Nation of Islam investigates possible CIA crack connection
Farrakhan may sue government on behalf of addicts, victimsOctober 13, 1996
Web posted at: 7:00 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Delving into the heated question over the CIA's alleged connection to the crack cocaine trade during the 1980s, Louis Farrakhan said the Nation of Islam will research evidence for a possible class action lawsuit on behalf of crack addicts.
The lawsuit, to be filed against the U.S. government given sufficient evidence of a conspiracy, would include as plaintiffs the families of crack addicts "and those who have been victimized by crime as a result of the crack addicts," Farrakhan told Newsweek magazine. Excerpts of the interview were released Sunday.
On CNN's "Late Edition with Frank Sesno" Sunday, Farrakhan spoke on the theme of atonement, in reference to his World Day of Atonement, a demonstration he is sponsoring Wednesday in New York to mark the one-year anniversary of the Million Man March in Washington.
"I would like to see the U.S. government atone for the counter-intelligence program," said Farrakhan. "If the CIA has been involved in bringing drugs and guns into the black community I think there's a need for atonement there."
The Justice Department said in September it is launching an independent investigation into recently reported claims that CIA-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua helped flood U.S. inner cities with cocaine to fund their cause.
The CIA is believed to have funded the largest Contra group against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua's civil war in the 1980s. The San Jose Mercury News reported in August that two Contra leaders also financed their fight by selling tons of cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs.
Former Drug Enforcement Agency agent Celerino Castillo III has said that he witnessed Contra drug trafficking while he was stationed in El Salvador from 1985 to 1990.
The drug smuggling allegations have sparked outrage in the African-American community, with calls for investigations by both of California's senators and one of its representatives.
At this Wednesday's Day of Atonement, Farrakhan and former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis plan a gathering the United Nations headquarters to appeal for an end injustice, exploitation, violence and war" throughout the world. No more than 50,000 are expected to attend.
In the spirit of atonement, Farrakhan also said he would like to speak with Jewish leaders this week while in New York. Many Jews consider the Nation of Islam leader an anti-Semite for statements he made about their religion.
"We really need to sit down and talk as civilized and intelligent human beings, and if they can show me where I am in error, then I accept that," said Farrakhan.
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