Update: On the Role of the U.S. Government in International Drug Trafficking
The Results of Our Letter Writing Campaign
In our last newsletter (No. 18, September 1987) we discussed how Mexico and other disadvantaged countries have no choice but to depend on international drug trafficking just to keep paying the interest on their suffocating foreign debts. We pointed out that this dire necessity to service debt through drugs makes it very difficult for the governments of either the drug-consuming countries (notably the U.S.) or the drug producing countries, to fight a serious “war on drugs.” Far from curtailing drug flow into the U.S., the evidence shows that U.S. government agents have for 40 years been financing covert destabilization campaigns (that is to say, secret wars and terrorism) against small countries that have dared to distribute resources more fairly, and are therefore considered a threat to U.S. security. As a current example, we looked at Central America. We quoted nationally reported evidence that many of the U.S. missions to supply so-called “humanitarian aid” to the Nicaraguan Contras were in fact clandestinely delivering tons of arms and explosives to the Contras, and were transporting tons of cocaine and heroin into the U.S. on their return flights. We also quoted allegations that certain high U.S. officials were aware of this U.S. Contra drug connection and that some actively promoted it, while others contrived to cover it up or provide ‘deniability’.
Newsletter No. 18 was sent to subscribers in nearly 100 countries, and (with a cover letter) to every member of the U.S. Congress. The response from our readers was tremendous. Some sent for 100 copies or more to distribute to concerned groups and friends.
By contrast, the response from the members of Congress was disappointing: a handful of inappropriate form letters.
We did get a long and enthusiastic response from Rep. Charles Rangel, who heads the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.
The Head of the U.S. Justice Department Obstructs Justice—Says U.S. Congressman
In his reply and accompanying documents Rep. Rangel expressed his frustration with the U.S. Justice Department, the CIA, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for obstructing attempts by his Congressional committee to get at the root of the U.S.—Contra-drug connection. In May of 1987, Rangel requested that the DEA, CIA, and Customs Service brief his committee on Contra drug links at a closed session. The CIA and the DEA, which is under the Justice Department, refused. Rangel charged that Attorney General Meese had “gagged” these agencies. “We are being stone-walled,” Rangel said.
It is a sad state of affairs when the head of the U.S. Justice Department obstructs justice in a matter that concerns not only the health and well-being of millions of young North Americans, but the stability of other nations and the prospects for world peace.
The U.S. Mass Media—Accomplice to Government Crime
Equally sad is the apparent conspiracy of the major U.S. press in the cover-up. Even the Washington Post (which has often been braver than most in exposing abuses by the U.S. government) is guilty of suppressing this explosive and far-reaching issue.
On July 22, 1987, Rep. Rangel sent a letter to the Washington Post criticizing as misleading an article that appeared in the Post the same day, “Hill Panel Finds No Evidence Linking Contra to Drug Smuggling.” In his letter to the Post, Rangel stresses that the Congressional Committee he heads, in fact, reached quite a different conclusion. He states clearly that “We did not conclude that there was no Contra involvement in drug smuggling.” He adds, “equally important, we are investigating the possibility of U.S. federal agencies' acquiescence in or knowledge of Contra drug smuggling links and the use of any proceeds of drug trafficking to support the Contra cause.”
The Washington Post refused to publish Rangel’s letter, relatively cautious as it was, considering the wealth of incriminating evidence. So Rangel published the letter in the Congressional Record.
Within certain government circles (and some of the more conservative U.S. press) there has been an active attempt to discredit Representative Rangel and the findings of his committee.
For example, a June 6, 1988 article of the New York Times relates other congresspersons' criticism of Rangel, accusing him of being “dogmatic and demagogic” in his pursuit of drug enforcement. It criticizes him for “taking the hard line and popular view that we’re not being tough enough and that’s why we’re not winning the drug war.”
But the Times article does not tell us that it is on our own government that Rangel wants Congress to be tougher. Nor does it breathe a word about the countless allegations of crime, dishonesty, and high-level cover-up of complicity in drug trafficking by U.S. agencies or the House committee’s substantiation of many of those allegations.
Rangel’s committee has made these earth-shattering facts clear. Why hasn’t the New York Times? We find ourselves asking, “What are the vested interests of the paper’s owners and editors?” “What do you suppose the CIA or IRS has on them?” Who decides what news is “fit to print?”
To make things worse, the Christic Institute’s case to expose the involvement of present and former U.S. agents in drug trafficking to finance covert violence, was recently thrown out of court. However, the Christic Institute is continuing its fight and still needs support.
With both the media and the justice system conspiracy to cover up the drug trafficking and terrorism of the U.S. government, those of us committed to defending the interests of the oppressed must take a stronger and more united stand than ever.