Eapen Thampy 06/26/11

Eapen Thampy, Dir Americans for Forfeiture Reform, artist Lindy author of "No Knock Raid" + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Eapen Thampy
Americans for Forfeiture Reform


Cultural Baggage / June 27, 2011


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.


DEAN BECKER: Hello, my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. Here in just a little while we’re going to hear from a musical artist, Lindy. He’s based up in Canada. You may have seen and heard his video, “No Knock Raid”, out there on YouTube. But first we’re going to bring in the director for Americans for Forfeiture Reform, Mr. Eapen Thampy. Are you with us sir?

EAPEN THAMPY: Hi, yeah, I’m here.

DEAN BECKER: Eapen, tell us a little bit about your organization. What is your objective?

EAPEN THAMPY: My organization is Americans for Forfeiture Reform. We are young. We founded last year in Kansas City- myself and Sam Burnett(?), he just graduated from law school. Our objective is to reform America’s civil and criminal forfeiture laws with an emphasis on federal reform which is important because state reforms are inevitably circumvented by federal law and federal agencies.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, you know the former…I don’t know if she was Drug Czar Assistant …Andrea Bart(?), She was quoted a couple years back as saying that the amount of funds that the DEA and the federal officials derive from forfeitures almost made up the billion dollars plus that they spend each year trying to stop these drugs. Your response to that.

EAPEN THAMPY: Well, I would tell you that the justice system has turned from a justice system into a giant money-making machine. And I estimate that fines, forfeitures and other derivative proceeds whatever that pertain to directly to law enforcement projects comprise between a quarter and one-third of drug war funding proper. Although, of course, no one has ever been able to track the whole extent fines, forfeitures and other revenue sources that law enforcement controls because we got 30 different federal agencies that use them. (chuckles)

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and they’re not going to give up that gravy train without a big fight are they?

EAPEN THAMPY: Oh no, absolutely not. You may be interested…I just got…I was in Boston this past Monday for congressional subcommittee hearings on the abuse of forfeiture funds and law enforcement misconduct at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They have forfeiture funds too and in the last five years they pulled in over $100 million and still can’t account for half of it.

DEAN BECKER: Let me interrupt you for a second. What?! The Oceanic …is this drug money you’re talking about?

EAPEN THAMPY: The seizures are made under a variety of laws. Some of them, yes, were made by NOAA law enforcement under the drug forfeiture statues but not all of them. It’s important to note that law enforcement agencies have access to a giant spectrum of forfeiture laws that permit seizure of everything from physical money to literature and bank accounts.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, they have kind of carte blanche on what they think is a crime, right?


DEAN BECKER: Well, that’s amazing stuff. Once again, folks, we’re speaking with Mr. Eapen Thampy. He’s director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform. Here in just a moment we’re going to bring into our discussion an artist who goes by the name Lindy. He produced a video. It’s kind of a hit now out there on YouTube called “No Knock Raid.” We premiered it here on our show last week. Going to play this little segment and then we’re going to bring in Lindy.


LINDY: And it’s a no knock raid. And it’s a no knock raid. Don’t be afraid.

(massive gun fire as music fades)

DEAN BECKER: Alright, that was the sound of 71 rounds being emptied into a man’s house. Some 60 of those bullets penetrated his body. The charge: suspicion of marijuana sales.

The thing we have to realize, folks, is that nobody’s died from marijuana yet and all this hoopla is just that. I want to welcome to the program, Lindy, are you with us?

LINDY: I sure am.

DEAN BECKER: Lindy, I want to congratulate you on that production. The video that runs with it is powerful, as well as it shows the video from these raids and the futility of this whole effort, does it not?

LINDY: Yeah, it sure does. It was a real pleasure to work with Reason Magazine and Reason TV on this project. It really came together quite nicely to make an affective message. It’s really important that this message is getting to a wider audience and that’s what I’m trying to help out with. Getting the information to the people about how much these raids are just extreme overkill and not the kind of thing you want to see in a free society.

DEAN BECKER: This is so true and so often is the case, you know, if the house is paid for, by God, they’ll take the house in many cases. They’ll take cars if the car is paid for. It’s a means by which they prop up their bank accounts. Once again, we were just speaking with Lindy, an artist of “No Knock Raid” and we’re also speaking with Eapen Thampy, the director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform.

Now, Eapen, I want to ask you your response to that video by Lindy.

EAPEN THAMPY: I have two responses. The first one, however, let me share with you that I believe two or three of the raids in that video occurred in the town where I have lived for the past 7 years, Colombia, Missouri. I went to the university there, University of Missouri.

