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Cocaine Politics : Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America

by Peter Dale Scott, Jonathan Marshall

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1063207,061 (4.2)2
When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politics shows that under the cover of national security and covert operations, the U.S. government has repeatedly collaborated with and protected major international drug traffickers. A new preface discusses developments of the last six years, including the Mercury News stories and the public reaction they provoked.… (more)
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  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Essentially a summary of other works by people like Alfred W. McCoy and Bob Parry, and a response to the Kerry Commission and the Iran-Contra Hearings going through what the official reports did not delve into.
  LamontCranston | Jan 13, 2018 |
Like anything by Peter Dale Scott: hard to read, but essential. Jonathan Marshall is also a great journalist and researcher of parapolitics: why have we heard nothing from him in 15 years?
  JohnAGoldsmith | Oct 20, 2007 |
Showing 3 of 3
How should one evaluate the republication of Cocaine Politics eight years after its original appearance? It is not a book that can claim to be definitive. After all, as Scott and Marshall note, "even the most reputable sources cannot guarantee accuracy in an area as murky as the narcotics traffic" (p. 7). As in federal racketeering trials, the charges are enormous and the witnesses of unsavory background. It is hard to avoid agreeing with much of what Cocaine Politics says about the Central American wars--that elements of the U.S. government willfully cooperated with known drug traffickers and money launderers against what Ronald Reagan declared as the "unusual and extraordinary threat" of Sandinista Nicaragua. It is certainly clear that the U.S. government successfully obstructed efforts of the Kerry subcommittee and the Iran-Contra prosecutors to get to the bottom of U.S. foreign policy scandals. In addition, the ability of the Reagan administration to use the tactic of "the big lie" to obscure the political reality of its actions in Central America is well known. While these weighty allegations from Cocaine Politics are valid, much of substance--questions of degree, levels of individual responsibility, and causal linkages, for example--remains murky.
added by eromsted | editH-LatAm, Arthur Schmidt (Apr 1, 1999)
 
"Recently updated with reports from the crack war in LA., Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall's explosive text reveals how the federal government allegedly got into bed with some of the worst elements of the international drug trade, then used the guise of national security to hide it from the American public."
added by davidgn | editLos Angeles Magazine, Robert Ito (Apr 1, 1998)
 
"Building on the courageous (but largely ignored) investigation by Senator John Kerry's terrorism and narcotics subcommittee into the Contra-cocaine-CIA connections, the authors pile up layer after layer of further evidence of those links. The result is a dense, massively documented indictment of American foreign policy....This incredible indictment has been put together from published sources, ranging from Congressional inquiries to underground newspapers. This wonderful piece of research is, by a mile, the best book yet on the disgusting foreign policies of the Reagan era."
added by davidgn | editTribune (London), Robin Ramsay (Oct 30, 1992)
 
"Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall expand on revelations in the Iran-Contra scandal and the 1989 Kerry Committee Report. They assert persuasively that the CIA has long-standing alliances with men who deal drugs while doing dirty tricks for us in Latin America. The links go as far back as 1961 and the Bay of Pigs. Their story, however, is about the contra war, in which drug money paid for arms, the planes that carried `humanitarian aid' in flew drugs out, and Latin American colonels made fortunes on drugs destined for American streets, all with our government's connivance....The core of the book, the adventures of Jack Terrell...the soldier of fortune who tried to blow the whistle on the contra drug dealers, is taut as a thriller. Mr. Terrell found himself on Oliver North's list of enemies, dogged by the FBI, smeared in news leaks and silenced by a federal indictment....He may be lucky. Other witnesses are dead....The authors appear to evaluate the murky evidence in the government documents and news stories temperately. The thesis rings true."
added by davidgn | editAtlanta Journal-Constitution, Marilynn Larew (Sep 22, 1991)
 
"Minority Report." Nation, Aug. 12/19, 1991, 184: "For the evidence that narcotics and other `controlled substances' (an absurd name for an absurd notion) have been instruments of U.S. foreign policy, you simply have to read Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies and the CIA in Central America, by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall. This, one of the most enlightening books of the year, will redefine your usage of the silly term `drug war.' When you see those two words from then on, you will think of a covert war financed by drugs. And that is as it should be."
added by davidgn | editThe Nation, Christopher Hitchens (Aug 12, 1991)
 

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Marshall, Jonathanmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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When the San Jose Mercury News ran a controversial series of stories in 1996 on the relationship between the CIA, the Contras, and crack, they reignited the issue of the intelligence agency's connections to drug trafficking, initially brought to light during the Vietnam War and then again by the Iran-Contra affair. Broad in scope and extensively documented, Cocaine Politics shows that under the cover of national security and covert operations, the U.S. government has repeatedly collaborated with and protected major international drug traffickers. A new preface discusses developments of the last six years, including the Mercury News stories and the public reaction they provoked.

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