Tag Archive: Myanmar


More young people are becoming addicted to heroin in Burma’s northernmost Kachin state as authorities fail to clamp down on dealers, sources in several towns have warned.

Males between the ages of 17 and 40 were among the most affected,s aid a resident of Mogaung town, which lies just west of the Kachin capital, Myitkyina. Other towns suffering rising rates of addiction were Mohnyin, Myitkyina and Hpakant, he added.

“The kids are so ruined,” the man said. “Everyone, from students aged around 18 to even farmers, are addicted to heroin. They were only trying it out at the beginning but now are addicted.”

He continued that most addicts were injecting the drug, a cheaper method despite the health risks. One intra-venous hit, he said, cost around 1000 kyat ($US1), while smoking through a pipe costs up to 4000 kyat ($US4.50).

A group of heroin dealers were reportedly arrested last month in Mohnyin by the government’s Anti-Drugs Task Force (ADTF) but later released on bail. The man said they had quickly got back to dealing.

BurmaBurma

Assertions by the Burmese government that it is stamping out the country’s lucrative drugs trade have been widely doubted: the US released a report last week saying that Burma had “demonstrably failed” to halt the trade of heroin and its derivative, opium, whilst statistics showed that in-country production of methamphetamine continues to rise.

The report was followed by an announcement in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper that 15,021 acres of poppy fields were destroyed in 2010-2011, 411 of which were in Kachin state. Regardless, however, criticism continues to abound.

“The government is the main culprit for this,” said the Mogaung resident. “The government is the first to blame and the dealers the second. They are openly selling drugs on a tray.”

He claimed that dealers paid monthly bribes of up to 400,000 kyat ($US450) to government officials, including the ANTF.

Two years ago the Kachin News Group released an alarming report claiming that a significant number of students at the once prestigious Myitkyina University in Kachin state had fallen victim to drug addiction, notably heroin, with dealers initially luring students in with free samples.

Until the late 1990s and the explosion in Afghan heroin, Burma had held the distinction of being the world’s leading source of the narcotic, with the ethnic United Wa State Army producing hundreds of thousands of tonnes each year.

A report released last year by the Thailand-based Shan Drug Watch claimed that junta-backed militias had taken over ethnic armies as Burma’s main drugs’ producers, with the product finding its way to neighbouring Thailand and China.

 

source:http://www.eurasiareview.com/world-news/asia/burma-heroin-use-up-as-supply-goes-unchecked-08032011/

Advertisements

SHAN STATE, 13 January 2011 (IRIN) – Poverty and lucrative profits make poppy cultivation increasingly attractive to farmers who would otherwise produce legal crops to feed their families and make a living, say experts.

„More of the rural poor continue to be drawn into participating in the illicit drug trade as a last means of finding money to feed their families,“ Jason Eligh, Country Representative for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Myanmar, told IRIN.

Shan State, 400km north of the capital, Yangon, between Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, produces more than 90 percent of all opium in Myanmar, an estimated 35,000 tons in 2010, according to UNODC.

UNODC is the only international agency directly involved in supporting different crops in poppy cultivation areas, with three agriculture projects in southern Shan State trying to reach 100,000 people. However, much more needs to be done to stop farmers from reverting to opium production, said Eligh.

„UNODC wants to see a strong alternative development response, one that includes market access, community mobilization, access to credit, improved technology and better overall infrastructure in rural areas.“

Cash crop

In 2010, a higher proportion of farmers‘ income came from poppies than in previous years, reversing a trend of steady decline in the past six years.

Between 2003 and 2009, the proportion of total household income from poppies fell from 70 to 20 percent, according to a December 2010 UNODC report.

In 2010, however, high prices paid for poppy in Myanmar and low food security throughout the country meant income from the seed contributed to 43 percent of total household income in Shan State, the report stated. About a quarter of the state’s population was involved, estimate aid agencies.

Though prices at source (farm-gate) for poppy fell marginally in 2010 from 2009, opium overall remained lucrative at US$305 per kilo. Poppy farmers can earn 13 times more money cultivating poppies than rice, making poppies the cash crop of choice for most, based on the UNODC report.

Farmers forced out of poppy cultivation are having problems growing other food to survive. „I grow enough vegetables to keep my family going, but that is all,“ U Tin Kyi told IRIN.

U Tin Kyi grew poppy seeds to supplement his income until authorities destroyed his fields two years ago. Like many of his neighbours in this hilltop village, U Tin Kyi has little extra income. „The fuel cost to get to the market outweighs any profit I would make from selling vegetables,“ he told IRIN.

Eradication efforts

Poppy cultivation continued to rise in Myanmar in 2010, despite an official 15-year drug elimination plan developed in the late 1990s. In 2009, the authorities initiated the final five-year phase of this plan.

Government figures claim 8,268 hectares of poppy-cultivating land were eradicated in 2010, a 102 percent increase on the previous year.

But other groups calculate that Myanmar’s poppy cultivation area and yield actually increased during this period.

