Taliban Rely on Drug Money, says DEA Chief 

Taliban Rely on Drug Money, says DEA Chief 
Posted by FoM on September 26, 2001 at 22:59:23 PT
By William C. Lhotka and Michael D. Sorkin
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
While publicly denouncing dangerous drugs, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban earn millions of dollars a year by taxing the production, transportation and sale of heroin and opium, the new head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said here Wednesday. DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson said the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalists who run 90 percent of Afghanistan, not only harbor terrorists but rely on drug trafficking as a major source of revenue. 
Since their takeover in 1997, the Taliban have mounted a public relations campaign to convince the world that they are trying to stop drug trafficking, Hutchinson said. "I'd characterize their claim as extraordinarily misleading," Hutchinson said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. After 30 days on the job, he visited the anti-drug agency's office in Clayton. Drug experts at the Drug Enforcement Administration and United Nations estimate that the Taliban earn $10 million a year by imposing a tax on poppy farmers. Hutchinson acknowledged that the Taliban had reduced poppy cultivation last year but said that 60 percent of the crop had been warehoused over the last three years to drive up the price of opium and heroin. "All the indications are that the opium traffic has continued unabated," Hutchinson said. The result: A kilo of heroin that cost $44 in Afghanistan four years ago, now is worth $350 to $400, he said. In May, some American narcotics experts said Afghanistan had wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year. That action so pleased U.S. officials that Secretary of State Colin Powell announced a $43 million grant to the country to help its farmers through a drought. The poppy is the plant from which opium, morphine and heroin are derived. Hutchinson said his agency was working with other countries to block transportation routes in Turkey, Russia and Pakistan. Europe is the destination of most of Afghanistan's drugs. Addicts in the United States generally use heroin that comes from Colombia through Mexico, he noted. Terrorism and drug trafficking flourish "where the rule of law is diminished," said Hutchinson, 50, a former Republican congressman from Arkansas. Hutchinson said there usually was a cross-relationship between drug trafficking and terrorism, and with the Taliban "there is strong evidence of that fact." He said the Taliban had used their authority to tax the production of drugs, their transportation and their sale. "The Taliban benefit in every aspect," he said. The Drug Enforcement Administration has no agents in Afghanistan but has agents in neighboring Pakistan. While the agency has no specific role in the anti-terrorism efforts, Hutchinson said, it has 400 agents in 56 foreign countries who are providing firsthand intelligence. Hutchinson was appointed by President George W. Bush as the agency's administrator and was sworn in last month. He is on a nationwide tour of the agency's regional offices. In the wide-ranging interview Wednesday, Hutchinson said: Some drug agents are joining the effort toward airline safety by volunteering to serve as sky marshals. One of his goals is to blend programs aimed at preventing drug use with enforcement of drug laws. Drug trafficking has dropped significantly since Sept. 11 along the U.S. borders, showing the impact of beefed-up border coverage. The agency has no plans to resume a controversial program that gave agents direct access to Amtrak computer files. That allowed the agents to see passenger names and investigate those they deemed suspicious, sometimes before trains arrived at their destination. In April, Amtrak pulled the plug on the agency's access, due to adverse publicity. Amtrak security officials now look for suspicious passengers and call the agency, Hutchinson said. Hutchinson said the agency had no direct access to airline computer files and no plans to seek them.. Hutchinson said he doubted whether the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 will bring new laws that restrict the freedom or privacy of Americans. "I don't believe citizens will see the impact - other than to have a greater sense of security," he said. Note: William C. Lhotka and Michael D. Sorkin from the Post-DispatchSource: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) Author: William C. Lhotka and Michael D. Sorkin Published: September 26, 2001Copyright: 2001 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Website: Contact: letters post-dispatch.comRelated Articles:Afghan Opium Production May Rise Helping Track Terrorists Administration Cut Faustian Deal with Taliban 
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on September 28, 2001 at 04:54:57 PT
this is kinda scary...
   *** SAM SMITH, "WHY BOTHER?" Perhaps most startling was an article in the Winter 1992 issue of Parameters, a quarterly published by the US Army College. The author was Lt. Col. Charles J. Dunlap Jr., a graduate of Villanova School of Law, the Armed Forces Staff College, and a distinguished graduate of the National War College. He had been named by the Judge Advocates Association as the USAF's outstanding career armed services attorney. In short, not your average paranoid conspiracy theorist. Dunlap's article was called "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." In it, he pretended to be writing to a fellow military colleague in 2012, explaining how the coup had occurred. He accurately described America's current state:"America became exasperated with democracy. We were disillusioned with the apparent inability of elected government to solve the nation's dilemmas. We were looking for someone or something that could produce workable answers. The one institution of government in which the people retained faith was the military. Buoyed by the military's obvious competence in the First Gulf War, the public increasingly turned to it for solutions to the country's problems. Americans called for an acceleration of trends begun in the 1980s: tasking the military with a variety of new, non-traditional missions, and vastly  escalating its commitment to formerly ancillary duties." Dunlap quoted one of Washington's journalistic cherubs, James Fallows, who wrote in a 1991 article "I am beginning to think that the only way the national government can do anything worthwhile is to invent a security threat and turn the job over to the military . . . The military, strangely, is the one government institution that has been assigned legitimacy to act on its notion of the collective good."  Fallows was not alone within the Washington establishment. Stephen Rosenfeld of the Washington Post wrote a column praising an Army advocate of Dunlap's nightmare. Rosenfeld described US Army Major Ralph Peters this way: "At home, use of the military appears inevitable to him -- though not yet to an American consensus -- "at least on our borders and in some urban environments" . . . He deplores our military's reluctance to join the war on drugs, which he attributes to a fear of failure. He would dutifully prepare for the traditionally 'military' missions, plus the new one of missile defense. But he would be ready to engage with drugs and crime, terrorism, peacekeeping, illegal immigration, disease control, resource protection, evacuation of endangered citizens . . ." What Dunlap described and Peters advocated was not a bold military stroke against the civilian government, but simply a coup by attrition.
