CIA Admits to Drug Trafficking
By Christopher R Rice
We've all heard that the CIA is somehow responsible for all of the drugs on American streets. But is this fact or fiction?
CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs
CIA website: In Alfred W. McCoy's 1972 study, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, he relates how Air America helicopters collected the opium harvests of 1970 and 1971, then flew the crop to Vang Pao's base at Long Tieng in the mountains of northern Laos, where it was turned into heroin at the general's drug laboratory. 4
The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade
Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade
The success of Afghanistan’s 2000 drug eradication program under the Taliban had been acknowledged at the October 2001 session of the UN General Assembly (which took place barely a few days after the beginning of the 2001 bombing raids). No other UNODC member country was able to implement a comparable program:
“Turning first to drug control, I had expected to concentrate my remarks on the implications of the Taliban’s ban on opium poppy cultivation in areas under their control… We now have the results of our annual ground survey of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. This year’s production  is around 185 tons. This is down from the 3300 tons last year , a decrease of over 94 per cent.
Compared to the record harvest of 4700 tons after the American invasion, the decrease is well over 97 per cent.
Since the US led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the Golden Crescent opium trade has soared. According to the US media, this lucrative contraband is protected by the Taliban, not to mention, of course, the regional warlords, in defiance of the “international community”.
The heroin business is said to be “filling the coffers of the Taliban”. In the words of the US State Department:
“Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups… [C]utting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism,” (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)
The US is acting as if the 2000 opium ban had never happened.
History of the Golden Crescent Drug trade
It is worth recalling the history of the Golden Crescent drug trade, which is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations in the region since the onslaught of the Soviet-Afghan war and its aftermath.
Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1989), opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).
The Afghan narcotics economy was a carefully designed project of the CIA, supported by US foreign policy.
As revealed in the Iran-Contra and Bank of Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) scandals, CIA covert operations in support of the Afghan Mujahideen had been funded through the laundering of drug money. “Dirty money” was recycled –through a number of banking institutions (in the Middle East) as well as through anonymous CIA shell companies–, into “covert money,” used to finance various insurgent groups during the Soviet-Afghan war, and its aftermath:
Related article: Don't buy drugs from the CIA Make / Grow your own Drugs
“Because the US wanted to supply the Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware it needed the full cooperation of Pakistan. By the mid-1980s, the CIA operation in Islamabad was one of the largest US intelligence stations in the World. `If BCCI is such an embarrassment to the US that forthright investigations are not being pursued it has a lot to do with the blind eye the US turned to the heroin trafficking in Pakistan’, said a US intelligence officer. (“The Dirtiest Bank of All,” Time, July 29, 1991, p. 22.)
Researcher Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA’s covert operation in Afghanistan in 1979,
“the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer, supplying 60 per cent of U.S. demand. In Pakistan, the heroin-addict population went from near zero in 1979 to 1.2 million by 1985, a much steeper rise than in any other nation.”
“CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests.
U.S. officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies because U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there. In 1995, the former CIA director of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, admitted the CIA had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War. ‘Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,’ I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.’”(McCoy, op cit)
The role of the CIA, which is amply documented, is not mentioned in official UNODC publications, which focus on internal social and political factors. Needless to say, the historical roots of the opium trade have been grossly distorted.
See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf
According to the UNODC, Afghanistan’s opium production has increased, more than 15-fold since 1979. In the wake of the Soviet-Afghan war, the growth of the narcotics economy has continued unabated. The Taliban, which were supported by the US, were initially instrumental in the further growth of opiate production until the 2000 opium ban.
See UNODC http://www.unodc.org/pdf/publications/afg_opium_economy_www.pdf
This recycling of drug money was used to finance the post-Cold War insurgencies in Central Asia and the Balkans including Al Qaeda. (For details, see Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2002,
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From AlterNet: Heroin smuggled by “CIA people” into the U.S. was channeled by Mafia distributors primarily to African-American communities. Local narcotic agents then targeted disenfranchised blacks as an easy way of preserving the white ruling class’s privileges.
“We didn’t need a search warrant,” explains New Orleans narcotics officer Clarence Giarusso. “It allowed us to meet our quota. And it was on-going. If I find dope on a black man, I can put him in jail for a few days. He’s got no money for a lawyer and the courts are ready to convict. There’s no expectation on the jury’s part that we have to make a case.
“So rather than go cold turkey, the addict becomes an informant, which means I can make more cases in the neighborhood, which is all we’re interested in. We don’t care about Carlos Marcello or the Mafia. City cops have no interest in who brings dope in. That’s the job of the federal agents.”
