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James Gierach, retired Chicago prosecutor, LEAP board member + Piper Kerman, author Orange is the New Black, Deborah Small, Johns Hopkins Public Health Fellow & Drug Policy Alliance’s Asha Bandele
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Jeffrey Dhywood author of World War D + UN speech by Guatamalan Pres Molina, Msg from Javier Sicilia leader of Caravan for Peace
Cultural Baggage / September 30, 2012
Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.
“It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally Un-American.”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
“No more! Drug War!” “No more! Drug War!”
DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.
DEAN BECKER: Ah yes, back in studio. This is the Cultural Baggage show. My name is Dean Becker. I’m glad you could be with us. Here in just a moment we’re going to bring in our guest for this evening. His name is Jeffrey Dhywood. He has written a great book. He was our guest on a past show…”World War D” – talks about this eternal war, this war on drugs, this futile, flabbergasting war on drugs and there is much to talk about.
It seems that three presidents of Central and South America stepped forward this week at the United Nations and though they didn’t exactly say the word legalize they’re saying it’s time to talk about legalizing. With that let’s go ahead and bring in our guest.
Jeffrey, are you there?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: Hey Dean. I’m glad to be here again and it’s always a pleasure. Good Evening everybody.
DEAN BECKER: Jeffrey, I’ll tell you what, before we get started here I got you online and I want to play this segment here from President Molina – president of Guatemala - what he said at the UN. We’ll kind of start from there, OK?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: OK. That’s a very good start.
DEAN BECKER: This is the United Nations translation of a speech given by Guatemalan President Molina to the General Assembly.
PRESIDENT MOLINA: (via translator) The scourge of drug trafficking…at least 40% of the homicides in our country are linked to the trafficking of illicit drugs and my government must allocate our scant fiscal resources to combatting transnational gangs that traffic in illegal drugs from the producing countries in the south to the consuming countries in the north.
Moreover my country has gradually been transformed into a producer and consumer of drugs thereby compounding an already difficult situation. The existing framework – born of the international conventions of the past five decades and currently enforced – does not achieve the desired results.
The markets for consumption expand instead of decreasing. The number of producer countries and the type of drugs available multiply and the routes for marketing and trafficking tending towards diversification. The drug problem is far greater and evermore complex. It involves more countries and an ever greater number of persons.
It is a transnational phenomenon and it is for this reason that I raise it in this universal forum of the United Nations. Mr. President, we believe that the basic premise of our war against drugs has proved to have serious shortcomings in that it has not been possible, sadly, to eradicate the consumption of drugs in the world.
I believe that the time has come to accept this fact and to adapt our fight against this scourge taking into account the new realities. The group that is most effected by drug consumption, our youth, calls for more effective responses from us.
Let us address the problem, therefor, for what it is – largely a public health issue more than a problem for criminal justice.
DEAN BECKER: There it is. That’s, I thought, the best capture, if you will, of what was presented not just by President Molina but also by President Santos of Colombia, President Calderon of Mexico. Jeffrey, I wanted to say this, I captured those off the UN website and next to each of their links was a summary of their speech and nowhere in any of those three speeches was there much reference at all to what was said about the drug war. Your thought there, Jeffrey.
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: It’s typical censorship in the media. The fact is President Molina…actually one detail here…The true name of the true name of the Guatemala is Perez Molina. In Guatemala people have two names…in Mexico….so…just a little detail but his message is very clear, very blunt and he’s very bold. He is just saying it the way it is but that is not the way it is being reported in the media.
DEAN BECKER: Right and that’s the real problem isn’t it? Some folks talk about the doctors failed us when they failed to object but it was the media that failed to object when all this drug war madness started unfolding. They just didn’t do their job. Your response, Jeffrey.
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: You are totally right. Some media it has been reported but usually they put this all speech that was very detailed and very truthful and point by point and very argumentative is reduced to one sentence. One thing that Calderon is saying is this on the other end has been quite widely quoted…I’m looking for the quote here…basically says, “Let’s be honest. There is no other solution except legalization of drugs starting from legalization in the U.S.”
He said that on Monday as the Council on Foreign Relation in New York just before his speech at the UN on Wednesday that …and on Wednesday his speech to the UN he called for a dialogue to reform the drug policing on the UN starting with the 1961 Convention and mandated in 1971.
So, we really have quite have quite an amazing progression here. I just wrote a piece which will be published sometime next week going back to what happened in just one short year. Last year in October of 2011 I launch what I called the Calderon/Santos Initiatives. I was calling on President Calderon and President Santos of Mexico and Colombia to form an alliance to initiate global drug policy reform.
The alliance that I was calling for with Calderon and Santos didn’t materialize because Calderon leaving his post on December first but nonetheless there has been amazing progress in drug policy reform.
If you remember in June 2011 came the declaration from 7 former head of states…from Kofi Annan, from the Secretary of the United Nations and so on and so forth and then in December 6th of 2011 came something that nobody noticed in the media in west. I was probably the only one to tell people, “Watch out, this is very important. It’s significant.”
