Saturday, October 17, 2020

Why Red Ribbon Week is a Fraud

Students with photos of Kiki Camarena. 
This October 23-31, schoolkids across the US will participate in "Red Ribbon Week," an anti-drug education campaign that pressures students to sign an anti-drug pledge. The event began in honor of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, who was kidnapped, brutally tortured, and murdered in Mexico by drug cartel operatives in 1985, at the height of former first lady Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" to drugs campaign. 

However since Camarena's death, more and more allegations have surfaced connecting the CIA and the DEA to his murder. Former cartel employees told USA Today that a DEA official and CIA operative participated in meetings with the cartel where Camarena's abduction was discussed. 

The must-see new Amazon documentary series "The Last Narc" interviews Camarena's widow, former DEA agent Hector Barilles who was assigned to investigate Camarena's murder, the US prosecutor of his killers, and two Mexican policemen who were assigned to protect drug lords involved in the crime, revealing the layers of corruption involved.

Oliver North testifying during the Iran/Contra hearings. 
A year before Camarena was murdered, the US Congress cut off funding to the Contras, passing a law banning the CIA from backing the anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua. The CIA and National Security Council officials, including Ronald Reagan's VP George W. Bush, Oliver North of National Security Council, and Felix Rodriguez aka Max Gomez, a CIA operative, came up with new covert ways to get money and guns to the Contras. Rodriguez, a longtime operative who captured Che Guevera in Bolivia, has been connected to Camarana's kidnapping. 

Some allege that Camarena had discovered that the United States government collaborated with the Guadalajara Cartelin to import drugs from Colombia to the United States via Mexico, in order to use the proceeds to sponsor the Contras in Nicaragua in its war against the Sandinista government. He had also shut down a huge marijuana plantation fun by the cartel, which seems to have cozy with more than one government. 

Also mentioned in the series is the work for former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb, who connected the dots between the crack epidemic in Los Angeles and the drug-running CIA in his stories and book Dark Alliance. Webb was found dead of an apparent suicide in 2004. 

First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a 2019 Red Ribbon Week event.
The Netflix series "Narcos" presented a fictionalized account of Camarena's murder in 2018. Last October, current First Lady Melania Trump spoke at an event launching Red Ribbon Week, mentioning Camarena and linking the campaign to her "Be Best" program and to e-cigarette use by youth.  Meaww reported that "The Last Narc" was supposed to air on May 15, 2020, but it was "suddenly postponed without a clear release date for the future" and its trailer was "shockingly" deleted for a time from YouTube. 

It's high time to be fully honest and open with our children about the War on Drugs and the corruption it causes, instead of misleading, symbolic events like Red Ribbon Week that often provide skewed and harmful information about marijuana. When kids figure out the government is lying to them about pot and the drug war, their confidence in our leaders is shattered, with serious consequences. 

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