03/25/09 - Terry Nelson

UN Drug Conference NGO's speak in Vienna, with Professor Fredrick Polak, Terry Nelson of LEAP, Lennice Werth, Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris, courtesy Vienna Public Radio

Program: 
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Date: 
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Guest: 
Terry Nelson
Organization: 
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
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Cultural Baggage - March 25, 2009

Broadcasting on the Drug Truth Network, this is Cultural Baggage.

It’s not only inhumane, it is really fundamentally un-American….. ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’ ‘NO MORE’ ‘DRUG WAR’

My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on eternal drug war.
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Welcome to this edition on Cultural Baggage. Well, the UN Convention is over in Vienna and apparently we’ve got ten more years of the same insane policy to look forward to. But we have a few voices we’d like to share from Vienna and their thoughts, in regards to what went on and what will go on.

Thanks to Vienna Public Radio, we’re going to start first with Professor Fredrick Polak.
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…but one of the important difficulties is that the American Government is in a transition faze and the preparations to this meeting have been going on for months and there was an enormous clash about one of the key concepts of the whole Drug Policy, is harm reduction. You probably know that term, is anyone who hasn’t heard of that term, ’Harm Reduction’ is an accepted principle in the European Countries, but in the United States and in most of the Asian Countries, they are dead against it because they see it as if it is promoting addiction. Some things like that are being said.

The United States were always against it, but it’s clear that the new Obama Government is changing it’s course and they are preparing a new policy. But it’s not ready yet and not even the new… They have this function that they call the ’Drug Czar’. {translation?} He’s nominated, but he’s not yet in function. So the people here, that work for the Americans, are still the people that were nominated by George Bush.

So you can’t even say that we’re in for a period of ten years or many five years of George Bush ‘Drug Policy‘, instead of Obama ‘Drug Policy’ and that is a very unfortunate situation that we’re in.
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Next up, our good friend and weekly reporter for the Drug Truth Network, a board member of the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition group, available on the web at leap.cc. From Vienna, Mr. Terry Nelson.
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My name is Terry Nelson. I’m a spokesperson for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I was a Federal Officer for almost twenty-two years. The last fifteen years of my career I spent working, almost exclusively in Mexico, Central and South America. I worked East of the Andes Mountain, out near the edge of the Bachata. In Columbia, I’ve worked in Peru. I’ve worked in Ecuador and I have first hand experience in the ‘Eradication Wars‘.

I retired as a Commander of a surveillance group, of airplanes that flew over the jungle down there, monitoring the flights coming out of Columbia and I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible to arrest our way out of this Drug War. I would acknowledge that we do have a drug problem in America. But we have a bigger problem in trying to arrest our way out of it and putting so many people in prison. We use to say, ’unintended’ consequences of prohibition. I no longer say that because I think they were ’intended’ consequence.

Any given day in America, because of arresting our way out of the drug problem, one point nine million children go to bed at night with one or more of their parents in prison. We have over five million people on probation; parents on probation. We have an estimated nine hundred thousand kids sell drugs on the street and we have twenty-five percent of those going to prison, come out of foster home; from broken families.

How any policy can continue like this and claim it is for the children, is beyond me. It’s doing immeasurable harm to our country and there’s no way it’s going to work. As Einstein said, “To continue doing the same thing and expecting different results, is insane.”

So our Drug Policy today, is insane. Forty years of it has not worked and it will not work. So the Policy has to be changed and the only one that’s going to change that policy, is people like you and me. We have to speak out and we have to stay on them. You have to write your Congressmen and just keep bugging them because it’s wrong and almost everyone will admit knowing it’s wrong.

I’ve talked to many police officers who will not join us, but they say, “Well, you’re right. But I can‘t say anything. My Chief will fire me.” This is a true statement.

Plan Columbia that we so aggressively followed, to the tune of five point two billion dollars spent in Columbia to eradicate Coca - the Coca leaves. After five billion dollars down the tube, Coca production - leaf production in Columbia , or the Indian region - is up, twenty-six percent.

Now to put that in numbers, I’m going to have to use pounds, well at nine hundred forty metric tons. But that’s over two point one million pounds of cocaine coming out of the Andes region, each year. You break that down into grams, it comes out to three grams for every man, woman and child in America. This is after we spent almost a trillion dollars on it. It’s not working.

Afghanistan, a little bit different picture, on heroin. Heroin is so cheap in Afghanistan that the Taliban is holding it off the market to drive the price up and United Nations, in it’s infinite wisdom, has now started a new policy to attack the trade routes and the laboratories that are producing it, to make a shortage so the Taliban can make more money off of the heroin that they stockpile.

This is not at new game with them About seven years ago / eight years ago, the Taliban outlawed Heroin and they stockpiled the warehouses. It went from forty to eight hundred dollars a pound and then they started selling it again. That’s how they bankroll their activities; the tourist activities in the world. They’re very smart business people and we’re playing right into their hands.

