The Politics of Heroin

The CIA are now [ 2007 ] notoriously involved in torture, running secret prisons and kidnapping as well being major drug runners. Alfred McCoy, a professor of history has updated his views by writing A Question of Torture

The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade
The idea that the CIA should be a major drug runner is fantastic but Alfred McCoy takes us over the ground, telling  us what happened and why. Using the hill tribes of the  Laos area against the Chinese meant paying them which translates into moving their crops for them. Rice and opium are the options and poppy is much more profitable. How do intelligence outfits operate in foreign lands? They work with other covert outfits which means the crime industry. This can become too much of a two way passage. The Mafia's payoff for help in Sicily in 1944-5 was freedom to operate and move contraband. Is it different today? Believe it if you want. They were working with hooligans in Afghanistan. Now they are trying to subvert Iran. That means liaising with bandits.
PS Doctor McCoy's position is confirmed by Douglas Valentine's book - see The CIA, The World's Biggest Drug Traffickers


The Wikipedia Summarizes
........ crime organizations in America and Europe collaborated in a wide-ranging conspiracy to establish new centres of opium production, heroin refining and distribution in Southeast Asia, and that their efforts were greatly facilitated by the Central Intelligence Agency and the unstable political situation created by the ongoing Vietnam War.....

"In most cases, the CIA's role involved various forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual trafficking ... [t]he CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug-lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability."
My reading is that they were hands on.


A Question of Torture CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War On Terror
A startling exposé of the CIA’s development and spread of psychological torture, from the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and beyond
In this revelatory account of the CIA’s secret, fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy uncovers the deep, disturbing roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Far from aberrations, as the White House has claimed, A Question of Torture shows that these abuses are the product of a long-standing covert program of interrogation.
Developed at the cost of billions of dollars, the CIA’s method combined “sensory deprivation” and “self-inflicted pain” to create a revolutionary psychological approach—the first innovation in torture in centuries. The simple techniques—involving isolation, hooding, hours of standing, extremes of hot and cold, and manipulation of time—constitute an all-out assault on the victim’s senses, destroying the basis of personal identity. McCoy follows the years of research—which, he reveals, compromised universities and the U.S. Army—and the method’s dissemination, from Vietnam through Iran to Central America. He traces how after 9/11 torture became Washington’s weapon of choice in both the CIA’s global prisons and in “torture-friendly” countries to which detainees are dispatched. Finally McCoy argues that information extracted by coercion is worthless, making a case for the legal approach favoured by the FBI.
Scrupulously documented and grippingly told, A Question of Torture is a devastating indictment of inhumane practices that have spread throughout the intelligence system, damaging American’s laws, military, and international standing..........

 The eventual conclusion was that cheap, simple methods (for example, enforced standing) worked best, and were also more acceptable to the public than outright physical violence....... This book is unique . . . reminding readers that the CIA has been an innovator in modern torture methods.
I was brought up to believe that the KGB was vicious and that our side was good. I was lied to.


The CIA, The World's Biggest Drug Traffickers [ 26 January 2008 ]
The DEA and its predecessor federal drug law enforcement organizations have always been infiltrated and, to varying degrees, managed by America's intelligence agencies. The reason is simple enough: the US Government has been protecting its drug smuggling allies, especially in organized crime, since trafficking was first criminalized in 1914. Since then drug law enforcement has been a function of national security in its broadest sense; not just protecting our aristocracy from foreign enemies, but preserving the Establishment's racial, religious and class prerogatives.
The American security and military apparatus is profoundly corrupt or Mr Valentine is completely wrong. I am going with the first proposition.


Former CIA pilot describes his cocaine deliveries [ 18 September 2006 ]
Is this a fantasy? It should be but it is not. See the Politics of Heroin He was also flying guns to Fidel Castro. Remember that the CIA backed Saddam Hussein and Afghan rebels too. You might think that they are criminal incompetents.
PS A C130 Hercules can carry 64 men or a LOT of cocaine.


Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.
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Updated on 20/02/2014 21:07