„In 2010 we estimate that there [was] 20 percent more area under opium poppy cultivation, a 46 percent increase in average opium yield, and a 17 percent increase in the number of households involved in domestic opium poppy cultivation,“ said Eligh of UNODC.

In northern Shan State, in 2008, government figures showed 25 percent of poppy fields were destroyed, but a 2010 report by Palaung Women’s Organization (PWO), an NGO based in Mae Sot along the Thai-Myanmar border, stated only 11 percent of poppy fields had been eradicated.

Government anti-drug teams were only destroying easily visible poppy fields and filing false eradication data to the police headquarters, the report said. At the same time, farmers were forced to pay taxes to continue growing poppies.

In Mantong village in northern Shan State, PWO estimated the government collected approximately $37,000 in poppy taxes in 2008.

source: http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportID=91614

BANGKOK, Sep 29, 2010 (IPS) – Dustbins in a university toilet rarely elicit a second look, but those at one of the oldest universities in Burma’s Kachin State do offer reason to pause. The bins, after all, collect a special form of garbage disposed of by students – hypodermic needles and syringes they have used to inject themselves with heroin.

The special bins were introduced to Myitkyina University as part of a humanitarian gesture by two non-government organisations – the French-based Medecins Du Monde (MDM) and Holland-based Artsen Zonder Grenzen (AZG) – with the aim of reducing injuries that students often get from stepping on used needles and syringes strewn around the campus.

It is normal to find „discarded bloody syringes, needles, and syringe packets (that) are littered in latrines, under stairwells and bushes, and even scattered on the football field“, according to the Kachin News Group.

It is these details, which expose the alarming level of heroin addiction in the university of some 3,000 students, that Nawdin Lahpai of the Kachin News Group cites when painting a grim picture of „the future leaders of the Kachins being destroyed by drugs“.

„The drug addiction was not as high as it is now in the university, which is located in the capital of the Kachin State,“ the editor of the news organisation, based in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai, told IPS. „It has changed since 2004. Now heroin is easily accessible everywhere.“

Some estimate that over 50 percent of the male and female students seek a narcotic fix. „Students can be seen openly purchasing drugs in shops, cafes, billiard centres and houses near the university,“ with sales beginning as early as 8 a.m. in some places, states a brief study released Wednesday by Nawdin’s media group.

The leaders of the Kachin, an ethnic minority that has, like other ethnic groups, been persecuted by the Burmese military, place the blame for this situation of drug abuse squarely on the country’s junta.

They accuse the regime of promoting the narcotics trade to further torment the country’s beleaguered minorities – and weaken their social fabric.

„The military government must bear responsibility for this spread of drugs into the communities,“ Col James Lum Dau, deputy chief of foreign affairs of the Kachin Independence Organisation, said in an interview. „But the students being addicted to drugs also need to discipline themselves.“

Such concern about heroin use in Burma, also known as Myanmar, is shared in both the Kachin and the neighbouring Shan State, home to the ethnic Shan, near the Chinese border. Both provinces are where most of the opium – a thick paste extracted from poppy to make heroin – is grown in the country.

The Kachin and the Shan are among the 130 ethnic communities in Burma, majority of whose more than 55 million people are with the Burman ethnic group.

Currently, 46 of the Shan State’s 55 townships are growing poppy, Khuensai Jaiyen of the Shan Drug Watch told a press conference here on Sep. 29 to launch the Chiang Mai- based organisation’s 2010 report. „This is attributed to the Burma Army’s reliance on taxation of opium, and its policy to allow numerous proxy militia to deal in drugs.“

„Most of the poppy-growing areas are under control of the Burmese army and the Burmese army’s local militia,“ he added. „The Burmese army needs the drug trade to feed its own troops.“

The continuing presence of poppy fields in the rugged, mountainous corner of Burma over a decade after the regime announced it was determined to eradicate the drug trade by 2014 troubles the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In a December 2009 report, the U.N. agency revealed that the area under poppy cultivation had increased 50 percent since 2006 to 31,700 hectares. „More than one million people are now involved in opium cultivation in Myanmar, most of them in Shan State, where 95 percent of Myanmar’s poppy is grown.“

In fact, „2009 saw the third successive annual increase in cultivation,“ said Gary Lewis, head of the UNODC’s East Asia and Pacific office, in an interview. „Our assessment convinces us that we need to remain very concerned about the extent of opium cultivation in Myanmar.“

This trend marks a reversal of the dramatic drop in Burma’s opium production in the mid-1990s, when it enjoyed the notoriety of being the world’s leading opium producer. The 1995-96 harvest season saw poppy cultivation peak at an estimated 163,000 hectares, producing 1,760 metric tonnes of opium, says the UNODC.

„At that time these figures were the highest in the world,“ said Lewis. „By 2001-2002 however, domestic cultivation had declined to 81,400 hectares and estimated opium production had decreased to 828 metric tonnes.“

The Burmese regime’s 1999 announcement that it would eradicate the drug trade in 15 years saw the country give way, in 2000, to Afghanistan as the world’s largest heroin supplier.

