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Congresswoman Rep Maxine Waters Essay Research Paper

Congresswoman Rep. Maxine Waters Essay, Research Paper Congresswoman Rep. Maxine Waters “A woman who will simply not go unheard” CIA/Crontras Connection to DrugTrafficking in the US (South Central Los Angeles)

Congresswoman Rep. Maxine Waters Essay, Research Paper

Congresswoman Rep. Maxine Waters

“A woman who will simply not go unheard”

CIA/Crontras Connection to DrugTrafficking in the US (South Central Los Angeles)

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be the most powerful Black woman in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color, and poor people. In an interview with Peter Jennings of ABC World News Tonight, Rep. Waters was referred to as “a woman who will simply not go unheard.”

On the forefront of the many issues that Rep. Waters debates daily, the CIA/Contras involvement in the trafficking of crack cocaine in South Central Los Angeles and other inner cities has been the top of her list. Waters has been speaking out against the CIA/Contras connection and she has made it her duty to demand a full investigation as to whether the CIA was involved or had knowledge of drug trafficking.

Waters became very adamant about this issue after the publication of a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News from August 10-20, 1996 authored by reporter Gary Webb. Webb documented that the connection between U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s, international ##### traffickers, and crack cocaine’s origins in South Central Los Angeles.

This paper will critically examine some of the speeches, press release, letter and other documents by Rep. Maxine Waters in her quest to ” punish those responsible for creating the devastating drug addition sales, gun-running, violence, and death associated with crack cocaine throughout this nation” (press release 9/5/96). Before I perform a critical analysis, I will examine the history of CIA complicity in drug trafficking which has led up to the allegation by Waters and others. I will also examine Waters’ ideology. I will then go into great detail about how the Rhetoric of Form and Definition is used throughout Water’s speeches. I will also provide an analytical overview of the type of stylistic devices used throughout the speeches.

The history behind the CIA/Contras connection is one that many Americans are familiar with. According to the official report of the CIA, Contras and Crack Cocaine:

” the director of the Central Intelligence Committee, William Casey and Attorney General William French Smith entered into a secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The memorandum allowed the CIA ###ets who were involved in drug smuggling to escape from legal reporting requirements to the federal law enforcement agencies. The secret agreement detailed a long list of crimes which the CIA was required to disclose to federal law enforcement agencies including homicide, kidnapping, assault, bribery, possession of a firearm, as well as illegal immigrant, election contributions, and perjury. Amazingly, the MOU did not require the CIA to report drug trafficking or other drug law violations by the CIA assets to the Department of Justice” (p2).

The American public has been made to believe that our government is in the business of keeping ##### out of our country and away from our children, but what are we to believe when our own government is accused of contaminating our country with #####. What is America to believe when our government is using taxpayer money to keep ##### smugglers out of jail instead improving healthcare? What is America to believe when the very people we trust to protect us, leave us hanging by the way side? What is America to believe?

Again in 1989 Senator John of Massachusetts chaired the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations documented the extensive role of the CIA in creating, operating, maintaining, and directing the Contra operations. Among the conclusion of its 1,166-page report, the committee reported:

“Drug traffickers used the contra war as their ties to the contras as a cover for their criminal enterprises in Honduras and Costa Rica. Assistance from the drug lords was crucial to the contras, and the traffickers in turn promoted and protected their operations by associations with the contra movement.”

“Drug traffickers provided support to the contras and used the supply network of the contras. Contras knowingly received both financial and material assistance from the drug traffickers.”

“Drug traffickers contributed cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services, and other materials to the contras.”

“In each case, one or another U.S. government agency had information regarding these matters either while they were occurring, or immediately thereafter.”

It has been reported by Peter Dale Scott in the July-August issue of Tikkun that “Drug-trafficking in the U.S persist because of reluctant politicians, CIA alliance with traffickers and media cover-up”(p27). This was exemplified by Gary Webb’s expose of the Contra drug story in his column on the San Jose Mercury News. The series documented the connection between U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s, international drug traffickers, and crack cocaine’s origins in South Central Los Angeles.

