41 
Sy Dignam 35 
Giuseppe Albero 34 
Frank Kirk 27 
Lesley James 21 
Emilio Napoli 20 
Elizabeth Clarke 18 
Nol van Shaik 17 
Jackie Woodchild 16 
Chris Philbin 15 
Phil Norwich 13 
Sharna van-Damme 13 
Kate Midlane 13 
Winston Matthews 13 
Jacqui Maklin 13 
Kevin Traylen 13 
Rocky van de Benderskum 13 
Give your friend's picture a like at:
https://www.facebook.com/allaboutmyhat/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1553921764890883

ISBN 978 0 9932107 1 6
http://www.buffry.org.uk/allaboutmyhat.html

watch and listen here:

Sunday, 22 May 2016

TIME FOR CANNABIS - THE PRISON YEARS 1991 TO 1995 - INTRODUCTION

Ever wondered what it's like to spend time in prison for helping not harming - this book may give an insight into the harm done by the system and how it could be changed to bring out the goodness.

Now at Amazon as PAPERBACK and Kindle


Time for Cannabis - The Prison Years" is a true-life story of the journey through arrest, time on remand, trial and conviction and time served in 4 UK prisons.
This book is a valuable comparsion of prison regimes and personal experiences of the damage and the healing possible, and how the treatment of prisoners can affect them upon release.                                           
All this in prisons that claim their aim is to treat inmates with humanity.

 This book is not meant to be humorous, although a certain amount of humour is unavoidable, partly because the nonsense and inconsistencies which I came up against during my time served, and partly because sometimes it hurts so much that one has to either laugh or cry. I fully intend to criticise the prison and the court systems, but not, I hope, unnecessarily, and, I also hope, positively.

This is not meant as a horror story, a fiction, or an analytical work, although I will admit in advance to colouring and flavouring events, changing names, and interspersing actual events with thoughts of the occasion. This is to increase the readability of what might otherwise be a very 'flat' book, considering the flatness of the system.

I consider myself very fortunate, even in this experience, as I have previously travelled to many different countries, and witnessed the different languages and customs therein, which I feel has enabled me to adopt a more detached and somewhat enlightened attitude to the strangeness which I constantly experienced. Many inmates are either the well learned ‘old lags’ who have been in and out of the system for years, or else are younger and more naive.

I was also fortunate to have already received an education, thus being able to further it using the institution's facilities and classes, able to write and read easily, unlike many of my comrades, and thus help the time pass easily and productively. I was also fortunate enough, for want of a better phrase although it may sound as selfish as it is, to have first arrived at a prison along with some acquaintances, and to recognise a few faces already there who I could turn to for help with day to day life. Once again I sympathise greatly with the young, scared and lonely convict or detainee.

Although it is only natural that I feel some anger and resentment against the way I have sometimes been treated, in particular by the courts, this emotion has never overwhelmed me.

I see so many things wrong with the world that Mankind has created, not least the way in which selfish and greedy individuals have polluted our beautiful planet and continue to do so, perhaps to the point of no return and the devastation of possibly all life. I fail to see how the Governments on this world, who often seem to me to be evil, can allow the future to develop in this way, ruining the chances of happiness and health for their descendants. In the sixties I grew up under the constant threat of nuclear devastation imposed by individuals so many miles away, whose identities would never be known to most of us. But this being bad enough, at least there was a chance of survival.

As the sixties have become the nineties there are so many problems in this world, any one of which will destroy us as individuals or as a race, including Aids, acid rain, radiation poisoning, the 'Greenhouse Effect', the ozone depletion, the pollution of the air, sea and land, space junk, chemical additives in our food and water, and on and on and on.

Add to this unemployment and the violence shown on TV, in video’s and in the press, to the point of saturation and ‘normality’, and it is less surprising what is happening on our streets. It has been said that by the age of twelve the average American child has witnessed several thousand murders on the screen, and doubtless a similar figure is true for British children.

In the East they say life is cheap, and death is all around, and certainly it seems that in many countries where overpopulation has become such an everyday burden, there are constantly civil wars or violent freedom fighters whom the various governments call terrorists. But do the governments and industrial bosses realise the terror which they daily cause us in our lives, through their greed? Is it surprising there is so much violence and crime in the country?

Advertising is a strange practice to apply to people who are unable to afford the goods or services advertised, and although increasing sales amongst the select few, causes nothing but unsatisfied desire amongst everyone else. Consider this story. It concerns a village deep in the heart of the Egyptian desert near Libya. I forget the name, but that is unimportant. This small oasis settlement had been there for hundreds if not thousands of years, the locals content to grow what they could, and keep their livestock. In years past they may even have profited from accommodating the occasional traveller. They were certainly unlikely to attract any tourists, unless some big archaeological discovery was ever made. Being short of power, having no electricity and little means of producing it, they were unlikely to attract much big industry.