But the junta’s continued support of opium production convinces the likes of Khuensai that the regime’s ‘war on drugs’ is a „charade“. „This is evident from the junta’s local militias emerging as the new drug lords in Burma.“

The easy access to drugs in Kachin State exposes the junta’s plans „to profit at the expense of the ethnic groups,“ adds Nawdin. „It is almost like a Cold War to destroy the young.“

source is: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53002

At anytime, drugs were seized, ceasefire groups were often stereotyped as the producers and the owners of the products, especially nowadays, because the groups are at loggerheads with Burma’s ruling military junta over the junta’s run border guard force (BGF) program, said a ranking Wa official from Panghsang, on the Sino-Burma border.

“Whenever there is a drug seizure, almost everyone would report most of the time that it comes from the ceasefire groups, particularly the Wa, because we are in need for arms and ammo for our defense against the Burma Army,” said the officer who requested not to be named.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) has been dubbed as a terrorist organization with connections to drug trafficking by the United States. Most of its leaders are also wanted by both Thailand and US.

“It is our turn to be the fall guys, like Khun Sa (late leader of the defunct Mong Tai Army) did for us in the past,” he said. “During Khun Sa’s days drugs seized were said to have come from him even though they actually come from the Wa. At that time he was a scapegoat for the Wa.”

“Now all fingers are upon us whether or not the drugs come from us.  Maybe we are repaying for what we had done to Khun Sa.”

Meanwhile, the UWSA and its southern ally National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) better known as Mongla have been launching a joint operation against drug traders in their controlled regions since 1 August 2010, according to sources from Mongla and Panghsang.

“In August, Mongla alone arrested over 300 people ,” said the source returning from Mongla.

Likewise, Panghsang has so far seized over 30 different types of cars mostly owned by Chinese businessmen suspected as drug dealers, according to a source from Panghsang.

“I saw the cars gathered at the Weluwan monastery in Panghsang. Some owners were arrested by the Wa and some escaped,” he said.

A businessman from Shan State East speaking to the Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), said anyone who wants to sell any kind of drugs must seek the assistance of the junta-backed militia units since the Burma Army’s relations with the Wa had turned sour over its BGF program outlined in April 2009. Since then the Burma Army had showered its favor on local militia units.

“The tables have turned now. Not only other dealers but the Wa as well have to pay militia units for the safe passage of their goods,” he said. “Now most of the drugs (pills, Ice and heroin) are manufactured by militia men. All their yaba pills are copying famous Wa brands.”

A long drug user in Shan State East’s Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Mae sai said the quality of yaba (methamphetamine) is different even though similar in appearance.

“If it is militias’ products, the color will be lighter, the pill is softer, has much ash and not so strong. Moreover, the smell is not so fragrant as the Wa’s,” he said.

According to him, the price between the militias and the Wa’s products is also different in Tachilek markets. One pill of Yaba (methamphetamine) made by Wa is sold between Baht 42-43 ($1.4-1.43) and the militias’ pill is between Baht 30-33 ($1-1.1).

According to a SHAN’s source, prices of heroin and ice have also dropped during these days. “Only few people are asking to buy and sell heroin,” he said. “The rage now is Ice (crystal methamphetamine).”

Last year heroin price Baht 330,000 ($10,000) for 1 Jin (700 gm) and now has dropped to Baht 280,000-290,000 ($9,100.34-9,425.36). “It may be also related to the drop in the dollar price,” he said.

The most hit and best selling product now is “ice”, he said, whose price used to be Baht 800,000- 1 million ($26,000.98-32,501.22) per kilogram, now it is about Baht 520,000 ($16,900.64). “The Ice price in Bangkok is double Tachilek and ten times in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

According to him, King Roman Casino, opened in September 2009, on the Thai-Lao border has become where drug entrepreneur meet to make deals. “The areas around here are controlled by Naw Kham. Everyone must pay him protection money to get their goods across. No one dares to touch him because top Burma Army officers are behind him.”

SHAN will be releasing its 2009-2010 drug report next week, according to its editor Khuensai Jaiyen.

Drug economics in Burma’s new political order

The regime’s biggest threat for the past half-century, besides Aung San Suu Kyi, has been rebel armies from various ethnic groups. For decades the regime has worked to increase its presence in these rural areas by building paramilitary allies in hostile regions. The local militias suppress rebel activities in exchange for the freedom to produce and transport drugs with full military co-operation. As the military brokered more deals, its obsession with power quickly took precedence over its war on drugs. Now the regime is more powerful than ever, due to a survival strategy that is largely subsidised by Burma’s multi-billion-dollar drug trade. Perry Santanachote examines that trade, the people who benefit from it and cover it up, the victims and those caught in between.

drug-burma1
MYANMAR, LWE SAN SONE RANGE : A Myanmar soldier, holding his machine gun, displays to foreign journalists opium poppies 15 January 2000 during the destruction of an opium field near the notorious Golden Triangle. Fifty thousands villagers will be uprooted from their homes in this lucrative opium area to be relocated in an unprecedented mass migration project designed to crippled heroin production. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND

Welcome to Shan State: land of the drug lords

Aung Min, like many in Rangoon, grew up poor. He enlisted in the Burmese army in 1999 at the age of 18 with ambitions that he would one day join the ranks of his commanding officers. By 2003 he was a second lieutenant stationed in Laukkaing Township in Shan State and led a group of 20 men – his pockets filled reliably with drug money.

