Books

Updated 8 December 2012.

The below books are provided as context.  The sub-text around the failure of integrity at the highest levels of the US Marine Corps includes the the enabling loss of integrity within the White House and across the government, including specifically the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Justice, the first demonstrably violating all manner of laws and treaties, while the second abdicated its Constitutional responsibility to defend America against all enemies, domestic as well as foreign.  Col James Sabow, USMC (RIP) appears to have been murdered by Marines, with the explicit approval of the then serving Commandant and Assistant Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and the matter then covered up ever since by multiple successors.

The web site does not explore, but is a foundation, for contemplating the situation today, and particularly the relationship between the US occupation of Afghanistan and its multi-billion dollar a year aid to Pakistan, the two together now providing over 80% of the world’s heroin as refined in Pakistan from opium grown in Afghanistan — opium that was not allowed to be grown by the Taliban — and the related liquidity this provides to Wall Street.

1973

L. Fletcher Prouty with Foreword by Jesse Ventura. The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011 x 193, 1974, 1991)

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L. Fletcher Prouty (1917–2001), a retired colonel of the U.S. Air Force, served as the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Kennedy years. He was directly in charge of the global system designed to provide military support for the clandestine activities of the CIA. The Secret Team, L. Fletcher Prouty’s exposé of the CIA’s brutal methods of maintaining national security during the Cold War, was first published in the 1970s. However, virtually all copies of the book disappeared upon distribution, having been purchased en masse by shady “private buyers.” Certainly, Prouty’s allegations—such as how the U-2 Crisis of 1960 was fixed to sabotage Eisenhower–Khrushchev talk—cannot have pleased the CIA. The Secret Team appears once more with a new introduction by Jesse Ventura.

1988

Elaine Shannon. Desperados: Latin Druglords, U.S. Lawmen, and the War America Can’t Win (Viking, 1988)

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The “desperados” of the title in this excellent work refer, not to drug dealers, but to agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fighting the war on drugs throughout Latin America. News magazine veteran Shannon focuses on the DEA war in Mexico, before and after the murder of agent Kiki Camerena by drug lords. She also details the role of the U.S. government, which stresses positive moves and ignores negative ones when dealing with drug-producing countries.  In the course of covering the international drug scene for 10 years for Newsweek (she is now with Time ) Shannon clearly developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. Here she draws on that expertise, basing her book on the torture-murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1985, a case that is still unresolved. She reveals that the U.S. government has talked a good anti-drug fight but has done little more than form study commissions, convene conferences and sign treaties. She contends, also, that Mexico’s war on drugs has been rife with corruption, from street cops to high officials. And, farther south, the Colombian administration has been fighting a losing battle against a cartel headquartered in Medellin, with judges and lawmen assassinated by the dozen. The conclusion: the only way to win the war is to end the demand in America for marijuana and cocaine. An instructive study.

1991

Scott, Peter Dale and Jonathan Marshall.  Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (University of California Press, 1998 x 1991)

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This important, explosive report forcefully argues that the “war on drugs” is largely a sham, as the U.S. government is one of the world’s largest drug pushers. The authors unearth close links between the CIA and Latin American drug networks which provide U.S. covert operations with financing, political leverage and intelligence. CIA-protected Panamian ruler Manuel Noriega supplied drugs, pilots and banking services to Honduran and Costa Rican cocaine smugglers who were partners in Reagan’s support program for Nicaragua’s Contras. Together, Honduran and Costa Rican traffickers supplied one-third of the cocaine smuggled into the U.S. in the 1980s, according to the authors. The Bush administration showers hundreds of millions of dollars on Latin American military elites in Guatemala, Colombia, etc. to enlist them in the “war on drugs.” In so doing, charge the authors, the U.S. risks empowering the very forces that protect drug-pushing crime syndicates. The U.S. also gave covert aid to Afghan guerrillas who smuggled drugs in concert with Pakistan’s military–an operation that produced half of the heroin consumed in the U.S. during the 1980s. Scott, a professor at UC-Berkeley, and San Francisco Chronicle economics editor Marshall call for immediate political action to end Washington’s complicity. Their heavily documented book deserves a wide audience. [THIS IS THE BOOK THAT SHOULD HAVE FRAMED BOTH THE INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING OF ERIC LICHTBLAU OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES [THERE WAS NONE] AND THE LEADERSHIP RESPONSES IN THE MARINE CORPS, THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.]

1992

1993

Levine, Michael and Laura Kavanau-Levine, The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War (Laura Kavanau-Levine, 2012 x 1993)

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Michael Levine, called “America’s top undercover agent for 25 years,” by 60 Minutes, is the New York Times bestselling author of Deep Cover: The Inside Story of How DEA Infighting, Incompetence and Subterfuge Lost Us the Biggest Battle of the Drug War, and one of the most decorated undercover agents in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration. He is active as a court qualified expert and trial consultant in Covert Operations, International Narcotics Trafficking, Informant Handling and Police Use-of-Force. His New York City radio program, The Expert Witness Show, can be heard on WBAI 99.5 FM as well as Stitcher.com and iTunes. Laura Kavanau-Levine is the coauthor of The Big White Lie and Triangle of Death as well as the screenplays for HBO Pictures and Deutsche Colombia Pictures. She holds an MFA from New York University and a MSW from Fordham University.

