Friday, 18 May 2012

Olympic flame still burns bright inside Mexico 1968 medallist John Carlos

Olympic flame still burns bright inside Mexico 1968 medallist John Carlos 

About Metro

Olympic boxing may have given the world Muhammad Ali but arguably the most famous fists in Olympic history belong to Tommie Smith and John Carlos. 

London 2012 Olympics John CarlosLeft to right: Peter Norman, Tommie Smith and John Carlos all had their lives changed by the most famous Olympic protest of all time.

Sprinters Smith and Carlos won gold and bronze in the 200m final at the Mexico Games in 1968, but it was what they did on the medal podium, rather than on the track, that ensured their place in Olympic history. 

As the American national anthem played, the pair bowed their heads and, barefoot and with beads around their necks, held up black-gloved fists, protesting against racism in the United States. 

To this day, it remains one of the most startling and frequently reproduced images of Olympic history, but in an exclusive interview with Metro as part of his speaking  tour of the United Kingdom to promote his autobiography 'The John Carlos Story', Carlos said it was a fairly spontaneous gesture. 

'The plan didn't come about until after the semi-finals,' he said.

London 2012 OlympicsStill raging against the machine: John Carlos in 2006 (Picture: Lee Cantelon)

'I told Tommie I was disappointed that the [planned] boycott had been called off, and I wanted to make a statement.  

'We came together, looked at the items we had, and decided in the moment just before we went out how we were going to use them. 

'We knew we were going to do something and that's what we came up with.'

The protest was on behalf of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a group which had initially proposed a boycott of the entire Games, which would have been supported by Dr Martin Luther King. 

But that idea fizzled out after Dr King's murder, and instead fate handed Carlos a chance to make an even more attention-grabbing statement. 

Unsurprisingly, the incident - at the first Olympic Games shown around the world in colour - was front page news around the world and, equally unsurprisingly, the athletes soon paid a price as they were thrown out of the athletes' village and the Games.

'We had hundreds of microphones in our faces but all that came out was their story not ours,' he said.

'I expected some sort of honesty in trying to give an explanation to society, but we only had the right-wing media at the time, no-one giving any opposing point of view. 

'My medal doesn’t have that much value to me but the important thing is that it got me on to the victory stand to do what we wanted to do.'

Aged just 23 and as one of the fastest men in the world, it may appear that Carlos was throwing away his future - but he vigorously denies the suggestion. 

'What future? What future did a black man have in America then? We had none - you could count the number of successful black people on one hand.'

Smith and Carlos were not the only ones to pay a price for their actions that day.

Australian silver medallist Peter Norman wore a badge of support for their protest and was made to suffer when he returned home, being ostracised and even excluded from any role in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Salute, a film made by Norman's nephew Matthew Norman telling the story of what happened to him after the Games, is being released in British cinemas on July 6.

London 2012 Olympics John CarlosTommie Smith (left) and John Carlos at Peter Norman's funeral in Australia in 2006

When he died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were pall bearers at the funeral, and Carlos seems almost more angry at the way Norman was treated than about what happened to him.

'He had a huge role - he had tremendous conviction for humanity,' said Carlos.

'He didn't raise his fist or disrespect his own or any other country, he went to the Olympics and did his job, to be the best he could be. 

'I asked him if he believed in human rights, he said 'of course', so he wore a OPHR button - is that something which means you should ridicule someone or drive them to drink or a nervous breakdown?  

'All he did was stand on the victory stand and have acclaim for humanity.' 

As with Norman, life after Mexico has not been easy for Carlos, featuring career-ending injury, marital breakdown, the suicide of his wife and financial problems, but he has spent the last 30 years working in education and remains as politically active and motivated as ever - and has never once regretted the actions that he took 42 years ago.

'Most people in sport when they die, three weeks later their stuff is buried and they’re never mentioned,' he said.

'You can ask the average person who won the 100m in Mexico and they won’t be able to tell you, but they know who we are because of what we did. 

'I’ve been recognised as a great athlete in terms of being gifted and excelling in my sport but what would I be standing for if I’d not done what I did? 

'I’d be a champion but people would say 'he won a medal, he was the fastest – but what did he do with it, did he do anything else?' 

'I’ve still got the fire inside, I’m wiser than I was back then, but in terms of my commitment and resolve to make the world a better place, I’m just the same as I was 44 years ago.

'The greatest thing in terms of sorrow and hurt was losing my wife or my kids enduring things at school because of who their dad was, but my wife would have had to die a thousand times and my kids suffer far more [for him to have regrets] because what I did in Mexico was far greater than my life or their life or anyone else’s life.

'The sacrifice my kids had to make in school was necessary because of the attention it brought to the plight of the human race – it was all worth it without a doubt. I wouldn’t take anything back or add nothing to it.'

The John Carlos Story is published by Haymarket books, and distributed in the UK by Turnaround. Dates for his British speaking tour can be found at

Salute is released at selected cinemas from July 6

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Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London - Stephen Graham, Monday 12 March 2012

Olympics 2012 security: welcome to lockdown London

London 2012 will see the UK's biggest mobilisation of military and security forces since the second world war and the effects will linger long after the athletes have left

2012 Olympic stadium unveiled
Around 13,500 troops will be deployed at the London 2012 Olympics, more than are ­currently at war in Afghanistan. Photograph: Locog/EPA

As a metaphor for the London Olympics, it could hardly be more stark. The much-derided "Wenlock" Olympic mascot is now available in London Olympic stores dressed as a Metropolitan police officer. For £10.25 you, too, can own the ultimate symbol of the Games: a member of by far the biggest and most expensive security operation in recent British history packaged as tourist commodity. Eerily, his single panoptic-style eye, peering out from beneath the police helmet, is reminiscent of the all-seeing eye of God so commonly depicted at the top of Enlightenment paintings. In these, God's eye maintained a custodial and omniscient surveillance on His unruly subjects far below on terra firma.

The imminent Olympics will take place in a city still recovering from riots that the Guardian-LSE Reading the Riots project showed were partly fuelled by resentment at their lavish cost. Last week, the UK spending watchdog warned that the overall costs of the Games were set to be at least £11bn – £2 bn over even recently inflated budgets. When major infrastructure projects such as Crossrail, speeded up for the Games, are factored in, the figure may be as high as £24bn, according to Sky News. The estimated cost put forward only seven years ago when the Games were won was £2.37 bn.

With the required numbers of security staff more than doubling in the last year, estimates of the Games' immediate security costs have doubled from £282m to £553m. Even these figures are likely to end up as dramatic underestimates: the final security budget of the 2004 Athens Olympics were around £1bn.

All this in a city convulsed by massive welfare, housing benefit and legal aid cuts, spiralling unemployment and rising social protests. It is darkly ironic, indeed, that large swaths of London and the UK are being thrown into ever deeper insecurity while being asked to pay for a massive security operation, of unprecedented scale, largely to protect wealthy and powerful people and corporations.