Opium production has been an economical lynchpin in eastern Shan State since the late 1940s when military leaders refused to honour the Panglong Agreement that granted autonomy to ethnic states. Rebel armies grew as their drug trade took over the region, and then the world. Shan warlord Khun Sa dominated Southeast Asia’s infamous Golden Triangle with his heroin enterprise through the 1980s and 1990s. By 1995, the Golden Triangle, the mountainous region where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet, became the world’s leader in opium production. His 30-year revolutionary war ended in 1996 but heroin continues to flow out of the state, albeit at a lower rate, with a new breed of drug lords.

Despite acknowledgement by the US State Department that poppy cultivation in Burma today is less than 20 per cent of what it was in the mid-1990s, it’s still an annual multi-billion-dollar business. Burma remains the world’s second-largest opium producer after Afghanistan, and processed 330 metric tonnes, or 17 per cent, of last year’s world supply, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2010 World Drug Report. Poppy cultivation has also been on a steady incline for the past three years.

Other pages in the report show that Burma is also Asia’s largest producer of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), which include methamphetamine, distributed in the form of the cheap and chemically dirty pills, most commonly known in Thailand and the region as ya baa (crazy drug); and the more expensive and cleaner crystalline form known as Ice. Burmese production of methamphetamine coincided with reduced opium production, but producers did not necessarily switch over.

“There has been more production last year when it comes to stimulants because of the increased involvement by the junta-backed militia groups,” Khun Seng, an editor at the independent media and research group Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), said. “When the militia groups support the political aspirations of the junta they are also supported by the junta in their drug activities.”

“And if you’re the drug boss,” he added. “You’ll do anything that’ll bring in money. If I’m producing more meth it is because of the market – the buyers. Right now, for two years in a row, opium production has been down so there is less production of heroin than in other years, that’s all. They are not intentionally switching from heroin production to meth production.”

Pornthep Eamprapai, director of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board in Chiang Mai, said heroin and opium production was down because of climatic conditions and drought, not because of eradication. “Meth” quickly filled that gap in recent years, he said, because consumer demand in Thailand is high due to economic and social instability. Thais are becoming addicted to ya baa at an alarming rate, while they were never too keen on heroin.

“Making meth is so much easier too,” Pornthep said. “Cooking up meth or Ice doesn’t require any crop.”

Another big difference between today’s drug trade and that of the Khun Sa era, is that it is now increasingly controlled by the government. Former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt engineered a series of ceasefires with major drug-producing militias in 2003-2004 and incorporated them into the economy and constitutional process, creating an environment conducive to drug production and collusion between military personnel and drug traffickers. The regime has been suspected of involvement in the drug trade in the past but never at the level seen today.

In the past decade, the military regime has prioritised keeping it under wraps and making it appear as though it has waged a war on drugs. In 1999 the military inducted a 15-year drug-eradication programme, made lofty promises to the international community to crack down on trafficking, publicised some token drug busts and even opened an anti-drug museum. But these acts were all sleight of hand – an illusion to placate the international community. Although, they may have worked.

The UNODC commended the junta for its “considerable decrease in the area under cultivation and a strong decline in potential opium production” in its Opium Poppy Cultivation Report last year and budgeted US$7.7 million for the eradication programme between 2004 to 2007.

“It’s just another attempt to get the international community to pay for ordinary development programmes instead of using the state budget for that purpose,” said Chiang Mai-based author Bertil Lintner, who chronicled the history of Burma’s heroin warlords in his book, Burma In Revolt, and more recently the multi-billion-dollar methamphetamine trade in Merchants of Madness: The Methamphetamine Explosion in the Golden Triangle.

“And most of the UNODC’s programmes are just that – ordinary development programmes that have little or nothing to do with drug eradication,” Lintner said.

Pornthep says the Thai government gives Burma 20 million baht (US$625,000) annually every year for opium eradication.

“Their [Burma’s] government isn’t doing enough because they don’t have the resources,” he said. “Therefore they need co-operation and aid from other countries.”

Eleven years later, drug lords continue to operate with impunity and the Burmese Army remains closely involved in the lucrative opium economy, using it as leverage against ceasefire armies. As its deadline approaches, Burma is nowhere near being a drug-free nation. Only 13 townships of the targeted 51 can claim to be poppy-free, while the others are still growing, according to the 2009 Shan Drug Watch Report.

