Former MI6 Deputy joins calls to end “war on drugs”
By James Orr
11:59AM BST 17 Apr 2012
Nigel Inkster said presidents of Latin American states were right to challenge the effectiveness of the global ban and to recognise the need for change.
Writing in The Sun newspaper he said countries like Afghanistan had long been affected by high-levels of drug-related violence as criminal groups fought for control of supply.
He urged the UK to carefully consider how it might support a review of policy options, both at home and abroad, in an effort to refocus the fight on trafficking.
Mr Inkster said: “President Santos of Columbia wants independent experts to look at alternatives to the war on drugs, including making them legal.
“That is exactly what research by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has led us to conclude in our new report.
“Our investigation has shown us that the so-called war on drugs fundamentally undermines international security.”
Mr Inkster served in the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from 1975 to 2006. He was posted to Asia, Latin America and Europe before retiring in 2003. In 2007 he joined IISS as Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk.
Yesterday, following the conclusion of a two-year study into narcotics by the IISS, the 60-year-old spoke of having seen at first hand the consequences of banning drugs and highlighted the huge profits made by suppliers.
His calls for a global review on drugs echo comments already made by other leading figures including ex-MI5 chief Elizabeth Manningham-Buller, ex-Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth and UK Bar Council Chairman Nicholas Green QC. In 2010, Mr Ainsworth, the MP for Coventry North East, described the war on drugs as “nothing short of a disaster”.
Mr Inkster said: “The presidents of Latin American states such as Columbia and Mexico have begun to question publicly why they should bear the brunt of the West’s “war on drugs”.
“The UK has a potentially significant role to play in supporting an independent review of all policy options.”