Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Shadow Realm (Part 3)

We finished Part 2 of this series on this note:

In a previous post, Sibelology, Part 3 of 2 I make the following remark in the context of the the Sibel Edmonds case:

But what was that about Kurdish separatists? How might they fit in to this picture?

Oh, I can think of tons of ways... three hundred sixty-three tons of ways, to be exact.

That reference is to 363 tons of one hundred dollar bills, shrink-wrapped pallets of money, twelve billion dollars of cash flown into Iraq aboard C-130's during the reign of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The Kurds were only some of the recipients of that cash. Since there was no accountability, terrorists and militias on all sides got some, as did corrupt elements associated with the occupation -- contractors and even some military members were coming back Stateside with duffle bags full of cash, money that belonged to Iraq and that was denominated in fresh, crisp US $100-bills.

But having all these parties benefit is only a factor in keeping the corrupt pipeline open and the money flowing. One additional purpose was the laundering of drug money.

There were legitimate reasons to go to war with Iraq in 2003; indeed, there had been for over a decade, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, as Iraq consistently failed to meet the requirements of the cease-fire agreement.

But, there were no significant ties to Al Qaeda, an organization which made takfir, and thus an enemy, out of Saddam Hussein, an apostate by Wahhabi standards. Neither was the Iraqi WMD program about to deliver nuclear weapons into Hussein's hands. Contrast that to Osama bin Laden, who already had nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union, and who was at one end of a pipeline for nuclear weapons technology that started in the United States and led through the Turkish Deep State, Pakistan and other places to the caves of Tora Bora.

In short, while there were immediate dangers and important reasons to press the hunt for bin Laden in 2002, there was no clear and present danger from Iraq. That notwithstanding, as early as 2002 forces needed in Afghanistan to bring bin Laden to justice were being diverted to the build-up for war in Iraq, even as the world was being told that war with Iraq was not inevitable.

Some elements of the Taliban had been against the heroin industry, but when it became seen as one way to wage jihad against the infidel West by destroying the lives of our young people, while generating wealth that could be used to fuel the military battle to retake Afghanistan from US and allied forces, the brakes came off, and production of heroin became a legitimate form of jihad for the faithful. When our narcotrafficking allies, the Northern Alliance, came to power in Afghanistan following the US invasion, the pandora's box there was open for heroin trafficking -- if one side didn't control a poppy field, somebody else would, but the opiate production would grow, and the heroin pipeline would be opened wide.

Production was already picking up in 2002 as the decision was made that Iraq would be invaded in 2003. Furthermore, it could be anticipated that production in Afghanistan would reach new heights by 2003-2004, so the time to act was now: it wouldn't serve certain business interests to have that heroin pipeline clogged up anywhere, and instability in Iraq would help the flow to market by opening up an alternative route.

Much of Afghanistan's opiate production at the time still had to be sent to Turkey for refining, and the main way to Turkey was across Iran. Specifically, opiates generally had to be moved through Kurdish regions of northwestern Iran and eastern Turkey. One alternative route from Iran into Turkey was through Kurdish-held regions of northern Iraq, so motivation was present for certain elements of the PKK and certain elements in Turkey to bury the hatchet and cooperate for a greater good: narcomoney.

The Left screams about oil as the reason for the war in Iraq, and oil certainly plays a part. Some on the Left scream about profiteering, and this, too, was a big factor in the invasion. But, consistently overlooked are the ties between corrupt elements in the US government and heroin-trafficking cartels in Central and Southwest Asia. One important reason for the Iraq invasion was to destabilize the region sufficiently to create the conditions necessary for the movement of the new bumper crops of opiate products from Afghanistan to Turkey, and 363 tons of US money were flown in to Iraq to pay for it all -- profiteering, terrorism and instability, heroin, everything -- with untainted money.

PBS Frontline did an interview with L. Paul Bremer III in two parts during the summer of 2006:

L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer served as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004.

The first words of that interview name some important names:

Tell me the story of how you get this job.

I was contacted by two people -- Paul Wolfowitz, who is deputy secretary of defense, and Scooter Libby, who was the vice president's chief of staff, both of whom I'd known for decades -- who asked if I would be interested in being considered to go over and run the Coalition Provisional Authority [CPA]. I said, "Well, I've got to talk to my wife," who managed to restrain her enthusiasm at this prospect, I have to say, but in the end agreed....

Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremer and Scooter Libby need to be indicted. The charges include, but are by no means limited to, aiding and abetting terrorism, racketeering and narcotics trafficking, and treason.

Since Scooter Libby was working for Vice President Dick Cheney at the time this was arranged, the Vice President needs to be investigated as well.

We return to Makarenko for the last two paragraphs of this part of Makarenko's paper, The Crime–Terror Continuum: Tracing the Interplay between Transnational Organised Crime and Terrorism. These paragraphs are extremely important for a variety of reasons; here I use them to hammer home the most important point of this post, and will leave the other meanings for a later time:

Although terrorist groups have commonly been associated with trafficking in illicit narcotics, they have also engaged in a wide variety of other crimes such as fraud, counterfeiting and human smuggling. According to Rohan Gunaratna, Al Qaeda's financial network in Europe, dominated by Algerians, is largely reliant on credit-card fraud [26]. Gunaratna quotes that nearly US$1 million a month has been raised from these alternative criminal avenues. Furthermore, European security agencies have admitted that prosecuting terrorists engaged in credit-card fraud has been a daunting task because 'al-Qaeda's cadres are continually learning new techniques to evade detection' [27]—illustrating the extent to which Al Qaeda has manipulated processes of globalisation and its networked organisation. Terrorist groups have similarly used the trade in counterfeit products as a source of profit. According to Ronald Noble, Secretary General of Interpol, paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, and Albanian extremist groups are heavily engaged in moving counterfeit products, from cigarettes to computer software [28].

As the 1990s progressed and both criminal and terrorist groups incorporated economic and political capabilities into their remit, many groups lost sight of their original motivations and aims. Thus at the start of the twenty-first century a growing number of groups have simultaneously displayed characteristics of organised crime and terrorism. Furthermore, in assessing the development of these hybrid organisations, it is evident that the motivations, organisation, and operations of criminal and terrorist groups have also converged—thus making it analytically difficult to make a distinction between the two phenomena.

Again, this is not a unidimensional nexus, but rather a shadow realm, and I put it to you that this convergence of organized crime and terrorism has mixed with "legitimate" political and business interests and generated a mafia that reaches into the highest levels of the US government: in both parties, in the Executive and Legislative branches of government, among elected, appointed and career officials alike.

Vast tracts of the Washington elite are rotten to the core, in bed with terrorists, heroin traffickers, slave runners and spies who steal US nuclear technology and sell it to the highest bidder.

Concluding with another quote from the interview with Paul Bremer:

You talked with the president about all of this?

Yes, I did. The most important conversation I had was at a one-on-one luncheon that he invited me to about 10 days before I went to Baghdad. I had not met the president before. He was very open, and we discussed quite a lot -- China and the Middle East and so forth. I found him very well informed. There was no detail missing.

But then we got to Iraq, and I basically said, "I'm going to need some help." He said, "How can I help you?" I said: "Two ways. Number one, we're going to need time to make this happen. It's going to be really tough." ...And he said very clearly, "I'll give you whatever time you need. I'm not going to be dissuaded by the polls or by the pundits or by the election cycle," because this was, of course, in May of 2003, so about a year and a half before he would have been up for re-election. I said, "I need to be sure I have adequate authority to carry out the job you're giving me." ...And he said: "Don't worry. I understand that. We'll fix that."


Rider of Rohan said...

i didn't quite understand the post. are you implying that american and european consumtion of drugs is leading to funding for the taliban. maybe you're right. and really, there was no legitimate reason to invade iraq. everyone knows that. except probably the american populace.

WomanHonorThyself said...

ah so sorry..not buying it all my friend...but but as always your writing is beyond excellent.........Blessings!

Yankee Doodle said...

Hi, Rohana! Welcome back on-line -- we don't see you often enough. :)

I've had several posts leading up to this one, and they help build a context for this.

The Taliban are now cashing in big time on Western heroin addiction, and they're not the only ones.

Angel, I would be surprised at you if you did buy everything I write. In fact, you've been so supportive with your comments that I was almost beginning to wonder. ;)

There were legitimate reasons to go to war with Iraq, although in my opinion, they were not enough. I suspect most Americans felt that way, and that's why we didn't go to war during Clinton's tenure.

However, in the wake of 9/11, people were looking for the guilty, and most people instincively understand that Al Qaeda needed some help to pull 9/11 off. Consequently, Hussein came to mind.