The locals remained poor people, but never starved. They were basically content, having what they needed and most of what they wanted. This is the point: they had most of what they wanted, or rather most of what they knew about that they could want. Of course they may have wanted a better doctor, a panacea, a magic carpet, but these were merely dreams.

One day however, one of the locals had to traverse the desert to Cairo, for personal reasons. Suddenly, instead of being surrounded by friends and sands, he found himself in a huge city, some fifteen million souls, tall buildings, thousands of cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, people in all style of dress, restaurants, businesses and even more foreigners than the population of his home village. What did he see? Advertising. Somehow he managed to get hold of a television, battery operated, and having been shown how to work it, he took it home with him.

Fortunately, or maybe not so, they could pick up signals in the village and they were able to watch films, news and documentaries about a country and a world they never new existed. The children and young men were, of course, able to watch too. And what did they see? Advertising Young mini-skirted girls drinking cola, cowboys with their special cigarettes, the blond bombshell in the tight jeans, the fast car and the gorgeous lady who went with it, watches, stereos, holidays, household appliances and magical gadgets, and so on.

So, what happened to their simple needs and desires? They multiplied out of all proportion. They wanted all these things too, but of course they had no money so they could only dream on in frustration. Until one day three or four young men themselves set off to Cairo, where the streets were paved with gold and one could make enough money to buy some of the well and ‘successfully’ advertised wares. Unfortunately when they got there they found not thousands but millions of people in the same position, unemployment ridiculously high, the city impersonal and apparently uncaring, and their chances of even getting enough food for tomorrow rapidly dwindling. But not everybody was poor. Some people had cars, wore expensive watches and clothes, and drank cola, and presumably had many more modern goods to make their lives apparently easier and happier. So what did our young and impressionable brothers do? They stole. They broke into a house and took what they could. Unfortunately these men were nothing of the professional burglar, knew nothing of finger prints and forensics, and were soon caught. The result? Four more inmates in the hell hole of Cairo prison. Once again the advertising agents had done their job well, convincing the people that they needed the junk they had to sell!

Of course the situation in Britain is not as extreme, but nevertheless it is surely obvious that if one successfully creates an intense desire for something, in the minds of often uneducated and impressionable people, in a time of unemployment when their cash is hard come by, at the same time blasting them with crime on the TV, something somewhere is going to give. A percentage of them, being unable to earn an honest buck, will hit the streets, either taking what they want through robbery and theft, or dealing in drugs or stolen property, prostitution, or any of the many other ways of getting a ‘few readies’.

This is why the prisons are so full. Add to that the people who drink and drive, maybe take drugs steal to get money for their next hit to lift them out of their boredom and fears, everybody taxed beyond what they can afford, and the prison population begins to overflow.

Having stated that as my beliefs as to why so much crime occurs, I now have to say that this was only a very minor cause of my conviction. I will not in this book, attempt to discuss my personal level of guilt or innocence, but I would like to stress the view I had of my offences at the time.

My charges were concerned with cannabis, a so-called drug. Having consumed it for a number of years, and met untold people in nearly every country I ever visited, smoked with young and old, people new to it and those who had smoked very heavily for very many years, for social, recreational and also ‘spiritual’ purposes,

I did not and do not understand why it remains illegal! In its pure uncut form it certainly seems to have done me no harm, or anyone I have met.

No matter how much one consumes there is no danger for a reasonably balanced person. It has been said that the fatal dose is two kilos, dropped on the head from a great height! There is no heavy withdrawal, no side effects.

The real problems are that it is often cut with possibly damaging impurities, ranging from sawdust to barbiturates, solvents to boot polish and evencow shit, by the less than scrupulous illegal suppliers; that it is normally mixed with the legal and deadly poisonous tobacco; and that it remains illegal and therefore in the control of the underworld. The so-called controlled drugs are controlled not by the Government, who should concern themselves with the lack of purity of consumables, but by crooks.

Added to this are the many acclaimed medical benefits of cannabis to sufferers of ailments such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, asthma and arthritis, its pain-killing properties, and relaxing properties, and the uses of the plant - hemp, for the non-polluting manufacture of paper, linen, rope - all the old maps, Bibles, sails, ropes etc were made from hemp - its use as a food supply (seeds crushed to make gruel are highly nutritious) for humans and animals, and its use as a clean, renewable (two crops a year) and highly efficacious fuel, cannabis is probably the most versatile God-given substance on earth! Of course, it makes some people apparently lazier, but not all, and many of these become more creative even if only privately.

