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Books - Dealing with Drugs
Written by Jonathan Marshall   
Tuesday, 07 September 2010 00:00


Jonathan Marshall

Like ordinary consumers of ketchup or toothpaste, millions of Americans smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, or shoot up heroin with-out considering the long chain of manufacturers and middlemen who bring to their communities the quality products they demand. The supply lines are tortuous, threading from foreign fields, across seas, and through fissures in the wall of domestic law enforcement. But the drugs do get through, despite the herculean efforts of the police, courts, and prisons to deter the traffic in mood-altering chemicals.

Supply-side drug enforcement has failed. Tens of thousands of federal, state, and local police have been trying to block a deluge with a drain stopper. The General Accounting Office estimates that authorities intercept no more than 10 percent of drugs smuggled across U.S. borders.' This country is simply awash in substances to inject, swallow, snort, or smoke.

Narcotics officials know their only possible hope lies in stopping the flow at its origin abroad, where supplies are still concentrated in a few hands. As Jim Smith, Florida's attorney general, told a congressional committee, "I don't believe traditional law enforce-ment can ever effectively deal with the problem. . . . Enough people are involved in it that unless we get to the point we have a military standing shoulder to shoulder around our coastline, I don't think we will get it done with traditional law enforcement methods. We have to get to the source countries to do it."2

International cooperation has been a concern of U.S. narcotics enforcement ever since Congress passed the Harrison Act outlaw-ing narcotics in 1914. But the challenge is awesome: In just three years, despite drug control agreements with such major supplier na-tions as Bolivia, Colombia, Pakistan, and Peru, worldwide produc-tion of opium poppies has increased by more than 50 percent, coca by 40 percent, and marijuana by 20 percent.3

Almost invariably federal officials adopt military metaphors to describe their ceaseless efforts to combat this international trade. Yet just as war is the continuation of politics by other means, so the "war on drugs" has become an extension of foreign policy by other means. Drug control has become "a new and subtle form of U.S. intervention abroad," observed the president of Colombia's Na-tional Association of Financial Institutions.4 The ideology of drug control has become a front, and the apparatus of enforcement a tool, for counterinsurgency, Cold War propaganda wars, and covert ac-tion campaigns in the Third World.


As in most other markets, world supply-and-demand patterns for drugs have traditionally been led by the West—from Britain's pro-motion of the opium trade in China to more recent pressures from the United States and European consuming nations through the League of Nations and United Nations to ban drug production for any but limited medicinal purposes. Today the Western taboo against drugs other than alcohol and tobacco has become the standard by which nearly all countries measure their own legal codes.

That fact underpins the central pretense of international narcotics control: that in assisting foreign governments to carry out their for-mal law enforcement missions, the United States can win victories in its own battle against drugs.

The reality is all too different. The very governments and foreign police agencies Washington supports more often than not shield the big-time drug producers and smugglers—if they don't monopolize the traffic themselves. As exposure of the "French Connection" showed, the profits of the drug trade attract and corrupt intelligence and police officials even in nations with strong traditions of professionalism.

Drug-related corruption often follows a progression as it becomes entrenched. Over time police realize that taking bribes offers fewer rewards than dealing the drugs themselves—while using drug laws as a pretext to eliminate their independent competitors. In extreme cases, drug profits may strengthen police or military elites vis-a-vis other government institutions to the point where they seize state power, as the Bolivian military did in the 1980 "cocaine coup."

In the Third World particularly, where government institutions have short histories and questionable legitimacy, officials charged with national security may rationalize their takeover of lucrative drug rackets as preempting independent, antistate syndicates.

Failure to contain the traffickers, with the power they draw from unlimited finances, can lead to internal chaos, civil war, or warlord-ism—as the current plight of Bolivia, Colombia, and Burma attests. As the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board noted in its 1984 annual report, "Illegal drug production and trafficking financed by organized crime is so pervasive that the economies of entire countries are disrupted, legal institutions menaced and the very security of some states threatened."5 If even Italy had to send an antiterrorist commander (Gen. Carlo Alberto DaIla Chiesa) to com-bat secessionist pressures from Mafia strongholds in Sicily, the threat to newer regimes should be clear.

In such countries suppression works no better than in the United States. Antidrug campaigns guarantee instability, not security. Gov-ernment elites find state control of the drug traffic a more attractive solution than continual war against it. Using drug laws and armed force as weapons against independent competitors, governments can create de facto drug monopolies that enhance their larger ambition to consolidate power within the national territory.

That was precisely the tactic of Chiang Kai-shek in his campaign to unify Nationalist China under his party, the Kuomintang (KMT). By seizing opium fields and drug marketing channels in the name of opium "suppression," he strengthened his own position at the ex-pense of independent warlords whose finances depended on skim-ming drug profits.6

Similar symptoms can be found in every country where drugs are produced or transshipped in quantity. In country after country, of-ficial corruption makes a mockery both of local laws and interna-tional narcotics enforcement.


Suffering from disastrous political instability, rampant inflation, and a staggering foreign debt, Bolivia survives only by the grace of co-caine. Coca leaf production, a staggering 55,000 metric tons an-nually, accounted for fully 21 percent of gross domestic product in 1981.7

Official complicity in the traffic was cemented during the reign of Gen. Hugo Banzer from 1971 to 1978. Banzer seized power with the help of a countryman arrested a decade later in Florida for smug-gling 530 kilos of cocaine. Among Banzer's relatives implicated in the drug trade were a brother, a stepbrother, a son-in-law, and a nephew. One of his ranches housed a plant for processing coca paste into cocaine.8 Ironically, in 1976 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger offered Banzer millions of dollars to train Bolivia's narcotics police and fund coca eradication programs.9

After a brief democratic interlude, Bolivia's military once again seized power, but not before top officers sat down with six of the country's leading traffickers in June 1980 to negotiate protection payments. Gen. Luis Garcia Meza came away $1 million richer. His coup a month later brought to power a small army of uniformed drug profiteers. The Carter administration withdrew its ambassador to protest the regime's human rights abuses and drug record.'°

Now liberated from the grip of its brutal cocaine colonels and generals, Bolivia has yet to make any progress toward suppression of the traffic. If anything, production has grown. The military re-mains as corrupt as ever, and the traffickers have retreated into vir-tually impregnable fiefdoms where government police dare not enter. A congressional study concluded in 1985 that "not one hectare of coca leaf has been eradicated since the United States established the narcotics assistance program in 1971."''


Drugs are hardly less important to Colombia's economy, where they approach even coffee as earners of foreign exchange. Flamboyant drug kings have purchased soccer teams, opened zoos to the public, and financed city slum rehabilitation schemes. They also spend $115 million a year to buy public officials, according to Colombia's Na-tional Association of Financial Institutions.12

Under heavy pressure from Washington, successive Colombian governments have granted extraordinary powers to police and mili-tary to wage the drug war. In 1978 a presidential decree granted those authorities a virtual license to kill in the line of duty. "The new law makes us appear to want to stop smuggling," observed one Colom-bian judicial official. "But it also places more power in the hands of those already receiving huge payoffs to permit marijuana and co-caine to leave the country. Either those dealing in these products pay off or they are killed." 1'3

Colombian police are indeed extraordinarily corrupt. The Departamento Administrativo Seguridad, a sort of militarized FBI, was particularly notorious under the leadership of Gen. Jorge Ordoiiez Valderrama. His ruthless subordinates robbed independent cocaine dealers, then resold their stashes. Three provincial DAS chiefs were arrested on drug charges before Ordofiez Valderrama himself was finally jailed for embezzlement.' 4

Other units also had their hands in the trade. Greedy customs agents even did battle with DAS forces for control of a major drug shipment." And in 1976 the entire top command of the national police narcotics unit was implicated in drug crimes by a former agent.' 6

Again at Washington's instigation, Colombia sent its military to combat drug traffickers in the remote Guajira Peninsula in late 1978. But smugglers had corrupted the defense ministry, which prevented honest police actions against known traffickers.'7 Noted one U.S. congressional delegation, "The Guajira campaign appears to have been a great deterrent to the small unorganized trafficker; however, there is still a significant amount of marijuana available for the ma-jor trafficking networks."

The murder of the country's attorney general in May 1984 aroused a national furor. Political leaders vowed to punish the drug mafia. Many bosses were indeed driven underground, but few drug caches were seized. All of which led one cynical newspaper to discover a new disease, "mafia blindness," that had infected police investigat-ing teams.'9


Mexico accounts for about two-fifths of all heroin consumed in the United States, is the number one exporter of controlled barbiturates and amphetamines, and transships a quarter of all cocaine crossing U.S. borders. In late 1984, police discovered one 10,000-ton marijuana cache, enough to satisfy the entire U.S. market for a year."

Corruption indisputably explains the persistent inability of Mex-ican law enforcement officials to catch the culprits. "Mexico hasn't arrested a major drug trafficker in eight years," former DEA Ad-ministrator Francis Mullen, Jr., charged after authorities failed to make any progress in solving the kidnap-murder of a U.S. narcotics agent in early 1985. "They let the suspects get away. Then they start the raids."21

One of President Miguel de la Madrid's first official acts was to fire Mexico City's chief of police, Arturo Durazo-Moreno, who had amassed a fortune estimated at several hundred million dollars. U.S. and Mexican intelligence files reportedly named him as a protector of the illegal heroin trade, as well as a brutal murderer of rival traffickers.22

In 1985, admitting to "criminal links between narcotics traffickers and police agents," the government of de la Madrid fired hundreds of agents from the Federal Judicial Police and Directorate of Federal Security. Members of both organizations, along with police units from several states, had acted as virtual bodyguards for some of Mexico's top drug criminals."

But the most notorious traffickers and their agents continue to receive favored treatment despite these purges.24 One U.S. intelli-gence assessment concluded in 1979 that corruption so permeated the government that "any wholesale housecleaning would cause cracks in the power structure."25 That judgment still holds.

