01/01/20 Inge Fryklund
Cultural Baggage Radio Show
Law Enforcement Action Partnership
Inge Fryklund board member of Law Enforcement Action Partnership & David Borden of Stop the Drug War / DRCNET + DTN Editorial for New Year
JANUARY 1, 2020
DEAN BECKER: I am Dean Becker, our goal for this program is to expose the fraud, misdirection, and the liars who support the drug war which empowers our terrorist enemies, enriches barbarous cartels, and gives reason for existence to tens of thousands of violent U.S. gangs who profit by selling contaminated drugs to our children. This is Cultural Baggage.
DEAN BECKER: Hi folks I am Dean Becker the Reverend Most High this is Cultural Baggage, thank you for being with us. This is our New Year show with hope for the coming year for progress, for change, for sanity. Here we go.
FEMALE VOICE: Hello. My name is Inge Fryklund, I am a lawyer. Back in the 80s I was a Cook County, Illinois (Chicago) Assistant States Attorney prosecuting drug cases among other things. I then spent about a decade overseas including five years in Afghanistan and saw the disaster that we have made of that country by insisting that their main cash crop which of opium poppy be illegal. It has led to massive corruption within that country. Now I am semi-retired and living in Oregon. I worked on a legalization campaign there a couple of years ago.
DEAN BECKER: Inge, I think we are leaving out one important fact. We are here at the Drug Policy Alliance Reform ’19 gathering. You are one of the speakers that sits at the Law Enforcement Action Partnership table inviting others to learn about LEAP, perhaps to get on the mailing list, and to learn what they can do to invite our speakers to their conferences, their meetings to enlighten and hopefully embolden their community to help end this madness of drug war. Is that a fair summation?
INGE FRYKLUND: Yes, that’s correct. For I think four years now I have been on the board of directors of Law Enforcement Action Partnership which is an organization of current and former police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, sheriffs; people who have seen the drug war from the prosecution end of it and saw how much damage it caused and are now trying to stop the war on drugs. We have something like 1,400 speakers around the country. We find that people with this kind of credibility are usually very good at talking with city councils, police organizations because we have the credibility and we understand what life is like if you are a prosecutor or police officer.
DEAN BECKER: I would say, too, that you had the firsthand experience and knowledge of the futility and the failing of this drug war. Correct?
INGE FRYKLUND: Oh, absolutely. When I was first in a Cook County courtroom many years ago we would see the same people coming in to court day after day. Usually it was something like a marijuana conviction and I would look at the rap sheet, which might be pages of these and you knew that that person was never going to get a job in the legitimate economy. All we were doing was making things worse and cycling them back in to a street economy where drug dealing was likely to be their only option. We’ve cut them out of everything else. I also noticed that even though I knew that drug use of all varieties is pretty similar across racial groups; almost everybody who got hauled in to court was either black or brown. So a combination of the futility of it and the racial disparities is when I started thinking that we are making a big mistake here and of course also being from Chicago, I certainly knew all the stories of prohibition of alcohol and Al Capone. When there is something that people want and it is made illegal the natural and inevitable consequence is that there is going to be crime and corruption and the day that prohibition of alcohol was repealed in 1933, Al Capone’s outfit lost market share. They were no longer needed to enforce the deals for alcohol. All of the beer dealers went back to suing each other in circuit court of Cook County and they quit shooting. So much of the violence that we are seeing is a direct result of illegality.
DEAN BECKER: This is so true. We have this situation now as you indicated in Chicago where I would think it is ten times worse than it was under Al Capone with the daily shootings, the revenge shootings and the continual disruption of these neighborhoods to ensure one gang sells their drugs over another I suppose. It is a constant battle with gun fire every night and deaths every week, is there not?
INGE FRYKLUND: Yes. Though it actually is not as bad as it was back in the 80s when I was a prosecutor. We were running about 900 murders a year. I think it is 600 – 700 now which sounds terrible but it is actually an improvement. As you pointed out, most of these are simply business disputes over the territory for sales and if your business is illegal you can’t turn to the courts to enforce your distribution agreements. All you can do with an illegal economy with the self-enforcement is to start shooting and kids are getting themselves in the crossfire. At least Illinois is moving in the direction of legalization but it is going to be a long time for them to dig their way out of this hole because once these groups have gotten entrenched and you have a bunch of adults who have no other experience, though now maybe they will put more of their efforts in to hard drugs, prostitution, and gun running. Just like so much of the mafia in this country; it goes back to prohibition days.
