Radically Inept
Thursday, April 01, 2004
  Afghan poppy crop Found this item Crooked Timber: Unfortunate names:
"In which context, it is perhaps unfortunate that the "Air America" people have (presumably unintentionally) named themselves after the CIA's heroin trafficking operation in Southeast Asia (the subject of a movie which, in a better world, would have crushed Mel Gibson's career before it took root). The well-meaning liberal radio types must be taking lessons from these guys."
And, well, it reminded me that we had soldiers and the CIA on the ground in a region w/ somewhat similar characteristics as Laos and Cambodia, just w/o the jungle. Which prodded memories of 'once upon a time' articles we all heard and read back in November '01, similar to this: Britain and USA plan to buy Afghan opium crop:
"BRITAIN and America are to devote tens of millions of pounds to an attempt to end Afghanistan's notorious heroin trade.

One option being considered is to buy this year's entire opium harvest at black market prices - on the condition that farmers then plough up their poppy fields and sow a different crop.

The move to tackle the menace of heroin came as disturbing new evidence emerged that warlords of the Northern Alliance are conniving in the renewed planting of poppy fields under the cover of war."
So, I'm curious. If we understood going in that heroin was a problem, and we were planning to buy the crop in its entirety, or in some other way deal with countering opium farming, why do we get this, from January '04 Washington Times: Osama bin Laden: a 'heroin dealer' and 'narco-terrorist':
"'It seems clear to me heroin is the No. 1 financial asset of Osama bin Laden,' Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois Republican, told The Washington Times. 'There is a need to update our view of how terrorism is financed.

'And the view of Osama bin Laden relying on Wahhabi donations from abroad is outdated. And the view of him as one of the world's largest heroin dealers is the more accurate, up-to-date view.'

Mr. Kirk wants a pronounced shift in how the Bush administration tries to stop al Qaeda funding. Up to now, Washington has focused on bin Laden's traditional sources: Islamic charities and his family fortune.
But the Bush team has choked off much of that flow, forcing bin Laden to adjust. In Afghanistan, bin Laden has the benefit of the world's largest poppy crop, as he evades capture in Pakistan's notorious border areas.

He is reaping $24 million alone from one narcotics network in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to Mr. Kirk's investigation."
Oh, the quotes above are courtesy of this interesting site: Opioids : past, present and future.

Anyway, I'm in the process of trying to locate some information right now, which will increase the size of this straw man. If anyone knows where to find the list of banks whose assets were frozen for alleged terrorism connections, let me know. There's a point in the info which should tie in well. I hope...Back later...

By the way, system seems real sluggish today. Well, not the whole system, just a lot of reference sites are slow downloading. So, this might take a few minutes. (added 10:21am)

What I've found so far is: Tracing bin Laden's Money::
"Another company reputedly owned by bin Laden is the 'Wadi al-Aqiq' Company, an export-import firm. For many years, bin Laden owned and ran the Taba Investment Company Ltd., which deals in global stock markets. He was also part-owner of the "el-Shamal Islamic Bank" in Khartoum, a joint effort with the NIF, in which bin Laden is said to have invested $50 million."
And from the same document (published September '01) comes this tidbit:
U.S. Senator John Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that there are strong indications that bin Laden's al-Qaida network has profited handsomely from the opium trade. Al-Qaida militants have frequently been deployed as smugglers or as guard details for smugglers.

Opium, used in the manufacture of heroin and morphine, has an added attraction for terrorists because such drugs head to the United States and lead to problems such as addiction and crime, he said. "That's part of their revenge on the world," Kerry said. "Get as many people drugged out and screwed up as you can."

So, then I get somewhat confused because Executive Order 13224 blocking Terrorist Property doesn't mention "el-Shamal Islamic Bank" in Khartoum. All references that I find to the bank are in past tense, but I can't find out what happened to it. Actually, what I've run across so far, is a lot of sources using the exact same wording, even in different languages. So, I guess no straw for the man here.

Regardless, the Taliban had shut down opium production to near zero during their final three years in power. Whatever else they did, they did shut down the opium trade. But, going in, we know about the potential for resurgence in poppy growth when the Taliban is ousted, and we say we are not going to let it happen. And then we pull out most of the military and financial support, shift focus to Iraq, and now no one is paying attention to what's going on. It's supposedly moving through Pakistan under control of the Pakistani 'Intelligence' community. Do you think there is potential contact between foreign intelligence collection people and that of our Pakistani allies? I don't know, but it is interesting that where the CIA goes, drugs flow. Really historically. I'll try to rmember to get some stats here for you on CIA/OSS and drug flow since WWII. It's kind of interesting having so many coincidences.

I'm still going to have to re-edit this.
Minor re-edit @2:46pm
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