10/11/09 - Robert Field

Century of Lies

Robert Field, hotelier and Co-Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy + DTN listeners recognize 8 years of Drug Truth Network

Audio file

Century of Lies, October 11, 2009

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.

Hello my friends. This is indeed the Century of Lies on the Drug Truth Network, now with less respect and more outrage for drug warriors. Today we celebrate eight years of the Drug Truth Network. In just a few minutes I want to hear from you.

First up thought, we’re going to tune into an interview I did with one of the major funder’s of Drug War Reform. This will be followed by Official Government Truth with Winston Francis. We’ll open up the phone lines, as I said, here in a little bit and take your calls, ideas and suggestion for the next year of the Drug Truth Network.

But first up, I want to share with you this powerful piece that came in from Australia.

Australian cannabis laws to be repealed.

The Premier has announce plans to repeal Labor's cannabis laws within a fortnight.

The new legislation will make it illegal to cultivate cannabis plants, and the legal possession limit will be reduced from 30 to10 grams.

The laws will also make it illegal to sell smoking implements. The Administer reaffirmed plans to introduce laws giving police greater powers to stop and search people without having to prove grounds of suspicion.

The Premier admits the move will raise concerns about the possible infringement of civil liberties.

He says it is sad that violence and anti-social behaviour has reached a point where the laws are necessary.

Quoting the Premier, "It is giving quite extraordinary powers to police but police will operate under their own guidelines and protocols," he said.

"It will not be abused."


Ah Lordy. Let’s go to an interview with Mr. Field.

I’m Robert Field. I’m the co-chair of Common Sense for Drug Policy and we’re here at the NORML Conference in San Francisco. It’s always very good to get back and see some of our colleagues; people we’ve worked with for five, ten, fifteen years, some of us 20 years.

It’s been slow in making progress but it may be that we’re perched now; the movement is perched for real success maybe in the next five, ten years and the success being the treating of the tax regulation control of marijuana, the way we do alcohol and treating hard drugs as more of a public health issue than a criminal justice issue. That’s long since been Common Sense for Drug Policy’s position.

It was founded by Kevin Zeese and myself almost twenty years ago and more recently over the last decade and a half, Mike Gray has joined us as well as other board members and Mike’s been our Chair and so I’ve had the pleasure of working with two outstanding activists over the last fifteen years.

Dean Becker: This morning I saw an article from the San Francisco Chronicle and it kind of supported much of what’s being done here at NORML, but it also seemed to dismiss it, to chide the idea of progress. What will it take to legitimize; to move this forward; to be embrace as complete truth?

Mr. Robert Field: {chuckling} Well, that’s the question we’re all asking, Dean. But certainly this is an incremental effort and the successes with medical marijuana certainly have gone far, far. Not only did it bring blessed relief from pain and suffering for so many, but also in belying the accusations out of ignorance and out of mean-spiritedness sometimes, of people concerning the nature of marijuana.

Now I myself, I was just offered a joint by someone, and I myself don’t partake of any illegal drugs, just simply because they’re not my drug of choice. But from the time I was in college as a student of history and economics, I was familiar with the abject failure of alcohol prohibition and I would say to myself, “Why would we be going down the road again of prohibition? It doesn’t work. Didn’t we learn anything?” As I’ve spent decades pursuing my career as a builder and developer and property manager, I would watch from the sidelines and see the horrors that we were foistering upon people.

I mean to me, I really think of drug prohibition as a continuation of Jim Crow that is aimed at minorities, because their interests were different, their tastes were different, they were foreign to us, and this is coming from a person who most of his life was a republican and who was a republican Chair for elected US senator and so forth. So I hardly… I mean it sounds, Dean, as though somehow or other that I’m sort of a radical but I’ve always been a moderate, but that just happens to be from all my studies; my belief, that’s what this has been.

So after a short period of time as a board member of Drug Policy Foundation in my fifties, Kevin Zeese, who had been a leader in the darkest of days along with Arnold Trebach, that Kevin and I created Common Sense for Drug Policy and we introduced a few things which I think could have been helpful in bringing us to this point in time.

