10/18/09 - Sanho Tree

Sanho Tree of Institute for Policy Studies in Wash DC takes DTN listener calls + Phil Smith with Corrupt Cop Story & a "Discouraging Word"

Program: 
Century of Lies
Date: 
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Guest: 
Sanho Tree
Organization: 
Institute for Policy Studies
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Century of Lies, October 18, 2009

The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.
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This is Dean Becker. You’re listening to the Century of Lies show. I’m with our good friend, Mr. Sanho Tree. He of the Institute for Policy Studies. He’s recently returned from a trip to Columbia, one of many trips to Central South America and we want to take your calls. Our number is (713) 526-5738 locally or you can call from anywhere in North America, toll free to 1-877-9-420-420. We do have one caller online but, Sanho, are you still with us?

Mr. Sanho Tree: Yep.

Dean Becker: Alright, Sanho. Let’s go ahead and take Leonard on line 2. You’re on the air, Leonard.

Leonard: Yes, good evening. Very interesting program…

Dean Becker: Thank you, sir.

Leonard: …and I’ve been enlightened quite a bit. Why is America government or white male so cruel? We have the most population in prison, here in American and then when you told me, or told the public, about what people are being arrested for, in South America, I mean, if that’s not idiotic, than is that not the doorway for Al Quadia and all the rest of them to come in? …and the hate for America is growing around the world and how much hate can a civilization, ’cause this is not a culture this is a civilization, take before it is destroyed? This is inhumane.

I mean, what kind of people run our government? How can you be so cruel to poor people with nothing? I mean, this is a damn shame and an abomination. I don’t see America lasting too much longer and I’m not an Al Quadia, I’m a tax paying citizen, I own property. But the cruelty; the Guantanamo; the prison’s in Iraq, what they did… performing homosexual activities. I know this has nothing to do with the drugs, but the drugs are coming from over there, as well.

Dean Becker: Alright.

Leonard: So… and then to add insult to injury, the largest consumer of these so-called illegal drugs that our government let in, but don’t let a Cuban cigar in, {Dean chuckling} we are the main consumers of this mess.

Dean Becker: Leonard, Leonard, let me stop you right there, my friend. Look, you have put forward some very profound and, I think, very necessary…

Leonard: Thank you, sir.

Dean Becker: …points to address. Sanho, your thoughts, sir.

Mr. Sanho Tree: Thank you Leonard for bringing that up because it’s so important and the word you used is ’cruelty’ and I think that‘s an important word to use. The people in Bolivia, for instance, who were thrown into prison, sometimes waiting four or five years before they even see a judge, before they’re even charged with a crime, to spend that long behind bars, it is cruel, it is inhumane, but they don’t vote.

The problem is, Bolivian’s don’t vote in US elections. They have no voice in our system and how many people hear about that sort of thing, in your local newspapers or on network news? That’s the problem and it got so bad that some of these prisoners in Bolivia actually sewed their lips shut with needle and thread because no one would hear about their conditions or why they were there, these bogus charges. They even went so far as to crucify themselves to try to get some kind of international attention to their plight.

Dean Becker: Right.

Mr. Sanho Tree: So thank you for mentioning that word, ‘cruelty.’

Dean Becker: I think we lost Leonard, but very, very profound thoughts and thank you for sharing that with us. Alright, we do have some other folks calling in. Let’s see, it looks like line 3 has been holding the longest. Your name and you’re on the air.

Caller: Dean?

Dean Becker: I’m Dean.

Caller: Dean, did I hear this correct from TV just the other day? That the Mexican drug cartels have American policemen in their organization?

Dean Becker: I can’t speak specifically to that. I did not see that story. It wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, I know they have had border guards and customs agents and US Army working for them. I don’t know how you define ’with-in’ the organization but look, they make… How much is it Sanho? Fifteen to thirty billion dollars a year and they use about half of that to bribe people, right?