McCoy, Alfred W.  The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (Chicago Review Press, 2003 x 1993)

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Nearly 20 years ago, McCoy wrote The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, which stirred up considerable controversy, alleging that the CIA was intimately involved in the Vietnamese opium trade. In the current volume, a substantially updated and longer work, he argues that pk the situation basically hasn’t changed over the past two decades; however the numbers have gotten bigger. McCoy writes, “Although the drug pandemic of the 1980s had complex causes, the growth in global heroin supply could be traced in large part to two key aspects of U.S. policy: the failure of the DEA’s interdiction efforts and the CIA’s covert operations.” He readily admits that the CIA’s role in the heroin trade was an “inadvertent” byproduct of “its cold war tactics,” but he outlines convincingly the path by which the agency and its forebears helped Corsican and Sicilian mobsters reestablish the heroin trade after WW II and, most recently, “transformed southern Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin.” Scrupulously documented, almost numbingly so at times, this is a valuable corrective to the misinformation being peddled by anti-drug zealots on both sides of the aisle.

1994

Bucchi, Kenneth C.  Operation Pseudo Miranda: A Veteran of the CIA Drug Wars Tells All (Penmarin Press, 2000 x 1994)

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“Operation Pseudo Mirando: A Veteran of the CIA Drug Wars Tells All,” by Kenneth C. Bucchi is a sensational book. To this end, the author is a CIA whistleblower who spins an incredible tale. If it were not for Gary Webb’s fine book, “Dark Alliance” most mainstream readers would dismiss Bucchi outright. Moreover, the author is vain…with a vulger tough guy attitude that forces the reader to conclude that the author is a “grandstander.” Still and all, the author definitely has an intimate knowledge of the war on drugs that cannot be found in the press. And his understanding of drug trafficking out of Colombia is convincing. Certainly, the CIA is covering up something. If you believe Bucchi…”Operation Pseudo Miranda” was a revenue stream that enabled Iran – Contra.

Reed, Terry and John Cummings.  Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA (S.P.I. Books, 1994)

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Compromised is the true story of Bill Clinton’s political sell-out to the CIA.  Clinton’s unbridled political ambitions and his campaign pledge to create “jobs for Arkansans” led him to compromise his ideals in exchange for CIA support in his bid for the Presidency.  He permitted the “Agency” to use Arkansas factories to make untraceable weapons and he allowed CIA contract agents to train Contra pilots on rural airstrips in support of the war in Nicaragua – effectively evading the Congressional ban on military aid to the Contras.  This expose unfolds through the eyewitness account of Terry Reed, a former CIA asset whose patriotism transformed him into a liability when he refused to turn a blind eye to the Agency’s drug trafficking. This Arkansas-CIA connection became Clinton’s darkest secret – a secret he shared by then Vice-President Bush, who himself was compromised by his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Their shared guilt kept them silent and tied their hands as they faced off in the 1992 Presidential election with neither mentioning Iran-Contra.  The Justice Departments of Reagan, Bush – and now Clinton – have orchestrated an ongoing cover-up of the Arkansas-CIA connection, which has gone undetected for eight years with Bill Clinton its major beneficiary. Clinton’s reward for this Faustian pact? The White House.  Reed puts Clinton directly in the “Iran-Contra loop”. Both attended a secret meeting where CIA arms arrangements, illegal Contra training and money laundering were discussed. Involved with Clinton in this cabal were Colonel Oliver North, William Barr (George Bush’s attorney general), Felix Rodriguez (Bay of Pigs veteran and George Bush’s CIA contact) and CIA contract agent Barry Seal, who used the cover of a high-profile drug trafficker to carry out his missions.  “Compromised” reveals the details and names of all who were involved, including these faceless power brokers now in positions of public prominence in Washington, D.C.  When the CIA learned Reed had more patriotism than they bargained for, forces within President Bush’s Justice Department, the CIA and the State of Arkansas decided he had to be neutralized. People close to Clinton conspired to set Reed up on false federal criminal charges, forcing him and his family into hiding. But Reed was acquitted, and now wages a one-man legal war to bring those who framed him to justice.

1995

Odom, Richmond, Circle of Death: Clinton’s Climb to the Presidency (Vital Issues Press, 1995)

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An investigation into the circumstances around the deaths of several people associated with Bill Clinton when he was Governor of Arkansas.  Richmond Odom has nailed it. Bill Clinton’s climb to political power, first in Ark., and then nationally, was financed in large part by CIA drug money. The Mena airport operation, headed by Barry Seal (who was murdered before he could talk), raised tens of millions of dollars. And Mr. Clinton was the direct beneficiary of a lot of those dollars. Odom explains why and how in this book. Usually, these types of books raise more questions than they answer. “Circle of Death” answers the hard questions. If you want to know how Bill Clinton rose to power, on the wings of narco-terrorism with CIA pilot Barry Seal, and if you want to know how BCCI helped them make millions illegally, read this book.

1997

Leslie Cockburn, Out of Control: The Story of the Reagan Administration’s Secret War in Nicaragua, the Illegal Arms Pipeline, and the Contra Drug Connection (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997)

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For the last two years, the author has been investigating the secret funding of the Contras by the White House. Here, she identifies the network of National Security Council staff (led by Colonel Oliver North), CIA operatives and ex-agents who set up this illegal support system, after the passage of the Boland Amendment in October 1984 made it illegal for the US government to give direct and indirect aid to the Contras. There is a detailed account of how mercenaries were recruited from all over the world and sent to CIA-run training bases in Costa Rica; how money was obtained through various means, ranging from the Iran arms deal to an arrangement with cocaine smugglers bringing drugs into Florida in return for quarterly payments into Contra bank accounts; how guns were procured, flown to US-controlled military bases in Central America, and then delivered into the hands of the Contras. The author, a British journalist, has worked for CBS News since 1978.

