10/02/11 George W. Grayson

George W. Grayson, Sr. Assoc at Center for Stategic and International Studies, author of "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?" + Terry Nelson of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition on how drug war creates atrocities

Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Sunday, October 2, 2011
George W. Grayson
Center for Stategic and International Studes



Cultural Baggage / October 2, 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!”


DEAN BECKER: My Name is Dean Becker. I don’t condone or encourage the use of any drugs, legal or illegal. I report the unvarnished truth about the pharmaceutical, banking, prison and judicial nightmare that feeds on Eternal Drug War.


DEAN BECKER: Hello, my friends. It’s good to be back in studio. Here in just a moment we’re going to bring in our guest. Let me tell you a little bit about him. He’s a professor of government at the college of William and Mary. He’s an associate scholar at FPRI, a senior associate at the Center for Stategic and International Studies. He’s author of a great new book – very informative, chalk full of information and stuff we need to realize. What’s going on south of our border. The name of the book, "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?" With that let’s welcome our guest, Mr. George W. Grayson. Hello George.

GEORGE GRAYSON: Very nice to be with you, Dean.

DEAN BECKER: Well thank you, George. I want to thank you for this book. You know I’ve read many books dealing with the subject of Mexico, about the violence and just the horrors that go on down there and your book certainly contains that as well. But it contains a lot of reasons why - explanations and different looks about what’s going on, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: That was the purpose of it.

DEAN BECKER: Yes sir and early on, I think it’s in chapter one, there’s a kind of hierarchy…a listing, a comparison of Roman Catholic church, the Pope to the President and on down through the hierarchy of Mexican government – kind of moved away from that status but it’s still very much in control as well, isn’t it?

GEORGE GRAYSON: For a long time one party, the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), really ran the show in Mexico and they’re probably going to come back next year. But they were defeated in 2000. So I make a comparison between their hold on the public and the church’s hold on the public.

You’ve had new parties emerge in the form of these drug cartels and you’ve had various religious sects emerge that have challenged the church so that was the kind of double metaphor that I set up.

DEAN BECKER: Now the truth of it is is that Mexico has been providing drugs for the U.S. and much of the rest of the world for about a century now, correct?

GEORGE GRAYSON: At least to the U.S. The drugs have come from the Middle East mostly and before that China and India. But, since World War II, when we couldn’t get supplies of coca poppy for heroin which was very much needed to reduce pain during the war, there was kind of a unwritten agreement between Mexico and the United States that cocaine would be shipped North and some money would be shipped South.

DEAN BECKER: I referenced the comparison of the Catholic church to the governance, I guess, but you also have other charts within this book that show the hierarch, the ascendance, if you will, of the various drug barons over the years, over the decades as well, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: Yeah. A funny story about probably the most prominent Narco – he goes by the name of “El Chapo” , Juaquin Guzman – he doesn’t like the name “El Chapo” because that means “the short one” or “shorty”. I’ve never met him. Don’t plan to but if you happen to, Dean, if you happen to interview him, don’t call him “El Chapo” – call him “El tio”.

DEAN BECKER: “El tio” … uncle.

GEORGE GRAYSON: His wife, she must be in her early-20s now, just had twins and the twins were born in California so even the drug capos seem to be having their families expand in the United States just an incredible bit of news. It was reported that she somehow had U.S. citizenship. I don’t know why. “El Chapo”, I don’t think, has come to visit her lest he be visited by the DEA and the FBI. The drug mafias take advantage of this country also.

DEAN BECKER: Well, yeah, and more “anchor babies” belonging to the cartel.

GEORGE GRAYSON: Apparently this isn’t going to be an “anchor baby” because it’s said that the wife had U.S. citizenship. But I thought it would be an “anchor baby” and it probably will be.

DEAN BECKER: The fact of the matter is that your book is not so much anti-prohibitionist as just explanatory. I would write it more radically, I suppose. But the fact of the matter is the data contained in this book is a seething indictment of the Drug War, is it not?

GEORGE GRAYSON: Yeah, you can’t win a drug war. The best you can do is manage it and the problem that the current President of Mexico has had, Felipe Calderon, he came into office and he was set to try to implement a social agenda – focusing on the educational system, health care and so forth – and he found that large enclaves of the country were dominated by the cartels and that Mexico risked losing sovereignty over some quite key zones.

He found out, I guess he already knew, that the Mexican police were just hopelessly corrupt. Mexico has never, never, never - going back to the Colonial time – had an honest police force. So Calderon has had to rely on the Army and members of the armed forces are taught to pursue, capture and kill and so the result is that the body count has increased and that there have been a number of human rights abuses. But Calderon really had no other option – at least in the short run. I think he should have acted smarter in the long run.