DEAN BECKER: That is where they got their start. I had the chance to interview Anthony Placido about 10 -12 years ago and he was the Assistant Director of the DEA, something to that affect. He told me that they had done an approximation since there is no way to do this very specifically but they determined at that time that it was 370 billion dollars a year that flow in to the pockets of terrorists brave enough to grow flowers in to the pockets of these barbarous cartels in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras and in to the pockets of thousands of U.S. gangs who profit by selling these contaminated drugs to our children. I have heard now that it is closer to 500 billion dollars a year. There is no way that we are going to stop that market from existing through prohibition laws, is there?
INGE FRYKLUND: Well we are not going to stop a market in marijuana, and why should we any more than we want to stop a market in alcohol. Think of all of the craft beer businesses that have sprung up around the country like in my state of Oregon where our main business seems to be selling beer to each other. So yes, there is always going to be a market for it but by taking the illegality away you are taking the business and the market share away from these various cartels. There is very little in the way of illegal alcohol trade. Why? Why do it when you can just buy something and so many of the deaths that are happening we are referring to as heroin overdoses, but very few people are overdosing on pure heroin – you know, too much of a good thing. What they are dying from is the additives, particularly fentanyl and in an illegal market where you have got no FDA regulation of the purity of your product these illegal sellers have every incentive to cut the product with whatever is going to increase their profits. Back during prohibition of alcohol literally hundreds of people died of poisoning from alcohol that was adulterated.
DEAN BECKER: Bathtub Gin I think they called it, right?
INGE FRYKLUND: Yes. That was one of the things. People brewing their own may have been okay but the bigger problem seemed to be bigger dealers who were brewing up batches with God knows what in it. The number of deaths we have had I think would go away with legalization not just of marijuana but I think we also need to be legalizing heroin. I would love to see the U.S. follow the European model. In Switzerland since 1994, a heroin addict who hasn’t been able to get off of it by other means can go to a government clinic and shoot up with pharmaceutical grade heroin and if they can transition and get off it that is great; but if they can’t this becomes a maintenance program. Since ’94 they haven’t had a death associated with one of these when we are killing 40,000 people a year. The Swiss have found that HIV and Hepatitis transmission is down, burglaries are down something like 80% because people no longer have to scrounge illegally, and people who are able to get the fix for what their addicted to if they are on this maintenance program don’t have to spend their days scrounging for the next fix; they can have a more normal life. Maybe they can get off of it but if they can’t well maintenance may be the solution. In the U.S. we have no problem keeping people on long term maintenance of drugs for high blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol but oh my God; if the problem is heroin well we aren’t going to let you do maintenance for that one. I keep thinking maybe it is our puritan heritage that we get clean and we have got to have this perfectibility of human beings; even if it kills them trying.
DEAN BECKER: I have been developing this quasi scenario over the last year or so that about a hundred years ago the alcoholics banded together and decided they wanted to claim the moral high ground and they saw a target audience, mainly those that were doing other drugs that they could say were immoral, in need of correction, punishment, and perhaps a death sentence if they couldn’t stop them from their youth. That has panned out to be true pretty much over the last century. Your thought?
INGE FRYKLUND: It seems to be a uniquely American approach which is why I am wondering how much of it is our puritan heritage. Europe takes the harm reduction approach. We have got the Swiss model, Portugal decriminalized everything back in 2001 and the sky didn’t fall. In fact the crime and corruption calmed down.
DEAN BECKER: We have been speaking with Inge Frykland of Law Enforcement Action Partnership. Inge, I want to thank you. We have a good group of LEAP volunteers here at this conference. I just have to say that we get a lot of respect these days. Do we not?
INGE FRYKLUND: I think we do because people understand that it is current and former law enforcement and we have seen this from the prosecution side and we have seen the damage which has more credibility in trying to stop the drug war than simply people who want to be able to use drugs.
DEAN BECKER: Alright. Friends I can advise you that you can learn more about this fine group by going to their website at: www.leap.cc. Thank you, Inge.
