In the basement of West Baltimore's Enon Baptist Church, Del. Clarence Davis gave an indication of how he earned the nickname "Tiger."
His voice thundered as he delivered a brief oration on what to do about America's drug crisis. Waving off a microphone extended by the Rev. Willie Ray, Davis told the audience that he had never had any trouble being heard.
"We've got to go out and reclaim our children and stop waiting for some government or some social worker to do it," Davis proclaimed Thursday night.
The East Baltimore Democrat was speaking at a town meeting called by Ray and the Rev. Arnold Howard, pastor of Enon Baptist. The topic was "Where Do We Go From Here?" in the wake of the San Jose Mercury News' series charging that the CIA aided and abetted a Nicaraguan contra group in introducing crack cocaine to South Central Los Angeles, thus triggering the epidemic that spread across the land.
The theme question of the town meeting wasn't just rhetorical. Several suggested that the answer to "Where do we go from here?" was actually backward, that we adults should start kicking some kid butts and return to those hallowed days when we grown-ups were actually in charge.
Anees Abdul-Rahim, a drug dealer turned drug counselor, suggested that the criminal justice system should now focus on those he called "the real drug kingpins." Abdul-Rahim said he had long suspected government involvement in smuggling drugs into the country, but "because of my background folks didn't believe me."
For Del. Salima Siler Marriott of West Baltimore, the CIA-crack-contra connection meant, mainly, that the government finally should address drug abuse as a health problem and exhorted federal officials to kick out the bucks to help with treatment.
"We must demand that the devastation that has occurred in our community be addressed," Marriott intoned. She went on to criticize the Reagan administration's war against Nicaragua's Sandinistas that brought us to this present crisis.
"The Sandinistas were doing a greater work with their infants in Managua than we were doing in Baltimore," noted Marriott, who added that the Sandinistas also made gains in bringing food, education and health care to Nicaragua's poor.
Marriott's statements raise some larger questions. Did we really love the contras that much that we would stand by silently as the CIA backed Nicaraguans Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, who, according to the Mercury News series, funneled the cocaine to "Freeway" Ricky Ross in South Central Los Angeles that he turned into crack? Did we really hate the Sandinistas that much that we were willing to see thousands of our own citizens become crack addicts?
Eric Eaton, another attendee at the town meeting, suggested dismantling the CIA. When I asked Marriott if she supported the idea, she unhesitatingly responded, "Absolutely."
Eighty-six the CIA. Now there's an idea. Do we really need it? The CIA is composed of a bunch of thugs who have gotten away with their thuggery for years, so much so that the U.S. government is no longer a democracy. We're a thugocracy.
The CIA is a group of thugs who through the years have supported other thugs. It supported the contras in Nicaragua, many of whom were former Somocistas, the personal body guard of Anastasio Somoza, who was a straight-up thug. Other CIA sins include:
Overthrowing the popularly elected regime of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala in 1954.
Backing Battalion 316 in Honduras, even though the battalion committed some serious human rights abuses. You may
remember reading about this in a Sun series by Ginger Thompson and Gary Cohn. You remember the series, don't you? You know, the one that should have won the Pulitzer.
Enlisting Joseph Mobutu, another thug, in a plot to kill the first premier of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in 1961.
Assisting the South African apartheid regime in helping to catch Nelson Mandela in 1962.
Deep in CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., lie the files -- the same ones Mercury News reporter Gary Webb tried to get under the Freedom of Information Act -- that might contain the organization's history of drug dealing and murder. The CIA refused to release the files, claiming "national security."
Ah, yes. National security. The ultimate refuge of the lowest type of scoundrel.
Pub Date: 10/19/96