CIA-Crack website is back
Smallpox: none of the nurses' business
Victory in St. Louis, Setback in New Orleans
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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.
The CIA, 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.
Now, 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.
The online 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.
Coke and Cola
The CIA's 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
Munera's 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 plants.
According 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.
Fields of death
The U.S. 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.
The story 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.
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.
Opium 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 fields."
Most 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
There 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 pretexts.
The truth 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.
No broad conversation
The Bush 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
The U.S. 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.
The Black 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.
For political 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.
Betrayal by mail
That's one of the
complaints of postal workers, who have already borne the brunt of biological
attack - although almost certainly from a domestic, high-tech source.
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.
Postal 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
More gumbo, less
Two state 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.
The Louisiana 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."
New Orleans Mayor
Ray Nagin, a Black conservative, also opposed the Living Wage for his
majority Black city.
All of 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.
Must be the food.