American Drug War: The Last White Hope (DVD Review)
Kevin Booth's new documentary, American Drug War: The Last White Hope is the BEST Drug War documentary I have ever seen! A true masterpiece!
AMERICAN DRUG WAR: THE LAST WHITE HOPE (DVD Review)
Let me remind the reader that it says in the Declaration of Independence, and these are unalienable rights we are talking about here, that no one person or governmental body can take the following away from We The People:
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
These words were written by founding father Thomas Jefferson, who would have been aghast at the way in which otherwise innocent Americans are being treated as a result of the longest running, and most expensive war with which this nation has ever been involved. While some people who have a vested and clear conflict of interest in these matters are willing to say that the so-called Drug War has been a success – on the street level this is simply untrue. In the thirty-five years since Richard Nixon first declared war on what he called public enemy number one; the street drugs available to anyone who wants them, are more plentiful, of a higher potency, and are less expensive than they were in 1972 – the year in which all this madness officially began.
However, the Drug War appears to be about having more control over undesirable population groups, than in stopping casual drug use. For instance, in 2000, marijuana arrests had hit record levels. Out of 4.1 million arrests, 88% of them were for possession – sometimes for as little as a single marijuana cigarette. Possession of marijuana accounts for just over half of all drug possession arrests. To place this in proper perspective, in 1999, there were more marijuana arrests than for ALL violent crimes combined – murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Think about it; is marijuana a greater danger to society than murder? The Drug War propagandists would have you believe so, although this is a ridiculous assertion.
Whose business is it if my pursuit of happiness involves smoking marijuana instead of drinking alcohol or sucking nicotine into my lungs? Well, as Kevin Booth discovered and reveals in his exquisite documentary American Drug War: The Last White Hope, the corporations behind the propaganda unit Partnership For A Drug Free America, are these very same alcohol and tobacco companies. These multi-billion dollar globalist companies do not want to risk losing even the smallest portion of their profits when former users of their products switch to smoking marijuana, instead of pulling another can of beer from the six-pack they picked up after a hard days’ work, or another cancer-stick from its’ colorful foil packaging. This is but one aspect of the American Drug War, in which we see corporate profits ruling above all else.
Both alcohol and nicotine carry very specific health risks, such as Cirrhosis of the Liver, and Cancer. Both of these substances combined kill hundreds of thousands of people each year, while marijuana has not been the cause of a single reportable death. In addition, the Drug War completely ignores the dangers of prescription drug abuse, which I saw within my own family. During my teen years, my own father had an addiction to the prescription drug Halcion. This was a horrible time for my family, as we never knew how he was going to behave from one moment to the next. In fact, this was among the worst addictions I had ever witnessed anyone go through, and it was all perfectly legal!
The vast majority of the people in the United States Congress and Senate have sold their souls to the lobbyists and corporate interests who roam the halls of Washington, DC like the energy vampires that they are. These multi-billion dollar companies whose names we all know – always seem to get what they want, always at the expense of the American people, whose interests Congress is supposed to be serving. As Kevin Booth further points out, 80% of Americans simply do not agree with the idea that marijuana is a dangerous drug – and 75% support the idea of marijuana as a compassionate medicine.
There actually is a synthetic pharmaceutical marijuana product, which goes by the name Marinol. This capsule contains a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana – THC – suspended in Sesame Seed oil. Each capsule is roughly equivalent to one marijuana cigarette, which can cost as little as two dollars when purchased in larger quantities. However, Marinol started out costing seven dollars a capsule. That was only until the scam known as Medicare Part D came into being on January 1, 2006. It was supposed to be a subsidy program to help people pay for their unaffordable prescription drugs, but it turned out to be a financial free-for-all for the pharmaceutical industry. Once January 1, 2006 came around and Medicare Part D went into effect, the price of Marinol jumped from seven dollars to twenty dollars per capsule, nearly triple the price at which it had been originally sold before Medicare Part D went into effect!
Now costing fifty-billion dollars per year, the Drug War has been an abysmal failure, no matter what Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio claims to the contrary. One would think that with all the money which has been thrown at this alleged scourge of society, that there would be some appreciable difference in the availability of drugs in our nation. But, this has not been the case. In fact, our jails and prisons are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders, most of which were arrested on simple possession charges. With mandatory minimum sentencing, these people rot behind bars for ten years or more, while violent offenders – murderers, rapists, and child molesters – see their sentences reduced due to overcrowding. I have to ask – does this make our nation any safer? No, it does not.
Arpaio is a propagandist through and through. At one point during his interview, Kevin mentions Amsterdam, a city that has greatly decriminalized marijuana. Arpaio claims on camera that the city is a mess, with drugged-out people laying in the streets. To his credit, Kevin takes a flight over to Amsterdam, and provides a split screen comparison between the inner city of Los Angeles and Amsterdam. One city is clean, and the people walking the streets are orderly, posing no threat or concern to the population as a whole. The other city is a complete shambles, the streets littered with used drug paraphernalia, which itself causes yet another health risk to the general population, through the risk of infection of HIV through these dirty needles, syringes, and empty Heroin balloons. Of course, the city that lies in a shambles is the inner city of Los Angeles. But, Sheriff Joe does not want anyone to know this.
The two things that ran through my mind as I viewed Kevin Booth’s four years in the making documentary on the American Drug War were; how did he get the access to the people that appeared throughout, and what are some of these pro-Drug War government kooks going to think once they see the finished product? Here, I am talking about people like General Barry McCaffery, former Drug Czar; and the aforementioned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Director of the DEA, and who now runs a tent city in Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio’s treatment of prisoners can be called nothing but inhumane. He feeds his prisoners green baloney, and makes them wear pink garments. His guard dogs rest in air-conditioned quarters, while non-violent drug offenders bake in the 130 degree temperatures for which the state of Arizona is so well known.
