Friday, January 27, 2006

Are you so sure Murray?

Sitting between my Con Law Professor and my buddy Murray, I was arguing about gun control again. I was hearing, yet again, the "we need our guns to revolt" line and wasn't buying it. Apparently all those guns the Iraqis had didn't help them against Saddam Hussein, but pro-gun folks rarely realize that kind of thing. Freedom doesn't come from the barrel of the gun. It comes from the pen. It comes from ideas. Without people who understand the concepts, it doesn't matter how well-armed you are.

But what this is really about is yet another conspiracy theory that has found it's way into the minds of normally reasonable people. Is it true that the CIA sold dope in LA for Iran-Contra? Well, the San Jose Mercury News ran a series of articles, later retracted and debunked by the NY Times, the Post and the LA times. I checked out what frontline had to say about the subject and came up with this:

One of the people who was accused in the San Jose Mercury-News of being in the midst of the CIA cocaine conspiracy is one of the most respected, now retired, veteran D.E.A. agents, Robert "Bobby" Nieves.

"You have to understand Central America at that time was a haven for the conspiracy theorists. Christic Institute, people like Gary Webb, others down there, looking to dig up some story for political advantage," Nieves said. "No sexier story than to create the notion in people's minds that these people are drug traffickers."

But in the weeks following publication, Webb's peers doubted the merit of the articles. Fellow journalists at the Washington Post, New York Times and Webb's own editor accused him of blowing a few truths up into a massive conspiracy.

Amongst Webb's fundamental problems was his implication that the CIA lit the crack cocaine fuse. It was conspiracy theory: a neat presentation of reality that simply didn't jibe with real life. Webb later agreed in an interview that there is no hard evidence that the CIA as an institution or any of its agent-employees carried out or profited from drug trafficking.Frontline


Blogger Politically Lost said...

Oh, stop being simplistic. This is a vast story, and has more than fifty years of history. We've been attempting to manipulate the internal dynamics of countries all of the world since we became a nation. What better way to do it off the books.

Couple of issues to point out. A google search of "CIA running drugs" brings up some pretty solid reporting on the existence of this story.

Like this MO JO article, and it even deals with the NY Times "debunking".

There's a whole lot more, not just the ambiguous results from that Frontline piece.

Just because contrary evidence exists and was reported on PBS doesn't somehow make the story unreal and some sort of kook meme that only 2nd amendment supporters would believe. And, it is not a "neat" way to package the crack crisis. The story is ENORMOUS and has many connections that reach beyond just gang members in LA, Contras, and CIA agents. It's the milieu in which the CIA has opperated for over half a century.

And, yeah...I'm sure.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Politically Lost said...

I just read the perfect description of this situation:

"Whether you are inside a big media institution, or inside a big party institution, the path to success involves internalizing a set of tribal norms that bear little or no relationship to reality."

That's how you can have a story as explosive and TRUE as our CIA drug running story and yet it still doesn't penetrate the national consciousness. If the internalized tribal norms are offended they are usually ignored. Would anyone have belived that Nixon was wiretapping and having thugs intimidate and break into offices? Or, illegally bombing Cambodia. Well those stories were not belived untill the tribe voted him off the island.

8:07 PM  

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