Tag Archives: drug trade

El Chapo escape re-focuses attention on CIA-drug links…

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The second escape from a Mexican maximum security prison of feared Sinaloa drug cartel chieftain Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as El Chapo, has re-focused attention of the ties between the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and drug manufacturing and smuggling syndicates around the world.

Drug smuggling planes used by the Sinaloa and other Mexican cartels and linked to the CIA have been interdicted in Mexico. One, a Gulfstream used by the CIA to rendition suspected Al Qaeda members, crash landed in Yucatan in September 2007. On board the aircraft were 3.3 metric tons of cocaine bound for the Sinaloa cartel from Colombia.

In 2006, Mexican police, acting on a tip from INTERPOL, seized a DC-9 aircraft carrying 5.5 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of $100 million. The plane had made an emergency landing at Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche state. The DC-9 was painted in the familiar blue and white colors of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

In addition, the Zetas cartel, with support from Mossad cells operating in Guatemala and Costa Rica have used weapons smuggled from the United States and drugs smuggled from Mexico and other locations to launch major CIA-sponsored destabilization efforts aimed at toppling the Sandinista government from power in Nicaragua and seeing the leftist National Unity of Hope (UNE) government of Guatemala ousted in the 2012 election.The ouster of the leftist government in Guatemala was accomplished.

The CIA’s ties to El Chapo follow a long history of CIA links to drug smuggling war lords in Third World nations. During the Indochina War, the CIA’s ties with General Khun Sa in Burma’s opium-producing Golden Triangle and General Vang Pao’s drug smuggling operations in Laos, provided Langley which substantial “off-the-books” revenues for clandestine activities around the world. The CIA’s Golden Triangle smuggling operations continue to exist with CIA fronts, mostly shipping companies based in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao, smuggling pure morphine into the United States.

Ever since the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA has been at the center of Afghanistan’s opium and heroin smuggling operations. Most of the smuggling was carried out under the regime of President Hamid Karzai, an old CIA operative since the CIA-led mujaheddin war against the Soviets in the 1980s. When the Taliban banned opium production in 2000, the CIA stepped up its anti-Taliban operations through proxies in the Afghan Northern Alliance and anti-Taliban elements living in Pakistan.

Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, a kingpin in the Afghan heroin trade, has also been on the payroll of the CIA. This was even reported by The New York Times in 2009.

During the 1980s, two Nicaraguan contra operatives, Carlos Cabezas and Julio Zavala, were convicted by the U.S. Justice Department of drug trafficking in Miami, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Another drug smuggler, Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero, was an operative for the two leaders of the contras, Adolfo Calero and Enrique Bermudez. In 1982, the CIA requested the Justice Department to return $36,800 in cash seized from a Meneses operative who was busted in San Francisco. The CIA said the money had to be returned in order to protect an “operational equity.” That equity was the Contra leadership.

The CIA also cooperated with the Israeli Mossad in drug running in the 1980s. Eric Arturo Del Valle, the man Panamanian General Manuel Noriega selected to serve as Panama’s President from 1985 to 1988, was not only a leading member of Panama’s Jewish community but Mossad’s number one asset in Central America. The CIA used the Del Valle family’s sugar export business to smuggle cocaine into the United States. In 1988, the United States exfiltrated Del Valle from Panama City to Miami. Del Valle had broken with Noriega and was replaced as president after the Panamanian junta leader’s indictment by the U.S. Justice Department for drug smuggling. Del Valle arrived at Miami International Airport with several pieces of luggage, some suspected of containing nothing but cash. U.S. Secret Service agents accompanied Del Valle and his wife Marianella to an “undisclosed location.”

