01/23/11 - Terry Nelson

Terry Nelson, after another year in Iraq rejoins the Drug Truth Network + Kathy Bates from Harry's Law the new NBC show + DTN Editorial: Outrage? Not strong enough word!

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Terry Nelson
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)



Cultural Baggage / January 23, 2011


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.


Oh, yes welcome to this edition of Cultural Baggage that promises to be an exciting hour here on the Drug Truth Network. On the Century of Lies show, we’ll have an interview with Pamela Constable, who just returned from Afghanistan where she reports for the Washington Post.

Newspapers around the world are starting to see the light, if you will. A recent edition of The Economist in the UK, Organized Crime in Central America, The Rot Spreads. Today’s Taranto Star, The War on Drugs is Lost.

If you watch any TV, there was a great show that aired just last week. I want to share this segment with you and just as soon as it’s done we’re going to bring in our guest, Mister Terry Nelson, a man with something like thirty four years’ experience for the US government as a customs, border and air interdiction officer. There’s much to talk about, much progress being made, much progress on the horizon. Well, let’s check into that segment from that new TV show.


The following is an extract from the pilot of the new NBC series, Harry’s Law. It stars Kathy Bates. The first words you hear are from the prosecutor in a drug case that Harry, Miss Bates is working on:

Prosecutor: I’ve got to say, Malcolm, as drug addicts go, you seem like such a swell kid. Swell kid! And you’re the victim.

Malcolm: I ain’t.

Prosecutor: You had no choice but to buy the cocaine. Am I right? Am I right?

Malcolm: I’m not the victim. I know that sir.

Prosecutor: Oh but there are victims here, aren’t there Malcolm? See, here’s the thing about being a junkie, it’s expensive it coast thousands of dollars a week to get fixed and the only way most drug addict can swing that is by stealing and whose houses do you think they break into whose cars get hijacked, whose innocent children get killed in the cross fire of their turf wars? did it ever occur to you, Malcolm that every time that you buy cocaine you help fund a billion dollar illegal drug trade that is bringing this country to its knees, this drug trade that is killing people?

Kathy Bates: It’s a billion dollar trade because it’s illegal.

Prosecutor: Objection!

Kathy Bates: Maybe we should decriminalize if you’re goal is to—

Prosecutor: Wait, did actually just say that? Did actually just say that?

Kathy Bates: I believe I did. I believe I did.

Prosecutor: Why do you want to just pass out drug drugs on the street? Is that what you’re saying?

Kathy Bates: That’s where they’re passed out now at a thousand times the pharmaceutical cost.

Prosecutor: Move to strike!

Kathy Bates: Listen, if we legalize drugs addicts would need less than two cents on the dollar to support their habits. They’d hardly have to break into homes or cars or—

Prosecutor: We have something called values in this country—

Kathy Bates: And they should coincide with saving the innocent lives you were carrying on about.

Prosecutor: You’re seriously saying we should legalize drugs. This is stupid

Kathy Bates: Everybody who commissioned a study on the problem has said it.

Prosecutor: Who? Everybody who?

Kathy Bates: If we legalize them we treat the disease instead of punishing it away.

Prosecutor: Great than you want to pass out needles too?

Kathy Bates: Perhaps, if you’re against the spread of AIDS. Are you?

Prosecutor: If we were to legalize drugs—

Kathy Bates: We could neutralize the gangs take the drug business out of the shadows.

Prosecutor: And what do we do celebrate it?

Kathy Bates: How about regulate it? Tax it?

Prosecutor: Yes! And then every liberal in America could just light up and say, “Hallelujah legalized drugs!”

Kathy Bates: The idea was first raised by conservative Republicans.

Prosecutor: Oh please, when?

Kathy Bates: When the party had thinkers, before it was hijacked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.

Prosecutor: Here we go.

Kathy Bates: A drug addict himself.

Prosecutor: Ancient history.

Kathy Bates: Who somehow fared much better in our justice system. I wonder why?