Responsible for producing about half the cocaine shipped to the United States, Peru almost ranks with Bolivia in the extent of drug-related corruption. The military has had its hand in the cocaine trade ever since 1949, when the government established a state coca mo-nopoly and set aside all profits for the construction of military barracks.26

Peru's urban police force, PIP, has had more than its share of drug scandals. In 1971 the acting chief of its narcotics division was exposed as head of the leading drug ring." Two PIP directors in a row were forced out of office under a cloud in the late 1960s and early 1970s.28 In 1981, an entire PIP squad was accused of stealing cocaine from dealers for its own profit.29

In 1982 a former Peruvian air force general was sentenced to fif-teen years in prison after being caught with 5 kilos of cocaine on his way to Miami." The same year the war minister accused two former ministers of interior with conspiring to undertake a major cocaine dea1.3'

In 1985, a series of drug scandals prompted President Alan Garcia to dismiss at least 100 air force personnel, more than 200 top officers from Peru's three national police forces, and well over 1,000 police-men. Several hundred judges also came under investigation for sus-pected corruption."


Hashish and opium are the chief currency and financial prop of the various competing political factions and warlord families in Leba-non. Hashish is grown in Syrian-controlled Moslem regions, shipped through a Christian Phalangist town, on to territory controlled by the Franjieh family (Christian but pro-Syrian), and finally out via the Syrian-controlled port of Tripoli."

The Phalangist Gemayel family—which supplied Lebanon's cur-rent president and dominates the national army—is deeply impli-cated in the trade. "We had hard evidence that (the hashish trade) was tied into the Christian Front and the Gemayel family is a major part of the front," said former Congressman Lester Wolff (D-N.Y.), who chaired the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. 34

And like all other contestants for power, Palestine Liberation Or-ganization forces apparently have not abstained from raising money through the drug trade."


Though not itself a major heroin producer, Thailand is the primary outlet for heroin produced by border laboratories inside Burma. The drugs are handled by ethnic Chinese syndicates in Bangkok. Thai law enforcement officers have never seriously cracked down on them, perhaps because as much as 50 percent of the economy is dependent on drug money, according to one informed estimate.36

Congressman Lester Wolff reported in 1977 that one of Bangkok's top drug wholesalers had "a knack for making friends in Thai gov-ernment circles. He has close connections with the Thai army and the Thai police as well as officials of the former government."37

Corruption and politics have also kept the government from touching drug traffickers in the remote hill country of the opium-rich "Golden Triangle." There, remnants of the KMT armies forced out of China in 1949 settled and made a livelihood out of smuggling. In return for Bangkok's sanction, they provided intelligence and even counterinsurgency assistance against leftist revolutionaries in the region.

As a result, noted one congressional report, "Thai police are per-mitted to mount operations against minor smugglers [but] not allowed to interfere at the higher levels of opium politics which provide the armies with their financial support. The result is a charade for international consumption in which roughly 3 percent of the nar-cotics are seized and several score of traffickers arrested yearly, while the principal organizations of the trade continue unimpeded."38


In spite of this appalling record of official corruption and hypocrisy, the United States only rarely challenges the governments responsible for the international drug trade. Higher interests of state take prec-edence. In particular, narcotics enforcement has always taken second place to communist containment as an objective of U.S. foreign pol-icy. As one DEA official remarked when challenged about the Ja-maican government's open toleration of the marijuana trade, "The issue is, should we press them to do things which could result in the election and installation of a leftist government, as they've had in the previous administration. Drugs are a serious problem. But Com-munism is a greater problem."39

By turning a blind eye to the real drug situation abroad, the United States often extends assistance to the very forces most implicated in the traffic, helping them indeed to snuff out their competition and reinforce their criminal monopoly. Perhaps the earliest and most bla-tant example was the Federal Bureau of Narcotics' World War II training program for the Chinese secret police under Gen. Tai Li—who had ganged up with the head of the Shanghai underworld to run the largest opiate trafficking syndicate in the world.4°

Police aid may have another consequence: strengthening the forces of order—or repression—vis-a-vis dissident groups and other gov-ernment bureaucracies, sometimes to the point of promoting a coun-try's transition to a police state.

Such outcomes may be the inadvertent results of a misapplied drug strategy. Sometimes, however, U.S. drug enforcement programs have been used as a conscious tool of Cold War foreign policy, both as a pretext for bypassing congressional restrictions on foreign police as-sistance and (in collusion with local security forces) as a pointed counterinsurgency weapon justified by accusing local insurgents of smuggling narcotics.

U.S. programs to train and equip foreign police, established in the Eisenhower administration, were greatly extended when Presi-dent Kennedy established the Office of Public Safety (OPS) in 1962. OPS encouraged foreign police to expand beyond their traditional role to embrace paramilitary, counterinsurgency, and sophisticated intelligence functions. This police push was a Camelot experiment in containing domestic unrest before it reached the stage of guerrilla warfare. Washington also hoped to guide "nation-building" in the Third World by exposing influential foreign security elites to Amer-ican personnel, methods, and institutions.41

As Attorney General Robert Kennedy told the first graduating class of the Washington, D.C.-based International Police Academy in 1964, "These are critical days for law enforcement. . . . In the world today, most wars are 'police actions.' Law enforcement offi-cials are a very real first line of defense, and the fate of governments and nations hangs in the balance."42

Up through 1974, when Congress disbanded the OPS, the Inter-national Police Academy trained more than 7,500 officers from sev-enty-seven countries. Its courses ranged from crowd control to coping "with high level violence brought about by externally supported sub-version, guerrilla activities in rural areas, and warfare." More than a million more policemen were trained abroad.43

Proud OPS officials boasted that as of 1972 they had trained the heads of thirteen foreign police forces, taught police from Nicaragua to Uruguay to "identify and apprehend urban terrorists," and boosted the size of the paramilitary Thai Border Patrol Police by 50 percent."

But legislators saw matters differently. Horror stories of the OPS-backed Phoenix assassination program and prison "tiger cages" in South Vietnam and of ubiquitous torture committed by military re-gimes in South America prompted Congress in 1974 to prohibit for-eign police assistance—except for combating the drug traffic. A small enough loophole, that might have seemed. But it proved large enough to drive much of the old OPS program through.

OPS had long had responsibility for specialized narcotics enforce-ment training and support, though such activities had previously been a small part of its mission. Taking up the slack after 1973 was the State Department's International Narcotics Control program.

INC has supplied foreign governments with all manner of aid, including shotguns, submachine guns, jeeps, night vision devices, helicopters, and communications equipment. Much of it has gone to notorious dictatorships in such countries as Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, and Argentina—the very countries whose abuses had moved Con-gress to limit police aid in the first place.

In 1975 the Senate Appropriations Committee complained that "it is not the purpose of the narcotics program to give the participating government access to a continuous supply of free police equipment, much of which is possibly being used for purposes unrelated to control of drug traffic.""

A General Accounting Office study the next year confirmed the committee's worst fears, citing "circumstances that we believe are contrary to the intent of the prohibitions limiting assistance to for-eign police." These included a sixfold increase in INC commodity assistance from fiscal year 1,973 to fiscal year 1974, and the fact that "commodities previously furnished to police units under the public safety program are now being provided to the same units under the narcotics program"—amounting to a blatant end run around Congress.'

Along with the equipment came advisers. The GAO pointed out that "overseas narcotics advisers perform essentially the same func-tions that public safety advisers used to perform." Nothing had changed; as of 1978, former OPS officials staffed all INC posts in Latin America.47

Narcotics training programs filled the gap left by the demise of the International Police Academy. INC funded the training of 11,763 foreign police between 1973 and 1976 alone." Courses continued to emphasize such topics as intelligence, surveillance, and interroga-tion; many graduates of the DEA's Advanced International School applied their new expertise in lines of police work other than drug contro1.49

U.S. policy makers are chiefly interested in the ancillary benefits of such programs. Besides "exposing . . . key visitors to United States agencies and procedures," said one State Department officer in 1981, they develop "personal ties of communication and coop-eration between United States and foreign government officials."50

Narcotics training also serves key intelligence objectives, the DEA says, by creating a "brotherhood of foreign police officers who co-operate with each other in conducting investigations and exchange information regularly"—an unexceptional goal in theory, but chill-ing in the context of Third World realities.51

As Amnesty International and other human rights groups have documented, torture remains a regular, institutionalized practice in close to a hundred countries throughout the world. The United States may not approve such practices, but the police it trains and the equipment it supplies under the narcotics program are often essential tools of police repression against dissident students, labor leaders, and politicians. In Bolivia, a U.S.-trained drug enforcement unit, the Leopards, even staged an abortive coup in June 1984 against the democratic regime of Siles Zuazo.52

In short, under the guise of drug enforcement, the United States continues to advance the original missions of police assistance: coun-terinsurgency, countersubversion, and indirect political control.


A classic case of narcotics assistance serving repressive political ends rather than its stated purpose occurred during the mid-1970s in Argentina. There the INC commodity budget zoomed from $3,000 in FY 1973 to $347,000 in FY 1974, filling the vacuum left by the phas-ing out of OPS. The jump coincided with the October 1973 return from exile of Juan Per6n, who brought with him a former policeman and Rasputin-like confidant, Jose Lopez Rega, to supervise the po-lice from his new post as minister of social welfare.

In March 1974 the State Department requested $200,000 for FY 1975 narcotics assistance and announced that $295,000 still clogged in the pipeline from past years would be spent in the next eighteen months for vehicles, aircraft, communications, and photographic equipment.

Two months later, Lopez Rega appeared in a nationally televised press conference with the U.S. ambassador to announce, "We hope to wipe out the drug traffic in Argentina. We have caught guerrillas after attacks who were high on drugs. Guerrillas are the main users of drugs in Argentina. Therefore the antidrug campaign will auto-matically be an antiguerrilla campaign as well."53

That neat formula would become a standard operating procedure of foreign leaders: Implicate the enemy in drug crimes, then collect U.S. police aid without any unpleasant questions from Washington.
The consequences in Argentina weren't long in coming. In May 1974, one month after Lopez Rega took delivery of automatic weap-ons and other equipment under INC, the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, a shadowy death squad formed under his direction, began its campaign of assassination with the murder of a leftist priest.54 Composed in part of off-duty police, the AAA likely benefited from training, communications, and transportation equipment provided by the U.S. taxpayer.

