Phil Smith, reporter with Alternet & Stop the Drug War recaps recent blunders of US Govt, Vivian McPeak on Seattle Hempfest & Paul Armentano of NORML re DEA ruling on cannabis
Michelle Aexander author of The New Jim Crow, Neill Franklind Exec Dir of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Natalie Schuurman of Green Party
Deborah Small re savage drug war in Brazil, Hannah Hetzer on Philippine massacre, Tony Papa re commutation of 214 prisoners by Obama & Gov Gary Johnson on ending the drug war
Prosecutor Jim Gierach (ret) speaks of ultra-violence of drug war in Chicago + Yvonne talks of journey from Ireland to Colorado to seek the medicine that is changing her child's life for the better
Neill Franklin Dir of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition re nexus of drug war & violence + Shane Shackleford helps medical marijuana patients in Texas and around the world
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Century of Lies / July 29, 2012
DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.
DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us on this edition of Century of Lies. There’s a lot of lies and deception to expose. Let’s get to it.
JOHN DOOBONS: My name is John with doobons.com.
DEAN BECKER: John, I’m looking at an article here that’s getting distributed all around the internet. It deals with I’ll say a former guest. I spoke with his father, young Mr. Cash Hyde. The waging of this drug war is impacting this gentleman’s health, is it not?
JOHN DOOBONS: Most certainly. You know, Cash is someone. who I don’t wish this upon any patient but certainly a child, and Cash was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor at age 2. But since age 2 he has fought and beaten cancer twice due to the positive effects that cannabis has done to his body. So, you know, it is made it so that it has shrunk the tumor to actually 0.
Recently all the dispensaries have been shut down in Montana so Mike, his father, has been having a hard time locating medicine for Cash since then. In the last month Cash hasn’t been feeling well. Yesterday he went in for a brain scan which the whole family has been fearful to find out the results were. Yesterday around 3 p.m. Pacific Standard time Mike called me in tears saying that a 3 centimeter tumor has come back and he is in dire need for help.
That’s the reason why I reached out to not only the cannabis community but also the internet community to see if anybody could help out and come together. Sure enough right before you called me I had a woman who is in Montana. which is fantastic. who said, “I have it all. What do you need from me?”
Our community is a strong community.
DEAN BECKER: Yes, John, you talk about compassionate care – that’s what this is about.
I have seen these benefits. Not young Cash. I’ve never met him personally but I have seen it with others with various maladies whose lives are obviously changed for the better through the use of cannabis.
Let’s let folks know more about what you do, how they can get in touch with you, and how we can work together to improve the situation.
JOHN DOOBONS: The one reason I started doobons.com was because my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer which metastasized to his brain. He was not a smoker. He hadn’t smoked since his days in the navy. He’s a retired dentist, educated man and went straight into chemo and radiation treatment.
When it metastasized to his brain he went back-to-back treatments and it literally knocked him to his knees. Our health facility in California basically gave him a week to live. They said the only thing we can do is give you morphine to reduce the pain. He said, “I’m not ready to do that.”
So I stepped in and said, “I don’t mean to step on anybody’s toes but what about medical cannabis?”
His doctor said, “I don’t know anything about it but we would do anything at this stage.”
A year and one-half later he is living life to his fullest. They said he’d never walk, drive and certainly not live off of oxygen. Now he is doing all of the above.
I felt that there was a site to be had for the patient who is definitely ill and who is afraid of what they’re experiencing.
My target demographic not only is the 30-year-old or the 90-year-old patient who knows nothing about this industry but definitely parents. I get a lot of calls from parents because of Cash’s story that are at their final days and we don’t have weeks or months or years to fight for this cause. Some of these patients have weeks and days.
So that’s the reason why I started doobons.com. It is a site that allows the new and old patients to come in and learn. I take this as a total compliment but I’ve had people say, “You’re like the webMD of the cannabis industry.”
Being able to reach out and help other people is one of the greatest gifts in the world. Putting out this press release to reach out to our cannabis community – my phone has been really non-stop on people all over saying, “What can we do? How can we help?”
I just thank everyone for that.
DEAN BECKER: Again, we’re speaking with John Doobons.
John, the fact of the matter is this service you’re providing, the scientific analysis that’s done on cannabis in the various dispensaries, ensuring that it’s only organic and free of pest and molds and bugs – this is something the government should be providing but it is our community that takes it upon itself to do this because, I got to say it, the government is so ignorant. Your closing thoughts, John.