1998

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Walsh, Lawrence E..  Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up (W. W. Norton & Company, 1998)

Walsh, the former independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters, submits an injudicious, self-serving brief in aid of reversing the probable verdict of history that his extended and contentious investigation of malfeasance at the highest levels of US government produced appreciably more heat than light. Drawing on the record he compiled in the course of a six-year investigation, the author delivers a largely chronological narrative built around a rehash of serious charges that were never proved in court. At issue was the question of whether Ronald Reagan exceeded his presidential authority in sanctioning a hushed-up arms-for-hostages deal with Iran, which also yielded cash used to equip the Contra forces in Nicaragua. These clandestine operations came to light in the mid-1980s, and Walsh was called in to unravel the tangled web at the start of 1987. By the author’s account, he had no axes to grind at the outset of his inquiry. Perhaps not, but his office became vaultingly ambitious in its selection of targets after failing to put the usual CIA, National Security Council, or White House suspects, let alone Oliver North and John Poindexter, behind bars. At various times, Walsh recounts, he and his aides went after George Bush, Edwin Meese, Donald Regan, George Shultz, and Caspar Weinberger. The fact that he got nary a one of these men in the dock does not stop the author from repeating in detail allegations of supposed misdeeds that resulted in but a single indictment. Attentive readers will learn that feckless subordinates, ill-informed judges, and national-security hurdles, not Walsh, are to blame for the paucity of scalps. A spirited if one-sided effort by Walsh to have the last word on the Iran/Contra affair and to justify his largely unavailing stewardship of the independent counsel’s office.

1999

Cockburn, Alexander and Jeffrey St. Clair.  Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (Verso, 1999)

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Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair take the revelations of the links between the Central Intelligence Agency, the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Los Angeles crack market that journalist Gary Webb exposed in 1996–revelations that are the basis of Webb’s book Dark Alliance–and use them as a springboard for a tale of the U.S. government’s involvement with the illegal drug trade that extends much further back than Webb’s tale. The specific revelations are not, perhaps, entirely new; many know, for example, that even before there was a CIA, the WWII-era Office of Strategic Services enlisted the aid of gangster “Lucky” Luciano in arranging support among the Sicilian Mafia for the American invasion of Italy, or that the CIA was actively involved in the Southeast Asian opium trade during the Vietnam War. But Cockburn and St. Clair persuasively argue that the traditional explanation for such events–“rogue elements”–is deliberately misleading, and that the mainstream “liberal” press plays an active role in this obfuscation (noting, for example, that Webb’s three biggest attackers were the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post). By providing an overarching narrative rather than treating these incidents as isolated, the authors present a damning indictment of the CIA–but one that fully admits that the agency was not acting on its own, but was merely fulfilling the mandates of the American government.

Jordan, David C.  Drug Politics: Dirty Money and Democracies(University of Oklahoma, 1999)

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Drug Politics is an enlightening new book by a man who knows this disturbing and dangerous subject. A former United States ambassador to Peru, David C. Jordan has testified before the U.S. Senate and House Foreign Relations committees and has consulted with various government security organizations. His account of government protection of the criminal elements intertwined with local and global politics challenges many of the assumptions of current drug policies. Using examples from South America, Mexico, Russia, and the United States, Jordan shows that the narcotics problem is not merely one of supply and demand.  Jordan argues that many national and international financial systems are dependent on cash from money laundering, and some governments are far more involved in protecting than in combating criminal cartels.

Leveritt, Mara, The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother’s Crusade to Bring Her Son’s Killers to Justice (Thomas Dunne Books, 1999)

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This book documents a long and tangled criminal investigation that began in 1987, when Linda Ives’s teenage son and his friend were killed by a train near Little Rock, AR. The deaths were ruled accidental. Not satisfied with that finding, Ives launched a series of investigations that eventually touched on the malfeasance of a prominent medical examiner, the misconduct of a local prosecutor, drug trafficking, and governmental corruption. The story, interestingly, unfolds against the backdrop of both the Arkansas and Washington Clinton administrations, so Clinton associates like Jocelyn Elders; Clinton’s mother, Virginia Kelley; his brother, Roger Clinton; and Webster Hubbell pop up throughout the narrative. Leveritt, an award-winning investigative reporter, handles a mountain of details well and succeeds in making this convoluted story reasonably understandable. However, her intimation, in the epilog, of an ongoing, large-scale conspiracy is open to question.  If this Arkansas murder tale weren’t a true-crime thriller by an established investigative journalist, it would be too crazy, complicated and bizarre to believe. The action grips readers from the beginning, with the death of two teenagers, Don Henry and Kevin Ives, told from the perspective of the train engineers who accidentally ran over the boys’ bodies. The 1987 case was originally ruled a double suicide, then an accident,  the boys supposedly smoked too much marijuana and passed out. But their bodies were suspiciously neatly arranged on the train tracks. The parents, rejecting the official explanations, pushed for a murder investigation. Leveritt tells most of the story through the eyes of Linda Ives, Keith’s mother, who pursues the medical examiner, the sheriff, then-governor Bill Clinton, the CIA and everyone else she thinks is blocking or slowing the progress of the investigation. The case remains unsolved, and Leveritt draws no conclusions. She merely fleshes out the context and explores all the leads in all their various directions.

Parry, Robert.  Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’(Media Consortium, 1999)

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Lost History is a kind of All the President’s Men in reverse. As that journalistic classic followed Woodward and Bernstein exposing Watergate, Lost History is the inside story of reporters who broke the key stories of the Iran-contra scandal. But instead of basking in praise, they paid a high personal price. In a larger sense, Lost History explains how the Washington press corps of the 1980s missed or under-reported many of the major scandals of the era, from the dirty secret of Nicaraguan contra-cocaine trafficking to the Guatemalan army’s genocide against Mayan Indians. Not only does Lost History recover this important historical record from the government’s secret files, but it shows how the decade of the 1980s was the missing link in the transformation of the Washington press corps from the glory days of Watergate to the tawdry tabloid moments of Monica Lewinsky. This is a book not only about “lost history” but about a political system that has lost its way.