Military culture: a paradigm shift

In 2003 Aung Min was riding high on drug “taxes” collected from traffickers that crossed into his command area, but one day he arrested and executed 15 traffickers, seized their heroin and sold it on the Chinese black market for 200 million Kyats (US $200,000), 20 times more than he would make in a year of tax collecting.

drug-burma2
MYANMAR, LOWI SOI : A poppy sticks out among others in this poppy-field outside the village of Lowi Soi, in Myanmar’s Northern Shan state, close to the Chinese border, 26 February. This is in one of the few opium growing settlements in the region which the government says has escaped its anti-drug campaign. Myanmar authorities took some delegates from the Interpol Fourth International Heroin Conference and journalists to see the results of its anti-opium campaign which won an endorsement from the world police body. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND …

Military intelligence investigated Aung Min shortly after the incident when his foot soldiers were seen suddenly adorned in gold jewellery and he had made a considerable transaction to his mother in the middle of Burma’s banking crisis that had left several banks bankrupt and the Kyat inflated beyond repair. That red flag landed him 15 years in prison. However, the crime he committed was not really the problem; it was the spectacle that got him in trouble.

“Military officers’ involvement in drug trafficking is very common, particularly in Shan State. Even the killing,” said an ex-army captain and friend of Aung Min. “It’s rare that they are arrested. Aung Min was inexperienced so he didn’t know how to be low-profile.”

The former officer divulged Aung Min’s story on condition of anonymity. He left the army last year after 10 years of service and now lives across the border in northern Thailand. He went through three years of officer intake with Aung Min and said they were close friends. The last time they saw each other was on October 7, 2002.

“He was very honest – a simple man,” he said. “I was surprised when I found out. I think it was due to the environment because he was assigned to this area and this kind of bribing, taking money, dealing drugs – this might have changed him.”

Many Burmese soldiers survive on revenues collected from extortion fees because their salaries are meagre and the government has cut off their rations. Today, a private earns about 16,000 Kyats a month, a sergeant earns 35,000 to 40,000 Kyats, while a major general earns 800,000 Kyats.

“The army capacity is also declining: the fighting capacity, military capacity, administration capacity, organising capacity. It’s all due to mismanagement,” he said. “While at the top level they’re getting more benefits and becoming wealthier.”
The ex-army captain explained that battalions had been cut down, but they still had the same amount of work. Faced with the challenge, they had to get creative and make deals with traffickers instead of trying to fight them.

“We can’t fight Karen rebels with 120 soldiers. It’s like 120 people with the duties of 500,” he said.

In 2005, headquarters ordered him to set fire to 180 homes in a Karen village in Kanasoepin Village, Thandaung Township.

“My superiors asked the villagers to forcibly relocate to a designated area. They wanted to control them and destroy the village so they couldn’t communicate with rebels,” he said. “I had to get an agreement with the village head to set up three houses only, document and report to regional command. This way it’d be win-win.”

In this incidence, “win-win” was not bribery, it was security. He only had 18 soldiers with him that day, in an area he referred to as “the black area” where Karen rebels are active.

“If we burned down the village, the Karen rebels would have attacked us,” he said. At that point, he realised he wanted out of the army. “I didn’t want to live with that stress anymore – to deal with that anymore.”

He said there were no official orders to bribe opium farmers or traffickers, but that it had become a major component of military culture. Everyone takes bribes and the money goes all the way up the chain until it eventually reaches Senior General Than Shwe. Officers stress that discretion is key because of the military’s appearance of reform. If a soldier’s actions threaten to expose their role in the drug trade, he will suffer the same fate as Aung Min.

Aung Min’s story illustrates the military’s deep involvement in the drug trade – a complete contradiction to the image it has projected to the world.

Appearances deceptive

A favoured tactic of the regime in its delusive fight against drugs is the highly publicised heroin eradication programme, which the ex-officer explained is set up.

There would be orders from the regional command centre to cut off poppy at a plantation, he said. The authorities would call the farmers and village leader before heading out and telling them to prepare the crop. Upon arrival the farmers would show the soldiers the unusable poppy plants, made so by the plants’ inability to produce the seeds required to make heroin. The soldiers would slash these and leave the good ones intact. Then they would document the eradication with photographs and bonfires. Afterwards, the soldiers collect 10 million Kyats from the village head. This process is repeated every three months.

The Palaung Women’s Organisation (PWO), an NGO based in Mae Sot, Thailand, found in its 2009 report, Poisoned Hills, that only 11 per cent of poppy fields had been destroyed the previous season, mostly in areas visible to the UN’s satellite monitors. The police reports they obtained claimed that 25 per cent of fields were destroyed.

More “taxes” are collected in the trafficking process too. The ex-army captain explained that regional commanders communicate with ceasefire group leaders and issue passes to place on the narcotics cargo trucks so that they are exempt from searches at checkpoints. There are 13 regional commanders throughout the state. About three of them: the Eastern, the Northeastern and Triangle commanders are active in the drug trade. Prime Minister Thein Sein is a prime example of the power these regional commanders hold, as he was the Triangle Regional Commander in 2001 and dealt with Shan warlords on a regular basis before his promotion in 2007.