But now it’s for a new generation. I like to think about us having run the second lap of four laps and now the third lap is commencing on others, you know. You can see them, they’re going to be the leaders and their going to take us, hopefully, to that final victory line.

Dean Becker: Now, Common Sense for Drug Policy has not been ‘just a web site’, it has not been ‘just Drug War Facts’, the fine informational book you guys produce, but it’s more than that. Would you elaborate on some of the other faucets of Common Sense?

Mr. Robert Field: Well, to partially flush out what you said, one of the first things was this was Kevin’s idea was to create what was the Alliance Reform Organization and that was a non-organization. I mean, it was a way for the diverse leadership over, at that time, maybe twenty/twenty-five organizations. Instead of snarling, competing and back-biting to begin to communicate by private list, and I described the movement as trying to herd cats, you can’t do that.

No one’s going to organize. There are so many different aspects to the war on drugs, with different people from conservative to liberals, people of all sorts of persuasions, focusing on individual or multiple aspects. But the list brought people together. The other thing we did was the Public Service Advertising Campaign and usually six or eight magazines of national prominence, the type that are read by people who are interested in social issues and politics and these, we just pounded the facts and this was an amplification of, you mentioned, Drug War Facts.

When we founded Common Sense for Drug Policy, my sense was one side would claim one thing, the other side would claim something else. Nobody really knew what the facts were. Where we created what was then a smaller, but which is now; it’s grown quite large, where we simple excerpt the pure review journal articles in Government studies and then gave citations, so that any journalist; any student; any government official could see actually what research showed and if they questioned what we wrote down, because we didn’t editorialize we just took quotes, there were the citations they could go and see the whole thing.

We also then worked on nurturing fledgling organizations. I had had experience in politics and in business and so I was able to give some suggestions and of course Kevin was one of the great experts in this nationally and respected internationally and Mike had had experience and so forth, so we gave them some guidance. We also were able to give them money and help bring them along and over the years we contributed considerable amount of funding to the movement, which has helped many organizations to survive and expand working at different aspects of education and political activism and harm reduction and so forth.

For example: syringe exchanges. We recently; one of the great thrills of my life was helping to get the de-regulation of the sale of syringes in Pennsylvania. It was one of the last state where you couldn’t buy a syringe without a prescription. Well we know that the greatest cause; over fifty percent of the cause of contracting of HIV/AIDS is the sharing of dirty needles. Why would we want to prevent people from being able to buy syringes?

But it doesn’t take genius to get these things done, often it just takes somebody prepared to spend the years of doing a bunch of simple steps that a person once described it by moving papers from one desk to another. That’s a lot of what political activists miss.

Dean Becker: Alright now, this has been a large part of your life. Tell us the reasons; the understanding you developed and perhaps share that with the viewer, so that they might better understand and maybe want to do their part.

Mr. Robert Field: Well first of all, it’s been very rewarding for me because of the many competent dedicated people that I’ve run into. You know, coming from the business world it’s a big difference where the values are for the business world to where you’re working with volunteers who are struggling, living on very modest sums often, but doing this for the good of the public. I also find it very stimulating because these people that you’re dealing with are not only very bright and alerted, but also have such high values.

Why? Well, as I said. Prohibition doesn’t work and it is bringing such incredible hardship. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world per thousand / per hundred thousand. I mean, all these people in prison and what happens to their families? What happens to their children? Then we’ve created the prison industrial complex. I mean, they are a vested interest now. The drug war is a huge industry. A lot of people are eating from that trough and it’s very hard to change one’s thinking under those circumstances.

But the great example of people who have done that are our comrade’s from LEAP who are the often retired police officers who have seen; and one of the reason’s they are so motivated against the drug war, is they feel such guilt. You meet a LEAP, I mean they now have thousands. I think they have close to what, fifteen thousand…

Dean Becker: {quietly} Yes.