The viewer is shown an insiders-only meeting of the Bloods street gang, and Kevin was able to interview and film Tommy Chong while he was incarcerated for selling glass over the Internet. While Tommy spent nine months behind bars, the publicity actually helped his career, along with his credibility as a life-long advocate of marijuana and individual’s rights. Kevin was also able to speak with Freeway Ricky Ross via prison telephone, and in doing so, reveals that the Wal-Mart of Crack Cocaine was really supplied by the CIA. Ricky Ross made between $2-3 million dollars per week in Cocaine and Crack sales, and he mentioned that sometimes he would make that much in a single day!
This was likewise confirmed by former DEA agent Cele Castillo, who in doing his job, uncovered the connection between high-level international drug kingpins and the CIA. However, no one would listen to him, and when he pursued this further, he began to be reprimanded and harassed by his own superiors, who clearly didn’t want this connection revealed. It also must be said that because of the timing of all of this, the most likely governmental coordinator of the drug sales to the inner cities of America appears to have been none other than George Bush Sr. The Iran-Contra affair was run out of the White House, and with Bush being a former CIA Director, he was the most likely candidate for this heinous task.
Kevin also talks about the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter Gary Webb, who published the multi-part investigative series Dark Alliance in the San Jose Mercury News during August 18-20, 1996. Pointing out the connection between drug dealing, the Contras, and the American CIA, Webb had clearly ventured into dangerous waters. Later in April 1998, Seven Stories Press published Dark Alliance from Webb’s expanded manuscript. Reading like some adventure thriller, it told the woeful tale of the takeover of the inner city of Los Angeles by drug dealers, crack houses, and street gangs, who saw drugs as the only way out of a hopeless situation. Weighing in at 548 pages, Dark Alliance featured Webb’s masterful reportage; as well as his attention to detail, facts, people, and places – all of which were making those governmental officials involved truly nervous.
Although the paper first stood behind Webb and his reporting, they later backed away, bowing to pressure from both the government and rival newspapers. David Corn, of The Nation, even tried to claim that Webb failed to provide adequate proof to back up his assertions. However, the book version of Dark Alliance included 462 footnotes, which is more than an adequate amount of research proof for a book of 548 pages. The controversy resulted in Webb being fired from his paper, and up until the end of his life, he could find no other work in his field. This led to a depression, with his career in ruins. Ironically, if this had happened today, Webb would have simple started his own investigative reporting website or blog, and would have continued onwards with nary a delay.
Without a doubt, the saddest part of Webb’s story occurred on December 10, 2004. He was found dead with two gunshot wounds, which was later declared a suicide. Has the reader ever heard of a suicide that saw the victim surviving the first gunshot, and later shooting themselves a second time, this time fatally? Webb had reported all sorts of surveillance outside his home, with what he thought were CIA operatives lurking about, peering in windows, and as a result he felt he was in danger. It is more likely that Gary Webb was suicided, as opposed to having committed suicide. This too is part and parcel of the modus operandi of the CIA, that they simply take out those whom are seen as an immediate threat to their ongoing operations, and with the Drug War, there is simply too much money to be had.
Over the years, I have seen several excellent documentaries on the Drug War, including Ron Mann’s 1999 film entitled Grass. However, what Kevin Booth has done has taken the viewer far beyond the front lines and into the minds and thought-process of the rabid Drug Warriors, who actually either believe the nonsense that comes from their mouths, or are such good propagandists, they could sell their message to the American people at large. American Drug War: The Last White Hope is by far the best, most complete look at the costliest failed action ever carried out by the American government. These are our tax dollars at work, folks.
When all is said and done, the most sobering comment from the entire documentary comes courtesy of Pam Sakuda, a terminal lung cancer patient, who sought out compassionate medical treatment in an attempt to extend her own life:
“The people who are waging the war on drugs have every interest in continuing to do so. Especially medicines like hallucinogens. And I think we all agree that what they do is they allow you to change your perspective. And to think outside of the box that you’re closed into. And that is the last thing that this power structure wants is for you to think outside of the box. In fact, they would rather make your box smaller.”
--- Pam Sakuda;
Terminal Lung Cancer Diagnosis Study Participant;
UCLA Medical Center
In the end, this is exactly what the Drug War is all about – limiting our potential as individuals and controlling a large sector of society through arrest and incarceration. This point comes across loud and clear throughout this documentary. Kevin Booth has created a true masterpiece here, and if the reader of these words is so inclined, I would highly recommend that they run – don’t walk – to the website of Sacred Cow Productions and pick up a copy of what is sure to go down as the premier documentary numerating the failings of the American Drug War.
Perhaps with enough people educated in this matter, We The People might be able to work toward repealing the most heinous prohibition that this nation has ever seen. Tens of millions of people who have AIDS, Cancer, and a number of other serious ailments and diseases would immediately benefit and receive relief, not to mention the burden on our taxes and justice system, which is overflowing with people who have done nothing more than seek the wrong from of happiness – an unalienable right we are supposed to be guaranteed from our own Declaration of Independence.
Kentroversy Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (out of five)
© 2007 Kentroversy Papers
All rights reserved. Used with permission.
The following sources were used in the creation of this Kentroversy Paper . . .
American Drug War: The Last White Hope official website
Sacred Cow Productions official website
American Drug War: The Last White Hope - Request an activists' copy for screenings and promotional use
American Drug War: The Last White Hope
Kentspiracy Kronicles Newsletter
Partnership For A Drug-Free America