"drug-related activities combined with money laundering and information laundering, converging with your terrorist activities." - Sibel Edmonds
There's been much talk - though, like virtually every other important subject, not enough; and not by those who could do anything about it - regarding the significance of pipelines
as motive for war in Afghanistan. (That Washington installed oil consultants as both the Afghans' titular ruler and the US emissary, and the long hoped-for pipelines are now under construction, didn't do much to dispel those wacky conspiracy theories.)
But there's another pipeline in Afghanistan, more important that those carrying oil and gas, because it doesn't merely make a convenient transit of the country. Afghanistan is the source for Central Asia's opium pipeline.
Oil may have reached $50 a barrel, but heroin is worth 12 times its weight in gold, and is by far the most profitable commodity on the markets. A kilogram of heroin, worth $1,000 in Thailand, has a street value of nearly $1 million. That's some mark-up. A kilogram of cocaine can cost as little as $65 to produce, with a street value of approximately $500,000.
You may not be able to run your car on them, but narcotics - or rather, the laundered proceeds of the international drug trade - is the fuel for the sick engine of our great financial institutions.
Here's Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of HUD under GHW Bush, lately turned "conspiracy theorist" thanks to having witnessed federal agencies managed as criminal enterprises, writing in "Narco Dollars for Beginners":
Lest you think that my comment about the New York Stock Exchange is too strong, let's look at one event that occurred before our "war on drugs" went into high gear through Plan Colombia, banging heads over narco dollar market share in Latin America.
In late June 1999, numerous news services, including Associated Press, reported that Richard Grasso, Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange flew to Colombia to meet with a spokesperson for Raul Reyes of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the supposed "narco terrorists" with whom we are now at war.
The purpose of the trip was "to bring a message of cooperation from U.S. financial services" and to discuss foreign investment and the future role of U.S. businesses in Colombia.
Some reading in between the lines said to me that Grasso's mission related to the continued circulation of cocaine capital through the US financial system. FARC, the Colombian rebels, were circulating their profits back into local development without the assistance of the American banking and investment system. Worse yet for the outlook for the US stock market's strength from $500 billion - $1 trillion in annual money laundering - FARC was calling for the decriminalization of cocaine.
It was only a few days after Grasso's trip that BBC News reported a General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress as saying: "Colombia's cocaine and heroin production is set to rise by as much as 50 percent as the U.S. backed drug war flounders, due largely to the growing strength of Marxist rebels."
I deduced from this incident that the liquidity of the NY Stock Exchange was sufficiently dependent on high margin cocaine profits that the Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange was willing for Associated Press to acknowledge he is making "cold calls" in rebel controlled peace zones in Colombian villages. "Cold calls" is what we used to call new business visits we would pay to people we had not yet done business with when I was on Wall Street.
I presume Grasso's trip was not successful in turning the cash flow tide. Hence, Plan Colombia is proceeding apace to try to move narco deposits out of FARC's control and back to the control of our traditional allies and, even if that does not work, to move Citibank's market share and that of the other large US banks and financial institutions steadily up in Latin America.
Nothing in America hides in plain sight quite as well as the protected drug trade. The arbiters of American media have long observed a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding covert complicity in, and profitting by, the global trafficking of narcotics. The piling on of investigative reporter Gary Webb for his "Dark Alliance" series is fairly instructive. The story - the CIA's role in fostering crack upon the LA underclass - saw the light of day only because it came from outside the controlling loop of the majors. And when it appeared and gained traction, they crushed him and accepted the CIA's denial as fact, even as his story has received only further confirmation.
The CIA looms large in America's samizdat history of the drug trade, but it's not just a CIA story. (Or rather, not just the arm of the National Security apparatus which is known by that acronym.) There's also, for instance, giant contractor DynCorp. The company - which, many suspect, is actually a CIA cut-out - was awarded the job of policing Afghanistan despite having recently been found with its hand in the South American cookie jar: Colombian police intercepted a DynCorp parcel addresssed to a US airbase, laced with heroin. The bust remained secret for a year, until The Nation picked up the story, and then the evidence vanished. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's poppy harvest sets another record yield.
If we follow the Afghan opium pipeline, we find an important branch which transits the Balkans, and is an important source for the heroin supply of Western Europe and North America. And it's a curious and naturally hidden fact of modern history that, in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, the United States and al Qaeda were essentially comrades-in-arms, aiding the Kosovo Liberation Army and helping transform Kosovo into a virtual narco state. (Michael Levine, whistleblowing 25-year veteran of the DEA, says that the CIA protected the KLA's drug operations "in every way they could.")
