of drug pipelines
in the 20th Century
Years ago, the "beat poet" Allen Ginsberg had access to unfiltered Associated Press news feeds. Ginsberg had a habit of collecting the most interesting printouts from the teletype machines, when access to wire feeds was rare. Of the teletypes that Ginsberg collected, the ones that drew a straight line of CIA involvement in running opium for Vang Pao and the Hmong in Laos during the Vietnam war are the most memorable; they are the most memorable, not for their scant information, but for helping researchers like Alfred McCoy investigate the matter more deeply.
Ginsberg, quite the tireless radical, had a habit of telling people
the truth as he knew it, especially those in the establishment press. One
particular newspaper man, New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger, didn't
believe Ginsberg's portrayal of the CIA. Sulzberger, who later became editor-in-chief
at the paper, became indignant when poet Allen Ginsberg accused the CIA
of involvement in smuggling opium during the Vietnam War. But years later,
on April 11, 1978, Sulzberger wrote:
I fear I owe you an apology. I have been reading
[Signed, C.L. Sulzberger]
Sulzberger wasn't unreasonable in doubting such an extraordinary claim, perhaps the onus was on Ginsberg to provide some evidence. The most difficult aspect of performing this kind of analysis is the admittedly thorny issue of extrapolating from what is known.
This isn't necessarily an effort to make the CIA out as the absolute source of all the evil in the world. But, in what has been termed a 'unipolar world,' the CIA should certainly takes its fair share of the credit. In counterpoint, it could be argued that regardless of who is vying for influence in a region, if control over territory necessitates forging military alliances with those who control the coca plantations or the poppy fields, then the strategic ends justifies the tactical means.
Covert war is still war and covert warriors make logical military choices. The USA has a habit of expanding its influence with whatever means are most convenient. And so it appears a most enduring strategy has become pulling economies along by their most easily-leveraged commodity. Wars are functionally the result of economic questions being answered with violence. Covert action and warfare march to the same tune.
Perhaps the objective is to not so much blame the CIA as blame U.S. politicians. The CIA is an instrument of the American two party system, whereby the Democrats play innocent and the Republicans play ignorant. Let's be direct: The American two-party system sets policy. The CIA is in the business of executing those policies. If U.S. policy entails expanding the realm of U.S. influence, and it has to be done covertly, then the CIA readily opts to forge alliances with regional criminal enterprises. That's the way of covert action and warfare.
But for the CIA to gain any level of influence, a quid-pro-quo arrangement is required. In exchange for that criminal enterprise working for the CIA in some capacity, the CIA has to somehow protect or promote a criminal enterprises' interests.
Since the market for illicit narcotics is international, and the interests of the CIA is international, then the relationship is inevitable.
Place the blame where you will.
Enter the protected narcotics pipeline. U.S. government protection can mean any number of things. But the documentary history shows that invoking the rubric of 'national security,' lifting customs barriers, granting immunity and nullifying criminal prosecutions in U.S. courts, have all been tactics employed by the U.S. intelligence community. These tactics functionally protect a drug pipeline; the protection may not be indefinite or grant unlimited impunity, but so long as a CIA alliance with a particular trafficker holds, the trafficker's pipelines become protected.
Skirting and flouting the rule of law is normal protocol - understandably so, from the perspective of a covert warrior - except for many years, the CIA was generally proscribed from various operations within the borders of the U.S.A. (well, that law was skirted and flouted, too). Underscoring this assertion is a public admission by the CIA it had reached a secret agreement with the Department of Justice so its agents, contract agents and assets could deal drugs without fear of prosecution.
These days, evidence presents itself in
abundance. In October 1996, Jack Blum (former special counsel to the
1987 "Kerry" Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics
and International Operations) gave both a prepared statement and verbal
testimony before the October 1996 Senate Select Intelligence Committee
on alleged CIA drug trafficking to fund Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s,
Chaired by Senator Arlen Specter. In his testimony, Mr. Blum said:
Blum has said something quite significant here. The CIA functionally gains influence and control in governments corrupted by criminal narco-trafficking. Politically, the CIA exerts influence by leveraging narco-militarists and corrupted politicians. It's fascinating that Blum's description wouldn't be out of place in describing the Opium Wars of the 19th century. From what Blum describes, it seems that narco-colonialism is alive and well and residing centrally at CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia.
