Cultural Baggage January 10, 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.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first hand the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end prohibition. Please visit leap.cc
Dean Becker: Hello my friends. Welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage. We have high hopes that we will have out guest on air with us shortly. Didn't answer his cell phone, left a message. Hopefully he will call us during the program. If not it will give us, you and me a chance to talk about this drug war, talk about possibilities.
Just this week the local weekly had a major story about marijuana, medical marijuana. Pot Takes Roots I think was the story they gave it here. It also appeared in other of the these weeklies around the country that kind of teaming up together if you will under various titles. But basically dealing with the same story that the evidence is clear. The need is there. The time is right to make some changes to these drug laws, to our interpretation of fact and to how we deal with this situation.
What do you think, my friends? I tell you what. I am going to go ahead and just issue a call to you right now. See if you are out there listening if you have some thoughts perhaps on that weekly, that you may have seen in your city dealing with marijuana, the fact that we do need to change these laws.
Our number here locally, 713 526 5738. That is 713 526 5738. And if you are in California or Canada or anywhere in North America you can call in toll free by dialing 1 877 9 420 420. Once again that number 1 877 9 420 420.
Got a couple of stories here I want to kick around. I was going to ask Judge Nichols his interpretation on this. But this is from today's Houston Chronicle. Dateline Ciudad, Juarez, Mexico. Police found two severed heads and the bullet ridden bodies of two women and a disabled man in the Mexican border city of Ciudad, Juarez.
The latest chapter in Mexico's increasingly gory drug war. The killing of women or disabled has been rare in a conflict that has cost more than fifteen thousand lives in the past three years. But drug gangs appear to be using such killings and progressively more gruesome mutilations to intimidate rivals and the public.
Prosecutors in northern Chihuahua state where Ciudad, Juarez is located said the first man's body was found on a street last Friday with its hands and head cut off. Between the hands was message with characteristics similar to those usually left by organized crime gangs. Another man's body with his head cut off and eyes gouged out was found elsewhere. Mexican news media reported that a handwritten message was found nearby but Mexican police rarely discuss the contents of such notes which the cartels use to insult and intimidate their rivals. The two women's bodies were found in a vacant lot in Ciudad, Juarez late Friday.
The body of a man whose legs had been surgically amputated some time ago were also found Friday on a dirt road on the outskirts of Ciudad, Juarez across the border from El Paso, Texas. Also Friday a man riding a bicycle was shot to death in the city. Five people were killed in a drive by shooting and a group of three men were shot to death at a fast food restaurant near a school. On Thursday police in the northern city of Los Moches in the northwestern state of Sinaloa found the dismembered body of a man whose face had been skinned and stitched on to a soccer ball.
Those who think this drug war can be won by doing more of the same are ensuring eternal profits for these drug lords, these barons, these purveyors of these drugs. We have to do something besides more of the same, wouldn't you think?
Please give us a call right now. Our number 713 526 5738 or you can call toll free anywhere in North America to 1 877 9 420 420. Boy, I tell you what Laura let's go ahead and take jus a quick little break here. I am going to arrange my notes to reflect the fact that we don't have a guest. Let's go ahead and play track twelve and you folks think about what this is saying.
What gives the drug war life? Is it the cartels? Maybe it's the Baptists, the bankers, the gangs or the cops? Who is in charge? Which politicians, peasant farmers, big pharma? Is it the street corner vendor? Is it you? Is it me? It is fear that gives the drug war life.
Dean Becker: Alright folks you are listening to the Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network. I want to ask you a question. Are we winning the drug war? Well, first let's define who we are. We are winning it if we means the most vocal proponents like cops, district attorneys, defense attorneys, bail bondsmen, legislators, bankers, pharmaceutical houses, alcohol and tobacco vendors, prison builders, prison guards, treatment centers, urine testers and perhaps a million other Americans whose company growth depends on eternal drug war.
After ninety plus years of failure when the US leads the world in our incarceration rate, when drugs are cheaper and purer and more freely available to our children than ever before. Well you don't have to think too hard to realize it is not working out the way we had hoped it would.
