Protesters to call for abolition of CIA Cocaine allegations galvanize plans for Dec. 5 demonstration

November 10, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore civic activist group said yesterday it plans a protest march at the federal building downtown next month to condemn the CIA's alleged ties to drug smugglers who helped fuel the spread of crack cocaine in American inner cities during the 1980s.

The group, All People's Congress, plans the protest for 4: 30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Garmatz Federal Courthouse on Lombard Street.

Speakers at the event plan to call for the CIA to be disbanded, and its millions in funding used instead to expand drug treatment programs in inner-city communities and to build youth recreation and educational centers, said Sharon Ceci, a volunteer organizer for All People's Congress.

"This issue has really touched a nerve in the inner cities. It's sparking a lot of people to think about whether our government really cares about the effect of drugs on our inner-city communities," Ceci said.

The group's calls for action are in part a response to a San Jose Mercury News series alleging that two Nicaraguan drug dealers introduced crack cocaine to South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s to raise millions for the CIA-backed contra war against the Marxist Sandinista government.

The three-part series, published in August, charged that the CIA either approved or condoned the operation.

Since the series ran, the CIA has said it can find no record of any such relationship with principal members of a cocaine-trafficking ring.

The series, titled "Dark Alliance," did not document direct CIA involvement in the drug ring, but said Nicaraguan traffickers met with CIA operatives at the same time they sold crack, a concentrated and highly addictive form of cocaine, to Los Angeles gangs.

The series has resulted in a storm of protest from black elected and civic leaders, and calls for congressional investigations, one of which was launched late last month.

Plans for the Dec. 5 protest were announced last night during a forum All People's Congress organized at its meeting hall in Waverly.

About 50 people attended the event to hear John Jones, a former Black Panther party member who is now chairman of the New Jersey chapter of All People's Congress, speak about the inner-city drug problem and the government's role in condoning it.

"The biggest drug pusher in this country is the U.S. government," Jones told the audience to a round of applause.

"The kids on the street selling drugs are incapable of bringing together the apparatus necessary to get drugs into this country and the cities," Jones said. "These kids are just victims. To them drug dealing is a cheap form of entertainment. It's the government and the corporations and the big banks that are behind the drug trade. The reason is megaprofits."

Ceci said the All People's Congress plans to push for the government to restore financing cuts in drug treatment programs and to make such programs available on demand.

Jones urged those attending last night's forum to begin organizing community "patrols" to keep a watch on police, who he contends protect drug lords, and to take back street corners from drug dealers.

"Voting is not going to solve the drug problem, the same way it did not get black people their civil rights in the '60s" Jones said.

"It's going to take massive social unrest. We have to organize ourselves into fight back machines."

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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