06/05/11 Fernando Henrique Cardoso

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Global Commission on Drug Policy report w/ former Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia + former Gov of N. Mexico Gary Johnson

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Transcript

Transcript

Century of Lies June 5, 2011
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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.

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DEAN BECKER: Hi, I’m Dean Becker. Welcome to this edition of Century of Lies. Today, we’re going to hear from the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson.

But first, we’re gonna talk about a high level, international panel which slammed the war on drugs as a failure, and called on governments to undertake experiments to decriminalize the use of drugs, especially marijuana, to undermine the power of organized crime. Members of this high-level commission held a major press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria. It was attended by about 60 media organizations.

Among the commission members are Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Louise Arbor, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Richard Branson, Entrepreneur, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the former President of Brazil who’s the chairman, Richard Dreyfuss, former President of Switzerland, Cesar Gaviria, former President of Colombia, Carlos Fuentes, writer and public intellectual out of Mexico, George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, George P. Schultz, former Secretary of State, Paul Volker, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Ernesto Zedillo the former President of Mexico.

A report has been compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which concludes that criminalization and repressive measures have failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. This conference was MC’d by Dr. Ethan Nadelmann, the Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. We’ll let him handle the first introduction.

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ETHAN NADELMANN: The first person I want to introduce is the Chair of the Global Commission, the former President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO: After today, the main idea was that the press—let’s put an end, let’s attain our goal—zero drugs in the world. Well, the fact is that the war on drugs is a failure. I don’t want to repeat, it will not be necessary. Other people more well-informed about the issue than myself, especially Gavilia from Colombia, will explain you why this has been a failure. But the point is that being a failure cannot say you have nothing to do with drugs. You have to act.

The drugs are replacing local power in several parts of the world. The corruption is increasing and the consumption of drugs also is increasing. And it’s true also that drugs are harmful; harmful to society and harmful to people. So we have to care about people and about society. No one’s taking the ground that people’s necessities—we have to look after those who are using drugs. Not as criminals, but as people who require some care.

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DEAN BECKER: Once again, that was Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the former President of Brazil and the Chair of the Global Drugs Commission.

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ETHAN NADELMANN: Next up, is the former President of Colombia, and the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Cesar Gaviria.

CESAR GAVIRIA: I want to talk about a very precise issue and the balance in Latin America, in Mexico and Central America, in Colombia. We have to ask of these balance: one is local consumption. Governments in Latin America have to be aware that local consumption is an important social balance. In Brazil it’s an important social balance, and they have to deal with the problem of consumption in different ways. Not only not putting people in jail, but helping those people with help, having solutions coming out of society.

And second, we depend a lot on how the US consumption and how the criminal black market grows or not; for to check on balance. Colombia was able to improve its security with Plan Colombia, but it was not able to stop the flow of drugs. The flow of drugs is there. I would think that it was before Plan Colombia—had been good for security and I hope Mexico and Central America would be able to improve their security, but the flow of drugs will continue. And the efforts of these countries, we have to keep on [unintelligible] for a very long time.

Now, we care that the policies of the U.S. to reduce consumption are successful and to decrease the size of the market. And that’s what we are not seeing at this moment. We want the U.S. society to make the debate on these matters that have not been done because the political leaders all [unintelligible] the association between crimes and narco trafficking, and continue to distinguish from consumers to users but we—this society needs to debate.

These societies are spending $40 Billion dollars a year fighting drugs. That’s a lot of money. And more than 500,000 people in jail. But they are spending that money in a way that is not effective. The consumption is not being reduced, the increasing number of people in jail is there in these statistics—so they—we really care that in the long run this country has more of an effective policy. The policy they have in place is not effective. It’s a failure, and most people recognize that in this country. Why they have been at times, because they have not considered alternatives.

They already know what Fernando Cardoso says, they already know the alternatives between prohibitionism and legalization. So we hope the U.S. will do that. And we’ll start to use these resources in prevention and treatment and education, and start to think that consumption of drugs is not a crime, rather a problem. And in Latin America, for the countries that are fighting drugs and fighting cartels, it’s very important that the U.S. look at its policies and make them effective. It’s not effective right now. Almost everybody recognize it. And there are alternatives.

So the U.S. can do a lot to change this route of violence in Latin America and the Mexicans particularly have the right to see that the U.S. is moving in the right direction; that they are able to—they will be very upset if they know or they realize that the U.S.—the policies of the U.S. are very ineffective. Thank you.

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DEAN BECKER: That was Cesar Gaviria, former President of Colombia, speaking at the Global Drugs Commission last week. Gil Kerlikowsky, the U.S. Drug Czar at the OMDCP said the report was misguided, “Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Making drugs more available—as this report suggests—will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

The OMDCP cited statistics showing declines in U.S. drug use compared to thirty years ago. However, the global report cited U.N. estimates that opium use increased 34.5% worldwide and cocaine 27% from 1998 to 2008. And the use of marijuana was up 8.5%. So the real question becomes will successes like that merit the expenditure of another trillion dollars or two?