Well, that's one hell of accusation, isn't it?
Mind you, when when we term this "narco-colonialism," it's not the same narco-colonialism of the 19th century British Empire and East India Tea Company forcing opium down the throats of Chinese. This is really NEO-narco-colonialism, whereby local criminal proxies do the bidding of the patron government seeking expanded influence. But because of the quid-pro-quo of protecting the criminal proxies' illicit pipelines, the result is still a functional narco-colonialism, involving a narcotics commodity in the actual practical execution of policy, with the very different twist of covert action.
Neo-Colonialism. Chile and Angola:
But to really understand the importance of the CIA expanding its realm of influence through covert actions, we need to look at two particular cases that didn't involve narcotics pipelines or narco-militarists, Chile and Angola, and a particular coup that did, Bolivia. The cases of Chile and Angola are illustrative because they frame the CIA's motivations as purely Machiavellian, with the use of local military proxies, while Bolivia illustrates the narco-colonial technique directly.
In the early 1970's, the CIA backed the military take-over of Chile (orchestrated by Pres. Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger). After the socialist Salvador Allende won a popular election and began making overtures towards a socialization of the Chilean division of ITT, ITT asked for intervention from the U.S. Before the final brutal military take-over by General Pinochet, Nixon and Kissinger had brought various forces to bear, including currency manipulation designed to "make their economy scream" with hyper-inflation. In the ensuing years, the Chilean fascist military murdered tens of thousands of "dissidents" who were simply asking for a return to Chilean democracy. Kissinger's comment at the time was brazen: "I don't see why we should stand by and watch a country become socialist." Never mind the popular will of the Chilean people, nor the differences between Fabian Socialism (as practiced in Sweden, France, and Austria) and Marxist Socialism, any kind of socialism was bad if ITT was going to loose a piece of itself to a foreign government's buy-out.
In the case of Angola, the recounting of the CIA's involvement there is revealing. Former CIA-agent John Stockwell served as a CIA operative during the bloody Angolan civil war in the 1970's. After he resigned the agency, as a matter of conscience, he revealed that the CIA backed the insurgency of UNITA, lead by Marxist Jonas Savimbe (as revealed in ex-CIA agent John Stockwell's book, "In Search of Enemies"). The CIA backed UNITA, obviously not because of Savimbe's communist ideology, but because Angola's government (also Marxist, allied with Cuba) harbored a large base of ANC rebels. The CIA's general strategy was to destabilize Angola for the benefit of the racist colonialist regime in South Africa. The UNITA insurgents were convenient proxies in achieving the CIA's goals in that region; the cold war dialectic of "communism vs. capitalism" did not present itself conveniently in Angola, so the CIA simply exploited what convenient resource it could use.
But there's one last CIA intervention that did involve drug lords and narco-militarists, and that was in Bolivia (this particular page in history was documented in the book "The Great White Lie," by ex-DEA agent Michael Levine).
The CIA already had a history of intervening in Bolivia against socialists and Catholic church workers with reformist leanings during the 1960's and 1970's. In 1980, the DEA uncovered CIA and Argentinian collusion with a coup d'tat by the cocaine barons. In what came to be known as the Bolivian "Cocaine Coup", the CIA and Argentinian government backed the cocaine barons in their 1980 overthrow of the Bolivian government. (Note that the rationale for CIA support of this coup d' tat was similar to the CIA's intervention in Chile eight years earlier)
In 1980, we had a Socialist Bolivian government which, having strong anti-drug policies, was a natural enemy of the cocaine barons. The Bolivian cocaine underworld would be a certain foe to any government that enforced any anti-narcotics law, making the Bolivian drug lords the ideal proxies to support in a Bolivian coup d'tat.
