By David P Beiter

Date:     Thu Apr 04, 1996 11:12 pm  CST
From:     Moderator of conference justice.polabuse
	  EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414

TO:     * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762
Subject:  Chomsky - War on Drugs

From: Bob Witanek 

/* Written  4:34 PM  Apr  4, 1996 by bwitanek in igc:njspeakout */
/* ---------- "Chomsky - War on Drugs" ---------- */
Posted: Ronnie Dadone 
Subject: War on Drugs, Noam Chomsky

Subject: Uncle Sam: The war on (certain) drugs
>     What Uncle Sam Really Wants Copyright ? 1993 by Noam Chomsky
>  Previous section | Next section | Contents | Archive | New World
>  Media
>                         ---------------------
>                      The war on (certain) drugs
> One substitute for the disappearing Evil Empire has been the
threat > of drug traffickers from Latin America. In early September
1989, a > major government-media blitz was launched by the
President. That > month the AP wires carried more stories about
drugs than about Latin > America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa
combined. If you looked at > television, every news program had a
big section on how drugs were > destroying our society, becoming
the greatest threat to our > existence, etc.
> The effect on public opinion was immediate. When Bush won the
1988 > election, people said the budget deficit was the biggest
problem > facing the country. Only about 3% named drugs. After the
media > blitz, concern over the budget was way down and drugs had
soared to > about 40% or 45%, which is highly unusual for an open
question > (where no specific answers are suggested).
> Now, when some client state complains that the US government
isn't > sending it enough money, they no longer say, "we need it
to stop the > Russians" -- rather, "we need it to stop drug
trafficking." Like the > Soviet threat, this enemy provides a good
excuse for a US military > presence where there's rebel activity
or other unrest.
> So internationally, "the war on drugs" provides a cover for >
intervention. Domestically, it has little to do with drugs but a
lot > to do with distracting the population, increasing repression
in the > inner cities, and building support for the attack on civil
> liberties.
> That's not to say that "substance abuse" isn't a serious problem.
At > the time the drug war was launched, deaths from tobacco were
> estimated at about 300,000 a year, with perhaps another 100,000
from > alcohol. But these aren't the drugs the Bush administration
> targeted. It went after illegal drugs, which had caused many
fewer > deaths -- over 3500 a year -- according to official
figures. One > reason for going after these drugs was that their
use had been > declining for some years, so the Bush administration
could safely > predict that its drug war would "succeed" in
lowering drug use. >
> The Administration also targeted marijuana, which hadn't caused
any > known deaths among some 60 million users. In fact, that
crackdown > has exacerbated the drug problem -- many marijuana
users have turned > from this relatively harmless drug to more
dangerous drugs like > cocaine, which are easier to conceal. >
> Just as the drug war was launched with great fanfare in September
> 1989, the US Trade Representative (USTR) panel held a hearing in
> Washington to consider a tobacco industry request that the US
impose > sanctions on Thailand in retaliation for its efforts to
restrict US > tobacco imports and advertising. Such US government
actions had > already rammed this lethal addictive narcotic down
the throats of > consumers in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with
human costs of the > kind already indicated
> The US Surgeon General, Everett Koop, testified at the USTR panel
> that "when we are pleading with foreign governments to stop the
flow > of cocaine, it is the height of hypocrisy for the United
States to > export tobacco." He added, "years from now, our nation
will look > back on this application of free trade policy and find
it > scandalous."
> Thai witnesses also protested, predicting that the consequence
of US > sanctions would be to reverse a decline in smoking achieved
by their > government's campaign against tobacco use. Responding
to the US > tobacco companies' claim that their product is the best
in the > world, a Thai witness said: "Certainly in the Golden
Triangle we > have some of the best products, but we never ask the
principle of > free trade to govern such products. In fact we
suppressed [them]." > Critics recalled the Opium War 150 years
earlier, when the British > government compelled China to open its
doors to opium from British > India, sanctimoniously pleading the
virtues of free trade as they > forcefully imposed large-scale drug
addiction on China.
> Here we have the biggest drug story of the day. Imagine the >
screaming headlines: "US government the world's leading drug >
peddler." It would surely sell papers. But the story passed >
virtually unreported, and with not a hint of the obvious
> conclusions.
> Another aspect of the drug problem, which also received little
> attention, is the leading role of the US government in
stimulating > drug trafficking since World War II. This happened
in part when the > US began its postwar task of undermining the
anti-fascist resistance > and the labor movement became an
important target.
> In France, the threat of the political power and influence of the
> labor movement was enhanced by its steps to impede the flow of
arms > to French forces seeking to reconquer their former colony
of Vietnam > with US aid. So the CIA undertook to weaken and split
the French > labor movement -- with the aid of top American labor
leaders, who > were quite proud of their role.
> The task required strikebreakers and goons. There was an obvious
> supplier: the Mafia. Of course, they didn't take on this work
just > for the fun of it. They wanted a return for their efforts.
And it > was given to them: they were authorized to reestablish the
heroin > racket that had been suppressed by the fascist governments
-- the > famous "French connection" that dominated the drug trade
until the > 1960s.
> By then, the center of the drug trade had shifted to Indochina,
> particularly Laos and Thailand. The shift was again a by-product
of > a CIA operation -- the "secret war" fought in those countries
during > the Vietnam War by a CIA mercenary army. They also wanted
a payoff > for their contributions. Later, as the CIA shifted its
activities to > Pakistan and Afghanistan, the drug racket boomed
> The clandestine war against Nicaragua also provided a shot in the
> arm to drug traffickers in the region, as illegal CIA arms
flights > to the US mercenary forces offered an easy way to ship
drugs back to > the US, sometimes through US Air Force bases,
traffickers report. >
> The close correlation between the drug racket and international
> terrorism (sometimes called "counterinsurgency," "low intensity
> conflict" or some other euphemism) is not surprising. Clandestine
> operations need plenty of money, which should be undetectable.
And > they need criminal operatives as well. The rest follows. >


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