Black Ghettos: The Role of Segregation, Deindustrialization and Interstate Freeway Construction

Black Lives: Truth, Racial Segregation Legacy Keeps America Divided

RT (2019)

Film Review

The fourth episode of Black Lives visits segregated Black slums in Baltimore and Pittsburgh that were thriving African American communities before the US government allowed Wall Street to destroy the country’s manufacturing base (in the 70s and 80s) and move thousands of factories overseas. The Black area of Homewood (Pittsburgh), which initially survived de-industrialization, was a thriving African American business district until the city fathers decided to tear it down to build a freeway.

Many US cities adopted this strategy. In the early eighties, Seattle City Council gave their blessing to a plan by Washington Department of Transportation to crush Seattle’s African American community by running an I-5 extension through it. This destroyed any remaining good paying jobs in the central city.

The filmmakers record it all: the dilapidated unheated housing, the drug dealers that moved in as businesses were boarded up, the ubiquitous police presence and the intrusion of homicide into Black family life.

East Baltimore has been compared to a war zone – at present it’s the murder and heroin capitol of the US.

 

 

Policing International Drug Trafficking in Iran

Drugs: No Way Out

Press TV (2018)

Film Review

This is a very interesting documentary about the role of Iranian customs officials  in disrupting the flow of Afghan heroin to Europe. At present, Afghanistan (thanks largely to the CIA) is the world largest producer of opium and heroin. Between 2001-2010, the Afghan opium/heroin trade took in over $68 billion in revenue. Of this, $66 billion went to the drug “mafia” (CIA?), $2 billion to the Afghan government and $200 million to the Taliban insurgency.

The principal (shortest) route for transporting heroin to the lucrative European market is via Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey. Most of the illicit heroin is smuggled in trucks across the Turkmenistan border. Iranian customs officials also intercept a lot of diazepam (Valium) originating from Pakistan, where the drug is available without prescription.

At the Turkish border, Iran intercepts large volumes of hydrochloric and acetic acid. These chemicals are destined for Afghanistan, where they are used to refine opium into heroin. Large amounts of ephedrine (used to manufacture methamphetamine) and synthetic drugs (eg tramadol and ecstasy) are also intercepted at the Turkish border.

Who Killed Janis Joplin?

Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue

Directed by Amy Berg (2015)

Film Review

This documentary is a mushy, pop psychology version of the life of late blues singer Janis Joplin. It makes an unsuccessful (in my view) attempt to tie her alcohol, amphetamine and heroin abuse (and ultimate heroin overdose) to her troubled adolescence in conservative Arthur Texas. The film is based on interviews with her sister Laura, friends and band mates; letters to her family and vintage footage from her concerts and recording sessions.

Berg paints Joplin as a somewhat geeky outcast who participated in civil rights protests during her last three years of high school – leading to bullying and harassment by fellow students, many of whom belonged to the Ku Klux Klan. The filmmaker makes the case that her unhappy adolescence left a gaping hole in Joplin’s psyche that could only be filled by alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex.

The film acknowledges that Joplin had been clean for nearly a year at the time of her  heroin overdose. It was during this period she recorded her biggest hit, Me and Bobby McGee, which signaled a totally new direction for her work.

What the film doesn’t mention is that several people close to Joplin (including her sister) suspected foul play in her alleged overdose, especially given the deaths of many of her contemporaries (activist rock stars) in similar circumstances. A book her sister Laura published in 2005 (Love, Janis IT Books), refers to persistent rumors  the CIA arranged her death.

The film also fails to mention that shortly before her death Joplin helped organize several huge anti-Vietnam War concerts for the peace movement. Or the FBI surveillance she experienced (like John Lennon). Or her 1974 affair with FBI operative Michel Raymond, who introduced her to amphetamines and encouraged her to use them regularly, leading to her amphetamine addiction. Or that members of the Grateful Dead introduced her to heroin to help her come down from speed. The Grateful Dead introduced many California rock musicians to heroin (as documented in a 1971 book, Living with the Dead, by their first manager Rock Scully).

As John Potash documents extensively in Drugs as Weapons Against Us (see MK-Ultra, LSD and the CIA War Against Musicians and Activists ), CIA MK-Ultra agents were aggressively pushing speed, heroin and LSD in the San Francisco rock scene in the sixties and early seventies.

The film can’t be embedded for copyright reasons but can be viewed free at the Maori TV website for the next 10 days: Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue

The Vietnam War in 1970: GIs Kill Their Own Officers While Government Slays Student Protestors

A Sea of Fire, Episode 8

The Vietnam War

Directed by Ken Burn and Lyn Novick

Film Review

This week Maori TV showed A Sea of Fire, Episode 8 of the Vietnam War series. It covers the period from April 4, 1969 to May 1970 and the massacre of four students at Kent State and two at Jackson State

By April 1969, there were 543,482 US troops fighting in Vietnam, with thousands more on nearby naval vessels and support bases. By that date, 40,794 GIs had died in Vietnam.

