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June 2017
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American Drug War History

America’s War on Drugs – a four-part documentary on the History Channel that began on Sunday evening.

I watched the first episode (“Acid Spies, and Secret Experiments”) – a fascinating look at the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on the CIA’s involvement in Cuba and how that shifted mafia drug trafficking to the US, the introduction of LSD into the US by the CIA (the MKULTRA program), and the CIA’s involvement in the secret war in Laos (the golden triangle) and their connection to trafficking heroin (with Air America), and the military’s experiments with drugging soldiers. Great story of how the CIA brought LSD into the country to attempt to control people’s minds, but it turned out that LSD actually did the opposite and ended up controlled by people who were against the kind of government that the CIA represented. Also in this episode, the impact of Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, G. Gordon Liddy, Billy Hitchcock, Richard Nixon, John Mitchell, Elvis Presley, John Ehrlichman, Frank Serpico, and more. Also the interesting story of one of the largest thefts in history (the French Connection heroin seizure stolen from lockup) – and it was perpetrated by New York cops.

Very good historical information. Note: The History Channel is providing a number of re-broadcasts of the first episode on their channel (check listings) and may also be adding it online later.

Monday: the Contras.

As NBC describes it:

[Executive Producer Anthony] Lappé, alongside Julian P. Hobbs, Elli Hakami, spent a year conducting dozens and dozens of interviews with former CIA officers, Drug Enforcement Agency officers, historians and more. The crew takes viewers through an eight hour journey crisscrossing the world and deconstructing how the U.S. “war on drugs” truly began through interviews, old footage, and reenactments.

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17 comments to American Drug War History

  • Daniel Williams

    So far so good.

  • I agree Daniel. Looks to be a great source for information on the governments involvement not commonly known about. and this great policymaker handbook tells us how to end this madness.

    Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017)

    War on Drugs

    Congress should:

    • repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970;
    • direct the administration not to interfere with the implementation of state initiatives that allow for the recreational or medical use of marijuana;
    • repeal the federal mandatory minimum sentences; and
    • shut down the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Now, there is some real good advice for any policy maker to follow to reform this horrible mess we call a drug war.

    To stop the errors of the past

  • Servetus

    Regardless of whether Trump finishes his term as president or gets booted out, his appointments of federal judges will continue to do harm to the legal system and democracy for decades to come.

    So far the federal judges being appointed by Trump appear to reside within the same proto-fascist comfort zones that prohibitionists such as Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump find so appealing. Two recent appointees illustrate the problem, John K. Bush and Damien Schiff:

    June 20, 2017 — …John K. Bush has criticized the Supreme Court case of New York Times v. Sullivan, the seminal freedom of the press case that protects journalists’ ability to report critically about public officials without fear of retaliation. During normal times, this alone would prevent a president from nominating him. But we have a president who wants to “open up our libel laws” to allow him to go after critical journalists, and who calls the media the “enemy of the people.” A year ago, Bush’s position on Sullivan would have jolted the White House not to nominate him, or the Senate not to even consider confirming him.[…]

    …the bizarre nature of Schiff’s nomination goes beyond demeanor; it goes to litigants’ belief that they would be treated fairly and equally under the law in his courtroom. For instance, he has ridiculed and impugned the motives of environmentalists. He once stated that environmentalists use the Endangered Species Act to “push an agenda that has more to do with stifling productive human activity than fostering ecological balance.” He has also written that laws to protect the environment “can be used instead as pretexts to achieve other agendas, typically the blocking of the reasonable use of public and private property.”

    It is one thing to ridicule a legal argument. It is another thing altogether to proclaim that litigants you disagree with have a secret agenda that involves deliberately harming people for reasons unrelated to the environment. And now Schiff has been nominated to the Court of Federal Claims, which hears a number of environmental cases, and where judges are expected to hold fair proceedings treating all parties equally.

