In the Golden Triangle; Petronas Towers, Malaysia; 2nd tallest building in the world.
It is estimated that more than 60% of heroin sold in the U.S. is produced from Golden Triangle (Burma, Thailand and Laos) opium.Drug barons command private armies, competing for territory and market share.
Rebel groups throughout the world -- from Afghanistan to Nicaragua to the Golden Triangle -- have recognized the value drugs have in financing their military operations.
In 1971 the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs”, setting up the “carrot and stick” system that conditioned U.S. financial aid on drug eradication and thus favoring a bilateral, biased approach over the multilateral approach of the United Nations.
These pressures on the drug trade were nevertheless counteracted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which played a significant role in the drug trade in both Southeast Asia and Southwest Asia.
THE ROLE OF THE CIA THE CIA AND THE DRUG INDUSTRY
During the early 1950s the CIA had backed the formation of a Nationalist Chinese guerilla army in Burma, a group which still controls as much as half of the world's opium supply, and in Laos the CIA created a mercenary army whose commander manufactured heroin for sale to, among others, American GIs in South Vietnam.
The State Department provided unconditional support for corrupt governments known to be engaged in the international drug traffic. In late 1969 new heroin laboratories sprang up in the tri-border and where Burma, Thailand, and Laos converge, and unprecedented quantities of heroin started flooding into the United States. Nurtured by a seemingly limitless flow of heroin, America's total number of addicts skyrocketed.
The CIA analysis identified twenty-one opium refineries in the tri-border area where Burma, Thailand, and Laos converge and reported that seven were capable of producing 90 to 99 percent pure No. 4 heroin. Of these seven heroin refineries, "The most important are located in the areas around Tachilek, Burma; Ban Houei Sai and Nam Keung in Laos; and Mae Salong in Thailand."
Although the CIA did not see fit to mention it, many of those refineries were located in areas totally controlled by paramilitary groups closely identified with American military operations in the Golden Triangle.
Mae Salong was headquarters of the Nationalist Chinese Fifth Army, which had been continuously involved in CIA intelligence and counterinsurgency operations since 1950. According to a former CIA operative who worked in the area for a number of years, the heroin laboratory at Na Kueng was protected by Major Chao La, commander of Yao mercenary troops for the CIA in northwestern Laos.
One of the heroin laboratories near Ban Huay Sai reportedly belonged to General Ouane Rattikone, former commander in chief of the Royal Laotian Army—the only army in the world, except for the U.S. army itself, to be entirely financed by the U.S. government.
The heroin factories near Tachilek were operated by rebel units from Burma and Shan rebel armies who even now control a large percentage of the narcotics traffic out of Burma. Although few of these Shan groups still have any relation with the CIA, one of the most important chapters in the history of the Shan States' opium trade involves a Shan rebel army under Khun Sa, who is still receiving CIA support, either directly or indirectly.
150 years of opium wars
Other sources have revealed the existence of an important heroin laboratory that operated near Vientiane under the protection of General Ouane Rattikone. And finally, the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics had reports that General Vang Pao, commander of the CIA's 'secret army', had been operating a heroin factory at Long Tieng, headquarters for CIA sponsored operations in northern Laos.
Today, nearly thirty years after the CIA began supporting the KMT (Natianalist Chinese or Kuomintang)in the Golden Triangle region, KMT 'soldiers' control almost half of the world's total illicit opium supply and share about half of Southeast Asia's thriving heroin business.
Its anti-Communist covert operations benefited from the participation of some drug-related combat units who, to finance their own struggle, were directly involved in drug production and trade.
Considering the involvement of different groups in the drug trade (for example, the Hmong in Laos, the Nationalist Chinese [Guomindang] in northern Burma, and the Islamic mujahideen resistance [the party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, notably] in Afghanistan), their backing by the CIA implied that the agency condoned the use of such proceeds and considerably increased opiate production in Asia.
Hence the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent remain the world’s two major opium production areas. The Golden Triangle led world production until 1991 (U.S. Department estimates), with Burma ranking at the top. After that date the Golden Crescent took the lead, with Afghanistan breaking previous records in 1999.