I want to ask you something. You know the answer to this but you are afraid to talk about it. So let's tonight lets talk about why we cant talk about it at least not to our boss, to our children or to our parents or to our minister or to our doctor or maybe not even to one another you know. It's an idea, a subject that has been taboo for so long that people are they just leave it alone. I tell you what, we do have some callers on line. I want to thank you for joining us. Let's first go to Andy from Huntsville. Hello Andy, what is on your mind?
Caller: Hey, you are one of my heroes.
Dean Becker: well and you are mine sir, thank you for calling.
Caller: I was just reading in a it was an old National Geographic but they were talking about how people were growing marijuana in our national parks and cutting down trees and stuff. It's just one more one more reason to make it legal and you know legitimize this thing cause there's lots of reasons that the...
Dean Becker: There is Andy. Let me throw out a thought here. We have that situation where you know individuals Americans are out there doing it. We also have the situation where representatives of these cartels in Mexico are sent northward, given orders to go into these national forests to cut down the trees to clear the you know the mountainside and to grow this stuff so they don't have to smuggle it across the border.
Dean Becker: And we have created this situation and another parallel: in Colombia and Peru these people have been driven from their farms and they have moved into their national parks and they are now polluting the Amazon even more and more and more because well the US policy, the US insistence that certain plants are just not be allowed.
Caller: I think one of the big things going to have to make it economically feasible. And one of the big things with hemp, not the not the not the drug hemp but just the regular hemp that it's much more economical to grow it for making paper. And I have read as much as it's you can get thirty times the produce from hemp than you can from you know pine trees or whatever you know wood pulp is available.
Dean Becker: Yeah well Andy, let me interrupt you with this thought. I know there are some twenty thousand plus uses for the hemp plant, the non medicinal use of this plant and that one of them is indeed to make paper. On a one acre site you can grow two harvests per year that will be equivalent to what it takes the pine trees twenty years to produce. It's just ludicrous. And another thought that needs to be addressed is that that that pulp made from the hemp plant is less toxic. It requires less chemicals in order to put it into a fashion where it can be made into paper. It's just ludicrous.
Caller: I think that would be a good approach to make it... You know if you get some businessmen behind this that can sway the politicians to go hey we can get some tax dollars off this and I can also get some you know kickbacks in you know funds for my next election...
Dean Becker: You bet and that is happening. It's slowly happening. Politicians are starting to wake up that this is not the third rail issue that it had been. Andy we want to thank you for your call.
Caller: Thank you very much.
Dean Becker: And glad you are out there listening, OK.
Caller: Oh man I listen to you every chance I get. Haven't been hearing enough of you.
Dean Becker: Thank you for that and don't forget our website drugtruth.net. Hundreds of programs available out there for you. Thanks Andy. Alright let's go to Leonard, line two, been waiting the longest. You have a thought you would like to share?
Caller: Yeah and I don't mind waiting cause you have got a very interesting program. And one thing I would like to say is that there has never been a war on drugs in America.
Dean Becker: It's not...
Caller: It's been talk. Sir?
Dean Becker: Yeah, yeah go ahead, yeah it's been talk. I agree with you.
Caller: Just just yeah just sporadic talk. Because last week last week was it this week? Last week I think it was, a guy was supposed to be a rock star. I forgot what country he left from but he had so many kilos of heroin when he landed in China. Now China has a drug a war on drugs and the reason why the guy was electrocuted. I mean no he was killed he was shot. His family went to China to try to recover the body and China wouldn't even let the body go.
Dean Becker: Well I would imagine Leonard that they had already harvested his kidneys and probably some other organs for use following execution.
Caller: OK that I could understand if that's what they did. But all I am saying is they the government of China means business about not having drugs in their country or given to their people. Because I was saying I was watching some type of program on cable where they asked this guy was a drug dealer and he was Chinese and he was on the back of this large truck that had signs on it. They brought him into town, went to a movie theatre, shut the movie off, put him on stage, explained to the people what he had done, why he was going to be executed. Put him back on the truck, took him out in a field and one of their AK 47's which is SKS the bullet passed through his brain hit the ground before he fell over.