Webb, Gary (RIP).  Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Cocaine Explosion (Seven Stories Press, 1999)

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In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One–the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about–without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency. For several years during the 1980s, Webb discovered, Contra elements shuttled thousands of tons of cocaine into the United States, with the profits going toward the funding of Contra rebels attempting a counterrevolution in their Nicaraguan homeland. Even more chilling, Webb quickly realized, was that the massive drug-dealing operation had the implicit approval–and occasional outright support–of the CIA, the very organization entrusted to prevent illegal drugs from being brought into the United States. Within the pages of Dark Alliance, Webb produces a massive amount of evidence that suggests that such a scenario did take place, and more disturbing evidence that the powers that be that allowed such an alliance are still determined to ruthlessly guard their secrets. Webb’s research is impeccable–names, dates, places, and dollar amounts gather and mount with every page, eventually building a towering wall of evidence in support of his theories. After the original series of articles ran in the Mercury-News in late 1996, both Webb and his paper were so severely criticized by political commentators, government officials, and other members of the press that his own newspaper decided it best not to stand behind the series, in effect apologizing for the assertions and disavowing his work. Webb quit the paper in disgust in November 1997. His book serves as both a complex memoir of the time of the Contras and an indictment of the current state of America’s press; Dark Alliance is as necessary and valuable as it is horrifying and grim. [Webb was subsequently found “suicided” with not one, but TWO bullets into his head.]

2001

Hopsicker, Daniel.  Barry & ‘the Boys’: The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History (Mad Cow Press, 2001)

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This is the story of Barry Seal, the biggest drug smuggler in American history, who died in a hail of bullets with George Bush’s private phone number in his wallet…The Wall Street Journal called Barry Seal “the ghost haunting the Whitewater probe.” He was far more than that.  Based on a 3-year long investigation, Daniel Hopsicker discovered the ‘secret history’ the American Press was afraid to tell… Seal, the most successful drug smuggler in American history, was also — and not coincidentally — a lifelong CIA agent, one of the most famous who ever lived, active in everything from the Bay of Pigs to Watergate to the Kennedy Assassination. And all this before becoming famous for importing tons of cocaine through Mena, Arkansas in the Scandal that won’t go away.  The story of Barry Seal is the story of what happens when guys we pay to protect us — CIA guys — go into business with guys we’re paying them to protect us against..  “Made” guys. Mobsters… Organized Crime.  Ripping the ‘official story’ on the so-called “Clinton Scandals” to shreds, Barry and ‘the Boys’ breaks the biggest scoop of all about the Arkansas Drug Connection: where the money went.  And goes…  Did the big-time “players” in small ‘backwards’ Arkansas — Bill Clinton, Vince Foster, Jackson Stephens, Jim Blair, Don Tyson — stand idly by while Barry Seal made billions of dollars importing cocaine through their state?  Or were the “goings-on in Mena” of Barry and ‘the boys’ just the continuation of… ‘business as usual?’  America’s Secret History—Revealed:  You’ll learn about the incredible involvement with Seal’s narcotics smuggling organization of top officials in both major American political parties… Republican Attorney General Ed Meese… Democratic National Chairman Charles Manatt… Al Gore’s Campaign Chairman, Tony Coelho…  You’ll discover why a young Arkansas Attorney named Bill Clinton signed a “get-out-of-jail-free” personal recognizance bond for Barry Seal, after Seal had been jailed for drug smuggling in Mena…in the ‘70’s.  And you’ll learn of the suspicious and long-lasting link between ‘smuggler’ Barry Seal and the Bush Family, Senior and Junior.  Most importantly, you’ll discover why a photograph taken by a night club photographer in a Mexico City nightspot ten months before the Kennedy assassination holds the key to the shadowy organization responsible for the massive corruption in Bill Clinton’s Arkansas twenty years later…  Commenting on the CIA’s affair with the Mafia, L.B.J.’s press secretary, Bill Moyers said, “Once we decide that anything goes, anything can come home to haunt us.”

2002

Martin, Al.  The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider (National Liberty Press, 2002)

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What if a criminal cabal (a white collar crime syndicate) took over the US Government?  Al Martin’s shocking memoir, “The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider,” is the true story of how it happened. It’s an uncensored and unprecedented revelation of Bush Family frauds and other criminal activities.  Government whistleblower Al Martin, a retired US Navy Lt. Commander, explains the interactions of criminal corporate and government networks. He tells the facts and names the names no one has dared write or publish before.  “The Conspirators” is the hidden history of government fraud and corruption.  Al Martin’s eyewitness accounts include first hand knowledge of US Government sanctioned narcotics trafficking, illicit weapons deals and an epidemic of fraud — corporate securities fraud, real estate fraud, banking fraud and insurance fraud.  Now with the Bush Cabal back in power, the losses for taxpayers are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And the losses continue to mount daily.

2003

Scott, Peter Dale, Drugs, Oil, and War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia, and Indochina (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003)

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Peter Dale Scott’s brilliantly researched tour de force illuminates the underlying forces that drive U.S. global policy from Vietnam to Colombia and now to Afghanistan and Iraq. He brings to light the intertwined patterns of drugs, oil politics, and intelligence networks that have been so central to the larger workings of U.S. intervention and escalation in Third World countries through alliances with drug-trafficking proxies. The result has been a staggering increase in global drug traffic. Thus, the author argues, the exercise of power by covert means, or parapolitics, often metastasizes into deep politics – the interplay of unacknowledged forces that spin out of the control of the original policy initiators. Scott contends that we must recognize that U.S. influence is grounded n ot just in military and economic superiority but also in so-called soft power. W e need a soft politics of persuasion and nonviolence, especially as America is embroiled in yet another disastrous intervention, this time in Iraq.