But, by in large, no matter how good your police are or how good your intelligence agencies are – the best you can do is try to administer the drugs – that is control the cartels a bit. You cannot win a war against drugs.

DEAN BECKER: George, in your book you mention the fact that following Calderon’s takeover they set in place procedures to do lie detector tests, psychological tests and otherwise look at the police forces. And was it 50% or over 50% of the prior police forces were let go.

GEORGE GRAYSON: Yes and many had retired or resigned before they were fired or, as you say, “let go.” And of course the problem is that a policeman, who’s already up to his ears in corruption, when he leaves the police force he’s not going to become a Jesuit Priest. He is going to probably get deeper into the underworld, probably was already working for them part-time, and if he’s not linked to a cartel he’s going to be freelancing with regard to robberies, kidnapping, extortion and so forth. So it’s a lose-lose situation.

But even if you did recruit the best and the brightest young people, got them nice uniforms, good salaries, technical training – they would then go into a police headquarters where the ranking officers are corrupt and they would have the option of either falling in with the finality or I guess they could risk offending their colleagues and offending the cartels and that’s when you literally get members of your family chopped up and delivered to you in brown paper bags. That is there’s just no future for honest police in Mexico because they feel so much peer pressure from their corrupt colleagues and if it’s not the corrupt colleagues, it’s the cartels themselves who pose the threat. And they pose a viscous threat. These are sadist who belong in the lower rungs of Hell.

DEAN BECKER: I agree with you, sir. Now, the fact of the matter is, you talk about some of the horrendous warnings or responses. A man having his wives chopped off and sent through the mail. His children thrown off a high bridge just as a message.

GEORGE GRAYSON: And, Dean, this is an everyday occurrence. If you read the Mexican press, and I try to read a couple Mexican newspapers every day – it’s really no longer a front page article if just one person is decapitated. Now if you have 4 or 5 people who are decapitated, shot, tortured, carved up – then that will make the front page.

But it’s become “business as usual” and the border is quite a dangerous place. Now especially below El Paso. You have areas like Acapulco that used to be a great resort venue is now known as “Narco-pulco” because of all the violence there. In southwestern states like Guerrero you can probably get somebody killed for 15/20 dollars. Maybe if it was a big shot you’d have to pay $50 or $100.

But there is virtually …When there’s widespread lawlessness and the officials can act with impunity…far too many of the Governors …and the Governors are becoming the new viceroys of Mexico. There becoming the new power brokers because there’s deadlock and drift in the central government. I can think of few Governors who are either turning a blind eye to the cartel activities in their state or they’re joined at the hip with the cartels.

DEAN BECKER: Once again, friends, we’re speaking with Mr. George W. Grayson, author of "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?" George, I wanted to talk about the fact that this escalation of violence has really been ramped up over the last 5 years or so. Prior to that it was bad but there was some sort of, I don’t know, gentlemen’s agreement or something that the Plaza’s, if you will, the corridors in Mexico were sold. That for certain corridors, I think you wrote $5 million per month was handed over to the army or police. Do you want to fill that in?

GEORGE GRAYSON: That’s sort of pocket change for the cartels. What you to happen…remember when the PRI ran the country from 1929 til 2000 – this party corrupted every segment of society. For example, public education is run by just a hugely corrupt individual and as a result most middle-class families would go without a second car or take out a larger mortgage if they could just to send their youngsters to private schools.

But as part of the corruption there was a “live and let live” attitude. That is the kingpin would pay his dues to the local state and federal authority and they would then let him import his drugs, store his drugs, manufacture the drugs – if he was making methamphetamine, for example – and then sell them. But he had to show respect for officials. He had to make sure he did not kidnap civilians or kill civilians and he didn’t sell drugs in the country itself.

He also didn’t get arms that were more powerful than the army had. They were the sort of the “good ‘ol days” in a black humor sense. Around the late 1980s/early 1990s things changed because the Colombians could no longer move their cocaine as easily into Florida and the South Atlantic states so Mexico became the superhighway to the United States. That changed what was a multi-million dollar business into a multi-billion business and the stakes went up.

A new government came in, led by the party to which Calderon belongs to – PAN, the National Action Party – and they thought that they would not follow this “live and let live” kind of deal that the PRI had brokered and they sent new police officers out to the localities and they were going to clean things up and not use the force of the central government. Pretty soon the new police officers were corrupted or killed and the drug trade has just expanded like topsy.