As the drug barons wanted to further expand their cartel, and the CIA and Argentinian government wanted to suppress socialism in South America, an alliance was formed against the legitimate Bolivan government. At that point, the fall of the Bolivan government to narco-fascism was inevitable: Allied with the Argentinian military the Bolivian cocaine barons were able to muster logistical support and organize a coup d'tat that brought Bolivia under their control.
The result: A narco-fascist government.
With the Bolivian government in the hands of the cocaine barons, the drug lords organized a plantation-and-refinement cartel that came to be known as La Corporacion (described by Micheal Levine as the General Motors of Cocaine).
Moreover, in the same time frame, the Argentines were organizing the Nicaraguan Contras - not long before the CIA took over supervising the Contra operations.
Functionally, the dots were all lined up, and it was a simple matter of bringing all the various interests together into establishing a pipeline from "Point A" to "Point Z". "Point Z" might not have worked so well, were it not for the fact that the CIA-backed Contras offered such a wonderous mechanism to access the end market in the inner cities of the United States: A protected narcotics pipeline.
Whether or not you feel this was more than mere coincidence, the subsequent rise to power of the Bolivian-based La Corporacion cocaine cartel was contemporaneous with the incipient CIA-backed Contra war in Nicaragua.
With backing from the Argentinean military and the CIA, and the Bolivian government belonging to the drug lords, the volume of cocaine coming out of Bolivia sky-rocketed. Pipe-lined through the newly-formed Contra connection, the cocaine cascaded across South and Central America into the neighborhoods of the USA.
Everything fell together all-too well. Understanding the persistent and pervasive pattern of CIA collusion with drug traffickers, I personally find it hard to ascribe these historical events to the realm of mere coincidence.
Narco-Colonialism. A giant sucking sound:
The problem is, there's a fall-out from covert protection of narcotics pipelines. A narcotics pipeline, once protected, no matter how brief nor justifiable, can create a mechanism that serves as a nexus for increased narcotics traffic. Why is this?
Let's look at the CIA's experience in Laos, during the Vietnam war. The CIA backed the opium warlord Vang Pao, because opium helped the Laotian tribes people alliance with the CIA. Not to over-emphasize the particulars of which opium lord the CIA favored, the point was to support the Hmong opium production in Laos, funding the warfare, thereby enhancing control over Laotian territory.
The tactical upshot from gaining control in Laos meant the CIA had to support Vang Pao; to make the efforts of the CIA worthwhile, he needed to out-class all the other opium warlords in Laos. All that was required of the CIA was to run the opium via Air America aircraft to the next transshipment point, which functionally protected the pipeline & let the warlord run the tribal people. In this particular case, the Hmong tribes were in a difficult spot because of the demands of the war on their agrarian economy, and in a sense, the CIA was helping them out of a tight spot. But the CIA was also after its own interests, and Vang Pao lead the proxy CIA Hmong army.
So, although it created an opium monster, controlling Laos justified the inevitable escalation in heroin supply. As a a result of this 'radical pragmatism,' the volume of heroin coming out Laos tripled, and U.S. troops found themselves awash in heroin. And it is important to emphasize that the CIA ran the opium to the next transshipment node, facilitating the production of heroin.
In Latin America, many indigenous farmers are Amerindian and speak little or no spanish. (They don't care about Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx, they only care about the last time the government kicked them off their land, or who's holding a gun to their head, or how much cash they get for their crop if they aren't growing food for their families.)
This is the pattern we see from the simple economic reality that wars have some economic basis (control of commodity production, as is the case with illicit narcotics), and it is beneficial in the course of warfare to gain influence and control in Latin America through coca production. The very same formula employed in Laos is being employed generally in the Latin American coca production and transshipment system.
