10/14/12 Doug McVay

Doug McVay interviews Kevin Zeese and Mike Gray at the NORML conference, Rpt on Shapelle Corby, Rectal search for drugs, Young Turks, NBC looks at border & Terry Nelson of LEAP re waves of drug war corruption

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Guest: 
Doug McVay
Organization: 
Common Sense for Drug Policy
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Transcript

Cultural Baggage / October 14, 2012

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Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”

“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”

DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.

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DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us on this edition of Cultural Baggage. It is getting exciting. Just a couple of weeks left before the election and there is a lot of opportunity for the drug laws to change – especially out west.

Last week was the convention for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Doug McVay who normally reports for us from Common Sense for Drug Policy got a chance to speak with Kevin Zeese, a former Director of NORML, along with Mike Gray, the author of “Drug Crazy.”

Here’s he interview.

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DOUG McVAY: This is the 41 st annual NORML conference. Kevin, some thoughts about this.

KEVIN ZEESE: I think it’s a great time. 75 th anniversary of marijuana prohibition and it’s an utter failure. It’s pretty evident to people. Now we have more than half of the public supporting us – that’s a first. We’re about to have perhaps several states vote to legalize marijuana which would be gigantic breakthroughs.

I think we’re at a very exciting point – kind of a tipping point. Now that’s not the end of the fight. It’s the beginning of the victory but we are...if we continue on the path we’re on very artfully and carefully picking our voter battles but also building our movement and keeping pressure on both parties to do the best they can to improve the situation we can actually make some serious progress in the next few years. That’s a really unusual opportunity so it’s an exciting time to be here.

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DEAN BECKER: Alright and this is author Mike Gray.

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MIKE GRAY: I agree with Kevin. We’re at a moment of tremendous opportunity right now and we have to concentrate on eliminating the attempts by a lot of people to divide and conquer. We have to remember that within our movement there are always subversives – people who are planted there by our adversaries in order to create dissention and that sort of thing.

Now not everybody who disagrees us is a federal agent but, on the other hand, it’s always important at a crucial moment like this to start paying attention to anyone who is intentionally disruptive time after time. That’s someone you need to control and we had to deal with that…I think you, Kevin, and you too, Doug, on the ARO list. Someone on the mailing list had to step in and stop some of that character assassination, literally, that was going on in our midst among our members – you can’t have that.

The upside of all this is we have broken the back of the prohibitionists and they know it. That’s why they’re reacting so hysterically. If you were in charge of a narcotics squad in Chicago and you had an annual budget of 3 million dollars to run this operation as your own little kingdom and you got free helicopters from the federal government and God knows what else – everything but drones and maybe soon drones, you know.

You’re reluctant to give up that package of largess and comes through insisting that we got to spend 70 billion dollars a year to make America drug free. How are we doing? You know?!

If I may quote the woman who ended alcohol prohibition, Pauline Morton Seven. She was an extremely wealthy patron of the eastern society. The Morton in her name was from the salt Morton’s. Her husband was the head of the Melon bank so these were fabulously wealthy people who were in high society.

She organized, because she saw the absolute destruction that prohibition was causing to young people – girls never got into saloons before prohibition and as Hawood L. Broon said, “Now I have to fight my way through a bunch of girls to get to the bar.”

The line that killed, literally, the stab to the heart to prohibition was from Pauline Morton Seven in a congressional testimony where she said, “Before prohibition my children had no access to alcohol. After prohibition they could get it anywhere.”

So that’s basically what we’re confronted with here. Everybody is very nervous about children smoking pot. Listen, if you need some pot – call your kid. They’re the ones who know immediately where it is because it’s being marketed to them and we can end all that with a stroke of the pen. Regulate it and control it like booze.

We went through this experience once. Why we have to go through everything twice – let’s hope we don’t have to go through it three times. I’m looking forward to the end of this thing and I think everyone else is, too.

There’s a sense among the guys here who have been fighting this battle, like Kevin, for 25 years, really?

KEVIN ZEESE: 30…

MIKE GRAY: …for 30 years! We all thought, you know, “We’re going to get this. This is going to be over because it’s so ridiculous. There’s absolutely no scientific or ethical basis for any of this stuff.”

