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FOR THE BETTER PART of a decade, a 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, a Mercury News investigation has found.

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Reaction: yet more tired old misguided anti-drug hysteria

From: Michael Hoffman (michael@cybtrans.com), Palo Alto, CA
Date: Monday, September 9, 1996

More quotes propagating anti-drug hysteria rather than clear, rational analysis:

"a drug that took countless lives"

Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator, in her letter to The Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General, on August 30, 1996.

"pumping the most deadly and destructive drugs"
"the human devastation caused by crack cocaine use"

from Maxine Waters, Member of Congress, to Henry J. Hyde, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives on Aug. 30, 1996.

Did crack, the chemical, really "take countless lives"? Is crack really a "deadly and destructive" drug? Does use of crack itself really cause "human devastation"?

The violence caused by the War On Drugs is being unfairly attributed to the chemical crack. It's the usual old crying of "wolf". Absinthe is an evil, killer chemical. No, alcohol is. No, pot is. No, LSD is. No, cocaine is. No, heroine is. Whatever the recreational drug, the same old hysteria and accusations are tacked onto it. Does anyone really believe these assertions any more? If there were a drug that really *were* half as harmful as this tired old prohibitionist accusation has always claimed, no one would believe it.

They say pot is "deadly". Then they say crack is "deadly". But everyone knows pot is almost completely harmless. Therefore, the alarmists have forfeited their credibility by the time they proclaim the latest drug-of-the-week (crack) to be "deadly".

The dangers of crack itself have been greatly overstated and falsely portrayed. The main way of exaggerating the danger of crack is by lumping all the violence caused by the *War* On Drugs in with the effects of the crack chemical itself. How many people have died from the crack chemical itself? Probably very few, if any. The media sells alarmism and hysteria, not truth.


One reaction to the guilt of the CIA is to punish and morally discredit the CIA while continuing to promote the failed scam of the War On Drugs, which is the real root of the problem.

Had crack been legal, the CIA could not have committed their "crime". It takes two to tango: the ghetto crack epidemic was not caused just by the CIA -- it was caused by the combination of the CIA and the War On Drugs. If there were no anti-drug alarmism and exaggeration, if drugs were legal, the CIA wouldn't have had a reason to become a supplier.

The crack chemical itself is not deadly dangerous, though the combination of the CIA as cut-rate supplier and the War On Drugs *has* been deadly dangerous.

The root of the problem is not the CIA, and punishing them will change nothing! The real root of the "devastation caused by crack" is the War On Drugs and the irrational fear of recreational drugs which perpetuate that War. The solution is not to take vengeance upon the CIA. That will accomplish nothing. The solution is to legalize or "decriminalize" drugs, returning to the state we had in the previous century before all this self-righteous prohibitionist alarmism began.

If people want to use drugs, they can take their own responsibility for using without abusing. This radical idea is called "freedom". No one ever said freedom is safe. The citizens of this free country can police their own chemical use well enough, individually.

The War On Drugs Oppresses All Races

From: Michael Hoffman (michael@cybtrans.com), Palo Alto, CA
Date: Monday, September 9, 1996

Bob Smith makes an excellent point above.

Apparently, the CIA did not specifically choose to target blacks. The smugglers did, for purely profit motives.

Black users and dealers were certainly punished too hard, but that is true of recreational drug users in general. The oppressed victims of the drug wars are all users. The War On Drugs feeds off the lives, the freedoms, of all races of citizens. People are sentenced to bizarre lengths of prison years for using recreational drugs, whether they are white or black. You don't have to be black to be oppressed by the War On Drugs. Many whites have been put away for years for minor amounts of recreational chemicals.

It's likely there is systematic oppression of blacks, and this is reflected in the War On Drugs, but the War On Drugs oppresses *all* races to a great degree. The sacrificial victims can be of any color; the demonic War machine accepts all blood.

Urge redistribution of "Dark Alliance"

From: Walden Yale (Lstword2@eosinc.com), Petersburg, IL
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 1996
Comment: May I urge the San Jose Mercury News to waive the copyright restrictions on the "Dark Alliance" series by Gary Webb, and encourage the redistribution of the article to all government officials, clergy, and responsible citizens in an effort to force an investigation of this tragic part of our national history.


