The CIA-Contra Cocaine Connection

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Last week, the New York Times reported the CIA’s own investigation of its activities revealed that agency officials knew that the Nicaraguan contras they were working with were running drugs. The new report is the long-delayed second volume of the CIA’s internal investigation into possible connections between the Contras and Central American drug traffickers. The investigation was originally prompted by a 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News which asserted that a “dark alliance” between the CIA, the contras, and drug traffickers had helped finance the contra war with profits from drug smuggling.

The first volume of the CIA report was released in January. It confirmed that the CIA had blocked federal criminal investigations of contra-drug activities in California. Volume two, a broader look at the problem, is considered far more damaging to the CIA. It is said to reveal a large drug network and direct tie-ins to Reagan administration officials. Journalist Bob Parry spoke with sources within the agency who saw the classified report.


  • Bob Parry is the editor of “Consortium” and a former reporter for Associated Press and Newsweek who broke the Iran-Contra story.
  • Gary Webb is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, and the author of “Dark Alliance; The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion”, published by Seven Stories Press.

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When President Clinton announced three years ago that he was ordering automatic declassification of millions of the government’s oldest secrets, he didn’t mention the blanket exemption for the FBI. Washington lawyer James Lasar said he discovered the deal last month, in the midst of a lawsuit against the FBI to obtain records on three women involved in the left in the 1930’s.


  • James Lasar, an attorney based in Washington, D.C.


Old friends and co-workers, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass, had a falling out after the Civil War over the 14th and 15th amendments. Stanton had misgivings about the racist things she said in anger; Douglass had understood why women did not want to support an amendment that “placed them in perpetual slavery”, as they saw it. The 14th amendment used the word “male” in connection with citizenship three times, throwing into question whether or not women were even citizens and necessitating an amendment for equal rights and suffrage.

When the characters feud over women versus African-American men getting the vote after the Civil War, their interaction takes place in a context of mutual respect, and they find their way back to friendship and working together on common issues.


  • Sally Roesch Wagner plays Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She tours the country as a writer, lecturer, and historical performer, bringing such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton to life.Wagner has been a consultant to the Woman’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s History Project.
  • Charles Pace plays Frederick Douglass. He is a visiting anthropologist at Center College in Danville, Kentucky, and a member of the Great Plains Chatauqua and the National Chataqua Tour.


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