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Central Investigation Agency


Secret Operations, Drug Money

By: Farzana Shah

CIA - Secret Operations, Drug Money


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CIA - Secret Operations, Drug Money


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Table of Contents
Central Investigation Agency ..........................................................................................................1
1. CIA’s secret Operations................................................................................................................4
2. Drug Production & Consumption..................................................................................................5
3. Contra Movements (1980) ...........................................................................................................6
Was CIA a part of this?.................................................................................................................6
4. Afghanistan ................................................................................................................................7
Russian Afghan War (1979-1989) .................................................................................................7
Pre and Post Taliban Era (1994-2001) ...........................................................................................8
Recent Afghan Conflict (2002 – To date) .......................................................................................9
5. Pakistan: Indirect Victim of the CIA’s Drug business .................................................................10
6. Conclusion ............................................................................................................................11

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In Afghanistan, U.S./NATO have put the blame on Taliban for poppy cultivation to
finance their resistance to allied forces. Ironically, it was only in Taliban era when the
world had seen a sharp decline in opium crop in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban had
banned opium cultivation nationwide, probably for the first time in Afghan history. A
more important question is how and when this business of drug production and
trafficking started in region? CIA has been using drug money since long to generate
money to support its operations all over the world. It did not start in Afghanistan it was
brought here after experimenting somewhere else. This is something which is not a lead
story in international media for obvious reasons despite the fact it is harming millions of
lives around the globe.

1. CIA’s secret Operations

Central I ntelligence Agency (CI A) on of the most active and dynamic intelligence
setups in the world needs massive amount of money to carry on its clandestine
operations all over the world. I t has happened w hen CIA used local sources to conduct
a coups, assassinations, regime change, etc. As U.S. has a long history to support
democracy by hook and crook until and unless a dictator is ready to serve U.S. interests
to prolong its rule.

Operations like the one completed in Iran in 1953 to remove Prime


Minister Mussadaq and backing Shah’s regime by using assets in civ il society, or
in I raq in 1975 to arm I raqi Kurds to destabilize Pre-Saddam I raq or more recently using
its assets in Pakistan to pav e the way of direct U.S. intervention in Pakistan under pretext
of hunting Al-Qaeda.

These kinds of operations need a lot of financial input. Usually CI A arranges revenue
from its own means for this kind of operations where expenses can’t be predicted by
any measure. Funds from Whitehouse always need a complete audit and detailed
reports about usage of these funds. There are numerous occasions when CIA never
shared details of operations with its own analytical wing nor w ith any other public office
in Washington. Most of the time it is drug money that compensates these expenses.

CI A operations are not only single expenditure fulfilled by drugs there are also other
deficiencies which are compensated with this money like financial institutes and banks
in current financial crisis. UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa based
in Vienna revealed that drug money often became the only available capital when
the crisis spiraled out of control last year.

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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had found evidence that “inter bank
loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal
activities,” Costa was quoted as saying. There were “signs that some banks were
rescued in that way.” It is not only CIA anymore in trade for using it as gold mine to
finance its illegal operations all over the world but U.S. economy also need some
liquidity in its banks, it doesn’t matter if it is coming by drug trade.

2. Drug Production & Consumption

Afghanistan is largest producer of heroin’s main ingredient; opium and opium is nothing
new in this part of the world. In Afghanistan and FATA, Pakistan it is being produced
since centuries; used as remedy for various diseases. Commercial production of opium
began just during the Russian inv asion in Afghanistan where it is estimated to produce
some 8250 metric tons (Source: AmericanFreePress.net, November 24, 2008) of opium
per year which makes 85% to 90% of the world’s supply of opium. This also contributes
tow ards Afghan warlords’ w ealth directly. This is w hat CI A brought to the region: Opium
production without a brand name obviously. Today’s world opium production map is as
under;

Left: Demand and trafficking of drugs


globally. U.S. is one of very high
concentration drug trafficking
territory thanks to Regan’s National
Security Council w ho turned a blind
eye tow ards South American
cocaine socking into U.S. in 1980
when CIA was backing all the drug
traffickers of Contra movements
in Nicaragua.

Markets for these drugs stretched


world over from Western Europe to Far East, From Canada to Latin America and From
China to Morocco, Africa. Profits related to this business also vary along with market’s
location.

This business enriches not only the United States-friendly Afghan warlords but also
elements of the Northern Alliance, the U.S. key ally in the country. More disturbing is fact
that this money also contributes in CIA’s operations against Pakistan as well.
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3. Contra Movements (1980)

In Asia demand for heroin is more than any other drug but it is not the case world over.
Cocaine is favourite drug which is consumed the most. Cocaine was nothing new in
South American countries but it was only during Nicaraguan contra mov ements against
the then dictator it got shoot up. It w as again CIA’s regime change operation to bring
“democracy” in Nicaragua. I t w as during this period when the whole region saw an
unprecedented surge in cocaine trafficking in 1980. This has been investigated none
other than but by CI A’s inspector general in later years.

