06/29/14 Doug McVay

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Doug McVay: Part 1 of our coverage of the June 26 Global Day of Action Against the Drug War, UN releases its world drug report, an Oregon update, plus we kick Dick Nixon around a little.

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Transcript

Century of Lies June 29, 2014

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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.

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DOUG McVAY: Hello and welcome to Century of Lies. I'm your guest host, Doug McVay, editor of Drug War Facts dot org. Century of Lies is a production of the Drug Truth Network, and is brought to you through the Pacifica network's radio station KPFT-fm in Houston, Texas and through the support of the James A. Baker the Third Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Find DTN on the web at drug truth dot net, where you can listen to past programs and subscribe to our podcasts. The Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, be sure to give its page a Like.

Century Of Lies is heard on 420 Radio dot org on Mondays at 11 am and 11 pm, and Saturdays at 4 am. We are also heard on time4hemp dot com between 1 and 2pm pacific along with our sister program Cultural Baggage, which is hosted this week by DTN's executive producer Dean Becker. A few of the radio stations out there that carry Century Of Lies, including KRFP 90.3 FM in Moscow, Idaho; WIEC 102.7 FM in Eau Claire, WI; WGOT-LP 94.7 FM in Gainesville, FL; and WERU 89.9 FM in Blue Hill, Maine. Thank you for your support.

Now, let's get to the news.

Thursday June 26th was the Global Day of Action Against the War on Drugs.

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ANCHOR: Last year we at Support, Don’t Punish, a global campaign against the war on drugs. Our message was simple - Drug usage is a health issue not criminal. Around the world the response was overwhelming.

Over 2,000 people sent in photos on Facebook and Twitter.

26 of June is the UN Day Against Drugs and it is celebrated by some governments who propagate executions and beatings for drug offenders.

Last year we started to reclaim [inaudible]. People gathered in 41 cities around the world in a show of force for drug law reform.

The campaign open doors to the media and to government who sat up and took notice.

SPEAKER 1: I’m here on this day of action around the world calling on people to support not punish people with drug problems.

SPEAKER 2: The reason why we organized a protest was to highlight the situation, to draw public attention on the epidemic that we are facing. Being a part of this campaign give you a chance of being part of something bigger.

SPEAKER 3: It is a good thing for Africa because they start to realize and to demand their rights. All these issues that we were not able to talk about. We are free. We are not afraid.

ANCHOR: Let’s make 2014 even bigger. Send in your photo. Plan an action in your city. Visit us on Facebook and use our hash tag on Twitter. Support the Campaign Support, Don’t Punish.

It’s time to end the war on drugs. Support, Don’t Punish.

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DOUG McVAY: The drug war is global, and so is our opposition to it. That's why the Global Day of Action Against the Drug War was initiated last year. It's an international campaign under the banner of Support, Don't Punish, standing up for the basic human and civil rights of people who happen to use controlled substances. There were protests and other events in some 100 cities in 46 different countries around the world on June 26th this year.

To hear a little bit about that, we're going to have some words from the actor and comedian Russell Brand, pre-recorded, from a news conference a couple of months ago, he's introduced in this segment by the chair of the International Drug Policy Consortium, former UK drug czar Mike Trace.

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MIKE TRACE: Thank you very much. I’d also like to thank the United Nations’ information service for letting us use these facilities. My name is Mike Trace. I’m the chairman of International Drug Policy Consortium. I’m going to chair this even and moderate but it is Russell’s show but you will get a few words of introduction from me to put it in context.

Many of you may have covered the official United Nation’s drug policy meeting taking place across the other side of this building. It’s a 5 year review of global drug policy and minsters were here last week to review what progress we’ve made in international drug policy around the world. We are hoping this is a key stepping stone in modernizing and humanizing drug policies – moving away from punishment-based drug policies to health and human rights.

Countries are very much diverging on their views of this. Some countries are very reform minded – they want to move to different types of drug policies, they want to have more liberal and tolerant drug policies – but some countries want to retain what we may call repressive or punishment-based policies.

This is a start of a key process at the United Nations. There is a United Nations summit in New York in two years’ time where we hope that there will be some significant steps forward in producing a more effective and humane drug policy.

