12/29/13 Michael Krawitz

Century of Lies

2013 Recap with Michael Krawitz re Veterans & cannabis, fugitive reporter "Lucy" from Blog Del Narco, Dr. Sanjay Gupta & Willie Nelson

Audio file


Century of Lies / December 29, 2013


DEAN BECKER: The failure of Drug War is glaringly obvious to judges, cops, wardens, prosecutors and millions more. Now calling for decriminalization, legalization, the end of prohibition. Let us investigate the Century of Lies.


DEAN BECKER: Hello my friends. Welcome to this New Year’s edition of Century of Lies. We’re going to take a listen back to some of the great guests who have been on our show in the year 2013.

This is from January. First up Michael Krawitz...

[ from Century of Lies on January 27, 2013 ]

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I’m Michael Krawitz with Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. We’re a national veteran service organization dedicated to working towards supporting the rights of veterans to be able to go to the VA and be able to talk to their doctor about medical cannabis without being punished and, of course, to be able to work through the VA system to get access through normal channels to cannabis.

We also work for any medicinal issue - if the veteran comes and is having trouble accessing medicine that their doctor or doctors is recommending. Although we don’t get a lot of those that’s why we’re called Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access we are open to any those medical issues.

DEAN BECKER: A ruling came down just today from an appeals court regarding medical marijuana. What’s your response to it?

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: It’s an interesting one, personally, because I’m a patient plaintiff in that action in the Appeals Court. I came in with my veterans argument essentially saying that because of the fact that I have to leave the VA and go to another doctor and get another general physical and what not just to get a recommendation for cannabis because the VA has a mandate against that that that is a harm. That is something that justified me to bring action in court.

Evidently they accepted that argument. We didn’t lose on standing. We had had trouble for many years with standing – not getting anywhere with our arguments. Now, finally, we got past that just to get the next door shut in our face.

So they killed the appeals court action by saying the DEA has not acted arbitrarily and capriciously by denying the application for rescheduling. What exactly do you have to do to be arbitrary and capricious in the eyes of this court because the DEA has had a record of being arbitrary and capricious going back decades. That is well-documented on this issue.

DEAN BECKER: There was a judge, Francis Young, who came out and called the DEA’s methodology capricious. It seems that continues. Your response, Michael.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I’m well familiar with that having studied the previous actions. That was an action that was brought on by NORML back in the 1970s, championed by Bob Randall - the medical patient that started the whole ball rolling in the United States with medical cannabis. The Investigative New Drug program that still gives marijuana to the so-called IND patients - that was what Bob Randall was doing.

In Bob Randall’s eyes if we could just get cannabis moved out of Schedule I to Schedule II that was enough so that patients could have access. That was, indeed, their goal.

They kind of worked with the system as well as they could and made as many compromises as they could. The court they were in was under Judge Francis Young. Judge Young was an Administrative Judge in the DEA. He worked within the DEA. He ruled very clearly on our side. The DEA took that ruling to the appeals level where they won.

The appeals court in that ruling said the DEA didn’t need to listen to its own judge. The DEA essentially has more authority than its own judge. The interesting take-away from that whole thing is “What do you do when you win and then you go home but you really didn’t win?”

I’ve been telling people this is something that just occurred to me recently. The United States we have this way about us. When you lose you go home and you don’t come back for a while. You come back something different. Just ask Mitt Romney, right?!

This is not the way we do things in the United States. Losers don’t count – they immediately disappear. Here we won. We won. We got the ruling that we wanted in court and then they overruled us. It really screwed us up. What do you do?! What kind of argument do you come back with when your arguments were already a winning argument but then they shot you down?

That’s where we’ve been for a long time. We have winning arguments. They just have the authority to shoot us down.

DEAN BECKER: It becomes well beyond preposterous. The fact is you’re working for medical marijuana patients who wore our uniform, who served our country, who did their duty and now they want a little relief from the pain or the anguish they’re suffering from, right?

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: I think to be fair you have to recognize that the vets have already been using cannabis for a long time. As a matter of fact, if you go back far enough you’ll find that the veterans were using cannabis legally in the United States for a long time.

If you came back from the Civil War and you had Post Traumatic Stress, even though they didn’t call it that – they called it battle fatigue or shell shock or something along those lines, you could certainly go to the pharmacy and get a cannabis product. They were on the shelves – at least in the late 1800s they were widely available in the pharmacies. You had to find a fairly well-educated pharmacy in the 1860s but they did exist.

They had hashish candy. It was widely available and legal. Vets that came back from the Spanish-American war, from World War I and even during World War II they had the whole Hemp for Victory campaign. They weren’t talking about medicine at that point but they were reinvigorating the hemp aspects of cultivation of cannabis.