American exploitation of Central Asian opium is, of course, nothing new. Alfred McCoy, in his The Politics of Heroin, writes that, only two years after the start of the Soviet-Afghan war, the "CIA’s covert apparatus that shipped arms to the mujaheddin had been inverted to serve a massive drug operation that moved opium from Afghanistan, through Pakistan’s heroin laboratories, and into international markets."
Knowing this helps us understand former German Cabinet Minister Andreas von Bulow's instructive remarks of nearly three years ago:
"When in doubt, it is always worthwhile to take a look at a map, where are raw materials resources, and the routes to them? Then lay a map of civil wars and conflicts on top of that -- they coincide. The same is the case with the third map: nodal points of the drug trade. Where this all comes together, the American intelligence services are not far away."
While securing Middle East oil and gas remains the fundamental text of America's resource wars - after all, there is no such thing as "Peak Opium" - the narcotics trade is its significant subtext. Without it, much of the backstory to 9/11 makes little sense.
For instance, what should we make of the fact that, less than three weeks after Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi enrolled at Florida's Huffman Aviation, a Lear jet owned by school financier Wally Hilliard was seized by DEA agents with 43 pounds of heroin onboard? It was the biggest seizure of heroin ever in central Florida, and yet Hilliard was not charged. Nor was the pilot, Diego Levine-Texar, who ignored agents demands that he drop his cell phone, which had to be pried from his hand at gunpoint. (The affidavit of the arresting agent read, "Based on my experience I know that narcotics traffickers maintain frequent contact with one another while transporting narcotics… I believe Levine-Texar attempted to contact other accomplices as to the presence of agents and other law enforcement officials.") Information about Levine-Texar, we're told, is considered "sensitive." And flight records showed the same plane had made approximately 30 weekly round trips to Venezuela with the same passengers, and they always paid cash.
Also, why would the mention of the CIA's Iran/Contra drug smuggler and Bush family asset Barry Seal - gunned down with the then-Vice President's private number in his trunk - make 9/11 Commissioner and, coincidentally, Seal's former attorney, Richard Ben-Veniste, squirm so?
From his interview with Sander Hicks:
HICKS: Let’s go back for a second and talk about what you just said about the INS forms of the terrorist hijackers. How there just seems to be a disconnect. How could these people — it was pointed out that a couple of these people were on the CIA’s list of terrorists, they had attended the terrorism conference and yet they were allowed to be in country. There was a gentleman you may know of, named Daniel Hopsicker? He’s a former producer of NBC and he wrote a book called, "Barry and the Boys." You are mentioned in it. It’s about a former client of yours who is now deceased, Mr. Barry Seal. Are you familiar with this book?
BEN-VENISTE: No, I haven’t read the book but I did represent Barry Seal, who was convicted. He thereafter, on his own, became a government informant. He worked against the Sandinistas and that certainly is not the subject of this....
HICKS: That’s not the subject of -
BEN-VENISTE: We have quite a bit to do here in our Commission without going into all my private practice. I certainly wouldn’t want this to be an infomercial for Richard Ben-Veniste as a private attorney.
HICKS: Not at all. But the question was, Daniel Hopsicker is -
BEN-VENISTE: So, if you wouldn’t mind staying on our subject...
HICKS: Not at all.
BEN-VENISTE: I’d appreciate it.
Drugs and 9/11? Don't go there, kid, if you know what's good for you.
Which brings us back to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, and the reason for her extraordinary gag order: her testimony that federal authorities have quashed investigations which link the 9/11 terrorist network to a global, and well protected, drug trafficking ring.
Though she needs to guard her words, she's still managed to tell us much:
"Intelligence is also gathered by certain semi-legitimate organizations -- to be used for their activities. It really does not boil down to countries anymore.... When you have activities involving a lot of money, you have people from different nations involved.... It can be categorized under organized crime, but in a very large scale...."
"...specific information implicating certain high level government and elected officials in criminal activities directly and indirectly related to terrorist money laundering, narcotics, and illegal arms sales."
"It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap-- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific."
Like the "War on Drugs," the "War on Terror" is a hoax. But it is more than a hoax. It is also a drug war. When seen in this regard, everything starts to make a perfect, dreadful sense.
It may be criminal, but hey - it's just business.