During the late 1970's the illicit drug cocaine was expensive and, therefore, could only be afforded by the well heeled. In the early 1980's cocaine began to appear in lower class neighborhoods in the form of "crack cocaine." The inexpensive, rock-like substance possesses ten times the punch as cocaine in its powdered form. This highly addictive substance wreaked havoc in south-central Los Angeles, now known as the "crack" capital of the world. As police grappled with a wave of gang warfare and crime, little did anyone suspect that the U.S. government was responsible for the influx of this powerful drug.

     In a series of reports published by the San Jose Mercury News, a substantial case is built against the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency [see "Dark Alliance" August 18, 1996 by Mercury News staff writer, Gary Webb quoted exclusively in this article]. The facts of the government's involvement in cocaine trafficking have been brought to light through "recently declassified reports, federal court testimony, undercover tapes, court records here and abroad and hundreds of hours of interviews over the past 12 months."

     The Mercury News investigation has established that the CIA was involved in funneling cocaine to Los Angeles gang members during the 1980's. "This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the "crack" capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.'s gangs to buy automatic weapons."

     It may seem bizarre that a government that seems so dedicated to fighting the "war on drugs" would be involved in the "first pipeline" of cocaine to the poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles. It seems bizarre until the facts are considered.

     In 1979 the Samoza government in Nicaragua fell to the Sandanistas. When Ronald Reagan became President of the United States in 1981, he approved CIA covert operations against the Marxist Sandanista government. Congress would not approve funding for an armed insurrection, so the CIA had to develop alternate sources to finance the Contra guerrillas.

     One of these schemes was to recruit Nicaraguan expatriates who would smuggle drugs into the U.S. by various means. One means of transport was allegedly a Salvadorian Air Force plane that would deliver cocaine to an air base in Texas. This San Francisco based cartel would then sell the cut-rate cocaine to a Los Angeles teenager called "Freeway Rick", who would "rock up" the cocaine and distribute it to Los Angeles gangs. The profits supposedly made their way back to the cartel who would pass them on to the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (FDN), better known as the Contras, or "Freedom Fighters", as Reagan called them.

     When President Reagan obtained Congressional support for the Nicaraguan Contras, the CIA involvement with the expatriate drug cartel ended, according to the Mercury News article. "While the FDN's war is barely a memory today, black America is still dealing with its poisonous side effects. Urban neighborhoods are grappling with legions of homeless crack addicts. Thousands of young black men are serving long prison sentences for selling cocaine -- a drug that was virtually unobtainable in black neighborhoods before members of the CIA's army started bringing it into South-Central in the 1980s at bargain-basement prices. "And the L.A. gangs, which used their enormous cocaine profits to arm themselves and spread crack across the country, are still thriving, turning entire blocks of major cities into occasional war zones.

     "'There is a saying that the ends justify the means,' former FDN leader and drug dealer Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes testified during a recent cocaine trafficking trial in San Diego. 'And that's what Mr. Bermudez (the CIA agent who commanded the FDN) told us in Honduras, OK? So we started raising money for the Contra revolution.'"

     When one looks at the end results of this tragedy, one can only wonder how it can offer justification for anything. The Sandinistas were defeated in a "democratic" election and left power without visible coercion. Nicaragua is still the broken down, unstable and impoverished country that it has been for decades. During the covert war the Contras practiced human rights abuses against the peasantry too revolting to imagine, and the inner cities of America are groaning under the effects of crack addiction. Who won?

     The international money cartel won. By supporting a policy creating a subversive group in Nicaragua, they kept that region of Central America destabilized and subservient to their control. They also increased their control over America by flooding it with crack cocaine, turning its inner cities into war zones, and creating an atmosphere of fear and apprehension among the general population.

     The cumulative effects of the crack plague have prompted a public outcry for greater security and, hence, a police state. The issue of crime has dominated national politics and politicians are bowing to the demand for more police, more prisons, and stricter laws and sentencing. No country on earth locks up such a large percentage of its population as does the U.S., and the boom in prison construction does not promise to reverse that trend.

     Trusting the U.S. government to fight an honest war against drugs is like putting an arsonist in charge of a bucket brigade. The money- controlled federal government must necessarily protect the interests of its benefactors, who profit from chaos and instability. Everyone wants peace and at some point, most people will be willing to sell their civil liberties to this strange power in order to have it.

     Peace will prove to be quite elusive to all who sacrifice principle in order to have it. You can't sleep with a dragon and get a good night's rest. "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isaiah 57:20,21.

Written 10/96


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