Caller: Well Dean, do you recall…

Mr. Sanho Tree: Exactly. They have a lot of resources at their disposal, almost an unlimited amount of resources compared to law enforcement and particularly in places like Mexico and other less wealthy countries. They can’t possibly pay their police forces what the cartels can pay them…

Caller: Hello, Dean?

Mr. Sanho Tree: …and so it’s very difficult to guarantee their loyalty. Even within the United States we see cases of common corruption from cartels and even domestic and international as well. I don’t know how rampant it is compared to Mexico, but certainly it does certainly corrupt law enforcement within the United States.

Caller: Yeah. Hello?

Dean Becker: Go ahead, sir. Make it quick.

Caller: One more.

Dean Becker: Yes sir.

Caller: About six Mexican drug cartel kingpins were arrested. Correct?

Dean Becker: Well, they do one about one a month but, go ahead.

Caller: But, why is it that they haven’t arrested any American drug cartel kingpin?

Dean Becker: Well, they claim they have. But they…

Caller: {laughing} I haven’t seen them in the paper yet.

Dean Becker: We thank you for your call. We do have some more coming in we’re going to. But Sanho, do you want to address that? Why do we not find the American ‘kingpin’?

Mr. Sanho Tree: Well, arresting so-called kingpins, is about as effective as shoveling water. It’s kind of like how we keep killing the number two and number three heads of Al Quadia. {chuckling in background} We do that every other month, it seems. So here we get a press release saying, ’Well, we’ve knocked off the number two and the number three…’

Well, all that does is create job opportunities for number four, number five and number six, to move higher up and we’re seeing the same thing in these cartels. Which is why President Calderon’s policies of using the ‘iron fist’ against all the drug cartels, is almost guaranteed to fail, because you’re creating job opportunities for people who are within those unique organizations and who think, ‘this is their opportunity now’ to grab the golden ring and to make all that money for themselves.

Dean Becker: Well Sanho, I think about it like this. If I was a young corn farmer in Mexico, I might try to play, ‘Who wants to be a billionaire’ myself you know, because that’s a lot of money. Roll the dice and see who can rise to the top, right?

Mr. Sanho Tree: It’s funny you should mention corn. Corn is such a big part of all this problem. Someday I want to do a documentary just about corn.

Dean Becker: Alright.

Mr. Sanho Tree: If the arrogance of our policy makers, those that drove the NAFTA negotiations, for instance, looked at this problem of US, Mexico and Canada, just purely an economic technocratic terms. They said, ‘Oh, we can produce corn so much more cheaply in our industrial agricultural farms in the United States, you Mexicans don’t need to do that. Instead you should do other things, like work in factories or sweat shops on the -------, on the border, that sort of thing,’ and we flooded Mexico with cheap corn from the Mid-West United States.

As a result these Mexican farmers who are family farmers, who worked the land for countless generations for hundreds of years and they’re very sustainable, peaceful, very traditional way, were thrown off their land. They could not afford to grow corn in their own country, on their own land. They lost their farms.

They had to go into the sweat shops, some of them migrated legally or illegally to the United States, other’s joined the cartels, other’s joined gangs. We helped create this problem. We’ve destroyed sustainable ways of life that have kept Mexican’s in a healthy and sustainable culture for countless generations. We have destroyed that.

Dean Becker: Well, OK. I tell you what. Let’s go ahead. Looks like Anne has been holding the longest on line two. You’re on the air. Hello Anne.

Anne: Hey, how are you? This is just a… just… ’cause I don’t understand really, but how much of the effort to keep drugs like marijuana… kind of like the low end… how much of that is dictated by pharmaceutical companies? Because really, when you see a lot of people taking illegal drugs, in a lot of cases they are just trying to self-medicate, you know what I mean? For what ever reason, whatever they’re doing and how much do pharmaceutical companies weigh in on the drug wars? Because it would seem to me that of course they would stand to lose a lot if say, marijuana was legalized.