The smoldering heat of conflict was flamed by rhetoric about weapons of mass destruction -- rhetoric that sounded very plausible, given Hussein's history.

But, some people in key places in the Administration had ulterior motives. For some, it may have been as simple as energy security for America -- not a sufficient reason to go to war, for sure, but an understandable concern. For others, it was an eye on money to be made either with the war, or rebuilding Iraq, or perhaps with the oil industry in Iraq. Finally, there were those who wanted certain side deals they had made to become more lucrative.

Consequently, whether decent, honest Americans with legitimate concerns and imperfect knowledge regarding Iraq, or profiteers or even narcotraffickers, there were enough people with the same idea for the project to happen -- and, the dictator's brutal days were numbered.

By the way, the last comment that I quote, about Bremer's meeting with Bush, was obviously not in the context of heroin trafficking. My point in putting it in there is to show that Bremer considered Bush to be very well-informed on all the details of Iraq.

Consequently, Bush is implicitly implicated, since he logically knew then some of what we are just now finding out. He is therefore under suspicion for everything else -- from profiteering up to and including the heroin trafficking.

Bush and Cheney both need to be investigated by independent counsel.

WomanHonorThyself said...

hey there buddy...will respond in kind...perhaps a post is in order..will keep u posted..ha..thanks always for the respectful dialogue...youre the best!

Michael said...

Well Yankee Doodle what can I write? True the Taliban practically reduced opium to zero and since the occupation production is reaching record levels. True also the USA is doing nothing about it, I'm sure it still has ample stocks of Agent Orange. "Afghans Pressed by U.S. on Plan to Spray Poppies" http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/08/world/asia/08spray.html . The fact is if the USA wanted to do this it would with or without the approval of the puppet Afghan government but the US realises that for most Afghans it's the only source of income and that to destroy it would greatly increase the civil unrest. Nothing, nothing at all to do with the Taliban, you are simply inventing a new conspiracy theory.
There's a common theme running through American policy in regards to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Russia, Venezuela and indeed the whole world. That theme is related to the US$ and oil sales, the protection of the US$ as the "world's reserve currency" to be used in worldwide oil transactions. Iraq stopped doing that in 2000, Iran stopped this year as did Venezuela and Russia has stated that it would prefer EUROS.
The American economy has depended for decades on countries throughout the world holding billions of dollars and investing surpluses back into the US economy. That is beginning to end and it signals the end of American world domination.
Japan and China lead flight from the dollar

Iran's Oil Bourse

Gulf funds drift away from dollar

Dollar's double blow from Vietnam and Qatar

"Are Iran, Russia, China behind dollar's free-fall
Euro may replace dollar as "reserve currency"...
Almighty US dollar turns into ‘American peso’


Yankee Doodle said...

Michael, you definitely bring up an excellent point about reserve currency and the denomination of the oil trade.

I have read a bit about that, though I have not yet addressed it here at the blog. Perhaps I was a little negligent in not mentioning it; thank you very much for pointing that out.

If any of my other readers doubt Michael's take on this, do an internet search for yourself -- you'll find many more links.

This thing about not taking out the poppy fields in order to not hurt the local economy -- that just doesn't fly.

If the Taliban were so effective against the poppies -- and I question their total effectiveness -- what were these people doing to survive under Taliban rule? More to the point, why can't they start doing it again?

Assuming it's true that destroying their poppy plants means destroying their economy, then we need to destroy their economy. It is unacceptable to allow the lives of so many of our people -- not just in the West, but all around the world -- to be destroyed just to keep those guys in business. And let's not kid ourselves -- it goes far beyond the junkies. When heroin addicts need a fix, they resort to street crime to get the money for their heroin. Muggings, carjackings, burglaries, robberies -- the victims of these crimes are secondary victims of drug trafficking. And it goes far beyond that even, to the corruption that organized crime brings to our society.

On top of that, the fact that this drug money fuels terrorism has been thoroughly proven -- even more than petrodollars, narcodollars will pay for the next 9/11 or 7/7 or Bali or Madrid or whatever. Narcomoney pays for the mujahideen efforts against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the attacks on Israel; it funds instability worldwide.

If we are going to use that logic to justify inaction against heroin trafficking -- which kills people just as dead as suicide bombers, and destroys our society just as much as terrorism -- then why stop there? Why are we going after drug dealers on our own streets? After all, selling drugs is a job, often some of the only economic activity in certain neighborhoods -- let them work their way up!

