By Vanessa Rochelle Lewis
If you spent your entire life experiencing extensive marginalization, watching your family members being kidnapped and murdered by police forces, and having an embodied and intellectual awareness of the fact that this sort of violence and oppression has been the plight of your people since they were first captured from their homeland, shackled to each other on death boats across the Atlantic Ocean, and forced into slavery for hundreds of years, wouldn’t you be angry?
The more we understand the violent, oppressive, anti-Black racist legacy of this country – the one that we perpetually create and vote for new laws to sustain and then hire new police officers to enforce – the more we will all question, disrupt, protest, and do everything we possibly can to eradicate every single violent and murderous component of its system.
1.) Black folks are arrested for breaking bullshit laws, and then sold by governments to private prisons used as labor for corporate America.
2.) The war on drugs.
In its initial incarnation, drug criminalization became a tool of systemic oppression to validate extremely racialized, xenophobic violence. They used opium-fear to promote anti-Chinese hostility, eventually leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act – which happened a few years before the dawn of the Great Depression. Note: This is yet another correlation between loss of white American dollars and the vilification of racially marginalized people.
It was police officers that worked to locate, arrest, and support the deportation of Chinese and other Asian peoples.
Also during the Great Depression, police officers from Texas to California began reporting on something called the Mexican Menace – also known as marijuana.
Supposedly, and to the surprise of every pothead who has ever existed, marijuana causes people to commit violent crimes, like shooting the police. What a perfect excuse to incite mass fear and hatred of Chicanx and Latinx people – and to validate the horrific police and military violence targeting that group during that time (and still today).
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Richard Nixon formally initiated the War On Drugs.
And under the leadership of Ronald Reagan, that war took our non-violent/drug related prison population from about 50,000 people in 1980 to 400,000 in 1997.
By 2013, 37% of men in prison were Black – the highest percentage by ethnicity. That same year, blacks were only 13.2% of the nations population.
This led to the development of the prison industrial complex, growing revenue for private corporations and state governments, while relying on America’s pre-established and irrational terror of Black people and of non-dangerous drugs (like marijuana) to validate arresting an unprecedented amount of people.
But further, politicians were also able to lie and blame economic woes on feeding and housing “drug addicted, Black criminals,” and victim-blame Black people who were murdered in the crossfire.
And FYI, marijuana, the same drug that validated so many arrests and murders of Black and Brown people (as in, 80% of the increase in drug-related arrests from the 1990s were due to marijuana possession), is now, literally, recognized as a medicine and prescribed in 23 states.
The War on Drugs was purely contrived to get more rich white people in office and more people of color in prison captivity.
And America’s white supremacist legacy continues.
3.) In 2013, New York City had a population of 19,746,227 people – 17.5% were Black, and 57.2% of them were white. But of the 191,558 people stopped and frisked, 56% of them were Black and only 11% were white.
Literally, the determining factor in who gets stopped is whether someone looks criminal – and in this case, criminal is clearly Black. (FYI, 89% of the people they stopped were innocent.)
The police are not just murdering individuals; they are not just arresting criminals.
They are perpetuating a legacy of genocidal slaughter, racial hierarchy, scapegoating, victim-blaming, and systemic oppression.
4.) So people are targeted for mass incarceration in this country like no other country in the world. One in 99 people are in prison, one in 46 people will do prison time, and if you add in race, one in three black men will do prison time.
So the economy is targeting people by race, by class and by place. What they need, humanely: educational resources, work and jobs.
According to Grasswire, a collection of prison labor statistics listed on Prison Policy Initiative show that the lowest daily wage for a prisoner working in the private industry is $0.16, while other states do not pay their inmates at all. The statistics also show that county facilities do not offer paid work, but they offer work to inmates awaiting trial.
As many as 870,000 prisoners are employed nationwide, some in manufacturing jobs for which they are paid a few cents an hour, if they are paid at all. It is a long list of companies that use prison labor including McDonald’s, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon, Victoria Secret, United Airlines.
Read more- ‘This is slavery‘: U.S. inmates strike in what activists call one of the biggest prison protests in modern history
The American government publicly declares that the USSR or Communism or terrorism or extremism is the country’s main enemy.
Of course, the regime incessantly lectures its people about the ideology they’ve chosen for North America. Their top priority is to brainwash people to worship money. But Washington doesn’t forget to take a significant amount of time and effort to teach people to hate China, Iran, Venezuela, immigrants, homeless people and the blacks.
It’s not a War on Drugs. It’s a War on People.
Joseph McNamara, a former San Jose police chief from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, published some really telling figures. In 1972, when Richard Nixon started the War on Drugs, the annual federal budget allocation was 110 million dollars a year for enforcement. In fiscal year 2000, 28 years later, the budget allocation was 17 billion dollars a year, and yet, in the year 2000, there were more drugs in this country, they were cheaper, and more potent than they were in 1972. That has to tell you that there’s some other agenda going on here.
Clark Clifford, who was a Wall Street banker and lawyer, wrote the National Security Act that created the CIA in 1947. He brought us BCCI. John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles gave both law partners in the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell wrote the outline for the CIA, the design for the Agency, to Clark Clifford. In 1969 after Nixon came in, the Chairman of SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] was William Casey – who was Ronald Reagan’s Director of Central Intelligence. And the Vice President in charge of enforcement for the New York Stock Exchange was Dave Dougherty, a retired CIA General Counsel. The CIA is Wall Street, and vice versa. When you understand that, and that money is the primary objective, everything else just falls into place.
The distinctions drawn between business, politics, and organized crime are at best artificial and in reality irrelevant. Rather than being dysfunctions, corporate crime, white-collar crime, organized crime, and political corruption are mainstays of American political-economic life.