It was logical to us but we failed to figure in the tremendous pressure against reform from the drug corporations, the liquor industry. There are several pharmaceutical companies that stand to lose literally billions of dollars in market share once people realize that marijuana is a better medication for anxiety than most of the anti-anxiety medicines on the market and whereas they have to label it, (you’ll notice the commercials on TV ) “May cause thoughts of suicide.”

To me, as far as I know, that never happened to a marijuana smoker in the history of smoking marijuana.

DOUG McVAY: Kevin, I met you 29 …you reminded me that it was, in fact, 29 years ago in Iowa when you came back to my home state. After that I went to D.C. to my first NORML conference in November of ’83. You were the Director of NORML at the time and I talk about that from time to time when talking about how I was in a room…I think everybody that was in attendance there and I think there were about 40 or 50 people and that was “a pretty big crowd of reformers.”

I look at these crowds today and I’m blown away by the change. It’s astounding.

KEVIN ZEESE: One of the really good things about being involved in an issue for so long is something you don’t get to see in social justice very often which is actual change. When I go into a medical marijuana dispensary and see what’s happened I think about that decision from Judge Francis Young that we worked on who said denial of medical marijuana by the DEA is “arbitrary and capricious.”

Even though the federal government hasn’t changed its laws you can go into a dispensary and people are exchanging money for their medicine. That’s pretty incredible to see. Now to go to the next step and see states about to vote for legalization – Wow, that’s an incredible thing.

Social generation is multi-generational change. It’s faster now than it used to be. The Abolition Movement was pre-American Revolution. Thomas Paine, who wrote “Common Sense”, was talking about ending slavery, women voting. Vermont was the first state to abolish slavery in 1777.

But it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that we finally faced up to it. Women’s vote was even longer. That wasn’t until the 1900s. So it’s slow process, change, but we are speeding it up. If we keep the pressure on, keep doing what we are doing for the last 20 and 30 years and really recognize that we can win this.

What’s great about having victories is that you can see what we’re doing actually works. It actually does not create the crisis that the prohibitionists fear or that they propagandize. It creates, actually, a safer environment. There have been so many positive changes and so much evidence that what we are doing is actually going to make a better society that we have an incredible opportunity.

I hope we can all keep organized. I just wanted to reemphasize one other point which is the solidarity – it is so important. So often in politics it’s the side that is divided that loses and divide and rule is the classic strategy of those in government who want to stop things from moving forward so we’ve got to …if we’re going to have divisions they should be in private rooms – We talk and debate and discuss but once something is on the ballot we need to come together and support it and make whatever change we can make within the reality of the political sphere and push from there to the next level of change.

Let’s see more solidarity and less division as we get closer and closer to our ultimate goal.

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(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Loss of personal freedom, family and possessions. Ineligible for government funding, education, licensing, housing or employment. Loss of aggressive mind set in a dangerous world. This drug’s peaceful, easy feeling can be habit forming.

(((gong)))

Time's up! The answer: Doobie, jimmy, joint, reefer, spliff, jibber, jay, biffa, jazz, blunt, steege, greener, cracker, hogger, bone, carrot, maryjane, marijuana, cannabis sativa.

Made by God. Prohibited by man.

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DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of Australia’s ABC News.

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REPORTER: Convicted Australian drug trafficker, Shapelle Corby, has had another 6 months cut from her jail term. Indonesian officials say she will be able to apply for parole next month.

Corby, who received a 20 year jail sentence in 2005 for smuggling marijuana into Bali, was given the remission as part of Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations. They’ve given annually two prisoners for good behavior.

Indonesian correspondent, George Roberts, joins us on the phone now.

George, is it all that unexpected that Corby was given this shortened sentence and when are we likely to expect her to be released?

GEORGE ROBERTS: It was not surprising that she got another 6 months off her jail term. She will, say, be given 5 years cut by the Presidency in May of this year which is quite a lengthy cut but it’s also been quite controversial.

It’s been widely recognized that she been well-behaved in prison. The Governor of the prison where she’s being held in the infamous prison in Bali has recognized that she’s been well-behaved so it’s not surprising that these cut in terms were recommended to the Human Rights Minister whose effectively granted this 6 month cut.

