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‘In the war on drugs, which side is the CIA on?’

William Covington | 10/30/2014, midnight
The Hollywood film industry has churned out two movies this month covering the crack cocaine epidemic that ravaged Black communities ...
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Don Zaluchi, “The Godfather.”

After W.W.II, Luciano’s crime family imported and sold heroin to Black and sometimes Puerto Rican wholesalers on a regular basis. At the lower levels of the heroin distribution system, user-dealers would generally be advanced several “bags” of heroin to sell; they would use some, and sell enough to pay their supplier in order to “reup” (gain the next bundle of heroin to sell).

According to a 1989 Drug Enforcement Agency study, prior to World War II, heroin was primarily confined to a few large cities, especially

New York city.

But the profile of the people abusing the drug changed once W.W.II began. Prior to 1940, about 20 percent of those arrested for narcotic

law violations were Black; that figure increased to more than 50 percent by the mid 1950s, according to Drug Narcotic Research Inc.

Prior to 1940, the prevailing stereotype of a narcotic addict was a White or Asian. However, after the migration of thousands of Southern Blacks to New York to fill wartime industrial jobs, their children began to use the drug. In fact, a study conducted by New York University psychiatrist Judith S. Brook found that most first-generation African Americans migrants who relocated to New York, avoided drug and heroin use and abuse.

Secret war in Laos 1965

By 1965, the CIA was involved in a secret war, but this time, the battlefield was Indochina or as it was commonly known by the public during that era Vietnam. What was different this time from W.W.II, was that Indochina was an undeclared war the U.S. became involved in during the Kennedy Administration (1962) and it continued until the Nixon Administration (1973). While the war in Vietnam was offically funded, related combat in Cambodia and Laos was not.

America began bombing Cambodia and Laos in an effort to destroy a supply route for weapons known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This road originated in North Vietnam, veered into Cambodia and Laos and then back into South Vietnam. The Vietcong constantly transported arms, food, medical supplies and other war accouterments items by bicycle. The highway played a major role in helping the North Vietnamese defeat the U.S., according to former Vietnam veteran and South Los Angeles resident Alfred Johnson.

In order to fund this segment of the war, opium grown in Laos was sold in America to generate cash, according to Ron Rickenbach, a former official of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The drugs were later smuggled back to the U.S. by CIA operative and French national Vang Pao.

Poa operated his own airline, given to him by the CIA. Naturally, the imported heroine ended up in the Black communities through the infrastructure initially set up after W.W.II. Ironically, these communities also provided much of the fighting force deployed to liberate South Vietnam.

In response, former CIA Director William Colby said: “. . . CIA has had a solid rule against being involved in drug trafficking. That’s not to say that some of the people the CIA has used or (have) been in touch with over the years may well have, themselves, been involved in drug traffic(king), but not the CIA.”