Pernicious Presidents

Updated: Mar 6

Presidents’ Day is a slap in the face to the Black community for a myriad of reasons, but voter suppression and fiscal disenfranchisement are at the top of the list! Tupac was right when he said that America is run on gangs, he then proceeded to list the FBI, both political parties, and of course the police as prime examples. I want to talk about how the U.S. government is a glorified crime syndicate because history is happening before our very eyes, but instead of repeating, it’s escalating! Let’s talk about the impact that prior presidents such as Bush, Clinton, and Reagan have made for Black America and the toxic outcome.

Thanks to the Reagan Administration, the war on drugs was code for the very real war on Black people! The acquittal of former President Donald Trump, was not the first time that the Republican Party was responsible for high treason. As much as I would love for the 1980’s to be the decade of neon spandex and aquanet, it actually was the year of arms dealing, drug smuggling, and the events that inspired the movie Rambo. Our contenders in this little tale of espionage are Scott Weekly, James Gritz, and of course Oliver North who are just some of the names involved in state-sanctioned war crimes. Weekly was arrested with a few other Americans in a small Thai village while on a covert mission to gather intelligence on prisoners of war. Former Army Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel James Gritz was at the helm of this endeavor even though he “retired” from the military in 1979. Gritz worked for the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) unit of the army trying to locate POWs in Southeast Asia. According to congressional testimony, operation “Grand Eagle” was “discontinued” after a bureaucratic dispute with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Deputy DIA director Admiral Allan Paulson informed congress that the operation was denied “at the first level of the approval process.” So of course under a different code name “Operation Lazarus,” Gritz and Weekly had the equipment and ISA funds to move forward with the first mission resulting in a firefight with Laotian forces. There was another attempt to infiltrate Laos in 1983 but the mission leaked to Soldier of Fortune magazine and then amplified by the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. The team was arrested by Thai police and charged with possession of an illegal radio transmitter which was the latest in U.S.-made spy equipment. I bet you’re wondering if the CIA-DIA came clean about providing this all-star team with high-tech gear for this infiltration operation and the short answer is no. The arms dealing and the drug trafficking comes next and ties into increased law and order legislation by congress through the decades to target Black and Latinx communities specifically.

The contenders in this line-up of corruption are: drug trafficker Danilo Blandon, his money launderer and mule ex-police detective Ronald Jay Lister, and the Mujahedeen! Blandon was head of a major cocaine distribution ring in Los Angeles from 1981 to 1991. In 1992 he was convicted of cocaine trafficking and became a DEA informant. Lister’s extra-curricular activities include arms dealing for the Contras, security work for Salvadorian politicians, and Iranian exiles. He was convicted of drug trafficking and followed suit with being an informant to the FBI, DEA, and local law enforcement. Scott Weekly, a.k.a Dr. Death, met with Lister frequently about military related systems that were declassified and hence legal to sell. Lister claimed that in addition to Weekly being his CIA contact, he wa