That brings her under the threshold, as you said, it makes it that she has now served two-thirds of her term and that means she can put in for parole. It would be too early to get too excited and say she could be out by the end of the year or she could be out within months because it could take quite a long time from this next month when she’s eligible to apply until it’s actually happened.

She has to go through Ministry. It needs to be signed off at various levels. That sort of thing can take a couple months so that pushes it out to the end of the year. It’s also going to be controversial. There’s already an NGO that has launched a legal battle against the President and he finally gave her the cut in jail term earlier this year. Effectively that cancels out this prospect of her getting paroled.

There are still a couple of obstacles for Shapelle Corby. It is not a done deal but she could be out soon. There’s a couple of things that need to happen before she can get paroled but she could be out in the near future.

REPORTER: George, you mentioned that there was some opposition to previous shortenings to her sentence. Has there been any expression of opposition to these current reductions?

GEORGE ROBERTS: Not so far. It has been announced just last night so it’s quite early but there will be people who will not want to see this happen so that’s why it’s a controversial decision and that’s why it took take longer for her to go through the government. As a Westerner she will need to go through various approvals. She’s applying for clemency that might take a couple months it is possible that it could take longer because they want to seem to be doing due process.

There’s not as much pressure on the President because he can’t get reelected. His term is up in 2014. He can’t get reelected so in that respect he could do things like grant clemency without having to worry about backlash from the electorate.

There is still that pressure on the Ministry so there will be that sort of controversy. This is a country that takes a hardline on drugs. When you’re allowed in Bali or anywhere in Indonesia the entry card says, “Death penalty for drug trafficking.” So it’s well known and there are signs in country to tell you that.

They do take quite a hard line and that’s why there will be people who will be against getting any permission or parole this early on. Remember she was only arrested in 2005 so it’s only been 7 years out of what was supposed to be a 20 year jail term.

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[music]

Bad cops, bad cops…whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when prohibition comes for you?

Bad cops, bad cops…whatcha gonna do when prohibition comes for you?

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DEAN BECKER: From Milwaukee, Wisconsin it’s been reported that four Milwaukee police officers were charged earlier this week with felonies related to illegal rectal searches of suspects on the streets and in police district stations during the couple of years.

In one case an officer held a gun to a man’s head as two others held his arms and a third put him in a choke hold while jamming a hand into his anus purportedly searching for evidence.

The complaint lays out in graphic detail how the primary suspect conducted searches of men’s anal and scrotal areas often inserting their fingers into their rectums.

State law and police procedures prohibit officers from conducting cavity searches. Only medical personnel are allowed to perform and police must first obtain a search warrant.

Here is a response from Milwaukee’s District Attorney Chisholm.

JOHN CHISHOLM: Today we issue charges against 4 Milwaukee police officers alleging they engaged in illegal searches of individuals detained or in police custody. We’ve made every effort to respectfully address concerns raised by the citizens regardless of their past history and we’ve made every effort to allow police officers to come forward with information to allow us to fairly determine who, if anyone, was engaged in the misconduct and to hold those responsible accountable.

During the investigation it became clear that the mistreatment focused on the actions of select officers from District #5. Included in the complaint are 25 separate accounts alleging violations of Wisconsin’s strip search law, misconduct in public office and sexual assault.

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DEAN BECKER: This is Milwaukee Police Chief, Edward Flynn.

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EDWARD FLYNN: You’ve heard the District Attorney make public some very serious charges against 4 Milwaukee police officers. Quite frankly I’m disgusted by the willful actions of some of the officers in our police department and I’m appalled by the willful inaction of some other officers in our police department in failing to stop egregious conduct.

It’s a disappointing day for me. It’s a disappointing day for the members of the Milwaukee police department and it’s a disappointing day for the city that we are all sworn to protect.

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DEAN BECKER: Among the 25 charges levied were sexual intercourse, unauthorized body cavity searches and intercourse (finger to anus). It should be noted that all of these intrusive searches were done in a search for drugs.

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SPEAKER: Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulation. Ask Milton Friedman. He got a God damn Nobel Prize.

We have laws against precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street.

Corruption is why we win.

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DEAN BECKER: As another example of the power of the internet, the power of the people I found the following audio actually taken from a video posted on YouTube produced by The Young Turks Network.