Mr. Robert Field: …people in LEAP? Former prosecutors and police and detectives and you wonder what so motivates them and it becomes so clear and Common Sense did a DVD on LEAP and at one point Jack Cole, one of the founders, was talking and suddenly he was describing his time as an undercover agent and he just paused. He said that he must have put two thousand people in jail or something, and as he said it… the pause… and you could just see the pain come over the man. Jack Cole’s very motivated. You know there’s few things that will motivate you Dean, like guilt. I think most of us have been guilty enough to appreciate that .

Dean Becker: Alright. Once again, that was Robert Field, the Chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy. They’re on the web at csdp.org.

What motivates you? Is it guilt? What should the Drug Truth Network do over the next year? Who should we invite to be as our guest and what did you think of Tony Placido from the DEA? His speech he gave in the prior show. We’re going to take your calls at 1-877-9-420-420 or you can call locally to (713) 526-5738.

We’ve got this ninety seconds here, with Winston Francis.

The Official Governmental Truth.

Winston Francis: Here’s a news flash: Hundreds of thousands of American’s are employed because of the drug war. Police officers, prison guards, prosecutors, DEA agents, rehab counselors and the list goes on. These men and women make their living imprisoning the citizens of this great nation. The money they earn is used to purchase goods and services from other Americans who use this money to purchase other goods and services from others and so on.

Image the damage that would be done to our already fragile economy if we were to take the drug war and all who depend on it, out of the equation. The hundreds of thousands of newly unemployed American’s would no longer be able to support the businesses that depend on them. Those businesses would go bankrupt and the business owners and all who they employ would no longer be able to support their preferred businesses and so on and so on.

Ending the drug war would cause a chain reaction that would millions of families on the street. Men, women and children. Millions of families starving on the streets. Also, you can smoke crack? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Maybe it’s time for you to reevaluate your position. Maybe it’s time for all of us to look out for one another and to consider the consequences of our actions.

This has been Winston Francis with the Official Government Truth.

Well, we let Winston produce those reports because, you know, we invite everyone in our chain of command from our drug czar on down to the local police chief to defend this policy and of course, they can’t. They can only say, ‘Well, more of the same will work, won’t it?’ ‘Keep doing it, bound to work out.’ Well, I don’t think so.

I tell you what, Friends. We don’t have you calling, so that must be you, not calling. I’d appreciate it if you would call. Our local number is (713) 526-5738 and you can call anywhere in North America toll free by calling 1-877-9-420-420. As I mentioned last week, our engineer - oft times engineer, Mr. Phillip Guffey, is back from his time in the salt mines. He tells me we do have a call coming in. Glad to hear that.

We’d really like to hear from you. Like I said, we want to know what motivates you? What’s your thoughts on the drug war? What should we do this next year? Who should we get to be our guests and what did you think of Tony Placido of the DEA on the Cultural Baggage show?

When you’re ready, you let me know, I’m ready to jump on it here. OK? Pricilla on line one, you’re on the air. Hello Pricilla.

Pricilla: Hi.

Dean Becker: Yes, Pricilla. What’s on your mind?

Pricilla: I just wanted to comment that my support, the removal of prohibition on drugs, because I have friends who were convicted for small amounts of marijuana and now they find themselves in the cycle of not being able to have a good and stable life…

Dean Becker: Right.

Pricilla: …and that’s sad.

Dean Becker: As I say, first they’ll kick in your door, then they’ll take your house, your kids, your car, your cash, your worldly goods and send you to prison. When you get out, they expect you to thrive. There’s something not quite right with that.

Pricilla: Right.

Dean Becker: Pricilla, I appreciate your call. Luckily the lines are all lit up now and that’s great. Thank you for listening Pricilla and we appreciate you being part of the eight year celebration for the Drug Truth Network.

Pricilla: Thank you for your show.

Dean Becker: Alright, thank you, Pricilla. Alright. Can we go to Carl, line 2. Hello Carl. What’s on your mind?

Carl: Yes, sir. I’m just going to preface this with that I’m an active republican, but on this particular issue I have a tendency to agree with you guys that the drug war has been an utter failure. Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol. It’s not working with drugs. It does nothing more, but it enslaves a certain sector of the population…

Dean Becker: …and enriches another.