There is a vast amount of music and art forms produced under the effect of cannabis.

About 5% of the population admit to having used it regularly, and in private a great many barristers and other professional men. In private a great many individuals agree that it should be legalised, but are, like the majority of people living under Nazi control who witnessed the inhumane treatment of the Jews, too afraid for their own careers, and freedom, to speak out. The anti-legalisation lobby seems to be left, nowadays, with the completely unfounded statement that it ‘leads to other drugs’. True, 95% of hard drug users confess, when asked in a weighted question, that their first illegal substance was cannabis. But only 5% at most, of cannabis users ever take hard drugs. It is rather like using the argument that 99% of convicted armed robbers admit to owning water pistols as children, to bring about the prohibition of possession and sale of water pistols! Meanwhile, whilst those in authority and positions of respect usually remain silent, and the various campaigns for legalisation are left in the hands of often unemployed and outcast folk who have little or no experience of organisation, thousands of users and dealers remain in prisons, and millions risk their health by consuming street ‘crap’.

Let’s face it, even with the risk of incarceration, people still use it and will continue to use it, and continue to line the pockets of crooks, so it is really time that some government opened its own eyes, legalised it, took control of quality, gained revenue through taxation, and saved the time of police, courts and prisons. So, having said that, why was it suddenly made illegal in the 1920's? Some political reasons? Strange how the banning of cannabis and hemp suddenly created a vacuum in the supply of ropes and fabrics, shortly before the industrial giants put nylon on the market, and the huge petrochemical companies marketed their synthetics and polluting alternatives. I sometimes wonder if there was a connection.

I am not trying to excuse breaking the law. The law is the law, right or wrong, and the country cannot survive without laws. Judge Pickles, himself an advocate for the legalisation of all drugs, was correct when he said that people should not be allowed to pick and choose which laws to keep and which laws to break, that sort of freedom would be disastrous. Neither should such offenders be given leniency. In prisons there are many who would legalise all sorts of unpleasant things which they have been incarcerated for. Yet it is true, in the cases of the suffragettes and also the homosexuals, who sought to change the law by breaking it, that it can eventually lead to publicity and success.

I would, however, stress that very many people with similar experiences to me, never had any intention of hurting anyone, and mostly have never broken any other laws. Their preference for cannabis over alcohol and sedatives, has, nonetheless, resulted in their doors being kicked in, humiliating strip and personal searches, hours of solitude in filthy police cells and extended interviews often interspersed with secret threats and insults, confiscation of assets, collapse of businesses or careers, long periods in prison equivalent to sentences for armed robbery and often greater than for rape offences, and general alienation from their families, friends and society in general.

Why? All because they wanted to get high! Cannabis is used in prisons probably more than on the outside. The staff, I have been told more than once by members of that elite group, tend to turn a blind eye - it keeps the inmates quiet.

So, back to this book, like I say it is not the place to discuss guilt or innocence. Although I can hardly avoid ‘having a dig at the system’ and those who perpetuate it, that is neither my purpose.

Rather I want to present the prisons through my eyes, the eyes of an educated and travelled, non-criminally minded, and, as those who know me will agree, harmless forty year old male from Wales. I felt that by helping to organise contacts and introductions between suppliers and customers, I was helping people by enabling them to get a clean supply, by keeping them away from alcohol, hard drugs, and the dreadful tranquillisers and sedatives, benefited people.

Educated as a scientist at university, I was taught to examine the facts for myself, and not to blindly accept everything I was told.

This is all I ask of you the reader, to consider the evidence with an open mind; those who accept orders and laws without question are the true fascists.

The book is divided into four sections: the first will cover the nightmare of remand in custody.

The three prisons which I entered were category B, a maximum security, and a low security C category. I was on wings separated from the so-called vulnerable prisoners, as we call them, ‘nonces’, guilty of horrendous crimes which should not ever be even imagined.

Amongst the prisoners with whom I lived the hatred of the nonces was universal.

As for the others it seems that the longer the sentences the more respect the inmates had for each other. A man two or more years into a ten or twenty year sentence has an entirely different attitude towards his surroundings than a short-timers who is only ‘passing through’.

The main problems for the long-timers are the poor living conditions, being isolation from family and friends, and institutionalisation.

Frustration and helplessness, anger at the treatment of self and others, an authoritative hypocrisy, are what causes violence amongst these men.

This book is an attempt to portray what I saw and felt at the time.






