Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA War on Musicians and Activists
On January 29, John Potash will release his film Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA War on Musicians and Activists – based on his 2015 book Drugs as Weapons Against Us: The CIA’s Murderous Targeting of SDS, Panthers, Hendrix, Lennon, Cobain, Tupac and Other Activists. A virtual encyclopedia of illegal government drug trafficking, the film begins with the involvement of the JP Morgan, Russell and other first families with the British East India Company and the opium wars that forced China to allow their opium trade.
Potash crams a massive amount of detail in his two-hour film, tracing how these and other powerful Wall Street families were instrumental in launching he CIA to protect their financial and political interests and how illegal drug trafficking (initially heroin trafficking from Southeast Asia) was essential to the CIA’s MO from its very inception in 1947.
He goes on to explore how the CIA/FBI assisted 9,000 Nazi war criminals to secretly settle in South America after World War II – where they helped establish paramilitary death squads to assassinate labor and human rights leaders who threatened US-installed dictators. Under the leadership of Klaus Barbie, they would also link up with local cocaine barons in establishing CIA-supported networks to smuggle the to the US.
Potash next details the probable role of the CIA/FBI in a host of suspicious OD’s, suicides and “lone nut” assassinations of activist rock stars and political figures who posed a threat to Wall Street interests. The list (as the book’s title suggests) includes John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Janis Joplin, Jim Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, among others.
For me the most fascinating part of the 2015 book concerns the extensive distribution of the hallucinogen LSD via the CIA’s MK-Ultra program in the sixties and seventies. Potash documents how CIA drug agents deliberately sought out targeted civil rights and anti-war activists and activist rock stars (eg John Lennon, George Harrison and Mick Jagger) in the hope of “neutralizing” any threat they might pose to corporate interests.
Although a two-hour film can’t possibly offer the same level of documentation as a 440-page book, the evidence this documentary presents paints a cogent and credible picture of the CIA as an immoral criminal enterprise dedicated to serving the interests of a tiny US financial elite.
About the Filmmaker
John Potash first came across evidence of the CIA role in disseminating LSD to activists and rock musicians in FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in the Media) co-founder Martin Lee’s book Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion (Grove Press 1985). The book details a high level Italian investigation of US intelligence officer Ronald Stark, who oversaw the trafficking of tens-to-hundreds of million of acid hits world wide. This led Potash to Operation Julie (W.H. Allen 1978), a book by high level British detective Dick Lee. Lee also investigated Stark’s operation and its network of intelligence links. Later Potash, a drug and alcohol counselor, would deal with clients who obtained LSD from the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a Stark-linked operation in the US.
Potash is also the author of the FBI War on Tupac Shakur and Black Leaders (Progressive Left Press 2008) and has made a prior documentary (by the same title) based on the book.
Full interview with John Potash at Drugs as Weapons Against Us – Interview with John Potash