Was CIA a part of this?

Answer is not only CIA was aiding these cocaine traffickers and money-launderers but Ronald Reagon’s National
Security Council also turned a blind eye tow ards these drug trades despite the fact that
later these very drug traffickers brought cocaine to mainland U.S. According to CIA’s
inspector general report, published in online magazine The Consortium magazine, Oct.
15, 1998, it w as Reagan’s National Security Council which cleared proven drug
traffickers and CI A inspector general Frederick Hitz confirmed long standing allegations
of cocaine traffickers. The NSC’s covert airline was the main transportation mean to do
this trade in safest possible way.

Figure 1 - Armed men of Nicaragua insurgency during 1980s, armed with CIA
weapons bought with drug money.

Most stunning part of all this contra movements and CIA involvement is methods these
movements used to dismantle the then Nicaraguan government including bombing
and killing of civilians and CIA withheld all evidence of contra crimes from Justice

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Department, the Congress and even its own analytical division just to conceal its
connection w ith drug traffickers.

4. Afghanistan

As it is mentioned earlier that Afghanistan was not a hub of drug supply to world before
Russian invasion in 1979. It was CIA once again to implement what it successfully
implemented in Nicaragua in 1980. Now, Afghanistan is biggest contributor in drug
production with its massive opium production.

Russian Afghan War (1979-1989)

CI A was not fully done with contra movements when Russia invaded Afghanistan in
1979 threatening the region with her expansionist design to gain control
over Afghanistan and Baluchistan province of Pakistan to reach Arabian
Sea. Pakistan decided to confront Russia inside Afghanistan to thwart communist
designs. CI A found an opportunity in Afghanistan to settle its long standing duel with
Russian for global dominion, after initial successes by Afghan fighters. CI A once again
brought tested formula of drug to finance this war which it used in South America with
only difference in prescription w here cocaine was replaced w ith heroin. Poppy
cultivation was nothing new to Afghan but it was level of production and demand
created by international traffickers in the world which shocked many in vicinity of these
poppy fields.

Profit gained by these drugs was main driv ing force behind all this trade and w ith heroin
it w as much more than w hat it was with cocaine. Ironically U.S. and Europe became
biggest markets of heroin prepared produced in Afghanistan.

Regan’s administration is also a common factor in both Afghan heroin trade and
contra cocaine traffickers. Role of CIA in first Afghan war was not overt as it could
provoke Russians in more direct retaliation albeit Cuban missile crisis of 1960s. To avoid
that kind of hostility it was more suitable for CIA to have silent links with Afghan warlords
and providing sources to grow poppy. “By the end of Russian invasion in 1989
Afghanistan was second largest opium production spot w ith 1350 Metric ton after
notorious Golden Triangle including countries like Laos, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam
which w as producing 2645 Metric ton at that time leaving Latin America way behind
with just 112 Metric ton”, as per U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Pre and Post Taliban Era (1994-2001)

In 1994 unrest and law lessness in Afghanistan gave rise to Taliban. Motivated with their
strict religious background and education they put ban on all kinds of drugs in territory
under their control but this w as not the cure for chronically infected Afghan economy
and society. Non availability of any job market and strong hold of Northern Alliance of
Northern part of country remained biggest challenge to these efforts to cut down
poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. But despite all the challenges Talibans w ere able to

Figure 2: Afghan opium sells in cheap at home, worth a fortune in U.S. market
put a serious cut on opium production in Afghanistan by start of 2001 w hen they were
about to capture Northern Alliance’s strong hold Mazar-e-Sharif but post 9/11 scenario
not only changed the geopolitical dynamics of the w hole world but also destroyed the
efforts of Taliban to control opium production.

Left: I n year 2001, just before U.S./NATO inv asion into Afghanistan, Taliban were able to
cut down opium production by a decisive margin. This w as also one of core reasons
against Taliban along w ith other excuses. After year 2002, when Taliban were removed
from power there is a historical increase in opium production in Afghanistan, money is

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going to pentagon to carry on Afghan and Iraq w ar despite a historical recession in


U.S..

Recent Afghan Conflict (2002 – To date)

Afghanistan is leading opium production in


world today but after the inv asion of U.S. in
2002 Afghanistan is also attributed to have
largest heroin production in the world as
well.

Without active support of Pentagon


and CI A it is not possible to export drug
prepared with more than 8000 metric tons
of opium. U.S. relations with Northern
Alliance in Afghanistan after Taliban hav e
given a free license to drug producers, traffickers. CIA and Pentagon both have their
links to all these criminals in order to get supplies of the drugs and export it in U.S. Army
planes. It has been reported that CI A used U.S. Army planes
leav ing Afghanistan carrying coffins which were filled with drugs instead of bodies.