Critics of the Olympics have not been slow to point out the dark ironies surrounding the police Wenlock figure. "Water cannon and steel cordon sold separately," mocks Dan Hancox on the influential Games Monitorwebsite. "Baton rounds may be unsuitable for small children."

In addition to the concentration of sporting talent and global media, the London Olympics will host the biggest mobilisation of military and security forces seen in the UK since the second world war. More troops – around 13,500 – will be deployed than are currently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and 49,000 in total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.

During the Games an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames. Surface-to-air missile systems will scan the skies. Unmanned drones, thankfully without lethal missiles, will loiter above the gleaming stadiums and opening and closing ceremonies. RAF Typhoon Eurofighters will fly from RAF Northolt. A thousand armed US diplomatic and FBI agents and 55 dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, £80m, 5,000-volt electric fence.

Beyond these security spectaculars, more stealthy changes are underway. New, punitive and potentially invasive laws such as the London Olympic Games Act 2006 are in force. These legitimise the use of force, potentially by private security companies, to proscribe Occupy-style protests. They also allow Olympic security personnel to deal forcibly with the display of any commercial material that is deemed to challenge the complete management of London as a "clean city" to be branded for the global TV audience wholly by prime corporate sponsors (including McDonald's, Visa and Dow Chemical).

London is also being wired up with a new range of scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial-recognition CCTV systems, disease tracking systems, new police control centres and checkpoints. These will intensify the sense of lockdown in a city which is already a byword across the world for remarkably intensive surveillance.

Many such systems, deliberately installed to exploit unparalleled security budgets and relatively little scrutiny or protest, have been designed to linger long after the athletes and VIPs have left. Already, the Dorset police are proudly boasting that their new number-plate recognition cameras, built for sailing events, are allowing them to catch criminals more effectively.

In Athens, the $300m "super-panopticon" CCTV and information system built for the Games following intense US pressure remained after the event, along with the disused sports facilities. In fact, the system has been used by Greek police trying in vain to control the mass uprisings responding to the crash and savage austerity measures in the country.

It is important to remember that all this is ostensibly designed to secure the spectacle of 17,000 athletes competing for 17 days. Even if London's overall security budget remains similar to that of Athens, that works out at the startling figure of £59,000 of public money to secure each competitor or £3,500 per competitor per day. In 2004, the cost in now-bankrupt Athens was £90,000 per competitor (for a smaller number of athletes than are likely to attend London). This was a major contributor, as part of the overall £10bn costs, to Greece's subsequent debt crisis.

In the context of post-austerity Britain, these figures are eye-watering. Even more remarkably, given that Olympics budgets have drawn down from many other public and lottery funds, and are no doubt adding hugely to UK national debt, the Daily Telegraph recently argued that the security operation for the Olympics were "key to aiding the recovery of UK plc".

How can we make sense of this situation? Four connected points need emphasis here. The first is that, amid a global economic crash, so-called "homeland security" industries – a loose confederation of defence, IT and biotechnology industries – are in bonanza mode. As this post 9/11 paradigm is being diffused around the world, the industry – worth $142bn in 2009 – is expected to be worth a staggering $2.7tn globally between 2010 and 2020. Growth rates are between 5% and 12% a year.

The UK, long an exemplar "surveillance society", is especially attractive to these industries, especially when hosting the Olympics. Recent security industry magazines have been full of articles excitedly extolling the Olympics as a "key driver of the industry" or as "keeping the market buoyant".

Nation states, and the EU, are struggling to ensure that their corporations get a piece of the action in markets long dominated by US and Israeli firms. Ramping up surveillance is thus now as much a part of economic policy as a response to purported threats.

The security boom is unaffected, or perhaps even fuelled, by the global crash, as wealthy and powerful elites across the world seek ever-more fortified lifestyles. Essentially, it is about defence and security corporations building huge new income streams by systematically exploiting three linked trends: the lucrative possibilities created by post 9/11 fears; widening privatisation and out-sourcing in the context of deep austerity programmes; and the desire of big city and national governments to brand themselves as secure destinations for major global events.

Booming security markets are so lucrative that accusations of corruption are often made. Siemens, a major security contractor at Athens, allegedly paid huge bribes to get the job from its internal slush fund.

Crucially, though, as Naomi Klein points out in her book The Shock Doctrine, the security boom also involves attempts to diffuse the technologies honed in counterinsurgency and colonial war in places such as Gaza, Kabul and Baghdad – drones, helicopters, data mining, biometrics, security zones, so-called "non-lethal weapons" (devices used to disperse crowds) – to the domestic "global" cities of Asia and the west.

Particular glee that Israeli-style security arrangements are now being widely implemented is evident among the CEOs of large Israeli security and defence contractors, which are doing especially well in the security boom. Leo Gleser is president of ISDS, a company that proudly proclaims that it was established by ex-Mossad agents and which was involved in £200m worth of security contracts for the Athens Games. He talks of "growing tsunamis of violence, criminal acts, and global insecurity triggered by the 9/11 events" which made the "the western world finally understand that measures had to be taken".

Olympics are especially important opportunities to cement the security boom still further. They are the ultimate global security shop windows through which states and corporations can advertise their latest high-tech wares to burgeoning global markets while making massive profits.

"The Olympics is a tremendous opportunity to showcase what the private sector can do in the security space," a Whitehall official was quoted recently as saying in a Financial Times defence supplement. "Not only do you have a UK security kitemark on the product but you've got an Olympic kitemark to boot."

The main security contractor for the London Olympics – G4S, more familiar under its old Group 4 moniker – is the world's largest security company. Beyond its £130m Olympic security contracts, it operates the world's largest private security force – 630,000 people – taking up a myriad of outsourced contracts. It secures prisons, asylum detention centres, oil and gas installations, VIPs, embassies, airports (including those in Doncaster and Baghdad) and infrastructure, and operates in 125 countries.

According to its website, G4S specialises in particular in what it terms "executive style life-support in hazardous environments". (Presumably this refers to Baghdad and not east London.) After buying up the ArmorGroup security company in 2008, it also now runs a large number of operations in Iraq. This month it was announced that G4S will also be the first private security corporation to run UK police stations with over half of Lincolnshire's police force actually moving over to the company.

The second point is that the homeland and Olympic security boom is being fuelled by the widening adoption of the idea of "asymmetric" war as the key security idea among nation states, militaries and corporations. Here, rather than war with other states, the main challenge for states is deemed to be mobilising more or less permanently against vague non-state or civilian threats that lurk within their own cities and the infrastructures that connect them.

In practice, such a shift has massive and troubling implications. As we have seen with the so-called war on terror, it works to dramatically blur longstanding legal, political and ethical lines demarcating war and war-like acts from peace and criminal acts. It also fuses policing, military operations and the intelligence services much more closely as all three seek to build bigger and bigger surveillance operations to try to predict threats, especially those within the vulnerable labyrinths of big cities.