Although we see similar pattern with the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contras and the Honduran military, the involvement of the CIA in this alliance was just as intimate, but for different reasons. Military U.S. aid to the Contras was prohibited by the Boland Amendment (early 1980's), so the intelligence community flouted Congressional rule, and went ahead in aiding and coordinating the Contras. But they had to do it off-the-books, with hidden money sources. In the course of brazenly breaking the law, the NSC staff (Oliver North, etc.) abandoned all principles and elected to go with the narco-militarist covert war mechanism. The Contras, originally organized by the Argentinean fascist military, was largely overseen and supported by the CIA and the Honduran narco-military.
Once the Contras and Honduran military became the protected conduit for cocaine trafficking with established critical relationships with the Colombian cartels and narco-militarists like Manuel Noriega, the Contra and Honduran military drug pipeline offered guaranteed delivery to market, something that no other smuggling operation could assure. The absurdity of the denials and claims of new-found purity from ex-Contras has been amusing: It wasn't as though they were going to readily abandon the political and strategic advantages gained through the alliances with the cartels, not when there was so much to be gained from the alliance, in terms of both power and money (The CIA didn't depose the head of the Honduran military until much later in the game).
At first, this probably worked well for the cartels and the Contras, but demand for illegal narcotics only rises so fast and so far in the face of increased supply. The result is falling prices, which in turn fosters an increase in use. During the heyday of the Contra-cocaine pipeline (the early 1980's), there was a period when cocaine was being sold below cost, such that cocaine prices met the classic economics lesson. Except that with a highly addictive substance like cheap, smokable cocaine, consumer demand is tends to be more rigid than consumption for typical commodity goods.
Years ago (in 1990), I recall watching a reporter on CBS's 60 Minutes news program asked the CIA station chief in Bogota why the CIA had overlooked the existence of the Cali Cartel. The station chief denied the Cali cartel even existed, and then tried to redirect the reporter's questions to the Medellin Cartel. If it weren't so serious, it would have comical: CIA underworld alliances show themselves in some form of protection, even in the form of obvious and pathetic denials.
Currently, in Colombia (as in Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala), we see similar patterns arise. Colombia is undergoing a internal "dirty" civil war. More than half of Colombia's principalities are controlled by indigenous rebel forces (FARC, ELN) who partially fund themselves through taxation of coca, opium and marijuana production. Paramilitary forces allied with the government, renown for slaughtering entire villages, are themselves allied with illicit drug traffickers who find opportunities in acquiring land through theft and murder (most of the non-combatant casualties are from paramilitary death squads, and most paramilitary violence is committed in areas where the regular army has a strong presence). The U.S. officially sends money to fight narcotics production under the aegis of the War on Drugs; however, that money is used extensively by the Colombian military to fight the rebels, not the actual elements of Colombia's illicit drug economy.
After the contra war, the CIA continued to ally itself with narco-militarists in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico and Panama. Many of these alliances have shifted, but the practice apparently continues, even in Myanmar (Burma) in a continuation of CIA machinations in the Golden Triangle (with an added twist of an international oil venture involving Unocal).
The quiet side of gun-boat diplomacy (or how to win and influence peoples)
Nearly a century ago, King Leopold of Belgium ran a murderous regime in the Belgian Congo. The horror of the time was that his armies killed off half of a population of 20 million (a large African republic which was up until recently named Zaire). The other governments of Europe saw the horror of his bloody rule as such a destabilizing threat to colonialism, that they literally took possession of the Congo from Leopold under a pan-European administration.
Joseph Conrad wrote about the Congo in the novella "Heart of Darkness." In Heart of Darkness, Conrad's protagonist commented about the excuses that cloak the true nature of colonialism, namely "Christianizing the savages." The willingness of governments to disguise the real basis of their foreign policies and actions abroad hasn't changed: modern euphemisms, such as "making the world safe for democracy," serve the same purpose: to short circuit public skepticism of the real world of Machiavellian state-craft (now broadcast daily through the ultimate of propaganda machines).
The U.S. has always, and at any cost, maintained US hegemony in the
Caribbean, Central and South America. For instance, early in this century,
Panama was set up by U.S.-backed bandits, stealing the isthmus from Colombia
with the backing of the U.S. military. The objective was to build the canal
as property of the U.S.A. Then, as now, we used proxies to do our dirty
work; hence, neo-colonialism.
