Can anyone tell me if this 30-second commercial is real? Watching it, I honestly can’t decide if it’s a parody or if it’s supposed to be taken seriously. At the end, it prominently displays “theantidrug.com” but what do you think?
Norm: It’s a ploy
Norm: This “drug money funds terror…” It’s a ploy.
Norm: A manipulation.
Norm: “Drug money funds terror…” Why should I believe that?
Nick: ‘Cause it’s a fact.
Norm: A fact?
Nick: F-A-C-T, fact.
Norm: So you’re saying that I… I should believe it because it’s true? That’s… that’s your argument?
Nick: It is true.
Of course it’s a fact; the connection between drugs and terrorism is actually part of the public record. What this commercial doesn’t mention is that the US Federal government invented the idea of funding terrorism with drug money, and that it’s only possibly with a little help from drug prohibition. To illustrate, here’s an example we Americans affectionately call The Iran Contra Scandal.
In 1984, the US Congress passed a package of laws referred to as the Boland Amendment:
The Boland Amendment was the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984, all aimed at limiting US government assistance to the rebel Contras in Nicaragua. The first Boland Amendment was to the House Appropriations Bill of 1982, which was attached as a rider to the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983, named for the Massachusetts Democrat, Representative Edward Patrick Boland, who authored it. The House of Representatives passed the Defense Appropriations Act 411-0 on December 8, 1982 and it was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 21, 1982. The amendment outlawed US assistance to the Contras for the purpose of overthrowing the Nicaraguan government, while allowing assistance for other purposes.
Several years later in 1986, the Iran-Contra Scandal revealed that the United States was still funding the Contras, but due to Boland-related prohibition, this funding had moved underground:
The Iran-Contra affair was a political scandal which was revealed in November 1986 as a result of earlier events during the Reagan administration. It began as an operation to increase U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a moderate, politically influential group of Iranians opposed to the Ayatollah Khomeini; the U.S. would reimburse Israel for those weapons and receive payment from Israel. The moderate Iranians agreed to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by Hezbollah. The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages, without the direct authorization of President Ronald Reagan. Large modifications to the plan were conjured by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985. In North’s plan, a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua. While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, there has not been any evidence uncovered showing that he authorized this plan.
The affair is composed of two matters: arms sales to Iran, and funding of Contra militants in Nicaragua. Direct funding of the Nicaraguan rebels had been made illegal through the Boland Amendment. The affair emerged when a Lebanese newspaper reported that the U.S. sold arms to Iran through Israel in exchange for the release of hostages by Hezbollah. Letters sent by Oliver North to John Poindexter support this. The Israeli ambassador to the U.S. says that the reason weapons were eventually sold directly to Iran was to establish links with elements of the military in the country. The Contras did not receive all of their finances from arms sales, but also through drug trafficking.
The direct link between Contras and drug trafficking immediately preceded the weapons trafficking revelations:
On April 17, 1986, the Reagan Administration released a three page report acknowledging that there were some Contra-cocaine connections in 1984 and 1985, arguing that these connections occurred at a time when the rebels were “particularly hard pressed for financial support” because U.S. aid had been cut off. The report admitted that “We have evidence of a limited number of incidents in which known drug traffickers have tried to establish connections with Nicaraguan resistance groups.” The report tried to downplay the drug activity, claiming that it took place “without the authorization of resistance leaders.”
In 1986, Senator John Kerry and Senator Christopher Dodd proposed a series of hearings at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding charges of Contra involvement in drug trafficking; the hearings were conducted by Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the Republican Chairman of the Committee. The report of the Committee, released on April 13, 1989, found that “Contra drug links included… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.” The U.S. State Department paid over $806,000 to known drug traffickers to carry humanitarian assistance to the Contras.
In summary, it is a fact that drug trafficking supports terrorism. Who would know better than the US Federal government, itself? It’s hard to argue against “them” when they reveal that they are the ones supporting terrorism through drug and weapons trafficking. It is a “fact” because it is a matter of public record. Anyone who wants to know about the connection between drugs and terrorism simply needs to look at the actions of the Reagan administration.
It is critical to note, though, that prior to drug and weapons trafficking, the Contras were funded through direct Federal appropriations. It was only because this funding was forced underground that “black market” funding sources were cultivated. Without the need to move this money underground, there would have been no need to sell drugs and weapons in order to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.
In conclusion, that commercial MUST BE a parody. Anyone watching the commercial cannot help but ask, “how is this a known fact?” When the sufficiently motivated viewer discovers that this “fact” was established in the course of uncovering actions by the US Feds, it underscores such moral contradiction that the mind reels.
To resolve this funding conundrum, we can take one of two actions: repeal the Boland Amendment, and allow Congress to directly fund terrorists, or repeal drug prohibition, thereby bringing those funds out of the black market. Of course, by repealing drug prohibition, it will be more difficult to fund terrorists, but I can only assume that this is consistent with popular opinion.
I say BRAVO to the artists behind this brilliant parody video. Thank you for highlighting the corruption and conflict of interest that is facilitated by drug prohibition!