2004

Hopsicker, Daniel.  DVD: Conspiracy – The Secret History: The Secret Heartbeat of America, The C.I.A. and Drugs (2004)

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The prime location for most of this illegal activity is a place called Mena, Arkansas and the small but extraordinarily busy airport that services this town. This was a base of operations of sorts for aircraft making drug runs to and from South America and ferrying massive amounts of drugs into the United States. Mena has been called the home of Contra gun running, drug smuggling, and covert black operations. It appears that the lucrative nature of this narcotics business is a popular and simple way to fund covert missions when needed (the Iran-Contra scandal is a good example). It was supposed to be mired in secrecy but the government has shown time and again that they are terrible at keeping things quiet but they’re experts in damage control, manipulation, lying, and deception.  A key player in this story is the C.I.A. and America’s chief drug smuggler Barry Seal who ran his own huge smuggling operation during this time. Questions abound regarding Seal as a CIA agent, how much the American government knew and how complicit they were in all of this, and many other things. Thanks to a large assortment of evidence, eyewitness testimony, video footage, and interviews with key players in this documentary, some of it very solid and some of it circumstantial, it shows very disturbing and shocking events that involve many big names high in the government. It also points out agencies that you ordinarily might not expect to be involved in these types of illicit activities.

2005

Seagrave, Sterling and Peggy, Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold (Verso, 2005)

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Drawing on a vast range of original documents and thousands of hours of interviews, Gold Warrior exposes one of the great state secrets of the twentieth century.  In 1945, US intelligence officers in manila discovered that the Japanese had hidden large quantities of gold bullion and other looted treasure in the Philippines. President Truman decided to recover the gold but to keep its riches secret. These, combined with Japanese treasure recovered during the US occupation, and with recovered Nazi loot, would create a worldwide American political action fund to fight communism. This ‘Black Gold’ gave Washington virtually limitless, unaccountable funds, providing an asset base to reinforce the treasuries of America’s allies, to bribe political and military leaders, and to manipulate elections in foreign countries for more than fifty years.

2006

Edward F. Mazur, The New Oceania: An Untold Story of the Growing Misuse of U.S. Power Against Its People (Trafford Publishing, 2006)

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This is a true account of a heavily suppressed story of intrigue that begins with an inquiry into a strange and isolated shooting fatality in Texas in 1982. It leads progressively through Texas agencies to the FBI and eventually to highly placed officials in Texas, Arkansas and Washington D.C.   A former resident of Mena, Arkansas is allegedly shot to death in Texas in August 1982. Without conducting an investigation local authorities quickly rule the fatality an accident and impose a news blackout on the shooting. The father of the victim uncovers serious discrepancies and learns that local Texas FBI agents were associated with the incident as were federal agents in a federal grand jury investigation in Philadelphia. Appeals to the Texas State Attorney General for an inquiry to resolve the many discrepancies and contradictions in the case fail. Members of Congress contact the Texas Governor to request an official inquiry. The Governor grants their request but quickly terminates it without notifying them of his action. Arkansas Senator David Pryor and U.S. Representative John Hammerschmidt then take the matter up with the Director of the FBI, the Director of BATF and the Department of Justice in Washington only to encounter persistent evasions. The Texas fatality is later linked to government- sanctioned drug and arms smuggling activities in Mena, Arkansas that were being investigated by Arkansas State Trooper Russell Welch, IRS investigator Bill Duncan and private investigator Gene Wheaton.  The father of the slain man is falsely arrested with the aid of a group of Arkansas lawyers on charges brought by his brother, a CEO in Philadelphia, whose son was the target of the federal grand jury investigation there. The CEO’s son had various transactions in Mena and also in Texas that involved his slain cousin. The arrest of the slain man’s father was aimed at forcing him to disclose the results of his investigation into the Texas shooting, which the CEO, his son and others had an unusual interest in. After charges are dismissed a counter-claim is filed against the CEO, his son and his lawyers for wrongful acts and a trial is scheduled in federal court. At this point the last in a succession of Arkansas attorneys for the CEO and his son withdraws from the case. This allows the prestigious Rose Law Firm to take over a case they would normally reject out of hand and a case that could further complicate their on-going problems if discovered. It was at this time that former Rose Law Firm lawyer, Vincent Foster, is found dead at Fort Marcy Park. The powerful and influential Arkansas law firm forces a settlement that prevents release of sensitive information on the suppressed Texas shooting and its ties to federal agencies, to CIA activities at the Mena airport and to its Arkansas participants. Governor Bill Clinton is reluctant to confront the illegal activities in Mena but when Ross Perot becomes concerned about the affair Clinton discusses it with him as the 1992 presidential campaign gets under way. After Governor Clinton is elected and after the death of Vincent Foster the Whitewater scandal erupts to undermine Clinton’s presidency.  The author’s dogged investigation into the suppressed death of his son presents a well documented, fully corroborated account of the misuse of official power.