"..Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."
Covert war, cash crops and protected pipelines:
The unquiet way to go about this business is through open warfare. But the quiet way to gain influence and control in Latin America is through manipulation of the illicit cash crop of Latin America: Coca. Enter the alliance with the criminal enterprise and the requisite quid-pro-quo. The U.S. has a unique ability to influence a foreign government's militaries and politicians (especially the corrupt ones), as well as allying with criminal proxies (which serve the same end), so it's short order to protect a narcotics pipeline.
As any criminal knows, it's important to have corrupt government officials available in order to help protect the racket. However, in the case of the CIA, it's less a function of ordinary greed and more a function of drug-money-for-guns and acquisition of control in coca economies.
But protecting a particular narco-pipeline leads results in increased volume and increased cash flows towards that pipeline. The CIA and its proxies (like General Manuel Noriega) offer what only government facilitators can offer: a government-protected pipeline to the end-market. A CIA-protected pipeline provides privileged access to the market.
In the 1980's this meant cocaine producers routed their product through the privileged CIA-protected La Corporacion-Cali-Noriega-Contra coke pipeline, with a commensurate increase in volume and drop in prices (mentioned above). This was a monetary pipeline as well, with the producer economies receiving infusions of hard American currency. In that sense one commodity, cocaine, flowed north while another kind of commodity flowed south: hard currency. The power of hard currency cannot be underestimated, and one of the most powerful weapons at the U.S.'s disposal is a Federal Reserve Note.
Consider what happens when the CIA allies itself with drug smugglers to gain control of Latin economies: Rather than let independent politicians have more money, power or control, the CIA's underworld proxies infiltrate the legitimate political system.
With that statement in mind, consider these quotes from ex-DEA agents
like Michael Levine and Cellerino Castillo:
"Castillo stated that together with 3 other ex-DEA agents, they were willing to testify in Congress regarding their direct knowledge of CIA involvement in international drug trafficking. Castillo estimates that approximately 75% of narcotics entered the U.S. with the acquiescence or direct participation of U.S. and foreign CIA agents." (August 13, 1996 San Diego Union-Tribune, regarding Rep. Robert Toricelli's proposed subcommittee on the intelligence community and human rights violations in Guatemala and Central America).
"We also became aware of deep connections between the law- enforcement community and the intelligence community. I, personally, repeatedly heard from prosecutors and people in the law-enforcement world that CIA agents were required to sit in on the debriefing of various people who were being questioned about the drug trade. They were required to be present when witnesses were being prepped for certain drug trials. At various times the intelligence community inserted itself in that legal process. I believe that that was an impropriety; that that should not have occurred."
"...We ran into another procedure which was extremely troubling. There was a system for stopping Customs inspections of inbound and outbound aircraft from Miami and from other airports in Florida. People would call the Customs office and say, "Stand down. Flights are going out. Flights are coming in."
before the October 1996 Senate Select Intelligence Committee on alleged
CIA drug trafficking to fund Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s, Chaired by
As the size of the Peru/Bolivia-to-Miami/L.A. pipelines increased, their entire coca economies were drawn into that pipeline. There was a giant sucking sound of this big operation's intake valve pulling everything in its direction, economically and otherwise.
The CIA gained tremendous power from this: the CIA proxies (The chosen narco traffickers - Cali cartel, Noriega, etc.) who benefitted from the protection owed their fealty to the U.S. government. They returned the favor by channeling their product through the Contra operation, as well as infiltrating their respective economies, so that the CIA increased its influence and control via these underworld proxies.
The consequences of protected drug pipelines are well known: The CIA's use of opium warlords in fight the war in Laos resulted in wildly escalated addictions in the U.S. Moreover, by allowing the Latin cartels to transform into sophisticated international business organizations (La Corporacion in Peru), nearly every republic in the region has become intractably immeshed in a narcotics economy.