Introduction to All About My Hat The Hippy Trail 1972 by Alun Buffry

Let me introduce myself.
I am called Myhat. I was also known as Kapelomou.
I am quite an old hat. I was made decades ago. I had been passed many times to different heads, yet had seldom found one that I felt really comfortable on.
About forty years ago, everything changed. I found myself upon a head that I had a close affinity with and I found myself seeing, hearing, smelling much through this young man, Al - and even picking up on his emotions and thoughts.
I was lost then for several years, stored in a cupboard until, once again, I found myself on Al's head and now I can tell my tales.
Al and I spent some nine months together on our first trip, visiting many big cities and several small villages, in eight countries, all different, all new to myself and my new head – an adventure of a lifetime.
I sat on Al's head and witnessed all sorts of strange places and events while we travelled to India and then to the UK.
When Al arrived back in the UK, he was quite ill, having suffered from a problem called Infectious Hepatitis and also dysentery. Al went to his parent's house in Wales and then to hospital. But after he was in that hospital, I was never on his head so often.
I didn't know what was happening. Why was Al leaving me? How long was I to be here? What would become of me now? Would I get a new head? Would I get more adventures? Would I be treasured or neglected?
Then one day, Al took me out of my box and put me back on his head.
That is how I came to find myself back on Al's head. I have been on and off Al's head for about forty years and now I can tell my tales. We have done a lot of travelling over those forty years.
I had always been able to understand any language spoken and understood by whatever head I was placed on - but never been able to utter anything myself – until now! I have discovered that I can help Al remember the places we had experienced together and somehow I managed to place the idea of writing my tale for me. Anyway, that idea came upon Al and here he is, writing this for me!
As well as understanding the thoughts, memories and feelings of my head – I felt as he felt - I have been able to see through the eyes, hear through the ears and even taste through the mouth and tongue of my head – Al – and over the days developed a strange connection so that so long as Al was nearby, I could watch what was going on around him – even when not on his head!
I watched, I listened and I remembered – and that is how I come to write this story through a head called Al.
Al had travelled from a country called Britain, a place I had never been to and knew little about.
Al, through me, Kapelomou or Myhat, is writing this account in 2014, forty-two years after the events of 1972.
For my younger readers, I'll say that as Al looks back he remembers there were no mobile or cellular phones out there for the public to be able to buy: no Ipads or Ipods, no digital cameras, no microwave ovens, no 'Sat Nav'. Life was slower, sometimes maybe easier, without the 21st century rush.
In some places there were no telephones at all. And mail was often very slow. Communication was often very difficult outside of the immediate area, especially in the villages and towns of the Middle East.
And Al himself was thinner and fitter if less experienced with the world. I know he doubts whether he could make the same journey now, as he did back in 1971.
Al will tell you, I know, that he feels that apart from the differences in technology and in himself, little has changed. Some things are better, some things are worse.
In his opinion most countries in the world are being run by members of elite families, or Secret Societies or Military men. And almost all of them live lives of luxury at the expense of the people they are supposed to both rule and look after. In even the richest countries there are poor and homeless people sleeping on the streets.
So, on with my account of my first incredible journey into the unknown. It is all about Myhat.
My first meeting with Al took place outside a barber's shop in the Greek town of Thessaloniki.
It was 1972.
At that time, I understood the Greek language, hence my name Kapelomou that means My hat, and I understood just a little English, but that was to change.
It seemed like months since I'd been left on the hook. I had been on the head of a local man who had come to the shop and left me there, never to come back.
During my time in the barber's shop, for long periods my vision and hearing had been impaired, but sometimes a young lad would come to the shop and place me on his head – then I could see and hear more clearly, and pick up on his thoughts and ideas to some extent. Later, of course, I realised that the lad's view of the world was very limited. Listening to the barber's shop chat, I learned about football and sport, politics and war, the rich and the poor – but I honestly considered the world to be quite small, and that everything that happened in it was within walking distance. I thought the rich were one side of the shop and the poor on the other and the shop itself was the great division. Much was still a mystery to me.
Most of the time at the barber's shop I was ignored, just left hanging there, waiting for my head to come back, occasionally being picked up and tried on by customers – always after a haircut!
Konstantinos, the barber, occasionally gave me a rough dust off. He used to sometimes put me on his head and stand in his doorway when there was no hair to cut. I cannot say I felt appreciated.
One thing that Konstantinos often said was the have great influence on my life: he used to say “Watch, listen and remember!”
My life was to change in a big way. I watched, I listened and I remembered.
One day, sun-shining, dusty and quiet, with no hair to cut and no chins to shave, Konstantinos was standing in his shop doorway watching the street. I was on his head. He did that a lot on fine dusty days – street watching was almost a local custom and what was seen was often the topic of barber's chair chat. I could see through the open door and some way up the street.
 
