CIA-Crack website is
Smallpox: none of the
Victory in St. Louis,
Setback in New Orleans
August 18, 1996, the San Jose Mercury News broke the story that should
have been heard around the world. "For the better part of a decade,
a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips
and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug
profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency," wrote investigative reporter Gary Webb. Black America
erupted in demands for a thorough investigation.
lacking the credibility to absolve itself, found defenders among the
cream of the corporate media, most shamefully at the New York Times
and Washington Post, who performed their disinformation functions so
well that the agency was allowed to slink away, free to continue its
narco-dealings. Los Angeles Congresswoman Maxine Waters, point-person
in the drive to unmask the 1980s CIA-Nicaraguan contra drug connection,
was made to appear all but mentally unbalanced, and Webb was finally
left twisting in the wind by his own newspaper.
having written a book on the experience, Webb has resurrected the series'
web site, "Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion."
Visitors can read Webb's articles, statements from the Congressional
Black Caucus, the CIA's response, and the first chapter of Webb's book,
including a Foreward by Rep. Waters.
chapter traces the invention of crack cocaine, a substance unknown
to man until concocted in the San Francisco area in the mid-Seventies.
The pharmacological story is almost as fascinating as the political
uses U.S. intelligence has found for the drug.
Colombian cocaine alliances were cemented during Ronald Reagan's contra
war against Nicaragua, and have since blossomed into a $2 billion a
year relationship with the narco-regime in Bogota. George W. Bush pretends
his "dark alliance" on the side of the rich in Colombia's
40-year civil conflict is part of a worldwide War on Terror. Colombia
is, indeed, soaked in terror, which last month claimed the life of union
activist Adolfo de Jesus Munera, shot by a death squad on the steps
of his mother's house. This murder also has a coke connection: Coca-cola.
Munera, a former Coca-Cola worker, had just learned that Colombia's
Constitutional Court had agreed to hear his suit against the Atlanta-based
corporation, demanding reinstatement. Munera had charged that Coca-Cola
had sent death squads after him, causing him to absent himself from
union charges that Coca-Cola regularly contracts out its employee relations
problems to death squads allied with the political Right and the military.
Last year the United Steel Workers and the International Labor Rights
Fund filed suit in federal court in Miami on behalf of the late Mr.
Munera's union, alleging that Coca-Cola arranged for the kidnap, torture
and murder of six organizers. And in February of this year, Teamsters
union president Jimmy P. Hoffa appealed to Coke's corporate leadership
to halt the violence against union workers at its Guatemala bottling
to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, more than 4,000 union activists
have been murdered in Colombia since 1986. Add Atlanta to the points
on the actual Axis of Terror.
Drug Enforcement Administration, which must tiptoe around the CIA to
get near the real narcotics action, is busying itself busting opium
and heroin traffickers in the Balkans and across the vast expanses of
formerly Soviet Central Asia - everywhere, that is, except Afghanistan,
the one place in that part of the world where the U.S. can do whatever
it pleases. The Americans choose to leave the war-drug lords' bounteous
fields alone, fearing to alienate their allies in the War on Terror.
The U.S. press corps in Kabul is largely silent on the subject, fearing
loss of photo ops and other access to the military and the spooks.
is left to European news agencies. "Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan
is close to record levels a year after being nearly wiped out under
the hard-line Taliban regime," Reuters reported, citing the United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The BBC reports that "a
bumper crop" is blooming in full view of the American protectors
of the Taliban's successors.
70% of the world's heroin originates in Afghanistan, a country that
contributed virtually nothing to the international opiate trade prior
to the CIA-backed war against the Soviets. Now, the same actors are
back on stage, vouched for and paid by the men from Langley, Virginia.
poppies were BBC reporter Raphael Rowe's primary beat in Afghanistan.
"Access to the poppy fields was probably the easiest part of the
investigation," Rowe told the folks back home in Britain. "There
are literally thousands of them - they're not protected, farmers talk
willingly about what they're doing and why they're doing it. In fact,
almost everywhere we went in the region we were in, there were poppy
of the heroin consumed by British addicts originates in Afghanistan.
