Monday, May 19, 2008

My favorite "not a gang" - the CIA

My favorite "not a gang" is definitely the CIA. In 1996, a San Jose Mercury News reporter by the name of Gary Webb wrote an expose of the CIA using Nicaraguan contras to run drugs into Southern California in order to fund CIA activities in Nicaragua. Yes, you read that right - the CIA were drug runners. They did this because their funding for Nicaraguan black ops had been defunded but it was a priority of the Reagan administration to support the Contras. Very ugly, very nasty stuff.

Gary Webb's career was destroyed. He was called a conspiracy theory nutjob. He couldn't get work. In 2004, he committed suicide after deep depression stemming from, in part, how his work was viciously attacked and he was forced out of a job.

However, eventually, almost every conclusion that Webb reported about was found to be correct by the CIA Inspector General Fredrick Hitz. The Hitz report talks about how the CIA protected over 50 Contra drug dealers who sold crack cocaine in Southern California and how money from these drug deals were laundered and used by the CIA for their illegal Nicaraguan operations. Rep. Maxine Walters had entered into the Congressional Record a memorandum of understanding between the CIA and Justice Department where the Justice Department said the CIA would be free of any legal culpability arising from their drug trafficking operations - the mechanism through which the CIA was able to protect those Nicaraguan drug dealers. Pretty much everything Gary Webb said about the CIA drug dealing was correct - but his career was still destroyed.

However, it is without a doubt that the CIA was one of the biggest crack cocaine distribution gangs in the 80s, their drugs and money fueling not only war in Nicaragua but also in the streets of LA and my hometown, Las Vegas, as gang wars spilled over into neighboring communities.

Interesting to note, too, that out of these investigations, absolutely no indictments were handed down, much less trials and jail time for the CIA gangsters that distributed massive quantities of crack cocaine to Southern California.

I suspect in the not too distant future, we're going to learn a lot about the CIA's activities in Afghanistan concerning heroin. Because no serious accounting has been done to find and persecute the drug dealers of the 80s (or how Air America - the CIA's air program during the Vietnam War - was used to smuggle heroin out of Southeast Asia in the 60s and 70s), I think anyone who doubts that the CIA isn't smuggling black tar out of Afghanistan right now is being intensely naive. It's almost impossible to find a conflict in the past 50 years where the CIA has been involved where they haven't smuggled drugs.

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