Veterans are very familiar with cannabis, have a long history with it and, I think, somehow or another that’s been remembered because I’ve got a lot of veterans who use cannabis, get benefit from it and have so for a long time. Now they’re just beginning to come to terms with that being even medical. It was just something that they did. It was just something that was part of their existence.

Now, like any patient, you have to go through somewhat of a genesis where you’re recognizing that you’re using this as a medicine because society has you convinced that you’re using it as some sort of recreational device.

It’s usually when you discontinuing using it and you see the flood of your symptoms come back that you really recognize it. Especially …this isn’t just the veterans telling me this. This is their family members, friends, their community telling me that, “Gosh, when this guy or gal has cannabis they’re easier to deal with. They are easier to communicate with. They’re able to spend more time with their wife, their kids – have more productive family life.”

This is more than just saying, “Hey, this is something that works for me.”

This is a very obvious, valuable medicine for people.

DEAN BECKER: The fact of the matter is the newspapers and broadcasters are really starting to cover the death toll, if you will, the suicides that we’ve had more soldiers die of suicide following their time in battle than we’ve had die on the battlefield. It’s outrageous.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: That’s something that we’re, obviously, extremely sensitive to. It’s something that’s complicated as far as why that is true. It’s not just something that just cannabis can cure, frankly. But if cannabis helps at all – it’s such an easy option.

We have actually great science now to understand some of these processes in the brain that I’m sure you’ve covered on your show before – the endogenous cannabinoid receptor system.

Through that understanding of the endogenous receptor system we now know that cannabis helps to kill memories, bad memories. It actually causes memory extinction. This is something that we’ve known for a long time – in a way – because you think of the “forgetful stoner.”

This is something that may be a very valuable thing for a veteran to be able to compartmentalize and even forget some of these horrible memories. You add that to the fact that it helps you sleep. You add that to the fact that it’s generally useful as a pain medicine.

Someone who has suffered Post Traumatic Syndrome often has pain. It’s often a painful event like an explosion, for example, that causes the Post Traumatic Stress afterward. So you might have loss of limb. You might have any number of types of very serious painful conditions on top of the trauma.

We know now that brain trauma – whether it’s a blunt trauma or Post Traumatic Stress or even some of the other things that aren’t from a specific injury like Alzheimer’s – these cause brain changes that can be affected by cannabis. Cannabis is being proven and being shown through this understanding of this endogenous cannabinoid receptor system to work and to alleviate some of these problems.

I have a feeling that within the next 10 years or so you’re going to see some of these dotted lines connected because we know a lot about sport’s injury and we haven’t really applied that to veteran’s head injury. We know a lot about the cannabinoid receptor system but we haven’t really applied that to the sport’s injury. You see what I mean? Back and forth.

When these doctors start talking to each other I think we’re going to see some major breakthroughs.

DEAN BECKER: Indeed we will. Today we suffered a setback but you and I are in this for the long haul.

Michael Krawitz, please share your website.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: It’s http://veteransformedicalcannabisaccess.org

If any veteran or family member has issues with the VA hospital whether they’re trying to get treatment and being treated with disrespect, not getting the medicine that they think they require have them give us a call, give us a holler. We have our email address on the website and we can certainly help as friends of the family and as friends of the veteran to intercede and to help get through these roadblocks to treatment gotten rid of.

DEAN BECKER: Michael Krawitz, thank you so much.

MICHAEL KRAWITZ: Thank you, Dean. Thanks for having me.


DEAN BECKER: Next – from April 2013...

[ from Century of Lies on April 14, 2013 ]

DEAN BECKER: We have today Lucy who’s one of the fugitive reporters of Blog Del Narco. They’ve written a very powerful book, Dying for the Truth – Inside the Mexican Drug War.

We have with us a translator who will translate the words of Lucy as she describes the contents of this book and the situation in Mexico.

My first question for Lucy is there are reports that the levels of violence is coming down. Is that true?

“LUCY”: [via translator] You are correct in some areas of Mexico the levels have gone down but there is still executions. There is still shootings. Also there are parts in Mexico where it used to very calm has higher violence now. It’s kind of like an adjustment.

DEAN BECKER: I can understand that in any war the battlefield changes, the casualties move around. I understand that.

This book, Dying for the Truth – Inside the Mexican Drug War, contains very graphic photos. I’ve seen horrible car wrecks and all kinds of things but I’ve never seen anything like the chopped up bodies, the situation where people are used as an example, where notes are attached warning others not to go down this same failed path.

We have a situation here where Lucy and the translator do not want to divulge their names and I understand that. I want to clarify why that is true. How widespread is the corruption? How widespread are these cartels and their members?

“LUCY”: [via translator] I’m sorry Dean what did you want to clarify?

DEAN BECKER: I wanted to know how widespread, how much involvement do these cartels have in monitoring “everyday life” and influencing the actions of people in Mexico.