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Comment #4 posted by Cannabis Dave on September 27, 2001 at 14:57:50 PT
WHY did we give them $43 million?!
If it's true that most of the heroin from Afghanistan is consumed in Europe and Asia, then WHY is the government of the USA giving away $43 MILLION dollars to a terrorist organization that they don't even aknowledge as a legitimate government?! Even is a large percentage of the heroin was consumed in the USA, it would still be a mistake giving the Taliban any money considering the atrocities they commit. That $43 million went to arm an organization we are about to go to war with, which makes it even more unforgivable. This is another example of our governments perverted value system. Think of all the good that $43 million could have done, and now it's all going to the Taliban. They are even confiscating all the emergency food that is still being imported there. They will no doubt stockpile it for use by their military machine - I doubt if any of the starving people will get to eat it unless they are part of the Taliban military machine. They will have millions of volunteers coming from Pakistan etc. soon, and that will help feed them all. During the war in Vietnam food from the USA was sometimes made to look like it was from the Soviet Union so the peasants would side with the Viet Cong/NVA, or sometimes they would poison the food and leave the USA label on it for the same reason. Our government leaders are notoriously ignorant when it comes to international relations, and they invariably make serious mistakes. Using the word "crusade" was so ignorant that I can't understand how Bush's advisors/speach writers ever let that slip into his speach. I wouldn't be surprised if Bush didn't even know what the crusades were and had to be educated about them? Nobody ever accused Bush of being a scholar, but not knowing about the crusades is EMBARRASING to me as an American!
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Comment #3 posted by Jose Melendez on September 27, 2001 at 04:49:21 PT:
Since their takeover in 1997, the Taliban have mounted a public relations campaign to convince the world that they are trying to stop drug trafficking, Hutchinson said. 
"I'd characterize their claim as extraordinarily misleading," Hutchinson said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. 
What an interesting coincidence. It is common knowledge that cigarette companies actively deceived Americans to promote their poisons, assisted by politicians who are all too willing to look the other way, since after all, their drugs and campaign contributions are legal. No questioning of adverse drug interactions, or the fact that those specific delivery devices and additives make their products more addictive than heroin. 
Instead, my own country has waged a sixty year plus war on me and millions of cannabis users. This "war" continues because apparently the costs of 500,000 annual deaths from tobacco and alcohol combined are outweighed by the savings gained by not having to pay Social Security or medical expenses for the last 20 years or so of life.
With around 6,000 annual deaths due to all illicit drugs combined and ZERO for marijuana, I'd characterize the claim that the U.S. is trying to stop drug trafficking as extraordinarily misleading. In fact, since Ritalin has been proven stronger than cocaine, and there is a proliferation of many other side-effect laden drugs pushed freely on American television every day, the drug war can be correctly characterized as an outright fraud.
Sick of war? Then get Asa Hutchinson to admit the truth about drugs: Everyone does them, criminalizing them makes them more profitable and legal drugs kill more. With all due respect, sir: Go fight real crime. You have now made terrorists wealthy with your dishonest drug war rhetoric.
Fight crime, not drugs - Arrest Prohibition
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Comment #2 posted by jack on September 27, 2001 at 02:55:52 PT
Off Base
Sorry that this has nothing to do with the subject but I just heard from a friend in St. Johns Newfoundland.
 When the attacks occured here there were 11,000 people stranded there and the provincial gov fed and housed them with no cost to the standed people,..but then 2 weeks later they got hit by the hurricane that went through and it flooded most of the town and now there is no money to help them recover.
I don't know about you,.but I feel some of the money collected to help bail out the insurance carrier for the twin towers could and should be used to help the people that helped us. I hope nobody thins this comment is coldhearted towards the families and rescuers there,...but we need to help everyone that has suffered directly or indirectly because of the tradgedy(sp)
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on September 27, 2001 at 01:44:26 PT
Drug War nets the Taliban $90 million profit
So according to the UN, the Taliban still have 100 tons of opium stored away.Before they stopped growing opium, that was only worth about $3 millionAfter they stopped growing opium, that 100 tons became worth $50 million, roughly.Plus they got $43 million for agreeing to stop growing and drive the price up.What are they on in Washington DC that this pattern is not obvious to them?
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