On CIA, Once More: 'Abolish the Damned Thing.'(U.S. Central Intelligence Agency)(Editorial)

National Catholic Reporter, September 6, 1996 | Go to article overview

On CIA, Once More: 'Abolish the Damned Thing.'(U.S. Central Intelligence Agency)(Editorial)


For five decades, the CIA has defended foreign dictators, many with drug ties, to allegedly further U.S. interests. It has done business with -- and protected -- criminals and murderers to uphold governments that terrorize their peoples. It has contemptuously subverted this nation's Constitution, lying to Congress when it felt necessary to protect its perverted, self-proclaimed patriotism. As a result, tens of thousands of CIA victims lie buried in poor Central American, Asian and African nations.

Now we learn there is more criminal activity here -- far more and at home. The CIA, we learn, is responsible for lighting the fuse to the explosive U.S. "crack" epidemic that has engulfed our cities in violence and ravaged countless young lives.

San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb has detailed a disgraceful alliance of drug dealers, Los Angeles youth gangs and the CIA operatives who backed the Nicaraguan Contras. For almost a decade beginning in the early 1980s, a drug ring based in the San Francisco Bay Area sold thousands of pounds of cut-rate cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and used the money to buy arms for the Contras, the so-called freedom fighters that Lt. Col. Oliver North all but canonized during the Reagan administration.

As the Mercury News reported, the Contra-run drug network opened the first conduit between Colombia's notorious cocaine cartels and L.A.'s black neighborhoods. The flood of the white powder helped to make crack affordable in poor communities where its use eventually became epidemic.

Profits from crack sales made it easier for the street gangs to buy assault weapons. Violence escalated not only in Los Angeles but wherever the drugs spread throughout the nation.

As the Mercury News has stated: "It's impossible to believe that the Central Intelligence Agency didn't know about the Contras' fund-raising activities in Los Angeles, considering that the agency was bankrolling, recruiting and essentially running the Contra operation. ...

"No doubt this country's crack epidemic would have occurred without the Contras. But the CIA-Contra story can only feed long-standing rumors in black communities that the U.S. government `created' the crack cocaine epidemic to kill and imprison African-Americans and otherwise wreak havoc in inner cities."

To understand the context of the CIA's involvement here it helps to recall the agency's nefarious and subversive history as well as its long-standing links to drug profiteering.

In 1947 Congress passed the National Security Act, creating the National Security Council and the CIA.

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