Dean Becker: Alright Anne, let’s get Sanho’s response.

Mr. Sanho Tree: Well they certainly stand to benefit from keeping competing drugs off the market, but I don’t support the theory that they’re actually driving the drug war. I think what drives the drug war is ignorance, cowardice and opportunism, on the part of our law makers or our legislators.

The Prime Minister of Luxemburg. He was talking about a different controversial issue and that country but he said basically, “Look, we all know what needs to be done, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it. That‘s the problem”

Dean Becker: {chuckling} Isn’t that the problem?

Mr. Sanho Tree: The problem is that our politicians are afraid. They’re cowardly, if you will and they‘re afraid of getting swift footed, of being smeared. It’d be a no-brainer, for instance, that we need health reform in this country and yet there‘s so much incredible resistance being thrown up by the industries and by the rightwing against that. Imagine if you took on the issue of drugs, which is even more controversial than health care, the kinds of mud that will be swung, as a result of that.

The problem, I think, has more to do with the nature of our political system, that we have elections that work off of fifteen and thirty second smear ads and those are perfectly legal. They don’t have to be accurate, they don’t have to be truthful. You can smear anyone for anything and that is ‘Constitutionally protected’ and as long as people are ignorant enough to fall for these ads, to believe that Obama care means ‘death panels’ for instance.

Politicians hear that and they think, ’Oh, I’m not going to try to explain anything that’s complicated anymore. I’m just going to try to ‘go with the flow’ and keep my head down,’ and that’s why we can’t get something as simple and as basic as Health Care Reform.

Dean Becker: Let alone change the marijuana laws.

Mr. Sanho Tree: Let alone ending prohibition.

Dean Becker: Yeah. O.K. We’re with Mr. Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C. He’s taking your questions. Our number: (713) 526-5738 or you can call toll free from anywhere in North America 1-877-9-420-420. We have Larone on line three. You’re on the air Larone. Hello, Larone?

Larone: Yes, I’m here. How’re you doing?

Dean Becker: You have a question?

Larone: Yes, two-fold. Now, I don’t care what somebody do in the privacy of their home. They’ve got whatever as far as I’m concerned, whatever right they have. I’m a correctional officer, but I’ve got one guy in particular who told me his grandson is his best customer and his other grandson is his best distributor.

People have that type of attitude that will sell to children, that’s why I have a problem with. That’s where the difficulty is. What people do in their own home, I don’t care. That’s their business, that’s the way I look at it. It should be legal. But selling to children, getting kids involved, that’s where I draw the line.

Dean Becker: I’m with you there, Larone. I want adults to be able to decide for themselves, what they want to do and if anybody’s going to go selling to children well, let’s lock them up. I mean, I’m with you. But that’s the whole point. We’ve made it where now, there’s no drivers license required in anybody, you know, nobody asks those children for an ID. Nobody cares and that what we have under this policy of prohibition. Your thoughts, Sanho?

Mr. Sanho Tree: Yeah, I agree with you and Larone. Look, I think the great myth of drug prohibition is that, prohibition doesn’t mean we control drugs, it means we give up the right to control drugs; the right to regulate. We choose not to regulate. So therefore, there’s a very simple dichotomy that is often presented by drug warriors. Either you are for zero tolerance and prohibition and the drug war or do you want legalization. Which they define to mean anarchy; selling heroin in candy machines to children; anything goes.

That’s not what I believe in. I don’t think that’s what you believe in, Dean. I don’t think that’s what in most drug reformers believe in. We want more control over these substances, not less and if we regulate these things, we can keep them out of the hands of children. Just as we keep alcohol and tobacco, for the most part, out of the hands of minors, because we choose to regulate those drugs. Whereas with marijuana, with cocaine, we don’t regulate at all.

So the dealer who sells marijuana may as well sell you something addictive, methamphetamine/heroin, because they get a return, repeat customer that way. Their bottom line is to maximize their profits. I want to take them out of this equation, altogether and regulate these things and bring them under the domain of the law.