Webb alleged “that a California drug ring supplied the cocaine for crack in Los Angeles’ black neighborhoods, and simultaneously channeled drug profits to the CIA-managed Contra Army in Central America”(Scott p27). Webb focused on three figures in the series. One was “Freeway” Ricky Ross, a dealer who introduced Los Angeles and other cities to crack. A second was Daniel Blandon, a Nicaraguan who not only supplied Ross (and others) with cocaine, but also developed the concept of creating a mass market for crack. The third was Norwin Meneses, the head of the “Frogman” connection for Blandon.

Webb charged that both Meneses and Blandon met regularly with contra leader and by supplying them with drug earnings gained protection from law enforcement. (Blandon by turning in Ross ended up on the DEA payroll; Ross, an African American ended up with a life sentence. Meneses was eventually convicted of trafficking, but in Nicaragua, never in the United States).

The Webb series gained attention by both the local and national media. Many were concerned about Webb’s allegations, but there were many that criticized him for his blatant accusations against the CIA. To name a few, the NY and LA Times were among those that chastised Webb for publishing his series. Webb’s credibility as a journalist was also questioned. Many said his series was nothing but conspiracy theories and he did not have any evidence to back-up his theories regarding the CIA involvement in drug trafficking in the U.S.

The African-American community nation-wide was outraged, not by the fact Webb published the series, but by the fact that “the series proved that the CIA engineered the crack epidemic “in there community (Corn p4). One government official who took these accusations personally was Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Waters took the issues personally and politically because (1) the city that was mentioned in Webb’s articles was Los Angeles and she was the representative for the 105th district in California, which was Los Angeles, and (2) she was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Waters was outraged and immediately requested a full investigation the allegations introduced in the Webb article. In a press conference back in September of 1996, Rep. Waters stated “I vow to leave no stone unturned in a effort to punish those responsible for creating the devastating drug addition, sales, gun-running, violence, and death associated with crack cocaine.”

In an attempt to pursue the investigation against the CIA, Rep. Waters issued many statements, testimonies, and letters to inform the political community as well as the American community that ” we must demand information, accountability, and justice” if we seek the truth (press release 9/13/96). The four speeches that I will be examining by Rep. Waters are (1) Maxine Waters Letter to Janet Reno, (2) Press Conference on CIA/Contra/Crack Connection, (3) Testimony by Maxine Waters, and (4) Letter to Honorable Henry J. Hyde.

Using Kenneth Burke Rhetoric of Form, the speeches, letters and press conference released by Waters all took on the Syllogistic Form. Waters used evidence that she had acquired from the Webb series, research by various committees and her own investigation to arrive at a ############################################################United States and our government did nothing to stop it. In her letter to Janet Reno, Rep. Waters expressed her concerns over the issues introduced in the Webb series. Using the Rhetoric of Definition, Waters defines her purpose in the letter very clearly. Using the stylistic device Parallelism, Waters asserts:

“I would like to request a full and complete investigation into the connection between law enforcement agencies, most particularly, the CIA, and the early-1980s importation of crack cocaine. In addition, I would like to know what actions might have allowed these drug shipments to continue. I would also like to know status of any effort to investigate, punish, or prosecute those involved”(Letter to Janet Reno).

Waters’ main goal from the beginning of the investigation was to learn the truth about the CIA/Contras connection. If that meant calling for a full investigation and putting the Central Intelligence Agency on trial so be it. If there actions are accounted for then they have nothing to hide, but if there actions are not accounted for then CIA have to take full responsibility for there actions.

After reading Rep. Waters letter to Reno several times, I got the sense that she was trying, in some way, to make a connection with Janet Reno. It was as though she was pleading with her to support her effort in the investigation as well as her efforts as a congresswoman. According to Kathryn Kohrs Campbell Feminine Style Rhetoric is when women orators use their personal experience to connect with the audience. Women who use this for of style are expected to be gentle, kind, warm hearted and talks with the audience instead of lectures them. Waters’ letter to Reno took on the characteristic identified by Campbell as Feminine style of Rhetoric. Waters not only used her gender to identify with Reno, but she also used personal examples to help persuade Reno. For example, Waters states:

” I am writing on an issue of utmost concern to me, my constituents, and indeed, the fair application of justice . As someone who has seen how crack-cocaine trade has devastated the South Central Los Angeles community, as a public official, I cannot exaggerate my feelings of dismay that my own government may have played a part in the origins and history of this problem”(Letter to Janet Reno).