Lopez Rega fled the country in the fall of 1975 after Argentina's Congress pinned dozens of political murders on him. Soon military intelligence sources were leaking the facts about Lopez Rega's own responsibility for the drug traffic: Cocaine, it seemed, had been a main underpinning of his secret empire. Lopez Rega was reportedly tied in with notorious smugglers high in the Paraguayan regime.55

The military coup of March 1976 strengthened the hand of security forces that already had their hands deep into the drug traffic. Lopez Rega's charge of guerrilla involvement in drug smuggling still proved opportune. In February 1977 the junta's foreign minister de-clared war against subversion: "We attack its body through the war against guerrillas, and its spirit through the war against the drug traffic, both carriers of nihilistic and collectivist ideas."56


U.S. drug enforcement functionaries spearheaded a drive to turn Colombia into an armed camp. Following a helicopter tour of the Guajira Peninsula in 1978, DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger urged the military to occupy the region, citing the marijuana industry as a "national security" threat to the nation. His words caused a storm of protest. DAS chief Dr. Guillermo Le6n Linares called them an "imprudent interference in the affairs of this country which we should reject. Neither he nor any other foreign official should tell us, the Colombian government, what to do—and much less what our armed forces should do."57

Nonetheless President Julio Turbay Ayala placed the entire pen-insula under martial law—possibly to protect his political flanks against reports leaked from Washington that had implicated him in the drug traffic. With $2.4 million in special U.S. funding, 6,500 soldiers swept through the wild area in Operacion Fulminente, to little practical effect against the big traffickers.58

The government empowered the military under a special security statute that also gave it special authority against kidnappers and in-stigators of illegal strikes and other "social crimes." Some Supreme Court justices called the new regime a "constitutional dictator-ship."59 Most of the arrestees were held on subversion charges, not for drug crimes. Critics charged that military investigators relied extensively on torture.6°

Happy with the military's vigor, Washington proposed extending martial law to the entire country under the rubric of narcotics enforcement. Joseph Linnemann, the State Department's narcotics ex-pert, exulted that "involvement of the military's greater material and personnel resources has created the potential for similar campaigns in other regions of the country, such as the Llanos, the Choco, and along the southern border, all of which are real or potential pro-ducing or transit areas."61

Instead the army was withdrawn in December 1980 to stem further corruption of its ranks.62 But the military, with U.S. encouragement, remains a force in the antidrug program by its very role in the an-tiguerrilla fight: Like Lopez Rega in Argentina, Colombian security officials blame both subversion and drugs on the same "narco-guerrillas." As Defense Minister Gen. Gustavo Matamoros warned, "This alliance is a new threat to our democracy and we will continue to act rapidly and energetically to stop this danger."63

The military used such charges to undermine President Belisario Betancur's attempts to arrange a cease-fire with several guerrilla fac-tions. When the government declared a state of emergency following the April 1984 murder by the drug mafia of the minister of justice, the army sabotaged cease-fire negotiations. "The government said the state of siege was aimed at the traffickers and not at the guer-rillas," one Colombian journalist explained, "but the army doesn't see it like that. As a result, we're now seeing the fiercest fighting between army and guerrillas in several years."64

The U.S. embassy in Bogota has encouraged talk of a guerrilla-mafia alliance. Its briefing paper on the "FARC/Narc Connection" linked the Moscow-line Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Col-ombia with high-level cocaine producers. Some critics accused Am-bassador Lewis Tambs of grinding an ideological ax; a close political ally of Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), he once called for an invasion or blockade of Cuba and Nicaragua to rid the Caribbean of the "Cuban-Sandinista cancer." 65

Journalists and congressional investigators report that only the ideologically muddled M-19 movement ever had any clear involve-ment with drugs.66 Indeed, in late 1981, several notorious smugglers and their allies in the army set up a death squad targeted against leftist guerrillas who preyed upon the drug chieftains by kidnapping family members in return for enormous ransoms. "Muerte a Se-cuestradores" (Death to Kidnappers) murdered more than 300 sus-pected leftists at the direction of the cocaine kingpins.67


Often considered the classic success story of cooperative drug eradication programs, the Mexican example showed the consequences of giving U.S. aid to corrupt police who turned it against the peasantry.

During the 1970s, the critical decade of opium poppy and mari-juana eradication, the INC program pumped more than $95 million into Mexico." Aid included 64 helicopters, 24 airplanes, submachine and shotguns, tear gas projectiles, and at least 30 full-time DEA agents working in conjunction with the Federal Police.69

Critics have charged that narcotics enforcement was used as a pre-text to crush peasant land occupations and peasant-worker alliances in the countryside. Some of the worst incidents occurred in the southern state of Guerrero, home of Acapulco Gold and poor dirt farmers who sheltered a modest guerrilla movement until the army stamped it out in 1974. "Guerrero today remains in a state of mil-itary occupation," one American journalist observed two years later, "and many of its people view the current campaign against drugs, carried out by Mexican soldiers and judicial police who march in from their own encampments or drop from helicopters, as a veneer of legitimacy for an ongoing campaign to terrorize the populace and keep down an incipient anti-government movement." The head of the State Judicial Police in northern Guerrero, meanwhile, was re-portedly himself a heroin dealer.7°

In early 1978, 7,000 Mexican soldiers backed by DEA advisers waged a "special war" against marijuana cultivators in the northern states of Durango, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua. The real targets of Op-eration Condor, according to the organ of the U.S. Catholic Con-ference, were Indian peasants. Tanks and helicopters intimidated the local population; herbicide sprayings poisoned their land and starved them out .71

A six-month investigation of Federal Judicial Police practices in this operation, published by an American reporter in 1979, found that "torture, extortion, self-incrimination, forced confession, in-communicado detention and excessive detention without sentenc-ing" were "regular practices." The worst incidents occurred in Sinaloa, where DEA agents coordinated field training and actual op-erations by their Mexican counterparts. Witnesses, including Mexi-can police, accused American agents of standing by during torture sessions. The Sinaloa Bar Association compiled no fewer than 567 prisoner affidavits attesting to torture in connection with "Opera-tion Condor."

Victor Gomez Vidal, the highest-ranking state security official in Sinaloa, charged that "Operation Condor is a way for some federal authorities to make themselves very rich. They have their own jail—nobody knows who comes and goes but them. It's a closed system. And once inside they torture people to see who has the money and who doesn't and it's their word against ours." When the notoriously brutal commander of the Federal Police was gunned down in late 1978, he left an estate valued at $10 million.72

Ironically, recent congressional studies of the drug eradication program and admissions by DEA agents in the field contradict Washington's former boasts of success—which in turn were based on unverified Mexican claims. Apparently, corrupt Mexican author-ities pocketed some of the aid, used the program as an excuse to shake down drug producers, and sprayed the same fields over and over to give the pretense of action while protecting those traffickers with political clout. "We're perpetuating a fraud just by being there," one frustrated DEA official told Newsweek.'


The U.S. push for narcotics enforcement in Peru, as in Mexico, has evolved into a counterinsurgency campaign. The targets in this case are the fanatical Maoist guerrillas of Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path).

In 1981 the State Department programmed $15 million for cocaine eradication and enforcement programs over five years; the Agency for International Development kicked in another $18 million for crop substitution programs to give peasant cultivators of coca an alter-native livelihood.74

Crop substitution was doomed to fail. Coca plants are grown not in the prime agricultural land of the valleys but on steep slopes un-suited to other crops:75 Previous experiments with rubber, bananas, coffee, tobacco, rice, sorghum, and cacao all failed; peasants grow coca because it is a traditional crop, attracts a high price, and enjoys a relatively stable market.76

Coca eradication programs have forged ahead nonetheless. The United States spent more than $1.7 million to train and equip an antidrug rural mobile police unit (Umopar) based in Tingo Maria, a center of the coca growing region northeast of Lima.77 Umopar has conducted joint operations with the air force and counterinsurgency-trained civil guard.78

But a series of devastating guerrilla raids, including police station bombings, forced a cancellation of field operations. Shining Path guerrillas have taken advantage of peasant anger toward the anticoca drive, which uprooted more than 4,000 acres of cultivated land. "No doubt we have created an environment for anti-government and anti-American operations," a U.S. official told the New York Times.79

The Times also reported that with antidrug programs shut down "the strike force is now almost fully occupied in the counterinsur-gency campaign. This new role has raised questions among United States officials in Peru and in Washington about the spending of United States Government funds that are earmarked for narcotics control, not for counterinsurgency."8°

Though U.S. officials say there is no evidence of an alliance be-tween the smugglers and the guerrillas," Peru's security forces use the drug issue as an excuse to go after the greater evil. In July 1984 President Fernando Belaunde Terry declared a "holy war" against what he called the "narcotics-terrorism threat," extending a state of national emergency for thirty days to give the armed forces a chance to use "new methods" against the guerrillas.82

Washington continues to support the notoriously brutal civil guard and military in rural counterinsurgency. It has discussed plans to open a new eradication front in the upper Apurimac area. The real aim can only be to fight guerrillas; the region is a major center of Sendero Luminoso activity but not of coca cultivation."


Opium production in the Golden Triangle is concentrated in the wild Shan states of northeastern Burma. The poppy crop, high in value but low in weight, is well suited for transport over rugged mountain terrain to evade the price controls and heavy taxes the socialist government of Rangoon imposes on legitimate goods.84

Opium has become the financial mainstay of separatist political movements in the Shan states, which rebelled against Rangoon in the late 1950s. "It's like a cottage industry," said one guerrilla com-mander. "Every army has its own lab at the border (of Thailand), just like homes in Europe used to have their own ovens to bake bread. We take care of our own needs. . . . We must fight the Rangoon government and we must have weapons."85

Some of these groups are really freebooting smuggling gangs with only a thin nationalist veneer; others have a genuine political agenda. Of the latter, the Burmese Communist Party controls the largest opium-poppy-growing territory. In the early 1970s the BCP encour-aged crop substitution.86 In recent years, since the People's Republic of China cut back its support, the BCP reportedly had taken up op-ium smuggling and even heroin refining."

But long before the BCP began dealing opium, U.S. and Burmese authorities targeted it and other rebel groups for suppression under the guise of drug enforcement. Rangoon tolerated and even armed several large-scale, anti-Communist traffickers until they developed political ambitions of their own." But it cracked down mercilessly on the real Shan nationalists.