Naim, Moises, Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy (Anchor, 2006)

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Illicit activities are exploding worldwide. The onslaught of globalization has unleashed a tidal wave of bad stuff–everything from arms trafficking, human smuggling, and money laundering to music bootlegging. Here is the dark side of globalization: the mushrooming underground economy. Moisés Naím explores this murky world in his book Illicit. Naím is the editor of the relaunched magazine Foreign Policy and a former executive director of the World Bank and Minister of Trade and Industry of Venezuela. In Illicit, he unties the connections between the Colombian cocaine dealer, the New York banker steering money to offshore tax havens, the Albanian forcing women into prostitution, and the Chinese market stall-holder selling counterfeit DVDs. Naím reports that legitimate global trade has doubled since 1990 from $5 to $10 trillion. Meanwhile, money laundering has gone up tenfold, exceeding $1 trillion a year. Smuggling and money laundering have always existed, but Naím shows how they have increased at a staggering pace in the wake of globalization, despite new government controls since 9/11. The main culprits are the collapse of the Iron Curtain and state deregulation. As the reach of organized crime has expanded, governments have failed to keep up. Naím illustrates the problems with stories about A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb who sold nuclear technology to North Korea and Libya; Walter C. Anderson, an American who was accused of hiding $450 million in offshore accounts to evade taxes; and Vladimir Montesinos, the Peruvian intelligence czar who is on trial for trafficking drugs and arms. The book, while a little dry, will be interesting to policy buffs and aspiring crooks alike.

Shou, Nick and Charles Bowden, Kill the Messenger: How the CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb (Nation Books, 2006)

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Schou personally knew Gary Webb, the reporter with the San Jose Mercury News whose 1996 series of articles linked the CIA to the nation’s crack-cocaine plague. Schou, who had spent eight years following a similar story, worried that Webb’s suicide in 2004 would cause reporters to shy away from uncovering government involvement in drug trafficking. Schou offers a portrait of a dogged reporter, a motorcycle-driving rebel who was occasionally arrogant and had a history of depression. But Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, also had a reputation for meticulous research. Schou retraces Webb’s exhaustive research, which connected crack cocaine sold on the streets of L.A and CIA operations in Nicaragua. Schou also recalls other reporters who faced attacks by the government, lack of support by editors, drug-possession setups, and death threats for investigating CIA involvement in drug trafficking. He also details the personal ruin Webb suffered when his series was greeted first with silence by the journalistic community and later attacked, a series that Schou maintains was on target. An impressive look at the intersection of clandestine government operations and a free press.

2008

Scott, Peter Dale.  The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (The Mary Ferrell Foundation, 2008 x 1972)

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First published in 1972, this edition of THE WAR CONSPIRACY is fully updated for 2008, and includes two lengthy additional essays, one on the transition in Vietnam policy in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, and the other discussing the many parallels between that 1963 event and the attacks of 9/11/01. Scott examines the many ways in which war policy has been driven by “accidents” and other events in the field, in some cases despite moves toward peace being directed by presidents. This book explores the “deep politics” which exerts a profound but too-little understood effect on national policy outside the control of traditional democratic processes.

2009

Deitch, Scott M.  The Silent Don: The Criminal Underworld of Santo Trafficante Jr.  (Barricade Books, 2009)

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Although this sprawling, well-referenced Mob bio is nominally about Santo Trafficante Jr., Deitche necessarily starts with Santo Sr., who flew under law enforcement’s radar and took advantage of his early rivals’ bloody squabbling to create the organized crime empire he eventually handed over to his namesake. Both Trafficantes so adeptly dodged publicity that Deitche was hard-pressed to find significant documentation of Sr.’s activities before his 1930s emergence as the Tampa, Florida, Mafia boss. At the time when Luciano, Lansky, and Capone moved away from ethnic divisions within gangs, the Trafficante crew remained Sicilian-dominated. Maintaining close ties to New York’s Five Families and Chicago’s Outfit, Santo Jr.’s organization participated in most major Mob high jinks of the latter twentieth century, including leadership roles in such alleged CIA-Mob partnerships as the Bay of Pigs invasion and assassination plots involving Castro and JFK. Deitche presents the sprawling Trafficante story in luscious detail and appends a bulging bibliography of related material.

Grant, Scott, NOVEL East of Egypt: The Secret War: CIA Drug Operations in South East Asia (CreateSpace, 2009 )

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East Of Egypt is a fictional story that uses the CIA’s sordid history of drug production, to support its secret wars in Asia and the Middle East. It spins a tale of betrayal and survival in the Golden Triangle. From the Mekong to the Philippines, each page finds the reader glued in suspense. The story is a psychological thriller that weaves its way into the darkest shadows of an Asia few outsiders ever see. Bill Murphy and David Anderson, two ex-CIA field operatives, use their training from the CIA and begin to thrive as drug merchants until a war between themselves and the triad societies of Hong Kong take the story in an explosive new direction.

2010

Castillo III, Celerino and Dave Harmon.  Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War (Mosaic Press, 2010)

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The truth about the remaining dark secret of the Iran-Contra scandal- the United States government’s collaboration with drug smugglers. Powderburns is the story of Celerino Castillo III who spent 12 years in the Drug Enforcement Administration. During that time, he built cases against organized drug rings in Manhattan, raided jungle cocaine labs in the Amazon, conducted aerial eradication operations in Guatemala, and assembled and trained anti-narcotics units in several countries. The eerie climax of Agent Castillo’s career with the DEA took place in El Salvador. One day, he recieved a cable from a fellow agent. He was told to investigate possible drug smuggling by Nicaraguan Contras operating from the ilpango air force base. Castillo quickly discovered that Contra pilots were, indeed, smuggling narcotics back into the United States – using the same pilots, planes, and hangars that the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, under the Direction of Lt. Col. Oliver North, used to maintain their covert supply operation to the Contras.