Dean Becker: I wanted to add this thought that, and you correct me if I’m wrong Sanho, but I think Columbia, now Mexico, now Argentina and much of Western Europe have decriminalized their laws, that people are no longer going to jail for minor, personal possession amounts. That’s an improvement, but it still leaves the cartels in charge of the regulation control, purity, all of those things. Right, Sanho?

Mr. Sanho Tree: Yes, but it is an important step forward, compared to the United States and I think what the Supreme Court of Columbia decided back in 1994, is consistent with what Larone was saying. What you do in the privacy of your own home, the sovereignty of the individual; of your own body, is what the court recognized then.

So even though that Columbia has very tough drug war policies, they have essentially decriminalized personal possession. You can possess personal amounts of just about any drug, because they actually believe you have a sovereign right to control what goes into your own body in the privacy of your own home.

Dean Becker: Now if you’re out there listening and you’d like to participate in the conversation, we have just one caller online at the moment. I’m going to go to him in just a second, but if you’d like to participate, our number’s (713) 526-5738 or anywhere in North America toll free, by calling 1-877-9-420-420. We have Mr. Sanho Tree of the Institute for Policy Studies with us and we’re going to go now to Bobby on line four. Hello, Bobby. You’re on the air.

Bobby: Well, it’s very interesting that you’ve connected corn to illegal drugs err, the non soap, but it is. It’s economic imperialism and it’s political imperialism. Because the same banking, the same IMS and those regulations and the GATT treaties, that calls that disparity between; that throws people off their own land and makes them buy American corn?…

Dean Becker: Um-hmm.

Bobby: …keeps the same sort of policy that allows us to dictate their economic and the other thing is we dictate how we can use military control of their country. It’s imperialism. It’s economic and political and military imperialism. So these are excuses for that old word, imperialism and if you‘ll just look at that one, I’ll hang up and listen.

Dean Becker: Alright. Thank you, Bobby. Sanho, I just saw a headline yesterday, I think it was, that they’re now going to be growing corn in Mexico that’s been genetically modified.

Mr. Sanho Tree: {quietly} Yeah.

Dean Becker: They’re going to be allowing that, right?

Mr. Sanho Tree: Yeah.

Dean Becker: What does that tell us about this equation we’re talking about?

Mr. Sanho Tree: You know, it’s these technocrats and lobbyists who have gamed the system, to basically prevent other countries from doing things that are in their own and national sovereign interest, so that corporations have taken over the world. They are the one’s who get to decide what sovereign states can do or can‘t do and if you dare try to regulate their activities, they will take you to court, and the world bank has a court of it’s own called *ICSID or they’ll go to the **WTO or…. you know.

We’ve lost the ability to make decisions on those things that affect our daily lives in the most intimate of ways and I think that‘s what Bobby and others around the world are expressing in these huge protests. In Latin America, you know, there are protests all the time over these trade agreements. It’s because they‘ve lost; they’ve given up their sovereignty to multi-national corporations and to lobbyists in the US and to also the local elite too, who profit from these deals. But it’s the people who suffer the most.

Dean Becker: Yeah, it is. It is indeed. Alright, my friends. Well, we’ve got Richard on line two. You have some concerns for us? You’re on the air.

Richard: Yeah, hey Dean. I’ve been on your show before. I don’t know if you recognize my voice before…

Dean Becker: The gentleman who had the problem with the corrections situation… about the urine test.

Richard: That’s me, that’s me. You know it just… there’s just so many tangents of this bogus, illegal drug but what I want to say is, it’s such a no-brainer. All you have to do is look at history. We have a perfect example of how it doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work and why it would work if you decriminalized it. The perfect example I’m talking about of course, is prohibition years. The twenties and the early thirties.

You know it’s a shame that these, I call them idiots but, like some of the people that have been on your show have described, it may be because they have a tangible reason for not decriminalizing it.