American support to the People's Police Force has included 26 helicopters, 5 aircraft, communications equipment, and associated training and support." In a letter to Congressman Lester Wolff in 1977, Lt. Gen. Bo Mya, commander-in-chief of the Karen National Liberation Army, charged that "the helicopters given to the Burmese . . . Government for use in Narcotic Suppression is nothing but a farce and a misused gift of honor. Over a month old fighting in Wankha a place on the Burma-Thailand border was a good proof. Not a poppy was or is grown in the area. They used helicopter you have given them as a combat transport. This kind of method has been adopted not to the Karen Freedom Fighter alone, but to all the Kachin, Shan, Men, Kayah etc., the minority groups who are fight-ing for their freedom as we are" (sic).9°

Wolff's House narcotics committee reported "convincing evi-dence that Burma's anti-narcotics campaign is a form of economic warfare aimed at the subjugation of its minority peoples. . . . A pol-icy which encourages attacks on farmers, the destruction of fields and livestock, and the contemplated use of herbicides is incompatible with any civilized conception of human rights."9'

The guerrillas themselves proposed an attractive alternative: The United States could simply buy from them the entire opium crop, some 250 tons with a street value estimated by the DEA at $16 bil-lion, for a mere $6 million to $12 million.92 There was even a prec-edent in the U.S. purchase of 26 tons of opium from the KMT for $1 million in 1972.9'

The reasons given by the White House for opposing the idea high-light the political underpinnings of the entire international narcotics control program: A preemptive buy would "work directly counter to our foreign policy objectives in that area" by aiding separatist parties and even "Communist insurgencies against the friendly gov-ernments of Burma and Thailand."94 The unspoken but central fact was that assistance to central government paramilitary narcotics units would serve U.S. foreign policy interests by undermining those same insurgencies.


The dreaded "heroin epidemic" of 1969 and 1970, along with the rise of rec-reational drug use throughout the 1960s, drove millions of voters into the law-and-order camp by giving them a bogeyman far more virulent, despicable and immediate than the classical godless communist of yore: the pusher. . . . It was the answer to a central dilemma: the exhaustion of the cold war.
Robert Singer"

Drug enforcement as a counter to leftist insurgencies requires friendly governments to receive U.S. police assistance. Against hostile gov-ernments, on the other hand, the drug issue has become a significant propaganda weapon, a rationale for U.S.-sponsored destabiliza-tion campaigns abroad and the mobilization of public opinion at home.

The popular image of communist subversion—its poisoning of minds with enticing propaganda—has a counterpart in the image of the drug pusher enslaving America's youth with alluring poisons of the body. Both entail a fall from grace, a loss of reason and will, a disruption of social bonds.

Viewed this way, narcotics enforcement is an essential element of the nation's defense against hostile attempts to undermine the phys-ical and moral strength of our population. As President Ford once declared, "All nations of the world—friend and adversary alike—must understand that America considers the illegal export of opium to the country a threat to our national security."96

Harry Anslinger, founder and longtime head of the Federal Bu-reau of Narcotics, championed this outlook. "Reefers and prop-aganda," he declared, " . . . go hand in hand." He warned Americans to "be on guard against the use of drugs as a political weapon by the Communists" who "may try to make narcotics a new 'sixth' column to weaken and destroy selected targets in the drive for world domination."97

His favorite bete noir was Red China, which he accused of plan-ning a "long range dope-and-dialectic assault on America and its lead-ers." The first charges against that regime seem to have come from

Gen. Douglas MacArthur's military intelligence chief, Charles Wil-loughby, and from a CIA-funded labor organization.98

The quality of Anslinger's evidence, however, may be illustrated by the publicity surrounding a San Francisco drug bust in January 1959. The agent in charge called it "the biggest Chinese narcotics operation that we've ever come across."99 Anslinger later cited it as proof that "Red China" was the primary source of heroin entering the United States.m° Buried in news accounts was the fact that one of the ring leaders was an official of the Chinese Anti-Communist Committee, whom U.S. officials permitted to flee to Taiwan.'°1

Fourteen years later, when a large bust in New York City turned up a plastic bag of pure heroin labeled (in English) "People's Re-public of China," Washington didn't bite. A State Department spokesman remarked drily, "There would seem to be a potential for counterfeit here.,) 102

What had happened in the interim, of course, was the opening to China and the concerted American effort to bring it into the anti-Soviet camp.

Political expediency governed Washington's public position on Chinese complicity in the drug traffic. Thus as late as 1970 the BNDD stated flatly that "opium is cultivated in vast quantities in the Yun-nan Province of China."m3 Yet by 1971, following President Nixon's announcement of his forthcoming mission to China, the State De-partment was claiming, "There is no reliable evidence that the Com-munist Chinese have ever engaged in or sanctioned the illicit export of opium or its derivatives."m4 (Emphasis added.) Indeed, the White House instructed executive agencies to beware of communist dope stories, alleging that they originated in the propaganda mills of Taiwan.'"

Despite the reversal on China, the Communist-drug connection remains a potent propaganda theme against the Soviets' "evil em-pire."'" Secretary of State George Shultz, pointing to "the com-plicity of some Communist governments in the drug trade," has charged that "smuggling massive amounts of drugs into Western na-tions may serve their broader goal of attempting to weaken the fabric of Western democratic society."'°7

The Reagan White House, preoccupied with stemming the spread of Soviet influence in Central America and the Caribbean, has re-peatedly alleged Cuban and Nicaraguan complicity in drug smuggling.

In July 1984, for example, Reagan administration officials leaked to the conservative Washington Times lurid stories linking top Ni-caraguan leaders to notorious Colombian cocaine traffickers. Among those implicated were Interior Minister Tomas Borge and Defense Minister Humberto Ortega.'"

Since then opponents of the Sandinista regime have milked the charges for all they are worth. The 1984 GOP presidential platform condemned "the Sandinista government's smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States as a crime against American society and international law." Senator Paula Hawkins (R-Fla.), whose constitu-ents include large numbers of anti-communist Cuban exiles, said, "The partygoer in Georgetown 'doing up' a line of coke, the Wall Street broker 'copping a snort' in the men's room on lunch break, the junior high school kid at recess—they must realize that they are tools in a geopolitical movement designed to perpetuate totalitari-anism in Nicaragua and to spread Marxist insurgency throughout Latin America."'°9

Her case, minus the rhetoric, is partially supported by testimony from former participants in the drug trade."° The charges may ul-timately stick. Yet DEA officials admit having little evidence to im-plicate Sandinista leaders. Stanley Marcus, the U.S. attorney in Miami who indicted one former Nicaraguan official on cocaine charges, also confessed the weakness of administration claims against the regime."'

Curiously, conservative accusers of the Sandinistas were less trou-bled when the CIA reported in 1972 that Gen. Somoza's Nicaragua was a "transit point for heroin shipped north from South America via Panama to the United States" or when the strongman was re-vealed to be a business partner of two major traffickers who smug-gled drugs via Nicaragua."2

Nor have administration officials had much to say about reports from U.S. government investigators and others that some anti-San-dinista Contra leaders, in league with CIA-connected Cuban exiles, have financed their guerrilla struggle with proceeds from the cocaine traffic. "3

The Cuban government, too, has long been the target of narcotics-related propaganda. Anti-Castro sources leveled such preposterous charges as that Fidel Castro personally discussed guns-for-drugs trades with Jack Ruby, the Dallas killer of Lee Harvey Oswald."4

In 1976 a Cuban exile leader, Manuel de Armas, who defected to Havana after working for the CIA, declared that his former em-ployer was planning to blacken Cuba's image with disinformation linking the communist government to drugs."'

Nonetheless, serious evidence points to possible Cuban complicity in the drug trade. U.S. prosecutors and drug agents had long heard from reliable informants in the drug trade that Havana takes a share of profits in return for providing traffickers a haven and transfer station for drug shipments originating in Colombia."6 Finally, in 1982, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted four senior Cuban of-ficials and ten others for conspiring "to use Cuba as a loading sta-tion and source of supplies for ships transporting" Quaaludes and marijuana to the southeastern United States."'

The DEA assistant special agent-in-charge of the case was careful, however, to tell the press, "We are not saying this is the policy of the Cuban government. We don't know and we have not suggested there is a conspiracy by the Cuban government in general.""8 The State Department's top narcotics officer similarly cautioned that "while individual Cuban officials have been indicted, there is no solid evidence of Cuban Government involvement, nor do reports confirm a connection between international terrorism and Cuban involve-ment in narcotics trafficking.""9 But the fact that fugitive financier and suspected drug trafficker Robert Vesco took refuge in Cuba sug-gests that Castro does protect some smugglers.12°

Once again the truth appears less clear-cut than some partisans allow. But serious drug experts agree that whatever communist-drug connection does exist has little impact on the availability of drugs in the United States.'2' And no less clear is that official outrage over foreign complicity in the drug trade has been highly selective, with U.S. politicians quick to exploit the issue as a potent emotive vehicle for pursuing other political agendas.


Propaganda and counterinsurgency are the most "overt" foreign policy aims of U.S. international drug programs. But the covert side has not been neglected; for the Central Intelligence Agency, drugs and drug enforcement have proved a vital key to undercover mis-sions during the Cold War.

Though the CIA is officially a relative newcomer to the drug field—having only joined the drug war in 1971, by order of President Nixon—it has long had a keen interest in the doings of the criminal underworld.

Its parent and sister organizations, the Office of Strategic Services and the Office of Naval Intelligence, both cultivated Mafia leader Charles "Lucky" Luciano during World War II. His racketeering army patrolled the eastern seaboard docks on the lookout for enemy sabotage; they also supplied intelligence that facilitated the invasion of Sicily. OSS and the Navy collaborated with the most notorious narcotics smugglers in Republican China, Tai Li and Tu Yueh-sheng, to organize a far-flung intelligence network against the Japanese.'22

The CIA carried on the same tradition in its infancy, sending funds to the heroin-smuggling Corsican underworld of Marseilles to assist its battle with Communist unions for control of the city's docks in 1947.'23

The same strategy worked to gory effect in Sicily, where U.S. in-telligence officers in 1947-48 allegedly aided the long-suppressed Mafia (and their Christian Democratic political allies) regain power on the island at the expense of several hundred murdered leftists. Claims former CIA operative Miles Copeland, "Had it not been for the Mafia the Communists would by now be in control of Italy.1,124
It is not too much to say that, with its assistance to the opium-smuggling KMT troops in Burma in the early 1950s, the CIA had reestablished the three pillars of the postwar heroin traffic: the Si-cilian, the Corsican, and the Chinese organizations. Without critical American aid they might have remained limited, regional gangs; with it, they forged a truly international production and smuggling network.