One key progress that we are seeing happening now is very relevant to our conference here is that many countries have accelerated their move away from punishing drug users towards providing them health services and care and support and that’s why that’s symbolized by campaign that I’d like to draw all of your attention to which is called the Support, Don’t Punish campaign.

Around the world grassroots organizations are doing their own work in their own countries to try to promote the idea that drug users are in need of support rather than punishment or imprisonment and we have run a campaign on World Drugs Day last year where 41 countries, grassroots activists did campaigns to show their support for that campaign.

Our intention is to double that number of countries this year on June 26th which is World Drugs Day and I’m very proud and very pleased that Russell has agreed to give his support for that campaign.

With that I’ll pass over to Russell to say a few words...as many as you like.

RUSSELL BRAND: Would you like it in any particular order?

MIKE TRACE: No, just jumble them up.

RUSSELL BRAND: I’m so happy to be here today at UN. Thank you, Mike, for organizing this. I hadn’t even been to the UN before and already I’ve found it quite an inspiring situation to see a municipal organization with truly global intentions is very, very exciting although one of my friends says that he’s surprised that the whole thing does not smell of chlorine. There is a certain atmosphere to the place, a certain atmosphere to buildings with this kind of intention.

The reason I am here is both as a recovering drug addict and as an advocate for change in global drug policy and legislation. As a person who lived as a drug addict for ages and ages I know that the criminal/judicial approach to drugs does not work. It is completely ineffective.

One thing, drug addicts do not care about the legal status of the drugs they are taking. Drug addicts will take drugs under any circumstances. All that the legislation around drugs can achieve is making a more punitive, negative, pejorative, damning context within which the inevitable use of drugs can take place.

On a personal level drugs...it was up to me. If I had a magic wand (and by God I’ve tried to create one) what I would do is I would have it that no one required any kind of chemical assistance to enjoy the evident beauty and glory of our planet and the wonder of humanity, however, that doesn’t seem to be the situation. People do seem to need toxins, narcotics of various kinds and as long as that is the situation I think what we need to create is a context where that can be done as healthfully, as safely and with as little damaging consequences as possible.

[speaking to the audience]
What are you up to down there? Look at them in the foreground....what are you up to? There must be a way you’ve become the center of attention. This the kind of thing I suppose that happens regularly at the UN – an enclave will develop where an insular debate affects the main narrative. This cannot be allowed to happen. We must have absolute consensus.

As far as the democratic process it doesn’t afford that. Alright, stop it. You’re becoming a problem.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: They are doing the tech to get you online.

RUSSELL BRAND: Oh, we’re going to be on the internet are we? We’re not just going to be content to speak to these beautiful people who have made the effort to come?!

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You are right.

RUSSELL BRAND: Well, listen...this is what I learned today from talking to people. I spoke to the fellow from Portugal. What’s his name, mate?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Joel.

RUSSELL BRAND: I spoke to Joel from Portugal. He was lovely. He said that for the last 11 years they’ve had legislation in Portugal that HIV infection has dropped dramatically, that AIDS has dramatically.

I spoke with a fellow from Switzerland. I didn’t even know that he was a policeman. I spoke to him for about 15 minutes...he was a policeman. Anything could have happened. My life was in my hands for a moment. I was there cheek by jowl with authority. He told me that even from the conservative perspective the penalization and prosecution of drug addicts doesn’t make any sense.

I spoke to people this morning that have told me there is no real global consensus around drugs. Like, for example, in Uruguay cannabis is being made legal whereas in Singapore you could get the death penalty for using cannabis.

[inaudible] and he goes how can you have some people are getting death penalty and in some places it is completely legal and call a consensus. It’s a very bored consensus. Seriously.

[to technician in audience]
I see your sound is being catered for. My friend, you are going to have to change your priorities – eliminate them for the board of consensus, the common good. Sometimes for the common good we have to pass on our own personal needs – for example, for good audio. I’m sure somewhere around this room sound is getting taken. We’ll get it to you somehow.