Prosecutor: The race card! There it is!

Kathy Bates: If I wanted to play the race card, I’d talk about the disparity in sentencing—

Prosecutor: Objection!

Kathy Bates: But I’m not doing that. I’m keeping it about one kid only. He’s sitting right there and he’s getting screwed.

Prosecutor: Objection!

Judge: All right that’s enough.


Dean Becker: Alright, once again you’re listing to Cultural Baggage show on the Drug Truth Network. That was an extract from the pilot program of Harry’s Law featuring Kathy Bates.

With that I want to go ahead and bring in our guest, Terry Nelson. You just returned from Iraq a short time back and you’re now back in the saddle here in the US?

Terry Nelson: That’s correct dean it’s good to be back in the US of A.

Dean Becker: Well, it is Terry, I wanted to kind of get your response. I talked to you earlier. You didn’t see the show but you’ve heard that extract. What does that tell you about mainstream television now?

Terry Nelson: Well, I think Kathy could be a member to LEAP [Law Enforcement Against Prohibition] after hearing her rebuttal to the Prosecutor there. So, it’s mainstream television is turning around as well as the print media. Everyone is beginning to look beyond the propaganda and see the facts and the truth and the devastation being caused by the Drug War.

Dean Becker: Yeah, it’s becoming more evident and I think more and more people that we just haven’t made a dent in it. We haven’t had a success to boast about, have we?

Terry Nelson: No and in the forty-plus years of the Drug War, there’s not – you can’t – there’s not one goal that’s been set, that’s been met. Of course, they set the goals every five years and they try to fix it were they can win one but we haven’t won any. So, it’s common sense to say it’s time to change your approach and adapt a different strategy.

Dean Becker: Alright Terry, if you would, you know, you’ve been gone most of a year or about a year this last time, tell us a bit about the duties that you performed for the government.

Terry Nelson: Well, I just over there working as an advisor the Iraq Department of Border enforcement, trying to help them set up a good way to control the traffic coming in from Iran.

It was exciting work and I think we made some good progress, of course it will been ten to fifteen or twenty years before we really know for sure what the effect of our training was but I felt like it was well worthwhile for us go try to help out.

Dean Becker: Well, that’s good to know, as I indicated earlier on there, I said that the— (alien sounds…laughs) That is my phone, it wasn’t aliens folks, that was just my phone.

Terry as I said, I talked to a lot of folks about this recently that the progress is becoming recognized the embraced – heck, Pat Robertson came out for legal – regulated marijuana, a few weeks back. More and more folks are starting to realize the futility of this, aren’t they?

Terry Nelson: Yes that is correct. More and more politicians are starting to admit it and starting to come out of the rabbit warrens, now that they’ve sniffed the air and they know that approximately 75% of people in America know that the Drug War is a total failure.

Almost as many, also agree that we should have medical marijuana at a minimum. So, they’re starting to test the political waters and the public is ready for it, I believe. I was out in California for the Prop 19 vote and talked to a lot of people on the street.

I believe that that would have been one if more young people would have come out to vote but unfortunately, they kind of, I guess, thought it that it was going to be won without voting but of course that won’t happen. You have to get out there and take an active part in things to make sure that change does happen.

Dean Becker: Now getting back to the fact the mainstream is starting to recognize the futility. I read the headlines from the Toronto Star, The War on Drugs has Lost and this is written by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil and co-chair of the Latin Commission on Drugs and Democracy and the first paragraph:

“The war on drugs is a lost war, and 2011 is the time to move away from a punitive approach in order to pursue a new set of policies based on public health, human rights and common sense.” And that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Terry Nelson: Right, I could have written it myself, that is perfect and what needs to be said.

Dean Becker: Yeah and I think the fact is, you know, I wonder sometimes, you know, we get guests like Pamela Constable from the Washington Post to come on here and we’re getting the caliber of guest that Fox [News] could envy at times. More and more people are begining to realize that it is time to, at least, talk about it. Maybe Pamela doesn’t call for the end of prohibition but she recognizes the failure that’s built into this.