If we were to legalize heroin, it’d be like it was in Turkey. I was very surprised to hear the Turkey Representative talk about prohibition because they raise Poppies in Turkey for morphine production ,’cause he doesn’t want any competition. He wants to have it all for himself and for Poppy seeds and it’s regulated and controlled and they don’t have any issues that the other countries have.

So it’s kind of hypocritical, that we know what works and we continue doing what doesn’t work. It almost makes me think there’s perhaps even a conspiracy behind it. Because, why continue something if it’s not working?

Thank you.
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You are listening to the Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network, Pacifica Radio, college, independent and pirate stations, worldwide. We’re tuning in, thanks to Vienna Public Radio, to some discussions held at the UN Conference on Drugs, in Vienna.
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That was Terry Nelson we just heard from. Next up, we hear from Lennice Werth.
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Hello. My name is Lennice Werth and I’m from Virginia, in the United States and I have an organization that works with the State of Virginia and we oppose drug violence and as I think most of us in this room know, that the source of drug violence is drug prohibition - the laws that prohibit drugs and I have something to say about why I think our Governments are not moving quicker on ending this catastrophe and that is that I think there’s been a failure of leadership.

Our leaders are not leading us out of a very impossible situation. People who want drugs ‘right now‘, get drugs and use them and it’s in an illegal environment where the ‘rule of law’ is not present and therefore the only way to settle any disagreements is through violence. Also, the law enforcement interventions are violent and everything about the policies that we have now and that the United Nations are supporting, result in violence. Therefore it’s a lot of work that we have to do.

One thing that I think that has happened here is, ten years ago I was attending these meetings that the United Nations was holding in New York and at that time there was no access for non-governmental organizations. We were able to bring an exhibit in, but we had no official contact with the people who were negotiating. Of this time, we’ve created a doorway of which non-governmental organizations can enter into the process and have a voice.

The culmination of that this year was in July, when there was a ‘Beyond 2008 Resolution‘, created by non-governmental organizations. This resolution called for the policies that governments take to consider that the human rights of drug users, to decriminalize drug use and to institute Harm Reduction Policies. Now, that was the resolution of the NGO’s.

But as we all know, that’s not who is making the official policy and therefore this meeting that we have had for the past two days, has been the governmental meetings - the high level segment, and they have decided not to include Harm Reduction. Although I believe they did give a slight nod to the Human Rights and although I think there was a push to include something about decriminalization of use, I don’t think that’s going to be emphasized at all, in the final document. I’m sorry to say.

So we have a continuation of policies that are creating violence and it’s very disturbing. But I do have several documents here, that I have passed out. One is the organization that I’m representing. We have a proposal for Uniform Drug Policies, which suggests licensing users, mentoring users and monitoring use. Which I think is a useful document.

We also have an ongoing problem in the United States, because the laws about the medical use of Cannabis are always changing and the United States Government has not allowed us to study the effectiveness of Cannabis for medical use. They study it constantly, looking for harms and have a hard time finding the harms. But they do not supply Cannabis to the researchers who want to look for medical benefit.

So this is a court decision that I’ve got here with me today, where the Government finally said, ’Well yes, we should give a little bit of Cannabis to people who want to study it for medical purposes.’ But I don’t really think that they are going to do that. We’re constantly at a stalemate with our government officials. It’s extremely difficult to negotiate with them, because what we have on the other side of the table between us, are people who are frankly, radical.

They believe that there should be absolutely no drug use in the world and that the only goal that is worth anything at all, is to wipe it out entirely - without one drug user left in the World and until it’s the absolutist position and we all know that those policies, the laws that result from that philosophy are going to create not only a failure toward the goal, because not only will there be drug use, it will be much more harmful drug use without any effort at Harm Reduction - by our Governments and we’ll have violence.

The violence that we see in South America that has come up the Continent and is now at the border with Mexico - and I’m not talking about minor violence, I’m talking about a war of very violent; a very bloody war - and this has jumped the border, into the United States now, and it’s coming… and when it gets to Washington D.C., they won’t have anyone to blame, but themselves.
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Alright, my friends. You are listening to the Cultural Baggage show. We’re tuning-in to at recent production from Vienna Public Radio. The speakers are from non-governmental organizations attending the UN Convention, in Vienna. We’ll be right back.
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It’s time to play: "Name That Drug - By It’s Side Effects!"

Difficulty breathing, a sense of foreboding, swollen lips, itchy tongue, tightness in chest, wheezing, voice change, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, unsteadiness, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, chills, loss of consciousness, coma and death.

(((gong)))

Time's Up! The answer: Peanut Butter!

It’s not a drug, but it certainly proves the point. It kills about a hundred people each year, here in America.