JOHN DOOBONS: Yeah. A perfect example a few months ago there’s an organization called Patients Out of Time. They do an event every 2 years and this last event that they sponsored and we were one of the sponsors and we ran their social media there as well was down in Arizona. You had world-renowned doctors from every continent here on our planet that shared their story, shared their findings, shared their research with us. It was like a 3 day medical convention for Harvard Medical School – that’s how intense it was.
Each doctor spoke about what their research has brought them and they’re showing all their results. One doctor spoke on AIDS. One doctor spoke on diabetes. One doctor spoke on cancer, glaucoma, ALS, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s…It was on and on and on – 3 days straight showing their studies and showing the positive results of cannabis and cannabis oil and what it doing to the patients.
The sad thing was that every conference that they put on every 2 years they always reach out to local state and federal governments and invite them, “Please, please come and join us – on us. Join us.” And not once have they ever had anybody show up. It’s just a shame.
I walked out of there in awe. Everyone that I’ve spoken with since then has walked out of there in awe - just seeing the results. Turning everybody from a believer to a bigger believer.
You had Doctor Andrew Weil from the University of Arizona, Dr. Abrams from UC San Francisco, and a handful of others throughout the country as well. If you haven’t looked into the Patients Out of Time organization I recommend it highly.
DEAN BECKER: John, I was at the Phoenix conference. I’ve been to three or four of them now. The one that I remember most kind of counters one point you were making.
That was the year that Dr. Donald Tashkin, a government scientist from the National Institute on Drug Abuse came and spoke about how cannabis does not lead to cancer and, in fact, may help prevent cancer. This coming from a NIDA scientist.
John, I admire you for your good work. I hope folks will get in touch with you. Please, one more time, your website.
JOHN DOOBONS: http://www.doobons.com My name is John. I thank you, very much, for your time as well. If we can help anybody – certainly Cash right now who’s definitely in need of this – please feel free to contact me or the Cash Hyde Foundation.
DEAN BECKER: Courtesy of the Guardian, this is Fred Burton of the International Security Group, Stratfor.
FRED BURTON: Well in many ways there hasn’t been the U.S. resources devoted to the problem when it comes to public integrity cases, corruption cases. I think that stems a lot with the resources assigned to the so-called War on Terror.
You have had so many FBI agents reassigned from the counter-intelligence mission to the counter-terrorism mission that the public integrity cases, the corruption cases is something that literally has languished for many years.
REPORTER: It’s very easy, as often framed, as a problem from the south of the border crossing the north but the more you look at it, as with the entire drug trade and, indeed, all sorts of other corrupt trades going on, isn’t it just a convergence of U.S. and Mexican corruption and consumption? It’s not necessarily going in one direction. If anything perhaps the recourse is on this side of the border not on the Mexican side of the border.
FRED BURTON: Well there certainly is the serious consumption problem in the North American market that’s very, very lucrative. If you look at this just in context from the sheer geography that’s in play here – if you take Texas, for example, with two different time zones alone and over 1300 miles of border there’s simply isn’t a lot of resources in places along the border to stop some of these traffic flows.
If you look at this from a supply chain channel you have these routes that are used for human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, bulk cash going south and just stolen weapons – it’s a comprehensive kind of problem.
REPORTER: But, very quickly, surely though that enormous flow just couldn’t happen without immense corruption on the American side of the border at the highest official levels, could it?
FRED BURTON: Well the question is how far high does it really go. So far the highest ranking law enforcement official that I’m aware of has been the FBI Special Agent in charge of the El Paso office a few years ago but that’s really high inside the FBI organization.
In essence what you have seen a lot of times…
REPORTER: Can he really be the only one? If there’s one surely there are more.
FRED BURTON: Uh, I have no visibility into any ongoing cases to indicate that but allegations of corruption run the gamut from the federal law enforcement on down to the state and local and also into other kinds of systems. For example, the elective systems, the local court system, prosecutors, defenders and so forth depending on what locations you’re looking at.
DEAN BECKER: Recently it’s been reported that HSBC bank has been caught for laundering proceeds for international terrorists, drug cartels and various gangs to make a buck. This is from the Guardian newspaper – one of the real newspapers with real reporters.
HSBC SPOKESPERSON: I recognize that there have been significant areas of failure. I have said before and I will say again despite the best efforts and intentions of many dedicated officials have fallen short of our own expectations and the expectations of our regulators.
This is something that a bank seeking to conduct business in the United States and globally must acknowledge, learn from and, most importantly, take steps to avoid in future.
As I have thought about the structural transformation of the bank’s compliance function I recommend to the group that now is the appropriate time for me and for the bank for someone new to serve as the head of group compliance.