Walden Yale

Response to Bob Smith & Michael Hoffman

From: Marlene B. (blydema@texaco.com), Long Bch. CA
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 1996
Comment: You both appear to be trying to simplify an horrific subject.
Do you want to play down the possible role the government
played in a covert operation against it OWN citizens??
They did not do THIS specific act in the white suburbs of America.
Let's quit talking about the what ifs and talk about the WHAT IS.
(See sound clips July 21, 1990 between Blandon & Arman).
right to your opinions. But I suspect that you are not
black and have not had the experience of being so.
Life is not perfect for blacks or whites in America.
But particurlarly not for blacks.

Any urban ghetto in America east or west coast could have
been used. And if you studied the maps provided in this article
this is apparent seeing how they eventually spread this across the
country. America black and white has a drug problem. Please don't say
they sold to whom they could. Yes it was made cheap enough for these poor
people to afford. But what about the high priced drugs others can afford.
And it appears that crack has also made some inroads to the middle class like
doctors and lawyers.

To the people using this forum to promote the legalization of drugs
I say have your opinion. But what society can be productive and keep some
sanity with its citizens high all the time and not dealing with reality????
Drugs ARE a health hazard to the user and the people who have to live,work and
drive with them.

Enough said...I am going to do what I can to spread the word
and to help people. We Americans are very good at talking.
Its time to take some positive action.

Peace to All

Drug War

From: Richard Blanchette (gold@wic.net), Clifton, CO
Date: Tuesday, September 10, 1996
There is every reason to believe that the
government is one of the largest drug runners.
See "A Nation Betrayed" by Col. James "Bo" Gritz.
Also read the article By Randy Fitzgerald "A Whistle Blower's Ordeal"
in the June 1994 editon of Readers Digest.
It could be a way for the government to have huge amounts of
cash to by for things off budget and out of sight.
The so called Drug War is only a way to keep the price of drugs up and to
put more and more controls over the people.

Response to Marlene B.

From: Michael Hoffman (michael@cybtrans.com), Palo Alto, CA
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Comment: 1. The CIA did not cause the excesses of the Drug War and the overall "drug problem" -- but the Drug War motivated the CIA to its corrupt actions.

Reading about the drug war in America and Mexico, the head spins at the corruption running throughout the whole thing. The CIA is not the cause of the corruption. The Drug War itself is the mother of all corruption. If you clean up one agency, the overall situation doesn't change. The system breeds corruption, and another agency will become enticed just as quickly. As long as the Drug War drags on, there will be corruptions that drive the paradoxical condonement and distribution of drugs.

We should not isolate the CIA as one lapse, an isolated exception. Rather, we should treat it as an *example* of how the Drug War *causes* and *breeds* corruption. The Drug War is the mother of oppression and corruption; the CIA is merely one more instance of the govenment corruption that almost necessarily follows from the Drug War.

The CIA is guilty of breaking the laws that have been established, and they should be held accountable for this violation. Their guilt should be portrayed as a perfect example of the corruption that is the *typical* result of the criminalization of recreational chemicals.

The War On Drugs is *bound* to spawn such havoc as this.

2. Apparently, the government or "the CIA" in general did not choose to sell to blacks: a small group of smugglers decided to sell to blacks.

We should separate the motives and decisions of the CIA directors of the Mena airport, from the motives and decisions of the people who choose to sell to Freeway Rick. Maybe the CIA directors of this cocaine importation didn't care about whether they sold to whites or blacks -- the articles don't say. They might have been more willing to sell to blacks than whites, or to go on selling after they saw the destruction caused by the combination of the infusion of coke, the ghetto, and the Drug War. We have not yet verified that the CIA Mena directors were at all interested in what race, neighborhood, or segment of society the coke was sold to. We have no evidence that the Mena directors *chose* who the coke was sold to. As far as we know, that decision was made as an independent, personal decision by Rick's direct supplier or suppliers. Certainly, it warrants investigation, and is a plausible hypothesis, but we don't know yet whether the CIA directors deliberately chose or especially condoned the infusion of coke into the specifically black community.

3. Drugs *can* be harmful but that's not nearly a sufficient justification for criminalizing them and putting citizens in jail.

It's very well explained in the book _It's Nobody's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Concensual Crime in a Free Country_ that if something is (or *can* be) harmful, that's not sufficient reason to put people in jail for doing it.