Dean Becker: For not, is understanding. Yes.

Richard: The only thing… I just want to say this and this connects with the Iraq war, comparing it to Vietnam, you know and if you studied history like I have, this’ll make sense to you - or even if you haven’t, it’ll make sense to you. The only thing we American’s learn from history is that, we don’t learn anything from history.

{laughter from all}

Richard: I’ll let you go. Thanks.

Dean Becker: Thank you, Richard. I tell you what, we’ve got just a couple minutes left. I appreciate the calls and we’ve got about two and a half left here, I want to let you respond first to Richard’s thought that…

Mr. Sanho Tree: There’s an old joke that, ’War is God’s way of teaching American’s Geography’ {laughter} …and in hindsight it’s a way of teaching history as well. But too few of us learn from our mistakes, unfortunately.

Dean Becker: Exactly and people don’t stop and think about it. The US has troops in about one hundred and forty out of the world’s hundred and seventy nations and they have the audacity to say, ’Well, it’s not some sort of an empire.’ It’s time for us to pull the troops home. It’s time to grow our own food and build our own stuff and become a capable and a self sustaining country again. What’s your thoughts on that, Sanho?

Mr. Sanho Tree: I think absolutely, you’re right. We need to reprioritize and redirect our policies. But when you have such a substantial percentage of the population that believe in the Birthers, for instance or the death panelists or any of these wacko’s, they make a lot of noise. They may not be large numerically, but they’re able to express themselves in ways that are sometimes quite violent, very threatening and politicians hear that.

They hear that much more than us quiet, rational, reasonable types and until we educate the most ignorant of those among us, they will continue to try to dominate politics if they can, by throwing these tantrums. So just as they’re lashing out against any kind of health reform, they will do the same with drug policy and with other social issues, if we don’t reach out to them.

Too often we talk to those people who already agree with us. I would rather talk to people who don’t agree with me. Those are the people we need to win over. But I think we, if we make an honest effort, I think Obama tries to do, to reach out to those who disagree with him. He’s not having much success, but there is no substitute for reaching out to those people. Otherwise the Glenn Beck’s of the world will continue to dominate this debate, by sheer noise.

Dean Becker: Yeah, the media of hysteria. It’s plain crazy. Well Sanho, once again, please give them your website. Kind of wrap it up for us.

Mr. Sanho Tree: Sure. It’s www.ips-dc.org Click on drug policy. (under PROJECTS tab)

Dean Becker: Alright. Sanho Tree, we thank you so much. I appreciate all the calls. Got a couple of segments I want to share with you. We’ll be back with some words to wrap it up here, in just a minute.
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This is Phil Smith of the Drug War Chronicle with this weeks corrupt cops stories for the Drug Truth Network.

Dean, I’m sure you’ve been keeping your listeners in Houston informed about asset- forfeiture rip-off scandal just up the road from you in Tenaha. You know, the one where the town cops and the county DA’s office conspired to stop innocent motorists, nearly all black except for one mixed race couple {ohh-ohh} and threatened to jail and prosecute them on bogus charges, unless they handed over their cash.

Now to add insult to injury the DA, who is facing a civil rights law suit, wants to use some of the money, she and her co-conspirators stole, to defend herself. The ***ACLU has filed a motion to keep that from happening, but stay tuned. Of course, Tenaha is not the only place where that kind of crap is going on.

In fact, allowing law enforcement to profit and plunder it’s seizures is dangerous to the community, as we can see in Tenaha. It creates distorted law enforcement priorities if you’re all about seizing money instead of fighting crime. Like the former sheriff of McIntosh county in Oklahoma, that’s Muskogee, and his Under-Sheriff who three weeks ago were sentenced to twenty-seven months in Federal prison for stealing money from motorists under the guise of asset-forfeiture and keeping it for themselves.