There’s the Kenrock raid where the dogs are being shot. There’s a second raid where you see dogs being shot and then there’s a third raid where you see the police break in on a black family. And all those happened in the circle of about 4 miles from where I live. (chuckles)

And forfeiture issues are important because it is the way the police have militarized themselves over the last 20/30 years and I think that video is about as graphic portrayal and real impact as I think it gets.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah and that sound we heard at the end, that was…and…was it Lindy?

LINDY: Yeah, Lindy.

DEAN BECKER: What was that? Was it 71 rounds that were fired into that house?

LINDY: Yeah, that’s right.

DEAN BECKER: 71 rounds…

LINDY: They just, basically, murdered the guy. This was an Iraq war vet. He’d done 2 or 3 tours in Iraq and this is what he had to deal with when he came back home – being killed in front of his family.

DEAN BECKER: And as I understand it there were about 60 rounds that hit his body and that it was an hour and one-half before they let an ambulance get to him.

LINDY: Yeah, it’s just a really sad, sad state of affairs and for all these people who we don’t hear about, these people who don’t have a voice. I mean, so many thousands of these raids happen every year. If we could put a microphone and a camera and interview these people, there would be so many videos it would be insane. And so when they happen, jeez, you gotta shout out to the world about how this is unacceptable.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah, and your video has gotten tens of thousands of hits as well. It’s something that’s caught people’s attention. I want to commend you for that.

Now going back to Mr. Eapen Thampy, he’s the director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform. Eapen, the fact of the matter is, I think it’s 80,000 such raids happen across America each year, something like that. What’s your response to that?

EAPEN THAMPY: These raids were happening at something like 300 a year in the 1980s. To hear that they are now happening at the rate of 80,000 a year in the United States of America is to conclude that something is seriously wrong. We are living in a world of, some would say, Soviet law enforcement. I think a fair parallel might be the Colonial law enforcement over Americans by the British. This kind of enforcement rates by, you know, by the military essentially for revenue purposes…revenue that is both taken by the government and pertains directly to the law enforcement is exactly what the King of England was doing to this country 300 odd years ago.

DEAN BECKER: What was that number you said back in 1980?

EAPEN THAMPY: I believe in the early 1980s we were doing about 300/500 SWAT raids across the United States per year.

DEAN BECKER: Well now, just a rough calculation here, it’s about half that many every day.

EAPEN THAMPY: Yeah, about ‘86/’87 we were doing 3,000 raids so 10-fold increase from 6 years earlier.

DEAN BECKER: And this is America, folks, I mean, we are the gulag filling station of this planet. We have more people behind bars than any nation in the history of this planet.

EAPEN THAMPY: And let me remind you that we know have political prisoners like Marc Emery.

DEAN BECKER: Yeah. Marc Emery never set foot in our country. Sold seeds – legal as Hell in his country – and yet, through some type of leverage the Canadian government allowed him to be thrown into our gulags. Your response, Mr. Thampy.

EAPEN THAMPY: The one thing that I think the United States has going for it is that we do have a strong and vibrant civil society, democracy that although corrupted just remember what it once was. I think that there’s still strength and recognition and power to turn back the clock. I think the lessons that we learned from the Soviet Union should be remembered. I think we should remember what it took to defeat that evil empire and see if we can prevent the worse from happening again.

DEAN BECKER: I look at it this way that can we not learn from these lessons from the past? Can we not focus on the fact that we’re being lied to. The classic example is, of course, that marijuana, the one drug that’s never killed anybody, we had those liars and prevaricators in the early part of the 20th century that turned it into a threat, so to speak, and we’ve got to speak up. More and more people are realizing this truth but because of job or church or some other social circumstance they fail to speak up. They fail to do their part to end this madness. Your response, Mr. Lindy.

LINDY: There was so much effort in the 60s and 70s to legalize marijuana and all the hippies and that generation…and their parents, you know, being extremely upset about their children being locked up for possession of this relatively harmless substance when you consider it compared to other ones…and I just wonder where are those people now who are not speaking up and making this enough of a single issue to vote on. I just wish they hadn’t sort of disappeared and just sort of, you know, caved.

DEAN BECKER: I’ll just throw this thought out to both of you. I understand that these task forces, the individual…they’re not really part of a city or state law enforcement…they’re just kind of, I call them, vigilante cops in a way that get together their own task force and go to work breaking into houses, taking drugs, taking money, taking futures. Respond, if you would, Eapen.

