CIA Dope Calypso – Allen Ginsberg

Share this:

drug warGinsberg was one of the first people to report on the CIA involvement in international drug trafficking. He kept an upbeat and light attitude in the face of the CIA’s harmful, greedy, short-sited actions. Newspapers doubted the validity of his reports, but his version of history was eventually proven true and the editor of the New York Time eventually issued him this apology:

“I fear I owe you an apology, I have been reading a succession of pieces about the CIA involvement in the dope trade in Southeast Asia and I remember when you first suggested I look into this I thought you were full of beans. Indeed you were right.”

— C.L. Sulzberger, editor The New York Times, in a letter to Allen Ginsberg.

Allen Ginsberg:
“‘CIA Dope Calypso’ was based on a lot of research I did in ’71. I’d gotten into the Time magazine morgue and read informal dispatches talking about illegal CIA dope dealings, then went down to Washington to the Institute for Policy Studies and spent several weeks doing research on CIA involvement in dope trafficking from Indochina, starting with Meo tribesman at our air base at Long Cheng, which was a CIA secret. I interviewed veterans, congressional investigative-committee aides, the head of CIA even, etc. Results contributed to _The Politics Of Heroin_ (Alfred McCoy, 1971, reprinted by Lawrence Hill Books, Brooklyn, 1991)”

Interestingly, The New York Times still stands accused of misleading the general public about narcotics. Today’s schlock is focussed on Ayahuasca. Correcting the New York Times about Ayahuasca

Song Credits

cia-WarOnDrugsFrom: Holy Soul Jelly Roll – Poems and Songs disc 4 “Ashes & Blues”

Lyrics & music by Allen Ginsberg.
Written in New York City & elsewhere, 1972-1976.
Arrangement by Jon Sholle.
ALLEN GINSBERG: vocal, harmonium, song sticks, finger cymbals.
STEPHEN TAYLOR: recorder, conga.
JON SHOLLE: guitar, bass, banjo, ukulele, maracas, drums.
DAVID MANSFIELD: mandolin, bass guitar, pedal steel guitar, violin.
ARTHUR RUSSELL: cello, tambourine.
(ALL OF THE ABOVE): chorus.
Produced by John Hammond.
Recorded in New York City at Secret Sound, Mar. 23, 1976; & CBS Recording Studio 1, June 2, 1976.
From the album First Blues, John Hammond #37673, 1983.

, , , , ,