Since then, drug smugglers have regularly turned up as CIA "as-sets." For example, in the late 1960s the agency had to quietly wind down its major Cuban counterintelligence operation when police learned that it was fronting for a heroin and cocaine syndicate. Dur-ing the Vietnam War, the CIA's complicity with opium-growing tribesmen of the "Golden Triangle" and with heroin-smuggling gen-erals of Thailand, Laos, and South Vietnam became a notorious em-barrassment.'25 At home, the CIA immunized Latin American smugglers in no fewer than twenty-seven federal drug cases.'26

Today the potential for embarrassment is hardly less great in Af-ghanistan, where CIA-armed tribesmen produce enormous quan-tities of opium to finance their rebellion against the Soviet occupation. In 1983 Afghan peasants harvested about 400 tons of opium, much of which they smuggled into Pakistan for refining. Heroin from that region accounts for about half of all U.S. consumption.' 27

At least two considerations seem to have dictated the CIA's close relationship with traffickers, even at the expense of official U.S. antidrug policies. At a minimum, it has always behooved the agency to infiltrate and keep under surveillance underworld networks whose financial resources, tradecraft, and access to intelligence (often with blackmail potential) make them a significant political force.'28 As one leading State Department official noted in 1985, drug profits "can buy an election, finance a supply of arms for insurgency and, in sum, destabilize legitimate governments and subordinate demo-cratic processes.19129

Beyond that, however, such organizations, usually militantly hos-tile to communism, can make excellent allies: They provide conduits for money laundering, agents for covert operations, and valuable intelligence on the dirty underside of politics in the countries where they operate. "The fact is," remarked Gen. Paul F. Gorman, former head of the U.S. Southern Command, "if you want to go into the subversion business, collect intelligence and move arms, you deal with the drug [movers]."13°

Consider briefly one such informal network of CIA assets and drug-related operatives, starting with the late Florida attorney Paul Helliwell. As head of OSS wartime intelligence in China, he was close to the notorious Chinese secret police chief and narcotics smuggler Tai Li. Helliwell also made a regular practice of buying information from tribesmen in the China-Burma-India theater with five-pound shipments of opium. Returning to civilian life in Florida, he contin-ued to work for the CIA. In 1951 he helped set up Sea Supply Corp., a front the agency used to run supplies to the KMT troops stranded in northern Burma after the Chinese revolution; it also ran the KMT's opium out of the hill country to Bangkok. Later Helliwell laundered CIA funds through the Bahamas-based Castle Bank.'3'

Castle Bank catered to the tax-evasion set—notably several lead-ing American gangsters with interests in Las Vegas. But it also did mysterious transactions with a Cayman Islands firm, ID Corp. Its sole owner, the American Shig Katayama, became notorious as one of the key facilitators of Lockheed Corp.'s huge payoffs to Japanese politicians in return for airplane contracts. Of Katayama one Japanese journalist has charged, "His real job (in the early 1950s) was to handle narcotics for the U.S. intelligence work."'32

Lockheed disbursed money to Japanese politicians through the notorious rightist "wire-puller" Yoshio Kodama, who enjoyed un-surpassed contacts within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Dur-ing World War II Kodama proved himself a gifted smuggler and procurement specialist for the Japanese navy, on whose behalf he traded opium and heroin for scarce raw materials.'" Arrested after VJ-day as a class-A war criminal suspect, Kodama was released from prison in 1948 and quickly recruited by the CIA, which used him, among other purposes, when it needed leverage over politicians in Tokyo. Investigators of the corporate bribes trail have concluded that the CIA "orchestrated much of Lockheed's financial operations in Japan pursuant to covert U.S. foreign policy objectives . . . partic-ularly in support of ultraconservative groups."4

Lending weight to that deduction was the role of another inter-mediary in the bribery conduit, the international currency dealer Deak & Co., founded by OSS veteran Nicholas Deak and reportedly used by the CIA for the financial end of covert operations, includ-ing the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.'"

Deak & Co. was also said to be the channel by which the CIA's Saigon station traded millions of dollars on the black market to sup-plement its appropriation—at the expense of American taxpayers who propped up Vietnam's currency.136 The firm also moved money for at least one notorious underworld figure who also played the black market in Saigon. He in turn was visited in 1968 by a powerful American Mafia boss (and veteran of CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro), who apparently was looking for new sources of heroin following the disruption of traditional European suppliers.'37 No won-der Deak & Co. was called the "Black Bank of Asia."'38

Finally, the Deak firm came under fire in 1984 by the President's Commission on Organized Crime, which accused it of laundering millions of dollars (perhaps unwittingly) on behalf of Colombian co-caine traffickers.'39

If intelligence and drug trafficking have often been intertwined, so have intelligence and drug enforcement—or at least the pretense of drug enforcement. From the days of the Federal Bureau of Nar-cotics to the DEA, the CIA has taken cover in antidrug organizations even as its field operations undercut their law enforcement function.
The police training and assistance programs taken over from the Office of Public Safety by DEA and the State Department's nar-cotics section, for example, functioned as CIA fronts from their inception. The longtime head of OPS was former CIA counterin-telligence specialist Byron Engle. The CIA used OPS to supply cre-dentials to its overseas agents and simplify liaison with local police, an ideal source of intelligence on dissident politics and personalities. The CIA was also happy to further the OPS's counterinsurgency mission—even to the point of assigning Green Beret instructors to teach foreign police students how to build and set off bombs."'

The CIA used its opium-and-arms-smuggling front Sea Supply Corp., among other things, to train the paramilitary Thai Border Patrol Police under Gen. Phao Sriyanon. Washington aimed to build the BPP into a force beholden to the CIA rather than the Thai gov-ernment. CIA assistance enabled Phao "to build the police force into a powerful military organization which was better led, better paid and more efficient than the army," according to a former CIA an-alyst, until Thailand had "one of the highest ratios between police-men and citizens of any country in the world./,141

But Phao was also the most notorious Thai drug smuggler of his era. The contacts he established through Sea Supply Corp. with the KMT opium traffickers allowed him to sew up a near-monopoly on Burmese opium exports. His border police escorted opium caravans from the frontier and managed the transport of drugs to Bangkok by train or official planes."2

A 1957 coup unseated Phao, but the CIA continued to aid the BPP under OPS cover. The program continued at least into the early 1970s, when a CIA employee was caught smuggling a load of opium into the United States. The Justice Department dropped charges in order to protect the operation's cover."3

That embarrassment didn't prevent U.S. narcotics aid from flow-ing to the BPP to make up for some of the loss of OPS support in 1974. The political fruits of the program ripened in the bloody mil-itary coup of October 6, 1976, when BPP units, backed by OPS-trained and INC-supplied elements of Bangkok police, burst into Thammasat University to crush student demonstrators. "Their re-venge [against the students] was taken in meting out humiliations, in mutilizations brutally inflicted, in burning a student alive and in simple wholesale murder," according to one academic account of the coup. "Thousands of unarmed students were killed, injured or ar-rested, and a few days later, most of the liberal to left journalists, scholars and intellectuals were also rounded up and put in prison or 'rehabilitation camps.' "144

U.S. intelligence reports indicated that several years later the Bor-der Patrol Police were still protecting leading traffickers and using official vehicles to transport heroin from the north into Bangkok."'

The CIA's undercover use of narcotics agencies and programs did not become a significant public issue until 1975, when the Rocke-feller Commission revealed that the CIA had infiltrated agents into the BNDD on an improper domestic counterintelligence mission.'"

Long before, however, Harry Anslinger had permitted his narcotics bureau agents to assist in foreign covert operations.

Thus Garland Williams, the first agent ever sent overseas by the narcotics bureau, became chief of the Army's Counter-Intelligence Corps in 1940 and then Director of Special Training for the OSS, where he taught hundreds of agents the arts of "espionage, sabotage and guerrilla tactics." In the Korean War he commanded a military intelligence group. In the early 1960s he retired from the FBN to help African nations set up police and intelligence services."'

After the war FBN agents collaborated with OSS's successor. One doubled as a CIA agent in Rome; another, Sal Vizzini, took on a special undercover assignment for the agency in Beirut. "As a nar-cotics agent I'd have a certain immunity from government surveil-lance," he explained. "I'd have a cover within a cover, which was more than you could say for the CIA regulars on the scene."'" Viz-zini also worked with the CIA station in Bangkok in the early 1960s in a plot to bomb a notorious KMT heroin manufacturer in Burma.149

George White, a lieutenant colonel in OSS and one of Anslinger's top men, also had a cover-within-cover. Because of what the CIA called his "good access to criminal types,""° the agency recruited him in 1952 to set up apartments where secret drug tests could be conducted on unwitting subjects. Helping White to set them up was another narcotics agent and OSS veteran, Charles Siragusa.'5'

"The particular advantage of these arrangements with the Bureau of Narcotics officials has been that test subjects could be sought and cultivated within the setting of narcotics control," the CIA explained in one memo. "Some subjects have been informers or members of suspect criminal elements from whom the bureau has obtained re-sults of operational value through the tests."152

The CIA's drug tests, according to another memo, were meant to "develop means for the control of the activities and mental capac-ities of individuals whether willing or not." Operation ARTICHOKE, in particular, asked whether an individual could "be made to perform an act of attempted assassination, involuntarily" and suggested testing possible methods "against a prominent (deleted) politician or if necessary against an American official. . . . " After the Manchurian Candidate did his job, the CIA assumed he would be "taken into custody . . . and 'disposed of.""53

The CIA officer responsible for this tightly held program also re-cruited Mafia drug traffickers for the murder plots against Fidel Cas-tro in 1960.'54

The FBN was no stranger to those plots, either. In the summer of 1960 a CIA officer approached Charles Siragusa, by then deputy director of the FBN and official liaison with the CIA, with the news that the agency was forming an "assassination squad." "Since you have a lot of contacts with the underworld," he told Siragusa, "we'd like you to put together a team to conduct a series of hits. . . . There's some foreign leaders we'd like dead."155

The FBN official declined—it was peacetime, after all—but the CIA found another back channel for its purpose.

