The Afghanistan-cia-nato-mil­i­tary Con­nec­tion to Amer­i­can Heroin Abuse

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One of the formerly hid­den se­crets be­hind Amer­ica’s heroin prob­lem is fi­nally com­ing to light. It turns out much of it has a di­rect con­nec­tion with – and likely the di­rect sup­port of – the coun­try of Afghanistan, the Amer­i­can Mil­i­tary, the CIA and NATO.

Amer­ica has recorded a 4X in­crease in heroin-re­lated over­doses be­tween 2002 and 2013. In 2014 the num­ber of such deaths was at least 10,000. That surge ties to an in­crease from 189,000 heroin users in the U.S. in 2001 to 4.5 mil­lion in 2016, with an es­ti­mated 2.5 mil­lion of that last num­ber be­ing hard­core heroin ad­dicts and the rest only oc­ca­sional users.

The num­ber one orig­i­nat­ing lo­ca­tion for both opium and heroin in that time has been Afghanistan.

Dur­ing the same time as the heroin user in­creases and as­so­ci­ated over­doses sky­rock­eted in the U.S., Afghanistan was busy farm­ing more and more pop­pies to make its opium and heroin prod­ucts. The es­ti­mated to­tal size of all poppy pro­duc­tion in the coun­try went up from around 7,600 hectares in 2001 to 224,000 hectares in 2016.

Cu­ri­ously enough, that same rapid ramp-up of poppy pro­duc­tion co­in­cides di­rectly with the US-NATO in­va­sion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Dur­ing that time the U.S. spent around $8.5 bil­lion al­legedly to erad­i­cate the poppy fields. While it is not clear where the dol­lars re­ally went, one thing is cer­tain. If the money was truly meant to elim­i­nate the opium and heroin pro­duc­tion, those man­ag­ing the funds failed mis­er­ably.

The far more likely con­clu­sion is that there was never re­ally any in­tent to wipe out the poppy fields. It may even be that one of the main rea­sons why the U.S. con­tin­ues its oc­cu­pa­tion in Afghanistan is to en­sure the crops thrive, and that who­ever in the U.S. gov­ern­ment is run­ning this (the CIA per­haps, which could eas­ily hide prof­its from the coun­try) is tak­ing a mas­sive cut of the pro­ceeds by al­low­ing the pro­gram to stay alive.

If all that sounds too much like leap­ing to con­clu­sions, there are sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions from the past to draw upon for ref­er­ence.

Back in the days of the Viet­nam war over 40 years ago, one of the big­gest ar­eas to pro­duce il­le­gal opium and heroin was – sur­prise – the SE Asian ‘Golden Tri­an­gle’. With time hav­ing passed, at least some of the truth of what hap­pened there has fil­tered out.

Then the CIA had en­cour­aged the Hmong tribe in Laos to grow opium in­stead of rice. With the coun­try ded­i­cat­ing much of its agri­cul­tural re­sources to drugs in­stead of food, the CIA man­aged the Hmong by pro­vid­ing food when they com­plied with CIA demands and threat­en­ing to hold it back when they did not. Ever the en­tre­pre­neur­ial or­ga­ni­za­tion when dirty money was in­volved, the CIA even built a heroin re­fin­ery at CIA head­quar­ters in north Laos, and used the CIA owned/op­er­ated Air Amer­ica pas­sen­ger and cargo air­line to ex­port the Hmong opium and heroin.

Dur­ing the time of the Korean War sim­i­lar things hap-

pened. Two of the gen­er­als from Chiang Kai-shek’s de­feated mil­i­tary brought their ar­mies and fam­i­lies into Burma, in the north. Those ar­mies ended up be­ing funded lo­cally to do two things. One was to plant sol­diers back in China so the CIA could get more di­rect in­tel­li­gence on op­er­a­tions there. The sec­ond was to be­gin to plant poppy fields and be­gin ex­port­ing heroin to the rest of South­east Asia and the United States, all with the ac­tive on­go­ing sup­port of the CIA. Once again, it was read­ily pos­si­ble to hide the prof­its un­der CIA fi­nan­cial shel­ter, with the high-mar­gin na­ture of the crop mak­ing it much eas­ier to han­dle dur­ing wartime con­di­tions.

Th­ese are not sup­po­si­tions. They are backed up by such pres­ti­gious re­port­ing as the Chris­tian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor (in May 1970), a full re­port by Yale Uni­ver­sity doc­toral stu­dent Al­fred Mccoy called “The Pol­i­tics of Heroin in South­east Asia” in 1972, and the pub­lic ar­rest of a key Thai smug­gler in Chicago, in 1973, with 59 pounds of opium link­ing to the SE Asian Cia-man­aged drug pro­duc­tion. A much later ar­ti­cle pub­lished by The New York Times in 1993 linked con­nec­tions be­tween Laos, Air Amer­ica, the CIA and high-vol­ume heroin and opium smug­gling.

