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Why the Drug War Has Been a Forty-Year Lynching

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Poster of Nixon about the drug war

The Drug War has been a forty-year lynching….
…the corporate/GOP response to the peace and civil rights movements.

It’s used the Drug Enforcement Administration and other policing operations as a high-tech Ku Klux Klan, meant to gut America’s communities of youth and color.

It has never been about suppressing drugs. Quite the opposite.

And now that it may be winding down, the focus on suppressing minority votes will shift even stronger to electronic election theft.

The Drug War was officially born June 17, 1971, (http://www.drugpolicy.org/new-solutions-drug-policy/brief-history-drug-war) when Richard Nixon pronounced drugs to be “Public Enemy Number One.” In a nation wracked by poverty, racial tension, injustice, civil strife, ecological disaster, corporate domination, a hated Vietnam War and much more, drugs seemed an odd choice.
In fact, the Drug War’s primary target was black and young voters.

It was the second, secret leg of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” meant to bring the former Confederacy into the Republican Party.

Part One was about the white vote.

America’s original party of race and slavery (https://zinnedproject.org/materials/a-peoples-history-of-the-united-states-updated-and-expanded-edition/)was Andrew Jackson’s Democrats (born 1828).

After the Civil War the Party’s terror wing, the KKK, made sure former slaves and their descendants “stayed in their place.”

A century of lynchings (at least 3200 of them) (http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.04.x.html)efficiently suppressed the southern black community.

In the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal social programs began to attract black voters to the Democratic Party. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s support for civil and voting rights legislation, plus the 24th Amendment ending the poll tax, sealed the deal. Today blacks, who once largely supported the Party of Lincoln,  vote 90% or more Democrat (http://blackdemographics.com/culture/black-politics/).

But the Democrats’ lean to civil rights angered southern whites. Though overt racist language was no longer acceptable in the 1970s, Nixon’s Republicans clearly signaled an open door to the former Confederacy (https://www.thenation.com/article/why-todays-gop-crackup-is-the-final-unraveling-of-nixons-southern-strategy/).

But recruiting angry southern whites would not be enough for the Republicans to take the south. In many southern states more than 40% of potential voters were black. If they were allowed to vote, and if their votes were actually counted, all the reconstructed Democrat Party would need to hold the south would be a sliver of moderate white support.

That’s where the Drug War came in.

Reliable exact national arrest numbers from 1970 through 1979 are hard to come by.

But according to Michelle Alexander’s superb, transformative The New Jim Crow, and according to research by Marc Mauer and Ryan King of the Sentencing Project, more than 31,000,000 Americans were arrested for drugs between 1980 and 2007 (http://newjimcrow.com).

Further federal uniform crime report statistics compiled by www.freepress.org indicate that, between 2008 and 2014, another 9,166,000 were arrested for drug possession.
Taken together, than means well over 40,000,000 American citizens have been arrested for drugs in the four decades since Nixon’s announcement.
It is a staggering number: more than 10% of the entire United States, nearly four times the current population of Ohio, far in excess of more than 100 countries worldwide.
A number that has gutted the African-American community.  A national terror campaign far beyond the reach of even the old KKK.
Justice Department statistics indicate than half of those arrests have been for simple possession of marijuana.
According to US Bureau of Justice statistics, between 1980 and 2013, while blacks were 12% of the population, blacks constituted 30% of those arrested for drug law violations and nearly 40% of those incarcerated in all U.S. prisons.  Thus some 20,000,000 African-American men have been sent to prison for non-violent “crimes” in the past forty years.
If the Hispanic population is added in, as much as 60% of drug arrests are of racial or ethnic minorities.   \
On the 40th anniversary of the Drug War in 2010, the Associated Press used public records to calculate that the taxpayer cost of arresting and imprisoning all these human beings has been in excess of $1,000,000,000.
Sending them all to college would have been far cheaper.  It also would have allowed them to enhance and transform their communities.
Instead, they were taken from their families.  Their children were robbed of their parents.  They were assaulted by the prison culture, stripped of their right to vote and stopped from leading the kind of lives that might have moved the nation in a very different direction.
Nixon also hated hippies and the peace movement. So in addition to disenfranchising 20,000,000 African-Americans, the Drug War has imprisoned additional millions of young white and Hispanic pot smokers.
Thus the DEA has been the ultra-violent vanguard of the corporate culture war.
In 1983 Ronald Reagan took the Drug War to a new level.  Using profits from his illegal arms sales to Iran, he illegally funded the Contra thugs who were fighting Nicaragua’s duly elected Sandinista government.
The Contras were drug dealers who shipped large quantities of cocaine into the US—-primarily in the Los Angeles area—-where it was mostly converted to crack.
That served a double function for the GOP.
First, it decimated the inner city.
Then Reagan’s “Just Say No” assault—-based on the drugs his Contra allies were injecting into our body politic—-imposed penalties on crack far more severe than those aimed at the powdered cocaine used in the white community.
In 1970 the US prison population was roughly 300,000 people.  Today it’s more than 2.2 million, the largest in world history by both absolute number and percentage of the general population.  There are more people in prison in the US than in China, which has five times the population (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11).