Asked why the U.S. allows the crop to flourish, the BBC's Rowe offers:
"First and foremost, the production of opium poppy does not effect
America (like drugs coming from South America) in the same way as it
does the UK, so the American authorities are not that interested in
the production of opium in Afghanistan. I spent eight days in Badakshan
and in all that time I didn't see one soldier, a police officer, or
any other law enforcement personnel."
you have it. Poppies are immune from the American military machine.
Yet the U.S. can wipe out Afghan wedding parties on the most dubious
is, heroin is increasing on U.S. streets, and there can be no doubt
of the source. Back in the late Seventies, Afghan heroin leaped from
nowhere to take over the bulk of the U.S. market. (See Make
this Amendment, April 5.) The terror in American neighborhoods is
again being nurtured by the U.S. military and the CIA - a health and
crime crisis in the making, yet disassociated from the official War
on Terror, a war that will last until Bush or his successors choose
to declare it over.
broad conversation on inoculation
crew acts as if it is concerned over biological threats to the general
population but, in practice, is more interested in the political uses
of fear than in practical programs of protection against bio-warfare.
For more than two months, state and local health officials have been
waiting for the administration to decide how it plans to protect the
public against an attack of smallpox, probably the most dangerous bio-war
scenario. The locals can't make a move until the Bush people make up
their minds on how many "first-line" health workers will be
inoculated against the disease, so that they can go about the task of
taking care of the rest of us. The federal government controls all stocks
of smallpox vaccine.
stopped giving routine smallpox vaccinations 30 years ago. Federal health
officials at the Centers for Disease Control are arguing among themselves
on the best ways to go about structuring a defense against smallpox
attack. Noticeably absent from the discussion are representatives of
the health care workers. It is these nurses and emergency personnel
who will be relied upon to respond to any general health crisis. Yet,
no one in the Bush administration has conferred with organizations representing
these caregivers, including their unions.
Commentator asked Henry Nicholas, the venerable President of the National
Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, if anyone in the Bush administration
has contacted him about bio-warfare defense plans. "They're not
talking to us," said Nicholas, whose huge union
reaches across the breadth of the national health care system, "and
they're not talking to Sweeney, either." In fact, AFL-CIO chief
John Sweeney has had no contact with the White House since Bush's inauguration.
reasons, George Bush has frozen organized labor out of any discussion
of "wartime" national health and safety. These self-possessed
oligarchs care nothing for the welfare of the general population; they
won't even go through the motions of cooperation with health care personnel,
if it means sitting down with the chosen representatives of the employees.
Political warfare is more important than bio-warfare, against which
the Bush-men have already been amply protected.
one of the complaints of postal workers, who have already borne the
brunt of biological attack - although almost certainly from a domestic,
after September 11, the White House issued antibiotic anthrax protection
to its staff. When the first anthrax letters arrived at the offices
of Senators Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle, Capitol Hill employees got
prompt medical attention. Yet postal workers were ordered to stay on
the job at a contaminated facility in suburban Washington. Two died
from anthrax inhalation and dozens still suffer the effects of exposure.
workers sued their bosses and federal health authorities this summer
to find out what the government knew about the anthrax threat - and
when they knew it. However, there is no need to imagine a conspiracy.
The Bush crowd simply does not care about working people. It is a depraved
kind of indifference, exacerbated by greed, reflexive secrecy, and determined
gumbo, less pay
supreme courts showed their regard for working people, during Labor
Day week. Missouri's justices let stand a living wage ordinance approved
by the voters of St. Louis, that would require companies with city contracts
to pay full-time employees $9.39 per hour - $11.41 if health insurance
is not provided. The Missouri Hotel and Motel Association had resisted
the referendum, maintaining that cities do not have the right to set
wage laws higher than those enacted by the state.
Supreme Court, facing much the same question, sided with low-wage business
interests, also represented by the hotel industry. By a vote of six
to one, the Bayou State justices found New Orleans' Living Wage law,
overwhelmingly approved by the voters in February, to be unconstitutional.
Businessmen cheered, claiming that, by defeating the $6.15 wage they
were keeping New Orleans "competitive."
Mayor Ray Nagin, a Black conservative, also opposed the Living Wage
for his majority Black city.
which makes one wonder, Why do African Americans have such affection
for places and people that don't like them back? According to the Travel
Industry Association of America, Louisiana is Black tourists' favorite
destination state, with 2.7 million African American visitors last year.
be the food.
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