In just a few moments we’ll be interviewing Republican candidate for President, Governor Gary Johnson; but we’re gonna close this out with the closing remarks of Dr. Ethan Nadelmann.

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ETHAN NADELMANN: Paul Volker was here this morning but cannot be here. Louise Arbour who’s the former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the National Crisis Group. It also includes Carlos Fuentes, and Mario Vargas Llosa, the writers and intellectuals. It includes Asma Jahangir, the human rights activist and Former Special U.N. Arbiter on arbitrary extraditions and summary executions in Pakistan. It includes currently in office, the Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, as well as the Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Michel Kazatchkine.

It also includes John Whitehead, the former U.S. Secretary of State, and Chair of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. It includes Ernesto Zedillo, the former President of Mexico. It includes George Schultz, the honorary chair of this and the former Secretary of Everything, more or less in the United States,

[Laughter]

And also for those of you on the phone, three other commissioners who are sitting here today and are available for questions; which include Marion Caspers-Merk to my right, the former Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Health, Thorvald Stoltenberg, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees from Norway, as well as Maria Cattaui, the former Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Okay, well let me just conclude by saying that never before has a group of such distinction endured such far-reaching recommendations for arming the global drug prohibition system. Much of what you’ve heard and what is contained in this report would have not so long ago been considered drug war heresy and that challenging an orthodoxy that no government would dare to do.

The great hope here is that this would truly open up a national and international debate. Nobody on this commission is calling for the legalization of drugs. What we are saying is that addiction should be treated as a health—not a criminal justice—problem. What we are saying is we need new ways of dealing with the low-level players, the growers, and the couriers and the low-level dealers.

What they are saying is that we need to open the debate. What they are saying is that we need to move away from a non-critical and corrupted overreliance on prohibitionist institutions to one that emphasizes sensible regulations, public health principles, science, common sense and human rights. I would much appreciate all of you giving a big hand of applause to these brave commissioners on the Global Commission.

[Applause]

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DEAN BECKER: So the real question becomes, do you think all of these world leaders and former world leaders and high government officials are misguided? That’s what the OMDCP thinks.

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[Water sound effects]

DEAN BECKER: Opening up a can of worms, and going fishing for truth. This is the Drug Truth Network. Drugtruth.net.

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DEAN BECKER: You know, I’m proud to have with us a gentleman who has dared to speak the truth now for well over a decade about this drug war. He’s the former governor of New Mexico; I consider him to be a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for U.S. President. And with that, I wanna welcome Gary Johnson. Hello sir.

GARY JOHNSON: Well Dean, thanks for having me on.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. Now, we reach back over a decade when you were a guest so to speak on the New York Times’ Drug Policy Forum. We’ve been given this good goin’ over for quite some time, now haven’t we?

GARY JOHNSON: Yeah, and I’d like to think we’re just a couple of years away from us really being at a tipping point. And I’m talking about legalizing marijuana; that 46% of Americans now support this and I think with just a little bit of education, more is happening every single day because while people are talking about it and it’s an issue that does wetter—better when people talk about it. I think we’re just a couple of years away from seeing this change nationwide.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. And just yesterday, there was a major conference up in New York City—a gathering of the Global Drug Commission members calling for a reexamination, a reinvigoration of our policy, correct?

GARY JOHNSON: Yes, and very positive to talking about a notion that, “Hey, drugs are first a health problem not a criminal justice problem.”

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. And you mentioned the legalization of marijuana, the one “recreational drug” that’s never killed anybody. And also call for a medicalization, decriminalization—if you will—of the other drugs, correct?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, what I talk about when it comes to other drugs are harm-reduction strategies—the thing that we really care about—reducing death, disease, crime, corruption. In a nutshell, it’s looking at the drug problem first as a health issue rather than as a criminal justice issue. And I think if we—I think we are going to legalize marijuana in this country. And I think when we do that, I think we’re gonna take giant steps forward towards a rational drug policy regarding all the other drugs.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. And being from New Mexico, you—and me from Texas—we probably recognize or are more aware of the ongoing news out of Mexico; the horrendous war that’s being waged down there, correct?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, 28,000 deaths, thousands are murdered over the last four years. If we can’t connect the dots between prohibition and violence, I don’t know if we ever will. These are disputes that are being played out with guns rather than the courts. Didn’t we see this played out with alcohol prohibition? It didn’t work, and it’s not working now.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. And then with it, we have the component association—if you will—that there are now thousands of U.S. Gangs—violent U.S. Gangs, high-powered weapons—out on our city streets, waging their part of this war—if you will—to earn those billions of dollars that this drug trade creates, right?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, these are disputes that are being played out with guns rather than the courts. Legalizing marijuana, and arguably 75% of that border violence in Mexico goes away. That being the estimate of the Mexican’s drug cartel activity that are engaged in the marijuana trade.