From: “This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America.” (An excerpt of the chapter on the CIA appeared in The Root.)
Since at least the 1940s, the American government has organized and supported insurgent armies for the purpose of overthrowing some presumably hostile foreign regime. In Italy, the United States helped pit the Corsican and Sicilian mobs against the Fascists and then the Communists. In China, it aided Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang in its struggle against Mao Zedong’s communist forces. In Afghanistan, it once backed the mujahedeen in their fight against the Soviet Union and today backs warlords in opposition to the mujahedeen.
All of these and other U.S.-supported groups profited, or still profit, heavily from the drug trade. One of the principal arguments made by the Drug Enforcement Administration in support of the global drug war is that the illegal drug trade funds violent, stateless organizations. The DEA refers specifically to al Qaeda and the Taliban, but the same method of fundraising has long been used by other violent, stateless actors whom the United States befriended.
AN ‘UNCOMFORTABLE’ STORY (full of very inconvenient facts)
Douglas Farah was in El Salvador when the San Jose Mercury News broke a major story in the summer of 1996: The Nicaraguan Contras, a confederation of paramilitary rebels sponsored by the CIA, had been funding some of their operations by exporting cocaine to the United States. One of their best customers was a man nicknamed “Freeway Rick” — Ricky Donnell Ross, then a Southern California dealer who was running an operation the Los Angeles Times dubbed “the Wal-Mart of crack dealing.”
Related article: (How to) Make Crack
Then came the San Jose Mercury News article, a 20,000-word three-parter by Pulitzer Prize-winning staffer Gary Webb, published under the headline “Dark Alliance.” “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found,” the story began.
The Washington Post, like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, published a massive package dedicated to debunking Webb’s story. When a congressional investigation later confirmed the major elements of Webb’s reporting, the papers barely covered it.
Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade
In the wake of the 2001 US bombing of Afghanistan, the British government of Tony Blair was entrusted by the G-8 Group of leading industrial nations to carry out a drug eradication program, which would, in theory, allow Afghan farmers to switch out of poppy cultivation into alternative crops. The British were working out of Kabul in close liaison with the US DEA’s “Operation Containment”.
The UK sponsored crop eradication program is an obvious smokescreen. Since October 2001, opium poppy cultivation has skyrocketed. The presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan did not result in the eradication of poppy cultivation. Quite the opposite.
The Taliban prohibition had indeed caused “the beginning of a heroin shortage in Europe by the end of 2001″, as acknowledged by the UNODC.
Heroin is a multibillion dollar business supported by powerful interests, which requires a steady and secure commodity flow. One of the “hidden” objectives of the war was precisely to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes.
Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.
In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.
While highlighting Karzai’s patriotic struggle against the Taliban, the media fails to mention that Karzai collaborated with the Taliban. He had also been on the payroll of a major US oil company, UNOCAL. In fact, since the mid-1990s, Hamid Karzai had acted as a consultant and lobbyist for UNOCAL in negotiations with the Taliban. According to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan:
“Karzai has been a Central Intelligence Agency covert operator since the 1980s. He collaborated with the CIA in funneling U.S. aid to the Taliban as of 1994 when the Americans had secretly and through the Pakistanis [specifically the ISI] supported the Taliban’s assumption of power.” (quoted in Karen Talbot, U.S. Energy Giant Unocal Appoints Interim Government in Kabul, Global Outlook, No. 1, Spring 2002. p. 70. See also BBC Monitoring Service, 15 December 2001)
GAO: To what extent and why did CIA become involved in the prosecution of The Frogman Case? CIA did make contact with prosecutors in the Zavala prosecution in order to protect what CIA believed was an operational equity, i.e., a Contra support group in which it had an operational interest. A CIA cable indicates that approximately $36,000 seized from Zavala at the time of his arrest was returned to Zavala--based on the claim they were Contra funds--by the prosecutors at CIA's request. However, the prosecutors state that the decision to return Zavala's money was based on other considerations, not CIA's representations, and that there was no evidentiary value to retaining the money. In any event, the actions taken by CIA to have the cash returned did not appear to be intended to influence the outcome of Zavala's trial, which resulted in his conviction.
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Narcotics: Second to Oil and the Arms Trade
The revenues generated from the CIA sponsored Afghan drug trade are sizeable. The Afghan trade in opiates constitutes a large share of the worldwide annual turnover of narcotics, which was estimated by the United Nations to be of the order of $400-500 billion. (Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a Changing World, Technical document No. 4, 1998, Vienna UNDCP, p. 4. See also United Nations Drug Control Program, Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1999, E/INCB/1999/1 United Nations, Vienna 1999, p. 49-51, and Richard Lapper, UN Fears Growth of Heroin Trade, Financial Times, 24 February 2000). At the time these UN figures were first brought out (1994), the (estimated) global trade in drugs was of the same order of magnitude as the global trade in oil.