The CIA recruited potential assassins through a reliable inter-mediary, known by his code-name QJ/WIN. A European criminal hired first to help kill Patrice Lumumba in the Congo, QJ/WIN had first been contacted "in connection with an illegal narcotics opera-tion into the United States" and "in behalf of the Bureau of Nar-cotics." That QJ/WIN was in fact an important cog in the Corsican "French Connection" is suggested by the notes of a CIA conspirator who specified "No American citizens or American residents for direct action. Corsicans recommended. Sicilians could leak to Mafia."'56

For advice on the Corsican underworld and narcotics, the CIA could turn to its in-house expert, Lucien Conein. The French-born covert operator had worked with the Corsicans during World War II as an OSS agent in France and Indochina (with Paul Helliwell), and later in Vietnam where he became the CIA's liaison with the generals who murdered President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963. U.S. Sen-ate investigators heard allegations—which Conein apparently did not deny—that he paid off friendly Vietnamese hill tribesmen with drugs they later sold to American troops."7

In 1971 Conein hired on with his CIA buddy and Castro-assassination plotter E. Howard Hunt to help the Nixon White House with political dirty tricks. After the Watergate break-in made Hunt's operation too hot to handle, the White House disposed of Conein by finding him a consulting job with the BNDD.1" He stayed on after BNDD's reorganization into the DEA, and became its chief of special operations.

Conein recruited to his staff twelve former CIA agents to under-take what he called "clandestine operations." That was a euphe-mism for something much bigger. "When you get down to it," one of his colleagues explained, "Conein was organizing an assassination program. He was frustrated by the big-time operators who were just too insulated to get to. . . . He felt we couldn't win, the way things were going."159

Official reports of this project, first code-named BUNCIN and later DEACON, indicate that its object was to create "an interna-tional network of deep cover assets" to "immobilize or eliminate international sources of illicit drugs and significant narcotic traf-fickers." All its recruits were "former Central Intelligence Agency assets who operated in the Miami area during the 1960s." (The CIA secretly supported the project until at least the fall of 1973.) Cover was so tight that "if necessary" the operation could "be 'blamed' on other governmental agencies, or even on the intelligence services of other nations." Although ostensibly aimed at drug traffickers, the intelligence gathered by DEACON included reports on "violation of neutrality laws, extremist groups and terrorism, and information of a political nature" as well as material "of an internal security na-ture." This political orientation may explain why, in the three-year existence of the project, DEACON produced only a single drug bust.'6°

In direct connection with DEACON, Conein in 1974 went shop-ping for assassination equipment from a firm connected with his OSS colleague Mitchel WerBell III. A Georgia-based arms dealer who did business with alleged drug financier Robert Vesco, WerBell was later indicted (and acquitted) on drug smuggling charges. "He would never get involved in a conspiracy to import marijuana," his attorney pro-tested. "Guns, revolutions, maybe even assassinations, but he's not being tried on that." The attorney said WerBell had worked with a secret antidrug unit directed out of the White House and had assisted Conein in "putting together assassination devices for the DEA."'

Conein could hardly be considered a lone wolf within bureauc-racy. On May 27, 1971, President Nixon ordered that $100 million be secretly budgeted for clandestine BNDD assassinations. Officials of the narcotics agency began talking of the need to establish "hit squads" and of aiming to disrupt the heroin trade with "150 key assassinations." The CIA, apparently, was willing to assist.'62

So, too, was the National Security Agency, which along with the CIA began monitoring the telephone calls of U.S. citizens on behalf of the BNDD, probably in violation of the Communications Act of 1934. In 1973 the NSA destroyed records of this operation after its general counsel learned of the "flap potential associated with reports going into the BNDD mechanism, particularly since they may well become the basis for executive action"—an intelligence euphemism for assassination.163

The plots reached deep within the White House itself, which or-ganized a secret unit under Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy with the ostensible mission of prosecuting the administration's "war on drugs." Hunt, the CIA veteran-turned-"Plumber" who employed Conein in 1971, recruited CIA-trained Cuban exiles in late 1971 and the spring of 1972 to murder Panamanian leader Gen. Omar Torri-jos. Though the strongman's alleged protection of heroin traffickers supplied the rationale, Torrijos was almost certainly targeted because of his independent, leftist political stance and his opposition to the administration's demand for a new fifty-year lease on the Panama Canal. Only the Watergate break-in, mounted by the Hunt-Liddy team, prevented the plot from coming to fruition.'64


Any serious consideration of the costs and benefits of international drug enforcement cannot ignore certain key factors in the equation.

First is the dismal return on the dollar investment, a fact that even enthusiasts of the concept admit. The enormous resources expended abroad on crop eradication and substitution programs have made hardly a dent either in world production or American consumption of drugs.'65 An eighteen-month study by the Rand Corporation con-cluded that "the most basic point is that the supply of drugs can never be eliminated." Attorney General William French Smith re-luctantly had to agree that "unless you can eliminate the demand for drugs, the amount of money is so large that the dealers will con-tinue to take whatever risk is necessary. 19166

But no less important, citizens and policy makers must begin to weigh less obvious though sizable costs attributable at least in part to current international drug policy. These range from the disruption of traditional economies in Peru and Bolivia, where peasant leaders have warned that "pressures from the United States are about to provoke a bloodbath,"'67 to the corruption of entire societies in Latin America and Asia, where drug profits, artificially boosted by legal constraints, have lured members of the political, judicial, police, and even church establishments.

Though Washington's overwhelming political and economic pres-ence stifles most dissent, a few brave voices in the Third World have spoken out against the consequences of these programs. "Colombia cannot afford to go on obeying the orders of the United States to solve a U.S. drug problem at the cost of our institutions," said Fabio Echeverri, president of the National Association of Industrialists. "Our problem is different. The economy is at stake, and we have the obligation to seek solutions that serve our own interests.' ,I68 But Colombia is now more than ever a partner in U.S.-sponsored anti-drug programs.

In Colombia, as in Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Thailand, and Burma, the effect of drug enforcement, police aid, and related programs has been to militarize the society, put enormous pressure on fledgling liberal institutions, and divert resources from more productive endeavors.

To a lesser but still dangerous degree, those same effects are felt here at home. The militarization of south Florida following amend-ment of the Posse Comitatus Act is symptomatic. So is the oppor-tunistic use of the public's deep-seated antidrug ideology by Cold War practitioners to disguise programs that subvert the stated aims of United States foreign policy—whether by aiding repressive police states or even assassinating foreign leaders.

The prospect for any reevaluation of these programs is not prom-ising, at least in the short run. Few politicians dare question the pre-vailing orthodoxy. And even among some who admit the failures of drug control, the need to expand tried-and-failed government programs remains an unshakable dogma. "To deal with this problem, we have to blanket the world," insisted Attorney General Smith. "We have no other choice."' 69

This profound failure of imagination stems from an equally pro-found failure to look at the facts. They may not tell a story policy makers want to hear, but they tell it clearly to all who listen.


1. New York Times, 9 September 1984. For other representative evidence of the failure of enforcement, see San Francisco Chronicle, 29 May 1984; Associated Press, 28 September 1983; Mathea Falco, "The Big Business of Illicit Drugs," New York Times Magazine, 11 December 1983, pp. 108-12.

2. U.S. Congress, House, Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control (hereafter HSCNAC), hearings, Financial Investigation of Drug Trafficking (Washington, D.C.: Govern-ment Printing Office, 1981), p. 28.

3. New York Times, 15 September 1984.

4. High Times, January 1979, p. 27.

5. San Jose Mercury, 17 January 1985.

6. Jonathan Marshall, "Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China, 1927- 1945," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 8 (July-September 1976): 19-48.

7. HSCNAC, report, International Narcotics Control Study Missions to Latin America and Jamaica (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 51; U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Government Operations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (hereafter SPSI), hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking (Washington, D.C.: Govern-ment Printing Office, 1981), p. 195.

8. New York Times, 31 August 1981; Le Monde, 2 October 1980.

9. New York Times, 14 February 1979; HSCNAC, report, International Narcotics Control Study Missions to Latin America and Jamaica, note 7 above, p. 49.

10. Sunday Times (London), 10 August 1980; New York Times, 3 August 1981; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 27 May 1984.

11. Report of a Staff Study Mission . . . to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985, p. 17; High Times, May 1984, p. 19; New York Times, 21 July 1984; San Francisco Examiner, 26 August 1984.

12. New York Times, 11 September 1984; Penny Lernoux, "Corrupting Colombia," In-quiry, 30 September 1979, p. 15.

13. High Times, July 1978.

14. Antonil, Mama Coca (London: Hassle Free Press, 1978), pp. 79-81; Latin America Political Report, 5 May 1978.

15. Antonil, Mama Coca, p. 81.

16. Ibid., p. 80; NACLA Report, May-June 1983, p. 20.

17. NACLA Report, May-June 1983, p. 20; Penny Lernoux, "Corrupting Colombia," p. 16.

18. HSCNAC, report, Oversight on Federal Drug Strategy—I979 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1980), p. 5.

19. Latin America Weekly Report, 20 July 1984.

20. Los Angeles Times, 13 February 1985; San Jose Mercury, 15 February 1985; New York Times, 23 November 1984; Washington Post, 12 May 1985.

21. Oakland Tribune, 26 February 1985. Cf. Report of a Staff Study Mission . .. to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985.

22. Chicago Tribune, 1 April 1984; Latin America Weekly Report, 3 February 1984.

23. New York Times, 16 March 1985, 21 April 1985, 30 April 1985; San Francisco Chron-icle, 17 May 1985; Los Angeles Times, 19 March 1985; Washington Post, 17 February 1980.