Carl: Absolutely. I’m a big believer in individual liberty, both socially and economically and this is just one of the tenants of my belief system. Now if I could get you lefties to come over to the economic liberty side of the equation…

Dean Becker: Well, contact me off-air. dean@drugtruth.net You’d be surprised at how conservative I am, at heart. Carl, thank you for your participation.

Carl: Thank you, Sir.

Dean Becker: Alright, Sir. Well, let’s go to Frank on three. Hello, Frank.

Frank: Hi. How are you doing?

Dean Becker: Hello, Frank. What you got for us?

Frank: Well, I just wanted to basically agree with you about the idea that the drug war has become such a monetary thing that the people in charge don’t want to give it up. There’s money involved in the smuggling of the drugs, the selling of the drugs and in enforcing the laws, and those are the two biggest problems.

When we think about the DEA, the FBI, the CIA and all the other alphabet soup of government agencies who know so much about drug dealing in other countries, where the laws are not in their favor, yet as soon as those drugs cross our southern border, or which ever border they come in, all the sudden these same agencies know very little about who the top people are in the drug dealing in America and I just find that hard to believe. I’ve often said, at the top of the drug trade is a rich white man in a suit and I can’t help but believe that.

Dean Becker: Well Frank, you’re absolutely right. There is no manifest, no contract, no written agreement amongst these actors. But there is agreement amongst some very powerful actors, nonetheless.

Frank: That’s what I would think. There’s so much money involved, billions of dollars in the illegal drug trade itself and then more billions in keeping it illegal insofar as the, as you say, all the police law enforcement, the jails, the jailers, the drug treatment centers and everything else. We could save so much money if we made drugs legal and simply provided the medical and social adjustment centers the would help people who are addicted, to get off of it.

Most people who are addicted, don’t want to be addicted. They want to get off of it, but they have absolutely no help in the sense that, as soon as you stand up and say, ’I’m addicted to a hard drug and I want help,’ is the first thing you have to do is go through the justice system.

Dean Becker: It’s so true, Frank. I tell you what, we do have a full board. I appreciate the call Sir and I will try to bring some focus to bear on that situation of ’Why isn’t there more treatment? ’ in this coming year. Thank you, Frank.

Frank: Sure.

Dean Becker: Let’s go to Phil now. Line four. Hello Phil, you’re on the air.

Phil: Yeah, thank you very much for getting me to speak on this. I think the people who are on the government side is wrong in terms of saying they are employing so many people now. What are they going to do with them? What they are doing now is really destroying the foundation of the country. These people who are being locked up, they have children, they themselves have lives to live and they are being terminated from living those lives.

Now, so those people could engage themselves in other areas of the economy, they could be in entrepreneurs and produce a lot more than they would have produced were they not locked up and then they will raise their children and their children will be more productive, but not in this society. So there’s a whole lot of gain to be made from stopping this so-called drug war. Thank you.

Dean Becker: Phil, thank you. Very profound thoughts. Thank you, Sir. Alright, I want to throw in a thought here, real quick and that is, ‘When we go after the potheads, when we go after the small time drug users, we are denying our police force. We are preventing them from going after the murders and the rapists and the child molesters. We are truly shortchanging our society in so many ways, through this drug war.

Let’s go to Wayne on live five. You’re on the air.

Wayne: Hey, Dean.

Dan Becker: Hey, Wayne. What you got to say, bud?

Wayne: Hey, thanks for a great show and I couldn’t agree with you more. My daughter died from a drug overdose; a heroin overdose and just like what you said, if you knew what was in that bag; if it had been regulated, it wouldn’t have happened, you know she’d cause some heavy stuff…

Dean Becker: We’ve got a hot shot, yeah. I’m so sorry, Wayne. It’s so unnecessary.

Wayne: Our government’s just profited, I mean, the industry behind the enforcement, it’s just crazy. It’s crazy. We’ve got better ways to spend our money and I’ll hang up and let you go on that. Bye.