Terry Nelson: And of course, as you well know that’s one of LEAP’s primary goals is to get the nation talking about it as an educational organization. We want people to get out here and talk about it and discuss it or as we say down here in south Texas “cuss and discuss it,” you know, sitting at a table and disagree at the start and let the facts hold the day and once that happens it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done.

Dean Becker: Reading a bit more for Mister Cardoso:

“The crack in the global consensus around the prohibitionist approach is widening. A growing number of countries in Europe and Latin America are moving away from a purely repressive model. Portugal and Switzerland are compelling examples of the positive impact of policies centered on prevention, treatment and harm reduction.”

Dean Becker: Now Terry, this kind of sums up – what would you call it – a Western European attitude these days that they’re finding that it is no longer necessary to lock up so many people, to be so punitive, to prefer treatment over incarceration, right?

Terry Nelson: And they’ve begun to see that the country with the most harsh penalties has the highest use. The UK for example and of course the UK editor and former Drug Czar has now come out for legalization, as well.

It’s just, you know, it’s happening all over the globe because the violence has to stop and there is only one way to stop the violence and that’s to take the criminal elements out of it, the cartels and certainly our brothers to the South can tell us all we need to know about the violence from the cartels.

Dean Becker: Yeah, I hear it’s approaching 35,000 dead now.

Terry Nelson: Correct, I find that inconceivable if we can allow that number of people to be killed and just write them off as “well, they’re drug dealers” or something. They’re human beings and we just need to stop at the idiocy that is the current Drug War.

Dean Becker: And yeah Terry, I hear it sad I like you said, “Oh well, they are just drug dealer, who cares?” But the truth of the matter is, 95% of the murders in Mexico are not solved. So, how can anybody even postulate that idea?

Terry Nelson: Well, they make a lot of arrests but they have very few convictions.

Dean Becker: Yeah, Terry, for those who may not know, for years, you did a pretty much weekly segment here in the Drug Truth Network and now that you’re back we’re hoping to continue that on a fairly regular basis, are we not?

Terry Nelson: Yes, we are and I’m looking forward to it.

Dean Becker: Well, Terry for those who may not know, maybe some new listeners who don’t realize your work experience, give them a couple of minutes summery of the work you did for various government agencies.

Terry Nelson: Well, I started out with the border patrol and I worked eight years out at El Paso across the border from Juarez. I worked down in Florida for a while and then I went over to customs and worked as a patrol – a boat patrol investigator down in the Florida Keys during the eighties in the big heydays of the cocaine and marijuana coming in by the Columbian and Cuban drug movement. I worked there for a while.

Then, I worked as an inspector at the Dallas-Fort Worth International airport and I then went over to work as a criminal investigator and an interdiction criminal investigator and working in Mexico and Central and South America. I’ve worked in out of every country in Central America with the exception of Nicaragua and six countries in South America.

My firsthand experience tells me that we will not arrest our way out of the Drug War. The more money we spent, about $5.2 billion on Columbia and production of coca actually went up.

I saw in the news the other day that they were bragging about it’s down in Columbia, the production of coke down in Colombia but they don’t admit the fact it is up in Peru and Ecuador – excuse me in Bolivia – and so you squeeze the balloon and it pops over there and there is some reduction in what’s coming into the United States but there is an increase of what’s going into Europe. So, it’s a never ending hamster wheel that solves nothing and no matter how much you arrest, you are not going to arrest us out of the drug problem.

Dean Becker: You know Terry, even if they were able to squash all of the drug production efforts in Central and South America. Africa has millions of acres where they can grow that very some product. It doesn’t need Columbian soil to grow does it?

Terry Nelson: No, it can grow anywhere in the world and that’s just the whole point of it and ironically it’s the one substance that’s the more affective you are in your interdiction and your prohibition strategy, the more you keep out of the streets, the higher the price will be, the more profitable it will be to control the transit zones and therefor more violence.

