Drugs / CIA

Bain, Donald. The Control of Candy Jones. Chicago: Playboy Press, 1976. 267 pages.

This is a classic, one-of-a-kind study of the use of hypnotic manipulation for intelligence purposes. Candy Jones was America's leading cover girl during the forties and fifties. In 1960 she fell on hard times and agreed to act as a courier for the CIA. She was also a perfect subject for hypnosis. Without understanding what was happening, she began a 12-year relationship with a CIA psychiatrist who used her to exhibit his mastery of mind control techniques. He nurtured a second personality within Candy, which he could trigger at will. The first personality could not recall later what the second had been doing, as the second traveled to distant countries on courier missions. Even under experimental torture, the CIA's secrets were safe with this "Manchurian Candidate" courier.


In 1972, Candy married New York radio talk-show host Long John Nebel. Concerned over her mood shifts and insomnia, Nebel, an amateur hypnotist, tried to help her sleep. Over many sessions Candy's story emerged and the second personality was exposed. Author Donald Bain, a friend of the couple, compiled this book from more than 200 hours of taped sessions between Nebel and Candy. Although this book is not fiction, unfortunately Bain does not reveal the name of the CIA psychiatrist.

Central Intelligence Agency. Allegations of Connections Between CIA and the Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States. 96-0143-IG. Volume II: The Contra Story. Issued on 1998-04-27 as a classified report, and 1998-10 in declassified form. 236 pages. (This page count depends on the printout; the report itself uses paragraph or item numbers instead. NameBase also used these, resulting in numbers from 1 to 1148, new numbers for appendices A to E, and again for graphical reproductions of documents in G1 to G14.)

In August 1996, Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News sparked a frenzy about the CIA's role in 1980s cocaine trafficking in Los Angeles. After the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post savaged Webb's story in three-part harmony, the Mercury News caved and Webb was out of a job. Four so-called "investigations" were launched on the issue of CIA, contras, and cocaine: two by Congress, one by Justice, and one by the CIA's then-Inspector General, Frederick Hitz. Two years later, it looked like a fizzle. Then Volume II of the Hitz report was posted on the web, and quite unexpectedly, it was full of names. Hitz lacked subpoena power, but he had a 17-person team dig out old CIA records. This report reviews the record of CIA message traffic, letters, and documents. There are no stunning conclusions, merely an overwhelming impression for anyone who reads it: CIA consistently dropped the ball on this issue, and rarely ran with it to begin with, except to neutralize external pressure. Their only concern was the contra war effort, and everything else took a back seat.

Lee, Martin A. and Shlain, Bruce. Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and the Sixties Rebellion. New York: Grove Press, 1985. 343 pages.

Marks, John. The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control. New York: McGraw-Hill Paperback Edition, 1980. 242 pages.

MK-ULTRA was a CIA "mind-control" project backed up by the usual Cold War rationale. Because the Soviets were supposedly on the track of a "truth serum," the CIA set out to beat them to the punch with heavily- funded research into hypnosis, electroshock, mind-bending drugs, and other techniques of behavioral control. According to Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, MK-ULTRA's resident Dr. Strangelove, the CIA's grail was discovering how "to modify an individual's behavior by covert means." But Gottlieb's gray language disguises what this quest meant in practice: e.g., dosing unwitting subjects with LSD, and then standing back to watch them lose it. MK-ULTRA compromised scientists, and left behind both scrambled psyches and a full- blown counterculture -- all without adding to our real knowledge of the human mind.

NameBase indexed two books that deal extensively with MK-ULTRA. Drawing on 16,000 pages of once-classified documents, John Marks's "Search for the Manchurian Candidate" provides a pioneering overview of CIA efforts to control human behavior. Lee and Shlain's "Acid Dreams," a compulsively- readable history of LSD culture, details how the CIA, apparently by accident, promoted LSD from a chem-lab curiosity to an American folkway. -- Steve Badrich

McCoy, Alfred W. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Brooklyn: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991. 634 pages.