Such an approach translates easily into a deep suspicion of cosmopolitan cities, multi-ethnic populations and the rights of migrant citizens, a process accelerated by the 7/7 atrocities in London the day after the Olympics were announced in 2005.

In May 2011 the Metropolitan Police announced that they were redeploying 290 cameras that had been installed as counter-terror systems in two predominantly Muslim areas of Birmingham to London for the Games. Recently, the Home Office warned Waltham Forest Council – home of part of the Olympic Park – that it is home to a large group of radicalised second- and third-generation Asian Britons who potentially pose a terrorist threat to the Games.

More visibly, this shift means that the familiar security architecture of airports and international borders – checkpoints, scanners, ID cars, cordons, security zones – start to materialise in the hearts of cities. What this amounts to, in practice, is an effort to roll out the well-established architecture and surveillance of the airport to parts of the wider, open city. The "rings of steel" around the City and Docklands in London were early examples of this.

The third explanation for the Olympic security boom is to be found by looking in more detail at how risks are considered in planning the events since the 9/11 attacks. Olympics security operations have grown beyond all recognition since 2000 because they have been shaped by new types of risk assessment.

The symbolic importance and prestige of the Games for cities, nations and corporations has meant that historical ideas of proportionality have basically been abandoned. Instead, as Canadian sociologists Phil Boyle and Kevin Haggerty have shown, security planning has tried to create the impossible illusion of total security by countering all threats, no matter how outlandish, unlikely or nightmarish.

Crucially, all such threats are now deemed equally valid. A model developed by the Rand corporation to help with planning for the London Games outlines in detail 27 possible threat scenarios and the means to counter them. Meeting them helps also to demonstrate the awesome power, and elite status, of the host city or state in the wider world.

This helps account for the ever-more baroque security and surveillance operations surrounding Olympic events. It also helps explain how, under enormous pressure from the US – whose security corporations benefited hugely in the process – the security budget for Sydney ($180m, or $16,000 an athlete) was multiplied eight times for Athens only four years later ($1.5bn and $142,000, respectively). The Beijing operations, in an authoritarian country, not surprisingly eclipsed both Athens and London and came in at a staggering $6.5bn.

The final point is how the security operations of Olympics have major long-term legacies for their host cities and nations. The security preoccupations of Olympics present unprecedented opportunities to push through highly elitist, authoritarian and speculative urban planning efforts that otherwise would be much more heavily contested – especially in democracies. These often work to "purify" or "cleanse" diverse and messy realities of city life and portray existing places as "waste" or "derelict" spaces to be transformed by mysterious "trickle-down effects". The scale and nature of evictions and the clearance of streets of those deemed not to befit such events can seem like systematic ethnic or social cleansing. To make way for the Beijing Games, 1.5 million were evicted; clearances of local businesses and residents in London, though more stealthy, have been marked.

Such efforts often amount in effect to expensive, privatised, elitist and gentrifying projects such as the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford (the first UK shopping centre, incidentally, to have explosives scanners at all entrances).

During the Games themselves, so-called "Olympic Divides" are especially stark. In London, a citywide system of dedicated VIP "Games lanes" are being installed. Using normally public road space, these will allow 4,000 luxury, chauffeur-driven BMWs to shuttle 40,000 Olympic officials, national bureaucrats, politicians and corporate sponsors speedily between their five-star hotels, super-yachts and cordoned-off VIP lounges within the arenas. It has recently been shown that wealthy tourists will be able to enter the VIP lanes by purchasing £20,000 package trips.

Ordinary Londoners, meanwhile – who are paying heavily for the Games through council tax hikes – will experience much worse congestion. Even their ambulances will be proscribed from the lanes if they are not running blue lights.

More broadly, a huge increase in land values tends to benefit only the wealthy property speculators and financiers that are best placed to ride the wave. Already, the Qatar royal family have bought the 1,400 homes of the Olympic village in a deal worth £557m.

Looking at these various points together shows one thing: contemporary Olympics are society on steroids. They exaggerate wider trends. Far removed from their notional or founding ideals, these events dramatically embody changes in the wider world: fast-increasing inequality, growing corporate power, the rise of the homeland security complex, and the shift toward much more authoritarian styles of governance utterly obsessed by the global gaze and prestige of media spectacles.

• Stephen Graham is professor of cities and society at Newcastle University. His latest book, Cities Under Siege, is published by Verso, priced £14.99. To order a copy for £14.99 with free UK p&p, go or call 0330 333 6846

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Diversityworks Trust was incorporated in 2005 with the following exclusively charitable purposes in New Zealand: The advancement of social and community welfare including the support of disabled people and other disenfranchised groups and individuals, to

About Diversityworks Trust

Diversityworks Trust was incorporated in 2005 with the following exclusively charitable purposes in New Zealand:

  • The advancement of social and community welfare including the support of disabled people and other disenfranchised groups and individuals, together with their families and dependants, and the promotion of their value, inclusion and participation within the community;
  • The establishment of community based projects promoting community development to enhance social and economic participation, with an emphasis on artistic and creative processes;
  • The advancement of culture and heritage, including the promotion and fostering of the New Zealand heritage, and the practice and development of Tikanga Maori and Te Reo Maori.

Diversityworks Trust is registered with the NZ Charities Commission (Number CC28433) and is a member of the EEO Trust's Employers Group.




Strategic plan 2012-14 (click for text version) 


Below is information about our trustees and our team. Please contact us for more information of if you wish to contribute to our work.



Philip is a social and creative entrepreneur with fifteen years’ experience as a professional comedian. His passion is working with people when they want to explore and extend how they think about diversity, creativity and change. Highlights of Philip's professional life include being appointed the Patron of Rainbow Youth, becoming one of NZ's first recognized Social Entrepreneur Fellows, speaking at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford and setting up not-for-profit organizations including the Diversityworks Trust, Ripple Trust, Manawanui inCharge and Auckland Disability Law. Learn more about Philip


Carol has 20 years experience in counseling, youth development and education. Carol also worked as a counsellor at Youthline for five years, including a year as Director in 1988-89. She went on to spend four years as programme director at Action Education and was a Lecturer on the Bachelor of Maori Studies at AUT’s Te Ara Poutama from 1994 to 1999. Carol’s ability in group-work, facilitation, conflict resolution and therapy are highly developed and her strength lies in taking people at face value, working with them to achieve their desired outcomes. Carol prefers to do process work these days, but has training in NLP, art therapy, psychodrama, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt addiction work and transpersonal work (under Groff’s model). Her ex-students describe her as “one of a kind, she is one of those people who make a difference in your life, which in turn has a flow-on effect to others.”