‘Politically correct’ drug trade

“In my 10 years in the army there’s been an increase in drugs, trafficking, bribes and this kind of involvement,” said the ex-army captain.
The escalation in drug activities is partly caused by the growing number of militia and ceasefire groups.

“Before the army got an agreement with the ceasefire groups they fought against the rebels and weren’t involved in drug trafficking because they were not friends, they were enemies,” said the former captain. “After the ceasefire they had to get money from them for sustainability.”

Today there is an estimated 17 ceasefire agreements with the country’s ethnic rebel groups. The number of active militia groups is unknown, but the SHAN received junta documents that revealed 396 in the Northeastern command alone. In the run up to this year’s election, the military has increased pressure on ceasefire groups to join its Border Guard Force. Those that concede and support the junta’s political ambitions are awarded with military support in their drug activities. SHAN editor Khun Seng said that the junta party needs canvassers that have influence in their respective communities.

“Those who are most influential are involved in the drug trade, especially the militia leaders,” he said. “These people will take advantage of the situation.”

Khun Seng said that as an extra incentive, each militia group was now assigned an operational area where they could do whatever they want without disruption.

“If you are ‘politically correct’, you can do anything in Burma,” he said.

As an example he described this year’s Armed Forces Day in Burma.

“The commander [Colonel Khin Maung Soe] in Tachilek spoke on the sidelines to the militia leaders, ‘This is your golden opportunity. My only advice is that you send your products across the border, but not on this [Burma’s] side’,” Khun Seng said.

PWO’s investigation corroborated SHAN’s accounts that more drugs were indeed coming out of militia-run areas. It reported that opium cultivation increased over 200 per cent in Mantong and Namkham townships in Shan State, both areas controlled by the government. During the 2008-2009 season, the acreage found by PWO for only these two townships, out of the total 23 townships in Northern Shan State, was nearly three times (4,545 hectares) the total recorded by UNODC for all 23 townships combined. The UNODC reported a 100 per cent increase in that same time period in all of Northern Shan State, from 800 hectares to 1,600 hectares.

Both SHAN and PWO have criticised the UNODC’s methodology, which relies on data reported by the junta’s (State Peace and Development Council, SPDC) eradication reports and satellite imagery without proper verification.

The ONCB in Thailand also acquires its Burma drug data from the SPDC.

“For the most part we exchange data with them with good communication and understanding,” Pornthep said. “There has been no lying on their part and their data can be backed up. For instance, the figures for poppy cultivation are the same as the UNODC, the US and China.

“We never meet with the NGOs in Burma,” he added. “We only communicate with the government and narcotic police.”

Seizures mean little

Khun Seng also disputed a statement in the UNODC World Drug Report that attributed the increase in methamphetimine production to ethnic insurgencies in Shan State readying to fight the SPDC by selling more drugs to purchase arms.

“The Kokang and Wa are producing at the normal rate, no more, no less. The increase is due to the involvement of the militia groups, he said. “Now with the Wa and Kokang, these people can produce but they can’t transport without the co-operation of the militia groups. If they do it by themselves they are caught.”

drug-burma3
MYANMAR, LWE SAN SONE RANGE : A Myanmar soldier walks in between two poppy flowers while destroying opium poppies 15 January 2000 during a narcotics crop destruction in Lwe San Sone Range. Myanmar soldiers and tribes people destroyed acres of poppy plantations in Shan State, one of the world’s largest opium growing area, as part of a broader campaign by Myanmar authorities to eradicate the narcotics trade in their country. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel DUNAND

Which explains the number of seized drugs in Burma. UNODC Regional Representative Gary Lewis stated at the release of the 2010 World Drug Report in Bangkok, that 23 million methamphetamine pills were seized in Burma last year, from one million in 2008. Lewis said the numbers likely reflect a surge in production, rather than crime prevention.

Khun Seng agreed that more seizures meant more production, but said that was only part of the picture. The military was particular about where the seizures came from. That is, when the seizures were not fabricated. Militia-produced drugs almost always made it across the border, he said.

The Kokang, a ceasefire group well known for drug production and trafficking along the Sino-Burmese border, were recently attacked by the SPDC for their refusal to join the Border Guard Force and all their drugs were seized. The regime long turned a blind eye to the Kokang’s drug operations and even publicised the area as a “drug-free zone” after its eradication campaign, but in August last year, this all changed and the regime announced a massive seizure of drugs in the Kokang area, while driving more than 37,000 refugees into China.

Several large shipments of methamphetamine, believed to have originated from the United Wa State Army (UWSA), were also recently seized in Tachilek near the Thailand border.

“Seizures are irrelevant and are made only when the authorities want to put pressure on, for instance, the UWSA, for political and security reasons,” Lintner said.

The UWSA, armed with 30,000 soldiers, is the largest ceasefire group to reject the junta’s proposal to become part of the Border Guard Force and the military has turned up the heat as the election approaches. Much of the seized drugs last year are believed to have come from the Kokang and Wa – seizures that would never have happened in the past.