DEAN BECKER: Yes. Again friends, we’re speaking with Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico. He’s one of the candidates—if you will—for the Republican Presidential bid. Now, Governor Johnson, I was looking at your website today and, you know, the drug war is not the only plank, or aspect that you want to deal with.

I looked—there’s segments on the economy and taxes, education and school choices, certainly immigration with its connection to the same drug cartels, our foreign policy—which is also much involved in the drug war—civil liberties, and the deficit. And if I dare say, each and every one of these could be improved by redirecting our efforts and our fiscal resources away from the drug war, your thoughts sir?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, I completely concur on the biggest issue facing this country right now is the fact that we are bankrupt. The fact that we’ve got 9% unemployment in this country, which in my opinion gets solved by eliminating the corporate income tax, and eliminating the deficit—that we stop deficit spending, that we balance the budget tomorrow. And as part of that, everything the government does should be a cost-benefit analysis. What are we spending our money on, what are we getting for the money that we’re spending?

Back to drugs: half—half of everything that we spend on law enforcement, the courts, the prisons is drug related. And what are we getting for that? Well we now have 2.3 million people behind bars in this country, the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. The majority of them being behind bars because of drug-related crime.

DEAN BECKER: Now, Governor Johnson, I think about the situation with the immigration. Just yesterday, the Houston Chronicle had a major story about several employers that were hiring illegal immigrants. Is that where we should focus is on the employers rather than those sneaking across the border?

GARY JOHNSON: Uh, no. I think that the government should make it as easy as possible for individuals that want to come across the border and work to get a work visa. A work visa would not be citizenship—it would not be a green card—but it would be a work visa that in my opinion should entail a background check, and a Social Security card that applicable taxes would get paid.

Immigration should not be about welfare at all. And that should be left to states and how they enforce no welfare when it comes to individuals coming across the border to work. And we need to recognize that that’s what they’re coming across the border to do is work, not to come over to collect welfare. But those that are, we need to put a stop to that.

Regarding the 11 million illegal immigrants that are here in this country right now, I think we need to set up a grace period where those 11 million can become documented—background check, Social Security card. And then once we do that, make it a one strike you’re out. Once we do that, that in my opinion is securing the border. That in my opinion is making it easier to identify those that are not documented. Those that aren’t documented in this country, once you pass laws that are enforceable, then make it a one strike you’re out. You’re in this country working illegally, you’ll be arrested, you’ll be deported and you won’t come back and work in this country again.

The notion of building a fence across two thousand miles of border, or the notion of putting the National Guard arm-in-arm across two thousand miles of border, in my opinion, would be a whole lot of money spent with very little—if any—benefit whatsoever. And then talk about the drug war earlier—understand that the violence that so much of the illegal crossing has to do with the drugs. Make it easy to get a work visa and a moving line that the government would provide, and I suggest that that illegal traffic across the border will dry up. And once they know you can get a work visa easily, then they’ll get it. They’ll get it and that’s what they’ve got.

And the government should not involve itself in quotas, which would be matching up employers with employees. And I think it’s wrong for the government to prosecute employers because I think that so many of them, so many of them end up as victims—if you will—accepting the false documentation that they take for real.

DEAN BECKER: Okay, fair enough; thank you sir. Now, insofar as civil liberties, you know, I’m—I object strongly to many provisions of the Patriot Act, which was just reinstituted if you will, I think, earlier this week. Now to me it seems that America, land of the free, home of the brave, has become fearful—overly fearful. You’re response, sir.

GARY JOHNSON: Just complete agreement. This—we’re not a country of fear, we’re a country of freedom. We have more the fear from our loss of our freedoms and liberties than anything else. And, as a result of keeping us safe against terrorism, keeping us safe against the drugs, we’re letting the police knock down our doors and commit victim—warrantless search and also seizure. And also detention. This is not why we have fought the wars that we have fought in this country.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. Now, I think about the ruling couple of weeks back—the Supreme Court says if police smell marijuana, that they can go ahead and conduct a search. I find that, from my perspective, rather preposterous in that it could have been marijuana smoked and gone, with no evidence left in the room; or it could be a minimal amount that wouldn’t warrant that investigation in the first place. You’re response, please.

GARY JOHNSON: Well, I think I’m taking this on at the—really the forefront, and that is legalize this so that this—that this stops. Given that it’s an illegal activity—and I am not in any way condoning what police end up committing in the name of making our country drug-free. This is just going down the road further that—smoke? Who’s to say that it was marijuana smoke. And now all of a sudden you have your door beat down because of perceived—the perceived smell of marijuana. There just doesn’t seem to be an end to how far we’re going right now to diminish our civil liberties.