24. San Francisco Chronicle, 1 December 1985.

25. Washington Post, 24 July 1979.

26. Antonil, Mama Coca, p. 96.

27. Latin America, 10 September 1971.

28. Ibid.

29. Latin America Weekly Report, 16 October 1981.

30. Boston Globe, 24 January 1982.

31. Latin America Weekly Report, 5 March 1982.

32. Newsweek, 25 February 1985; Oakland Tribune, 2 June 1985; Los Angeles Times, 1 December 1985.

33. Jonathan Randal, Going All the Way (New York: Viking Press, 1983), pp. 136-37.

34. San Jose News, 18 May 1983.

35. Baltimore Sun, 10 July 1982; U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on In-ternal Security, hearings, World Drug Traffic and Its Impact on U.S. Security (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1972), part 4, pp. 138,187-88. PLO: "The PLO, in part, finances its activities from drug trafficking. That organization has been involved to some degree in drug trafficking, but so have other terrorist or insurgent groups in Lebanon." State-ment of Francis Mullen, Director of DEA, Senate Committee on Labor and Human Re-sources, Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, hearing, Drugs and Terrorism, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 53.

36. Eleanore Hill, staff report in SPSI, hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1981), p. 441.

37. HSCNAC, report, Study Mission on International Controls of Narcotics Trafficking and Production, January 2-22, 1978 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978), pp. 36-37.

38. HSCNAC, report, Opium Production, Narcotics Financing and Trafficking in South-east Asia (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 39.

39. New York Times, 10 September 1984. For more on Jamaican corruption, see Report of a Staff Study Mission . . . to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985, p. 28.

40. New York Times, 14 September 1945.

41. A. J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors (New York: Pantheon, 1978), pp. 48ff.

42. Brazilian Information Bulletin, no. 1, p. 9.

43. Testimony of Byron Engle, OPS director, in U.S. Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Related Agencies, hearings, For-eign Assistance and Related Agencies, Appropriations for 1973 (Washington, D.C.: Govern-ment Printing Office, 1974), p. 791; Michael Klare and Cynthia Arnson, Supplying Repression (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1981), p. 23.

44. Engle testimony, note 43 above, pp. 792-95, 814-17.

45. U.S. Congress, Senate report 94-39, 94th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1975), p. 88.

46. U.S. General Accounting Office, Stopping U.S. Assistance to Foreign Police and Pris-ons, 19 February 1976, pp. 22-23.

47. Klare and Arnson, Supplying Repression, p. 29.

48. Argentine Commission for Human Rights, Washington, D.C. Information Bureau, memorandum, "US Narcotics Enforcement Assistance to Latin America," 10 March 1977.

49. Klare and Arnson, Supplying Repression, pp. 33-37.

50. Statement of Joseph Linnemann, acting assistant secretary of state for international narcotics matters, in SPSI hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking, p. 559.

51. Statement of DEA Administrator Peter Bensinger before HSCNAC, 13 July 1977, DEA print.

52. New York Times, 2 July 1984.

53. Argentine Commission for Human Rights, "U.S. Narcotics Enforcement Assistance to Latin America"; Sevendays, 19 April 1976, p. 16.

54. Latin America Political Report, 18 May 1979.

55. Latin America, December 19, 1975.

56. Antonil, Mama Coca, p. 106.

57. High Times, December 1978, p. 35.

58. Washington Post, 20 June 1979.

59. Penny Lernoux, "Corrupting Colombia," p. 16; NACLA Report, May-June 1983, p.20.

60. New York Times, 26 November 1978; Penny Lernoux, "Corrupting Colombia," p.18.

61. HSCNAC, hearings, Oversight Hearings on Federal Drug Strategy-1979, (Washing-ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1979), p. 404.

62. Narcotics enforcement fell to the paramilitary National Police (F-2), with $13 million in U.S. funds and equipment. New York Times, 11 September 1984; HSCNAC, report, In-ternational Narcotics Control Study Missions to Latin America and Jamaica, note 7 above, p. 72.

63. San Francisco Chronicle, 21 March 1984.

64. New York Times, 22 May 1984; cf. New York Times, 21 March 1984; Seattle Times, 26 March 1984.

65. NACLA Report, May-June 1983, pp. 31-32.

66. Miami Herald, 21 May 1984; Report of a Staff Study Mission . . to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985, p. 22.

67. Penny Lernoux, "The Minister Who Had to Die," Nation, 16 June 1984, pp. 734-35; NACLA Report, May-June 1983, pp. 22-23.

68. U.S. Department of State, "International Narcotics Control Strategy," 13 November 1981, Current Policy series, no. 345.

69. Klare and Arnson, Supplying Repression, p. 38; Newsweek, 10 April 1978.

70. M. J. McConahay, "Mexico's War on Poppies—and Peasants," New Times, 3 Sep-tember 1976, pp. 33-38.

71. NACLA Report, March-April 1978, p. 41. Regarding recent repression against peas-ant organizations by army and state police, including extrajudicial executions, torture, and "disappearances," see Amnesty International Report, 1984, 174-177 and AI memorandum, "Unacknowledged detention/Health concern," 10 August 1984, AI Index AMR 41/22/84. Gustavo Zarate, an Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience, was a 29-year-old professor of social studies at the Autonomous University of Chiapas who was arrested 24 July 83 "based on planted police evidence" of marijuana and explosives See AI memo, "Hunger strike," 31 August 1984, AI Index AMR 41/24/84 and Amnesty International Report, 1984, p. 176.

72. Craig Pyes, "Legal Murders," Village Voice, 4 June 1979, pp. 1, 11-15.

73. Newsweek, 16 December 1985; Report of a Staff Study Mission . . to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985, p. 37-38; Peninsula Times Tribune, 18 February 1980.

74. HSCNAC report, International Narcotics Control Study Missions to Latin America and Jamaica, pp. 24, 41.

75. Testimony of Richard F. Weber, AID, in SPSI hearings, International Narcotics Traf-ficking (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1981), pp. 201-2.

76. Wall Street Journal, 20 March 1984.

77 . Latin America Weekly Report, 17 August 1984; New York Times, 13 September 1984. 78. Latin America Weekly Report, 22 June 1984.

79. New York Times, 13 August 1984; cf. Wall Street Journal, 10 August 1984.

80. Ibid.

81. Wall Street Journal, 10 August 1984; testimony of Hon. Edwin G. Corr, former am-bassador to Peru, in SPSI hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking, p. 199; statement of Clyde Taylor, acting assistant secretary of state for INM, Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, hearing, Drugs and Ter-rorism, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 25; cf. 46-49. Congressional investigators cite "disturbing—though unconfirmed—reports that the military has actually collaborated with drug traffickers to identify guerrilla strongholds." (Report of a Staff Study Mission . . to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, U.S. Narcotics Control Programs Overseas: An Assessment, 22 February 1985, p. 20.

82. San Francisco Examiner, 7 July 1984; Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 29 July 1984.

83. Latin America Weekly Report, 17 August 1984.

84. William Delaney, "On Capturing an Opium King," Society, September-October 1975, p. 64.

85. San Francisco Chronicle, 21 March 1984.

86. Far Eastern Economic Review, 14 September 1979, p. 39; Washington Post, 11 April 1976; Delaney, "Capturing an Opium King," p. 68.

87. HSCNAC, report, International Narcotics Control Study Missions to Latin America and Jamaica, p. 143.

88. William Delaney, "Capturing an Opium King," p. 66; Far Eastern Economic Review, 18 June 1982; Interview with Walter Mackem, former CIA drug analyst, 19 December 1978.

89. Klare and Arnson, Supplying Repression, p. 39; New York Times, 4 August 1975; Eleanore Hill report, in SPSI, hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking, p. 425.

90. HSCNAC, hearings, Southeast Asian Narcotics (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978), pp. 45-46.

91. HSCNAC, report, Opium Production, Narcotics Financing and Trafficking in South-east Asia (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 37.

92. U.S. Congress, House, International Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Future Foreign Police Research and Development, hearings, Proposal to Control Opium From the Golden Triangle and Terminate the Shan Opium Trade (Washington, D.C.: Government Print-ing Office, 1975); HSCNAC, hearings, Cocaine and Marijuana Trafficking in Southeastern United States (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978); cf. analysis by Robert Schwab in HSCNAC, hearings, Southeast Asian Narcotics, pp. 185-221.

93. U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Internal Se-curity, hearings, World Drug Traffic and Its Impact on U.S. Security, part 1 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1972), pp. 33ff; Washington Post, 31 July 1972.

94. Mathea Falco, coordinator for international narcotics matters, Department of State, 13 July 1977 (State Department release).

95. Robert Singer, "The Rise of the Dope Dictators," High Times (March 1977): 57.

96. Ibid., p. 58.

97. Harry Anslinger, The Murderers (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1962), pp. 294-95.

98. Ibid., p. 228; Richard Deverall, Red China's Dirty Drug War (Tokyo, 1954). Deverall was working for the AFL's Free Trade Union Committee.

99. New York Times, 15 January 1959.

100. Harry Anslinger, "The Red Chinese Dope Traffic," Military Police Journal, Feb-ruary-March 1961.

101. Peter Dale Scott, "Foreword," in Henrik Kruger, The Great Heroin Coup (Boston: South End Press, 1980), p. 15.

102. New York Times, 18 January 1973, quoting Nelson Gross, the State Department's special advisor on narcotics; cf. Los Angeles Times, 18 January 1973.

103. BNDD Fact Sheet 2—"Illegal Traffic in Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs" (Wash-ington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1970), p. 6.

104. October 27, 1971 statement of Louis J. Link, chief of the Public Inquiries Division of the Department of State, cited in Congressional Record, 29 March 1972, p. 10880. George Belk, former assistant administrator of DEA, confirmed that "we never really had any firm intelligence that the Red Chinese were ever involved in or sanctioned drug trafficking." In-terview with Belk, 18 February 1986.

105. Jack Anderson in Washington Post, 26 May 1972. For a balanced assessment, see Andrew Tully, The Secret War Against Dope (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973), p. 247.

106. Conservatives also accused Salvador Allende's Chilean socialist government of earn-ing foreign exchange through the cocaine traffic. See Congressional Record, 15 July 1974, p. 23285; Washington Post, 19 January 1975.