DEAN BECKER: It has indeed. Once again, speaking with George W. Grayson, author of "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?"

George, I want to talk about in my youth I used to go into Mexico. I used to smuggle little bits of drugs – not much, mind you. It seemed that they were very friendly, very accommodating – wanted me to succeed. And yet, now, there’s no way in hell I’m going to Mexico. I just wanted to talk about that change of welcome- ness, if you will.

GEORGE GRAYSON: Mexicans are just great people. They’re the most hospitable people in the world and there are only about 8 states where the killings are rampant. I go to Mexico every month or every 5 or 6 weeks. Just came back and I’m careful. I don’t go out and try to interview the “big enchiladas” in the drug trade.

But most of the country is peaceable and you can go to the resorts and have a good time. I wouldn’t recommend Acapulco but Cancun or Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan – prices are quite low and the security is good.

But the people…even good, middle-class people in Mexico City are looking over their shoulders a bit more than they used to. They used to think it was just that we Americans were wusses and so we were afraid to go anywhere where there might be a hint of violence. They’re becoming more cautious in their daily activities.

And, of course, if you get into the north into a place like Ciudad Juarez or Matamoros or Reynosa – then you really want to be careful because of the widespread presence of lookouts. That is one reason that a group called “Los Zetas” … they were formed by former special forces in the Mexican army and they have hundreds of lookouts.

So, Dean if you went in and you looked like you didn’t belong there, that would quickly get communicated to Los Zetas. Probably you would just be checked out but you might also be the target for shake down, extortion and if they thought they could get money from your family they might kidnap you.

So one has to pick and choose your places carefully where you travel. Mexico City is always kind of a sanctuary city. Many of the Narco-families have their loved ones there and so you don’t defecate in your own nest. And there’s not a whole lot of the sadistic kind of killing going on there.

I was just in Toluca which is the capital of Mexico state. It seems to be quite a calm city. Tera Tero, beautiful city – clean, colonial, well-policed – I would have no problem living there. So, you just have to be careful.

DEAN BECKER: George, you bring up something that …Ciudad Juarez, just across the border, is perhaps the most violent city on the planet and on this side of the river, the U.S. side, El Paso is one of the safest cities in the U.S. And I guess that brings focus to bear on you don’t defecate in your own nest, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: I’m sorry to be crude.

DEAN BECKER: No, it’s a fine statement, sir. The point I’m getting at is that they don’t want the weight of the full U.S. Government coming after them for crimes committed on this side, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: Exactly. The cartels are pragmatic and they don’t want U.S. boots on the ground. I think Governor Perry said he’d be willing to send troops into Mexico.

You’ve also got a strange migration at night - that is mayors and police chiefs and other politicians will come into Texas. They’ll come across the river to spend the night. They have apartments or homes there and some of the drug dealers also spend their nights in the United States for safety purposes and they go back to work in Mexico the next morning. So you would also be probably attacking the elite Mexicans, either law-abiding citizens or criminals, if you started wanton killing north of the Rio Grande.

DEAN BECKER: We’ve got just a couple of minutes left here. You had mentioned the escalation of kidnapping. The likelihood that, hell, I might get kidnapped if my family would pay a ransom and it was the fact that through the accruing of all this power, all this money through the ratcheting up of this that they had the weapons and the manpower already in place and they saw another opportunity – another golden goose to rob of eggs through the kidnapping and such, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: They’re baskets of golden eggs now. The Zetas are probably involved in at least 20 different criminal activities. Including those that we have mentioned they also help to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border. They harvest the bodies of young men whom they capture to sell their body parts. They do murder for hire, contraband. They’re stealing oil from the state oil company right and left. They’re an all-purpose corporation, an all-purpose criminal syndicate.

DEAN BECKER: What I was saying is that power has accrued through waging the Drug War and influencing politicians and minimizing chances of repercussion, right?

GEORGE GRAYSON: Exactly. But one thing I want to make clear is that Mexico is not Bangladesh – it’s an extraordinarily wealthy country. If Singapore could lease Mexico for 20 years, you and I would be talking about the Colossus of the South and probably buying pogo sticks to jump over the border. But the elite don’t give a tired, rat’s derriere about poor people there. So the elite don’t pay much in the way of taxes. They don’t form job creation programs. There’s no regional development programs. The educational system, as I mentioned, is of a fourth-world quality and there are monopolies and oligopolies in everything from telephone services to cement to processed food.