Lambert, Larry B.  NOVEL White Powder: A novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos (CreateSpace, 2010)

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There is something intoxicating about a secret. There’s something terrifying about a shadow war. You may not know much about Laos or the world of WHITE POWDER. You aren’t supposed to.   Drugs, sex, and murder combined with personal and national agendas to create the hidden world of heroin where governments and drug empires collide. WHITE POWDER is the story of US Army officer, Craig Burton, who became something else. Burton’s metamorphosis can’t be explained except within the context of others whose roles played a part in the outcome.  It’s a story of spies from various nations with both personal and national agendas who congregated in Laos and were willing to do ANYTHING to meet their objectives. The end inevitably justified the means. Lastly, it’s also the story of Charlotte Sabon, who met Craig Burton, fell in love and was willing to commit murder to keep him. In the end she got both what she wanted and what she deserved.

Marcy, William L.  The Politics of Cocaine: How U.S. Foreign Policy Has Created a Thriving Drug Industry in Central and South America (Chicago Review Press, 2010)

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Drawing on declassified documents and extensive firsthand research, The Politics of Cocaine takes a hard look at the role the United States played in creating the drug industry that thrives in Central and South America. Author William L. Marcy contends that by conflating anti-Communist and counternarcotics policies, the United States helped establish and strengthen the drug trade as the area’s economic base. Increased militarization, destabilization of governments, uncontrollable drug trafficking, more violence, and higher death tolls resulted. Marcy explores how the counternarcotics policies of the 1970s collapsed during the 1980s when economic calamity, Andean guerrilla insurgencies, and Reagan’s anti-Communist struggle with Nicaragua and Cuba became conflated as part of the War on Drugs. The book then explores how the U.S. invasion of Panama and narcotics related violence throughout Andean region during the 1990s led to the militarization of the War on Drugs as a way to confront narcotics production, narco-traffickers, and narco-guerrillas alike.

Scott, Peter Dale.  American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010)

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In Scott’s view, the American military-industrial complex so feared by Eisenhower has grown into a military-industrial-corporate behemoth. This “overclass,” often functioning independently from the official elected government, has spearheaded countless actions that it perceives to be in the best interest of perpetuating American hegemony. With exhaustive research and extremely persuasive arguments, Scott (The Road to 9/11) seeks to prove that the funding and motivation behind America’s assertion of global supremacy can be traced to drugs. Drug money fueled American actions in Laos and Vietnam during the Cold War, American support of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 80s, and defines American political action in Latin America and present-day Afghanistan. By looking at covert activity and recorded history through the lens of American global dominance, Scott makes a terrifyingly compelling case; he asks readers to consider what actions taken in the last 50 years have not benefited America’s military-industrial complex, such an integral part of the global economy. While Scott can get mired in minutiae, his carefully structured arguments never fail to interest or disturb.

2011

Grillo, John.   El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency (Bloomsbury Press, 2011)

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El Narco draws the first definitive portrait of Mexico’s drug cartels and how they have radically transformed in the last decade. El Narco is not a gang; it is a movement and an industry drawing in hundreds of thousands from bullet-ridden barrios to marijuana-growing mountains. And it has created paramilitary death squads with tens of thousands of men-at-arms from Guatemala to the Texas border. Journalist Ioan Grillo has spent a decade in Mexico reporting on the drug wars from the front lines. This piercing book joins testimonies from inside the cartels with firsthand dispatches and unsparing analysis. The devastation may be south of the Rio Grande, El Narco shows, but America is knee-deep in this conflict.  “The strength of El Narco lies in its shoe-leather reporting; Grillo interviews everyone from a former cartel assassin to DEA agents to grieving families, snitches, pot and poppy farmers, illegal immigrants and gangbangers. He’s the sort of journalist who’ll pop into a plastic surgery clinic or taqueria if it turns up on a list of cartel-linked businesses, just to see what he can see. Writers this knowledgeable about the subject and with no particular ax to grind are rare.”Salon

Lambert, Larry B.  NOVEL Bloody Mexico: a novel of Cartel Wars (CreateSpace, 2011)

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In dystopian México, the absence of a just and moral government has led to a vacuum where evil runs virtually unchecked. Society festers where an underground empire rules a land in self-destruct mode. Rampant corruption at all levels thrives in an environment where many compromise their principles and their virtue for narco-money.  Recent violence as a result of the cartel wars may have topped 100,000 dead–but nobody really knows the numbers and the Méxican government hides the death toll for the sake of ‘national credibility’. There are states in México where the narcos rule and the government’s efforts to restore the rule of constituted law have been repeatedly thwarted. Narcotics are not just a Méxican or an American problem. Worldwide people spend more money on narcotics than they do on food. The wars between entrepreneurs who would be king for control of the drug trade are as vicious as they are unrelenting. The Méxican cartels make billions of dollars by moving cocaine that was grown in Peru and Brazil and refined in Colombia through México and into the world’s largest consumer of everything, the United States of America.   The unstable and unsustainable situation in México, caused in great part by the narcotics cartels, is quickly becoming an issue of American national security, as the border is not destroyed with a bang, but by intentional neglect. This only a novel. It’s just a flight of imagination. Keep telling yourself that. It will help you sleep at night.

