from TheIntercept Website
A still frame from the History Channel documentary
"America's War on Drugs."
Here are two of his
many tweets on this subject:
Not only is it an
important contribution to recent American history, it's also the
first time U.S. television has ever told the core truth about one of
the most important issues of the past 50 years.
For decades the federal government has engaged in a shifting series of alliances of convenience with some of the world's largest drug cartels.
So while the U.S.
incarceration rate has quintupled since President Richard Nixon
first declared the war on drugs in 1971, top narcotics dealers have
simultaneously enjoyed protection at the highest levels of power in
We've recently seen how ideas that once seemed absolutely preposterous and taboo, for instance,
...can after years of silence finally break through into popular consciousness and exact real consequences.
The series could be a
watershed in doing the same for the reality behind one of the most
cynical and cruel policies in U.S. history.
A still frame of former crack kingpin Rick Ross
in the History Channel documentary
"America's War on Drugs."
What's not standard is the story told on camera by former Drug Enforcement Administration operatives as well as journalists and drug dealers themselves.
(One of the reporters is
Ryan Grim, The Intercept's Washington bureau chief and author of "This
Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in
The first episode opens with the voice of Lindsay Moran, a one-time clandestine CIA officer, declaring,
Then Richard Stratton, a marijuana smuggler turned writer and television producer, explains,
Next, New York University professor Christian Parenti tells viewers,
For the next eight hours, the series sprints through history that's largely the greatest hits of the U.S. government's partnership with heroin, hallucinogen, and cocaine dealers.
That these greatest hits
can fill up most of four two-hour episodes demonstrates how
extraordinarily deep and ugly the story is.
Instead, by dosing
thousands of young volunteers including Ken Kesey, Whitey Bulger,
and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, the agency accidentally
helped popularize acid and generate the 1960s counterculture of
Air America, a CIA front,
flew supplies for the guerrillas into Laos and then flew drugs out,
all with the knowledge and protection of U.S. operatives.
While less has been uncovered about the CIA's machinations here, it's hard not to notice that we installed Hamid Karzai as president while his brother apparently was on the CIA payroll and, simultaneously, one of the country's biggest opium dealers.
Afghanistan now supplies
about 90 percent of the world's heroin.
But, as Moran puts it,
Winning their secret wars will always be their top priority, and if that requires cooperation with drug cartels that are flooding the U.S. with their product, so be it.
What makes this history so grotesque is the government's mind-breaking levels of hypocrisy.
It's like Donald Trump
declaring a War on Real Estate Developers that fills prisons
with people who occasionally rent out their spare bedroom on Airbnb.
Grassley is now chairman
of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a longtime committed drug warrior
and - during the 1980s - a supporter of the contras.
That this series exists at all shows that we're at a tipping point with this brazen, catastrophic lie.
We have to push hard
enough to knock it over.