Jeremy is a former musician turned lawyer, who now works in a boutique legal practice providing commercial and business advice. In his 16 years as a practising solicitor, he has worked in private practice and as in-house counsel, both in NZ and abroad. Jeremy is Philip’s little twin brother and has been a Diversityworks trustee for 5 years. Jeremy is dad to Matt and Sophie and has a passion for affordable BMW cars, motorcycles and cycling.


Sarah has an extensive background in the Health and Disability Sector. Initially qualifying as a Registered Nurse, Sarah then moved on to complete further tertiary studies in Management and Health Case Management. She has worked in senior management roles in Government, Commercial and the Not for Profit sectors. Sarah is currently a mother of twin boys and works part time as the General Manager of PhysioACTION, a large Physiotherapy Company based in Auckland. Sarah has been involved in a number of start up business initiatives and has a passion for business development and growth. Previous roles have also included being President of the New Zealand Federation of Disability Information Centre and currently a Board member of the Disability Resource Centre Auckland.


Anna is a project manager with responsibility for Diversityworks' Social Network, DPSN, since being a member of the Network's design project team which began in May 2009. Anna has a physical disability, but doesn't let it dictate her life. However, she says, it does help create a very solid path at times. She enjoys interacting with people and sharing experiences, and finds it exciting when sharing can be helpful or inspirational. When she isn't working with us, Anna works at AUT University as the Community/Disability Scholarship Advisor. Before that she was the Community Worker for Auckland Disability Law.


Barbara works as Philip's assistant as well as a project manager for Diversityworks. She is also currently completing her Master of Health Science in Psychology at AUT University, with the aim to register and practice as a Psychologist. Barbara's main area of interest is mental health and she hopes to extend the work of Diversityworks Trust to provide additional support and creative outlets for those with unique mental experiences which, she imagines, includes most of us at one stage or another. Barbara is also a volunteer phone counsellor at Youthline.

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Should illicit drugs be legalised in Australia? - - BY TIMVANGELDER | 90 VOTES | 55 COMMENTS | 15 MAY '12

Should illicit drugs be legalised in Australia? 

Read below to get a balanced view. Or if you're ready, vote now

In brief

Introduction by Jed Blore and Tim van Gelder

For a long time now we've been "at war" on drugs.  The central strategy in this war has been making drugs illegal. 

Below, Alex Wodak of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation claims the war has been lost and its time for a better approach.  

Jo Baxter from Drug Free Australia thinks differently.

But first, a little context.

In April, Australia21, an independent think tank, released a report into Australia's drug policies, with a title that gave nothing away: "Prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are all letting it happen". The report concluded that "the current prohibition of illegal drugs is creating more harms than benefits and needs to be reconsidered by the Australian community".

Within 24 hours, Julia Gillard came out firmly in opposition to decriminalisation, whilst the Greens welcomed the report's conclusions and called for an open and frank debate. The Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, was somewhat silent; however the Premier of Victoria stated his position firmly against decriminalisation as did the Northern Territory Chief Minister.

So what’s the current state of drug policies? Here's something that may surprise you. Professor and Specialist in Drug Policy, Alison Ritter notes that South Australia decriminalised minor cannabis offences way back in 1987. There, you get a fine rather than a criminal record. This has also been the case in the ACT since 1993 and the Northern Territory, since 1996. Western Australia used to have this policy, until it was overturned in 2008.

A quick note on terminology. Decriminalisation refers to a reduction of legal penalties, like SA, ACT, and NT, and often only for use and possession, rather than the sale of illicit drugs.  

Legalisation goes further; it says that legal prohibitions should generally be removed.   

Now our protagonists present their arguments. Over to them, and to you.

They should be legalised because...


They should NOT be legalised because...

Alex Wodak, President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

The War on Drugs, waged for at the last 40 years, has failed comprehensively. Important leaders of the community in Australia and other countries now increasingly acknowledge this. Governments in many countries, including Australia, used a punitive rhetoric and allocated at least 75% of their expenditure in response to drugs to drug law enforcement (such as customs, police, courts and prisons). While identifying the benefits of this approach is difficult the many and major harms are self evident. The scientific debate about drug prohibition is now over.

For decades the global cultivation, production, number of drug users and number of different types of new drugs all soared. While the price of street heroin and cocaine in US and Europe fell by more than 80% in the last 20 years, the purity of street drugs has increased. But drug prohibition is supposed to make street drugs more expensive, less pure and hard to get. In an official annual survey, more than 80% of drug users in Australia said that obtaining drugs like heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’. The number of prisoners serving sentences for drug offences has grown as has the cost of drug prohibition to government, business and the community.  

While the global drug market under prohibition grew spectacularly, so too did deaths, disease, crime and corruption.  The number of heroin overdose deaths in Australia increased 55 times between 1964 and 1997. The difficulties of controlling HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs were exacerbated by the War on Drugs. Adoption of effective harm reduction prevention strategies was delayed and implementation slowed because of the entrenched commitment to a War on Drugs. The more intensively drug law enforcement was implemented, the more violent the drug markets and the more dangerous the street drugs.

The threshold question now is to re-define drugs as primarily a health and social matter. Funding for health and social interventions should be raised to the level enjoyed by drug law enforcement allowing the expansion, quality, attractiveness and effectiveness of drug treatment to be substantially improved. Funding should be allocated by governments to maximise the returns on investments. The human rights of people who use drugs should have the same protection as other members of the community. Change should be slow, cautious, incremental and carefully evaluated.

Cannabis should be taxed and regulated with packets required to show warning signs, provide information for those struggling to cut down or quit and provide consumer information. Hard-to-get but easy-to-lose licences should be required for major cultivation, wholesale and retail. Purchase should require proof of age greater than 18. Cannabis should be provided for medicinal purposes regulated like other medicines.

Needle syringe programmes should be provided in the community and prisons to maximally protect public health. Medically supervised injecting centres should be established where there are large drug markets spilling over into neighbouring streets, parks and supermarkets. Heroin assisted treatment should be provided to the small minority of severely dependent heroin users who have not benefited from multiple and diverse previous treatments. One area where drug law reformers and supporters of the War on Drugs agree is that 1 kg blocks of 100% pure heroin and cocaine should not be sold at supermarket check-out counters. There may be a case, if the results of the above are not considered adequate, for allowing the commercial sale of small quantities of low concentration selected illicit drugs. Australia has done this before. Small quantities of edible opium were taxed, regulated and sold lawfully in Australia until 1906. Coca Cola contained cocaine until 1903.  

The choice is between drugs regulated by the state or regulated by criminals and corrupt police.


Jo Baxter, Executive Officer, Drug Free Australia

The legalization of current illicit drugs, is not a viable solution to the global drug problem and would actually exacerbate the problem.

The UN Drug Conventions were adopted because of the recognition by the international community that drugs are an enormous social and health problem and that the trade adversely affects the global economy.

UN Controls are working and one can only imagine how much worse the problem would have become without it. They have helped keep use rates low, with only 6.1 % of people globally (between the ages of 15 and 64) using illicit drugs.   