To be accurate about the *actual* degree of danger presented by recreational chemicals themselves, rather than portraying them as toxic poison, as absolutely harmful (which they are definitely not), we should say that drugs "can be" harmful, not that drugs "are" harmful. Drug *use* is not harmful -- drug *abuse* is harmful. But even if drugs really were as toxic as the extremist, alarmist view portrays them, that in itself is not sufficient justification for putting in jail the many people (citizens, including productive taxpayers) who choose to use them.

If crack were really so very dangerous, people would not use it so much. People can look out for themselves, without the unwanted assistance of Big Brother -- that is, the unwanted help of busybody prohibitionists poking their nose into other people's business and freedoms "for their own good".

Driving is inherently dangerous, and alcohol or (other) drugs makes driving even more dangerous. But preserving safety on our roads is not a sufficient reason to put people into jail for using drugs, and keeping our roads safe is not sufficient reason for putting a whole class of activities off-limits.

We must choose between accepting a certain amount of harm from the direct effects of drugs, or else, we must accept a certain amount of harm from prohibition itself. The War On Drugs has caused more violence and suffering than the free use of drugs would have caused. The laws and punishments breed more harm than the activities they were intended to prevent.

Dividing the blame properly among the CIA, the crack chemical, and the War On Drugs

From: Michael Hoffman (michael@cybtrans.com), Palo Alto, CA
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996

Giving the coke chemical to south-central LA is not in itself harmful -- it's coke *plus* prohibition that resulted in devastation. The devastation was not caused by coke itself, but by the coke in the context of the War On Drugs. If there had been no War On Drugs, then the CIA introducing crack into the ghetto would not have caused much harm. The harm caused by the CIA's supplying of coke is a function of the War On Drugs, not simply the coke itself.

People are mad at the CIA for bringing coke into the ghetto. But the coke itself is not so harmful and this act is not so morally reprehensible, in itself. The act *became* deadly only due to the context of the War On Drugs, which gave rise to the black market, the guns, the stealing, the violence, the state of seige. Subtract the War On Drugs, and the urban battles and the devastation go away

There *has been* devastation -- but how much of this is the results of the crack chemical, and how much of the devastation is actually a result of the War On Drugs?

The CIA is not singlehandedly to blame for this devastation. The news articles and politicians blame the CIA because they blame the crack chemical. They attribute the devastation too much to crack itself, and not to the War On Drugs, which is the *necessary factor* for the aspects of devastation which are due to the black market and turf wars which are caused by prohibition, not by the crack chemical.

You cannot singlehandedly blame the CIA for the urban devastation associated with crack. Neither can you singlehandedly blame the crack chemical for the urban devastation associated with crack. You must put a very large portion of the blame on the War On Drugs. Without the War On Drugs, the black market and turf war violence would disappear, along with the bulk of the stealing to purchase crack. The CIA's actions can *only* be held highly reprehensible in the context of the War On Drugs. People want to stop the CIA and continue the War On Drugs, but they will thereby continue to support the devastation caused by the black market scene which results from the War On Drugs. Busting the CIA is our moral duty, but it is also our moral duty to place blame for the entire situation where blame is really due. It is also our moral duty to reduce or end the devastation associated with crack: the way to end this devastation is to recognize that the devastation is mostly caused by prohibition, rather than the crack chemical itself and the suppliers of crack.

Causes of the devastation associated with crack:
0.8 -- the War On Drugs and the resulting turf wars, guns, and stealing
0.1 -- the CIA acting as supplier
0.1 -- the psychological and physical effects of crack

Closing comments to Gary Webb

From: Michael Hoffman (michael@cybtrans.com), Palo Alto, CA
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996

The CIA should be punished for breaking the laws, such as they are. But the laws are wrong, and the CIA's act only caused so much devastation because of the terrible side-effects of the laws, of prohibition. The CIA's act did not occur in a vacuum, and in itself would not have caused devastation; it only became an evil act given that there was already a network of violence-spawning laws in place. The devastation was not simply a function of the crack chemical itself or the agency that supplied it, but is *mostly* a result of the War On Drugs, an extremist and unwinnable effort that backfires and brings more devastation that it supposedly prevents.

