Art imitates life imitates art, especially when it comes to the drug culture in America. As part of the unveiling of his new series, American Dope, filmmaker Alan "Al Profit” Bradely (Killing Jimmy Hoffa) is throwing a Pop Up Museum and Art Show in LA on Nov. 17. The exhibit will be a prelude to his forthcoming series and feature “Drawing Narcos,” “Marijuana: Madness to Medicine,” and “The Politics of Heroin.”
American Dope is the story of the highest level of the drug business in America- focusing on the U.S. Government's role in the development, dispersion, and facilitation of drug networks. It also explores the macro level social impacts of the drug culture. Season 1 consists of 4 episodes, that take us from the 1930's into the 1970's with "Cold War, Heroin Heat," "Acid Dreams," "White Powder, Black Power," and "Cocaine Condor."
The global drug trade has no “chiefs”. The idea that cocaine addled barely literate peasants or people like Pablo Escobar or El Chapo are running the trade are ludicrous. Just like your neighborhood drug dealer, they are all easily replaceable pieces. Politicians, bankers, and Generals, whose names are hardly known to the public are the real controllers of the drug trade- these are the truths that American Dope tells.
"God protect us from men who seek the illusion of danger"-Retired DEA agent Michael Levine, commenting on the Central Intelligence Agency.
From before WW2 until after the Vietnam War, at least, American foreign policy was being planned by the children of rich families from the East Coast… like George Bush, future head of the CIA, and was being implemented by a grab bag of adventurers- like the Watergate burglars, Mafia associates, and wanted Nazi war criminals. The common thread between episodes is the role of the U.S Government, primarily through the tool of the CIA, in facilitating the global trade in illegal drugs. I talked to Al Profit to find out more about his series and Pop Up Museum event.
What gave you the idea to do a pop up museum and art show to promote your forthcoming series, American Dope?
Drugs are as American as apple pie. While researching this project I verified so many so-called "conspiracy theories" and came across so much disturbing and fascinating information about Federal law enforcement and the political and business communities that I realized how big, how important this was. So that's where the museum idea came in, I wanted to display this information to the community in a formal museum-like setting. Several of my editors are photographers and artists, and some of their work documents and is inspired by the Drug culture. So I thought it would be powerful to combine history and street photos and art into a live experience.
What is American Dope about?
American Dope is about the highest levels of the drug business, how it functions at a global level, its connection to politics, and the role of the CIA in facilitating the global drug trade for the last 70 years.
As a filmmaker what surprised you making the series?
That, even prior to WW2, the U.S. government was cutting deals with criminals in China and Europe- allowing heroin to enter the U.S. In the case of China, Chiang-Kai Shek, founding father of the modern nation of Taiwan, was linked to Chinese criminal groups- Shek fought the Chinese Communists starting in the 1920's- his Chinese gangster allies kicked him a percentage of their profits from sending drugs to the U.S. in exchange for political protection from the U.S. State Department who saw Communism in China as a greater threat than drugs on the streets of America. LSD was absolutely introduced to America by the CIA as part of the MK-ULTRA program, as a potential mind-control drug. I personally think it was allowed to proliferate in under to undermine the radical white student movements of the 1960's.
Another shocking story is the that the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which the DEA replaced, was shut down by Richard Nixon because of corruption. In New York, the Federal Narcotics agents were so corrupt that they were killing each other's informants to protect their own drug operations. Say an agent was extorting a Mafia family for a percentage of heroin profits.... if another agent had informant working against that Mafia family the first agent would kill him to protect his kickback money. Congress held hearings that documented at least 28 of these informant murders at the hands of the FBN. The records of these hearings are still sealed. Another shocking story is the Bolivian Cocaine Coup of 1980, led by Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie (the Butcher of Lyon). Barbie led paramilitary troops dressed in actual Nazi uniforms as they overthrew the Bolivian government on behalf of drug dealer Roberto Suarez.
What takeaways do you want viewers to come away with after watching the series?
The U.S. Government sacrifices Americans to drug addiction and prison in exchange for protecting American business interests around the world. If a right wing dictator will ensure that there are no Unions or "Socialist" impediments to capitalism in his country then he can profit from drugs being sent to America from his country. Meanwhile millions of Americans sit in prison for drug offenses. DO NOT TRUST ANYTHING THE GOVERNMENT SAYS ABOUT DRUGS.
Why do you think its important to tell the real history of drugs in this country and how things really happened?
Everything we are taught about drugs is a lie. The idea that illiterate thugs like Pablo Escobar or El Chapo control the drug trade is absurd. People like Ronald Regan or the Sackler Family, who own OxyContin, are the REAL reason drugs are a problem in American society. We need to have a sensible conversation and not succumb to shock and fear tactics. Drugs are used a political tool and as a way for lots of people to make lots of money while poor low-level dealers and addicts pay the price in America
When and where will the series be available?