Waters not only tries to connect with Reno on a professional level; she connects with her on a personal level as well. Waters ############################################################amilies and homes is the same place she grew up. The place where she goes to work for everyday is the same place our government has targeted. Waters also expresses her disgust with the government because how can a government who is suppose to be apart of the solution be apart of the problem. She lets Reno knows that the people who they both work for in trying to better the community are the same perpetrators destroying it.

Waters gave the impression that she was disappointed in her government not as a US Representative, but as a constituent. She explains that the South Central Los Angeles was not only her district, but it was where she grew up and had seen first hand what the drug epidemic had done to her community. Waters says that she was outrage to know that her “own government played a part in the origins of this problem”(Letter to Janet Reno).

Waters’ tone throughout the letter reminded me of a girl crying out to her mother about a bad grade that she received in a class even though she studied really hard for it. Even though her tone was harsh and full of resentment towards the issue, you could still read the intensity and the passion that letter gave off. For example, Waters talks about the effects of the message beings sent to young people by the government. She points out that our government’s involvement in supplying our community with ##### is contradictory to their quest in keep ############################################################uld you tell ############################################################ the #####? Water states:

” I see thousands of young men being sent to jail for five, ten twenty years, with no hope for parole or another chance – because of relatively small-time drug use and possession. Yet, it seems, our government may have been the key initiator – knowingly or unknowingly – in bringing this killer into our neighborhoods. You can imagine what message this sends to the millions of young people who see their communities destroyed by this foreign substance. A story like this, and the terrible example it sets for those who struggle every day against a drug culture desperate for converts, can ruin years of work to imbue a sense of self-respect and trust in government efforts to break the cycle in our communities” (Letter to Janet Reno).

Is ################################################################# drug trafficking in the U.S? This is the question that Waters along with many other Americans (including myself) have been asking themselves. What is the message being sent to young people? Waters tries to gain more sympathy from Reno by pointing out that the government cannot be trusted. The people who we should look up to to help teach our kids the morals and values of society are the people who continue to lied and defy the American public.

Inductive Reasoning is demonstrated throughout the entire letter to provide evidence that the issue raised in Webb’s series should be looked into. Waters started with the most specific issue (the Webb series) and then moved towards a more general point (the government’s involvement), leaving room for questions and finally arriving at a conclusion which is to seek the truth about the allegations against the CIA. Waters makes it clear that she knows the process is long and drawn out, but she lets the public know that she is in its for the long haul and will be there every step of the way. In a press release back in September of 1996 Waters concluded, “we’re in this for the long haul. We must demand information, accountability, and justice”(9/13/96).

Unlike Waters’ letter to Janet Reno, the press conference on the CIA/Contra/Connection had no form of feminine style rhetoric. The press conference was targeted towards the public and its purpose was to inform them that the investigation of the CIA/Contra connection had the support of the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and other political leaders. In a prior conversation with Gingrich, Waters reported that “the speaker said that something with the implication this profound, something this sinister must be examined. He said that he favored holding hearings – hearings that I have formally requested – by the Intelligence Committee of the House”(press release 9/17/96). The statement was very straightforward and to the point and she did not use any form of misleading language, however, the stylistic device that was used in the press conference was Analogy. Analogy was used to discuss the investigation, for example Waters states:

“We believe that the proper investigation of these serious charges reflects on the integrity of this institutions. As such, we have also prepared, and are ready to introduce, a privileged resolution calling for the beginning of a thorough investigation of these charges in this session of Congress”(9/17/96).

Waters again challenges the credibility of the government calling for Congress to begin a thorough investigation and examination of drug trafficking in the U.S. Waters also makes clear that she does not intend to back down from pursuing that investigation. She states that she is in it for the long haul.

On March 16, 1998, Rep. Waters testified before the House Permanent select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA OIG Report of Investigation. The committee addressed the allegations of the connection between the CIA and Contras in cocaine trafficking to the US. Throughout the entire speech the Rhetoric of Definition “labeling” was used to criticize the IG Report. Waters stated that “the Inspector General’s Report lacks credibility and it is fraught with contradictions and illogical conclusions”(3/16/98). Waters stated the CIA’s director made “premature conclusions” in their investigations and denied their involvement in drug trafficking in the U.S. She also stated that the CIA did not conduct a serious investigation and their conclusions should be dismissed.