Back to Richard Holbrooke, he died a couple of months ago. One of his statements before he left us, about Afghanistan was that trying – the attempt to eliminate the crop was just a total failure, it wasn’t working.

For example in Afghanistan if the poppy crop is twice what the world demanded is for heroin of for morphine, so even if you catch half of it you’re still got the other half. You’re just meeting the demand and what you’ve done is just drive the prices up for the Taliban to use to kill America and other coalition soldiers.

Dean Becker: I’m reading now from The Economist, today’s Economist – no this was Thursday’s. Organized Crime in Latin America the Rot spreads: Drug-trafficking gangs find a promising new home in some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the Americas, and this is talking about the balloon affect because you shut things down in Columbia or Mexico and there’s plenty of other countries and officials that can be bribed right, Terry?

Terry Nelson: Well, that’s correct. Drugs corrupt everything they touch. Public officials, you know, everything it touches it corrupts because of the moral amount of profit that’s on it. It’s more of all, it drafts more and more poor children that are like, they have no other choice. They go into the drug trade because it is glorious and they can make money.

You just damage more and more children. If there are twenty, there are twenty to take their place immediately. If you arrest a corporal in Mexico or Columbia or whatever, there is always just a lieutenant that can take his place. The killing starts and when you got a new boss. The killing stops or sustains a little bit.

That’s how we could tell when there was a new guy in charge, when the killing stopped and we pretty well knew, “alright we got a new boss until it starts over again.” This is a hamster wheel. It is not new. They have announced recently the arrest of several more big shots in Mexico. Well, big deal. I mean, the lieutenants are already running the organization. They’ll just step and they’ll have to kill who they have to kill, so they can be in charge and it will start over again. It is a hamster wheel and we can’t win.

Dean Becker: Again reading from the piece in the The Economist, “Central America is entering an extraordinarily critical phase in which its peace and security are threatened by the onslaught of the drug-trafficking organizations.”

This is not unique. We have the same thing, as you mentioned earlier, in Afghanistan. We’ve got it on Mexico. They tout the success in Columbia but they are still growing a heck of a lot of cocaine and exporting it. To call that a success, seems rather a—

Terry Nelson: Well, you have to proclaim some successes but you always omit a few facts when you do so. You don’t encompass the whole picture when you start doing it.

I don’t believe that our politicians come right out and lie to us, they just use convenient truths, you know. What I’ve read, many of the reports that they make the report off of and the intelligence reports say this and you read six paragraphs down and you see a little bit different spin on it. They just choose the one that suits them best.

We’re not going to win it doing it the way we’re doing it. The best way is to regulate it and control it with our population. The only success we’ve had with that in the last thirty there is with cigarette smoking.

We’ve reduced cigarette smoking by 50% but we haven’t put a single person in jail – well, maybe one or two for underage possession of cigarettes but not put people –hundreds of thousands of people in jail. We’ve had success through education.

Dean Becker: Yeah, Terry, you know all of this talk about political instability in all these various countries, the truth be told, these drug barons, these drug lords, need mayhem. They need some violence. They need some bust to happen. They need to agitate and create fear to keep the prices high, to keep the people wondering where that supply might come from next right?

Terry Nelson: I agree in some part with your concept there but the violence is a part of the profits. You know and you have to fight for control because if you’re running a drug cartel and the other guys start – from this Juarez cartel, start to move down and move in on you because you have to fight for control because it’s a billion dollars a year business. You’re fighting for control and access to these paying avenues for access in the United States, up thirty five coming out of Laredo and California from Juarez coming up into New Mexico, Colorado and then hitting the paths on over to Chicago and the big Eastern markets. Of course, you’ve got the stuff coming in from Miami going up into New York and the East coast market.