By manipulating drug transshipment nodes, narco-militarists and narco-profits, the CIA has gained incredible amounts of influence, and even control, in the region. Good narco-facilitators gain more power and wealth. Narco-facilitators who act in defiance of U.S. interests, like Gen. Hueso-Rosa of Honduras, ex-President Salinas of Mexico or Gen. Manuel Noriega, ultimately find themselves suddenly exposed, deposed and either exiled or rotting in prison.
Historically, any attempt at local independence in Latin America is contrary to the hegemony of the U.S.A. (Recall the Monroe Doctrine that established that the U.S.A. was the sole player in the Carribean basin and that European powers were to stay out). Contemplate the end game: Were a Latin American confederacy or superstate to emerge from the divided (and conquered) crazy quilt of republics, it would constitute a 'threat' - a challenge - to U.S. 'interests' - hegemony.
The Latin republics would no longer be subservient to U.S. interests (neo-colonial exploitation by proxy). Latin America could assert its own objectives over U.S. objections. Chile, Bolivia, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua all have endured a sad history of their misfortunate inhabitants suffering at the blood-thirsty hands of U.S.-backed despots.
Enter the War on Drugs:
The most disturbing aspect about this whole rotten mess, is that the U.S. National Security operatives planning and implementing these operations could not have possibly been unaware of the long-term consequences of their actions. To suggest that the CIA's black-ops specialists would be naive as to the outcome of their actions is to engage in a gross act of denial (especially after their well-documented heroin-related machinations in Laos and the resultant soaring drug addiction problem amongst G.I.'s). It doesn't take a genius to tell you that if specific drug pipelines are protected from interdiction, the resulting increase in drug volume will see a commensurate increase in drug addiction in the U.S.
The narco-colonial trade-off for enhanced control in the Americas is increased coca volumes. But is it a 'trade-off' or is it a 'benefit?' The European colonial opium trade relied upon a simple formula to expand it's business: the targeted market focused upon concentrations of poverty, facilitated by the ease with which the impoverished could make a living through opium distribution. A supply of unsuspecting, undereducated or desperate people easily duped into addiction always helped.
With the protected pipelines from the Bolivian cocaine coup and the Contra war, came increased cocaine volumes and lower prices. The ultra-cheap cocaine inevitably landed in the inner cities, as it necessarily would, the crack cocaine plague affecting inner-city minorities first. And, although the typical crack user is white, inconvenient facts haven't stopped the media from scapegoating blacks as the locus of the drug scourge. (Remember, during Prohibition, the inner-city Italian mobsters paid in blood, Canadian and Irish rum-runners and producers got rich. So did folks like the Kennedys. )
Scapegoats always help
If you look beyond the day-to-day nonsense of the two-party system, it should be obvious that political control of the entire hemisphere extends into ultra-covert internal pogroms against minority groups as well (COINTELPRO was only partially revealed, and there's evidence that similar programs continue to this day).
It has been pointed out that, when black communities were saturated with drugs, old objectives at racial oppression were renewed. Neighborhoods were destabilized, men were killed off, incarcerated and marginalized, whites were alienated from blacks via the War-on-Drugs propaganda machine. Throughout the world, governments and their defenders find that propaganda helps to mollify their populations into cooperating with dubious policies.
After all, what's the difference between a black radical in an U.S. urban ghetto and a Guatemalan AmerIndian guerrilla in a mountain village? They are equally troublesome to the expansion of the power of multinational corporations or the rule of oligarchies, and their possible followers are equally expendable.
A war of attrition clearly has its place: Eradicating mountain villages to eliminate 'leftist sympathizers' or bombing South Vietnamese villages so to deprive the Viet Cong of a population or bombing U.S. cities with drugs are equally useful strategies on a continuum of tactical considerations.
Historically, minority groups that have been disinclined to fall in line with these objectives find themselves somehow 'contained,' hence the centuries-old war on Amerindian and African-American civil rights, the overt and covert assaults on the left wing (COINTELPRO), the use of CIA assets to contain the left wing, and the deployment of agent provocateurs against activists (Black Panthers, Ms. Qadala Shabazz, Earth First!, amongst others).