In October Nixon, who privately acknowledged the US couldn’t win, replaced a complicated draft deferment system with a more popular lottery based on draftees date of birth. In December, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird announced the “Vietnamization” of the war (eg a transfer of responsibility to to South Vietnamese troops) and began drawing down US troop numbers (10,000 by the end of 1970).

The move led many serving GIs to become deeply demoralized about being sent to die in an unwinnable war. Accordingly, 1970 would see a big increase in “fragging,” the deliberate murder of officers by men under them. It would also see a big increase in draftees seeking asylum in Canada (30,000 in total).

I was disappointed this episode failed to cover the role of the CIA and South Vietnamese army setting up a thriving trade selling heroin to US GIs. My former partner served in Vietnam from 1967-1969 and returned to the US addicted to it.

The years 1969-70 would also see a big surge in the US peace movement. The October 15th Vietnam Moratorium was actually a general strike, with hundreds of university campuses closing down and tens of thousands of Americans staying off work in cities around the country. It would be the largest mass protest in US history.

In November, independent journalist Seymour Hersh broke the story of the My Lai Massacre, the brutal murder of 400 South Vietnamese civilians, which had occurred 20 months earlier. It would be only one of many civilians massacres in Vietnam.

In 1970, the peace movement, which had died down in response to Nixon’s gradual troop withdrawal, was reignited following the April 30, 1970 invasion of Cambodia by 30,000 US troops. Four million American students protested the invasion, 448 campuses were shut down and 16 states called out the National Guard.

At Kent State, the National Guard fired 67 rounds into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators, killing four, including an ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corp) scholarship student who was merely an onlooker.

On the same day, police shot two peaceful African American antiwar protestors at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

 

 

Bill Clinton’s War Against Yugoslavia

The US War on Yugoslavia

Michael Parenti (1999)

This talk, one of my favorites, is 1999 talk about about US empire. It offers quite a stark depiction of a US foreign policy consisting primarily of continual wars of aggression against democratic governments that thwart Wall Street Interests in exploiting their natural resources and labor force.

Parenti begins with a brief overview of colonization, starting with Western Europe’s colonization of the Slavic peoples and England’s colonization of Ireland. He goes on to to describe how India and Africa both enjoyed advanced and wealthy (far more wealthy than Europe) civilizations until they were invaded by European armies and their economies destroyed.

He proceeds with a detailed inventory of America’s continual invasions, bombing campaigns and covert wars around the world. The last half of the presentation focuses on the deliberate break-up of Yugoslavia by the US security state, demolishing the myth perpetuated by the Clinton administration and the US media that ethnic conflict was the cause of the Balkan wars.

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Wall Street elites tolerated a socialist state in Yugoslavia (with free health care, education and public transport and housing) because they viewed Yugoslavian president Josip Tito’s independent socialism as a buffer against the Soviet Union.

The initial US attack against Yugoslavia was economic, when Bush senior, in 1990, persuaded Congress to end lending credits to the Yugoslav government. The legislation they passed stipulated that US banks could only loan money to autonomous Yugoslav regions (Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, etc) provided they declared independence and formed autonomous republics.

Parenti notes the new law was implemented somewhat unevenly, so that only right wing fascist governments qualified for loans. By 1992, internal sanctions against Serbia had resulted in 70% unemployment, widespread malnutrition and collapse of the health care system.

He goes on to provide fresh insight into the background of Slobodan Milosovic – who Clinton described as the “new Hitler” – an anti-communist banker who was the CIA’s first choice to run Serbia. When Milosovic refused to fully embrace US colonization, he was systematically demonized by the Clinton administration and corporate media. In 2006, he would die in prison in the Hague.* The war crimes he was accused of were never substantiated.

Parenti also details the NATO carpet bombing of Serbia (designed to maximize civilian casualty by targeting life support infrastructure, such as power and water filtration plants), the CIA penetration of the Kosova Liberation Army (enabling them to corner the European heroin market), Noam Chomsky’s support for Clinton’s war against Serbia, and the notorious Sarajevo false flag operation (actually carried out by Muslim extremists) used to justify the NATO war against Serbia.


*There is strong evidence he was covertly assassinated: Did NATO’s Kangaroo Court Poison Milosevic?

Hidden History: The War on Terror

Crossing the Rubicon: the Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil

by Michael Ruppert

New Society Publishers (2004)

Book Review

I recently picked up Michael Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon for the first time in nearly 13 years. I’ve always admired Ruppert, who killed himself in April 2014. It was after hearing him present early evidence (in May 2002) about the role of Bush insiders in 9-11 that I made a decision to close my psychiatric practice and move to New Zealand.