(In 2000 the Taliban government forbade opium poppy cultivation, and production plunged.) Opium production in these two areas can be attributed to the protracted civil wars that have plagued Burma since 1948 and Afghanistan since 1979. The atmosphere of conflict during the Cold War also contributed. In the late twentieth century Thailand, Iran, and Pakistan, former important opium producers, coped with growing narcotics trafficking and, even more disrupting, local epidemics of narcotic addiction.
Conservative estimates in Iran and Pakistan show 2 million opiate addicts in each country, and the number continues to grow. Afghanistan, mainly a producer, is likely to become an important consumer, as indicated by the spillover in Central Asia. In fact Iran, previously the primary trading route, has succeeded in partially diverting Afghan smuggling toward Central Asia.
Wars have proven to nurture the drug trade, and drug profits prolong wars.
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.
In 1991, Afghanistan became he world’s primary opium producer, with a yield of 1,782 metric tons(U.S. State Department estimates), surpassing Burma, formerly the world leader in opium production.
During the 1970s, Afghanistan produced a mere 90 to 270 tons of opium per year, almost the same yield as neighboring Pakistan, before the latter achieved 720-metric-ton crop in 1979.
Although Pakistan has almost stopped production, it still has a huge addicted population that relies on Afghanistan’s opiates. Afghanistan doubled its production again in 1999, reaching a stunning 4,123 metric tons of dry opium.
Afghanistan thus emerged as the world’s leading producer of opiates before suddenly and dramatically reducing this production by 85 percent in 2001, when it was banned by the Taliban rulers.
BANGALORE - The spurt in violence in Afghanistan in recent months has generally been attributed to the resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, aid workers in Afghanistan are saying that it is warlords with connections to the production and trade of narcotics who are behind many of the attacks.
The opium harvest in Afghanistan this year will be one of the biggest on record, the Foreign Office said yesterday, and it has triggered a flood of heroin on Britain's streets. The revelation will prove highly embarrassing for Tony Blair, who cited cutting the supply of heroin as one of the main reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001...the consequences of the rise were already evident: cheaper, better quality heroin was arriving in Britain, luring thousands more youngsters into addiction than ever before...
"The rise in cultivation and production of opium poppies in Afghanistan has horrendous portents for us in the UK bearing in mind the PM's statement that 90 per cent of heroin sold on British streets comes from Afghanistan".
By 2001 only 30 square miles of land were in use for growing opium poppies. A year later, after American and British troops had removed the Taliban and installed the interim government, the land under cultivation leapt back to 285 square miles.
In 2002, according to the field and satellite surveys of the United Nations, Afghanistan reached a production of 3400 metric tons.
The function of the Drug War is to create the Drug Crisis. The Drug Crisis involves billions of dollars of hidden cash flow.
Addicted to this flow of money are law enforcement agencies, drug producers and distributors, covert agencies who use it as a source of black funding, and politicians and bankers who are hired to protect the drug revenues.
Addiction to drug revenues requires that the drug war be fought so as to be lost. Failure thus becomes the criterion of success.
Name: EuroYank - Virginia Hoge Home: United States About Me: Euro Yank is an internationally famous blogger, an American born in Germany that left for the USA with family at age six and has lived in Luxembourg for the past ten years. He is a committed anti-fascist and a student of history who is politically progressive and believes in the ideals of the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights for all Americans. He is also an American war veteran. He was active on American Talk Radio, and has been prominent online with 26 blogs with over 25 million hits. His investigative journalism has exposed top international news stories no one else has reported on. He is also a well-known political commentator. He has been repeatedly censored and banned, but despite these setback continues nonstop. Virginia Olive Hoge is an artist and writer living in Pasadena, California. As a progressive whistle-blower, she conducts investigations into corrupt media and outs the harm it causes to the poor and important social services. She is has been conducting an 11-month investigation of Topix.com, she is the first one in the nation to do so. See my complete profile E-Mail