HSBC REPRESENTATIVE 2: In retrospect we did not appreciate concerns being raised about the business environment in Mexico. While we did our best to deal with these inquiries I’m sorry to say that I did not understand what later became apparent.
With the benefit of hindsight it is now clear that we did not perceive the extent of the money laundering, deficiencies and the risk present in Mexico.
MALE: The recent commitments are welcome. Apologies and commitments to improve are also welcome but accountability for past conduct is essential. And that’s what’s been missing here.
HSBC REPRESENTATIVE 3: We overhauled our air mail compliance function improving the quality, coverage and strength of our air mail program through additional staffing and training.
We’ve increased spending in air mail compliance 9-fold from 2009 to 2011. Today we have 892 full-time air mail compliance professionals.
DEAN BECKER: Turns out HSBC was laundering billions of dollars for terrorists and Mexican drug cartels and big U.S. gangs and international gangs all over the place trying to make a buck.
Last time this happened it was Wachovia bank that got caught big time – 300+ billion dollars and they got fined about 140 million dollars – way less than a tenth of a percent penalty for what they did.
In the meantime nobody got arrested. Nobody went to jail.
And don’t you just have to wonder who’s laundering the money today?
STEPHEN COLBERT: While in London as part of a larger European tour Mitt Romney is scheduled to have a fundraising event with bankers…
Stop the presses…is this business as usual or will the LIBOR scandal cast a taint on all this fundraising efforts?
Patrick Rice with Politico is here to tell us what’s going on.
So what makes this different? I mean, Mitt Romney is sitting down with a bunch of bankers – that seems kind of like a normal event.
PATRICK RICE: Well, between the LIBOR scandal and a few difficult things for bankers in the last few months it’s sort of gained a reviled status in eye of the public both among Tea Partiers and the Occupy movement and then, to a lesser extent, the public at large.
So for him to go there – there’s a risk. The upside is these are powerful people. They have deep pockets for campaign contributions. The down side is that it sort of plays into this Democratic narrative that he’s a little too close with the banking industry and other major corporations to prevent the sort of economic collapse we saw just a few years ago.
STEPHEN COLBERT: Now we get the headlines though. Does the LIBOR thing really have enough weight in the public consciousness to make this seem like something scandalous or is the LIBOR thing easily dismissed as yet another scandal and, of course, Mitt Romney is hanging out with bankers – we knew that already about the man.
PATRICK RICE: I think the most difficult thing for sort of turning LIBOR into a scandal if that’s your objective as a Democrat is that it’s sort of a interbank lending rate doesn’t carry the same punch as layoffs or offshoring jobs does.
So if you are going to explain that to the public you are going to have to do a lot of background work and I’m not sure that’s a route the Democrats want to go down.
The other issue is that this is sort of the best time for an attack like that. Public attention is focused elsewhere with the tragedy in Colorado and that sort of produced the brief respite in the mud-slinging so to go back to that so quickly is one, a risk of seeming insensitive to the tragedy and two, how much bang do you get for your buck with people sort of tuned out and tuned into non-political news.
STEPHEN COLBERT: And the other side of this is the Democrats are also affiliated with the bankers. President Obama raised a ton of money with Wall Street before and are they going to cut off on the administrative side of things? Are they going to cut off the bankers at large going into this campaign because of LIBOR and other scandals?
PATRICK RICE: Well that remains to be seen as the summer goes on. Obama certainly has a difficult fence. His base and, particularly, the more liberal part of it is extremely more frustrated with Wall Street both because of what happened before the collapse and their resistance of certain reform provisions since.
On the other hand, it’s a powerful group and it’s become part of at least, in part, of the Democratic camp. Bill Clinton built a strong bridge there and Democrats rode it to success for many years.
So he has to sort of find a way to play to his base without alienating this other piece of the Democratic coalition.
And the Republican nominee, Romney, he’s a business man. He’s got to play that up a little bit because that’s his sole advantage. He doesn’t have a great record as governor. Doesn’t he kind of have to be in the belly of the beast on the business side of things meaning he’s associated with these bankers and what’s the risk-reward look like for him on that front?
GARY JOHNSON: My name is Gary Johnson.
In 2012 alcohol-related crime is down and America is a safer place. Addicts are dealt with in rehab facilities – not prisons.
Why then do we not apply this lesson to marijuana?
900,000 marijuana arrests a year at a cost of tens of billions of dollars while overcrowding our prisons, tying up our legal system and escalating drug-related crime and border violence.
President Obama re-doubled his efforts to prosecute its use raiding medical marijuana facilities in increasing numbers. Wasn’t this the same President Obama who just as famously smoked it?!
The fact is marijuana users are no more criminal than our Commander in Chief.