“Proceeds from the drug trade were always a major source of income for several rebel armies in Burma, before and after the ceasefires,” Lintner said. “But the Burmese government and the UNODC chose to turn a blind eye to the traffic as long as the ceasefire groups were on good terms with the government. Now, when some of the ceasefire armies are resisting the government’s demands that they transform their respective armies into Border Guard Forces, they are suddenly being accused of trading in drugs, which they have always done.”

Even with the drastic surge in methamphetamine seizures, the World Drug Report noted that seizures continued to remain very low in Burma. Despite being the second-largest producer of heroin in the world, only one per cent of worldwide heroin interception was seized in Burma in 2008. Similarly, of the 32 million tablets seized in East and Southeast Asia in 2008, only about three per cent, or 1.1 million, were seized in Burma.

The report also states that the number of tablets and the amount precursor chemicals seized in Burma jumped last year, when the SPDC entered by force parts of north and eastern Shan State not under their control.

The new political order

The new drug economy that the SPDC has built in Burma will only worsen as the regime’s crusade for power and control intensifies in the run-up to the election. Lintner anticipates the drug trade will eclipse what was seen in the 1990s.

“In 1990, only opium was produced, and the derivative heroin,” he said. “The production increased dramatically in the 1990s, and now is back to what it was 20 years ago. Plus methamphetamines, which were unknown in the Burmese sector of the Golden Triangle 20 years ago.”

In 1997, then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright knew all too well where Burma’s drug trade would lead when she aptly stated, “Drug traffickers who once spent their days leading mule trains down jungle tracks are now leading lights in Burma’s new market economy and leading figures in its new political order.”

source: http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/4218-drug-economics-in-burmas-new-political-order.html

Thanks to http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/articles/global-drug.htm

this is a brilliant piece of Paper, with more than Dynamite inside!

(I wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance in the preparation of this essay from N, a Russian who for the time being prefers to remain anonymous.)

Tajik authorities have claimed repeatedly that neither the US nor NATO exerts any pressure on the drug warlords inside Afghanistan. „There’s absolutely no threat to the labs inside Afghanistan,“ said Avaz Yuldashov of the Tajikistan Drug Control Agency. „Our intelligence shows there are 400 labs making heroin there, and 80 of them are situated right along our border … Drug trafficking from Afghanistan is the main source of support for international terrorism now,“ Yuldashov pointed out last year.[1]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. The Meta-Group, the Russian 9/11, and Kosovo
    • Violence and the Political Requirements of the Global Drug Traffic
    • A Digression: Drugs, Meta-Groups and the Compradorial Revolution
    • The „Russian 9/11“ in 1999: Bombings and Plans for War
    • The Meeting in Khashoggi’s Villa, July 1999
    • Khashoggi’s Interest in Chechnya
    • Dunlop’s Redactions of His Source Yasenev
    • The Khashoggi Villa Meeting, Drugs, and Kosovo
  2. The Meta-Group, Drugs, Salafist Islam, and America
    • The Role of Anton Surikov: The Dunlop and Yasenev Versions
    • Surikov, Muslim Insurrectionism, and Drug Trafficking
    • Allegations of Drug-Trafficking and Far West, Ltd
    • Far West, Ltd, Halliburton, Diligence LLC, New Bridge, and Neil Bush
    • The U.S. Contribution to the Afghan-Kosovo Drug Traffic
    • How the U.S. Restored Narco-Barons to Power in Afghanistan, 2001
  3. The Meta-Group, the War on Terror, and 9/11
    • U.S. Geostrategic Goals and Chechnya
    • The Meta-Group’s Geostrategic Goal: Maintain the War of Terror
    • Concluding Question: The Meta-Group and the United States Government
    • The False Dilemmas of 9/11 Theories

I. The Meta-Group, the Russian 9/11, and Kosovo

Violence and the Political Requirements of the Global Drug Traffic

In the last three decades, three important facts have emerged about the international drug traffic. The first is that it is both huge and growing.

Narcotics are estimated to be worth between $500 billion and $1 trillion a year, an amount, according to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in remarks to a United Nations General Assembly session in June 2003, that is greater than the global oil and gas industry, and twice as large as the overall automobile industry.[2]

The second is that it is both worldwide and above all „highly integrated.“[3] At global drug summits such as the one in Armenia in 1993, representatives of the Sicilian Mafia, the Brighton Beach Organizatsiya, and Colombian drug lords, have worked out a common modus operandi, with the laundering of dirty money entrusted chiefly to the lawless Russian banks.[4]

The third important fact, undeniable since the 1980 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, is that governments with global pretensions will avail themselves, in pursuit of their own political ends, of the resources, both financial and political, of the drug traffic. It was striking in the 1980s that the CIA, in its choice of Afghan mujahedin leaders to back against the Soviet Union, passed over those with indigenous support in favor of those, notably Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who dominated the heroin trade. The result was to enhance Hekmatyar’s power until he became a leading heroin trafficker, not just in Afghanistan but in the world.[5]

Three more important features of the global drug traffic have been less noticed; thus although I regard them as facts I shall refer to them not as facts but as propositions to be tested against evidence. The first proposition is that the highly integrated drug traffic industry, in addition to serving the political ends of world powers, has its own political as well as economic objectives. It requires that in major growing areas there must be limited state control, a condition most easily reached by fostering regional rebellion and warfare, often fought by its own private armies. This is the on-going situation of designed violence in every major growing area, from Lebanon to Myanmar, Colombia to Afghanistan.