So, also this morning I had a really good chat with some people who said they want to be able to continue to use drugs. My personal experience is that I was using drugs because I was in a great deal of spiritual, emotional and physical pain and what I needed was a solution to those problems and what provided me to reach that solution was a context of compassion and tolerance.

What bigger context is there than the planet as a whole?! If we can create a planetary context where drug addicts are treated as people with a health issue not as a judicial/criminal issue that will create the perfect context for us to advance. Of course there is a human rights and freedom type issue. I suppose if people want to recreationally use drugs and it ain’t harming anybody else that’s not really anybody’s business.

What I’ve also worked out is that nobody at all is helped by drugs being illegal unless, of course, there is a conspiracy to marginalize, condemn and persecute disenfranchised members of our global community and I hate to think that that is the situation – that certain countries didn’t matter, that certain classes didn’t matter, that certain races didn’t matter.

Unless that is the situation there is literally no reason to proceed with this experiment of prohibition which has lasted for one century and had done nothing but bring death, suffering, crime, created negative economy and deaths all over Mexico, deaths all over Malaysia, unnecessary death penalties. You’ll notice I’m saying the word death a lot.

What I think we need to look at is an alternative way of thinking, an alternative approach of consciousness and I’m very, very grateful to be a part of it. If any of you got any questions I’m almost certain of two things. One, I will try my best to answer them and two, I won’t know the answer.

I look forward to chatting with you all. Mike, what do you think?

MIKE TRACE: That would be great.

[applause]

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DOUG McVAY: You're listening to Century of Lies, I'm your guest host Doug McVay, editor of Drug War Facts dot org.

Nations like Iran and China celebrate the UN's day with executions of unfortunate souls who were caught and convicted of drug trafficking offenses. Well, we're nothing if not fair here on the Drug Truth Network, so for balance, here's Yuri Fedotov, the director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, talking about UNODC's drug day.

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YURI FEDOTOV: Ladies and gentlemen, illicit drugs threaten people’s health and welfare. Up to 200,000 people die every year due to illicit drugs but drugs do not just affect the users they cause tremendous hardship and misery to families and loved ones.

Drug use disorders on the mind close relationships, damage home lives including those of children and can ruin education and employment opportunities. The impact is felt in communities, criminal justice systems and across society.

The theme for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking offers a message of hope. Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable. Those who suffer from drug use disorders can be supported through evidenced-based treatment and many of those who die do so from overdoses that are preventable. Children and young people must also be educated on the dangers of illicit drugs.

My message today has three components. First, sustain success against illicit drugs requires a balanced, cooperative and integrated approach founded on the conventions that addresses both supply and demand reduction. Second, a balanced approach includes comprehensive measures focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social protection and cohesion. Third, science holds the key. ODC is bridging the gap between science and practice by fostering the dialogue between policy makers and the scientific community.

Together these elements from UNODC’s global mission to promote and support efforts to derive dependence treatment and care services and the HIV prevention for people who use drugs in line with human rights standards.

On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking it is important to remember that drug use disorders are preventable and treatable. That way there is a help and there is also hope.

I thank you.

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DOUG McVAY: On next week's Century Of Lies we'll have more coverage of the Global Day of Action Against The Drug War, hopefully including some audio from the day's events, as well as portions of the news conference on release of UNODC's World Drug Report.

I must say, there's nothing quite as special as being lectured to about drug policy and drug use by a career Russian, formerly Soviet, diplomat. At Drug War Facts dot org, we have a section on the Russian Federation. It makes for interesting reading. For example, this item: According to the US State Department in 2013,

"The Russian government addresses demand reduction and drug abuse prevention in the State Counternarcotics Strategy. The Strategy outlines ongoing deficiencies in the demand reduction system, including insufficient medical treatment and social rehabilitation services, a shortage of specialized workers (doctors and social workers) and a shortage of centers serving drug abusers. At present, there exist only four state-run and 70 non-governmental organization (NGO) centers for rehabilitation of drug addicts. The few government-supported drug addiction treatment programs that do exist are generally ineffective, with high rates of recidivism.

"Most drug replacement therapies, such as methadone, are illegal in Russia, although treatment centers in St. Petersburg and Orenburg are implementing a few new models of cognitive therapy which expand the breadth of substance abuse programs and rehabilitation."