Russell, Dan. Strategic Suicide: The Birth of the Modern American Drug War (Kalyx.com, 2011)

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“An important, strenuously argued contribution to the case against our nation’s scandalous narcotics policies and laws. Particularly valuable are the the encyclopaedic historical and anthropological perspectives which the author brings to bear on our cultural crisis. His scathing review of today’s unjust confiscation and sentencing statutes is balanced by encouraging and badly-needed statistics about the successes of alternatives, such as the Dutch decriminalization program.” Peter Dale Scott “Dan Russell’s book is on par with Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States. This historical account needs to be in every educational institution, beginning with high school, to tell the other side of the story of our loss of earth-based ecstasy. This book brilliantly shows how our healing relationship with plant allies came to be replaced with the prevailing political agenda of drug propaganda. Jeannine Parvati Baker “Dan Russell is a paradigm shifter of the first order. This is a book that gives the world a whole new way to understand the cosmology of drugs, intelligence, shamanism, spirituality, assassination and war. If I had to pick five books to keep as the best understanding of the insanity, profit motive, Wall Street-driving, prison-industry-sustaining, intelligence-agency-protected system this would be one of them. An absolute must read for anyone coming from a legal, law enforcement or academic background. More than 1300 footnotes leave no stone unturned and a new dimension opened. Anyone who wants to understand the real issues raised by drugs and the drug war cannot afford to bypass this seminal work.” Michael C. Ruppert “Dan Russell goes to the heart of the so-called ‘drug-problem’, really a ‘prohibition-problem’: extra-curricular drug- and gun-running by numerous governments, with that of the United States at the head of the list, its cynical and duplicitous ‘war on drugs’ notwithstanding – nought but a racist war on the poor and disenfranchised, both nationally and internationally, and withal a ‘war on the drug competition’; nor ought we to forget who invented modern money laundering shell-games, nor who profits the most from them. I urge you to read Dan Russell’s shocking exposé – may it serve as a much-needed wake-up call!” Jonathan Ott

Villar, Oliver and Drew Cottle, Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia (Monthly Review Press, 2011)

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Since the late 1990s, the United States has funneled billions of dollars in aid to Colombia, ostensibly to combat the illicit drug trade and State Department-designated terrorist groups. The result has been a spiral of violence that continues to take lives and destabilize Colombian society. This book asks an obvious question: are the official reasons given for the wars on drugs and terror in Colombia plausible, or are there other, deeper factors at work? Scholars Villar and Cottle suggest that the answers lie in a close examination of the cocaine trade, particularly its class dimensions. Their analysis reveals that this trade has fueled extensive economic growth and led to the development of a “narco-state” under the control of a “narco-bourgeoisie” which is not interested in eradicating cocaine but in gaining a monopoly over its production. The principal target of this effort is the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who challenge that monopoly as well as the very existence of the Colombian state. Meanwhile, U.S. business interests likewise gain from the cocaine trade and seek to maintain a dominant, imperialist relationship with their most important client state in Latin America. Suffering the brutal consequences, as always, are the peasants and workers of Colombia. This revelatory book punctures the official propaganda and shows the class war underpinning the politics of the Colombian cocaine trade.

2012

O’Dowd, Robert and Tim King, BETRAYAL – Toxic Exposure of U.S. Marines, Murder, and Government Cover-Up (Amazon Digital Services, Inc. , 2012) [Kindle Only]

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BETRAYAL tells the story of the thousands of veterans and their families, once stationed at these hazardous military installations, who have continued to be ignored by the U.S. government by denial of the effects of exposure to environmental hazards, including the highest incidence of occurrence of male breast cancer in any other demographic in the U.S. Legislation to provide health care for Camp Lejeune veterans and their dependents was passed in the 112th Congress. No veteran compensation was included in the Janey Ensminger Act. None of the veterans that served aboard these two installations were notified of their exposure to deadly contaminants when it was discovered resulting in both bases earning Superfund Cleanup Site status. Many affected veterans have died without ‘connecting the dots’ between their killing disease and their military service at either, or both, of these two installations. BETRAYAL also includes the story of the death and suspected murder of Marine Colonel James E. Sabow whose death has been tied to use of El Toro assets during the 1980s and 1990s to import South American cocaine into the U.S and to export guns to the Contra Rebel faction of Nicaragua. Demanding courts martial to clear his name of false charges and threatening to blow the whistle on the use of El Toro’s assets to support narcotrafficing in a covert operation, Colonel Sabow was found dead in his quarters by his wife on January 22, 1991. The circumstances surrounding his death and the forensic evidence from the crime scene support murder by a government assassination team, crime scene tampering and government cover-up at the highest levels, including a ‘doctored autopsy photograph’ submitted in an NCIS report in 2004 to Congress.

Parker, Warren K.  Drugs, War and The CIA (Xlibris Corporation, 2012)

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This book includes the true story of one man caught up in the secret war in Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam, and even into Southern China.  It describes how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) paid for this secret war without receiving money appropriated from Congress.  Drugs were a way to the end as time went by the CIA became the largest drug dealer in the world.  Shipments of heroin to the USA went on a weekly basis via “Opium Air,” a combination of Air America, Continental Air, Bird and Son Air, and many other small proprietary airlines as well as helicopters based in Arizona used for in-country re-distribution.  Throughout, and still today, CIA has been above reproach, unchallenged.

Watt, Peter and Roberto Zepeda, Drug War Mexico: Politics, Neoliberalism and Violence in the New Narcoeconomy (Zed Books, 2012)

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Mexico is a country in crisis.  Capitalizing on weakened public institutions, widespread unemployment, a state of lawlessness, and the strengthening of links between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, narcotrafficking in the country has flourished during the post-1982 neoliberal era. In fact, it has become Mexico’s biggest source of revenue, as well as its most violent, with an astonishing 9,000 drug-related executions in 2009 alone. In response, Mexican president Felipe Calderón, armed with millions of dollars in military aid supplied by the US government, has attempted to launch a “crackdown,” ostensibly to combat the power of organized crime. Despite this, human rights violations have increased, as has the murder rate, making Ciudad Juárez on the northern border the most dangerous city on the planet.  Meanwhile, the supply of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine has continued to increase.  In this insightful and controversial book, Watt and Zepeda throw new light on the situation, contending that the “drug war” in Mexico is in fact the pretext for a bi-national strategy to bolster unpopular neoliberal policies, a weak yet authoritarian government and a radically unfair status quo.