The CIA also used Steadman Fagoth Muller, the leader of MISURA, a coalition of Nicaraguan Atlantic coast Indian tribes, the Miskito, Sumo and Rama, to help facilitate the CIA’s Caribbean off-shore narcotics smuggling activities. Miskito Indians began harvesting what became known as “white lobster” — floating packages of cocaine jettisoned from ships originating in Colombia — later picked up by CIA aircraft from small landing strips in Nicaragua and delivered to Mena airport in Arkansas; Marianna airfield, near Memphis; and Marana airport in Arizona.

The Miskito and other tribes received weapons from the CIA in return for the cocaine. Also used to smuggle drugs into the United States was the old CIA proprietary company, Zapata Off-Shore, which was once “owned” by George H W Bush, the vice president of the United States when most of the CIA’s drug smuggling activities were taking place. The shrimp trawlers of another CIA front, Pacific Seafood, was used to transport drugs from Zapata oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to the U.S. mainland. One important destination for the contraband was John F. Kennedy International Airport, where the drugs were delivered into the hands of Italian mafia boss John Gotti’s men. The link between Gotti and the CIA was known to Jeh Johnson, the Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The CIA links were covered up after the Mafia don’s arrest in 1989. Today, Johnson is Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico smuggling operations primarily involved the co-founders of the Medellin cartel in Colombia, Carlos Lehder and Pablo Escobar. As with Noriega who served time in a Florida federal prison, Lehder is housed in a minimum-security Florida federal correctional center. Noriega, who is now in a Panamanian prison, after serving time in a French prison, and Lehder are being kept on ice because of the knowledge they have of the Bush family’s and CIA’s involvement in drug smuggling. Escobar was killed by the Colombian National Police in 1993 after his location was determined through triangulation of his communications signals. The operation was assisted by the U.S. National Security Agency. Escobar was shot in the head, torso, and leg.

When Noriega’s American lawyers threatened to expose videotapes showing Noriega and George H W Bush conspiring to smuggle drugs into the United States, the trial judge, William M. Hoeveler, merely ruled that the CIA could not be brought up by the defense during Noriega’s trial in Miami. Hoeveler, a Jimmy Carter nominee, served on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida until his retirement last year. Although he obviously took his orders from Langley, Hoeveler is praised by his colleagues as a shining star of American jurisprudence. One of his clerks, Kevin Martin, later became a member of the Bush-Cheney recount team in Florida in 2000 and chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under George W. Bush.

There have been appeals for Noriega’s release in Panama and Lehder’s release to his father’s native Germany. As long as the Bush family has anything to do with such decisions, both will remain in prison indefinitely.

“The CIA’s operational directorate, in other words that’s their covert operations, para-military, dirty tricks — call it whatever you want — has for at least 40 years that we can document paid for a significant amount of its work through the sales of heroin and cocaine”

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The Islamic State is destroying opium fields in Afghanistan as it routs the Taliban, according to witnesses.

The reports may ultimately result in the US sending troops back into the country to protect these valuable and highly lucrative assets.

CIA and Afghan Opium

In 2009 it was reported that the CIA controlled the opium trade in Afghanistan through Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the former president, Hamid Karzai, who began his career as a fundraiser for the CIA’s mujahideen during the 1980s.

“CIA-supported Mujahideen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society,” William Blum writes in The Real Drug Lords.

“The Golden Crescent drug trade, launched by the CIA in the early 1980s, continues to be protected by US intelligence, in liaison with NATO occupation forces and the British military. In recent developments, British occupation forces have promoted opium cultivation through paid radio advertisements,” Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2007.

The corporate media, however, has portrayed the Taliban as the source of opium cultivation in the country. Prior to the U.S. invasion of the country, the Taliban were instrumental in outlawing the opium trade, according to the United Nations.

Several years after the invasion and during the occupation by the United States, the drug trade soared to a record $65 billion and Afghanistan produced 92 per cent of the world’s opium, with the equivalent of 3,500 tons leaving the country each year. Other figures put the number far higher, at around 6,100 tons a year.

In 2010 Infowars.com reported on a Gerald Rivera interview with an American soldier who admitted guarding opium fields in Afghanistan.