INGE FRYKLUND: Actually, a better website is www.lawenforcementaction.org.
MALE VOICE 1: I had a bad experience with drugs with that golden weekend between summer school and regular school. Hey Homie, wanna smoke some marijuana?
MALE VOICE 2: They say it’s a gateway drug.
MALE VOICE 3: Well, well if it isn’t the doobie brothers!
MALE VOICE 1: Uh oh! Crush the weed, man!
MALE VOICE 2: Smell any drugs Sgt. Scraps?
MALE VOICE 1: The 60s ended that day in 1978.
It’s time to play Name That Drug By its Side Effects. Yellow eyes, vomiting, black tarry stools, cloudy urine, fever with chills, sores, ulcers or white spots on lips and mouth, unusual bleeding. Times Up! The answer: another FDA approved product, Acetaminophen.
MALE VOICE: Hello. I am David Borden. I am the Executive Director and the Founder of www.stopthedrugwar.org. Since the old days – I think we are going to be talking about the old days – we were known and still are to a lot of people as DRC NET, a drug reform coordination network.
DEAN BECKER: My first inkling or interweaving back in the day was with you guys and with MAP, Inc., a fact gathering site I believe it was and it was great to find any content back then. Drug reform was not a big watering hole at that time.
DAVID BORDEN: Yes. The movement was smaller then and our organizations were part of the growth of the movement compared with before but there is far more going on now. In our reporting on the Drug War Chronicle newsletter which Phil has been doing for over 20 years and the organization was not completely new when he started doing that. Sorry, Phil has been doing this for almost 20 years. The newsletter has been going on over 20 years. So much now is happening on the issue and the movement that he can’t write about everything any more so we partially switched our format so we published these daily round ups; that’s the only way we can touch on everything.
DEAN BECKER: David, it is one of a continual, seemingly eternal series of horrendous happenings. The situation just south of Arizona with a three car caravan of some Mormons was brutally attacked and burned in their cars proving once again that prohibition isn’t working and that it doesn’t seem that these horrible happenings are going to end any time soon. Your response to that thought, David?
DAVID BORDEN: Of course. I think the way the question gets debated maybe in the academic sphere where many of them see things the same way, some of them will see that as a horrendous cost but other things going on and maybe there are ways to improve that. Scholars will talk about transitions and we can’t expect to transition away from prohibition to be smooth so there could be violence there, too. We have to be prepared for that. I think that if we continue to push these tremendous financial resources in to the hands of organized crime then they will keep building. They will use the wealth to diversify and things will get even worse.
DEAN BECKER: So true, David. I strayed there but that was on my mind with the death of these nine people being so recent.
DAVID BORDEN: Yeah.
DEAN BECKER: Let’s get back to the history.
DAVID BORDEN: Sure. That is sad though. We heard today from one of the speakers – I didn’t realize that this community, maybe members of this family were involved in the campaign for taking on the injustice of the Mexican movement that arose after the drug war violence really escalated.
DEAN BECKER: In essence legalizers, am I right?
DAVID BORDEN: They are. They came here to this conference at that time so when I heard about this tragedy it made me very sad and I didn’t even realize that we were connected to them through their community that intersected with our movement.
DEAN BECKER: I don’t know what to say, David. The lives that are sacrificed every day through contaminated drugs because some people don’t care that these users are forced to buy from some sorted black market. Not gonna start preaching, David. I am at a loss at the moment. That just knocked my socks off – the thought that they are us. They are us, dammit.
I had to stop for five or ten minutes to just regroup in thinking that that family was one of us – one of us. I am trying today to reach back to the early days. I started in Houston. I stumbled upon Al Robison and the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, and thank God there were other people who saw this like I did because I was so full of vim and vigor. I had studied the information and knew how stupid and evil it was and I had to do something. There I met Dr. G. Alan Robison. A very learned man who educated me; who gave me the courage and motivation to do what I am doing truthfully. David, you knew Al, didn’t you?
DAVID BORDEN: Yes.
DEAN BECKER: Tell us about your work with him.
DAVID BORDEN: Well I saw Al at conferences and I am sure we had many emails. He was a stalwart, important leader of Drug Policy Forum of Texas. He is a wonderful person to be around. He was part of the strength of our movement. Of course he got older we all knew he was not well when we met him and I remember the last time he came to a conference he said that it was time to spend time with his grandkids and that we could reach him online. He made that choice while he still had some time left.