So what’s up Mr. President?! It’s OK for you to do it but everybody else should be arrested and go to jail?
The social, economic and health costs associated with today’s drug prohibition are too high. Obama isn’t being smart about legalization. Ditto Romney.
That leaves me as the last sane man standing on this issue.
Let’s remember the lesson our great-grandparents learned at such tremendous cost – legalize it, tax it, regulate it. Move forward. Be Libertarian with me one time and we’ll turn a national drug crisis into a workable solution.
DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to us courtesy of the Guardian.
REPORTER: 38-year-old Roberto (which is probably not his real name) moved to Ciudad Juarez when he was 6. He never went to school. By age 12 he was recruited.
ROBERTO: (via translator) I was working at a mechanic’s workshop and I saw these guys who always had money, fancy cars, went to fancy restaurants. Once of them gave me a bit of drugs to sell and that’s how it started.
First 500 pesos worth, then 1,000, then 2,000. Then I recruited my brother who was working at a factory 12 hours a day for minimum wage. My dream was to be someone big.
REPORTER: You mean more important?
ROBERTO: (via translator) Yes, more important and I achieved it. I went far in the organization. I rubbed shoulders with the important people. Before, the business was more peaceful. There was a lot more money on the streets. I even bought race horses and raced them.
That’s a drug traffickers dream. The race track is where the drug traffickers hung out and I beat some of the biggest fish. That was my dream.
Now, they’re all dead. I think I’m the only one that’s still alive.
REPORTER: When did things start getting ugly?
ROBERTO: (via translator) When the war between the cartels began. A lot has happened. They killed my son – my son and my father – and, before that, I lost a brother. He was 14/15 and then the other brother.
REPORTER: That seems to have become the norm here.
ROBERTO: (via translator) We worked with the Juarez cartel but then another guy in the cartel tried to take over. We were buying by the kilo and had a lot of people working for us and so the war began. And it’s still on.
REPORTER: He looks nervous – always looking over his shoulder.
ROBERTO: (via translator) Business is not as profitable anymore and it’s much more risky, more violent. You’re always afraid that the very people you sell to are from the other rival side.
REPORTER: Have you killed people too?
ROBERTO: (via translator) No. I don’t like killing people except the ones who killed my family. I had them killed but I didn’t do it personally. I don’t stain my hands with blood.
REPORTER: Now he says he wishes he never got involved in the business although he doesn’t seem to know how to leave it.
Do you think the new government can change anything?
ROBERTO: (via translator) The law shouldn’t get involved with the traffickers. The law’s mixed up with them. That’s why this doesn’t end.
When I was at the race track the police would come and take people away and hand them over to the rival traffickers.
REPORTER: What about keeping the army involved?
ROBERTO: (via translator) They too come in and begin stealing and there is always someone who gets sucked into drug trafficking - the army soldiers, the federal police – everyone gets involved. They can send in more and more but as long as there is one rotten apple it’s the same.
DEAN BECKER: We’ve been getting serious here…let’s lighten things up a little bit.
The following discussion takes place between Conan and Doug Fine.
CONAN O’BRIEN: You believe passionately that legalizing cannabis - you don’t like to say marijuana, you think it’s a little divisive – you believe legalizing cannabis and taxing it like alcohol would actually help us, the United States, get out of the debt crisis that we’re in right now. Do you believe that, seriously?
DOUG FINE: I really do. There’s precedent for it. Before alcohol prohibition sometimes attempts 70% of U.S. federal revenue came from alcohol – for better or for worse – so we could see the same thing from cannabis. Plus the drug war is 40 years in, trillion dollars of our tax money and as far as affecting supply – let’s just look at this audience. It’s like a Willie Nelson tour bus out here.
CONAN O’BRIEN: That’s not really true. Only about 4 people in the audience responded to that. Everyone else is on something else. I get more of a pill crowd.
But this is interesting. The amounts of money that you think are involved here are enormous. We’re talking about enormous revenue could be generated. Revenue that would change the United States fiscally.
DOUG FINE: Oh, yeah. I looked at one particular county that basically just called it off – declared the drug war done – Mendocino County, northern California. They just admitted what was already there and America continued and they raised 600,000 dollars in one year and ….
CONAN O’BRIEN: So what did they do? Explain what Mendocino did is the local sheriff just one his own said, “We’re not going to fight this anymore. We’re going to control it.”
DOUG FINE: The board of supervisors passed a law that the Sheriff endorsed as a way of raising revenue in a fiscally-strapped county and they saved 7 jobs and 6 billion dollars is the estimated annual revenue from the county from this crop. It’s also America’s number one cash crop but in this county the legal crop…
CONAN O’BRIEN: It’s America’s number one cash crop?
