The general perception of Harry Anslinger is that he was a racist who used marijuana laws to target minorities. While Anslinger was a racist, the narcotics/pharmaceutical cartel that he represented used racism to target marijuana. The narcotics/pharmaceutical cartel was looking to corner to the “chemotherapy” model of medicine by replacing all natural herbs with chemicals. (There were other reasons for the cartel to ban cannabis, as the plant has multiple uses that extend into manufacturing industries. The famous marijuana advocate, Jack Herer, believes the plant was criminalized to protect industry. He is right to an extent, and I will take a look at his theory in a later article).

The narcotics/pharmaceutical cartel appears to have been centered in Germany. Much of the background information on Anslinger is taken from the DEA Museum website, and I thank them for it. Another good source which provides background on Harry Anslinger is the book Cannabis by Martin Booth.

It is difficult for some to conceive that man could be so evil as to ban herbal medicine for the sake of pharmaceutical profit. Similarly, it is difficult to conceive that man would create war for profit. If you are skeptical that man has this level of capacity for evil, but still have an open mind to receiving facts on the matter, then you should read The Creature From Jekyll Island by Edward Griffin. The book is a well-sourced history not taught in public education. It exposes the war profiteering scams of World Wars 1 and 2. It lays out how the creation of the Federal Reserve in the United States was designed to be a vehicle for war profiteering. After you understand the war profiteering network, you’ll have a solid basis to understand how narcotics/pharmaceutical profits were another part of their plans. Perhaps I can summarize some of the key points of The Creature From Jekyll Island in another article.

Anslinger was born in the United States to a German mother and a Swiss father. Anslinger began his career of public service in the U.S. War Department at an early age where he was involved in the lucrative field of war contracts. From there, he was sent by the U.S. to the Hague in Netherlands to negotiate with Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last Emperor of Germany. Next, he was off to Germany, where he was educated in Germany’s thriving narcotics trade, which they were exporting to the rest of the world. At some point, under some confusing circumstances, Anslinger established relations with the niece of Andrew Mellon, one of the most powerful men in the world. Anslinger served a stint for the United States in Venezuela, which was no doubt related to cocaine exports from South America, although his weak cover story involved studying hundreds-years-old pearl smuggling efforts. Then Anslinger went to the British Bahamas, center of the illegal alcohol imports into the United States during Prohibition. He then went to work at Mellon’s Treasury Department in their Bureau of Prohibition, which was charged with enforcing narcotics law in addition to the prohibition of alcohol. After the Bureau of Prohibition was found to be run by people serving a narcotics distributor, Arthur Rothstein, the Bureau of Prohibition was replaced with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which Mellon made Anslinger the Commissioner. Anslinger turned a blind eye to narcotics and crusaded against marijuana for 30 years afterwards. A timeline follows.

1892. Harry Anslinger born in the United States.

Harry Ansliger’s father, Robert Anslinger, was from Switzerland.  His mother, Rosa Christian Fladt, was from Germany.  They emigrated to the United States in 1881 or 1885 (depending on the source).  Harry was born as the third child of Rosa and Robert in 1892. 

1904. Harry Anslinger delivers Morphine.

Anslinger spoke of an experience which the public was expected to believe, that Anslinger was traumatized by the screams of a Morphine addict when he delivered the substance at age 12. SOURCE The simple reality here is that running drugs was the family business- perfectly legal at the time.

1917. Harry Anslinger marries Martha Leet, the niece of Andrew Mellon, or did he?

It’s unclear when or even if Harry Anslinger married Martha Dennison Leet. The text in the above document from the DEA Museum says “Joseph Leet was born 24 May 1911, the son of Dr. Joseph and Martha (Dennison) Leet. Dr. Leet died when Joseph was just and infant. The young widow, Martha Leet, married Harry Jacob Anslinger within a short time. Young Joe grew up the adopted and beloved son of his mother and step-father. Joe’s diary seems to have been compiled in 1923 from notes taken over the years 1919-1923 when his step-father served as American Counsul at the Hague, Netherlands, Hamburg, Germany, and Caracas, Venezuela.”

The DEA Museum has a picture of Harry Anslinger and his family in Dutch clothing after “married Martha Leet (Dennison was her maiden name) and adopted her 12 year old son, Joseph.” The DEA dates the picture “Ca. 1923.” The cover letter on the diary of Joseph, the adopted child, says they married a short time after Dr. Leet died. Another picture at the DEA museum says Anslinger married Martha and adopted her 12 year-old son, which would be in 1923. The picture of Harry Anslinger, Martha, and Joseph, however, shows them in Dutch clothing with a Dutch windmill as a backdrop. Harry Anslinger was sent to the Netherlands in 1918.