Once again, using Kathryn Kohrs Campbell Feminine Style Rhetoric, Waters informed the committee that because this issue has a personal connection to her she used her own funds to pursue her own investigation. Waters personal connection to this issue became personal because she identifies with the target group (the south central community). In stage five of Kohrs Feminine Style Rhetoric she states that the women orators encourages identification between speakers and audience. Waters definitely identifies with the south central community because she was born and raise in the community and using her personal funding to get answers only made her more involved in seeking the truth.

“My deep concern about the allegations raised in the “Dark Alliance” series that my government could have in any way been involved in, or had knowledge of, drug trafficking, had caused me to spend my own time and resources to find out more about these allegations.”

Waters went into specifics about how she used her own resources which gave a more convincing outlook in her determination to seek justice for those responsible for taking advantage of their authority. Waters mentioned taking to trip to Nicaragua to meet Enrique Miranda Jaime, a former Sandanista official and drug partner of Norwin Meneses. She also interviewed Gary Webb, the writer of the series and a number of key figures that was mentioned in the series.

The tone of the testimony was very abrasive yet easy-going because she was spent a lot of time destroying the credibility of the IG Report, however because Waters included her use of personal funds and resources, it set a lighter tone for the testimony. On one hand Waters was defending and speaking out about the morality of the CIA and on the next hand she is using her personal experience and personal vested interest to gain support from other political leaders.

The utilization of Inductive Reasoning was again used throughout the testimony because of the way in which the evidence was presented. Waters stated that the CIA did their own investigation and came up with their own conclusions that contradicted everything that was mentioned in the Webb article. She then stated she did her own investigation and her conclusion confirmed the allegations in the Webb series as well as the other research that was done in the past. The conclusion that she arrived at was basically the IG Report lacked credibility should be dismissed.

Waters identifies with her audience because the audience is comprised her colleagues. She testified in front of her colleagues about an issue that, not only, will affect them, but the country as a whole when the truth is known. The only problem with the testimony was that because the targeted group were a committee made up of government officials Waters assumed that the language used was familiar. However, for a person like an ordinary citizen, or myself some of the language (terms) she used were unfamiliar. For example, she mentioned the Freedom of Information Act, but did not really define what it was. She also mentioned the CIA subpoena power, but does not state what it is, and she also mentions the FDN, but once again I don’t know what it means.

In a continuing effort to investigate the allegations introduced in the Webb series, Waters wrote another letter to Honorable Henry J. Hyde. The letter asked the Judiciary Committee “to investigate the allegations, including allegations of criminal wrongdoing and domestic drug trafficking by law enforcement agency, raised in the San Jose Mercury News.” The letter also pinpoints another issue that is concern to Rep. Waters. The issue that was of concern to Rep. Waters is “discriminatory mandatory minimum sentences which politician have attached to crack cocaine use and possession.” Waters states that “these sentences have the effects of severely punishing small-time users, and are prosecuted in discriminatory way which disproportionately impacts African-American and Latino males.”

The style of this letter was written like the style of the letter written to Janet Reno. The only difference was that the goals of the letters were different. Waters again used her personal experiences as well as her life in South Central to encourage Hyde to continue with the investigation. The format, writing style, use of language and Feminine Style Rhetoric was the same as the Janet Reno letter. The stylistic device Climax was used to raise the importance of the government involvement in drug trafficking.

” The notion that a U.S. government agency know about the drug-tainted resources that were funding a war in Nicaragua, and idea that those involved allowed a major infusion of cocaine onto the streets of America because of its blind devotion to win a war – a war which was at the time being conducted secretly – is among the more devastating assertions one could make this government”(Letter to Henry Hyde).

How could a government use its own people as bait? How could the American public ever trust the government? What is the difference between Democracy and Totalitarianism? A democratic system of government is supposed to be for the peoples’ well-being and best interest. I don’t think the best interest of the people is supplying ##################################################################ly destroy communities with children and families in them? Waters tries to get Hyde to see that the government has been lying all along and will continue to do so if someone does not put a stop to this.