DEAN BECKER: He designated me the liaison of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, which I used when I wrote letters to the editor. My very first time I got a letter published, it was published in four different papers at once. From there I began to challenge the logic or the failings and the fallacy of this drug war and put it in to words. David, you have been at this a long time. It is good to see progress being made, but by god we got a lot more to go, don’t we?
DAVID BORDEN: We have a huge amount to go but it is really phenomenal to be able to look at all of the changes and marijuana is being legalized in front of our very eyes.
DEAN BECKER: Psychedelics are coming.
DAVID BORDEN: Psychedelics are opening up. That was a subtle drug pun I guess.
DAVID BORDEN: Which I don’t know from personal experience.
DEAN BECKER: No, no, Dave.
DAVID BORDEN: I have seen the art.
DEAN BECKER: I want to throw in a thought here. Dave here ain’t never smoked weed. I don’t think he’s done any drug other than maybe what his doctor gave him or an aspirin when he had a headache, not sure if he even did that; but he cares a lot about this. He is not doing it because he wants to do drugs – he wants you to be able to do them safely and with true regulation, safety, and control. Right, David?
DAVID BORDEN: Yes. Definitely. You wanted to talk about history so I got in to this in the 90s when the issue was just starting to open up. In 1993 I started posting bulletins online the early days of the commercial internet when online advocacy was still innovative and right around that time Joycelyn Elders who was the Surgeon General made her comments at a press event.
DEAN BECKER: Remind the listeners what she said.
DAVID BORDEN: You have interviewed her, right?
DEAN BECKER: It’s hard to say. In the early days it gets fuzzy. With over 3,000 different interviews it is hard to keep up. Tell the folks what the thought was that she was presenting.
DAVID BORDEN: She became a little controversial for being willing to express her true opinions on things and one day at a press event someone asked her a question about if drug legalization would reduce crime and her response was from her understanding she felt it might and she was not sure what the ramifications would be of that, but it ought to be studied. That prompted an uproar of attacks against her, most of them opportunistic, none of which was smart or commendable. She stood her ground but it wasn’t quite time for the issue to get treated with the respect it deserves but it was a moment that helped to open things up. For me personally it spoke to my motivation. I should be serious about this. That helped me continue on to form this organization and not long after that funding became available with the grants program of the Drug Policy Foundation, a predecessor group to this organization that we are here with now. That enabled me to make this my work and not just something in my spare time. DPF extended me an invitation that if I were to move to Washington to work for free from their office for a period of time indicated that this would help to cement the relationship.
DEAN BECKER: Sure. Well Dave, There are just so many details that we are not even touching on at all and we are going to have to wrap it up for today but I just want to tell you that over the years you and your cohort, Phil Smith have been an inspiration. You guys were blazing the trail and I tried to glom on to that concept and take it to the radio. I just want to thank you for the help that you guys have given me over the years. Thank you, David.
DAVID BORDEN: Like Al Robison and others have shown up and added to our strength, you certainly did that and it has helped us continue, too.
DEAN BECKER: All right. Share your website with the listeners.
DAVID BORDEN: www.stopthedrugwar.org.
DEAN BECKER: Ladies and gentleman, this is the abolitionist’s moment. Prohibition is an awful flop. We like it. It can’t stop what it’s meant to stop. We like it. It has left a trail of graft and slime, it don’t prohibit worth a dime, and it’s filled our land with vice and crime. Nevertheless, we’re for it. – Franklin Adams, 1931
Through a willing or a silent embrace of drug war, we are ensuring more death, disease, crime, and addiction. Some have prospered from a policy of drug prohibition and they are not allowed their stance taken to be examined in a new light but for the rest, ignorance and superstition will eventually be forgiven but what Houston has done in the name of drug war will never be forgotten. Please visit www.endprohibition.org. Do it for the children.
This is the last Cultural Baggage for 2019, and once again I remind you that because of prohibition you do not know what’s in that bag. Please be careful.
Drug Truth Network transcripts are stored at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy More than 7000 radio programs are at www.drugtruth.net.
We are all still tap dancing on the edge of an abyss.