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Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America

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When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politic When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politics shows that under the cover of national security and covert operations, the U.S. government has repeatedly collaborated with and protected major international drug traffickers. A new preface discusses developments of the last six years, including the Mercury News stories and the public reaction they provoked.


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When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politic When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politics shows that under the cover of national security and covert operations, the U.S. government has repeatedly collaborated with and protected major international drug traffickers. A new preface discusses developments of the last six years, including the Mercury News stories and the public reaction they provoked.

30 review for Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    If you're ever in doubt as to how abominable your nation can behave (though these days that's easily clarified) just give this one a read. The skinny: the US used criminal and often atrocity-loving drug dealers and terrorists and, well, narcoterrorists, to help with "policy-making" in Central America, read: killing lots of people for no real reason. The Cold War hardly an excuse, the "war on drugs" later eminently laughable given everything that his book discusses. Hardly a casual read and so chuc If you're ever in doubt as to how abominable your nation can behave (though these days that's easily clarified) just give this one a read. The skinny: the US used criminal and often atrocity-loving drug dealers and terrorists and, well, narcoterrorists, to help with "policy-making" in Central America, read: killing lots of people for no real reason. The Cold War hardly an excuse, the "war on drugs" later eminently laughable given everything that his book discusses. Hardly a casual read and so chuck full of names, dates, intricate webs of narco-espionage-CIA-drug cartel insanity, that you'll feel like you just did a shitload of cocaine while piloting a Cessna through a Duran Duran video in order to violently topple a democratically-elected government. Very 80s, in other words, but also strikingly familiar now. Seriously, folks, the US has pulled some stupid, vile shit in its time, and Scott and Marshall are here to detail some of the most nefarious moments for you. Fans of US iniquity will find much familiar here, as the secret US/CIA use of known drug lords and terrorists to wage stupid wars in the name of nothing in Central America ties in with things like the Iran/Contra scandal and the BCCI investigations in the early 90s. In fact, S&M's work here is based off the committee John Kerry led (would've been known as the president with the best hair if he'd been elected) to investigate shady intelligence dealings, but the authors fill in the gaps. There are Cuban exile terrorists, American businessmen shuttling cocaine and heroin into the US, Israelis, Pakistanis...damn, it runs the gamut. The main takeaway: maybe there's a better tact to behave, like targeting those drug traffickers the US was complicit in helping become so powerful and rich, instead of flooding our prison system with petty abusers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    This was my favorite book from my Latin American Studies major. Chilling, thoroughly researched, artfully and efficiently presented... It will have a huge effect on how you view U.S. policies toward Latin America.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    I started with this Peter Dale Scott book to get a sense of his tone and handling of a subject before trying his more controversial works. This book turned out to be very careful and fair, almost too fair. Here Scott largely sticks to the Kerry report exposing U.S. government complicity in South and Central American drug trade as a mere tip of it emerged in Oliver North's Iran-Contra crimes. The book isn't as powerful as Robert Parry's seminal reporting gathered in Lost History or as contextuali I started with this Peter Dale Scott book to get a sense of his tone and handling of a subject before trying his more controversial works. This book turned out to be very careful and fair, almost too fair. Here Scott largely sticks to the Kerry report exposing U.S. government complicity in South and Central American drug trade as a mere tip of it emerged in Oliver North's Iran-Contra crimes. The book isn't as powerful as Robert Parry's seminal reporting gathered in Lost History or as contextualized as Alexander Cockburn's Whiteout. Scott goes into more, not always helpful, detail than either of these works. Now I'll have to try Alfred McCoy's more historically extensive The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Wherever the CIA goes, drug trade skyrockets. Now Afghanistan is once again the top heroin producer in the world, and in the past few weeks more reports have surfaced about U.S. military planes in Afghanistan used as transports. It's the same old practices that go back before Vietnam.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

    This book was dryer than a popcorn fart. Dense, slow-moving reportage about the US Government's blind eye for coke smuggling during it's dirty wars down south. The Boland amendment said no more financing the Contras. But Reagan and Ollie North wanted to help the contras anyway so they let them fly up from Costa Rica and Honduras with drugs and back down with guns and didn't say shit. The interesting part of this book was the bit on the media and how major outlets (NYT, WP et al) wouldn't print a This book was dryer than a popcorn fart. Dense, slow-moving reportage about the US Government's blind eye for coke smuggling during it's dirty wars down south. The Boland amendment said no more financing the Contras. But Reagan and Ollie North wanted to help the contras anyway so they let them fly up from Costa Rica and Honduras with drugs and back down with guns and didn't say shit. The interesting part of this book was the bit on the media and how major outlets (NYT, WP et al) wouldn't print any stories about it even though they were aware it was going on. This was to protect their relationships with the white house. If you piss off the prez you don't get any more hot scoops. Anyway this book was boring and really just added granular detail to stuff I was already aware of. The end.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Very dry, but worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    6655321

    like, i guess this is part of the Noam Chomsky school of writing where you write a bunch of true things and illustrate how complicity in like right wing death squads and the manufacture of drugs is like *basically a bipartisan part of the political establishment in the USA* but suggest somehow transparency or liberalism will solve all that?

  7. 5 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard May

  11. 5 out of 5

    mohsen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  13. 4 out of 5

    John Fugleberg

  14. 4 out of 5

    Logan Lockett

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Podell

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gonzalo Tamez

  18. 4 out of 5

    joya poole

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sodom Hussein

  20. 5 out of 5

    AyBruhHam

  21. 4 out of 5

    JD

  22. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jesseespinosa

  25. 5 out of 5

    zhouxingye

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian Saady

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gene Leone

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mahesh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Don King

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

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