“LUCY”: [via translator] You can’t really calculate how many members a certain cartel has. There is a big presence in Mexico. Within the years they have mixed with the civilians. It’s really affecting the lives of normal people because they extort the people and charge them a certain amount of fees to let them work.

The people are learning within the years they have learned to identify who is a real civilian and who is part of the cartel.

DEAN BECKER: This brings to mind that we have situations in Mexico where some of the cities, the populace of the city are starting to take back control, wanting to arm themselves, wanting to keep these cartels from remaining or taking over their city. Speak to that please.

“LUCY”: [via translator] People who have fear become tired of living in fear and eventually they lose their fear. There is some examples in the city of Naucalpan and the city of Guerrero where these people started to defend themselves. There’s other cases also where people have just grabbed whatever they have within reach and defended themselves.

This is a reflection of what is happening in society. People get abandoned by their own government and so they feel they have to do something. They have to take matters into their own hands.

DEAN BECKER: I hear stories that they busted Carlos Beltron, they killed other cartel leaders. Does this make any difference?

“LUCY”: [via translator] The War on Drugs has been going on for years. It’s been a long time since the government declared the war against the drugs. This has been a problem because the innocent people are stuck in the middle of this. This is the difference that it has made – the innocent people are left in the middle.

DEAN BECKER: As I said earlier the book shows the horrible nature of this, the way the cartels inflict their pain and misery and they leave notes trying to warn the populace not to interfere. It occurs to me that the situation has reached a point where…we talked about the populace rising up in certain areas. They raid birthday parties. They kill innocents just for the sake of showing that they are violent, to let people know they are real, a means to create fear, that even if it has nothing to do with drugs they want people to be afraid of them, right?

“LUCY”: [via translator] Fear is a very convenient way not only for the cartels but also for the government. It’s almost like a game. Everything since Calderon started as President. It started with the authorities killing some cartel members. They would kill them very theatrically so it became a game. The cartels would start killing also very theatrically to create fear.

DEAN BECKER: Once again we’re speaking with “Lucy” (that’s a nom de plume). She is one of the fugitive reporters of Blog Del Narco. They have a very powerful book, Dying for the Truth – Inside the Mexican Drug War.

Now, Lucy, you’re talking about instilling fear into people. The book shows people beheaded. It shows people chopped up into tiny pieces stuffed into garbage bags and left on police station front steps.

I want to ask you this. There’s a chapter in the book that talks about a busload of people, 70-something people, being pulled over by the cartel, taken out into the desert and then killed. Let’s talk about that situation. They wanted these people to either join the cartel or to die. Is that true? How often does that kind of situation play out?

“LUCY”: [via translator] That was a bus in Tamaulipas and there have been a lot of similar situations. There have been a lot of kidnappings especially in that part. There were instances where people would come from Central America to come to the United States so they would cross through Mexico and they would intercept whatever bus they were riding in and they would want them to work for the cartels.

That happened a lot. That’s because the military had a crisis. They wanted to grow the military so they were trying to get people to join them. In fact they had a lot of people from Central America doing that kind of thing. A lot of times they would have them join the cartels and then they would kill them.

DEAN BECKER: Here in the U.S. the drug gangs (those gangs that sell drugs on American streets) love to recruit kids 15 and even younger to sell these drugs. You have a similar situation in Mexico where kids 15, 14, 13 and even 12 are being used by these cartels. Speak to that please.

“LUCY”: [via translator] That happened a lot in Mexico, too. We even had babies that got killed because of the cartels. For example there is this one little boy named El Ponche who got recruited very, very young to join one of the cartels. This little boy became a serial killer. A lot of people got affected. The government did not help, did not do anything about it. They were all victims and nobody could get saved.

Not only kids were recruited but also elderly people from 60 to 70-years-old.

DEAN BECKER: In the book it talks about the violence, the influence of the cartel became so extreme in certain towns that people left. There are now some ghost towns because of the influence of the cartels. Will you speak to that?

“LUCY”: [via translator] There have been a lot of places especially that are very sensitive to the violence especially in Tamaulipas where the government, military and the navy – nobody could get to so the cartels would come in and use this place as a base, their headquarters. They would take everything from the people. They would take their money, their ranch – everything that they could. The government was not helping them.

A lot of these people left. They said, “What are we doing here? The government is never going to come and help us.”

A lot of people left. A lot of people who couldn’t leave would commit suicide – not because they were hungry. They were hungry but they committed suicide because they didn’t have any help. They would throw themselves from bridges.

DEAN BECKER: That leads me to my last question which kind of ties in with that. I hear so many stories that members of the government – police, federal, military – are involved, are, in fact, part of the cartels, part of the problems. Please address that.

“LUCY”: [via translator] We are in Mexico and Mexico is very corrupt. That answer will tell you everything.

