Cultural Baggage, July 15, 2009
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"
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.
Hello my friends welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. I have an important announcement for the folks in Gulag City as well as those up and down the network: US, Canada and Australia. We are moving due to a mandate handed down from on high at Pacifica Foundation. We have a new time for Cultural Baggage; it will be Sunday at 6:30 here in the Gulag City and followed immediately by Century of Lies.
We'll feature a new segment: Face the Inquisition, where you, the listeners, will get to ask your questions of the judge or the doctor or the scientist or whoever our guest is by calling us here at the mother ship. Write this number down, wherever you are listening from: 713-526-5738. You need to know that time frame and you need to know that number to call in and you can help us to Face the Inquisition.
Our guest today is Jack Cole. He has a 26 year career working with the New Jersey State Police. Twelve of those years, Jack worked as an undercover narcotics officer. His thoughts and his understanding of this situation of drug war are being called upon more and more by governmental agencies and various organizations around the country, in fact, around the world. With that, let's bring in our guest, Mr. Jack Cole.
Jack Cole: Good to be with you, Dean.
Dean Becker: Thank you, Jack. I want to kind of start this program off a little differently than perhaps we have in the past. Tell us about your career as policeman, as an undercover narc.
Jack Cole: Well, I spent 26 years in New Jersey State Police. I retired as Detective Lieutenant. For fourteen of those years I worked as an undercover narcotics officer. I worked every kind of case from 1970 at the beginning of the drug war. I was out busting poor folks on the street, mainly young and poor, for smoking pot and various other simple use things. But, the problems created by prohibition increased so dramatically that by 3 years later, I was actually working on billion dollar international heroin and cocaine rings. It just grew and grew and grew. Of course, at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, cops, judges and prosecutors that are part of that, believe that that growth was strictly due to the fact that this is what happens when you prohibit drugs.
Dean Becker: Well, Jack, I met you some, I think, now, six years ago. I was, I know, in the first hundred, if not the first dozen speakers to come on board. We met up there in New Jersey at Drug Policy Alliance conference, I think it was.
Jack Cole: Yes, it was.
Dean Becker: And over the years we have expanded to more speakers and well over ten thousand people who stand in support of our efforts.
Jack Cole: It's well over 13,000 right now.
Dean Becker: Is that? I gotta keep up...
Jack Cole: We are no longer just cops. You know, originally, the five founding members were all cops, but now we are cops, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, DEA and FBI agents; just about every role of law enforcement that you can name is a... we have membership in it. The only one that I can think of that we don't is the Secret Service. And, it's 13,000 and growing. We have membership in 76 countries now. We are an international organization; you have to be an international organization if you are talking about ending the war on drugs because that is going to affect the entire world.
Dean Becker: Well, Jack, I talk with some folks who tell me that this subject of drug prohibition, this need to examine and realign ourselves in this regard is a singular issue, but, it impacts every aspect of our society. It's a world wide problem, is it not?
Jack Cole: It certainly is and there's... You are absolutely right that it impacts almost every issue in our society in some way, shape or form. It makes it worse.
Let me tell your listeners, just what we do, in case they are not aware of it. As I said, we are an international organization and we were created to give voice to all law enforcers who believe that the US war on drugs is not only a failed policy but it's a terribly destructive policy and who wish to support alternatives to those policies; alternatives that will lower the incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction without destroying generations of our young by arresting and imprisoning them.
As our name implies, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition wants to end drug prohibition just as we ended alcohol prohibition in the United States in 1933 because, Dean, as you are well aware, being one of our speakers, looking at this from a law enforcement viewpoint, we know that when we ended that nasty law, the next morning, Al Capone and all his smuggling buddies were out of business, right? They were off our streets. They were no longer out there killing each other to control that very lucrative market. They were no longer killing those cops charged with fighting that useless war. And, they were no longer killing our children, who were caught in crossfire and drive by shootings — all the things we are experiencing today.
So, we know that if we legalize these drugs, we can completely remove the violence from the equation. Then, if we regulate the drugs, we can do some other wonderful things, for instance, we can, through regulation, virtually end overdose deaths because nobody dies of an overdose because they shoot more and more dope. They die because they don't know how much of that tiny package of powder they are buying is really the drug and how much is the cutting agent. Too much drug and your dead; it's like Russian roulette without a gun. In an illegal, unregulated market it will always be impossible to know what is in that package.