The personal observation of the author is this: There is no depth this government won't go to infiltrate, scapegoat dissident groups, and manipulate the polity.
The New World's order is much more subtle than black helicopters and blue helmets
The War on Drugs turns our economy into an enforcement economy. Under the rubric of the War on Drugs, there is big money to be dispersed, fealty to be acquired and developed, control to be wielded, power to be used and civil rights to be rescinded. Money, power, control, hegemony; whatever: It's an old story with a new sinister and disturbing spin.
Lest this discussion devolve into dire and grim resignation, we can address, with sarcastic humor, the out-of-hand dismissals of this sordid array of facts as the wild-eyed conjectures of 'conspiracy theorists.'
Yes, there are many conspiracy theories flying about, many of which I wouldn't recommend anyone give much credence. However, this aspect of CIA operations - the fact that it allies itself with underworld figures - is simply grounded in fact. It's not even a function of conspiracy, it is a function of policy. One should regard this as policy theory.
Alas, there are the off-the-cuff dismissals from government apologists (even in the face of the Inspector General's report). When confronted with these I reply (with rhetorical sarcasm) that I'm actually a coincidence theorist. Certainly it's all a BIG coincidence that the CIA allies with underworld figures, that drug traffic is international, that the CIA's interests are international, that the CIA seeks to infiltrate foreign governments, and that there was an explosion of cocaine trafficking while the CIA was protecting drug traffickers in the early 1980's. Yup. Yessirree. All a big coincidence. And if all those things are coincidences, then the CIA has never done anything illegal and criminals will work for free.
For those of you in the right-wing who think that the blame should befall New World Order crypto-communists (the 'New World Order' isn't so new: If you look at a U.S. $1 Federal Reserve Note, 'Novus Ordo Seclorum' means "a New Order for All" ), you might want to look into the reality that ex-President George Bush was formerly a CIA director and that the CIA protected Contra drug smuggling under the office of then-Vice President George Bush, his NSC staff and CIA-director William Casey. While Sen. Jesse Helms may be against a New World Order, ex-President George Bush (former CIA director, former Drug Czar) wasn't. Just to understand the scope of political control that the two-party system has acquired, consider the fact that then-CIA Director William Casey also sat on the board of Capitol Cities, Inc. In reponse to critical reporting in news broadcast on the ABC television network, Casey and Capitol Citites bought ABC! Functionally: The CIA bought ABC.
And, for those of you in the left wing who think that right-wing crypto-fascists are to strictly to blame, perhaps you should re-evaluate the ostensible left-wing of the U.S. While the superficial ideological cover for the Democrats is liberalism which appeals to many (including the rank-and-file press), the Democratic Party, as Jerry Brown observed from his first-hand experience, is a huge cover story for the "wholesale buying and selling of raw power." The CIA's misadventure in Laos fell under the auspices of two different U.S. presidencies, one Democratic the other Republican. The reputation of President Bill Clinton has been marred by allegations (stemming from his tenure as Governor of Arkansas) of corruption and involvement in the Arkansas drug trade related to CIA activities in Mena, Arkansas.
Frankly, the Republican party is only a little more brazen and less hypocritical than the Democrats in their pursuit of power.
The CIA and the 2-party system of the Democrats and Republicans hold a close alliance - a veritable cartel. The 2-party system has had winner-take-all control over U.S. politics for the past century, ever since splinter parties were suppressed via anti-fusion laws. While the CIA is directly culpable for covert narco-colonialism, it has done it to expand the influence and maintain the political and economic hegemony of the U.S., both internally and abroad.
When you look at the real underpinnings of what the CIA does and why, and the way U.S. politicians turned CIA narco-colonialism abroad into an internal psy-war under the guise of a War on Drugs, the blame for covert narco-colonialism belongs at the feet of the American 2-party system.