What what all I am saying is China has a true drug policy. America's senators, governors and everybody else got they hand on the drug war, the drugs that come into America including Bush cause on 60 minutes they show how the first president Bush would so much cocaine being loaded out the plane that the pallets were too wide to get them in. So they had to reload it on smaller pallets and bring the cocaine in to America. All I am saying is our government is a bunch of hypocrites and they got to as much money is made on drugs they have they hands in it. Whereas in China they will be killed whether it's an official...
Dean Becker: OK we seem to have lost Leonard. I wanted to say this in response. I appreciate yr call Leonard first off. Secondarily look the UN drug czar Antonio Maria Costa says that the yearly tally in these drugs is some four hundred billion dollars per year. Four hundred billion dollars. That's a lot of money. You could fill a train about a mile long with a hundred dollar bills with that kind of money.
And there are people in every echelon of government. There are corrupt officials on both sides of every border and there are actors constantly bribing politicians to keep these laws just the way they are because they like it. Who loves the drug war the most? The barbarous cartels. Who makes the most? The terrorists. Who really needs this to continue their way of living? The dangerous cartels, I mean excuse me, the dangerous gangs that prowl our neighborhoods. Alright, who has been waiting the longest? Jerry on line three. You are on the air.
Caller: Hey good evening sir.
Dean Becker: Hey yes sir, what's on your mind?
Caller: Well I would like to hit on a couple of points that this is kind of a big issue for me. Just to reiterate the things that you are saying, kind of touch on the drug cartels. I have family south of the border as does my girlfriend and it's gotten so bad that we can't even we can't even go down there to visit our family on vacation anymore down across the border.
Dean Becker: Well it there it I am seeing stories coming out of Mexico over the last week. I mean it's a daily event these deaths in Juarez and other cities around Mexico but the...
Caller: Oh absolutely. In Progresso near my girlfriend's family is I mean I mean it's daily you hear it and in fact it is starting to spill over too. She's from very near the border and I am telling you man it's just a shame.
Dean Becker: It is and they have started killing human rights activists and in the last three days they have killed three reporters you know who are telling the truth. Which gives me and I'll be honest with you. It gives me a little fright I haven't felt in years in this job of mine. I feel pretty safe here in Houston but you know the fact of it is there is not one person on the planet that is fighting harder to kill their money trees than yours truly.
Caller: Exactly, exactly. And another thing that I would like to touch on is what do you think about about all the vast majority of politicians seem to I guess specifically demonize marijuana. I mean the fact that marijuana is even listed as a schedule one narcotic is a tad bit ridiculous if you ask me.
Dean Becker: I agree.
Caller: But the vast majority of politicians who you know deem it it's almost like a taboo subject. You know I hear I heard recently that that the CDC reported that upwards of eighteen million people in the United States consume marijuana on a regular basis.
Dean Becker: And more than one hundred million have used it at least currently or in the past.
Caller: Exactly, so the vast majority of these politicians who who make it a point to keep marijuana as a schedule one narcotic you know make it a point to have that on their agenda. How how is America ever going to wake up. How are the people ever going to have their voice felt in some kind of in some kind of in some type of legislative manner when all of these politicians would look downright foolish...?
Dean Becker: Well they...
Caller: Marijuana is not as dangerous as they have been touting it to be over the years.
Dean Becker: Now they they they don't have enough knowledge. They are ignorant to the truth of this matter is half of it. The other half is they are getting money from prison guards and other actors who benefit from this drug war and who insist that it continue. And so they don't want to educate themselves.
Caller: Absolutely. It's a prison industrial complex.