Decriminalization, (which equates to the legalization of these drugs), is not an acceptable solution to the world’s drug problem for the following reasons:

‘Legalisation’ sends the dangerous tacit message of approval, that drug use is acceptable and cannot be very harmful. Permissibility, availability and accessibility of dangerous drugs will result in increased consumption by many who otherwise would not consider using them. Enforcement of laws creates risks that discourage drug use and give clear boundaries.   

With increased use there would be increased dependencies, with levels of addiction likely to match the levels of the legal drugs, tobacco,  alcohol and prescription drugs. This would lead to increasing related morbidity and mortality, the spread of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and the other Blood Bourne Viruses, exacerbated by the sharing of needles and drugs paraphernalia. There would be an enormous increased burden on the health and social services.  

The fact that alcohol and tobacco cause harm but are still legal is not a justification for legalising other dangerous substances. The pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of psychotropic substances suggest that more, not less, control of their access is warranted. The most recent research has confirmed just how harmful cannabis can be, making consideration of its legalization, irresponsible.

It is inaccurate to suggest that the personal use of drugs has no consequential and damaging effects on others. Apart from the harm to the individual users, drugs affect others, by addiction, violence, criminal behaviour and road accidents. Research increasingly demonstrates that the harms associated with the toxicity of drugs is not a matter for debate or a vote. People are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. Those who advocate freedom of choice cannot create freedom from adverse consequences.

There would be no reduction in criminal justice costsas, contrary to the view held by those who support legalisation, crime would not be eliminated or reduced. Legalization would not take the profit out of the drug trade as criminals will always find ways of countering the law. This would include cutting drugs with harmful substances to maximise sales and profits; using aggressive marketing techniques designed to promote increased sales and use. Legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco, are regularly traded on the black market and are an international smuggling problem; an estimated 600 billion cigarettes are smuggled annually (World Drug report 2009).  

Taxation benefits are flawed. Statements about taxation offsetting any additional costs are false.  Taxation monies raised from alcohol and tobacco go nowhere near addressing consequential health and welfare costs. The reality is that taxes drive prices up. Short of governments distributing free drugs, those who commit crime now to obtain them would continue to do so if they became legal. The administrative burden associated with legalisation would become enormous and probably unaffordable to most governments.

There is a specific obligation to protect children from the harms of drugs, as is evidenced through the ratification by the majority of United Nations Member States of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). Article 33 states that Member States “shall take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances …and to prevent the use of children in the illicit production and trafficking of such substances”. There are clear links between drug use and child abuse issues.


So now that you have read the arguments, are you voting yes, or no? Have something to say? Leave a comment below.

Further Reading & Viewing: 
First "Versus" Debate, on the War on Drugs. Participants include former Presidents, leading experts in the field, former head of UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Julian Assange, Richard Branson, and others. Presented by Google Plus and Intelligence Squared. YouTube linkhere
Herald Sun Editorial, supporting War on Drugs
Column by author of Australia21 report, Bob Douglas 
Column by Geoff Gallop, former Premier of Western Australia 
The Conversation series on the War on Drugs, and summaries of some of The Conversation articles on Crikey Health Blog
US and Central and Latin American perspective on the Drug War in Foreign Policy magazine 
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report, presenting the latest statistics on illicit drug use in Australia  

Views (55)

FOR (47)

With Reservations - bkeniry (22.8)

I am fully in favour of decriminilisation for use and possession (so long as there is no clear intent to deal). Criminal prosecution for drug use is in many cases tantamount to crimal prosecution for having a health condition. I am however much more hesitant concerning full legalisation. I think there is a lot to be said for the argument that legalisation would certainly lead to a significant increase

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16 May, 2012 at 1:06PM
The costs of criminalisation are greater - chris barnett S (15.0)

Let me propose an overarching goal of public policy that I hope most people can agree on: to maximise the quality of life of as many people as possible. My current stance on this issue rests on the belief that the costs of criminalisation outweigh the costs of legalisation with regard to this broad goal.

Relative costs of legalisation: 
->Illicit drugs will be used more by more people. 
.. ->Many illicit

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16 May, 2012 at 9:49AM
At least decriminalise - michael pulsford (14.7)

The answer to this question might vary by substance; 'illicit drugs' is a very broad term. It covers substances like marijuana, coca, opium and psylocibin which have long histories of human use and which humans seem to be capable of regulating (at least under the right circumstances) via custom; it also includes newer things like the synthetic opiates and amphetamines which we have as a species much less

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16 May, 2012 at 9:29PM
War on drugs defies logic - jamesl (8.6)

Just look at the statistics for deaths caused by legal drugs (tobacco and alcohol) and compare them to deaths from illegal drugs, both soft and hard. The statistics do not lie so it is time for some logic to be used in this debate. Or make tobacco and alcohol illegal too.

16 May, 2012 at 9:33AM
Take drug use out of the Shadow - stephencottee (8.1)

Criminalisation of drugs has so obviously, patently and horrendously not worked that you'd have to be on drugs to still think they should be illegal! 
Whenever something is secret, hidden and forced underground (eg. prostitution) there is crime, pathology, immense suffering and prejudice. 
The only way drugs can find their proper place in society - whatever that may be - is if they are no longer demonised

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17 May, 2012 at 12:35PM
At least it would be safer drug use - leigh (5.2)

My opinion is that if drugs are taken out of the black market, less "junk" will be cut into them. The vast majority of overdoses and health issues with taking many of these drugs is not from the drugs themselves, but the rat poison and muck that is mixed with them.

16 May, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Not yet persuaded - tocqueville S (14.2)

Alex Wodak concludes his case by declaring that the choice is between drugs regulated by the state and drugs regulated by criminals and corrupt police. But this, it seems to me, points to a fundamental problem for his argument. For whom do corrupt police work, in principle, if not the state? And what gives us any assurance that legalization will lead to a workable policy under 'the state', rather than

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16 May, 2012 at 8:50PM
Root Cause! - beetle S (10.7)

No is the answer to the current question but I believe it is the wrong question as it is looking to address a symptom of society as oppposed to the root cause of the problem. The real question here is 'Why do people need to take illicit drugs?' What is it that is lacking in society that causes people to seek an 'escape' from every day stressors. Whether it be over-eating, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana,

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15 May, 2012 at 5:42PM
Pro decriminalisation but not blanket legalisation - saiman (7.8)

This is a tough one for me, as I'm generally anti anything that involves the government telling people what to do. I am 100% in favour of decriminalisation of drug use, as I don't believe that people should be punished for what should be their personal choices. The thing that bothers me about full legalisation is that once you make drugs sales a corporate endeavour, they (drug companies) will then

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16 May, 2012 at 11:54AM
Don't legalize illicit drugs. - snapperah (5.2)

I would prefer my two teenage children to live their lives under the present system.