Your articles should probably concentrate on the CIA's breaking of laws, not on the real root of the devastation, the evil of these laws. I hope your work does not attitibute all the devastation to the recreation chemical itself, but reminds people that *given* the War On Drugs, the CIA's introducing crack was reprehensible. As to whether that given circumstance (prohibition) was good, that is a distinct issue.

where is the response?

From: Brent Arnold (friction88@aol.com), Seattle, WA
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Comment: I have been hearing people discuss this idea for years, but I never figured there would be any proof to come to light.

So now here it is... where is the response of the rest of the media, the government, etc??

I have been waiting to see the NYtimes cover this... all I got was convention junk. The Seattle papers did run the story, for a sec...

September 11 Events in Washington DC

From: Professor J. Newman (jmnewman@erols.com), Odenton Maryland
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Comment: Dick Gregory, Joe Madison (and I)gave a
press conference at the National Press
Club at 1:30 pm eastern today. We urged
the media to follow Gary Webb's and the
San Jose Mercury News' example by
further investigating this story, or
to at least cover it in detail. We filed
a Freedom of Information Act request for
the CIA files of Enrique Bermudez and
announced that we are seeking a new
"Cocaine-Contra Records Act" to compel
all agencies to release any documents in
their possession on this matter. Gregory
and Madison were then arrested at CIA HQ
where they charged with creating a dis-
turbance on protected property. They are
currently being held at the Alexandria
Detention Center and will be arraigned
at 9:00 am eastern tomorrow in US Court.
As of this time both have begun a fast
until Congress agrees to pass this new
Records Act. Call congress now!

Broadcast Conspiracies?

From: Aton-Re' Ausar (Khemi@aol.com), West Orange, NJ
Date: Wednesday, September 11, 1996
Comment: The print and braodcast media have been trumpeting the 40% rise in drug use among american teen agers during much of this presidential election year.
Given past duplicity and subterfuge commited by playing to america's "drug paranoia", what civil freedom are we being set up to sacrifice unto the constitution's funeral pyre called the "War on Drugs"?
Can somebody hip me to that? Inquiring minds must survive.

Reno Dismisses CIA/Crack Connection

From: Ted Coe (tcoe@humanitas.ucsb.edu), Santa Barbara
Date: Thursday, September 12, 1996
Comment: This from today's L.A. Times: Atty. Gen. Janet Reno says a preliminary inquiry by the Department of Justice does not substantiate published allegations that the CIA acted in support of a Northern California drug ring that smuggled cocaine from Latin America to South-Central Los Angeles. . . .The CIA has agreed to conduct its own investigation of the allegations while casting skepticism on them. . . .Reno's action came in response to requests for an investigation by several members of Congress. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Does she *REALLY* think that this will put the story to rest *that* easily?!? This seems at the very least like an attempt on the part of the Dept. of Justice to further disuade the major news media from picking up on this story -- which they've done an excellent job of doing already, wouldn't you say? I am simply furious about this, though!

who's responsible for the coverup?

From: David Stock (racetratr@aol.com), Long Beach, CA
Date: Thursday, September 12, 1996
Comment: These are great stories, which, as others note, are being buried by much of the major news media. They bring back memories of CIA drug operations in Southeast Asia during the 1960's, and provide further evidence that the U.S. government is participating in the destruction of Black communities. The "war against drugs" is a smokescreen for those in government--including almost certainly ex-CIA director George Bush--who expedited the explosion of crack cocaine and gang warfare. It seems to me that the next step is to follow the chain of command up as far as it goes. Who ordered the drug investigations stopped? How could Salvadoran planes have landed at U.S. airbases without the knowledge of the military here? How could trucks enter such bases to pick up drugs? Who gave the commands? Thanks for the expose.

Don't stop here. Libya's involved, too!

From: M. (ltolah@umd.umich.edu), In, MI.
Date: Thursday, September 12, 1996
Comment: Drug sales fill a vacuum that the demand creates. Therefore, the addicts are partly to blame.

I have a question: Will you investigate Libya's sales of arms to these same gangs. This problem will have a more serious impact on innocent citizens.

Any words?