Other things that we could do with regulation... we could prevent half of all new cases of AIDS and hepatitis in this country because according to the Center for Disease Control, half of all those new cases can be traced directly back to intravenous drug users sharing needles. Of course, if the drugs were legal, they wouldn't have to share those needles. A needle costs 9 cents. But, instead of saying that drug users get a clean needle, we make that illegal and then once they contract these horrible, terrible diseases like AIDS and hepatitis, we end up paying about $20,000 per year per person for their medication and they are still going to die a terrible, terrible death. So, we can prevent all that from happening.
We can keep these drugs out of the use of our children. Keep them out of the hands of our children. The reason I say that is, according to DEA, we have 900,000 teenagers in the United States who sell illegal drugs. I don't think there is one of them selling illegal - selling beer or cigarettes because those are legal commodities. So, when you legalize these drugs, you take them out of the hands of the children and you put them in the hands of responsible adults.
Right now, the people that regulate and control drugs in the United States are all criminals. They tell us what drugs will be supplied to our communities, what those drugs are going to be cut with, how potent those drugs are going to be, how much those drugs are going to cost, what age group they are going to sell to and where they are going to sell them. And, if they chose, as they have, to sell heroin to 10 year old kids on our playgrounds, that is exactly what is going to happen and it is what is happening. We say take the responsibility back. Take this out of the hands of the children.
Dean Becker: Well, the misnomer of controlled substances is just so ludicrous. You know, Jack, talking about the international implications: in today's Houston Chronicle, and I am sure in many papers across the nation, they are talking about they found 12 dead federal agents in Mexico and these were like, I think, the equivalent of DEA agents, plus another half dozen police officers murdered and butchered down in that country. The demand of the United States has something to do with it, but it is also the fact that they have never stopped the supply and they will never stop the supply and it's just a rain dance to pretend that we are going to stop this somehow, right?
Jack Cole: As our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton went down there and said to the Mexicans, well this – we have to take some responsibility for this because, after all, it is a supply... it is the demand for the drugs in the United States that is causing this. I think she was absolutely wrong.
It is not the demand for the drugs that is causing this violence. We could have exactly the same level of demand for drugs in the United States and if there were, if these drugs were legal, there would be no violence. It is prohibition of those drugs that is causing this violence, not demand.
Dean Becker: Well, yeah and you are right, sir. Now, the fact is, we have over the years given, by we I mean Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, our speakers, have given thousands of presentations to numerous organizations. We spoke the other day and you told me that the number of speaking engagements is actually on the rise.
Jack Cole: Yeah, it's going up tremendously this year. Last year we had, we gave 609 presentations for which averaged out to about 51 per month and in the first six months of this year, we are averaging 81 presentations per month. We have done well over 5,000 presentations now in the United States and in other countries. We have done about 500 presentations in other countries and those other countries are very important too because we have to put pressure on the United States from every angle to end this terrible war on drugs.
When we go to other countries, we always get even a better reception than we get here in the United States. And, here in the United States, our speakers consistently report about 80% of their audience agree with them after they have heard us talk. When we walk in the door, as you are well aware, maybe 5% will agree with us but after thirty minutes to an hour of a presentation, it's 80% of the people agree. Of course, that is because all we are doing is we are telling them the truth, but, the reason it is so high is we have credibility that no one else has.
For instance, if a law professor or some other activist went in there and said exactly the same words we say, they are not going to get nearly as many people convinced because it is our credibility as law enforcers that causes people to want to listen to what we say in the first place. Once they are listening, once they do that, then it is very easy to convince them because all the – our arguments are very sound. They are very reasonable and it is very easy to convince people.
Dean Becker: You know, Jack, I want to take a little exception with your, when we go through the door maybe 5% - even here in Houston, I mostly speak to Lion's Clubs in the outlying areas where, you know, more rural settings and I think that it's more than 5% get it before we get there now. The numbers do increase certainly exponentially but I even find now that some of these 70 year old Methodist minister stands up and says, hey, you didn't talk about the success they are having in Amsterdam. So people are getting a little more educated these days, I think, thanks to our help.