A group of young people was walking towards the outside of the shop, chatting and laughing. Four males and one female. As they approached I saw that two of the males had long hair; I wondered if they would come into the shop to get it cut.
Three of the young men wore hats – well I cannot say they were as well made as myself, but there they were. Whilst I had been left hanging there for months, those hats were out seeing the world.
Konstantinos shouted something across the road – he was calling over one of the young men. He said to one: “I see you have no hat!” The young man said that he did not have one – and suddenly I found myself taken off my head, briefly dusted, and presented to him by Konstantinos.
The young man, whom I soon learned was called “Al”, put me on his head. I saw the world through his eyes, a world I sensed was very different to my life so far, a world of mystery, strangeness and adventure. A world that Al was exploring with plenty of new experiences, new people and new ideas.
Brilliant! I had a new head.
I instantly understood the new language, English, spoken by my new head. I began to see with different eyes and understand the world in a way new to me.
The others were Keith, John and Mike and the female was called Marion. It doesn't take long to learn those things when all you can do is watch and listen. The fact that the humans did not know that I could watch and listen had the potential of being very useful to me as well as educational.
From the conversations I heard, I was to learn that they had all been students in a country called England, a city called Norwich and most had studied Chemistry. They had finished with schools and had set out to travel and explore, in a small van. At night they huddled together and by day they drove. We were, I gleamed, heading for Turkey – eastwards.
John, Mike and Al had been at a University together for three years, but before that had come from different places. John, Al knew, was from Slough and Mike from London; Al himself was from South Wales. Marion had studied Biology at the same University and Keith, the oldest of them, from Birmingham, was Marion's boyfriend. Of them all, Al regarded Keith as the only experienced traveller. He seemed much more confident than the others, although Al did not know much about him and had only known him for about a year. Al felt safe with all of them, feeling that they were honest and non-violent people like himself
So, I found myself saying goodbye to what had been my home for several months, wondering what the future had in stall for us all. Wondering how long I would be staying with my new head – 'Ed, now called Al. Wondering if he too would forget me, leave me on another hook, in some dark place maybe – or would I get to travel far?
It wasn't long before we all piled into the van – they had bought some of the local sweet 'Halva' and were saying how good it was, crumbling all over, getting in my brim. I did not care, I felt free.
We were heading for Istanbul, a large city in a country called Turkey.
That evening we pulled up along the sea front near the town of Alexandroupoli. Keith read from his book that this town was an important port and the capital of the Evros region in the Thrace region of Greece.
Keith read aloud:
“It was originally called Dedeagach Dedeagatsh . The name was based on a local tradition of a wise dervish who spent much of his time in the shade of a local tree and was eventually buried beside it. Dedeagach remained the official name of the city throughout the Ottoman period, and the name used for it in the West until the establishment of the Hellenic Republic. In 1920 it was renamed Alexandroupoli in honour of King Alexander.
“Alexandroupoli is about 9 miles west of the delta of the river Evros, forty miles from the border with Turkey, 215 miles from Thessaloniki on the newly constructed Egnatia highway."
Keith also read bits about the many wars this city had been involved in. We did not go into the city itself though, as it was getting late, so stopped and built a camp fire then everyone went to sleep.
The next morning, when Al woke up, Keith and Marion were already awake and making tea – which they all drank with milk added, unlike the Greek people I had seen. They were also cooking eggs for breakfast.
As Al was pouring himself some of this tea, along came a weathered and aged looking man with a donkey – smiling broadly, he pointed at the fire and the tea.
“I think he wants some tea,” said Al, and he got up and poured another cup, adding some milk and sugar, and passed the mug to the old man.
“The old man first said thank you, then sipped the hot tea – only to spit it out shouting “Baba, baba!” Clearly, he did not like it. Then he opened his bag and pulled out a bottle of Ouzo.
I knew about "ouzo", an aniseed-flavoured alcohol much liked in Greece and usually mixed with water. It's meant to be taken before meals but many people seemed to like it at any time of the day. Konstantinos had been one of them, but not on the days that he had to cut hair – people got very drunk and loud on that stuff, sometimes.
So the old chap offered the lads some ouzo. Al and Mike were the only two to try it – and both said they liked it. It had an aniseed taste and was strong is alcohol, making Al's head spin slightly – I had never experienced that before. 

The Guilt of the Prohibition Forces

Entering the property of a person and interfering with his or her the Private Life without good reason is a crime against Human Rights, with or without a warrant. The same is true for any action against the chosen belief or religion or its practice alone or with others The law alone is not good reason. For Human Rights exist to protect the individual from bad laws. 
 