According to the Sentencing Project, one in seventeen white males has been incarcerated, one in six Latinos, and one in three blacks.
By all accounts the Drug War has had little impact on drug consumption in the US, except to make it more profitable for drug dealers (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11).  It’s spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry in prison construction, policing, prison guards, lawyers, judges and more, all of them invested in prolonging the drug war despite its negative impacts on public health.

For them, the stream of ruined lives of non-violent offenders is just another form of cash flow.
Like the Klan since the Civil War, the Drug War has accomplished its primary political goal of suppressing the black vote and assaulting the African-American community.
It’s shifted control of the South from the Democrats back to the Republican Party. By slashing voter eligibility and suppressing black turnout, the Drug War crusade has helped the GOP take full control of both houses of the US Congress and a majority of state governments across the US.
But the repressive impacts hit everyone, and ultimately enhance the power of the corporate state.
Toward that end, the southern corporate Democrat Bill Clinton’s two terms as a Drug Warrior further broadened the official attack on grassroots America. Clinton was determined to make sure nobody appeared tougher on “crime.”  He escalated the decimation of our democracy far beyond mere party politics, deepening the assault on the black community, and the basic rights of all Americans for the benefit of his Wall Street funders.  Obama has been barely marginally better.
In political terms, the Nixon-Reagan GOP remains the Drug War’s prime beneficiary. Today’s Republicans are poised to continue dominating our electoral process through the use of rigged electronic registration rolls and voting machines. That’s a core reality we all must face.
But no matter which party controls the White House or Congress, by prosecuting a behavior engaged in by tens of millions of Americans, the Drug War lets the corporate state arrest (and seize assets from) virtually anyone it wants at any time. It has empowered a de facto corporate police state beyond public control.
Regardless of race, we all suffer from the fear, repression and random assaults of a drug-fueled repressive police force with no real accountability.
In the interim, the Drug War is not now and never has been about drugs.
Legalizing pot is just the beginning of our recovery process.
Until we end the Drug War as a whole, America will never know democracy, peace or justice.
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THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE 2016 SELECTION will be released by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman by January, 2016. Their CITIZEN KASICH will follow soon thereafter. Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are at www.freepress.org; Harvey’s ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY will appear in 2016.

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To Cuba With Love, Report Back, Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer

To Cuba with Love
Report Back by Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer

Monday, August 24, 2015 – Central Ohioans for Peace meeting
Columbus Mennonite Church
35 Oakland Park Avenue
BobWPic
The Central Ohioans for Peace meet regularly on Monday evenings at 7pm at the Columbus Mennonite Church, 35 Oakland Park Avenue. Each meeting has a different peace-oriented presentation. On August 24, Columbus Free Press Editors Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer will present on their week-long “To Cuba with Love” delegation with Code Pink. In February they joined in the first large U.S. people-to-people visit to Cuba since the warming of relations last December. They will share their experiences touring the country, meeting with public officials including Mariela Castro, visits with Cuban people and impressions of the state of the nation under the U.S. embargo. Also presenting will be Lisa Valanti, longtime Pastors for Peace activist. They will lead a discussion on the future of U.S.-Cuban relations.
Free and open to the public.
614-253-2571 or colsfreepress@gmail.com