Dean Becker: The state of Houston had a Zogby poll I think it's been three or four years ago now. Seventy-six percent of Texans want medical marijuana and yet the legislators ignore it like you know it's it's just untouchable. Jerry, we are getting some other callers. I thank you for listening. I appreciate your thoughts. Let's pass it on now to who's up next. Ken line one, you're on the air.
Caller: Hi. Enjoy your show. I just... There has been some times when I have been listening to it and I just want to you know it took then eighteenth amendment of the constitution to make liquor illegal. And then the twenty first amendment made it legal again. But all of a sudden they just say war on drugs and all of a sudden it's against the law.
You know article one section eight of the US constitution is only powers that congress has got. And I have looked in there I don't really see where they can regulate anything like that unless they put an amendment to the US constitution. And how all this stuff came about is still beyond me other than people have just took it on you know just...
Dean Becker: Ken, Ken, Ken if I may give you a little of my knowledge of this situation you are talking about. Back in 1968 Timothy Leary got busted going into Mexico with a couple of joints. But he got busted by the Americans before he made it. They arrested him, they wanted to convict him. Timothy Leary appealed it on the fact I think he was a Buddhist and it was his sacrament. But the government rather than let him go to trial with that thought just declared the law unconstitutional because in order to pay the tax under that 1937 tax act you had to admit that you had marijuana therefore it was self incrimination, declared unconstitutional.
For about six months, eight months there was no federal law then they said, hey, I have got an idea. Let's use the interstate commerce clause and they could control substance act and quote control these drugs. And so that's they don't prohibit it. They control them. And that's the absurdity of it all.
Caller: Well thats the problem is you know the dadgum attorneys. They don't go along there and even bring up and deal and have them prove that it's crossed state lines. That's the only way they can regulate it if it's all been grown in Texas then they don't even have any jurisdiction to even hear the thing.
Dean Becker: Well there was that that ruling, Supreme Court ruling I think it was Wheatley or something that said the growing of a personal amount that was not for sale within the state or interstate still could change the overall supply structure and therefore it needed to be regulated. You know that's how absurd it gets. Ken thank you for your call. Thank you for listening. Let's go now to Amin on line two. Amin you are on the air.
Dean Becker: Yes sir.
Caller: Who kills more Americans over here, terrorists or drugs and alcohol? And how many?
Dean Becker: Well let's talk about who kills who and how. You're talking about terrorists over here, not that damn many on a regular basis. Drugs? Well let's talk about tobacco. Let's talk about alcohol. Let's talk about pharmaceuticals. Let's talk about doctors and pharmacists messing up our prescriptions. Let's talk about infections incurred at the hospital. Then we start getting down into car wrecks and then we start getting into the skydiving and other accidents. And then we get down to drugs. Right below drugs you know the recreational drugs are aspirin and Tylenol. So who kills more? Well, Liggett Myers, Philip Morris, Jim Beam, you know...
Caller: What's the total?
Dean Becker: Well the total? I could give you some quick totals for tobacco it's more than four hundred thousand a year. For alcohol it's about a hundred thousand a year.
Dean Becker: For doctors and pharmacists messing up our prescriptions about a hundred thousand a year. For excuse me infections incurred at a hospital about a hundred thousand a year. And you know you get down to the recreational drugs it's seventeen thousand for drug related deaths.
Caller: Per year?
Dean Becker: Yeah that includes shoot outs and overdoses of alcohol and you know heroin. And then you get down to aspirin and Tylenol it's seventy-five hundred a year.
Caller: And our government never says enough is enough, right?
Dean Becker: Well, not when they are taking money, no. They never say enough.
Caller: Well then that means that the government I guess you could say the managers of the government are killing these people, right?
Dean Becker: Well this is true. They they are not they are not taking good care of us or our children. They are ensuring that these these...
Caller: That their pocketbooks are full.
Dean Becker: Their pocketbooks are full. Their quote stature is enhanced and they can pretend they are doing a good job. Meantime the blowback the spin off the results of the war on drug on drugs are used as justification for more war on drugs.
Caller: Yep. Well you know China had the Boxer rebellion. You know why, right?