Another source says that “In 1917 Anslinger married Martha Kind Denniston (Sept 1886 – Oct 10, 1961), niece of Andrew W. Mellon. In 1930, at age 38, he was appointed as the first commissioner of the FederalBureau of Narcotics. There is no government document or legitimate source of information which verifies the fact Anslinger married Martha Denniston. The most reputable source comes from the American National Biography online which published that he was married in 1923, not 1917, and the article also states he brought Denniston’s kid from a previous marriage under his care.”

The exact details of the supposed marriage of Harry Anslinger, including the dates, names, and location is a matter that I would like to see historians research.

Martha (Dennison) Leet was the niece of Andrew Mellon. Andrew Mellon was appointed to manage the United States Treasury Department by Woodrow Wilson. The significance of this marriage cannot be understated. The American Prospect reports that “After his inaugural speech (March 4, 1921), Harding introduced the man who was to run the Treasury Department, a man who would become far more important than the president who hired him. … He would help lead the restoration of rule by private financiers.” … Or, as progressive senator George Norris put it in a common joke of the era, “three presidents served under him.” 

1917. Anslinger joins the War Department in the area of War contracts.

In 1917, Harry was not drafted to serve in World War 1 due to blindness in one eye.  He volunteered for the U.S. Army.  He was employed in the Ordnance Department of the War Department to assist with overseeing government ordinance contracts. War was huge business of course. Corporate Net Profits soared in direct proportion to military spending. From January 1916 to July 1921, Total Net Corporate Profits were $35,413,000,000. From April 1917 to October 1919 (when the last U.S. troops return home), War Spending was $38,000,000,000. Those figures come from The Creature From Jekyll Island.

The Creature From Jekyll Island: “By no accident all the strategic posts, notably those concerned with buying, were reserved for the Wall Street Patriots. On the most vital appointments, (President Woodrow) Wilson consulted with Dodge, President of Rockefeller’s National City Bank.”

Martin Booth in Cannabis reports that Anslinger “worked for the U.S. Army as assistant to the Chief of Inspection of Equipment.” This would be a great way to oversee any smuggling going on.

1918. Anslinger transfers to the US State Department in the Netherlands to liason with Kaiser Wilhem II, the last Emperor of Germany.

In 1918, Anslinger transferred to the State Department.  Fluent in German, which his mother Rosa had taught him, Anslinger was sent to the Hague in Holland to be a liaison between the United States and Kaiser Wilhem II, the last Emperor of Germany.  Wilhelm II had been forced to flee to Holland in 1918 due to “rebellions and revolution in Germany.”  The DEA Museum says that Anslinger “was instructed to make contact with the Kaiser and his entourage to encourage the Kaiser not to abdicate the throne.” “Based in The Hague at the time, Anslinger traveled to Amerongen and made contact with the Kaiser’s court counselor to relay the message and serve as an intermediary between the U.S. government and the Kaiser’s staff.” Kaiser Wilhelm bookplate. Ca. 1896 Collected by Harry Anslinger “during his time with the Kaiser’s staff at their castle at Amerongen, Netherlands.”

1921. Anslinger transfers from Holland to Harmburg, Germany; learns of opium smuggling and other drugs from Germany into the United States by “seamen”.

In the summer of 1921, Anslinger was transferred from Holland (Netherlands) to the sea port of Hamburg, Germany.  Here he “discovered” how American seamen were paid to smuggle drugs into the United States from Germany. 

The seamen were like the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard was formed in 1915 when two government agencies were combined: The Revenue Cutter and the Lifesaving Services. SOURCE. The Coast Guard operated under the Department of Treasury in peace and the Navy during war. There was peace when Anslinger “discovered” how his uncle-in-laws ships were being used. The reality likely is that Anslinger was telling them how to load the ships.

Andrew Mellon was later Impeached on January 6, 1932. SOURCE. The charge was that he was using the Department of Treasury as his own personal company benefitting his other multiple companies.

In the early 1920s, Germany was the largest producer and exporter of Opium in the world.   Cocainum hydrochloricum, otherwise known as cocaine, was first developed by the German pharmaceutical company Merck in 1862. (1). By 1884, Merck “played a vigorous role too in the production and marketing of cocaine.” (2). By 1918, Merck had made 67 metric tons of cocaine. (1). The coca likely had its origin in South America. Anslinger will later be transferred to Venezuela where old pearl smuggling routes from South America to Europe once existed.

1923. Anslinger transfers to Venezuela for an assignment regarding pearl smuggling routes from South America to Europe.

In 1923, Anslinger was reassigned from Germany to Venezuela.  According to Martin Booth in Cannabis (page 175), Anslinger “investigated” pearl smuggling, while he was in Venezuela from 1923 – 1926.  Pearl smuggling was a very old game, dating back to the early 16th century. The pearls were not illegal. They were smuggled to avoid a high tariff imposed by Spain. Spain charged a tariff of 50% in 1508. Europe was the destined market for the pearls in places like Lisbon, Venice, London, and Amsterdam. Historical accounts estimated that over half the total pearls harvested were never declared.