The future of Mexico really lies in the hands of an incredibly spoiled elite. They live like maharajas and they really hope to export their problems in the form of poor people to the United States so that U.S. taxpayers will pick up the bill. I guess if I were a capasino living mechalacon I would try to get into the United States too.

But the Mexicans have sufficient wealth – more than enough wealth – to create the jobs, build the schools and provide the health care so that their population (especially the 40% who live in abject poverty) could enjoy social mobility.

DEAN BECKER: George, thank you so much. We do have to wrap it up. Once again, speaking with George W. Grayson, his book - check it out if you want to know the underbelly of all this - "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?" Thank you, George.

GEORGE GRAYSON: Thank you, Dean. Good night.


(Game show music)

DEAN BECKER: It’s time to play: Name That Drug by Its Side Effects.

Light headedness, nausea, vomiting, headache, malaise, fatal disturbance in brain function, imbalanced electrolytes, over dilution of sodium in the blood plasma, osmotic shift in pressure ruptures, cerebral edema, seizures, coma and death.
{{{ gong }}}

Time’s up!

The answer! And before I give you the answer let me tell you a little bit more about this product. It’s found in baby food. It’s a major component of the explosives used by the terrorists. And it’s freely available in the hallways and used in the classrooms of every school in our nation. Prolonged exposure causes severe tissue damage. Inhalation of even a slight amount can be deadly.

Dihydrogen monoxide is a killer. Otherwise known as water.


DEAN BECKER: On the first page of the Bible tells us how God created the stars, the sun, the moon and the earth, the waters and the firmament. And then he created the herbs as the field and the animals and he created man and woman. And he gave us dominion over all these things. And God said that, “It was good.”

Why does the government wish to deny us the right to choose we use what is on this earth for our service?


He’s the Drug Czar waging eternal war on our free will….


TERRY NELSON: This is Terry Nelson of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) reporting.

Over the years there have been many atrocities that can be traced to the failed prohibition policy of the United States. Our hegemonic attitude and coercion of other governments to embrace our failed public policy causes many consequences that I hope were not intended when this policy was implemented.

It has caused the incarceration of millions of people thus marginalizing them for the remainder of their lives and all because they choose to cause possible harm to themselves but not others. It has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people and deprived their families of their fathers and mothers and forced many of them into worse poverty than before.

It has morphed into a monster that threatens to destroy the nation of Mexico and eventually bring its violence across the border into the United States. It has been reported recently that the Cartels have increased their presence in the United States of up to at least one thousand cities.

A recent report from NPR says “As Mexico's drug war drags on, and the government cracks down on narcotics trafficking, there's been a spike across the country in kidnapping, car theft and extortion. Teachers refused to reopen schools in Acapulco after there were several anonymous demands for educators to hand over half their salaries to criminal gangs by Oct. 1 — or be killed. “

This threat was reinforced by the leaving of 5 decapitated human heads outside a Acapulco primary school along with a ransom note with the salary demand.

Can it be that the crackdown has caused enough revenue diminishment that the cartels now seek to make up that shortfall by extorting teachers to pay a ransom of half of their salaries to the cartels? Or is the first stage of a strategic plan by the cartels to demonstrate that the Mexican government cannot provide the basic safety needs of its people and that the cartels will then offer to provide these security services in place of the government. If this is so then we may be seeing the beginning of a type of insurgency this is intended to bring about the fall of the legitimate, elected government.

It is way past time that we stop this craziness and end prohibition on drugs. We must adopt a different strategy that works instead of continuing this four decade failure. LEAP calls for abandonment of this policy and the implementation of a new strategy of education and treatment as a preferable way to diminish drug abuse, disease and addictions.

Please take action and make your voices heard to help end the war on drugs and all the crime and violence associated with it. We can reduce crime and violence by as much as 80 percent by ending this crazy war.

This is Terry Nelson of LEAP, www.leap.cc, signing off. Stay safe.


DEAN BECKER: Terry Nelson – thirty years working for the U.S. government as a Customs Border and Air Interdiction officer. He retired as a GS-14 – the equivalent of a bird Colonel and he reports for the Drug Truth Network.

I want to thank George W. Grayson, author of "Mexico - Narco-Violence and a Failed State?"` I want to urge you to tune in next week. It will be the 10 year anniversary of the Drug Truth Network. Couple guests lined up, James Gerock of LEAP and we’ll be speaking with Michael Lang who produced the Woodstock Festival.

And, as always folks, I remind you because of prohibition – you don’t know what’s in that bag. Please, be careful.


DEAN BECKER: 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.
Transcript provided by: Jo-D Harrison of www.DrugSense.org
Tap dancing… on the edge… of an abyss.