DOUG FINE: More than corn and soy combined so let’s get that into the tax base.
CONAN O’BRIEN: You’re saying that…I can’t believe that it’s more than soy and corn combined.
DOUG FINE: It really is. And that’s before anybody can grow it openly.
CONAN O’BRIEN: I’ve always assumed - and I’m a bit of a square I’ll admit that - but I’ve always that drug cartels, gangs that there was more about cocaine, that that’s where the real revenue was from. You say that legalizing marijuana would vastly affect the cartels and the gangs.
DOUG FINE: Some estimates put as high as 70% of the cartel revenues are coming from cannabis. So knock that out and transfer that to the legitimate American economy. Put farmers back into the fields. It could truly be a real boom to the economy for sure.
CONAN O’BRIEN: OK, so you’re saying overnight the drug cartels would be immobilized practically.
DOUG FINE: You know, I don’t know about overnight. It’s kind of hard to prognosticate but if you look at history and alcohol prohibition there’s not so many bootleggers anymore.
CONAN O’BRIEN: Yeah, that’s true. And when there are you just feel sorry for them.
This is not a right wing/left wing issue. A lot of people who hear this might assume that conservatives/Republicans must be against this and Democrats must be for it and it would divide along those lines. You’re saying that it does not divide along those lines.
DOUG FINE: That’s probably one of the most surprising things. I live in the heartland. I’ve got a ranch in New Mexico and I’m running into grannies and cowboy hats in the market and I tell them what my books about and I am just progressively getting less and less apologetic about it.
You tell people that it makes sense for people economically to end this drug war and everybody that I run into is into it. And we’ve got Pat Robertson speaking out against the drug war now too. Evangelicals are coming on board.
CONAN O’BRIEN: So evangelicals are saying legalize cannabis?
DOUG FINE: Big time, yeah.
DEAN BECKER: The following segment comes to courtesy of CNN.
REPORTER: The Tommy Chong is here. So, Tommy, good to see you. We brought you in to talk about this New York State about lessening the laws for possession in public. But you have an announcement to make. What is it?
TOMMY CHONG: My announcement is that I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about a month ago. I’m going to start treating it with cannabis oil or hemp oil or pot oil. The reason I’m treating it with hemp oil is I looked at a video just recently called “Run from the cure” by Rick Simpson. It documents how he cured his melanoma cancer by using hemp oil.
REPORTER: You think that you got prostate cancer in prison after the paraphernalia and the internet company selling the bongs. This was 2003. You think you got it in prison, why?
TOMMY CHONG: That’s my feeling because I was totally healthy when I went in jail and I hadn’t smoked pot before I went in jail and then while I was in jail I was clean as a whistle because they drug tested me almost every day and I started having problems with my prostate right there.
I remember very well because when you have problems you have to get up in the middle of the night and you got to pee a lot. I also contracted gout while I was in prison from the food. So I think it was a combination of the food and the fact that the prison itself in Taft, California is built over a toxic waste dump and they have a thing there called Valley Fever that other prisoners were getting and they don’t even know what it was. It’s some sort of wasting disease.
I think I got it there. Yep.
REPORTER: We should tell. You haven’t smoked pot in how long? People think you’re a pot head but you haven’t smoked pot in…
TOMMY CHONG: I laid off for about a year. When I started getting kind of weird health issues which actually turned out to be prostate cancer so I did everything. I’m a very holistic person. I went on the juices and no red meat and the whole bit.
But now that I found out that the hemp oil will help the prostate – hey, I’m back, man.
DEAN BECKER: Dear listeners, please speak up, stand up, show you object to this policy of everlasting drug war otherwise these politicians think you’re on their side. Please visit our website, http://endprohibition.org. Prohibido istac evilesco!
For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker asking you to examine our policy of Drug Prohibition.
The Century of Lies.
Drug Truth programs archived at the James A. Baker, III Institute for Policy Studies.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
The James A Baker Institute
Sun - Portland homes for sale, with cannabis plants included
Sat - Dr. Sanjay Gupta decries Govt propaganda on cannabis
Fri - Paul Armentano of NORML re DEA ruling on cannabis 2/2
Thu - Paul Armentano of NORML re DEA ruling on cannabis
Wed - Phil Smith, reporter with Alternet & Stop the Drug War recaps recent blunders of US Govt 2/2
Tue - Phil Smith, reporter with Alternet & Stop the Drug War recaps recent blunders of US Govt
Mon - Vivian McPeak, Exec Dir of Seattle Hempfest