17 May, 2012 at 2:50PM
Legalise individual not societal drug use - jmw99 (4.4)

If a legal market for hard drugs is established, the prospects of corporate profit will drive consumption. I prefer we invest resources in rehabilitation and prevention programs rather than the regulatory infrastructure that will be needed to oversee drug legalisation.

17 May, 2012 at 9:18PM
Too big a question - kendavis (3.7)

There is so much to this question. Firstly, I think cannabis should be available for medical use, particularly in chronic pain and possibly as a last resort in anxiety disorders (it seems to genuinely help some but make things worse for many). Harder drugs - no way - it sends the wrong message and makes harmful experimentation much more likely - there is a reason they are addictive. Yet I agree the "war

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16 May, 2012 at 8:57PM
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How the JPMorgan trade happened and what it means - The Washington Post

How the JPMorgan trade happened and what it means

What was the trade?

Bruno Iksil, a London-based trader for JPMorgan Chase, assembled a huge portfolio of investments designed to hedge against risks the company takes with its own money. Iksil’s bet was so big he became known as the London Whale. It’s incredibly complicated, but basically he was selling a form of insurance to other investors based on his belief that certain U.S. corporate bonds would be very secure. He sold so much of it that any blip in the market could have caused him enormous pain. The market blipped. JPMorgan suffered losses of at least $2 billion, and potentially much more.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, talks about his call for the Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2 billion trading loss. He speaks with Peter Cook on Bloomberg Television's “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, talks about his call for the Senate Banking Committee to hold a hearing on JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s $2 billion trading loss. He speaks with Peter Cook on Bloomberg Television's “Bottom Line.” (Source: Bloomberg)


How did they make this mistake?

No one really knows yet. Matt Levine, the editor of Dealbreaker, thinks they simply messed up the math that was governing the trade. Also, it’s never a good idea to let everyone see that you’ve gone that far out on a limb. Once Iksil started facing losses, other traders could take advantage.

How much did JPMorgan lose on it?

We probably won’t know for a while. The number $2 billion is floating around. But it could easily be closer to $5 billion when all is said and done. The key here is that the trade isn’t over. JPMorgan Chase is still trying to get out of its positions.

Will JPMorgan need a bailout?

No. It’s hard to believe, but $2 billion, or even $5 billion, just isn’t that much money to the bank. In 2011, JPMorgan’s profits were $19 billion. And chief executive Jamie Dimon called that “mildly disappointing” at the time.

So why does this matter ?

For one thing, JPMorgan was known as the best manager of risk on Wall Street. That’s largely because the company made it through the financial crisis mostly unscathed. But it turns out that even the best manager of risk can slip. This trade, in fact, echoes the financial crisis: They bet on something unlikely as if it were impossible. That’s what all those banks did when they bet almost everything on the belief that the housing market never goes down everywhere all at once. It’s a reminder that even “good” banks make this kind of mistake. And remember, JPMorgan made this mistake less than four years after the fall of Lehman Brothers, so this came at a time when the lessons of the crisis were still fresh, and when regulators were watching closely.

So what does this mean in Washington?

JPMorgan has used its sterling reputation to fight the Volcker Rule. That’s the regulation that says banks that take commercial loans and get federal insurance to protect those loans — banks that you might open a checking account with, such as JPMorgan — can’t make speculative bets on their own behalf. If you’re going to be a bank, then you can’t play at the casino.

The problem is that it’s very hard to say when a bank is betting on its own behalf and when it is betting on its clients’ behalf. JPMorgan says that this trade was a “hedge” — that it was there to reduce risk, not make money. But given how exquisitely it blew up in JPMorgan’s face, regulators are going to make sure that the Volcker Rule will stop trades like this one from happening. Otherwise, they’ll get the blame next time. That means a much tighter rule, which in turn means JPMorgan (and other banks) won’t make as much money in the coming years.

What are you more worried about : JPMorgan or Greece?

Oh, Greece. A thousand times Greece. This JPMorgan thing is bad for JPMorgan. What’s going on in Europe might be bad for the global economy. Or, to put it another way, JPMorgan’s losses are something you might be angry about, or smug about, but they’re not something you should be worried about.

Jamie Dimon’s serving of humble pie - By Jena McGregor - The Washington Post Company

A poster of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is covered with eggs thrown by protesters, outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting, Tuesday, May 15, 2012. (Scott Iskowitz - AP)It’s being called Dimonfreude.

There are barely disguised smirks emanating from the canyons of Wall Street and the business press over the fact that Jamie Dimon has had to admit a mistake — and awhale of one, for that matter.

For years, the JPMorgan CEO (and America’s least-hated banker,as he was known) has worn a halo over those pinstripes. Dimon has been called President Obama’s “favorite banker”. Institutional Investor magazine has called him the country’s best CEO for two years running. And his actions during the financial crisis have been painted in patriotic terms: Press reports said he “answered the call” from then-FDIC chairman Sheila Bair to buy Washington Mutual, one of two banks he scooped up during the financial meltdown, and he has cited a patriotic duty to a country in crisis as why he took in $25 billion in government aid.

Yet now, Dimon is in the hot seat as JPMorgan confronts a $2 billion trading loss and the early stages of a criminal probe by the Justice Department.

Dimon had long been regarded as a detail-oriented, risk-focused manager who understood his business and practiced fiscal restraint. He has called his balance sheet a “fortress.” In a New York Times profile from 2010, respected business writer Roger Lowenstein praises Dimon’s due diligence. He quotes Jay Fishman, the CEO of Travelers: “Jamie has a healthy regard for the idea that we will go through crises and that we will be lousy at predicting them. The flip side is he will run his businesses more carefully.” Dimon, Lowenstein writes, “demanded to see the raw data” rather than reviewing summaries, “put himself through a tutorial, so that he would understand the complex trades the bank was exposed to,” rather than trusting his traders, and “reined in lending earlier than did others.”

Add to that saintly reputation Dimon’s penchant for bluntness and his outspoken criticism of certain regulations, and it’s little wonder some areenjoying watching him squirm, even if they shouldn’t. He has called the Basel Committee’s capital standards “anti-American.” He has been one of the most vocal critics of the Volcker rule — a proposal to restrict banks’ proprietary trades, or bets with their own capital.

Of course, he is now facing huge losses from one of the bank’s own risky bets. Whether or not the Volcker rule would have prevented the trade is being debated (JPMorgan has called it a “hedge”), but it’s sure to now be Exhibit A for regulators who want to see tighter rules. As Ezra Klein writes in a good synopsis of what happened: “Given how exquisitely it blew up in JP Morgan’s face, now regulators are going to make sure that the Volcker rule would stop trades like this one from happening.”

So what’s the lesson for leaders? Who knows how much Dimon knew about the trade, or whether his detail-oriented, much-lauded approach to managing risk failed in some preventable way. More likely, this is evidence that when it comes to highly complex institutions and systems like global banks, there are no saints or white knights — just humans.