What has that led to? According to an article in The Lancet in 2012, "Russia has the largest population of injecting drug users (IDUs) in the world - an estimated 1.8 million people. More than a third have HIV; in some regions, the proportion is nearer to three-quarters. Astonishingly, an estimated 90% of Russian IDUs have hepatitis C, and most patients co-infected with HIV and tuberculosis in Russia are drug-dependent."

We need a better explanation of how those numbers came about, so here's a slightly more blunt assessment of Russian drug policy, this is from the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network in 2012,

"The inaccessibility and poor quality of services pertaining to the treatment of drug dependence in Russia have been extensively documented. Treatment methods reported include flogging, beatings, punishment by starvation, long-term handcuffing to bed frames, 'coding' (hypnotherapy aimed at persuading the patient that drug use leads to death), electric shock, burying patients in the ground and xenoimplantation of guinea pig brains. The practice and acceptance of such methods clearly indicate that the government's approach does not correspond to international drug treatment guidelines.

"Such methods are not only cruel but ineffective. As the Russian Federal Drug Control Service has acknowledged, over 90% of drug treatment patients return to using illegal drugs within one year. As a result of the ineffective government approach to drug treatment and care, Russia has one of the largest numbers of people who use drugs government estimate reaches 5 million, while UNODC’s 2009 World Drug Report estimated that 1.6 million people use opiates. Meanwhile, the number of people living with HIV in Russia continues to rise; in 2010 alone, a total of 58,633 new HIV cases were officially registered in the country. Injecting drug use has long been the predominant risk factor, with around 80% of all HIV cases registered in the country from 1987 to 2008 associated with the use of injecting drugs. The government's refusal to respond adequately to the main transmission risk means that most of the funding goes to the management of the consequences rather than prevention of new infections. It is clear that 3% of the entire budget cannot possibly reach the most vulnerable population in an effective manner, and even the 3% spent on prevention is spent inefficiently."

As I said: Being lectured to by a career Russian diplomat about drug policies is special, like getting beauty tips from a toad. Interestingly, one of our former presidents - a man who bears some responsibility for the state of our modern drug war - was a great admirer of the Russians. Let's listen to this excerpt from the Nixon White House tapes, what the heck, any excuse to kick Dick around once again:

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RICHARD NIXON: But, nevertheless, the point that I make is that God damn it, I do not think that you glorify on public television homosexuality. The reason you don't glorify it John any more than you glorify, uh, uh, uh, whores. Now we all know people who have whores and we all know that people are just, uh, do that, we all have weaknesses and so forth and so on, but God damn it, what do you think that does to kids? What do you think that does to 11 and 12 year old boys when they see that? Why is it that the Scouts, the, why is it that the Boys Clubs, we were there, we constantly had to clean up the staffs to keep the Goddamned fags out of it. Because, not because of them, they can go out and do anything they damn please, [unintelligible] all those kids? You know, there's a little tendency among them all. Well by God can I tell you it outraged me. Not for any moral reason. Most people are outraged for moral reasons, I, it outraged me because I don't want to see this country go that way. You know there are countries -- You ever see what happened, you know what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that, so was Socrates.

JOHN EHRLICHMAN: He never had the influence that television had.

RICHARD NIXON: Do you know what happened to the Romes, Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. The last six. Nero had a public wedding to a boy. Yeah. And they'd [unintelligible]. You know that. You know what happened to the Popes? It's all right that, po-po-Popes were laying the nuns, that's been going on for years, centuries, but, when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to hell, in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual. And finally it had to be cleaned out. Now, that's what's happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France. And let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. God damn it, they root them out, they don't let them around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them. Now, we are allowing this in this country when we show [unintelligible]. Dope? Do you think the Russians allow dope? Hell no. Not if they can allow, not if they can catch it, they send them up. You see, homosexuality, dope, immorality in general: These are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and the left-wingers are pushing the stuff, they're trying to destroy us.

Unknown: Sure, sure. Yep.

RICHARD NIXON: And I don't know, I, we talk oh and I and Moynihan will disagree with this, Mitchell disagree with this, [unintelligible] will and all the rest. But God damn it, we have got to stand up to these people

JOHN EHRLICHMAN: Fatal liberality but use on television it has such leverage. The kids believe everything.

