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'Blow': Bad Karma -- Why the CIA Dopers Beat the Independents
by Uri Dowbenko
Despite his ambition and entrepreneurial skills, George Jung, the working class hero/ drug dealer of Blow, never had a chance.
After all, even mobster John Gotti, Jr. -- when asked in court whether the Family still sold drugs -- answered, "No, we can't compete with the government."
Based on a true story with fictionalized names and Hollywood-style story changes, Blow follows the life of George Jung (Johnny Depp), who stumbled into the dope business in the late 1960s.
After leaving Massachusetts, his materialism-obsessed mother (Rachel Griffiths) and his hard-working father (Ray Liotta), George ends up in Manhattan Beach, California, a Los Angeles town that was then well-known for non-stop partying.
As George comments on the scene, "Everyone was getting stoned," plus his new friends on the beach "all seemed to share the same occupation - stewardess."
So George and his friend Tuna (Ethan Suplee) meet their first connection, marijuana dealer and hairdresser Derek, (Paul Reubens), a real-life character who actually laundered his profits by fronting beauty salons in the LA's South Bay.
Before NAFTA and "Free Trade" were even invented, George's first scheme was to import marijuana from Mexico and distribute it to Boston area college students. He used the airline stewardesses as mules, since their luggage cleared the airport without being checked.
One of the stewardesses, Barbara (Franka Potente) became the love of his life -- until she died of cancer. George's stoned version of the American Dream was shattered forever, but his drive to become financially independent only deepened his resolve.
George's dysfunctional childhood added to the karmic stew, as he remembered how his father "slowly but surely lost everything. He went bankrupt." Memories of his father's business failure fueled his ambition. "Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust," his father told him. "It doesn't really matter. It only seems like it does." But George decided then and there, "I don't ever want to be poor."
When he did get busted, sent to Danbury Federal Penitentiary, George's cellmate turned out to be an associate of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar,
In Colombia, George meets Escobar, one of the most ruthless drug traffickers, who executes an underling in front of him, then tells him that "the business today is cocaine" and that he "wants to find an American he can trust." They do the numbers - at $10,000 per kilo, 300 kilos is $3 million.
As George describes it "cocaine exploded in American culture like an atomic bomb."
Cultural trendsetters, movie people, and rock stars glamorized cocaine. The media popularized the new drug of choice, and cocaine production, distribution, and the subsequent laundering of drug profits had suddenly become Big Business.
Miffed at US banks, which wanted to launder his drug profits for an exorbitant 60% surcharge, George took his money to Panama where Tony Noriega had a more favorable arrangement.
George them meets a volatile Colombian cokehead named Mirtha (Penelope Cruz) and tells the world that "we were young rich and in love. It was perfect." But it wasn't. The marriage exploded. He was betrayed and then double-crossed. And in the end, George Jung was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He's due to be released in 2015.
George Jung, the independent drug trafficker, was in clearly over his head. He had absolutely no conception of How the Real World Works. He had no idea that, as a former US intelligence officer has said, the CIA is the world's most effective cocaine distributor, and therefore, as an "independent," he would eventually be characterized as "competition" to government-sanctioned narcotics trafficking.
The context and the untold story of "Blow" is the centralization of the cocaine trade as a vertically integrated global business. In fact, when drugs became Big Business, the "small businessman" like George Jung became quickly expendable.
Jung was no match for the highly-organized, bankrolled, government-connected drug traffickers who launder their profits on Wall Street and work through Fortune 500 corporations. The efficiency of scale would have been inconceivable to a small-time operator like George Jung, who had unknowingly run head first into the Olympian drug cartel.
Today, it is fair to say that the entire global economy is a money laundry based on surreptitious illicit revenues derived from drugs and the laundering of drug profits. Think about the "feasibility" of an $8 million book advance. Think about a $100 million movie. Think about venture capital firms literally awash with money. Then try to visualize an economy that would make this possible.
As a case in point -- regarding government sanctioned narcotics trafficking -- Cmdr. Al Martin, US Navy (Ret.), writes in his book The Conspirators about "Classified Illegal Operations Cordoba and Screw Worm." He describes how Oliver North as part of Iran Contra operations planned to distribute "more cocaine into the United States than ever imagined before. Operation Screw Worm was the last and the largest. It envisioned a tremendous expansion of 'authorized' narcotics trafficking."
"North had set up the time in May 1986 of the first biweekly policy and planning session of the FDN and this absolutely astounded me," writes Martin. "Fred Ikley was there. Donald Gregg himself was there. The usual cast of characters Manuel Diaz, Nestor Sanchez."
"And North envisioned an increase of 50,000 kilograms a month which absolutely astounded me," Martin continues. "And Jeb Bush, I think correctly, voiced concerns
that had already come into play that the Agency [CIA] was dealing in so much cocaine that its street value was becoming depressed. This had already happened. In 1985, cocaine was commanding $30,000 per kilogram. By 1986, it had dropped to $15,000 per kilogram and was continuing to drop.
"But North felt it was important to raise the revenues, so there was going to be a tremendous increase in importation," writes Martin. "In Operation Screw Worm, all of the air routes were substantially beefed up. Almost an entire fleet of then 735 aircraft [Southern Air Transport] was now committed to the operation." (From The Conspirators by Al Martin; $14.95; National Liberty Press LLC; To order, call 877-776-9004; Website: Al Martin Raw, www.almartinraw.com)
But 'Blow' is nonetheless a brilliant movie - directed by Ted Demme ("Beautiful Girls), written by David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes, and based on the book by Bruce Porter. It is a heartrending and powerful morality play about the consequences of making wrong choices in life.
Indeed what is most tragic about the story is that George Jung's life was an opportunity lost. His opportunity for spiritual development and evolution was irrevocably squandered - until, it seems, his next lifetime.
The heavy weight of his karma -- the burden of being the instrument of damaging and destroying countless lives ravaged by cocaine - is just as tragic. "Throughout my life, I've left pieces of my heart here and there," he says in the end.
He has, after all, been betrayed by his own choices
Copyright © 2001 Uri Dowbenko. All Rights Reserved.
Uri Dowbenko is CEO of New Improved Entertainment Corp. He can
be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
(The preceding is a sample chapter from
"Hoodwinked: Watching Movies With Eyes Wide Open"
by Uri Dowbenko
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