The IMF estimated global money laundering to be between 590 billion and 1.5 trillion dollars a year, representing 2-5 percent of global GDP. (Asian Banker, 15 August 2003). A large share of global money laundering as estimated by the IMF is linked to the trade in narcotics.
Based on recent figures (2003), drug trafficking constitutes “the third biggest global commodity in cash terms after oil and the arms trade.” (The Independent, 29 February 2004).
Moreover, the above figures including those on money laundering, confirm that the bulk of the revenues associated with the global trade in narcotics are not appropriated by terrorist groups and warlords, as suggested by the UNODC report.
There are powerful business and financial interests behind narcotics. From this standpoint, geopolitical and military control over the drug routes is as strategic as oil and oil pipelines.
However, what distinguishes narcotics from legal commodity trade is that narcotics constitutes a major source of wealth formation not only for organized crime but also for the US intelligence apparatus, which increasingly constitutes a powerful actor in the spheres of finance and banking.
In turn, the CIA, which protects the drug trade, has developed complex business and undercover links to major criminal syndicates involved in the drug trade.
In other words, intelligence agencies and powerful business syndicates allied with organized crime, are competing for the strategic control over the heroin routes. The multi-billion dollar revenues of narcotics are deposited in the Western banking system. Most of the large international banks together with their affiliates in the offshore banking havens launder large amounts of narco-dollars.
Related article: (How to) Heroin Do's and Don'ts
This trade can only prosper if the main actors involved in narcotics have “political friends in high places.” Legal and illegal undertakings are increasingly intertwined, the dividing line between “businesspeople” and criminals is blurred. In turn, the relationship among criminals, politicians and members of the intelligence establishment has tainted the structures of the state and the role of its institutions.
From FuckDaPolice: Afghanistan supply's about 90% of the worlds opium. We arrived in 2001. In the following nine years opium production has surged 700%. Recording all time record harvests beginning around 2010.
During the time opium production was being ramped up in Afghanistan, Mexico was retooling their ability to convert ever larger supply's of opium into increasingly potent heroin and developing new infrastructure to transport it.
During the decade or so all this was going on in Afghanistan and Mexico, scripts here in America for Oxycontin, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone and the like were wildly available to any person claiming chronic pain. Nothing was done to confirm the claims of pain, sorta like the stated income, liar loans that set up the housing collapse. Basically scripts were available to almost anyone for the asking.
That all ended one day in 2011.
Almost overnight The Oxycontin and Fentanyl was turned into useless plastic and millions of scripts across the country were shut down with the exception of those few in truly chronic pain.
Simultaneously and amazingly as if by magic, that very day every city in America suddenly had a fresh two ton supply of high quality vary affordable heroin. In fact the prices have never been lower and the quality never higher.
From the NSA: The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 2 For more information contact:
202/994-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C. – An August, 1996, series in the San Jose Mercury News by reporter Gary Webb linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the contras, a guerrilla force backed by the Reagan administration that attacked Nicaragua's Sandinista government during the 1980s. Webb's series, "The Dark Alliance," has been the subject of intense media debate, and has focused attention on a foreign policy drug scandal that leaves many questions unanswered. This electronic briefing book is compiled from declassified documents obtained by the National Security Archive, including the notebooks kept by NSC aide and Iran-contra figure Oliver North, electronic mail messages written by high-ranking Reagan administration officials, memos detailing the contra war effort, and FBI and DEA reports. The documents demonstrate official knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers. Court and hearing transcripts are also included.
EDITORS NOTE: We've all heard that the CIA is somehow responsible for all of the drugs on American streets. Now you know that this is a FACT and not fiction / conspiracy theory. This information is provided free of charge by Underground America Inc. (UAI)
I wrote CopsRCorrupt because law is lawless. And with or without your help, I'm going to arrest the crooks in the White House, Senate and Supreme Court and put this whole circus on trial. With or without you.
Now that Americans have the facts what will be their response? Will they stand up like me? Hell no. Americans know damn well that as soon as they attempt to "assemble" "to redress their grievances" the government will send in an army of pigs to intimidate us, put us back in our place and mace us in the face.
EDITORS NOTE: Not on my watch. I don't care who you elect, I'm going to arrest the President. He's the real drug dealer.