Marijuana however, the one drug that’s never killed anybody, is illegal.
________________

(accordion accompaniment)

The DEA’s a joker
The FDA’s the joke.
The joke is on the USA
So why not take a poke.
________________

DRUGS will destroy you life - especially if you are caught, jailed and permanently stigmatized.
DRUGS enslave our children - especially if they’re made by charlatans and sold by gangsters.
DRUGS and CRIME - go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Everybody likes peanut butter and jelly. DRUGS

To learn more, please visit the website of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. leap.cc
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Alright. Thanks to Public Radio - Vienna, we’re going back to the meeting of the non-governmental organizations attending the UN Conference on Drugs. Next up, Chris Conrad, from the US.
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I would like to begin by saying, I think that it’s a very good sign that the United Nations has taken the advice of the NGO’s and has listened to us, to some extent, and the way that they have modified their language, in some of the policies, shows an indication that there’s change possible to happen on this subject and I would also like to particularly give credit to Evo Morales for coming and showing the kind of leadership that no other president was willing to do and I applaud him and ask that my own president, Barrack Obama, should someday show that courage and come and denounce the Single Convention Treaty and these policies.

Why do I say we should denounce them? Because they’re fundamental mistakes that are invested in the Language of the Law. The first, as Evo Morales pointed out, is the placement of Coca as a narcotic, when in fact it’s a plant. Even equally or even more so perhaps, Cannabis is a plant. Is not a narcotic. It doesn’t even have narcotic effects. Everything that’s stated negative about Cannabis in these reports, appears to have been fraudulently produced and in fact, the UN acknowledged that, eighty percent of illicit drug use occurs in the World, occurs with the use of Cannabis and yet, when there was a scientific presentation about the data we have on Cannabis, no World Leaders showed up to hear the scientific data.

So they talk about having a ’fact based’ policy. But what we see is the fact is, they’re not coming to learn the truth and so it becomes instead, an ‘ignorance based’ policy and I believe that Mr. Costa is the embodiment of that ignorance when he stands up and makes the kind of comments he made about ’Removing the Worlds Garbage’, when he talks about the Drug Policy. Because that’s the other mistake, what the function of what the United Nations is, and that is that it is suppose to protect the Human Rights of the Citizens of the World and it is suppose to improve International Relations in the World.

What instead it has chosen to do is to dictate the personal lifestyles of ‘Citizens around the World’ and to create an illegal, criminal market that engages in trade, that doesn’t fit within the normal controls of Governmental Regulations.

As a citizen of the United State, I would like to apologise to Columbia and to other parts of the World, where our Government is subsidizing the poisoning of the environment and the distruction of the indigenous cultures. I am ashamed of my Government and I’m particularly ashamed of the Bush Administration and it’s roll in making this happen.

Beyond that, where our own record is very bad, as was pointed out by the representative of LEAP, we have a half million Americans in prison for drug offences. The World’s number one incarcerator is the United States of America, which claims to be the ‘Land of the Free’ and yet has more people in prison than any other country, proportionately.

The next part of what I would like to say is that, I believe that we do have change coming, from what we’ve seen here and from what we’re seeing in the United States and I anticipate that by the next ten years, that if we do our work correctly, we’re going to see the major revisions that we request in the Global Treaties, here.

Next I want to talk as a citizen of California, because the voters of California are complying with the International Treaty. What we have done, is we have taken marijuana and we have turned it into a legal and scientific research project, in accordance with Article 28 of the United Nations Single Convention Treaty, in which physcians are allowed to authorize and moneter the use of Cannabis in our state.

I would like to report that it is working very well, that we have not seen any increases of any social problems. If fact, in many ways, we’re seeing less reliance upon alcohol and a reduction of tobacco use and a reduction in adolescent use of marijuana, that have all occurred in conjunction with our current policy. But we do not feel that it has gone far enough.

The important thing that we would like to stress is, that when we conduct our policies, that the people of Califfornia are quite happy producing and consuming our own Cannabis. That we do not need to introduce it into the international traffic and we do not need to buy it from foreign traffickers. If that’s what the world market and the United Nations decide is the way that we need to control it.

But when the United Nations tells us that we as citizens in our own constitutionally sovereign Nation and our own constitutionally sovereign state, in our own homes, must follow laws made by people who don’t even look at the science, we reject that and we hereby reject the treaty in this form and substance as to the way that it has been constructed and implemented.

In our view, the United Nations should be directing people against dangerous drugs, like alcohol and tobacco and encouraging the use of safe substances such as Cannabis and from what I understand, the coca leaf, as opposed to cocaine and other substances, which are actually less regulated than the plants themselves.

Moreover, the global economy demands that the Cannabis plant, in its - we call it industrial hemp forms, be greatly emphasized in terms of restoring the environment and creating new global economic opportunities for people in order to combat the kind of economic problems, that has led to the current empowerment of drug cartels.