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FEMALE SPEAKER: It turns out that police officials are increasingly ignoring violent crimes and they are using all of their resources to arrest and prosecute people who have possession of marijuana. There are significant incentives to do so.

The Huffington Post did a great report on this and they lay out all the different ways that police departments, local police departments, profit from arresting and prosecuting people who have possession of marijuana.

The first thing is they get federal anti-drug grants. The way a police department is able to get those grants is if they can show that they have made a significant amount of arrests for marijuana and drug possession. This is a competitive thing. It’s not like all police departments get it. You get this grant if you can show that you have arrested enough people.

MALE SPEAKER: First of all look at the set of instructions that they give you. Like right or wrong it’s a real problem in your community, it’s not a real problem in your community – who cares?! You only get the money if you do our bidding which is to arrest as many people for smoking marijuana, selling marijuana, etc. as possible.

So, gee, I wonder why we got all these people locked up in jail? Because they’re literally getting paid to lock them up and as much as possible.

Second of all, if you incenticize them to do that obviously they’re going to do that instead of other things.

FEMALE SPEAKER: Of course. They’re going to use all their time and resources to arrest people when they know that arresting those individuals is going to mean that they are going to bring in money for doing so.

So here’s another example when they suspect that someone might have possession of drugs they can do something known as asset forfeiture. For example, police can legally seize property from people merely suspected of drug crimes. They can basically get a hold of the cash and that cash goes back to the police department. It doesn’t go back to the person who is arrested.

When it comes to non-cash property it’s auctioned off and that money goes back to the police department.

MALE SPEAKER: So, look….if you got raped or you got seriously assaulted and you lost an eye, etc. There’s no profit in it for the cops. I mean, hopefully they’ll get to it, right?!

But if you had a little bit of marijuana or cocaine in your Mercedes – HEY, they got a Mercedes. And they get money from the federal government. Wow…gee, I wonder which one they’re going to put more effort into?!

FEMALE SPEAKER: Right, exactly. There was a case of a woman in Chicago who was literally beaten to the point where she suffered a concussion. She woke up the following morning and went to the police. The police didn’t care so she went and did her own investigation to find out who the attackers were.

Then she went to the police and said, “Look, here are the attackers – the names of these people and where they lived. Please arrest them. Arrest them.”

Finally, after bugging them, the Chicago police decided, “Alright, fine. We’ll arrest these guys but stop bitching about it.”

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, stop complaining that you were beaten unconscious. “Look, it didn’t involve drugs – why would we care?”

In fact, what she should have done instead of all that is, “They beat me near death plus I saw them smoking a joint.”

Then the cops would be like, “OK, we jump in.”

FEMALE SPEAKER: Exactly, “We got to get those federal anti-drug grants.”

The last way that these police departments make money is that drug dealers are forced to reimburse the police departments for the resources they spent to arrest and prosecute and that’s only with drug-related crimes.

MALE SPEAKER: You’re right. So, again, if somebody came into your house, they attack your kids, they rob your precious possessions…since they don’t have to pay back to the cops, “Yeah, well, we’ll get to it when we get to it.”

But you got a little bit of marijuana … “Let’s make some money!”

You think this doesn’t pervert how those police departments react to these different crimes? You’re crazy if you don’t think that. Of course they respond to financial incentive.

FEMALE SPEAKER: And this is an increasing issue because if you look at the statistics, if you look at 1989 to 1995 there were a total of 33,775 marijuana arrests. However, between 1996 and 2010 there were more than one-half of a million marijuana arrests.

MALE SPEAKER: Gee, I wonder if it had an effect. I can’t quite tell.

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ANCHOR: We’re back with an ongoing NBC News investigation – part of our ongoing series of reports on the violent drug war next door along the Mexican border.

The recent friendly firing death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona has once again put security in the spotlight and some are now asking whether the Obama administration is trying to downplay what is really happening.

Our report tonight from NBC’s Mark Potter.

MARK POTTER: Arizona rancher, John Ladd, whose land includes 8 miles of Mexican border fence says while fewer illegal immigrants cross his property now he is overrun by drug smugglers and fears many are armed.