Jack Cole: You are absolutely correct about that, I stand corrected because actually I was thinking about from when we started – it was like 5% and you know - think back to when we started doing this, Dean. Remember we were hoping to convince maybe 10 or 15% of our audience and right away it started that we were convincing about 80%. We learned then that our arguments are very sound and they are very convincing. If we could just get to everybody in the world, we would change this right away because you have done some debates in the past and so have I.
Debates are very hard by the way, as your audience should learn; it's very hard for us to get a debate - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker to debate other law enforcement people because they are afraid to come out and talk to us. They know that if they do, they are almost guaranteed to lose this debate and just the fact that it is debate brings us more audience.
I don't know about you, Dean, but in the maybe dozen debates I have had; when it happens that there is some way to tell who won or who lost, you know with most debates, there is no way to tell. You just walk out and both sides say, I think I won that. But, I have had several debates where the moderator has asked for a show of hands afterwards to determine which side did win and also asked to see a show of hands to see who abstains.
For instance, I debated a couple of United States attorneys, high ranking DEA agents and in all of those the lowest I ever got was 70% of the audience agreed with me and 15% of the audience agreed with the other side, the DEA agent or the US attorney and 15% abstained.
Even the abstentions is interesting. For instance, I was speaking down before the Greater Baltimore Leadership Council. About 70 people including representatives from the Mayor's office and chief of police and state police were in there and doctors, a lot of attorneys. This is mainly a health based group. When they asked for abstentions there, I did happen to notice that the deputy chief of police, even abstained. I mean, the DEA agent couldn't even convince him. He wasn't going to put up his hand in my favor because that would have been embarrassing, but he did abstain.
Dean Becker: Yeah. Folks, we are speaking with Jack Cole, he has 26 years experience in the New Jersey State Police and I correct myself now, he has fourteen years working as an undercover narcotics officer. He is Director of my band of brothers, the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition team and their website, by the way is leap.cc. Check it out, get involved, do your part - end the madness of this drug war.
You know, Jack, there has been a lot of talk of late about marijuana, even legalizing it and all that out in California and it is kind of catching fire with the media all around the country and even here in the Gulag City yesterday I was listening to an AM show – this guy kind of does a Limbaugh lite routine, if you will – but, he was even talking about the futility of the overall drug war, not just in regards to marijuana. It's time to move, the iron is hot. Am I right?
Jack Cole: You are absolutely right. Now, at LEAP we don't believe in these incremental steps but we do support them. We support anybody in drug reform or prison reform and we will go out and speak for them. However, if we get what we want, it's going to take care of all these incremental steps.
For instance, if we legalize and regulate all drugs and marijuana is among those drugs. And one of the reasons that we work on all drugs instead of just marijuana is because if the government were to legalize marijuana tomorrow, it would be a very good thing for a lot of people.
For instance, there is 1.9 million people arrested in this country every year for non violent drug offenses. 43% of those arrests are for marijuana offenses. So, that would help if about 800,000 people wouldn't have to be arrested.
But, on the other hand, it would do nothing to end one overdose death because, of course, nobody overdoses from using marijuana. It would do nothing to reduce one case - potential case of AIDS or hepatitis because marijuana users don't inject this drug. It would do very little to cut down on the violence out there because most of the violence, traditionally, has been attached to the hard drug distribution rather than the marijuana distribution.
So, when we are talking about legalizing and regulating all drugs, we have much better arguments for doing than just for legalizing the marijuana. However, I am out all the time talking about anything we can do to decriminalize or to legalize marijuana because this is a step in the right direction after all.
Last night – yesterday I was down in Boston at the statehouse. I was there for eleven hours because I didn't get to testify on – there were seven bills that have been put in. I don't know if your audience is aware of it, but last November fourth we had a referendum in Massachusetts and 65% of the citizens of Massachusetts voted to decriminalize one ounce or less of marijuana.
Completely decriminalize it – make it a civil infraction with a $100 fine, which was a terrific, terrific thing for our young people especially who might get involved in experimenting with marijuana and get caught and find they lose their driver's license. They can no longer get a grant to or a loan to go to college. They go on a list that we have here of people that have been arrested for drug violations which is available to every employer and every housing - every person renting - appear. They find that they can't get jobs. They can't even find a house after they have been arrested for a marijuana cigarette.
So, we corrected that last November – 65% - and you know, these drug warriors just won't leave a good thing going. Now they have put in 7 new bills, 5 in our house and two in the senate that will subvert the will of 65% of the citizens in this country.