HR HALDEMAN: There’s a big program that we should be...that homosexuality should be receptable because it’s just a state of ...the way people are and we should respect them and all that.

JOHN EHRLICHMAN: When I was out at FC this business group and two or three others on the trustees were telling me that’s the big issue at FC now is whether they have to recognize this homosexual group as a campus organization. Board trustees have just said flatly, “We don’t.”

RICHARD NIXON: John, let’s [inaudible] ...you understand. You know what’s happened in San Francisco...But it’s not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove [an elite, secrecy-filled gathering outside San Francisco], which I attend from time to time. It is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can’t shake hands with anybody from San Francisco.

It’s a different set of values that has been induced and also in Southern California – Hollywood, Pasadena. Remember Pasadena had this thing about ...many years ago where all the lawyers were out at the swimming pool and they had to fire [inaudible]

Decorators. They got to do something. But we don’t have to glorify it. You know one of the reasons fashions have made women look so terrible is because the goddamned designers hate women. Designers taking it out on the women. Now they’re trying to get some more sexy things coming on again.

JOHN EHRLICHMAN: Hot pants.

RICHARD NIXON: [murmuring] Jesus Christ. My point ...I thought they had everybody around here think from now on ...by lately I mean let’s run the thing well but don’t waste much time. We’ll run it better with our left hand than the others. We’re honest and we’re smart and, frankly, we got better people but don’t go worrying about processes....

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DOUG McVAY: Interestingly, Nixon was responsible for the creation of methadone maintenance programs in the US. Methadone maintenance treatment, as we've learned, is not used by the Russians, who have much different, less effective, and frankly inhumane ideas about drug treatment. Thankfully Nixon was as uninformed about Russian, then Soviet, policies as he was about so many other things.

Noted businessman and activist Paul Stanford has dropped his attempt to get legalization ballot measures up for a vote in Oregon this year. Paul was the sponsor of the 2012 Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, which failed with 47 percent voting in favor. This election cycle he sponsored a slightly revised version of OCTA along with a constitutional measure that would have removed criminal penalties from adult marijuana use, possession, cultivation, and sale. It had become apparent by mid-June that the signature gathering effort for these measures had stalled out, and realistically there was no way for them to get on the ballot. That leaves the state of Oregon with one legalization initiative still in play, sponsored by a different organization – which leads me to this update. Last week we ran a story about another ballot measure to legalize marijuana for adult social-use in Oregon. New Approach Oregon, the organization backing that measure, announced this week that their signature total had reached 147,000, which is 60,000 more signatures than required for ballot status, but don't start to celebrate yet. The Secretary of State's office and the various county clerks in Oregon still have to verify that the signatures are valid and legal. It is not yet a done deal: Initiative campaigns typically aim to turn in almost twice the required number of signatures. On the other hand, the actual deadline for final signature turn-in is July 3rd, so petitioners still have time to gather those additional signatures in order to seal the deal. In fact there was no statutory deadline for turning in signatures this week, so one may ask why the campaign decided to make the announcement now, and for the answer just look at the calendar: July 4th is on a Friday this year, so the odds are good that few people would be paying any attention to news media that weekend, other than checking weather reports and schedules for entertainment and fireworks. In addition, since the competing legalization measures were dropping their efforts, New Approach may have decided to make their announcement now in order to avoid confusion. We'll definitely be following this story, so stay with us.

That's it for this week. I'm Doug McVay and this was Century of Lies. Thank you for listening. You can find a recording of this show and past shows at the website drug truth dot net, where you can check out our other programs and subscribe to our podcasts. Follow me on Twitter, where I'm @ Drug Policy Facts and @ Doug McVay. The Drug Truth Network is on Facebook, be sure to give its page a Like, you can find Drug War Facts on Facebook as well, please give it a like and share it with friends. Spread the word.

Remember: Knowledge is power.

We'll be back next week with more news and commentary on the drug war and this Century Of Lies. For now, for the drug truth network, this is Doug McVay saying so long. So long!

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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 Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org

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