The pearls were smuggled in part in an island-hopping strategy using small boats and natives who knew the local waterways. So why would the United States and Anslinger be interested in a 400 year-old pearl smuggling strategy to evade taxes? They were setting up export routes of cocaine from South America to Europe (seems to me). It looks like they could go up through the islands to get to the British Virgin Islands, center of a large international alcohol distribution network into the United States during Prohibition. The same ships that carried alcohol over could have carried cocaine back.

1926. Anslinger transfers from Venezuela to British Bahamas to coordinate smuggling of alcohol into the United States.

Another thing the cartel tried to control was Alcohol. The Volstead Act was passed in 1919. In his position as U.S. Counsel, Anslinger met with representatives of Cuba, France, Canada, and Britain in the black market alcohol trade.

These nations shipped their alcohol to the British Bahamas, which “rum runners” (smaller boats) then brought to the United States. During Prohibition, Americans still had a taste for the brand names they were used to purchasing, such as Gordon’s Gin, founded in London, 1769. Pictured here from the DEA Museum is a cargo of Britain’s Gordon’s Gin being offloaded from the Tomoka in the British Bahamas, 1921.

The sinking of the I”m Alone by the United States Coast Guard provides an interesting glimpse of the era. The I’m Alone was made in Britain and flew a Canadian flag. The USCG had recorded its smuggling activities from 1925-1929. In 1928, a few years after Anslinger’s departure from the British Bahamas, Britain warned the United States about following vessels into British waters in the Bahamas. The USCG only had jurisdiction to 19 kilometers offshore of the United States at the time, but they sank the I’m Alone on March 22, 1929. The I’m Alone was 321 kilometers offshore as it was returning from Belize with cargo. The U.S. later apologized and paid a fine.

I’m Alone, of Lunenberg, Nova Scotia
USCG Cutter Dexter

In 1935: The U.S. was required to formally apologize and “in respect of the wrong” paid “the sum of $25,000 to His Majesty’s Canadian Government.” By submitting to an international court of some sort, the sinking of the defenseless I’m Alone so far offshore seems a matter of establishing international maritime law to protect the cartel’s shipping routes in international waters, the type of thing that Harry Anslinger would have been arranging and negotiating for the international cartel which he represented.

1926-1927. Harry Anslinger transfers to a Narcotics Prohibition Unit of the United States Treasury.

1926-1927.  Anslinger, sometime in 1926 or 1927, moved to a Narcotics Prohibition Unit of the United States Treasury.  The Prohibition Unit changed its name to the Bureau of Prohibition in April 1, 1927.  This Treasury Bureau appears to have been controlled by the narcotics/pharmaceutical cartel. The connection between the Department of Treasury’s narcotic prohibition unit to narcotics distributor Arnold Rothstein, who received narcotics imports from Germany, soon became a public scandal.

1926-1930. Treasury Department (Bureau of Prohibition) ties to Narcotics distributor Arnold Rothstein are exposed. Rothstein is killed. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) is created, and Harry Anslinger is appointed the first Commissioner.

7/22/1928-New York,NY- Photo shows Arnold Rothstein, big time gambler, as he appeared in New York State Supreme Court, fighting a bankruptcy receiver’s attempt to collect $366,000.

In July 1926, Arnold Rothstein’s drug distribution network was raided in New York.  Police confiscated Morphine, Heroin, and Cocaine.  The shipment originated in Germany.  February 1927.  Defendants stand trial as a result of the police raid of Arnold Rothstein’s network in July, 1926.  Prosecutors allege this network is responsible for the bulk of narcotics entering the United States.  Arnold Rothstein attends the trial.  November 4, 1928.  Arnold Rothstein is shot and later dies of the injury.  1929.  A Grand Jury discloses that both the son and son-in-law of Levi Nutt were providing legal counsel for Arnold Rothstein.  Colonel Levi Nutt was the first Narcotics Commissioner.  Nutt was transferred to an alcohol taxation office. June, 1930. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) is created within the US Treasury Department. Harry Anslinger is named the Commissioner of the FBN by his Uncle-in-Law Andrew Mellon..

1930-1960. Anslinger ignores the narcotics trade and crusades against Marijuana in the United States.

Flowers in the Blood: The Story of Opium: “The FBN during the three decades (1930–60) that Anslinger ran it never once indicted or, it would appear, even investigated organized crime and the drug trade. Instead Anslinger limited the Bureau’s operations to the arrest and harassment of street-addicts and street-pushers.”