The major areas of conflict between Human Rights and the Misuse of Drugs Act may lie with:
 
 Other Articles may also be contravened when the Misuse of Drugs Act is implemented. Countries other than the UK may or may not have these Rights protected by national laws or constitutions. The European Convention itself makes clear that governments and authorities would be guilty of a crime if they interfered without justification with a person's Human Rights: 
 
FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND BELIEF
 
Article 9 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance."
 
Article 9 grants us freedom to choose or change our religion or belief:
This says nothing about the religion or belief having to be one that is accepted by any government or court.
 
The only limitations put on the holding or practice of a religion or belief, alone or in company with others, are specifically included in the second part of Article 9. The authorities can only lawfully interfere in the interests of law AND (a very important word here) in order to protect public safety, health, order, morale or the Rights of others. 
 
Article 9 (2) of the European Convention on Human Rights:
"Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morale, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others." 
 
Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights:
"Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, Group or Person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in this Convention." 
 
RIGHT TO A PRIVATE LIFE: Article 8 grants a person the Right to privacy: 
 
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence."
Once again, it says nothing about what one does in private having to be with the approval of any authority, subject to the same criteria as Article 9. 
 
"There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety of the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."
 
 
That is: provided that one does not threaten or harm national security or public safety, health, order, morals or the Rights of others, then the authorities have no lawful reason to intervene. In this case threats to national security or law-breaking may also empower the authorities to react. Once again, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of cannabis or its cultivation at home poses any threat to anyone.
 
Neither the Police nor other authorities are entitled to "interfere" with these rights unless their intervention is properly justified under the Convention. The interference must be both lawful and "necessary in a democratic society" for the achievement of specified social ends.
The UK government claims that cannabis is a dangerous drug and therefore a threat to public health but it must be up to them to prove so in order to justify their actions in entering a persons home to search for cannabis.
 
FRANCIS WILKINSON, Chief Constable of Gwent from 1997 to 1999, wrote an article in The Times in which he stated that he believed of Article 8: "Article 8 offers such scant grounds for a government to continue cannabis prohibition that the case for legalisation will in time be successful. 
 
The question is whether the turning point for legalisation will be in Parliament or in the courts." http://www.ccguide.org/news/shownewsarticle.php?articleid=2573
 
Based upon the above, it is an offence under Human Rights law for any authority or the employeee of any authority to interfere with activities of a person in possession of cannabis or cultivation of cannabis in their Private Life. Simple Definition of malfeasance: 
 
law : illegal or dishonest activity especially by a public official or a corporatio.
 
The prohibition of cannabis is an offence under Supreme and International Law. Government employees who participate in the application of the Misuse of Drugs Act upon the people of your country, including prosecution and defence solicitors who ignore Human rights, police, forensic scientists, prison officers, politicians, etc, are guilty of malfeasance. If they have been told of their crime, then the guilt is magnified.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

This unprecedented historical discovery will rewrite our history!

The archaeological establishment is scrambling to find some reason to reject and pour scorn on the extraordinary consequences of the excavations now taking place at Gunung Padang in Indonesia.
Since its first exploration by archaeologists in 1914 the site was thought to be a natural hill with 2500 year-old megalithic structures on top of it. But in 2010 geologist Dr Danny Hilman Natawidjaja (who earned his doctorate at Cal Tech) recognized this “hill” as a possible man-made pyramid and began to explore it using ground penetrating radar, seismic tomography, resistivity survey and other remote sensing techniques, as well as some direct excavations and deep core drilling.
The results were immediately intriguing producing evidence of deeply buried man-made chambers and yielding carbon dates going back as far as 26,000 years. This was the last Ice Age when our ancestors are supposed (according to the orthodox archaeological model) to be have been nothing more than primitive hunter gatherers incapable of large-scale construction and engineering feats. Was it possible that geologist Natawidjaja was unearthing the proof of a lost advanced civilization of prehistoric antiquity? Such ideas are heresy to mainstream archaeologists and sure enough the archaeological establishment in Indonesia banded together against Dr Natawidjaja and his team, lobbied the political authorities, agitated locally and succeeded in slowing down, though not completely stopping, the further exploration of Gunung Padang.
Dr Natawidjaja fought back, doing some high-level lobbying of his own, taking the matter to the President of Indonesia himself. There were further delays to do with elections in Indonesia but just a couple of months ago, in mid-August 2014, the final obstacles were lifted and Dr Natawidjaja and his team moved back onto the Gunung Padang site with full approval to go ahead with their work, including permission to excavate the concealed chambers.

