Re: CIA on Defensive Over Drug Peddling Charges

Patrick Borden (
Fri, 20 Sep 1996 03:14:09 -0400

>``It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history. . .'' the
paper said.

Well, not really.
The governments of the world have a long history of involvement in
the international narcotics trade, dating back to the Opium Wars of 1839-42
and 1856-58, when the British Navy was used to defend the right to profit
from the drug trade.
Then as now the trade was justified by two factors: the presence of
an expendable population (labourers in Chinese coastal cities, or inner city
blacks in America) and the need to raise large sums of money that could not
otherwise be obtained. In the nineteenth century England could not meet its
balance of payments on Chinese tea because the Chinese market was closed to
western manufactured goods. So they turned the guns on the coastal cities
and forced them to open to opium from British India. More recently, the
extensive covert operations of the Americans have forced them to find a
source of huge funds that does not need to be approved by congress. If they
can obtain these funds while enriching their warlord allies, so much the
better. If the drugs can then be used to mask the rage of oppressed people
at home, better still.
As usual, the spin doctors are trying to portray as an aberration
something which is endemic to the system of power. Anyone wishing to learn
more about this long history of government involvement in the drug trade
will want to read Alfred McCoy's, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in
the Drug Trade, (Lawrence Hill, 1991).

Love and revolution,