Let's not fool ourselves -- this New Age Moral Relativism that allows people to buy that economic argument against eliminating the poppies in the fields is the same kind of lost thinking that allowed Clinton's presidency to last for a second term and come through an impeachment proceeding when he had obviously committed perjury. It is the same kind of nonsense that causes Americans to go along with abuse of detainees through techniques such as waterboarding, which was declared by a US court in the aftermath of World War II to be a war crime.

Regarding new conspiracies, if you want to see more evidence of the connection of heroin trafficking via government corruption to the war in Iraq, that is understandable; but if you doubt the connection between heroin trafficking and corruption in general, you would be naive.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm convinced of two things: this "War on Terror" is about much more than we are told it is about, and heroin is an important ingredient in the mix, as are profiteering and good old-fashioned corruption.

Funny how 1) the threat of terrorism exists due to the drug money; 2) they won't go after the source of the drug money, the poppy fields; and 3) terrorism is the threat used to perpetuate the War on Terror. You might want to look up the meaning of the word "racketeering" and tell me if you think racketeering is just a conspiracy theory, because racketeering is exactly what these guys are doing.

This idea that we need to let those guys produce and ship their heroin -- I've heard it before, but sorry, that dog just don't hunt!

Thank you very much for the most excellent input regarding currency, etc., for the links, and for the thought-provoking comment about a new conspiracy theory.

Michael said...


Selected highlights
JALALABAD, Afghanistan (February 15, 2001 8:19 p.m. EST
U.N. drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has nearly wiped out opium production in Afghanistan -- once the world's largest producer -- since banning poppy cultivation last summer.

"We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields," said Bernard Frahi, regional director for the U.N. program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He laid out photographs of vast tracts of land cultivated with wheat alongside pictures of the same fields taken a year earlier -- a sea of blood-red poppies.
Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban's supreme leader, banned poppy growing before the November planting season and augmented it with a religious edict making it contrary to the tenets of Islam.

The Taliban, which has imposed a strict brand of Islam in the 95 percent of Afghanistan it controls, has set fire to heroin laboratories and jailed farmers until they agreed to destroy their poppy crops
The Taliban enforced the ban by threatening to arrest village elders and mullahs who allowed poppies to be grown. Taliban soldiers patrolled in trucks armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers. About 1,000 people in Nangarhar who tried to defy the ban were arrested and jailed until they agreed to destroy their crops

Michael said...

Clearly the Taliban all but eliminated drug crops, but now with no Taliban in control business is booming. I think you are right about the fact that the USA could quite easily destroy the crops but clearly that's not a priority.
I think you are perhaps correct to suggest that the proceeds go towards financing terrorists organisations, but terrorist organisations that are friendly to the USA government,such as the Jundullah, KDPI [the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran],Komala, Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MEK or MKO), The Badr Brigade, and the Peshmerga.

Yankee Doodle said...

And therein lies my "conspiracy", Michael!

Many competent scholars have produced a great deal of material to show the connection of terrorists to organized crime.

I have heard the story regarding the Taliban both ways. What I suspect is true is this: Generally, the Taliban had stomped out poppy production. But, old habits die hard, and the Taliban had problems with corruption, just like everybody else, so this eradication was far from perfect.

When the US went into Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, our main allies in Afghanistan were the Northern Alliance, known for trafficking in heroin to fund their war.

Facing this situation, the Taliban decided to relax their prohibition against poppy production, provided the resulting heroin went to the infidel West, and provided a cut of the profits fueled their jihad to retake Afghanistan.

Consequently, the heroin genie was now out of the bottle in Afghanistan. Regardless of who controlled production, it would increase, and much of the distribution would be through the Turkish Deep State; they are the ones shown in the Sibel Edmonds case to be paying off politicians and government officials all over Washington, including both parties in Congress, and including key people in the Bush Administration.

"I think you are perhaps correct to suggest that the proceeds go towards financing terrorists organisations, but terrorist organisations that are friendly to the USA government...."

Remember that the President sets foreign policy, and so decides which terrorist organization is friendly to us, and which is not.

And, for two administrations now, the terrorists in Kosovo and elsewhere in the Balkans, with well-known ties to narcotrafficking and to Al Qaeda, have been on the list of terrorists that we like.

The Bush Administration stinks, perhaps even worse than the Clinton Administration did.