They are trying to re-criminalize this one ounce of marijuana. They are doing it really sneaky. They are putting in, for instance, one bill that they put in said, OK, one ounce of marijuana won't be a criminal act to possess unless you are within a thousand feet of the school zone, a park or a library. And then it's still a criminal act. Now, if you go into any big city, you will find that there is very little space left after you include a thousand feet of school, library or park. As a matter of fact, in Boston, we did a study of it and there is only 3% of the city of Boston that exists in that area. So, what that would effectively do is re-criminalize one ounce of marijuana.
Dean Becker: They can't leave well enough alone, can they, Jack?
Jack Cole: No, no.
Dean Becker: You know, we were talking earlier about you can't get these guys to debate us – you know, they just won't do it. The one, the best debate I had was with Stan Furs with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area here, he's DEA basically. When it was over he told me – I asked him to come on the radio show – and he said, no way in hell. And even yesterday on that AM Limbaugh-like show I was talking about, he was complaining that he can't get anybody to come on his AM station to defend this. They are out of bullets, aren't they?
Jack Cole: Yeah, they are. You know, I also debated a High Intensity Area head in Washington DC, a guy named Thomas Carr. Before he went with DEA he was the Deputy Superintendent of Police for Maryland. I debated him down in Maryland. The first year, when I debated him I won the debate by 70% for me and 15% for him. Afterwards, the following year, we had the same meeting again and he wanted to debate again because he said he really didn't understand this was going to be a debate when he was called down to do it so he wasn't ready.
So, the following year before we debated he came to me and said, oh, I am ready for you now. I went to your website, I downloaded your Powerpoint and I have gone through it point and I am really ready to go. So, we had the debate and that year I beat him by 80% to 10%. They don't have a chance. They really don't have a chance.
Dean Becker: They don't. Folks, we have been speaking with Jack Cole. A man with 26 years experience in New Jersey State Police, 14 years as an undercover officer and the head, the director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Again, that website: leap.cc. Jack, we have got just a couple of seconds. Any parting thoughts you would like to share?
Jack Cole: Yeah. I'd like to say that we are moving along very rapidly and with the downturn in the economy, which is a terrible thing, but it makes it a time when we can maybe make more progress because it is not a coincidence that we legalized alcohol - ended the alcohol prohibition - at the height of the Great Depression. So, we have got a good chance to work on this now.
But, we, like everybody else, need funds. We have lost a lot of our funding because of this downturn so anybody that could see their way clear to give us a little money, we would like to do it and they can go to our website and donate. They can call us up at 781 393 6985. Or, they can even send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean Becker: Jack, I thank you so much my friend. We are going to bring you back during the new time frame. Jack Cole, thank you, sir.
Jack Cole: Wonderful to be on with you, always.
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Man: I don't always do drugs but when I do, I prefer marijuana. Stay informed, my friends. Drugtruth.net
The following comes to us courtesy of CBS news. The voice you hear is that of Doctor Frederic Polot, talking about the use of cannabis in Amsterdam.
Holland has about an average level of cannabis use in the European Union. Many people here think that this is proof that the decriminalization of the consumption of cannabis is not a threat for public health. It has been a success from the point of view of public health. Most people will prefer to buy the cannabis from a legal place where you know about where it was grown.
For young people, it is quite normal and either they smoke marijuana or they don't and it's not a big deal for them anymore. We must recognize the knowledge that Sweden has a lower level of cannabis use with tough repression. But, the United Kingdom and France have a higher level of repression and their use level is higher than in the Netherlands. So, best is to say that there simply is no relationship between the repression and the level of use.
Dean Becker: Alright, my friends, once again I want to thank Jack Cole, Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Again, that website: leap.cc.
I want to remind folks all along the network that we are moving to a new time slot: it's going to be Sundays at 6 or 6:30 PM - I wish they would figure that out – central time. It's going to give you a chance to Face the Inquisition where the listeners can call in and ask the judge or the scientist, whoever I am speaking with, questions from US, Canada, Australia. I want to hear from you guys. That number - write it down, please – 713 526 5738. You are going to be able to tune in on the web at kpft.org.
You know, you guys are the answer. You have got to help get it done. And again I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what's in that bag. Please, be careful. Adios.
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 on an abyss.