EAPEN THAMPY: That’s absolute correct. These are mercenaries in every aspect of the word. These are mercenaries. This is mercenary law enforcement. And I think that turning back the clock on this mercenary law enforcement is something that’s possible in a civil society which is why I think Mr. Lindy’s work is important. I think in a world of information technology and communications that we’ll see that we might be on the cusp of social movement. Organize people that can usurp control, civilian control on democracy. I’m optimistic about the future in other words.

DEAN BECKER: I think people are beginning to recognize the failure, the futility of this drug war in many areas of our society and I think there is some hope. Once again we’re speaking with Mr. Eapen Thampy, the director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform and also speaking with musical artist, Lindy who has a great song out. I urge you to check it out. You can reach it through YouTube, “No Knock Raid.” It’s a great piece of work. In fact, we’re going to play another little segment from that song and we’ll be right back.



LINDY: The KGB and the DEA will make you disappear like in Guantanamo Bay
In the middle of the night, you’ll have nothing to say
If we get the wrong address it doesn’t matter anyway

We’ll still get our checks We’ll still have our fun
Yeah, we are the SWAT. We are adrenaline junkies ‘til the drugs are all gone

It’s a no knock raid.
Don’t be afraid
Paramilitary police state operate

It’s a no knock raid.
Don’t be afraid.
You do the time for your victimless crime.

And it’s a no knock raid.


DEAN BECKER: That’s America. That’s what we do on a daily basis – some several hundred times a day. We lock up people because we don’t like the plant products in their pocket. And, you know, it’s becoming a topic that concerns a lot of very important people these days. Even the Global Commission on Drugs put out their report calling for an end to this madness. Your thoughts, Eapen.

EAPEN THAMPY: The emergence of the police state has not come about without its critics. And I’m glad to see many former narticos including Jimmy Carter speak forward on this issue. I think that particularly economic arguments about the ways in which these kind of police raids impede opportunities as well. I think they’re convincing more people on both the right and the left.

DEAN BECKER: It’s becoming more acknowledged. People are becoming more aware of it. I think so many of them don’t quite know what they should do or if they should do anything but they’re becoming aware of it, at least. And I think through the good work of folks like you, Eapen, and you, Lindy. Artists deserve a lot of respect because they have been instrumental in helping to bring about change many times over the years.

I tell you what. We’re going to…I want to through it back to you….You’re up there in Canada, right Lindy…where are you at?

LINDY: Yeah, I’m in Toronto.

DEAN BECKER: Now, as I understand it, Toronto has tried to clone…has wanted to clone…some Prime Ministers have wanted to clone the U.S. drug war and they’re doing a pretty good job, aren’t they?

LINDY: Yeah, they sort of work hand-in-hand with the Americans in enforcing this drug war and I think they are consequences for trade and what have you if Canada doesn’t follow suit in these ridiculous sort of…in this war. The Prime Minister here has talked about mandatory-minimum sentences for possession, I believe. It’s just a huge step backwards and I have a feeling that if that actually goes….there’s a conservative majority right now so it’s actually quite a possibility that that could happen but I think there would be a big backlash against the conservatives if that subversion, you know, the real rule of law happens.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, that was Lindy. He’s an artist who produced “No Knock Raid” and I urge you to check it out on YouTube. Now, Eapen, we look at this situation with the forfeiture and the billions of dollars over the years that have flowed into the coffers of the treasury and all kinds of diverse agencies of government and yet it hasn’t stopped anything as far as I can tell. I mean, I think they set a record for the amount of drugs they busted in Mexico but as far as I understand, the price hasn’t risen. They’re not accomplishing much are they?

EAPEN THAMPY: No, certainly not. I think at the highest levels of these affairs you often find that the enemies in bed together. You know, there’s money to be made from enforcement and there’s money to be made buying enforcement and there’s money to be made on both sides of the war. This drug war is about money – it’s not about anything else..money and racism.

DEAN BECKER: And I think about the fact that to this day the majority of those that are caught, tried, sentenced are people of color and yet…well, I’m not going to say yet…I know that there are voices within the black and Hispanic community that are recognizing this and are speaking out against this situation. It’s just too glaring and obvious, isn’t it?

Friends, we’ve been speaking with Mr. Eapen Thampy. He’s director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform. Eapen, do you want to share your website with the listeners?

