How many people reading this today can remember where you were when JFK was killed? If you are old enough to remember that, it’s just possible you might remember when the Gulf War started and our official involvement in Iraq began. Not many of you are likely to remember a reporter for a big newspaper in California who reported on the connection between the CIA and rising crack cocaine distribution in the US. Could you recall the name of the series of articles or even the name of the newspaper?
To this day, there’s a good chance you somehow connect the Gulf War with stories of preemies being tossed out of hospital incubators as the Iraqis plundered parts of Kuwait. It never happened, but we tend to remember it because of the propaganda efforts. And maybe you have some lingering image that Gary Webb was murdered before he could finish reporting on the CIA-cocaine connections. And how does someone manage to pull the trigger twice when shooting themselves in the head? I will tell you it’s possible because of what I saw in my work in law enforcement. I’ll also tell you it’s exceedingly rare, but so is a clear memory of historical events. Webb died some eight years after that series was halted by editorial decisions. That doesn’t mean he actually committed suicide, but it does put things in perspective.
By the way, you can still download for free a book that shows beyond all doubt how the CIA most certainly was involved in heroine trafficking in places like Viet Nam: The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia [PDF], by Alfred W. McCoy. It’s no stretch to imagine the CIA would also be involved in crack cocaine as the means to some political end south of our border. I suspect Webb simply didn’t get the whole story, and got some specifics wrong.
I wonder how many of us understand that the Drug War is the single biggest sacred cow in the US civil religion. Can you even imagine the US without it? While some portion of the plutocrats have tried to replace it with War on Terror, it’s not working out too well. It’s bad enough for us peons, but if you don’t understand how we got into this Drug War, you’ll never understand the madness of what’s going on right now.
I’m rather pleased with this first article in a series by David Hathaway. As a follow-up, another author has posted on the Lew Rockwell blog an outline of some interesting facts. Granted, if you aren’t a history buff, you aren’t likely to read the whole thing. I will tell you it’s engaging reading, though. And who would have imagined how deeply it’s tied into things like civil rights and controlling the entire range of public discussion on race and culture in the West?
It makes me glad I rejected Western Civilization some years ago.
Update: Part 2 of Hathaway’s writing is now available here.