Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

For the youth of today, the name John Ehrlichman rings no bells.

For people who lived through the ’60s, it is either famous or notorious. The name references a former high-ranking member of the White House staff, a close aide to former President, Richard M. Nixon, and one of the so-called ‘White House plumbers’–men who were at the very heart of the infamous Watergate scandal.

What makes his name re-ring an old bell is the revelations made some 22 years ago to the magazine, Harper’s, where officials spoke openly and honestly about the political machinations underlying the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ launched by the Nixon administration in the hot midst of the Vietnam War.

According to Ehrlichman, the ‘war’ was launched as a ‘political tool’ to attack two radical communities: Blacks and antiwar hippies (the youth of the era). It was a political way of waging attacks on both groups without seeming to do so. And it worked — splendidly. The “war” allowed cops-armed with this corrupt ‘law’-to kick down doors, raid apartments, lock up people-all in the name of ‘saving them from the scourge of drugs.

Herr Ehrlichman told Harper’s: “Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Now, decades after the press, the courts, the intelligentsia of the nation had signed onto this ignoble, corrupt campaign, the truth emerges. It wasn’t about drugs. It never was. It was about Politics.

Mao used to say: “Politics is war without bloodshed.” How true those words seem today. For, the wretched ‘war on drugs’, really a war on the poor, the Black, the radical, the hip, has devastated whole communities, created the Leviathan of the world’s largest prison system, and cast countless souls into the hatred-infested holes and netherworlds of prison, probation and death.

The war, still being waged in cities and communities across the nation, was a trick spat by the late, ‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon, and bought into by state government and police powers, to wreck dark communities-those unwilling to vote Republican, by the way–in the name of the unjust, intrusive, fake ‘law’.

That, according to Ehrlichman, was its intent: to “disrupt communities”; communities of resistance to the State.

The war on Drugs was lost before it began, because it was all based on a lie.