Still, it’s a reminder of how precarious the pedestal can be. How much Dimon did to burnish his halo and how much it was created for him by others is debatable, but either way he seemed more than happy to wear it. When you’ve become the poster boy for your industry and embraced your role as one of its most outspoken voices, prepare yourself to eventually eat some humble pie.

More from On Leadership:

Justice launches criminal probe into JPMorgan’s loss

If Harvard were a religion, it could be Mormonism

How to completely destroy an employee’s work life

Forbes - Occupy Wall Street Plans 'Laugh Riot' At G8 Summit And Beyond

5/16/2012 @ 5:01PM |493 views

Occupy Wall Street Plans 'Laugh Riot' At G8 Summit And Beyond

From the Adbusters ad announcing their latest activist campaign against the financial follies of our times.

From the motley Canadian crew that brought us Occupy Wall Street comes Friday’s “laugh riot”. Thousands of Occupy Wall Street plan to take to the streets on May 18 in uproarious laughter. What’s so funny? Jaime Dimon’s serving of humble pie! Hilarious!

How about the fact that since the fall of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, many in the market are now wondering if FinReg has any teeth to curb high risk gambling that guys like whale-sized loophole swimming JP Morgan trader Bruno Iksil found when he lost a minty $2 billion.

Bruno recently gave up his gig as a JP Morgan derivatives trader in London, but does anyone doubt this guy won’t be laughing all the way to the bank? Not that he broke any laws. He didn’t. He gambled with JP Morgan’s money; some of which it got for pennies on the dollar in Treasury swaps with the Federal Reserve and in its cash windfall from a bargain basement purchase of Washington Mutual in 2008.

The Occupiers at Adbusters, the Vancouver-based magazine that launched the OWS movement last summer, said in a note to their readers Wednesday that a global “laugh riot” could “break through the G8’s veneer of legitimacy and expose the Camp David Summit and our current capitalist model for the farce that it really is.”

Activists will be taking to the streets again next week, when the G8 Summitis in full swing in Chicago.

“At a time when our human experiment is buckling under austerity, financial madness and eco-angst, there is something so ludicrous, bizarre, even insane about the eight most powerful people in the world trying to conduct the people’s business – to set things right – from behind closed doors and razor wire fences,” Adbusters editors wrote. As if planning the future of all mankind behind closed doors was anything new. Geesh. What planet are they on?

Maybe the global laugh-in is what we’ve all been waiting for. If their latest May Day demonstrations are any indicator of future results, then maybe not. Otherwise, Chicagoans and New Yorkers might be watching people break out in uproarious laughter for no apparent reason. They’re not crazy. They’re activists.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

OpenStack “Essex” Release Delivers Pluggable Cloud Operating System to Power Global Clouds

OpenStack “Essex” Release Delivers Pluggable Cloud Operating System to Power Global Clouds

Fifth software release leverages power of community-driven development to extend on-demand compute, storage and networking capabilities; development process matures to help ensure platform quality and reliability

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – April 5, 2012 - OpenStack®, the open source cloud operating system, today released “Essex”, the fifth version of its community-driven software, with a focus on quality, usability and extensibility across enterprise, service provider and high performance computing (HPC) deployments. OpenStack Essex allows users across the globe to leverage pools of on-demand, self-managed compute, storage and networking resources to build efficient, automated private and public cloud infrastructures. 

"We have observed the Open Source model and Linux change the IT world by growing a community of individuals and companies building successful businesses on top of Open Source projects. These have facilitated the maturing of the technology and the creation of vibrant ecosystems. OpenStack is now going through this cycle -- just much faster with all the experience on how to run successful Open Source projects and the industry coming aboard much more quickly than with Linux," said Phil Zamani, SVP of the Digital Business Unit Cloud Services at Deutsche Telekom. "Essex is a very important milestone, as it marks a point where OpenStack has become complete and mature enough to be a solid foundation for large-scale projects on top of it. This will grow the momentum of OpenStack in the market. We will base the rollout of our Business Marketplace SaaS Cloud program on Essex."

Illustrating the power of community-driven software development, the Essex release was written by over 200 developers from 55 different companies bringing their unique domain expertise.  Essex delivers user-requested features for improved automation, integration across projects, as well as central management and provisioning by leveraging OpenStack's pluggable architecture. To help increase stability and reliability, the Essex development cycle included an earlier feature freeze and an extensive testing phase before release, and Essex will also be included in the next Ubuntu 12.04 long term support release.

"OpenStack Essex sets the pace for open source cloud infrastructure, and we're delighted to include it in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The combination makes a robust platform for utility computing with tremendous momentum among early adopters and large scale deployments,” said Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Founder and VP, Product Strategy, Canonical. “OpenStack and Ubuntu are the key ingredients in multiple new public clouds. To accelerate the deployment of private and public clouds, we have made significant joint investments in deployment, tooling and automated testing in this release, making it easier to deploy, scale and manage clouds with the latest OpenStack on the latest enterprise release of Ubuntu."

New Features in OpenStack Core Projects 
There have been more than 100,000 downloads from with production cloud environments deployed around the globe. Essex adds new features and better project integration across the three pillars of compute, storage and networking. Essex also marks the first full release of two new projects, Dashboard and Identity, which provide additional infrastructure and support across the three pillars. With a focus on quality, usability and extensibility across the projects, Essex adds about 150 new features including the following updates:

  • OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova) – Focus on stability and integration with Dashboard and Identity, including enhancements to feature parity among the tier one hypervisors -- making it a seamless user experience across each hypervisor -- improved authorization and live migration with multi-host networking. There were also contributions to support high-performance computing and additional block storage options, including support for Nexenta, SolidFire, and NetApp storage solutions.
  • OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift)  Significant new features to improve compliance and data security with the ability to expire objects according to document retention policies, more  protections against corruption and degradation of data, and sophisticated disaster recovery improvements. Also new capabilities important to service providers including the ability to upload data directly from an authenticated web page and the ability to restrict the maximum number of containers per account.
  • OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon)  The first full release of OpenStack Dashboard provides administrators and users the ability to access, provision and automate cloud-based resources through a self-service portal. The extensible design makes it easy to plug in and expose third party products and services, such as monitoring.
  • OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone)  The first full release of OpenStack Identity unifies all core projects of the cloud operating system with a common authentication system. The technology provides authorization for multiple log-in credentials, including username/password, token-based and AWS-style logins.
  • OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance) – The Image Service received several key updates to improve usability, authorization and image protection.

“The Essex release represents an exciting time for both OpenStack users and for NetApp as it marks a significant step forward in the flexibility of the platform and our first contribution to the community. With NetApp technology integrated into OpenStack Compute, users will be able to build on a storage platform that delivers a unique array of storage efficiency technologies, data replication features, fault tolerance, and high availability to help reduce costs and enable users to get the most out of their private and public cloud architectures. We're thrilled to take part in the OpenStack maturation process and help build a wave of production deployments combining OpenStack and NetApp,” Jeff O’Neal, Senior Director, Solutions Integration Group, NetApp.