Organized Crime aka the Mafia is just another arm of the government like the Army or the Navy
Investigations of organized crime in the United States, Europe, and Asia have all uncovered organized crime networks operating with virtual immunity from law enforcement and prosecution. Chambliss’ study of organized crime in Seattle exposed a syndicate that involved participation by a former governor of the state, the county prosecutor, the police chief, the sheriff, at least 50 law enforcement officers, leading business people, including contractors, realtors, banks, and corporation executives, and, of course, a supporting cast of drug pushers, pimps, gamblers, and racketeers (Chambliss, 1978). The Chambliss study is not the exception but the rule. Other sociological inquires in Detroit, Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York have all revealed similar patterns (Albini, 1971; Block, 1984; Block and Chambliss, 1981; Block and Scarpitti, 1985; Jenkins and Potter, 1989; 1986; Potter and Jenkins, 1985; Potter, 1994). As Chambliss comments:
In the everyday language of the police, the press, and popular opinion, “organized crime” refers to a tightly knit group of people, usually alien and often Italian, that run a crime business structured along the lines of feudal relationships. This conception bears little relationship to the reality of organized crime today. Nonetheless, criminologists have discovered the existence of organizations whose activities focus on the smuggling of illegal commodities into and out of countries (cocaine out of Colombia and into the United States and guns and arms out of the United States and into the Middle East, for example); other organizations, sometimes employing some of the same people, are organized to provide services such as gambling, prostitution, illegal dumping of toxic wastes, arson, usury, and occasionally murder. These organizations typically cut across ethnic and cultural lines, are run like businesses, and consist of networks of people including police, politicians, and ordinary citizens investing in illegal enterprises for a high return on their money.
Orwellian terms like “War on Drugs” are meant to CONFUSE you
Catherine Austin Fitts, who was a Managing Director at Dillon Read before becoming Assistant Secretary of Housing under George Bush and who holds an MBA from Wharton makes things very simple. She points out that the four largest states for the importation of drugs are New York, Florida, Texas and California. She then points out that the top four money-laundering states in the U.S. (good for between 100 and 260 billion per year) are New York, Florida, Texas and California. No surprise there. Then she rips the breath from your lungs by pointing out that 80 per cent of all Presidential campaign funds come from – New York, Florida, Texas and California.
Civics test: Who were the governors of Texas and Florida?
Using testimony of law enforcement officers and U.S. Government records, Dominican drug gangs, who dominate the trade in the northeast United States – especially New York and Pennsylvania – have been making regular campaign donations. California drug sales are currently split between Democratically allied crime factions and entrenched hard-core Republican strongholds from the Reagan era. People who shudder at the thought of the Chinese buying into presidential politics would choke if they knew how much drug money was involved.
The Department of Justice estimates that $100 billion in drug funds are laundered in the U.S. each year. Other research, including research material from the Andean Commission of Jurists cited by author Dan Russell in his soon to be published book Drug War place the figure at around $250 billion per year. Catherine Austin Fitts places the figure at $250 to $300 billion. Given the fact that the UN estimated that in the early 1990s world retail volume in the illegal drugs was $440 billion, $250 billion seems about right. Fitts, using her Wall Street experience as an investment banker, is then quick to point out that the multiplier effect (x6) of $250 billion laundered would result in $1.5 trillion dollars per year in U.S. cash transactions resulting from the drug trade. How many jobs does $1.5 trillion represent? Why do President’s get re-elected? As Bill Clinton’s staff recognized in 1992, “It’s the economy -Stupid!”
During the Contra years, when the CIA and Bill Clinton were swimming in cocaine, and Arkansas became the only state in the Union to ever issue bearer bonds (laundry certificates), employment in Arkansas rose to an all time high because there was so much money floating around. So what if they don’t count all the dead bodies “It’s the economy – Stupid!”
The Pop: Corporations trading on Wall Street, including many implicated in money laundering schemes where products are sold with questionable bookkeeping throughout drug producing regions, all have stock values that are based upon annual net profits. Known as “price to earnings” or “The Pop” the multiplier effect in stock values is sometimes as much as a factor of thirty. Thus, for a firm like GE or Piper Aircraft to have an additional $10 million in net profits based upon the drug trade, the net increase in these companies’ stock value could be as much as $300,000,000. Did GE make a $10 million net profit on consumer products in Latin America last year? Easily. And since GE owns NBC is there a chance that accurate reporting on the drug trade and CIA’s involvement therein might hurt their stock?
Disney owns ABC and has a huge retail, resort and entertainment empire that benefits from the “drug multiplier.” Would ABC consider hurting its parent’s stock value? Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director, William Casey had been Chief Counsel to Cap Cities Broadcasting until 1981. His old law firm represented Cap Cities when it bought the ABC network in 1985. ABC’s Peter Jennings, by the way, had been doing a series of investigative reports on the CIA drug bank (and successor to the Nugan Hand bank) Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham and Wong when the buyout was initiated. Cap Cities (not surprisingly) secured SEC approval in record time and effectively and immediately silenced Peter Jennings who had previously refused to back down from Casey’s threats. Thereafter, ABC was referred to as “The CIA network.”
I have no doubt that the ABC “object lesson” was front and center for CNN founder Ted Turner and Time-Warner when Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and (CIA vet) John Singlaub put the pressure on in the wake of April Oliver’s 1998 “dead bang accurate” Sarin gas stories connecting CIA to the killing of American defectors.
Every major media corporation in the country trades on Wall Street. There are no “independents” left and the American people are left with the increasing thought conflict of recognizing that they are being fed useless bullshit. I wonder how they would respond to real a news corporation if they saw or heard one.