Date: Thursday, September 12, 1996
Comment: This story was featured on the front page of our largest newspaper's weekend edition, and is being splashed all over the radio talk shows, including both the right and left wing ones. This has the capabillity of becoming the 90's version of an overused analogy, the 'watergate' scandal. I sense that there is a growing public resentment of unchecked public officials making their own policy outside of local and international law, and this election cycle will show the results of their disenchantment with the status quo with another 'throw the bums out!'
unfortunfately, without a scouring of the lower levels of bureaucracy, all we will get is a repeat in another form of this ugly opportunism.
it's time for a full range of congressional investigations, and in my opinion time for the dismantling of the CIA in it's present form. We have other agencies (nsa, fbi, etc) that can take up the slack without causing the international embarassment and local damage to citizen trust. If this is not stopped dead in it's tracks, there is the distinct possibility of our already damaged race relations degenerating into all out anarchy in the inner cities with unforeseen consequences for all of us in the near future.
wake up america!

CIA shredders are humming

From: George V. King, II (s1b0031@mail.wvnet.edu), Harpers Ferry, WV.
Date: Thursday, September 12, 1996
Comment: There should be an immediate injuction placed on CIA
files or you will never get to the bottom of this.
I guess Ted Turner has been greased already.
Rupert Murdock will play ball with the agency and
put a hush on. It's now us against them!

Reno = Miami's state's atty during CIA drug smuggling

From: Lee (leebert@io.com), Austin
Date: Friday, September 13, 1996
Comment: From the L.A. Times:
"Atty. Gen. Janet Reno says a preliminary inquiry by the Department of Justice does not substantiate published allegations that the CIA acted in support of a Northern California drug ring that smuggled cocaine from Latin America to South-Central Los Angeles. . . .The CIA has agreed to conduct its own investigation of the allegations while casting skepticism on them. . . .Reno's action came in response to requests for an investigation by several members of Congress..."

RENO _should_ know, she was the State's attorney in Miami, FL while the CIA was flying CIA SAT planes into corrosion corner at Miami int'l airport. The constant problems w/ the DEA & Customs finding, hell, SEEING traces of cocaine in the SAT planes werer a constant source of Miami Herald expose's in Miami during the 1980's. RENO was known to be very PO'd by the CIA's activities in her district, but she became increasing powerless to do a thing about it.

Now she's poo-poo'ing the new reports. What a stench!

After the Christic Institute lawsuit in Miami got killed at the 11th hour by Judge Hoover, the newspapers and local 'zines started ignoring the story.

A modern day tragedy

From: smiranda (smiranda@usatncs.gannett), Danville, VA
Date: Friday, September 13, 1996
Comment: This is proof that the U.S.
government does give a hoot about the
African American race. We were never
considered to be human beings. I'm
ashamed of being a citizen of
this country.

We as a people should demand that the C.I.A. be checked for unethical behaviour just like all the other government agencies

From: Danny Menendez (dannym@address.net), Los Angeles
Date: Saturday, September 14, 1996
Comment: We the people of the United States (including non-citizens)
should demand the the C.I.A. be investigated by
a independant agency and that an agency be
placed permanently to check for
any unethical behaviour on the part of the agency.
The Judiciary branch, The Legilative Branch, and even
the Executive branch are overlooked and checked by
various committies and so should the C.I.A.
We must demand that the C.I.A. dismantle itself if
it is tied to the drug trafficking connections
in our cities. If Richard Nixxon can be called
upon for unethical behaviour so can the
C.I.A. Remember Watergate. Should the
C.I.A. be given absolute power to do what
ever it wants. You mean we can investigate
our own President and not an agency?

We can not let ourselves to believe that the
agency can monitor its self. Think about it.
If you were accused of a crime and a prosecutor
asked you to bring damaging evidence upon yourself and
investigate the case, would you really do it. I don't think
so. We must create a new agency that may be
called something like Ethics Commitee
for National Intelligence Agencies to oversee
their actions.

I am a Salvadorean who fled the contry in 1983
because of the war that was created partially
by the United States. Central Americans
are tired of being used as tools for American
interest. We are exploited as cheap labor and
when we try to express our discontent of our
exploitation and oppression we are murdered
or harrased by C.I.A. trained death squadrons.
If any Central American government is not
in tuned with U.S. interest it is quickly
overturned by C.I.A. commanded coup d'etats.

Anyone is welcome to write me back directly at my
E-mail address.

Thank you (Mercury News)for you devotion to investigate the true
causes that have contributed to killing
our fellow Americans in our inner cities.
Keep up the good work!

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