If you've been enjoying Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality you'll dig this essential companion series, "The (Not-So) Secret History of the War on Drugs," which was recorded on October 18, 2008 in Chicago and has been given three times at Burning Man in the Entheon Village, SHIFT, and Nexus speaker series, where it also proudly earned an attack by the Wall Street Journal. You can read about it in an earlier RS post along with my rebuttal to the WSJ, which they actually published. This lecture began as a section of Exile Nation, and provides its historical context. A print version will be available in late 2010, and a documentary video is in the works as part of the Exile Nation Unheard Voices project.

Here's the big secret though: It's not a secret. This stuff is known, and documented. There is enough credible evidence to convince any court of law, which is why it has never gone before a court of law. It has the power to destabilize our government. The only thing that keeps this history secret is the public's refusal to believe it. The drug war is one of those topics that is always met with fierce resistance for a number of reasons involving class and race and cultural identity. But more than that, it is one of those archetypal issues that is in conflict with the American mythology that we are governed by the rule of law, and the morality of righteousness. One of the great new stories we need to tell is the true history of US involvement in the global drug trade and the integral role of drugs in the American economic and political systems.

On YouTube in 14 parts:



Video by Christoper Breedlove: http://www.mrbreedlove.com

Exile Nation Copyright © 2009 Charles Shaw. All rights reserved.




Lockdown America (Verso, 1999), Christian Parenti. 

The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (1971, 2008), Alfred P. McCoy (1971 edition online at http://www.drugtext.org/library/books/McCoy/default.htm)

Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (1991), Drugs, Oil and War (2002), Peter Dale Scott (online abstracts – http://www.infocollective.org/dalescottabstract.html and http://infocollective.org/drugoilandwars.htm ?

The Phoenix Program and The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs (Verso, 2004), Douglas Valentine

Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion (Seven Stories, 1998), Gary Webb

Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. (Verso, 1998)

Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras and the Drug War (2004), Celereino Castillo.

The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic – An Undercover Odyssey (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1993), Michael Levine.

Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker.

The Secret History of the American Empire, John Perkins.

Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure, Dan Baum.

Beyond the War on Drugs: Overcoming a Failed Public Policy (Prometheus, 1990), Steve Wisotsky.

Crime and Punishment in America: Why solutions to America's most stubborn social crisis have not worked – and what will (1998), by Elliott Currie

The Perpetual Prisoner Machine: How America Profits From Crime (2000), by Joel Dyer.



"A Tangled Web: A History of CIA Complicity in International Drug Trafficking" – Institute for Policy Studies http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/980507-l.htm

“Pipe Dreams: the CIA, Drugs, and the Media” by Daniel Brandt and Steve Badrich.

“How America Lost the War on Drugs”After Thirty-Five Years and $500 Billion, Drugs Are as Cheap and Plentiful as Ever: An Anatomy of a Failure.Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone, December 13, 2007

“The US Gulag Prison System” by Stephen Lendman.Global Research, March 16, 2006

"Bush Plans First TV Speech Devoted to Drug War," by Maureen Dowd.New York Times, August 17, 1989

"Drug Buy Set Up For Bush Speech DEA Lured Seller to Lafayette Park" by Michael Isikoff, Washington Post, Sept. 22, 1989; Page A01

“The Prison-Industrial Complex” by Eric Schlosser, The Atlantic Monthly (1998)


“America Incarcerated” by Glenn C. Loury, from the Boston Review, November 2007

Report: U.S. Prison System A Costly And Harmful Failure by Randall Mikkelsen, November 19, 2007 – Reuters (US)

“Unlocking America” – JFA Institute, Rosenbaum Foundation

Open Society Institute “a report calling for a major justice-system overhaul.”

Whitebread, “The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States”

“The Discriminatory Origins of the American Drug Wars” by Lori Parker

“The Prison Index: Taking the Pulse of the Crime Control Industry.”

Eric Sterling, "Drug Policy: A Challenge of Values”

“Prisons: Warehousing America’s Poor” by Geert Dhondt

“The State of Sentencing 2007: Developments in Policy and Practice”- The Sentencing Project, January, 2008

Man, G., ‘Ideology and genre in the Godfather films,’ in Browne (2000), 109-110

“Society rewarded these miscreants but don’t forget what they were”Les Payne, Newsday, November 21, 2007

Papke, D.R., “How Does the Law Look?”Available on-line at: http://www.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etext/lsf/papke27.htm

The Godfather, 1972.Available on-line at: http://www.culturevulture.com/Movies/Godfather.htm



Michael Ruppert – From the Wilderness (fromthewilderness.com)

Cele Castillo’s Powderburns – (powderburns.org)

The Narco News Bulletin – (narconews.com)

Gary Webb’s original 1996 “Dark Alliance” series from the San Jose Mercury (narconews.com/darkalliance)

DrugText.org – online database for substance use and harm reductionSchaffer Library of Drug Policy – (druglibrary.org/schaffer)

Cocaine Importing Agency (csun.edu/coms/ben/news/cia/)



PBS' FRONTLINE: “Guns, Drugs and the CIA” Original Air Date: May 17, 1988

Dateline NBC: “Drugs and the CIA” (1996)

The Century of the Self – BBC

Hooked, History Channel.



“Geopolitics of Drugs: The Politics of Heroin” with Alfred P. McCoyChicago Public Radio, Worldview 10/22/2007 http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=14182

“Geopolitics of Drugs: Drug War Whistleblower” with Celerino CastilloChicago Public Radio, Worldview 10/29/2007 http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=14302

GLADIOWikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio

“Operation Gladio” by David Guyatthttp://www.copi.com/articles/guyatt/gladio.html

“Sword Play: Attacking Civilians to Justify "Greater Security"by Chris Floyd, Global Researchhttp://globalresearch.ca/articles/FLO502B.html

NATO’s secret armies linked to terrorism?by Daniele Ganser, Global Researchhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/GAN412A.html

[US PROPAGANDA]Misinformation about "Gladio/Stay Behind" Networks Resurfaceshttp://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive/2006/Jan/20-127177.html

Gladio (1992)Three-part documentary series from BBC Timewatch investigating the secret activities of 'stay behind' units in Europe after the Second World War, network of Right-Wing extremists and Intelligence Agencies involved in terrorist attacks on European targets for the purpose of discrediting Left-Wing movements.. Exposes the clandestine terrorist activities of these groups in Belgium & Italy, and their involvement with the CIA. Many of the officially responsible ministers in Europe were not aware of the existence of Gladio.

Synthetic Terror: Made in the USABy Webster TarpleyProgressive Press; 4th edition (May 5, 2007)

Gladio Timelines – A Chronology of NATO's Private ArmySecret Warfare: Operation Gladio and NATO's Stay-Behind Armieshttp://www.anomalies.net/object/gladio_chronology.html