Cannabis has been a part of California for seven generations. It is now a part of the traditional lifestyle in California. Not as deeply imbedded as Coca is in South America, but certainly in the lifestyles of many, many people and the voters of California have modified our Constitution in order to accomplish this, in accordance with the International Laws and we hope to follow in the path of Holland. By creating a regulated adult market and there’s currently a bill in our State Legislature to do so.

We would encourage the United Nations to continue to listen to the NGO’s and we encourage the NGO’s to continue working with the United Nations. But moreover, it needs to be actually addressed as to what the UN is supposed to be doing, because it’s current programs are destroying the environment, are destroying the lives of individuals, are empowering criminal markets and in effect, counter to every principle upon which the United Nations was founded.

I think it’s time for reversal and I believe that when Evo Morales put the Coca leaf in his cheek, that that was a sign, that things are changing.

Thank you.
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You are listening to the Cultural Baggage show. We’re carrying this feed from Vienna Public Radio. That was Chris Conrad from the US. Next up, Mikki Norris.
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…I’m with Human Rights and the Drug War. It’s a project that since 1995, has been looking at the Human Rights violations in the name of the drug war. Looking at, basically, the people who have been caught up in its net in the United States, many of whom have ended up in prison. As Chris mentioned, we have the highest incarceration rates in the World as a result of our Drug Policies and today we have five hundred thousand people behind bars, for drug offences. That is many more people behind bars, just for drugs, in the United States, than the whole European Union has for all of its prisoners. For all kinds of offences.

This show us that we encourage you not to follow the example of the United States, in drug policy. We don’t know what we’re doing, in that way. We have found that we have been in violation of many of the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, starting with cruel punishments. Many people, because we have a system of mandatory sentences, we do not look at individual justice. In many cases, at the Federal level, that we throw people in prison of five/ten/twenty years - life sentences, for drugs and that is often many more years than people can get for violent crimes, such as rape and in some cases even murder.

Now with the financial crisis, we see that we have some very serious offenders who are destroying the lives of many people who are probably not going to get as long of sentences, in any measure, compared to what a person in the United States can get for a small amount of drugs. So we encourage you not to follow the example of the United States.

As Terry Nelson had mentioned, our policies are very destructive to the individuals, to the families. It has orphaned many children, to have their parents thrown in prison - the person who takes care of them; the people who love them. So it has been in violation of the Article 16.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a protection of the family unit and so we do not adhere to that and we call on the international community to please help us in the United States. That we need you to look at what we are doing. To hold us accountable and to have us change our policies.

If you could put pressure on the United States Government, we would very much appreciate that. So we encourage you to also take the lead, because the United States is obviously obstructing the progress, at the moment. As Chris mentioned, we are somewhat optimistic with the Obama Administration. Because he is an intelligent man and believes in science, we are hoping that in the time ahead, he’ll have a chance to really take a better look at our drug policies and start implementing some changes, in that regard.

I would just like to say that, after this experience at the United Nations level, I think it’s very important for all of us. We must think globally. We must act locally and what we are doing in California and in other places, I think in Germany and in the Netherlands, they’re obviously taking the lead and trying to implement more intelligent, more common sense, more humane and compassionate and just policies.

So I encourage everybody to do that. We cannot wait ten more years for the United Nations to act. We have to start acting now and hope that they will join us in creating a more just and humane world, in regard to drug policy.
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Once again, I want to thank Vienna Public Radio. I want to thank all of the speakers from the non-governmental organizations and I think Mikki’s right. We must act locally. We must put these politicians’ and officials’ feet in the fire and we must bring an end to this madness of drug prohibition.
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The day we regulate the distribution of these illegal drugs to adults, is the day we destroy Osama’s profits in Afghan opium. We take away the reason most street gangs exist. We basically eliminate drug overdose deaths and take away the jobs of those selling drugs to our children.

In so doing, we immediately have fifty billion dollars each year, to spend on treatment and other health services, defense and education.

The ‘Drug War’ is the largest fraud ever perpetrated on the peoples of this Earth.
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Well, we’ve got to wrap it up. But I urge you to tune-in to the next Century of Lies show, when our guest will be Dr. David Duncan. We’re going to be talking about the fact that nineteen percent of the seized samples of cocaine, contains a de-worming agent, Levamisole. Which destroys the users immune system. But I guess that’s what you get when you hand over the production and distribution of these drugs, to criminals.

I’ve got to urge you, once again, to do your part to end this madness of everlasting Drug War and in closing, I remind you once again, that because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Do ya? Please, be careful.
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To the Drug Truth Network listeners around the world, this is Dean Becker for Cultural Baggage and the unvarnished truth.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston.
Tap dancing on the edge on an abyss.

Submitted by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org