You know a kilo of cocaine and I may be off by a few thousand dollars on this because it’s been a while, in Miami would bring about $18,000 bucks that same kilo would be worth $26,000-$28,000 in New York City because of the cost of moving it up and down the I-95 corridor and the risk of being arrested in that part of it. So, that’s a tremendous mark up and its very profitable. Is you can make $6000 for a 2400 mile round trip, it’s kind of almost worth it, you know?

Dean Becker: Right, as I indicted in an editorial I’ve got a little bit later, it’s just such an enticement to millions of people who may not have many options in this point of time.

Terry Nelson: Well and it’s gotten to be such an issue Mexico that it’s been romanticized and written about in songs and the children grow up immolating the drug dealers more so then the leaders of their society, which is maybe not a bad idea – I didn’t mean that. (Laughs)

Dean Becker: Uh, oh. You’re teasing us. That’s alright.

Terry Nelson: But it’s just, the kids have the wrong idea. They see the glory and the – they don’t see the death and destruction. They just see the fancy pickup truck and the big sombrero, the nice boots and the girlfriends and the lifestyle but it doesn’t – the irony is that doesn’t dawn on a kid, you don’t see many old drug traffickers. You know, it’s a—

Dean Becker: No.

Terry Nelson: Most of them are in their mid-thirties and early forties. You don’t see – it’s not like the drug mob and the old mafia where you have sixty, seventy year old Dons sitting around. It’s a young man’s game because it is so violent.

Dean Becker: Yeah, there was s story just a week ago in the Houston Chronicle talking about that they were convicting or sentencing the last member of a drug gang and here in Houston and I notice contained within the story they said it was “one of hundreds” of such distribution outfits here in Houston alone.

Terry Nelson: Yeah, that’s going to make a big difference, isn’t it?

Dean Becker: Well, and it’s been a few years since these guys have been convicted, others have probably picked up the mantle, ran with it and somebody else is now running with it because—

Terry Nelson: Of course, the guy that worked for him is now running their organization that’s just the way it works because it’s — I don’t know any other way to say it but a hamster wheel. You get off, you get on, get off, you get on and that’s’ just the way and it keeps doing that until we change our strategy on how to deal with it.

Dean Becker: I like to call it an eternal rain dance, you know?

Terry Nelson: That’s good.

Dean Becker: (Laughs) with an eternal Chant of Prohibition.

Terry Nelson: Well, give me more money, give me more money and give me more toys and I can make a bigger difference and just before the time comes for the budget there will be a few more arrests and there will be people on television and you’ll have the money on the table and the guns and say, “Well this two year investigation is now over and we’ve arrested this organization. We’ve put them out of business and we made a big dent in the drug trade.”

Well, if you made such a dent how come you have this same propaganda put out every six months? You just made the biggest drug bust ever and six months later, “Yeah, we just made the biggest drug bust ever.” It keeps going up they don’t keep getting smaller.

Dean Becker: Well, Terry they admit that they get perhaps 10% some say as much as 15%. How can they ever call that a success?

Terry Nelson: Well and once again, the same thing applies. I think the number is 16% of what they catch and that’s in the Western hemisphere and in Europe it’s not quite so high. It’s about 5% or 7%, I believe or actually 2% in some of the Far East countries with all they are catching at west point but once again, so, if you’ve got a 100,000 pounds coming in and you catch 50,000 pounds of it that hurts it a little bit. It drives the price up on the other 50,000. Whereas if you get 10% of it and 9,000 pounds gets in, the price is going to be down a little lower and they are not going to fight for it. It’s something that the more you catch – you don’t make progress because you escalate the price and increase the violence.

Dean Becker: Yeah, those left standing are thanking the others for being the others for being busted.

Terry Nelson: Prohibition is the drug dealer’s best friend.

Dean Becker: Yeah

Terry Nelson: It keeps him in business and keeps him rich.

Dean Becker: Well Terry, we have about a minute left. I want to talk about our group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Give a summary of what we are all about.

Terry Nelson: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a group of police officers, judges, prosecutors, prison wardens, FBI and DEA agents that believe that the Drug War is a total failure and we need to change our approach to one if regulation and control and to regulate and control anything it has to be legal.