Archaeologists were furious and immediately began lobbying to get the work stopped – fortunately to no avail as preliminary excavations have produced results that prove beyond doubt that Gunung Padang in indeed a man-made pyramid of great antiquity as Dr Natawidjaja had long ago proposed. Even the relatively young layer so far excavated (the second artificial columnar rock-layer beneath the megalithic site visible on the surface) has yielded dates of 5200 BC (nearly 3000 years older than the orthodox dating for the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt) and there are firm indications from the original remote sensing and core drilling work of much older layers below. In short, it is now evident to all that the site is vastly older than the 2500 years that archaeologists had insisted upon for decades. Even the most hostile amongst them are therefore now reframing their assessment of the site and referring to it as “a gigantic terraced tomb, which was part of the biggest megalithic culture in the archipelago.”
For a flavor of the sour grapes the archaeological establishment feel towards Dr Natawidjaja and his team see this recent article from the Jakarta Post:
I asked Dr Natawidjaja for his response to the Jakarta Post article and he replied as follows:
“The article has got the story all wrong.  All excavations were supervised by archeologists from Agency for Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites (BPCB) and University of Indonesia.  The excavation sites have also recently been inspected by the Director for Conservation of Archeological Sites (who is the boss of Miss Desril Shanti ), by the head of the BPCB, and by the Minister of Education and Culture himself.  Afterward, they gave a press conference confirming that all excavations are good and proper.  For information, the head of the National Archeological Center, which is the main office above local Archeological Centers including Bandung Archeological Center, is also a member of the National Team for Gunung Padang. The Jakarta Post article is also wrong about the funding.  The Minister of Education and Culture did indeed announce in the press conference that he would allocate about Rp 3 billion for the research but it has not begun to be disbursed yet.  So far, I and my team are still working willingly on our own funding with the help of the soldiers (TNI) who have been working alongside us.  Of course the TNI have their own funding – but not from that Endowment Fund.”
As to the progress of the work at Gunung Padang, Dr Natawidjaja writes as follows:
“The research progress has been being great.  We have excavated three more spots right on top of the megalithic site in the past couple weeks, which give more evidence and details about the buried structures.  We have uncovered lots more stone artifacts from the excavations.  The existence of the pyramid-like structure beneath the megalithic site is now loud and clear; even for non-specialists, it is not too difficult  to understand if they come and see for themselves.    We have found some kind of open hall buried by soil 5-7 meters thick; however we have not yet got into the main chamber.  We are now drilling to the suspected location of the chamber (based on subsurface geophysic) in the middle of the megalithic site.”

 http://fabweb.org/2015/08/13/this-unprecedented-historical-discovery-will-rewrite-our-history/

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

CASO Statement about UNGASS on Drugs

Dear Decision-makers,
THE TIME OF PEOPLE HAS COME!
In the name of People Who Use Drugs in Portugal (and in the name of us all), we would like to contribute to the public debate on drugs, namely during this important moment: the UNGASS on drugs. Therefore, we believe that the knowledge and experiences from PWUD and their organisations should be taken into account in public debates and decision-making processes.
CASO (Consumers Associated Survive Organised) is a non-profit organisation created in 2007 and formally established in 2010; it is an association that advocates for/promotes healthcare, rights and dignity of People Who Uses Drugs. It is the first and only association in Portugal that is led by drugs users and former drug users. We’ve been working at local, national and international level and our work has been focused in contributing with concrete information on the realities of drug users and drug phenomena, as well as with empirical knowledge to complement academic data, thus helping to improve decision-making.
We believe that the 3 international conventions that configure prohibitionism (the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [as amended by the 1972 Protocol]; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) have caused Humankind more harm than good. This legislative framework has lost its ability to operate in our realities in a comprehensive and humanistic way. Therefore, we urge you to promote a thorough reform of the prohibitionism system.
Prohibiting the use of Psychoactive Substances has never stopped Humankind from using them throughout recorded history. The “War on Drugs” and the “Drug-Free Societies” were two big campaigns, supported by moralistic and repressive ideologies, that proved to be incapable of dealing with Drug Phenomena. Beneath a global cover of kindness, these campaigns ended up being against People Who Uses Drugs, their families and friends. These campaigns associated drug users with stereotypes and figures of “evil”, thus creating social representations that highly stigmatise People Who Use Drugs. “Yellow Plague, Chinese and opium”; “Black Devil, cocaine and black people”; “Killer Weed” (a weed that kills the youngsters); “Drugs, Madness, Death” (Portugal) and “The Scourge of Liamba” are some examples of campaigns that generated moral panic and feelings of insecurity in society. To a certain degree, these evil figures and the feelings of insecurity were manipulated and used in political matters, namely in security and healthcare affairs. Scarce resources were made available for the psychosocial support of People Who Use Drugs, their families and friends; and the resources that were actually made available were allocated to reduce drug offer. The majority of funding goes to policies based on moralistic and repressive ideologies, leaving few “leftovers” to the individuals and their specific needs: healthcare, justice, housing, job and education. The self-determination, autonomy, self-knowledge and empowerment for full citizenship are, therefore, compromised in this perpetuating of unbalanced power relationships. This lack of balance conveys the negative message that people are incapable of self-organising, but it also hinders any genuine therapeutic relationship.