EAPEN THAMPY: Absolutely. Our website is http://www.forfeiturereform.com and we’re on Facebook at http://facebook.com/forfeiturereform

DEAN BECKER: Real good to know. Folks, if you know this truth about the drug war…don’t be afraid to speak up at work, at church, at school, wherever you happen to be. It’s a recognition of truth and it deserves respect not fear. It’s really time. This thing has lasted a hundred years and it’s not done a damn thing.

We’ve also been speaking with Lindy out of Canada. Lindy, if you want, tell the folks where they can hear your song. If you have a website, point them that way as well.

LINDY: It’s http://www.lindymusic.com. And “No Knock Raid” is posted there as well as a few other things.

DEAN BECKER: And while I’m thinking about it, Lindy, does Canada have these forfeiture laws? If they find you with drugs are they going to take your house?

LINDY: I’m not really sure. I should know that…

EAPEN THAMPY: I can answer that question. You do. You do. And it’s really especially bad in British Columbia where I believe…British Columbia and the Northwest Territory where I believe there was even an effort earlier this year or last year to make the forfeiture proceedings retroactive for five years. So five years from now they can say, “You did this and we can take everything you own.”

DEAN BECKER: Well, I’ll tell you what gentlemen, we’re going to leave it there for now. I want to thank you both joining us here on Cultural Baggage and the best of luck in your future efforts.

EAPEN THAMPY: Thank you very much.

LINDY: Thank you.


(Game show music)
DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.
Difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, fever, sore throat, vomiting, severe blistering, bruising, tingling, numbness, pain, weakness, bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice and …

Time’s up!
The answer: Nuvigil, a medication that promotes weightfulness.


DEAN BECKER: During this time of eternal war I find it my somber duty to report the death toll from the drug formerly known as marijuana is….ZERO.


DEAN BECKER: OK, folks I appreciate you being here with us on Cultural Baggage and I want to take just a second to here to invite you to really and truly think about this drug war. Look at what’s going on in your community, your state and nation and do your part to bring it to a better conclusion, if you will.’

We’re going to play this track from one my friends from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Mr. Terry Nelson.


TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson speaking on behalf of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

As most of you know in 1971 Nixon declared drugs as public enemy number one and launched an all-out offensive against cannabis, heroin and cocaine. Forty years later we are still in that struggle.

A 1993 article in the Economist Magazine stated that in 1883 Benjamin Ward Richardson, a distinguished British doctor, announced the evils of drinking tea. He stated that it caused an extremely nervous, semi-hysterical condition. In 1936 an article in the American Journal of Nursing claimed a “marijuana toker” will certainly turn with murderous violence upon whomever is nearest to him.

Tea and marijuana have three things in common; they alter the moods of those who take them, they’re regarded as tolerably safe and they are addictive. Attitudes towards addiction are complicated and often contradictory.

Tea and marijuana are, in themselves, fairly harmless. Yet tea is generally legal and cannabis is not. Tobacco and cocaine are fairly harmful yet, again, tobacco is almost universally allowed whereas most readers of the American Economist may imprison you for possessing cocaine.

Throw in the joke of addiction which comes not from syringes or cigarettes but at casinos and computer cartridges and you have a find arena for combat between libertarians and puritans.

So we are now in 2011 and that picture is the same. But there may be change at foot because the first ever congressional bill to let states legalize marijuana will be introduced into the U.S. House of Congress by a bipartisan coalition of law makers on June 23rd and LEAP has announced its support of this law. The bill is sponsored by Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Representative Ron Paul of Texas would essentially end the federal government’s bullying of states when it comes to marijuana policy reform.

Initial co-sponsors include Representative Coin of Tennessee, Representative Conyers of Michigan, Representative Barbara Lee of California and Representative Polis of Colorado.

While this bill has a slim chance of becoming law, what it really does is show the frustration with the current war on drugs and admission by congress that the status quo must change. They have finally recognized that the War on Drugs causes far more harm than it fixes.

LEAP supports the introduction and passage of this bill as it would reduce the harm and violence quotient and deprive the drug gangs and cartels of revenue and thus make them weaker and perhaps less able to threaten governments and citizens.

LEAP believes that a system of regulation and control, coupled with the education about the possible harms of drug abuse, is a much saner way to go. If you agree, go to our website and take action.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, http://www.copssaylegalizedrugs.com signing off. Stay safe.


DEAN BECKER: Alright, this is Dean Becker and I want to thank Eapen Thampy, director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, Lindy – check out his “No Knock Raid” video on YouTube and, as always, remind you: because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.


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.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.