In all four of Waters’ speeches the Rhetoric of Definition was used to “label/name” crack-cocaine. Waters often referred to crack-cocaine as a “foreign substance,” devastating, deadly, and destructive. The government was also labeled as liars, untrusting, drug smugglers, and hypocrites. Ideographs were used were throughout her speeches. Ideographs provides an entry point for rhetoric; it is the use of an ordinary term whose meaning go unquestioned where it is positioned under some special interest. For example, crack-cocaine connection, contra, allegations, investigation, responsibility, wrongdoing, U.S Intelligence, drug smuggling and many more ideographs were used.

Waters’ ideology was made very clear throughout her speeches. She believed that the people responsible for creating the drug epidemic in America should be punished. She believes that the government should take responsibility for their wrongdoing and stop making a mockery out of the American public. On Monday March 18, 1998, it was officially reported that the CIA, after denying its involvement in trafficking ##### to the U.S, admitted knowing about contra drug trafficking.

” The CIA, through its ties to Nicaragua drug dealers, was linked to the introduction of crack cocaine into Los Angeles, allegations that were raised by a series of articles published in the San Jose News in August 1996″(Zirnite p1).

Not only did the CIA lied about doing credible research to clear them of charges, but they lied about their involvement with crack cocaine in south central Los Angeles. After they got caught up in the lies the truth was told on that glorious day on Monday March 18, 1998. After eighteen years of hiding, lying and cheating the truth was finally told.

After all the hard work, long hours and personal time spent on seeking the truth, Rep. Waters finally got her truth. What will come of this newfound truth? Who knows, but like Peter Jennings said she was “a woman who will simply not go unheard.” Her persistent, determination and consistency was the key factors that allowed Waters to get to the bottom of this problem.

Like any other American was disgusted by the fact that our own government, lied, cheated, destroyed the lives of many families throughout America. Many would say that she was too emotionally involved or too bothersome in seeking the truth. However, I would say, we need politician like Waters today to not only fight for the issues, but to believe in the issue that you will be willing to use your own fund and resources, if necessary, to make a difference. In conclusion, I have critically examined Waters’ ideology, the rhetoric style of Definition and Form, Kohrs Feminine Style Rhetoric and performed an analytical overview of the writings, press releases, speeches, and other documents by Rep.Waters. I think politicians today are too caught in the promises of what they would do if they were in office and many of them when they get into office cannot account for anything. Maxine Waters, the exception to the rule is the type of politician that “will simply not go unheard” and I thank her for speaking up for the American people.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“A Tangled Web: History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking.” Inter- Press

Service November 1996. Online: WWW – http://www.ips-dc.org/histroy.htm

“Congresswoman Maxine Waters.” National School Network 10 October 1998

August 1997) :27(6). Online: WWW – http://www.nsn.bbn.com/community/bl_his/waters_bio.html.

Corn, David. “C.I.A. Clears Self of Drug Charge.” Nation 266:9 (March 9, 1998): 22(3).

Hahn, Dan F. Political Communication: Rhetoric, Government, and Citizens. Pennsylvania:

Strata Publishing, Inc., 1998

Hart, Roderick P. Modern Rhetorical Criticism 2nd Ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997

Honey, Martha. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In These Times. 17 May 1998 WWW -

http://www.ips-dc.org/honey.htm

Letter to Honorable Henry J. Hyde. WWW – http://www.sjmercury.com/drugs/library/35.htm.

Maxine Waters Letter to Janet Reno. WWW – http://www.home.pacbell.net/mcivr/awters.html.

Olson, Lester C. Supplement to Lucas: The Art of Public Speaking. New York: McGraw Hill,

1990.

Press Conference: “Statement of Rep. Maxine Waters on CIA/Contra/Crack Connection. 17

September 1996. WWW – http://www.house.gov/waters/pr226cr.htm.

Press Release: “The CIA, The Contras & Crack Cocaine: Investigating the Official Report-

Seeking the Truth” 19 September 1998 WWW – http://www.house.gov/waters/ciareportwww.htm.

###################################################################.” Tikkun 12:4 (July-

Testimony of Maxine Waters Before the House of Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

on the CIA OIG Report of Investigation: “Allegations of Connection Between CIA & Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the US.” Volume I: “The California Story” March 16, 1998. WWW – http://www.house.gov/waters/31698pr.htm.

Zirnite, Peter. “CIA Admits Knowing About Contra Drug Trafficking.” Inter- Press Service 18

March 1998. Online: WWW – http://www.ips-dc.org/ipsart.htm.

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