In re-reading Rupert’s 617-page encyclopedia of Peak Oil, CIA narcotics trafficking and the foreign policy/intelligence background to the mother of all false flag operations, I’m totally amazed about the amount of evidence he had already collected in 2004. Nearly all his conclusions have been corroborated by other investigators. At the same time many of his findings, particularly regarding Clinton’s role in supporting the Taliban’s rise to power, don’t receive nearly enough attention in the 9-11 Truth community.

Ruppert links Clinton’s decision to put the Taliban in power in Afghanistan to the oil exploration he facilitated in the Caspian Sea basin by declaring war on Yugoslavia. Both Enron (see The Greedy Bastards who Gave us Enron and Bankrupted California) and Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s oil company) had deep commitments in Caspian Sea and Central Asian oil and gas companies. Both companies needed pipelines across Afghanistan to transport oil and gas to energy-hungry Pakistan, India and China. Building and maintaining said pipelines was totally impossible in a country that, following Soviet withdrawal, had become a failed state of feuding warlords.

According to Ruppert, in was Clinton’s intent to “pacify” Afghanistan by putting the totalitarian Taliban regime in power. Ruppert’s evidence for these assertions comes mainly from Congressional hearings called by Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacker to challenge Clinton’s support for the Taliban. Ruppert also describes the two years (1999-2000) of 6+2 meetings (to plan the pipelines) between Taliban representatives, and the US, Russia, Pakistan, China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The Clinton administration suddenly reversed their position on the Taliban in 1999, after the results of exploratory Caspian Sea oil drilling revealed the limited deposits were too small to be commercially viable.

Ruppert goes on to present substantial evidence that the decision to go to war against the Taliban was made during the Clinton presidency – he first imposed economic sanctions against them in July 1999. Ruppert maintains this related less to the oil and gas lobby than to the banking/finance lobby, which had become addicted to drug profits from Afghan opium production. Following Soviet withdrawal, the CIA had worked with opium warlords to concentrate world opium production in Afghanistan. The loss of billions dollars of money laundering profits threatened to wreak major havoc with Wall Street and the US economy.

Ruppert, a five year veteran of the LAPD narcotics squad, devotes several chapters of Crossing the Rubicon to the CIA’s historic role in narcotics trafficking and the role of all major US banks and brokerage hoses in money laundering.

Ruppert also makes a strong case that planning for 9-11 began during the Clinton administration and that National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and NATO commander Wesley Clarke were party to the planning.

The 1972 US Coup Against Australia

Hot Money and the Politics of Debt

RT Naylor

McGill-Queens University Press (2004)

Book Review

Hot Money is about the trillions of dollars of global financial activity that is never recorded in official economic statistics. Corporate money laundering of illegal narcotics profits is the form of “hot money” that gets the most publicity. However according to Naylor, it accounts for a relatively small proportion of “hot money” percolating through offshore banks and dummy corporations.

Most “hot money” starts out as funds generated via “legitimate” business which rich elites sebd offshore to avoid taxes or in anticipation of economic calamity or regime change. All the world’s most ruthless dictators stashed funds in Swiss banks or similar financial havens prior to being deposed.

A sizeable chunk of hot money is generated from other illegal enterprises, such as gun running, illegal arms deals, prostitution, phony charities and religious groups (eg Reverend Moon’s Unification Church and L Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology) and government agencies (eg CIA) who use “hot money” to finance coups and insurgencies.

For me, the high point of Hot Money  is the excellent history Naylor provides of the CIA role in the world heroin and cocaine trade, especially their move to make Afghanistan the major global supplier of heroin.

Nalylor also provides a detailed history about the role of the Vatican Bank as a “hot money” center, the rise and fall of Propaganda Due (P2), a secret collaboration between the CIA, Mafia and right wing Masonic lodges that infiltrated all aspects of Italian public life in the 1970s; the role of Nazi war criminals Klaus Barbie and Josef Mengele in setting up Latin American death squads and cocaine networks; the rise and fall of the two biggest CIA banks, Australia’s Nugan Hand Bank and the Bank of Commerce and Credit International;  and the importance of “hot money” in the Iran Contra scandal, in which the Reagan administration illegally sold weapons to Iran to finance the Contra war against Nicaragua.

The most shocking chapter describes the role of the Nugan Hand Bank in funding a bloodless coup US Naval Intelligence carried out against Australia in 1972 – to remove a prime minister whose political views were inconsistent with US interests. Most Americans are totally unaware of this heinous attack against a close US ally. I’ve only learned of it since moving to New Zealand (Australia is New Zealand’s closest neighbor).