Despite all these campaigns, people continue to use psychoactive substances; there are now more users, more diverse patterns of use and more psychoactive substances available. In spite of all the iatrogenic effects (like high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis among People Who Uses Drugs), we can’t catch a glimpse of the promises of a “Drug Free World”. In other words, these actions did not achieve their own goals; they were not flexible enough to deal with reality changes and they were a fertile soil to build a gigantic business. Also, they encouraged the development of a gigantic set of devices to manage drug phenomena in healthcare, justice, security, education, child protection, etc.; however, the drug phenomena have resisted to this model and continue questioning our models and challenging societies, searching for other solutions.
Portugal was a pioneer in moving the focus from crime to healthcare solutions; in 2000/2001, the country introduced in a creative and intelligent set of laws that decriminalised the use or possession of any illegal psychoactive substance. These laws, supported by a National Strategy and Plan, were a positive step to protect the health and rights of People Who Use Drugs. In spite of its positive impact, some users ended up trafficking drugs, in order to support their own addiction; this situation led to violent actions and crime. The majority of users don’t know for sure what they’re using and they have to subject themselves to criminal and highly violent environments (both physically and psychologically). Adding to all this, the Government promotes administrative sanctions and refers users to treatment, even if they are recreational users. The bottom line is that the global moral censorship and ideas like abstinence and cure are still dominant.
In addition to this issue, the necessary scale-up and consolidation of projects and services based on Human Rights, Public Health and Multi-Knowledge approaches (like Harm Reduction, Outreach Work, Peer Work and Involvement), has fallen short.
As for the meaningful involvement of People Who Use Drugs, we feel that the Portuguese Model is moving in the right direction, but there’s still a long way to go. For example, we feel that civil society organisations should have been consulted and invited to participate in the preparation for the Portuguese participation in the UNGASS on drugs, for this is a central theme for our community.
We recognise many qualities to the Portuguese Model of Decriminalisation, including its focus on healthcare and not on punishment, the promotion of Harm Reduction projects and also of civil society active and meaningful participation. However, and with so many changes in the world, we feel that it is time for an evaluation and improvement. We fear that this model will lose its operational capacities due to the financial crisis and austerity measures, thus leaving drug users without any type of support.
It is now time to accept the mistakes, to examine facts and evidences and to use this high-level meeting to actively evolve to Humanistic (that actually focus on people, thus promoting their participation in all processes and at all levels) and pragmatic (supported by knowledge from Peers, Harm Reduction and other evidences and a proper needs’ assessments) policies.
A “Drug Free World” is an impossible promise to fulfil. This make-believe “Perfect World” is unattainable and has become an enemy of a “Decent World for Us All”.
The World Governments must have the courage to trust people; to believe that they know what is best for them and that they have the ability to make a decision. Governments and society in general have been entangled in this complex net of interests that does not protect and promote the rights and health of People Who Use Drugs.
We firmly believe that the TIME OF PEOPLE HAS COME!
Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Contacts:



Rui Miguel Coimbra Morais
Psicólogo
92 636 90 16

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Cannabis Justice and Rights Campaigning

What I would like to see:

OUR Human Rights to grow cannabis and possess cannabis in our Private Lives acknowledged: that is, legal home grown.

OUR Human Rights to choose and practice our personal belief or religion alone or with others to be acknowledged

To me that means:

an end to the prosecution / punishment of people growing or in possession of cannabis for their own use or social sharing

AND

Licensed commercial outlets for quality controlled cannabis for adults with tax on profits and consumer protection regulations and consumption allowed on the premises with the owners permission, similar to Dutch Coffeeshops - cannabis "off-licenses" also ; all with consumer protection and tax on profits

AND

Licensed non-profit private member club premises where cannabis consumers can gather in safety to buy and consume cannabis and socialise. These could be limited to members only and no advertising, with age restrictions (similar to Spanish Private Clubs)

AND

Legal and transparent profit-free collective growing clubs

AND

Natural cannabis and cannabis products to be available free through the doctor's prescription ND NHS

SOME PEOPLE may say that I am a dreamer, sure, that we will never get all that or not for decades at least, that it is asking too much at once ...

But am a CAMPAIGNER who prefers to campaign for what he feels is Right and Just, not based on public opinion or political correctness or even viability..

At 66, who knows how long I have left to see my dream come true.

I consider myself very fortunate not to be bound by the policies or opinions of others.