In South Amer­ica, sim­i­lar CIA con­nec­tions brought cheap co­caine from Columbia out of the coun­try and even­tu­ally into U.S. cus­tomers hands, with other ap­proaches. A ma­jor pub­lic re­la­tions mess for the CIA hap­pened when for­mer DEA agent Michael Levine pub­licly dis­closed in 1980 that the CIA had helped block mul­ti­ple op­er­a­tions in Bo­livia, and even helped keep that coun­try's mil­i­tary from car­ry­ing out what be­came known as the “Co­caine Coup”.

Other links have re­vealed CIA con­nec­tions to the sup­port of the Con­tras in Nicaragua as part of a plan to pro­tect and man­age lo­cal Hon­duran and other Cen­tral Amer­i­can drug lords. The CIA has also been linked to pro­tect­ing Mex­i­can drug smug­glers in the mid-1980s, in re­turn for them pro­vid­ing fund­ing to sup­port the Con­tras as well. In the late 1980s, a Se­nate Sub­com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­gat­ing the same is­sues con­cluded that ‘se­nior pol­icy mak­ers” felt the drug money pro­vided ‘a per­fect so­lu­tion to the Con­tras’ fund­ing prob­lems’.

In 1993 yet an­other Hon­duras-cia con­nec­tion was un­veiled when Hon­duran busi­ness­man Eu­ge­nio Molina was ar­rested for sell­ing co­caine to DEA agents, then re­vealed he was work­ing for the CIA. Soon after­wards a let­ter from the CIA ended up set­ting Molina free and all is­sues in the case dropped.

Venezuela be­came part of the sor­did CIA heroin his­tory in 1996 when Gen­eral Ra­mon Gul­lien Dav­ila was in­dicted in Miami for smug­gling 22 tons of co­caine into the United States. That too was linked to a CIA ac­tiv­ity to bring drugs into the U.S. al­legedly to help trap drug smug­glers.

From all this, the link be­tween the CIA and heroin, for the pur­poses of man­ag­ing in­flu­ence, ma­nip­u­lat­ing po­lit­i­cal events and money-laun­der­ing ap­pears well-doc­u­mented, if not prov­able in a court of law. As to why, one needs to look no fur­ther than the amount of money in­volved.

In late 2000, the Afghanistan’s Tal­iban had shown them­selves as far more suc­cess­ful than the heav­ily-funded CIA years later in at­tempt­ing to erad­i­cate heroin. They had wiped out all poppy pro­duc­tion in the coun­try all on their own. Knock­ing out that pro­duc­tion caused a crash in the heroin mar­ket, which may just have cre­ated the right tim­ing op­por­tu­nity for the CIA to restart it – with hand­some prof­its to match.

Ac­cord­ing the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as of 2003, a few years af­ter the CIA-NATO in­va­sion of Afghanistan in 2001, opium pro­duc­tion in the coun­try was al­ready back on track pro­duc­ing around US $1 bil­lion for the farm­ers in­volved and $1.3 bil­lion for those in­volved with its traf­fick­ing, all based on an es­ti­mated street price of fresh opium at $350 a kilo­gram. The UNODC es­ti­mates, how­ever, that the “to­tal an­nual turnover of in­ter­na­tional trade” in Afghan opi­ates was $30 bil­lion. Af­ter pay­ing off the traf­fick­ers and the farm­ers, around $27 bil­lion is ‘miss­ing’.

Where pre­cisely that mas­sive for­tune went is un­clear. What is ob­vi­ous based on the facts is that the CIA, NATO, and likely other Amer­i­can clan­des­tine op­er­a­tions have their fin­gers around it some­where.

Based on his­tory and learn­ings that go back to as far as the early days of the Korean War, the CIA and its min­ions fig­ured out early that heroin was an im­por­tant crop to pro­tect, har­vest, and ma­nip­u­late for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.

Is there any ques­tion now why Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­cently re­versed a past po­lit­i­cal cam­paign pro­nounce­ment of his that he was go­ing to get us out of Afghanistan? Or why Barack Obama, hav­ing cam­paigned go­ing back to his elec­tion in 2008 that he, too, was go­ing to get us out of there?

This is a con­spir­acy that goes to the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment, with mil­i­tary and fi­nan­cial lead­ers around the world work­ing to­gether tightly to keep the money flow­ing while the il­le­gal drugs keep on reach­ing higher and higher lev­els of Cia-pro­tected pro­duc­tion.

Photo by So­lene FOHANNO,

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