107. New York Times, 15 September 1984; New York Post, 15 September 1984.

108. Joel Millman, "False Connection," Nation, 22 September 1984, p. 228-29.

109. Transcript of hearing before Senate Subcommittee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, 19 April 1985.

110. Ibid.

111. New York Times, 28 July 1984; Los Angeles Times, 28 July 1984.

112. Washington Post, 6 May 1972; Tampa Tribune, 9 June 1974; Atlanta Constitution, 11 November 1981.

113. Dallas Morning News, 21 December 1985; San Francisco Examiner, 16 March 1986, 18 March 1986, and 23 June 1986; UPI, 26 April 1986; "CBS Evening News," 12 June 1986; Washington Post, 11 April 1986 and 17 April 1986; Christian Science Monitor, 9 May 1986.

114. Interview with Frank Sturgis, High Times, April 1977, p. 26.

115. Granma Weekly Review, 2 May 1976.

116. Interview with a former assistant U.S. attorney, 11 February 1986; with former Dade County Metro Police Lt. Raul Diaz, 12 February 1986; and with former Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent Ed Seibert, 27 February 1986. The first two believe that Fidel Castro uses the profits to finance an intelligence network parallel to and independent of the KGB-domi-nated Cuban DGI. See also Ernest Volkman, "The Odd Couple," Family Weekly, 29 April 1984.

117. See joint hearings before the U.S. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism; Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Western Hem-isphere Affairs; and U.S. Senate Drug Enforcement Caucus, The Cuban Government's In-volvement in Facilitating International Drug Traffic (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983).

118. San Jose Mercury, 6 November 1982.

119. Statement of Clyde Taylor, acting assistant secretary of state for international nar-cotics matters, Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Alco-holism and Drug Abuse, hearing, Drugs and Terrorism, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 25. See also Francis Mullen's statement in Miami Herald, 24 April 1982, 1 May 1982; and FBI Director William Webster in Los Angeles Times, 14 February 1986.

120. San Jose Mercury, 4 May 1984; New York Times, 10 May 1984; for a general treat-ment of the evidence against the Cuban government, see Wall Street Journal, 30 April 1984.

121. Statement of Francis Mullen, DEA administrator, Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, hearing, Drugs and Ter-rorism, 1984 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1984), p. 13.

122. Rodney Campbell, The Luciano Project (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977); Jonathan Marshall, "Opium and the Politics of Gangsterism in Nationalist China, 1927-1945."

123. Alfred McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), chaps. 1, 2.

124. Peter Dale Scott, "Foreword," in Henrik Kruger, The Great Heroin Coup, p. 14; Miles Copeland, Beyond Cloak and Dagger (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1975), pp. 240-41.

125. Cuba (Operation 40): New York Times, 4 January 1975. Southeast Asia: McCoy, note 123 above; Catherine Lamour, The International Connection (New York: Pantheon, 1974); Richard Kunnes, The American Heroin Empire (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1972), pp. 11-13.

126. Unsigned, undated DEA memorandum, probably by Lucien Conein in 1975, CIA Narcotic Intelligence Collection. Released by DEA under the Freedom of Information Act and supplied to the author by John Hill.

127. See statement of David Melocik, DEA congressional liaison, quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, 16 December 1983; cf. U.S. Congress, House, Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, report, International Narcotics Control Study Missions (Washington, D.C.: Gov-ernment Printing Office, 1984), p. 161; Konrad Ege, "CIA Rebels Supply U.S. Heroin," Counterspy, November 1980, p. 16; Oakland Tribune, 2 June 1985. A DEA report noted in 1981 that "Soviet forces have taken over antismuggling operations from the Afghan nationals as part of overall military operations against the insurgents." Washington Post, 2 January 1981.

128. Drug enforcement officials foster this view within the government for their own bu-reaucratic ends. Thus DEA Administrator Francis Mullen, Jr., insisted, "International politics and economics hinge on the balance of power and trade controlled by narco-dollars." See SPSI, hearings, International Narcotics Trafficking, p. 562.

129. Clyde D. Taylor, deputy assistant secretary of state for international narcotics mat-ters, quoted in San Diego Union, 12 January 1986.

130. Latin America Weekly Report, 23 March 1984.

131. Wall Street Journal, 18 April 1980; Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (Indian-apolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972), p. 210; Edward Hymoff, The OSS in World War II (New York: Ballantine, 1972), p. 277; interview with Stanley Karnow, 7 March 1986.

132. ID Corp. and Castle: U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Government Operations, hearings, Oversight Hearings into the Operations of the IRS (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 907-9. Lockheed: Yamakawa Akio, "Lockheed Scandal," Ampo, April-September 1976, p. 3; cf. Jim Hougan, Spooks (New York: William Morrow, 1978), p. 456.

133. "Report on the Showa Trading Company" by Lt. Eric W. Fleisher, Investigative Division, U.S. Army, 25 July 1947, National Archives.

134. Tad Szulc, "The Money Changer," The New Republic, 10 April 1976, pp. 10-11; Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar (New York: Viking, 1977), pp. 218-21.

135. Szulc, "The Money Changer," pp. 10-11.

136. Ibid.; Washington Post, 9 June 1976.

137. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, pp. 214-16; SPSI, hearings, Illegal Currency Manipulations Affecting South Vietnam (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1969), pp. 276-79.

138. Interview with Stanley Karnow, 7 March 1986.

139. The Tribune (Oakland), November 30, 1984.

140. A. J. Langguth, Hidden Terrors (New York: Pantheon, 1968), pp. 48-49, 57, 72, 124, 138, 242-43; Thomas Lobe, United States National Security Policy and Aid to the Thailand Police (University of Denver, 1977), p. 9; Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States, Report to the President (New York: Manor Books, 1975), p. 235 (hereafter Rockefeller report).

141. Frank C. Darling, cited in Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, vol. 1 (Boston: South End Press, 1979), pp. 221-22.

142. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, pp. 136-45.

143. Lobe, United States National Security Policy, pp. 30-31, 38, 41-42, 80; Hougan, Spoolcs, pp. 142-43; John Burgess, "The Thailand Connection," Counterspy (Winter 1976): 31-33.

144. Lobe, United States National Security Policy, p. 117; cf. William Shawcross, "How Tyranny Returned to Thailand," New York Review of Books, 9 December 1976, pp. 59-62; interview with Norman Rossner, Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, Department of State, 13 December 1984.

145. DEA weekly intelligence digest, WDNI-79-14, 13 April 1979.

146. New York Times, 11 July 1975; Washington Post, 19 February 1975; Rockefeller re-port, pp. 233-34.

147. Harry Anslinger, The Protectors (New York: Farrar, Straus, 1964), pp. 24, 107.

148. Sal Vizzini, Vizzini (New York: Pinnacle Books, 1972), pp. 31-32, 166.

149. Author's interview with Vizzini, 20 December 1978.

150. Washington Post, 11 January 1976.

151. New York Times, 20 September 1977; U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Human Resources, Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research, hearings, Human Drug Testing by the CIA (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977), p. 117.

152. New York Times, 8 November 1975.

153. CIA document dated 22 January 1954, released under Freedom of Information Act on 4 January 1979.

154. David Wise, "The CIA's Svengalis," Inquiry, 18 September 1978; San Francisco Ex-aminer, 18 September 1977.

155. Dan Moldea, The Hoffa Wars (New York: Paddington Press, 1978), p. 127; Wash-ington Post, 4 January 1978. The CIA officer was almost certainly Col. Sheffield Edwards of the Office of Security. Interview with a former House and Senate staff investigator, 7 March 1986.

156. "Project ZR/RIFLE," CIA document released to the Center for National Security Studies under the Freedom of Information Act; cf. U.S. Congress, Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, report, Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp. 43-48, 181-90.

157. Taylor Branch, "Raising a Glass to Beau Geste," Esquire, August 1976, pp. 30-34; interview with Stanley Karnow, 7 March 1986; interview with a former House and Senate staff investigator, 7 March 1986. On Conein-Helliwell connection, see E. Howard Hunt, Under-cover (London: VV. H. Allen, 1975), p. 42. On Conein and Montagnards, interview with for-mer Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee staffer William Gallinaro, 19 February 1986.

158. Interview with former BNDD director John Ingersoll, 12 February 1986.

159. Washington Post, 13 June 1976.

160. "Project BUNCIN - Operational Plan" 29 November 1972; Project Buncin: Sum-mary, September 1972-March 1973. Date: 12 March 1973; Lucien Conein memorandum, 25 May 1976, re Government Operations Subcommittee Hearings; Overall Assessment of Project DEACON I, 2 December 1974. These and other documents on BUNCIN/DEACON were re-leased by the DEA under the Freedom of Information Act and generously supplied to the author by John Hill. One DEA agent who may have been recruited by Conein from the CIA for special DEACON-type operations was Hugo Murray, former CIA station chief in Bolivia at the time of the Che Guevara operation. Murray worked out of the DEA's office in Tucson. One of his drug informants charged under oath that Murray used him to launder bribes to members of the Lopez Portillo cabinet in Mexico. See Arizona Daily Star, 13 April 1984, 5 September 1984, 7 September 1984; interview with reporter Guillermo Garcia, 8 Feb-ruary 1986.

161. Conein: Washington Post, 23 January 1975; Report of 18 June 1975 to the Attorney General, Subject: Additional Integrity Matters, submitted by Michael A. Defeo, et al., pp. 8- 9. WerBell: Miami Herald, 4 September 1976; interview with Edwin Marger, 20 February 1986.

162. Edward J. Epstein, Agency of Fear (New York: Putnam, 1977), pp. 143-46.

163. U.S. Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Agencies, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Book 3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1976), pp. 752-56; memorandum for NSA general counsel, 26 January 1973, obtained by Jay Peterzell of the Center for National Security Studies under the Freedom of Information Act.

164. Jonathan Marshall, "The White House Death Squad," Inquiry, 5 March 1979, pp. 15-21.

165. New York Times, 9 and 13 September 1984.

166. New York Times, 16 September 1984.

167. Latin America Weekly Report, 17 August 1984.

168. Bolivia: Latin America Weekly Report, August 17, 1984. Colombia: Penny Lernoux, "Corrupting Colombia," p. 19.

169. New York Times, 16 September 1984.


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