New Networking Automation and Capabilities Added with Quantum
Project Quantum was incubated during the Essex release and aims to provide an automated framework for managing data center network activities. Quantum is a plug-in based service that manages common network administrative tasks, from creating ports and routes to configuring VLANs. Many users have been deploying OpenStack clouds with the Quantum networking service during the incubation phase, and Quantum is expected to become a core part of OpenStack in the “Folsom” release expected Fall 2012.

OpenStack Spring 2012 Design Summit & Conference 
The spring 2012 OpenStack Design Summit & Conference is taking place April 16 – 20 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. More than 400 OpenStack developers and key contributors are expected to attend the Design Summit to determine the roadmap for the “Folsom” release, while the Conference should draw a broader audience of users and the technology ecosystem to discuss the state of the project. Conference keynote presentations will be given by HP, Canonical, Nebula and Rackspace, and the event will feature presentations from OpenStack users including Deutsche Telekom, San Diego Supercomputer Center, eBay’s X.commerce, Department of Energy Magellan and NeCTAR. See the Conference agenda and register for the event here.

Contributor Support for OpenStack Essex
Quotes from organizations who made OpenStack Essex possible by contributing code and helping deploy OpenStack-powered clouds:

“As a Cloud based Infrastructure & Security Platform for service providers globally, ClearPath Networks requires both very high reliability and resiliency.  Our developers and system engineers are delighted with the quality and stability that the new Essex release provides and we will run both our next generation orchestration platform and cloud gateways on OpenStack Essex for our global service provider customers.” -- Peter K. Lee, VP Software & Infrastructure Engineering, ClearPath Networks, Inc.

"Cloudscaling has successfully deployed OpenStack in production multiple times.  It is the only open source solution that meets our strict requirements on building large-scale production-grade infrastructure clouds.  Our confidence in OpenStack has grown as the developer community has grown and large deployment successes continue to launch. The project's rapid innovation track positions it for future success as the de-facto open cloud solution choice of serious enterprises and service providers alike." -- Randy Bias, Co-Founder & CTO, Cloudscaling

“OpenStack fosters the creation of cloud standards, removes proprietary lock-in for customers, and creates a large ecosystem. As a result, we’ve enabled a number of our customers with the Dell OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution.  The new features and increased efficiency in OpenStack Essex allow us to meet even more customer needs, leveraging the support and resulting technology of a global open source community.” -- said Mark Linebaugh, VP of Enterprise Solutions, Dell

We've been working with OpenStack for about 15 months and we're pleased to see how the AUTHORS file keeps growing with every release. The number of people contributing code is a fine indicator of good health, supported by the excellent management of the elected technical leaders and the best development practices that translate into lots of fixed bugs, improvements and new functionalities. We're confident that we made the right decision committing resources to include OpenStack in our business strategy. -- Juan J. Martinez, Lead OpenStack Developer,Memset

“The diversity of contributors, from the smallest start-ups to the largest companies, is what will keep OpenStack at the forefront of innovation in providing the next generation of computing platforms.” -- Chris C. Kemp, Co-Founder of OpenStack and CEO of cloud systems companyNebula, Inc

"As a company that owes our genesis to the innovation and openness of the developer community, Nexenta Systems is proud to contribute our continued resources and unique storage expertise to the development of OpenStack Compute (Nova). By including support for Nexenta's enterprise-grade OpenStorage solutions in the latest OpenStack Essex release, we are continuing to advance a production-quality option for everyday businesses to build private and public clouds." --  Evan Powell, CEO, Nexenta Systems

"The Essex and Folsom releases of Quantum deliver the full range of networking capabilities to OpenStack, removing the final barrier to cloud, the network. We are privileged to technically lead, heavily contribute, and collaborate with a vibrant and growing OpenStack community on Quantum."  -- Dan Wendlandt, Director of Product Management, Nicira, and Project Technical Lead, OpenStack Quantum

"The Essex release shows tremendous evolution and improvement of the most critical components of OpenStack. Most notably, the Keystone authentication and authorization service, which was extensively revamped to enable easier and more collaborative development. The community also really rallied around improving the level of integration between the various OpenStack sub-projects. Finally, major enhancements to the modularity of core OpenStack projects (including Horizon) will make it possible for rapid development of tightly integrated plugins without impacting the project as a whole." -- Josh McKenty, Founder & CEO, Piston Cloud Computing

"The Essex code release is a major milestone for OpenStack.  With Essex, the code is at a mature place and can be used to power public and private clouds across the globe.  Many of the elements in the Essex code release such as compute, storage and networking are being used throughout Rackspace's cloud offerings. In addition, the Rackspace Cloud Builders team is deploying OpenStack clouds in data centers across the world using core components of Essex.  Deployments of OpenStack have taken off, and we look forward to the upcoming OpenStack Design Summit to see how companies are using Essex, and innovating on OpenStack." -- Jesse Andrews, Director of Rackspace Cloud Builders, Rackspace

“With the Essex release, we continue to see OpenStack maturing; the recent quality and usability enhancements are essential for cloud service providers evaluating or deploying OpenStack-based clouds. Here at SolidFire, we have made great progress within the core Nova project, including the integration of our high-performance block storage system as a supported Nova volume storage option within Essex. We are looking forward to helping drive further enhancements into the Folsom release and beyond.” -- Dave Wright, CEO and Founder, SolidFire 

"Our customers have expressed increasing interest in deploying an OpenStack-based private cloud. The user and architectural advancements in Essex demonstrate the power of community-driven development, and make enterprise deployment a practical reality - delivering the control and management that organizations require to meet their compliance and security requirements.” -- Michael Miller, VP of Global Alliances & Marketing, SUSE

 "Morphlabs is excited about the OpenStack release of Essex. We believe that this release positions OpenStack to become the foundation for next generation dynamic cloud infrastructure.  We are building a fully-converged private platform around Essex, leveraging best-of-breed cloud building blocks to deliver a high-performance, flexible solution. This release marks a major a proof point of OpenStack’s commitment to open community development and pluggable APIs, which benefits the entire cloud ecosystem." -- Winston Damarillo, CEO, Morphlabs

Supporting Resources
For the latest news and information, follow OpenStack on the web at:

  • OpenStack User Stories
  • OpenStack Wiki
  • OpenStack Blog
  • OpenStack Community
  • Twitter

About OpenStack®
OpenStack is open source software for building clouds. Created to drive industry standards, end cloud lock-in and speed cloud adoption, OpenStack is a common, open platform for both public and private clouds with the support of over 150 industry leading companies, more than 2,600 global project participants and 100,000+ downloads. The open source cloud operating system enables businesses to manage compute, storage and networking resources via a self-service portal and APIs on standard hardware at massive scale. For more information and to join the community, visit


Media Contact
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