So, we have to legalize it so we can get control of it and we believe in dealing with – which, of course, will not do anything for our drug problem but it does a lot for our crime and violence problem because there are two separate problems, the drug problem and the crime and the violence problem.

Then we need to educate and give credible education to help with our drug problem. We believe it would be successful.

We also have a goal of trying to get respect of the police back. The police have lost the respect of many of the citizens and we’d like to see them get more respect for their positions. Instead of being an enemy of the people, we would like to see them be a friend of the people.

Dean Becker: Alright once again friends, we’ve been speaking with my good friend Mister Terry Nelson, a man who retired after, I think now, thirty four years of experience with the US government as a GS 14, the equivalent of a bird Colonel. We are both speakers of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and our website is leap.cc. Terry, thank you so much for being with us here on Cultural Baggage.

Terry Nelson: Thank you, Dean. I enjoyed it and keep up the good work.

Dean Becker: Alright, sir.


(Game show music)

It’s time to play: Name That Drug By Its Side Effects

Breast enlargement, impotence, corneal opacity, deafness, anaphylactic shock, pseudomembranous colitis, bloody diarrhea, rectal hemorrhage, myocardial infarction and death.


Time’s up!

From Bristol-Myers Squibb, the answer weirdly is Aciphex, for heartburn and obviously not for your ass affects. By the way, the number of potential complications is more than one hundred.


The following is a Drug Truth Network Editorial:

We must expose the Drug War addicts to force them to explain their horrible, destructive habits. As much as I despise and want to destroy the black market in drugs, to deny the terrorists funding from turning flowers into weapons, to destroy the barbarous cartels in Mexico and elsewhere and especially to eliminate the reason for most of the violent US gangs but more than these bad actors who after all are simply trying make living.

Mostly I blame those in government, in positions of authority, whose ignorance, lack of common sense, of history has given us nigh onto a hundred years of barbarism and overdose deaths, street corner shootouts, children dying and international fiascos.

Millions of lives have been destroyed as a result of these proponents of Drug War. The cheerleaders of prohibition who must bear the blame for this clusterflock. Drug War addicts have developed such horrible and destructive habits, they must be held accountable.

In recent weeks, there has been a call for civility on the airwaves for a new paradigm for discussion. In that the drug war addicts refuse to share their thoughts on the Drug Truth Network and for all the reasons I just listed, I cannot comply.

Those who believe in Drug War are akin to dimwitted hillbillies and fundamentalist freaks. It must be pointed out that chief among those responsible for this Drug War are those whose intellect and knowledge is supposed to lead us in the right direction, scientists and doctors, treatment providers, the people whose knowledge could redirect and absolve the mindset and direction of these elected officials and thus counter the implementation and continuation of laws designed for eternal failure.

Drug war addicts, the very face of stupidity.


(Serene music)

I am the Reverend Dean Becker of the Drug Truth Network, standing in the river of reform, baptizing Drug Warriors to the Unvarnished Truth.



(Music from Sloshtown)

We all know it’s just about the money
But these fat cat politicians think we’re dummies
We all know it’s just about the money
But these fat cat politicians think we’re dummies
And you know they cannot stop


Dean Becker: Alright, thank you for tuning into Cultural Baggage. We’re so glad you could be with us. I want to thank Mister Terry Nelson, once again, for being our guest.
He’s going to do a regular feature were on the Drug Truth Network, 420s and drop it into some other shows as well.

Be sure to check out this week’s Century of Lies, one of our guests will be Pamela Constable she is a writer with the Washington Post.

Next week, Steve DeAngelo will be joining us he is the Executive Director of Harborside Health Center and you guys know you have to do your part. I need you to help, you know. We’re making great progress but we need you and please remember that because of prohibition, you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.


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.

Drug Truth Network programs are stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Policy Studies.

Transcript provided by: Ayn Morgan of www.eigengraupress.com

Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.