Friday, March 25, 2016

Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior

"You want to know what this was really all about," [John] Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, said in the interview after Baum asked him about Nixon's harsh anti-drug policies. 
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying," Ehrlichman continued. 
"We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did." 
This didn't come from a mailroom intern, Ehrlichman was the primary architect of domestic policy for Nixon. He and Nixon were extremely close. He worked for Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign, his 1962 campaign for governor in California, and eventually for Nixon's 1968 White House bid. Once elected, Nixon made Ehrlichman White House counsel and then chief policy advisor, where he became an indispensable part of Nixon's inner circle. 
To have him say, in his own words, that because they couldn't make it illegal to be black, that the White House set out to find a new way to "disrupt" and "discredit" black communities and organizations, is a punch in the gut. This war that they created, and that was subsequently grown and advanced by the government for the 50 years that followed, has done an amazing job achieving its true goal — the widespread criminalization of blackness in America."

- Shaun King, Why the War on Drugs is Essentially Just a War on Black People in America, NY Daily News 

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