What it was it called the Merida Declaration. It came from an original meeting where there was the president of Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, Honduras…there was the president of Chile, foreign minister of Colombia…I mean many countries in Latin America were presented.
Pretty much what they said was, “OK, it’s time for western countries to bring down the use of drugs in their country and if they cannot do it then we have to look into alternatives including market orientated alternatives.”
And it’s very significant that in this declaration of the UN on Wednesday Felipe Calderon mentioned and quoted the Merida Declaration. It expressly said that movement was starting in Merida (which is in Yucatan, by the way) and he reiterated what he said out there that we need to look into market orientated solutions. So this is pretty much clear.
Then came Otto Perez Molina in Guatemala which…it’s interesting to look at these people here, OK? Calderon, when he became president, was from the PAN which is like the equivalent of the Republican party in Mexico. Then Otto Perez Molina is a retired general and also from the right wingish political party in Guatemala. And then the third person, Santos, which is also part of the right wing…we are not talking about leftish, liberal …we are talking about ultra-conservative presidents – three major ultra-conservative presidents in Latin America who are saying it’s time to look for alternative solutions to the War on Drugs.
Of course there are some good reasons why they do that. You have to take into account that Guatemala has the worst crime rate in the world.
DEAN BECKER: It’s makes Mexico look like they’re not even trying, right?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: Yeah, if you think that it is bad in Mexico…go in Guatemala, Honduras and Salvador – these are 3 countries that are totally destroyed by the drug cartels and they just don’t have the resources. Molina said very loud and clear in his address to the United Nations that they do not have the resources to fight the drug cartels. The drug cartels have more monies than they do. They have better weapons. They have better everything so what can they do?
DEAN BECKER: Jeffrey, this brings to mind that we have here in the United States two major candidates for president and they’re basically leaving this issue alone. Occasionally somebody will ask them about marijuana and they’ll say, “Oh, not on my watch.”
But they don’t talk about what’s going on in Mexico – the 60,000 dead, the even greater crime rate in Guatemala and Honduras as you say – they don’t talk about this. What’s your response to this?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: Nobody wants to touch this topic in the U.S. and on one end you have Romney who gets angry whenever anybody asks him something about marijuana or drugs or whatever – he believes it is a topic that is not even worth talking about – and you have Obama that just treats it like some kind of college prank. Everybody knows that during his college days he was kind of a pothead and he look at the issue from that prospective…like a college prank and he jokes about it and whatever.
60,000 deaths in one year is no joke. It is more than the deaths in Iraq or in Afghanistan. And we are talking about crime rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras 120 per 100,000 people – it’s higher than in Iraq and Iraq is in a state of war. It’s ridiculous.
DEAN BECKER: And, Jeffrey, the thing that is also not brought up is America who we call ourselves the “Land of the Free” and yet we are the most incarcerating, jailing nation on this planet. Something that needs to be brought forward here is that we arrest blacks at a rate of about 6 to 8 times than did South Africa under Apartheid and nobody’s talking about that. It’s crazy.
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: You are completely right. It’s just a disgrace. It’s a shame. I don’t understand. I’m not American. I am French. I’m European and it’s very hard for people outside the U.S. to understand how the U.S. gives lessons on democracy, human rights to the rest of the world when you have a very huge human right problem right at home.
Drug consumption is about equal between white, African-Americans and Latinos – actually higher among the white/Caucasian population than it is among Latino and African-Americans and still if you are African-American and you smoke pot or take any illegal drug you are ten times as likely to be arrested than if you are Caucasian.
There is also disproportion between sentencing. You will get three times as much if you are African-American than if you are Caucasian. This is a politically…there is no justification for something like that. It is a shame and it is something that should be changed as soon as possible but unfortunately it is not going to change anytime soon.
The fact is Caucasian were arrested at the same rate as African-American and Latino are arrested right now the War on Drugs would be over in a week.
DEAN BECKER: Yeah, that’s exactly right. The fact of the matter is, as we were talking about, the major politicians, even the congressmen…everybody tries to leave this alone. You’ve probably dealt with this – I’ve tried to contact offices of the DEA and the ONDCP and tried to invite some spokesman from their organization to come on this show and they’ve absolutely refused for 10 coming up on 11 years.
I think now more than ever before there is nobody who can defend this drug war policy. They had a series of stories, blogs if you will, on the Houston Chronicle dealing with cannabis and will it be legalized and when, if how, what. The blogs were great but what I found was more powerful were the responses – just the average Joe and Jolene out there who responded to this and just cut to the core, knew their facts…there’s just too much information for this to meander forever. What’s your thought?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: You are right. There is no justification now days for the War on Drugs except it’s what I call the status quo bias. Take an example to illustrate why something that is completely wrong can go on forever. I would take the example of priest celibacy in the Catholic Church.
