Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy

If you haven't heard of the Iran-Contra scandal then this is a good place to start. This Netflix documentary dives into the CIA's allegedly cocaine funded, covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government. The 1980s saw an explosion of crack cocaine use, primarily in the inner cities, which ripped families and communities apart while increasing violent crime and murders drastically. Reagan's failed War On Drugs treated drug users as criminals and chose to send them to jail, rather than to treat them as victims of the disease of addiction who needed medical assistance to get off the drug. This sparked a rise of incarcerated people leading to the prison-industrial complex we have today- with the United States having the highest incarceration rate in the world.

This documentary is an intriguing watch that covers the causes and consequences of the crack epidemic of the '80s. It does a good job of documenting the disastrous effects it had on mostly black communities. Although it certainly alludes to the CIA's "alleged" involvement of directly funneling drugs to black communities, I wish it went a little further into those accusations and the very strong evidence behind them (The search engine DuckDuckGo is your friend and will find you plenty of information. As will Google, but they're not so much your friend and that's a whole other story).

This scandal was brought to light by investigative journalist Gary Webb, who published a newspaper article first disclosing the conspiracy and continued releasing evidence of some of the more heinous things the government allegedly did and how. As one agent in this documentary puts it, defeating communism in Central America was more important than getting cocaine into the hands of American kids. In 2004 Webb was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head. The police ruled it a suicide.

"Kill the Messenger" is another great watch, shining light more on Gary Webb's experience during this whole time. Also available on Netflix.

This blog post solely represents the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views or opinions of Norfolk Community Television.