In the discussion thread: Crack Cocaine versus Powder Cocaine - Does The DOJ Prioritize Cost over Justice? [View all]
Response to xocet (Original post)
Wed Jul 24, 2013, 01:58 AM
AZ Progressive (3,352 posts)
1. Not to mention that the CIA promoted crack to black people in the 80's through Freeway Ricky Ross
"Douglas Farah was in El Salvador when the San Jose Mercury News broke a major story in the summer of 1996: The Nicaraguan Contras, a confederation of paramilitary rebels sponsored by the CIA, had been funding some of their operations by exporting cocaine to the United States. One of their best customers was a man nicknamed "Freeway Rick" -- Ricky Donnell Ross, then a Southern California dealer who was running an operation the Los Angeles Times dubbed "the Wal-Mart of crack dealing."
"My first thought was, 'Holy shit!' because there'd been so many rumors in the region of this going on," said Farah 12 years later. He'd grown up in Latin America and covered it for 20 years for the Washington Post. "There had always been these stories floating around about and cocaine. I knew Adolfo Calero and some of the other folks there, and they were all sleazebags. You wouldn't read the story and say, 'Oh my god, these guys would never do that.' It was more like, 'Oh, one more dirty thing they were doing.' So I took it seriously."
In the mid to late 1980s, a number of reports had surfaced that connected the Contras to the cocaine trade. The first was by Associated Press scribes Brian Barger and Robert Parry, who published a story in December 1985 that began, "Nicaraguan rebels operating in northern Costa Rica have engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua's leftist government, according to U.S. investigators and American volunteers who work with the rebels.""
"San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb sparked national controversy with his 1996 Dark Alliance series which alleged that the influx of Nicaraguan cocaine started and significantly fueled the 1980s crack epidemic. Investigating the lives and connections of Los Angeles crack dealers Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandon, and Norwin Meneses, Webb alleged that profits from these crack sales were funneled to the CIA-supported Contras. Although Webb never claimed that the CIA directly aided drug dealers, it echoed the Kerry Committee conclusion that the CIA was aware of large shipments of cocaine into the U.S. by Contra personnel.
Interest in the series occurred outside the mainstream press, as the story spread through black talk radio and the Internet. Hits to the Mercury Center's website escalated dramatically, some days reaching as high as 1.3 million. Protests across the country were channeled through the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, who pushed both the CIA and the Justice Department to initiate internal investigations into charges of government complicity in the crack trade.
Rebuttals to Webb's argument came from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. The Columbia Journalism Review stated that "it was public pressure that essentially forced the media to address Webb's allegations" noting the contrast between coverage of the Kerry Committee report and "the newspapers’ lengthy rebuttals to the Mercury News series seven years later—collectively totaling over 30,000 words." Outside pressure eventually led the editorial board of Mercury News to concede that they had presented "only one interpretation of complicated, sometimes-conflicting pieces of evidence" ."
From the Huffington Post:
"Ross was the head of a vast cocaine empire emanating from Los Angles across the country. Prosecutors said that in less than a decade from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Ross' operation made at least $600 million. Then a Nicaraguan cocaine supplier and informant, Oscar Danilo Blandon, served him up on a silver platter to the feds."
"Rick Ross definitely didn't invent crack, but he mastered its promotion and got incredibly wealthy along the way. What began as a $125 investment in his first three grams of cocaine when Ross was an illiterate 19-year-old eventually grew into a business making hundreds of millions of dollars in profit.
Later, Ross got cheap cocaine straight from his Nicaraguan connections. By cutting out middlemen, he was able to sell it thousands of dollars cheaper than the competition. Ross created a fast food-like service for users. Smokers had already been cooking up their own cocaine into smokable form. So he mass produced "ready rock:" Smokers could smoke and go, no cooking required."
And from Wikipedia:
"In the early 1980s, the majority of cocaine being shipped to the United States, landing in Miami, was coming through the Bahamas and Dominican Republic. Soon there was a huge glut of cocaine powder in these islands, which caused the price to drop by as much as 80 percent. Faced with dropping prices for their illegal product, drug dealers made a decision to convert the powder to "crack," a solid smokeable form of cocaine, that could be sold in smaller quantities, to more people. It was cheap, simple to produce, ready to use, and highly profitable for dealers to develop. As early as 1981, reports of crack were appearing in Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, Houston, and in the Caribbean."
"Crack first began to be used on a large scale in Los Angeles in 1984. The distribution and use of the drug exploded that same year. By the end of 1986, it was available in 28 states and the District of Columbia. According to the 1985–1986 National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee Report, crack was available in New Orleans, Memphis, Philadelphia, New York City, Houston, San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, St. Louis, Atlanta, Oakland, Kansas City, Miami, Newark, Boston, San Francisco, Albany, Buffalo, and Dallas."
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Not to mention that the CIA promoted crack to black people in the 80's through Freeway Ricky Ross
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