Priest celibacy is an invention of the Catholic Church to protect their material possessions because it was a way to eliminate the illusion of church property to inheritance so that’s why they invented celibacy. Meanwhile this has all kind of unintended consequences from institutionalized child abuse to right now it’s destroying the Catholic Church. Still, even though it is a threat to the Catholic Church the Catholic Church still sticks to priest celibacy.
So this is a very good illustration of the status quo bias. The power of the status quo even when it is complete absurdity which is what we have with the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs doesn’t make sense. Anybody who takes a look at it with reason and with analysis sees easily that it doesn’t work. It still going on its momentum that needs to be broken. Politicians don’t want to enter into breaking it.
What people need to do for just one thing is to make sure that you vote for the marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado, Washington and Oregon whether you like them or not – please vote for them because it is much better. It’s a way of breaking the status quo.
A lot of people have some objections against one initiative or the other but just go beyond your objection and vote for it. Vote for Gary Johnson.
DEAN BECKER: Jeffrey, I got to interrupt you here. We’re just about out of time. Please share your website with the listeners. Tell them where they can learn more about your great book, “World War D.”
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: http://www.world-war-d.com
DEAN BECKER: Jeffrey, thank you so much. We’re going to have to bring you back here and kick it around real soon, OK?
JEFFREY DHYWOOD: Alright, super. Thanks, Dean.
RANDALL MORTON: Randall Morton here. I’m with the Progressive Forum and we produce 7 events a year in the Wortham seeking to present the great minds of our time with real answers.
DEAN BECKER: Well, Mortan, October 2nd, this coming Tuesday, you have invited Michelle Alexander. She’s author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of color blindness.” Tell us how folks can attend and what they might expect to hear.
RANDALL MORTON: Well folks can expect to hear a great orator. She is very powerful and a leading scholar. She is focused on perhaps the leading civil rights issue of our time – the over incarceration of black people due to the War on Drugs.
People can get tickets at our website, http://progressiveforumhouston.org. That’s probably the best place.
DEAN BECKER: It’s going to be at the Wortham Center, right? Downtown Houston.
RANDALL MORTON: Yes, it will be at the Wortham Center. That’s Texas Avenue, 500 Texas Avenue and it starts at 7:30. Michelle will greet fans and sign books at the end of the evening.
DEAN BECKER: This week more stories of Mexican kingpins crushed, scores of innocents slaughtered, tons and tons of drugs discovered, ODs by the dozen and ignorant kids dying. I’m outraged. I’m astonished. I can’t believe this is happening.
No, really, I’m almost bored except the continuing horror prevents that. How many times, years, decades and now a century…how many times will we be surprised by these stories of barbarism and corruption?
The drug war has no connection with reality. It’s a fairy tale from long ago put forward by zealots and bigots to accrue power and money from ignorant farmers and store clerks.
Summary: “Adult humans in these United States are too ignorant to decide what they should put into their own bodies therefor henceforward they must purchase a prescription from their doctor proving their infirmity before they can procure their pills from a pharmacist.”
That’s from the Harrison Narcotics Act.
Franklin, Jefferson and crew would have picked up their muskets and gone to war again over this abomination and yet modern Americans are so soft and scared and ever ready to give “big brother” a big wet kiss for his promises of protection.
Now comes those ignorant drug war addicts whose proclivities towards alcohol, pills and potions frightens them so bad that they want to lock up generations of our children so they can better protect themselves from themselves.
Pure, frickin’ madness.
DEAN BECKER: The following message is from Javier Sicilia, the Mexican poet who led the Caravan for Peace, Justice and Dignity.
JAVIER SICILIA: (via interpreter) To the women and men of the U.S. we want to remind you that more than 40 years ago President Richard Nixon announced the War on Drugs. Since then the consumption of illicit substances has increased not decreased.
I am Javier Sicilia. I am a poet. I will march firstly because they murdered my son in a gruesome way and because I don’t want any other son of another family to be a victim of a war which is causing us nothing but pain, tearing apart life, tearing apart social fabric.
This war, provoked by the U.S. and assumed by many governments, has endangered the national security of every country which is involved. We decided to come to the U.S. to have a dialogue with its citizens to share our pain. Many in Mexico have said, “Enough.”
Just like us you know this war is senseless. This war is absurd. This war was lost from the beginning.
DEAN BECKER: Alright, again, that was Javier Sicilia. I want to thank Jeffrey Dhywood. His website is http://world-war-d.com Please check it out. His book is very informative, very powerful stuff.
Be sure to check out this week’s Century of Lies program. Our guest will be Martin Lee. He’s author of “Smoke Signals.” A very powerful book as well.
I want to remind you folks that it’s really up to you to end this drug war. As long as you remain silent you’re considered in support of this drug war. I urge you to contact your elected officials, to do your part to do what you can. It’s just like they were talking about – it’s the momentum carrying it forward and without your objection it will continue forever.
Please do your part.
DEAN BECKER: Thank you for joining us for this edition of Cultural Baggage. Again I remind you that because of prohibition you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.
This show goes out to my friends in Canada, U.S. and the few now listening in Mexico – for my “Caravanistas.”
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
The James A Baker Institute
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