JOHN LADD: They have no regard for laws, people, anything and if they want to cause us harm they’re going to do it.

MARK POTTER: This video shot by a hidden camera on his land shows a group of smugglers carrying bails of marijuana which Ladd says he sees regularly. He also says Mexican smugglers cut big holes like this in the border fence and this year have driven 21 trucks through it he believes were loaded with drugs headed north across his ranch land.

JOHN LADD: The problem is our government, at the highest level, doesn’t want to admit that the reality is we’ve been invaded.

MARK POTTER: In surrounding Cochise County, Arizona, the acting Sheriff says residents fear the drug smugglers – especially after the murders 2 years ago of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and rancher Robert Crince.

SHERIFF: We’ve got some chunks of this country that we’ve ceded control to armed, foreign thugs.

MARK POTTER: Retired DEA Supervisor, Anthony Colson, says as Washington supervisors have ordered field supervisors to publically downplay the public threats in rural border counties.

ANTHONY COLSON: They don’t want this story to be told because it’s not convenient for a political election for this story to be told.

MARK POTTER: General Barry McCaffrey, a former U.S. Drug Czar and NBC News Analyst, agrees.

BARRY McCAFFREY: The border is increasingly lawless in rural areas and the customs and border protection senior people are being told to not support that message.

MARK POTTER: But a flat denial of that comes from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner David Agular.

DAVID AGULAR: There is no way that we would downplay the reality, the situation or our nation’s borders.

MARK POTTER: In recent years the Border Patrol has doubled the number of agents to 21,000 and substantially increased its border surveillance technology.

DAVID AGULAR: Overall the border is much safer than it’s ever been.

MARK POTTER: Agular insists that with the city safe they are now working to shore up the rural areas.

DAVID AGULAR: Are there pockets out there that we continue to and should continue to look at? Absolutely.

Are we going to give up? Absolutely not.

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TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. The war on drugs causes so many other problems in our country other than just crime and violence. As is widely know there are many so called unintended consequences of the war on drugs. Although, we at LEAP are not always in agreement that these consequences are not intended consequences.

Last week another consequence, whether unintended or intended, surfaced on the war on drugs tentacles. The feds indicted 91 people, accusing them of falsely billing Medicare for $430 million dollars.

In Houston, the president of Riverside General Hospital was arrested, along with his son and five others.

Riverside is historic; it was once the Houston Negro Hospital – but now specializes in the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse.

Vivian Ho is a health economist at Rice University's Baker Institute. She says it's hard to know for sure, but some studies estimate that up to 10 percent of Medicare spending is actually lost to fraud and abuse.

So stopping that crime is quite important: "To that extent, ten percent savings would be wonderful in terms of trying to deal with the deficit we're facing because we spend so much on Medicare. So when we're talking about fraud, if we can address it effectively, it's not a drop in the bucket, it's actually a tremendous amount of savings that would make us all better off."

Ho says investigations of medical fraud slowed down after 9/11, when the government was more focused on terrorism.

This revelation, along with the consequences of the number of people in private prisons, drug testing abuses that force young adults to forgo their constitutional rights to illegal searches just because they are of school age, break up of families that destroy the family unit, damage children and cause serious loss of respect for our police officers, enriching drug dealers and cartel members, corrupting police and other public officials, and a multitude of other consequences it is way past time to change our drug policies.

More and more people, media (print, TV and internet) are calling for change of our drug policies and to begin supporting public safety again. If you support Prohibition then you do not support public safety as the prohibition of these substances actually causes the degradation of public safety. Three years ago the FBI said that the cartel had influence in two to three hundred American cities. This year they report that number is up to one thousand cities that have cartel influence. Cartels with their dealings in death, disease and destruction and all because government policy has made weeds worth more than gold. Alchemist of old and Rumpelstiltskin could not even accomplish this.

So lets call on our politicians to help us change this failed public policy and implement a policy of Education and Treatment instead of the current policy of arrest and incarceration to deal with our drug problems.

This is terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc signing off. Stay safe.

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DEAN BECKER: If this show is not enough to convince you that it’s time for you to do your part to end the madness of drug war – I really don’t know what could get it done.

As always, I remind you, because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.
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DEAN BECKER: To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica Studios of KPFT Houston.

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org