September 30, 1996 in Nation/World

Just Saying No Still Best Defense Against Drug Use

Claude Lewis Knight-Ridder
 

Much of the African American community is on fire concerning allegations that a Central Intelligence Agency scheme dumped a blizzard of cocaine on black America during the 1980s.

The story, as chronicled by the San Jose Mercury News in a series of articles in August, contends that drug smugglers flooded our inner cities with the destructive white stuff and funneled the profits to a CIA-backed Nicaraguan army. This, at a time when first lady Nancy Reagan was advising Americans to “Just Say No” to drugs. The CIA, of course, denies all.

But even before the Mercury News presented its evidence, including a tell-all interview with drug lord Danilo Blandon, many blacks were convinced that the government was behind the crack epidemic plaguing corners of black America.

Conspiracy theories about federal misconduct aimed at blacks have long circulated. Some seem so outlandish that most Americans, black and white, dismiss them out of hand. For example, that AIDS is a genocidal federal plot.

To be sure, there’s truth attached to some of these stories. Certainly, in the ‘60s, the FBI employed illegal tactics to disrupt the civil-rights movement.

Wasn’t it revealed that the FBI was involved in an attempt to impel the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide?

Didn’t government agents infiltrate, participate or persuade some young revolutionaries to commit crimes, including murder?

And wasn’t the government behind the so-called “Tuskegee experiment,” the 40-year study of the effects of untreated syphillis in which black males were used as guinea pigs?

The crack cocaine conspiracy was certainly possible, especially if you consider a question posed by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas:

“How could such massive amounts of cocaine get into our urban areas where there are no boats, no transportation centers?”

Activist Dick Gregory, no stranger to government-based conspiracy theories, is convinced the CIA’s tentacles have repeatedly reached into black neighborhoods.

Some have seen its hand in the controversial and mysterious assassination of Malcolm X and other blacks.

Some suspect the government of conspiracy in the disappearance and murder of 29 young blacks, mostly males, in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. The 1982 conviction of Wayne Williams, an African American, in two of the murders, has not quieted suspicions. Many blacks believe Williams was made a scapegoat to cover up for those really responsible for the killings.

One theory about the case held that the government was engaged in a “scientific experiment,” which depended on specific body parts of many of the male victims.

The reason I doubt theories of genocide against blacks is that I don’t think a determined government would need to strain much to pull it off. Especially since so many blacks, given their history, would unwittingly help such a plot succeed.

If the CIA really was responsible for dumping crack cocaine into black communities, does it follow that blacks “had” to join the self-destructive plot by “using” the drug?

The Congressional Black Caucus and other black organizations are calling for an investigation into the drug scheme, but don’t hold your breath.

Conspiracies are one thing to charge, and another to prove.

I insist the best defense against plots by the government to dump drugs into the black community is not to use them. But that’s just too simple a concept for the politicians and the race hustlers to sell.

Blacks are involved in self-destruction on many levels, including violence, drugs and drive-by shootings. It does not require a complicated plot by the CIA or anybody else to destroy the African American community.

All that is required is a little patience and blacks will accomplish it themselves.

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