    And his legal views are as far from the mainstream as one can imagine. He would likely declare unconstitutional nearly every law that protects the rights and health of ordinary people. In a 2008 blog post entitled “Federalism and the Separation of Powers, Day II,” he called for the Supreme Court to bypass the other branches and “overturn precedents upon which many of the unconstitutional excrescences of the New Deal and Great Society eras depend.”[…]

    Neither of the two appointees have enough grip on reality to recognize the harm being done by the drug war and to balance it against the need for reform. They are extremist ideologues who do not care about or even consider the consequences of their actions, even when such actions have the potential to kill innocent people. Someone such as Rodrigo Duterte would likely approve their nominations to the bench.

    • DdC

      It seems if piss testers are found guilty of fraud or corruption with test results. All of the tests are deemed bogus and not used as evidence. Same with appointees by a corrupt politician. If the election was rigged as Trump claimed, then it would be logical to redo the entire election from Cities to PotUS. Oh I forgot, this is just a democracy in name only.

  • WalStMonky


    Vermont asks AG Sessions, “how many fingers am I holding up?”

    Isn’t it ironic that the first State Governor to sign a law re-legalizing limited amounts of cannabis will be a Republican? /knock wood/ But he’s not just signing the bill into law. He was an integral part of the process of rewriting the law which he vetoed not that long ago. Of course he could have just let the previous law be implemented but he could also have vetoed and left it there. The Legislature didn’t have the votes needed to override and the legislative session had expired.

  • Servetus

    Radio host Wayne Allyn Root accused Georgia special election Democrat candidate and documentary film maker Jon Ossof of being a filthy, pot-smoking Marxist:

    June 20, 2017 — …“All documentary filmmakers are Marxists,” Root said. “Every one of them smokes pot all day with bare feet, they’re filthy. They’re wearing a pair of jeans and no shirt and they haven’t shaved in three days and they haven’t taken a shower in a month. That’s a typical filthy liberal filmmaker.”

    “Trust me, he’s no moderate,” he continued. “They cleaned him up, shaved him, gave him a bath and put a suit on him to try and make him look like a normal person. But he’s not normal, he’s a liberal documentary radical Marxist filmmaker!”

    • Daniel Williams

      I know Root. He’s an idiot.

    • Will

      Long ago I came in contact with a group of isolated cannabis consumers who smoked pot all day with bare feet. After I showed them how much easier it was to smoke pot using their hands instead, they smiled and thanked me as I departed their remote enclave.

      As glaringly stupid as Mr. Root’s description of “documentary filmmakers” comes across, the legions of ignorant Americans that will now adopt this definition is even stupider by several orders of magnitude. From Werner Herzog to Ken burns to all other documentary filmmakers in between, they all must be thinking, “If only Wayne Allyn Root would have told us that all this time we could have been shirtless, filthy, and smoking pot with bare feet while making our Marxist films, we would have had so much more fun”.

      • DdC

        “documentary filmmakers”

        Like Steve Bannon

        Mercer’s earliest activist ventures was financing a slew of fringe documentary projects that’ve helped raise the profiles of people like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and most notably, the director of those films, Steve Bannon
        The Mercer Family Foundation

        • Will

          Steve Bannon is more of an agenda driven propagandist than a documentarian (oddly, he admires the methodology of Michael Moore who has been described similarly). Although surely he gets a pass from Mr. Root, he does at least deserve the ‘filthy’ tag. As someone once queried, “Why does Steve Bannon always look like he spent last night in a ditch?”. Indeed.

          His work will never hold a candle to the likes of Herzog’s “Grizzly Man”, Errol Morris’ “The Thin Blue Line”, or a bit more recently, James Marsh’s “Man On Wire” (masterfully done, highly recommended) to name a paltry few from a very long list of well made documentaries.

      • jean valjean

        I saw that David Attenborough in the street the other day wearing jeans with no shirt, barefoot and with a massive Camberwell Carrot hanging out of his mouth…..

  • WalStMonky


    Another war on (some) drugs casualty:

    Officer who shot Philando Castile said smell of marijuana made him fear for his life

    The officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year told investigators that the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car made him believe his life was in danger.

    “I thought, I was gonna die,” Officer Jeronimo Yanez told investigators from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension fifteen hours after the shooting. “And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girls was screaming.”

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