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October Social/Film Events

Monday, October 21, 2013
50 Years: Project Film Festival
7:00 pm. Our first film in this series is “A Place at the Table,” which weaves personal stories and policy-level issues to tell the story of U.S. hunger and its serious economic, social and cultural implications. It further makes the case that ensuring healthy food is available and affordable is in the best interest of us all and discusses the nature of policies impacting our food system. For more information, contact Keith Kilty at kilty.1@osu.edu
Location: 100 Stillman Hall (1947 College Road) on the Ohio State campus

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – 7:30pm
Free Press Fourth Tuesdays Free Films return to the Drexel!
Love Hate & Propaganda: The War On Terror Propaganda, the weapon of mass persuasion, is a powerful force and has helped shape events of the 20th century. This film examines how propaganda influenced significant moments in history, and the lives of the people who lived through them. Hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos, Love, Hate & Propaganda is a primer on the art of mass persuasion, aimed directly at a media-savvy generation. Nine days after the 9-11 attacks on America, President George Bush declared War on Terror. This film examines the role propaganda played leading up to Bush’s declaration and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Co-sponsored by The Columbus Film Council. Admission is free, donations encouraged. 90 min film followed by discussion.
Location: Drexel Theater, 2254 E. Main Street, Bexley

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Bob interviews Jill Stein on www.WVKO1580.com

Podcast below pictures or click here!

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Employees of Romney Family’s secret bank tied to fraud, money laundering, drug cartels and the CIA

by Gerry Bello and Bob Fitrakis
October 20, 2012

As previously reported in by the Columbus Free Press, the Romney family, namely Mitt, Ann, G Scott and Tagg Romney, along with Mitt’s “6th son” and campaign finance chair have a secretive private equity firm called Solamere Capital Partners. This firms ties to Romney’s campaign and bundlers is already well documented, along with its connection to the manufacture and distribution of voting machines. What is not as well documented is a subsidiary of that secret bank hiring employees of a failed firm tied to a ponzi scheme that has a long history of money laundering for Latin American drug cartels and to the Iran-Contra scandal.

As reported by ThinkProgress, Solamere Capital Partner’s subsidiary Solamere Advisors is a investment advisory group, providing advice to Solamere clients and boosting sales. Would-be corporate pugilist Tagg Romney is a director. According to the New York Times, all but one of its 11 employees came from the Charlotte office of the Stanford Financial Group, the US investment arm of convicted felon R. Allen Stanford’s offshore banking and fraud network that comprised a host of companies including the Stanford International Bank, Stanford Capital Management, The Bank of Antigua, Stanford Trust and Stanford Gold and Bullion. Three of these employees, Tim Bambauer, Deems May, and Brandon Phillips, received incentive compensation related to their direct sales of securities linked to a fraud that brought down this banking network.

Tim Bambauer has left his position as managing partner at Solamere Advisors. May and Phillips remain employed as partner and chief compliance officer respectively.

Allen Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence for convictions on 13 counts of fraud. His companies were placed in receivership. $8 billion of Stanford’s stolen money has yet to be recovered and the victims are in court to recover those funds and incentive pay bonuses to Stanford employees (including Bambauer, May and Phillips) for fraudulently getting people to invest in an operation that later bilked many of them out of their life’s savings.

Stanford’s shady history and criminality did not begin with the fraudulent investments that lead to his downfall, nor was it unknown at the highest level of United State’s Government. In a 2006 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, the US Ambassador to Antigua advised “Embassy officers do not reach out to Stanford because of the allegations of bribery and money laundering. The Ambassador managed to stay out of any one-on-one photos with Stanford during the breakfast. For his part, Stanford said he preferred to conduct his business without contacting the Embassy, resolving any investment disputes directly with local governments. It is whispered in the region that Stanford facilitates resolution with significant cash contributions.”

Similarly investigations by the SEC, FBI and Scotland Yard into Stanford’s empire stalled or failed all the way back to the 1980s. The Independent Newspaper in the UK alleges that Stanford’s network was on the FBI’s radar for more than 20 years. Stanford set up his first offshore bank in 1986, just as Eugene Hausenfaus, shot down while gun running for the CIA in Nicaragua, was being connected to another company named Stanford, in this case the “Stanford Technology Trading Group” owned by Richard Secord, Albert Hakim, and 4 unknown other persons, perhaps including Allen Stanford. According to Iran-Contra Whistleblower Al Martin (Lt. Cmdr. USNR ret.) “Anything with the name Stanford on it belonged to Secord”. When finally brought to trial, Stanford employed the same defense attorney, Dick DeGuerin, as Iran-Contra defendant Oliver North.