Dean Becker: Well because the opium was being forced on them.
Caller: Right by the English, right?
Dean Becker: Yes.
Caller: And then these youngsters they got together, called themselves the Boxers and kicked ashtray.
Dean Becker: Well that they did.
Caller: Alright, thanks a lot Becker.
Dean Becker: Well thank you Amin. I appreciate you listening. You know it is good to know that folks are out there listening and want to participate. And I want to just jump in here with a quick thought.
OK I tell you what. We have got one caller, line one. I am going to give you about thirty seconds here cause I have got some closing segments I want to do. Caller on line one, you're on the air. Hello? OK. Nope. Nevermind. Well we lost them.
OK. I tell you what my friends I want to play a couple of pieces for you here. I will be back with some closing words. Thank you to everybody who is calling. Be sure to tune in to this week's Century of Lies. Our guest is going to be Bill Cliber. He is with the Restorative Justice Ministry of North America. But we'll be back here in just a moment.
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Drugs are bad, mkay?
Phil Smith: This is Phil Smith of the Drug War Chronicle with an ominous story from the Mexican border for the Drug Truth Network. Near Ciudad, Juarez last Tuesday a woman who was a prominent human rights campaigner was seized by a group of armed men and shot dead in the town of Guadalupe. Josephina Reyes had been active in numerous events and protests in the area against violence including abuses by the military which is essentially occupying Ciudad, Juarez in its battle against the so called drug cartels.
Last August Reyes participated in a forum on militarization and oppression in Juarez which exposed reports of [ ] human rights violations by members of the military. The human rights group Amnesty International which has called for an investigation into her slaying all but says the killing was done by the military. And it warns that other members of Juarez's coordination of civil society organizations to which Reyes belonged may also be in danger.
The group warned that once activist in particular Cipriana [ ] who has worked closely with Amnesty in cases of military human rights abuses is at particular risk. Terry Howard, deputy director of the Americas program for Amnesty said quote, the authorities must ensure that Cipriana [ ] and other human rights defenders with the coordination of civil society organizations in Ciudad, Juarez receive immediate and effective protection, end quote.
Complaints of human rights violations by the military are on the increase as military involvement in president Philipe Calderon's war on the cartels deepens. In a report issued late last year, Amnesty documented more than twelve hundred human rights complaints against the military filed with official and non official human rights groups in Mexico. A clear pattern emerges of unlawful detentions, torture, summary executions and disappearances.
In November at the international drug policy reform conference in Albuquerque former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Calderon said one way that the Mexican military was summarily executing narcos. Referring in particular to an incident in Michoacan last summer where twelve men were killed after twelve government agents were tortured and killed by the narcos.
United States is providing more than one billion dollars over three year to mexico in anti drug assistance, much of it destined for the military. That assistance carries provisions saying that mexico must adhere to human rights standards. I suppose we shall see later this year whether these provisions actually mean what they say.
As always there's more drug war related news. Check it online at www.stopthedrugwar.org.
Dean Becker: Another story. Cartels home in on Dallas, this from the Dallas Morning News. Distribution influx means drug houses could be next door. No one would have wanted [ ] for a neighbor if they had known how he earned a living. And no one did know until October 21st. [ ] at age thirty-four is anything but a normal guy and although he has pleaded not guilty to drug charges, federal investigators say he exemplifies how Mexican drug cartels have extended their operations to the retail level in the United States.
Side note from me, that's where the money is. It continues. Once upon a time the cartels were content to stay in mexico and wholesale their drugs to Americans willing to smuggle them across the border to reap huge profits on the streets of large US cities. Now the cartels are vertically integrating their companies in much the same way oil companies expanded from drilling to refining to selling gasoline on street corners early in the twentieth century. Dallas is a hub just like it is for airlines.
You know we have got to stop this, my friends and you have got to help me, please. And as always, I remind you that because of prohibition, you don't know what is in that bag. Please be careful.
To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the Unvarnished Truth.
This show is produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge of the abyss...