DEAN BECKER: Well, let’s talk briefly then about America being the world’s leading jailer. I live in Houston, and in many areas, we lead the world in our incarceration. We don’t care how minimal the amount of possession is, it’s gonna be a lock-up and jail. And yet the fact is we’re—we’re out of money. We’re firing teachers and contemplating firing firemen and policemen. We’ve got to rethink this whole thing, don’t we?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, we do. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. 2.3 million people. I think it’s important to draw a—draw a comparison with China—Communist China and the authoritarian dictatorship which has four times the population as that of the United States, and they have less people behind bars. 1.5 million people behind bars in a communist dictatorship. Isn’t this the country of liberty and freedom? Apparently not.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. Now, mentioned earlier the—yesterday’s Global Commission on Drugs Seminar, I guess. And the thing that I perceive from that is that there are a lot of high caliber, high stature people—such as yourself—who are beginning to speak this necessary truth. What do you think, or when do you think these proponents, these drug war addicts will finally let go of their jihad?

GARY JOHNSON: Well, I believe we are two years away from being at a tipping point; and that is based on statistics that say that over 46% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. And that’s due to the fact that more and more people are talking about it, which is a great thing because this is an issue that does better the more people talk about it.

DEAN BECKER: Alright, once again we’re speaking with Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, a leading contender for the Republican Presidential run. Governor Johnson, I wanted to ask you, the fact of the matter is that President Obama, when he was running for office said he would allow for medical marijuana. And yet as his tenure is extended here, they’re getting more and more draconian—going after more and more marijuana dispensaries, and so forth. What’s your thought? Why do politicians lose their direction once they’re inaugurated?

GARY JOHNSON: I think politicians are the reason for why policies remain the same, and without singling out Obama—because all of them seem to address this issue the same way—that it is status quo that we elected all one Congressperson, one Senator, one President at a time. And it’s time we started voting in different people, given the fact that we’re bankrupt in this country and we don’t seem to be coming up with the solutions that we need to come up with.

And certainly, when it comes to drug war, how many of our friends, family, parents, co-workers, how many of all those do we need to lock up before we finally understand that these are people that may not have made the wisest choice, but they’re anything but criminals.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir. You know, I was speaking of Obama and before him, G.W. Bush and Clinton were all drug users. It almost seems like a prerequisite for getting elected. Your response.

GARY JOHNSON: Yes, that is—I agree. I agree that hypocrisy is the worst—perhaps the majority of them, or close to a majority of them have tried illegal drugs in some source—some way or another. And but for the grace of God, they’re not behind bars. I guess they think that that’s okay and that they were responsible somehow and others aren’t.

DEAN BECKER: Well, Governor Johnson, I hope that we can continue this discussion later on in the election season. Closing thought or subject I wanted to address is that you had indicated that you’re being denied participation in a forthcoming debate?

GARY JOHNSON: Uh, yes. I’m as of—I’ve been just notified that I’m gonna be denied participation in the CNN debate, to be held here next week in New Hampshire, and I’m in New Hampshire right now. So, this is very upsetting. It’s very upsetting that I have served two terms as Governor of New Mexico dealing with all the issues that every single Governor in the country deals with, and that I would have seen things differently, and by differently that government doesn’t have the answers, to just about anything. And that getting government out of the way actually makes life what this country was originally based on, which is our personal liberties and freedoms, and the responsibilities that go along with that. So, I’m—I’m upset right at the moment.

DEAN BECKER: Man, I don’t blame you sir. I feel that you have shown, you know, through your work over the years that you are a viable candidate. But, we’ll hope that the future brings better circumstance. Now, Governor Johnson, we’ve got just a minute or two left here, and I want to ask you to talk to my audience, those out there who know the truth about drug war in particular, and yet seem unwilling or afraid to speak up or to share what they know with those around them. It’s time for a change, isn’t it?

GARY JOHNSON: Well it is time for a change. And Dean I’d like to take this advantage just to put in a plug for myself. This is a way to get online—garyjohnson2012.com—maybe make a contribution to a voice in this process that does not exist currently.

DEAN BECKER: Governor Johnson, thank you so much for being with us here on The Century of Lies Show, and I want to just tell you my hat is off to you. I—there are so few people in America in particular willing to address this subject, and you have handled it quite well, and I thank you sir.

GARY JOHNSON: Well, thank you very much, and I look forward to talking to you in the future.

DEAN BECKER: As I mentioned earlier, there were about 60 cameras at the gathering of that Commission, here’s hoping that the major media does their part to help end the madness of drug war. And as always I remind you there’s no reason for this drug war to exist. Please do your part to end this madness. Visit our website endprohibition.org. Do it for the children

Prohibido estac evilesco!

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For the Drug Truth Network, this is Dean Becker, asking you to examine our policy of drug prohibition.

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.

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