As the Iran-Contra explosion crippled the CIA’s Caribbean bank of choice, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Stanford’s offshore banking empire got using the same techniques and embracing the same moral category of clients. Stanford’s banks were known to have laundered money from the Juarez Cartel and alleged to have done so earlier for the Medellin Cartel, and one of his private planes has been seized by the Mexican government in a drug case.

On top of legal woes in the United States and Mexico, the London Daily Telegraph reported that Stanford’s Venezuelan offices were raided by Venezuela’s military intelligence over claims that its employees were paid by the CIA to spy on the South American country. When asked about this in a CNBC interview which was cited in a story by independent journalist Tom Burghardt, Stanford declined to comment on any involvement with the CIA rather than outright deny it.

All of the these dealings by Stanford, and the complicity of his employees in facilitating them, was public information before January 2010, when Mitt Romney addressed the first full meeting of Solamere’s investors. Yet his son Tagg chose to hire into his family these alleged white collar criminals as soon as Stanford’s criminal empire collapsed. The Romney family stands by the new employees associated with their secret bank, as evidenced by Tagg’s response to interview questions from ThinkProgress regarding Solamere’s ability to reign them in: “Hey guys, We’re done here”.

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A Special Free Press Second Saturday Salon, Saturday, July 14

6:30pm – midnight

1021 E. Broad St.

(backyard and carriage house, parking in front or lot in rear)

There’s lots going on at the Second Saturday Salon this month. In honor of Bastille Day, there will be a workshop on the Lucasville Prison Uprising and the efforts to help the Lucasville Five. We also have the Know Drones tour here complete with a drone model. And, the usual food, drink, music, and progressive friends. If you want to bring a dish, make it easy outdoor food, picnic-style.

253-2571

truth@freepress.org

 

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Disband NATO

by Bob Fitrakis

This Memorial Day, our nation should honor our war dead by either withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or, better yet, completely dismantling the obsolete Cold War defense pact. NATO exists today not to defend against aggressive authoritarian Communism, but to steal resources from weaker non-European countries by military force. Its two most recent military actions made the May 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago a gathering of war criminals.

NATO was established in April 1949 at the height of the Cold War and the creation of the so-called “Iron Curtain” dividing Eastern and Western Europe. In 1955, the Soviet bloc countered with its own military organization, the Warsaw Pact. The current 28 NATO member nations account for an estimated 70% of the world’s defense spending.

East and West Germany reunified in October 1990. The Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991 along with the Warsaw Pact. NATO achieved its goal as a defensive pact of defending Western Europe from the Soviet bloc.

But now, it stalks the Earth like a vampire, existing only to hijack resources from non-Western nations. NATO’s trajectory since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been toward a new Western imperialism.

First there was the intervention into the Yugoslavian civil war in the 1990s. The Yugoslavian campaign included a 78-day bombardment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Over 500 civilians died.

NATO shifted its activities away from Europe when it invoked Article V of its charter for the first time in its history. Article V states that an attack on any one member of NATO can be considered an attack on the entire alliance. After invoking Article V, NATO became an offensive military organization under the domination of the United States following the events of 9/11. NATO’s support for the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan was arguable legal.

Still, NATO’s greatest sin, and one that makes it an organization of war criminals, stems from its involvement in the illegal U.S. and British attack on Iraq in 2003. NATO formed the NATO Training Mission — Iraq to help train Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the U.S. and the coalition of the willing. NATO claimed to be responding to the request of the Iraqi interim government, a puppet government installed after the illegal U.S. invasion.

NATO’s more than 7-year training mission in Iraq underscores the need for the defensive alliance to disband. In 2011, NATO intervened illegally in the Libyan civil war. NATO planes flew over 950 airstrikes against pro-Gadaffi forces. Without NATO’s violent and vicious attack on the Gadaffi regime, the Libyan government would have remained in power.

In both Iraq and Libya, NATO’s job is to assist the U.S. in jacking the oil of Third World people. NATO, like any vampire, needs a stake put through its heart.