When Noriega was delivering Medellin cartel competitors to the DEA, he may not have known that he was the latest in a long line of officials performing such a function. Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, recounts how Hong Kong law enforcement similarly protected their favored heroin dealers in the 1970s, as did the new York branch of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the 1960s.

The symbiotic relationship between drug merchants, and intelligence and law enforcement, is examined in detail by McCoy. From Southeast Asia, to Central America, to Afghanistan, the trail of CIA covert action and drug smuggling runs parallel. McCoy also examines the banks that preceded BCCI as havens for tax evaders and criminals protected from prosecution because they banked with covert operators, and pinpoints critical historical periods when the narcotics trade might have been stopped had it not been for U.S. intelligence agencies.

There are two versions of this book, the classic first edition (1973), and an expanded second edition (1991) that includes Afghanistan.

-- Lanny Sinkin

Parry, Robert. Lost History: Contras, Cocaine and Other Crimes. The Media Consortium (Suite 102-231, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA 22201, Tel: 703-920-1802, rparry@ix.netcom.com), 1997. 118 pages.

Robert Parry was a reporter for Associated Press, Newsweek, and the Public Broadcasting System's "Frontline" program in the 1980s and 1990s. Disenchanted with mainstream reporting, by 1996 he started a newsletter and website to support independent journalism. Parry and Brian Barger broke the story of contra drug-smuggling in 1985, while working for AP. Despite hearings in Congress during the 1980s, and numerous instances of drug smuggling by contra supporters, the story remained on back pages until August, 1996. That's when the San Jose Mercury News ran a three-part series on the CIA and contra cocaine in south-central Los Angeles. It was widely noticed, primarily because of SJMN's high-tech website .

The mainstream press, in synchronized harmony, savaged the Mercury News for its overreaching journalism. In the process, they neatly managed to sidestep the real issue -- forget Los Angeles, what about the tons of other contra-coke and CIA-drug evidence that our puppet press deliberately buried over the years? In this little self-published book, Parry reviews this evidence, as well as some of the media's outright lies and manipulations that kept this story from the American people.

Scott, Peter Dale and Marshall, Jonathan. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. 279 pages.

Periodically during the contra war in Nicaragua, stories would surface about the contra-drug connection. In some cases, planes flying south with arms would return with marijuana or cocaine. Rumors suggested that the CIA might even be using drug money to promote a war that Congress at one point refused to fund; at best the CIA seemed blissfully ignorant and forgiving when a number of their contra contract agents were reported to be involved with the drug trade. By the time of the Iran-contra hearings in 1987, it was clear that a number of the principals in Oliver North's network had been aware of contra drug smuggling for some time.

DEA agents and prosecutors who went after certain dealers would discover that they had a "get out of jail free card" because of their CIA connections, and in 1985 two journalists who filed a contra-drug story for Associated Press were heavily edited. By 1989, three years after it began its investigation, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations, headed by John Kerry (D-MA), released a 144-page report that confirmed most of the suspicions. "Cocaine Politics" draws on this report and a wealth of additional research and evidence to present the most complete picture that has yet been published.

Webb, Gary. Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998. 548 pages.

As a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, Gary Webb created a firestorm in 1996 with a three-part series that led to this book. The series was popular on the Mercury website, where it was backed up with a massive collection of documents, just a mouse-click away. Then the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times seemingly got marching orders, and bashed the story in three-part harmony. This story is about Norwin Meneses, Danilo Blandon, and Ricky Ross, and the arrival of crack in Los Angeles. Behind these three, to some extent, was the CIA's contra war against Nicaragua. The original series was poorly edited, and cut to fit. The CIA angle was overplayed to suggest that without the CIA, crack in Los Angeles could have barely existed. Some of the more imaginative web surfers then came close to concluding that the CIA was trying to exterminate blacks.

After reading this book, with its shoe-leather reporting and 68 pages of end notes, no one can deny that Webb is a capable journalist (he lost his job anyway; the Mercury couldn't take the East Coast heat). In the end, the CIA's motives and its control over its own contra agents are still open to question. But don't expect any answers. Just before this book appeared, it was revealed that in 1982, the CIA was exempted by the Attorney General from reporting on the drug activities of its agents, assets, and contractors.

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