To make sure undisturbed trade U.S. appointed all Northern Alliance drug lords at key
posts in Afghanistan and most prominent appointment was none other than
President Hamid Karzai. Karzai’s brother, head of Kandahar’s provincial council is
proven drug trafficker facilitating the transportation of heroin from Kandahar eastward
through Helmand and out across the Iranian border.

There is no reason to believe that CI A is not aw are of this but as it is all one big
enterprise where Karzai is also a partner so no danger to his brother.

Bush administration pushed the level of poppy cultivation to next level


in Afghanistan just to keep Wall Streets alive in crisis. Many top Bush administration’s
officials were worried about grow ing influence of countries in Golden Triangle
(Loas, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma) in Russian and Chinese drug markets. Like Oil
in I raq this w as just another opportunity for the Bush administration to have some quick
bucks.

Blames for using drugs to fight with NATO and U.S. forces is alw ays put on Taliban. But
looking at areas of Taliban’s active zones one can easily understand where all this

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poppy cultivation is taking place. Taliban put ban on poppy w hen they were in
charge of majority of Afghan territories and Kabul, the capital. Afghanistan w as
suffering worst economic crisis at that time but Taliban never went to build their
economy w ith heroin trade. Now it is just ridiculous to blame Taliban to have vast fields
of poppy and having enough peace and time to grow and process it into heroin and
then trade it in Pakistan and Iran to dens it to destinations in Eastern Europe. Below is
map of Afghanistan indicating high poppy cultivation provinces and it is quite ev ident
that Taliban dominant

Left: Ahmed Wali Karzai, appointed by his brother,


President Hamid Karzai, to
represent Kandahar province in Kabul. According
to media reports he is main player in exporting
heroin and opium to European countries
through Turkmenistan.

Provinces like Kunar, Pektika, Paktya has low poppy cultivation and other provinces
where all U.S./CIA supported w arlords are holding key positions are growing most of
opium crop. It was only after U.S. invasion there was a 4400% increase in opium
production.

U.S. role in Afghan social debacle will go in history as described The Huffington Post
on October 15, 2008 “When the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is
written, Washington’s sordid involvement in the heroin trade and its alliance with drug
lords and war criminals of the Afghan Communist Party will be one of the most shameful
chapters.”

5. Pakistan: Indirect Victim of the CIA’s Drug business

Almost the w hole w orld is affected by this drug trade but countries w hich lie in routes of
drug traffickers are worst effected after the original drug markets. Countries
like Pakistan are paying a very high price for U.S./CI A drug trade as there is a constant
increase in drug addiction in Pakistan. Iran is another country which happens to be in
route of international drug traffickers so it is also facing problem of smuggling of heroin
and morphine from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Turkey and Europe. After U.S. invasion
of Afghanistan this route has become active manifold then it was previously.

Effects of this trade are not limited to drug usage only but it destroys the social fabric in
a society and gives rise to street crimes in order to get some cash to buy drugs from
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street market. A more horrible outcome is spread of HIV virus among addicted persons
when they share the injection syringes. This threat is increasing with each passing day as
number of HIV positive is increasing.

Another disastrous effect it brought to Pakistan and Afghanistan other neighbors is


serious law and order situation in bordering area of each country with Afghanistan.
Combating this evil trade is not possible until a holistic effort is made by international
community in this regards but its chances are bleak as this trade is needed by global
imperialism (I srael, U.S., UK) more than ever before to give some support to their dying
economies.

Above: Pakistan has become main artery in heroin trafficking route and it has a lot of
implication on Pakistani security. Level of drug addicted also increased over the year
due to high availability of drugs in street market. Afghanistan is main producer
but Pakistan us w here most of drugs are seized.

6. Conclusion

Under current situation it is very important for countries like Pakistan,


Iran, Afghanistan and Russia to think about how to put jinni of drug back to the bottle
before international drug mafia takes over these countries by destroying their social
norms and v alues.

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CI A not only has a long history of hav ing links with traffickers but also encouraging the
drug trade to get its own interests served. CIA always encourages this trade even if it
affected its own citizens like in Contra movements of 1980.

Afghanistan became leader in opium production and main hub for providing heroin
and its main ingredient to whole world. All this happened under the control of
champion of human rights U.S. and its intelligence setup mainly CI A.

Situation is becoming more and bleaker unless Pakistan, China, Russia,


Iran and Afghanistan governments start thinking about this trade and its far reaching
affects on U.S. economy and CI A’s funding. It is time w hen the whole region should
become equivocal against this trade and ask U.S. to leave the region for greater good
of the billions of people in region.

Farzana Shah

BrassTacks Team.

CIA - Secret Operations, Drug Money