Former Sheriff Terry Jones and Under-Sheriff Mykol Brookshire pleaded guilty to Conspiracy Under Color of Law to Interfere with Interstate Commerce, for repeatedly seizing money from drivers under threat of arrest and then keeping either all of it or part of it for themselves. They went down in May of this year when the driver they pulled over and shook down turned out to be a Federal Agent in a sting directed at them. They found six bundles of cash but when they called in the bluff, they only reported five. Now they’re going to jail.

As always, there are more corrupt cop stories this week. Check them out online at www.stopthedrugwar.org
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A discouraging word.

Earlier this week, I gave a presentation to a fraternal organization, it’ll remain nameless. This one, like all the other ones I’ve spoken to, has a charity they support. That’s partly why I go there, you know?

So there I was, giving my presentation and introducing myself, you know. Time as a cop, time on the radio, time talking about this problem that’s impacting every aspect of our society, and right about when I got to the point where I’m saying, “I’m here because you guys have influence and stature and standing in the community and I’m hoping that you’ll open the discussion. Because it’s so hard in the work place or at school or in other situations, to even bring it up and I just wanted to bring it up and see what you thought about making that change. Because once we change away from this drug war, we’ll be able to use our time and money and focus on more important things like their charity.”

At about that time, one of the stuffed shirts in the room kind of said, “Well, I protest, because we have a very important charity to deal with and I just don’t think it’s appropriate to bring it up here, at this meeting.” I was kind of stunned. Another lady in the room said, “Yeah, I don’t think we should be talking about it either.”

I’ve spoken to dozens of fraternal organizations, about half a dozen churches, a couple of high schools and about a dozen colleges, giving this presentation and never has anyone objected in such a fashion. In fact most times, we sit around for hours after the scheduled time for the meeting, kicking this around, sharing websites and books and other information, to make this change happen.

A funny thing is, I saw a couple of other people at that meeting nodding their heads, kind of smiling, when I made certain points, but they were unable to speak up once the objection was raised because, ‘Hell, it’s just not something people talk about.’

You know, I’m so kind. I didn’t tell this guy but, because of his objection and his unwillingness to address this situation, he is a fine friend of the cartels. He’s a buddy of Osama Bin Laden. He’s a ‘homey’ to both the Crips and the Bloods. He chooses to remain ignorant and silent in regards to everlasting drug war.

So just remember, silence is not golden, ignorance is not bliss and discouraging words are just wrong.
________________

Stupid, stupid.
We’re really, really stupid.

Listen, and you will see.
________________

US Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske.

…trying to do away with the war metaphor. War means, usually, war on people and that limits your tools because most people think the only way we fight a war is with force. Well, the addiction problem, the drug problem in this country is much more complex than the forty year metaphor for ‘war on drugs.’

A*M*E*R*I * C*I*A
________________

Alright. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Century of Lies. Thanks Sanho Tree, the Institute for Policy Studies. Please check out his website. Do what you can.

You know as a former cop, member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, policy makers tell us to fight this un-winnable war. Only after years of witnessing the ineffectiveness of drug policies and the disproportionate impact of the drug war on young black men, have we and other police officers begun to question the system.

Cities and states license beer and tobacco sellers to control where, when and to whom drugs are sold. Ending alcohol prohibition saved lives, because it took gangsters out of the game. Regulated alcohol doesn’t work perfectly, but it works well enough.

Prescription drugs are regulated and while there’s a huge problem with abuse, at least a system of distribution involves doctors and pharmacists. Works without violent and high volume of incarceration. Regulating drugs would work similarly. Legalization would not create a drug free-for-all. In fact, regulation reins in the mess we already have.

There is no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data; no reason for this drug war to exist. We have been duped and it’s up to you to do your part and I urge you to visit our website which is endprohibition.org. There you can join up with many of the finest drug reform organizations on the planet.

Prohibido istac evilesco.

For the Drug Truth Network this is Dean Becker, asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org