Dean Becker: Wayne, thank you so much and I… I’m so sorry about your daughter.

Friends, we’ve got to find a better way to protect our children, to protect our nation and this stupid, irrational drug war.

We’ve got time for a couple more calls here. It looks like we have Leonard on line six, been holding the longest. Hello, Leonard.

Leonard: Yes. Good evening.

Dean Becker: Hello, Sir.

Leonard: You know what? It would be nice if we could get everybody that represents the congress, senate, president and everybody else, even the city council people to take drug tests. Because I to know, {Dean laughing} not all of those people are squeaky clean and you know, they say for the athletes, and I’m just going to say this one as a comparison, the athletes don’t take that souped-up stuff.

But then when you’re looking at Rocky or Carrot Top, you see they’re all blown up, so that only goes for what? We got an idiotic symptom and then we need to check everybody that’s associated with FEMA, because those are the biggest idiots. I think they’re doing something right now. So consider…

Dean Becker: They’re probably snorting a line. {laughter from both} Hey look, Leonard?

Leonard: Yeah?

Dean Becker: There was a big situation with the oil and gas industry, where they were actually sleeping with the government officials and the people that were controlling the monies coming from the oil companies, snorting cocaine with them and doing whores with them. So it’s out there. It’s a crazy situation. I’ll tell you Leonard, I’ve got time…

Leonard: Let me tell you just one thing.

Dean Becker: Real quick, real quick.

Leonard: Shake FEMA. Give all of them blood tests. Please.

Dean Becker: OK Alright Leonard. Thank you so much. We’re going to go to Ben for a very quick call. Ben on line one. Hello, Ben. Quickly. Ben? Did we lose you? Ah, sorry Ben. Well, I want to thank everybody for the quick blitz of calls.

I want to thank you for being with us whether it’s been eight years of the Drug Truth Network or if you just joined us tonight. But I guess the point is, my friends, we own the moral high ground, the fiscal high ground, the logic high ground, any high ground you want to look at. There is no rational reason, there’s no… that’s my closing to this show. There’s no justice involved in this and it’s up to you, to dare, to stand, to speak, to change this. Because I can do this all week, all year, eight years long. I can’t get it done by myself, I need you. I want to share this quick thought with you and then we’ll be back here in just a little bit.

This is your Drug Czar.
Do not listen to the Drug Truth Network.
It’s evil. Pure evil.

(sounds of a train in the background)

Try to picture the drug war as a freight train more than nine miles long. Cars ten feet wide, sixty-three feet long and fifteen feet high. Filled with hundred dollar bills. Four million, four hundred thousand cubic feet of hundred dollar bills. More than one thousand, one hundred tons of sweet Benjamin’s. More than eleven trillion dollars frittered away on this drug war. But hell, I guess everybody loves trains.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

These men and women have served in the trenches of the drug war as prosecutors, judges, cops, guards and wardens. They have seen first had the utter futility of our policy and now work together to end drug prohibition. Please visit leap.cc

Alright, my friends. I appreciate you being with us on this Century of Lies. I want to alert you to the fact, next week we’re going to have Mr. Sanho Tree from the Institute for Policy Studies. He just returned from an extended visit to Columbia. He’ll give us the ‘lowdown’ on what’s really going on down there, not what Mr. Tony Placido told us earlier.

I rather suspect it’s not near as good as the government tries to tell us. What’d ya think, you know? …and it’s pretty good to get that flurry of calls from you guys. It’s good to know you’re out there listening and that you appreciate what we’re up to.

As I started to say a minute ago and as I try to say every week that… There is no truth, justice, logic, scientific fact, medical data, no reason for this drug war to exist. We have been duped. The drug lords run both sides of this equation. Please do your part to end the madness. Visit our website. endprohibition.org

Prohibido istac evilesco.

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

The Century of Lies.

This show produced at the Pacifica studios of KPFT, Houston

Transcript provided by: C. Assenberg of www.marijuanafactorfiction.org