In 2014 the opium trade reached a new high, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 Afghan Opium Survey.

Opium Trade Floats Wall Street

Banks and financial institutions have long been suspected of using illegal drug sales as a source of profit.

“In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital,” said Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in January of 2009. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.”

Former Managing Director and board member of Wall Street investment bank Dillon Read, Catherine Austin Fitts, says banks launder imponderable amounts of drug money.

“According to the Department of Justice, the US launders between $500 billion – $1 trillion annually. I have little idea what percentage of that is narco dollars, but it is probably safe to assume that at least $100-200 billion relates to US drug import-exports and retail trade,” writes Fitts.

The CIA has long secured the lucrative global drug market for Wall Street and for its own operational “off-the-books” purposes.

“The CIA’s operational directorate, in other words that’s their covert operations, para-military, dirty tricks — call it whatever you want — has for at least 40 years that we can document paid for a significant amount of its work through the sales of heroin and cocaine,” Guerrilla News Network reported in an interview with Christopher Simpson.

The CIA has been in the drug running business since the 1950s. In Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Latin America, and Afghanistan, the CIA — also known as the “Cocaine Import Agency” — has remained at the forefront of the international illicit drug trade. The journalist Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News tied the CIA and the Contras to a large crack cocaine ring in Los Angeles. Webb paid with his life for revealing this information to the public.

“40kg of cocaine found on Mitch McConnell’s father-in-law’s boat”…

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James Chao, father of Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine, has a lot of questions to answer after 40 kilograms of cocaine (about $6.7 million worth) was found on the Ping May, a ship owned by the Foremost Group, a company James Chao founded and led to a tidy fortune. But was that fortune built on honest movement of legitimate bulk trade goods, or has Mr. Chao been trading in less than legal goods?

The cocaine, found in 40 separate packages, was discovered during a routine inspection hidden among a load of coal bound for Europe from the port of Santa Marta, Columbia onboard the Ping May, one of 15 ships Foremost currently operates, with another 8 under construction. The final destination for the ship was to be the Netherlands, likely one of the port cities surrounding Amsterdam. It is known that the Ping May has been witnessed at the port of Zaanstad, one of these cities, in the past.

Foremost Group is the source of most of Senator McConnell’s fortune through gifts and inheritance from his in-laws. It is a shadowy corporation, utilizing a complex scheme of shell companies to skip out on millions in taxes annually…

…Foremost acts as a shipping agent, purchasing vessels made primarily in China and coordinating shipment of commodities. Records reviewed by The Nation reveal that Foremost transports corn, chemicals and other goods to cities throughout the world. The company has offices in New York and Hong Kong.

Some of the goods shipped by Foremost echo themes of the McConnell campaign. At a Young Professionals Association of Louisville event this month, McConnell stressed his opposition to carbon dioxide limits imposed by the federal government that would impact the domestic coal market. He argued that such efforts would be fruitless given the role of coal in developing countries and the rising coal trade. Foremost ships routinely transport coal from ports in Australia and Colombia, countries with cheap coal, for export to Asia and Europe.

The firm, however, leaves a faint online trace. Foremost’s website FMCNY.com is blank. Records and court documents obtained by The Nation show that the ownership of the company’s vessels—with names such as Ping May, Soya May, Fu May and Grain May—is obscured through a byzantine structure of tax entities. Most of Foremost’s vessels are flagged in Liberia, which ensures that crew members of Foremost’s ships work under Liberia’s maritime labor laws, which critics note allow for intimidation in the workplace and few protections for labor unions. In addition, a Liberian “flag of convenience” allows ship owners to pay lower tonnage taxes than ships that fly the US flag. Maritime companies have increasingly used the Marshall Islands to register their vessels. The jurisdiction boasts of “no taxation, lax regulation, and no requirements for disclosure of many corporate details—even to the United States government,” according to a report in World Policy Journal.