DEAN BECKER: Fair enough.

Once again we’ve been speaking with “Lucy”, a nom de plume of one of the fugitive reporters of Blog Del Narco. They’ve written a great book you need to read to understand this drug war. It is “Dying for the Truth – Inside the Mexican Drug War.”

Lucy, are there any thoughts you would like to close with?

“LUCY”: [via translator] We have hope. We’re not all bad. There’s good people in Mexico and we have hope.


DEAN BECKER: I’m not a religious guy but after that interview I felt like saying a pray because what if it did do some good...what a situation.

In August it was Dr. Sanja Gupta who rattled the cage louder than anyone ever had before.

DEAN BECKER: The following segment courtesy of CNN – Pierce Morgan. It features Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


[ from Century of Lies on August 11, 2013 ]
PIERCE MORGAN: As CNN’s chief correspondent Sanjay Gupta joins me. Now, Sanjay, welcome to you.

SANJAY GUPTA: Thank you.

PIERCE MORGAN: You’ve been with us for a year. I want to remind you that in 2009 you wrote a Time Magazine article titled, “Why I would vote no on pot.” You’ve changed your mind.

SANJAY GUPTA: I have. As part of my thinking I have apologized for some of the earlier reporting because I think we have been terribly and systematically mislead in this country for some time and I did part of that misleading.

If you look at all the papers that are written in the United States the vast majority of them are about the harm. We fund studies on harm. We don’t fund studies on benefit nearly as much so it gives a distorted picture.

I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t look deep enough. I didn’t look at labs in other countries who are doing incredible research. I didn’t listen to the chorus of patients who said, “Not only does marijuana work for me but it’s the only thing that works for me.”

I took the DEA at their word when they said that marijuana is a Schedule I substance which has no medical applications. There was no scientific basis for them to say that.

PIERCE MORGAN: So when New York Mayor Bloomberg was quoted to say, “Medical marijuana is the greatest hoax of all time” what do you say to that?

SANJAY GUPTA: I’m surprised. I followed a lot of the mayor’s comments. I listen to those comments as well. As part of those comments he was saying the potency of marijuana has gone up. That is true. It has gone up probably over the last several years.

I urge him to look at the scientific papers. I was just looking at them again in preparation for your show. The science is there. This isn’t anecdotal. This isn’t in the realm of conjecture anymore.

For a long time we’ve just ignored these papers but this was drug that was used for thousands of years.

PIERCE MORGAN: But in your documentary you get into the effects of medical marijuana which sometimes can be quite instant, quite dramatic.

SANJAY GUPTA: It really can. It works and it can work quite quickly. In fact, let me just show you.


REPORTER: Meet Chaz Moore. He uses many different strains of marijuana. Many of them high in CBD to treat his rare disorder of the diaphragm.

CHAZ MOORE: My abs will lock up.

REPORTER: That’s why he is talking this way – almost speaking in hiccups, like he can’t catch his breath. It’s called Myoclonus Diaphragmatic Flutter.

This fluttering here is annoying but it becomes painful pretty quickly.

CHAZ MOORE: Yeah, after 15/20 minutes I can start to really feel it.

REPORTER: He is about to show me how the marijuana works. He’s been convulsing now for 7 minutes.

How quickly do you expect this to work?

CHAZ MOORE: Within the first 5 minutes.

REPORTER: It was actually less than one minute.

PIERCE MORGAN: That is pretty extraordinary.

SANJAY GUPTA: He was on so many different meds. It was table full of meds the doctors had prescribed for him including Oxycontin, Valium – any of those medications in too high a dose could have been problematic and they didn’t work.

The proof is becoming increasingly clear if you look for it.


DEAN BECKER: The following segment not from 2013, definitely from the past. It’s good advice from one Willie Nelson.

[ from 4:20 Drug War News on August 17, 2007 ]

WILLIE NELSON: No, they haven’t. Once they realize how much money they are missing, once they realize how many millions and billions that the illegal drug dealers are making then they can step in there. It’ll help the farmers. It’ll help everybody.

Once they start saying, “Wait a minute. We should tax it and regulate it like we do tobacco and alcohol.”

DEAN BECKER: I want to thank you for the great groups you’ve brought together at the Austin Fest and the fact that it gives us the chance to bring that truth forward. The news media, the corporate media is gathering around. They’re giving it some attention.

Don’t we all need to do more to bring this truth forward, to speak up?

WILLIE NELSON: Absolutely – whatever you’re talking about...whether it’s this or whatever. If you have something on issue that you’d like to see changed you gotta get out there and do something about it. You can’t just sit still and not talk about it and, you know, you’re the one that can start it.


DEAN BECKER: When are you going to step up? When are you going to do your part? The drug war is over. We are really just waiting on you.

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 Pacifica Studios at KPFT, Houston.

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