Once the local power of drug armies was enough in itself to neutralize the imposition of state authority. But today there are increasing signs that those at the highest level of the drug traffic will plot with the leaders of major states to ensure, or even to stage, violence that serves the power of the state and the industry alike.

Thanks to extensive research in Russia, we now have initial evidence of a second and even more significant proposition: There exists on the global level a drug meta-group, able to manipulate the resources of the drug traffic for its own political and business ends, without being at risk for actual trafficking. These ends include the creation of designed violence to serve the purposes of cabals in political power – most conspicuously in the case of the Yeltsin „family“ in the Kremlin, but allegedly, according to Russian sources, also for those currently in power in the United States.

One piece of evidence for this consists in a meeting which took place in July 1999 in southern France near Nice, at the villa in Beaulieu of Adnan Khashoggi, once called „the richest man in the world.“ Those at the meeting included a member of the Yeltsin cabal in the Kremlin and four representatives from the meta-group, with passports from Venezuela, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Between them they allegedly enjoyed excellent relations with:

1) Ayman al-Zawahiri, the acknowledged mastermind of 9/11 and senior mentor to Osama bin Laden.

2) Soviet military intelligence.

3) the FARC, the Colombian revolutionary group that has become increasingly involved in the drug traffic.

4) the Kosovo Liberation Army, a similarly involved group.

5) (according to a well-informed Russian source) the CIA.

The third important proposition is that a meta-group of this scale does not just help government agencies make history. I hope to show that it, and its predecessors, are powerful enough to help make history themselves. However they do not do so overtly, but as a hidden Force X whose presence is not normally acknowledged in the polite discourse of academic political scientists. On the contrary, as we shall see, references to it are usually suppressed.

A Digression: Drugs, Meta-Groups and the Compradorial Revolution

The question arises whether this is the only such meta-group in the international drug milieu. My tentative answer is that there are indeed other focal nodes for organized international drug trafficking, often above the reach of the law. (The remnants of the dissident Hekmatyar drug network in Afghanistan would be a prime example.) What is special about this meta-group is its global reach, which makes it of especial interest to the CIA and other pro-American agencies committed to globalization.

A drug meta-group with such broad connections is not unprecedented. A clear predecessor was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a drug-laundering bank which was of use to CIA Director William Casey precisely because of its corrupt global reach. As a Washington insider said to two Time reporters covering BCCI,

They were the only way we could talk to certain folks, and they were the only vehicle available for some transactions. Who else could wire something together to Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and the U.S.?[6]

It is worthy of note that Khashoggi has enjoyed intimate connections to both, as well as to western intelligence and wePeter Dale Scott, Deep Politicsdstern politicians.

The „wiring together“ effected by drugs has helped give a significant boost to the global banking network, particularly in Russia and southeast Asia. In these areas it has also fostered trade and investment, bringing businessmen from previous diverse commercial areas into increasing contact with each other. From this perspective globalization can be seen as a compradorial revolution: compradorial classes have moved into positions of power, and in some cases their international networks have been more than a match for local state power.[6a]

There are three different ways in which this compradorial revolution has proceeded, and it could be shown that drugs have often helped supply a base for all three:

1) In some countries (as in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, and to some extent Indonesia) these classes have displaced military regimes. Drug-based fortunes clearly played a major role in the compradorial revolution of Thailand.

2) In some countries compradorial elements have succeeding in converting (or, depending on your point of view, corrupting) the cadres of socialist governments. Drugs have played a significant role in the compradorial embourgeoisement of China, Laos, and Cambodia, and may have played an indirect role in the case of Vietnam.

3) Recently – as in the „color revolutions“ of eastern Europe and central Asia – compradorial elements have helped to oust the remnants of the former Soviet governing apparatus. I hope in this essay to give preliminary evidence that the global drug meta-group I have described has played a role in the „color revolutions“ as well.

As to how many drug meta-groups exist in the world, I believe there are at least two. A second, which we will not examine here, oversees the new drug highway from north Myanmar (Burma) through the entrepreneurial zones of south China, and manages the international connections necessary to arrange for the smuggling of heroin and people into Australia and the eastern and western United States.

The relation of the west to this second or eastern meta-group is unknown, and in all probability it is highly complex and ambiguous. It is probably safe to say however that the global reach of the second meta-group, overseeing the much smaller flow of drugs east from Myanmar, is less than the first or western meta-group we shall discuss here, overseeing the far greater flow of drugs west from Afghanistan. (It has been estimated that by now Afghanistan supplies from 80 to 90 percent of the global heroin trade.)[7]

The west, and particularly the United States, have not concealed their interest in the success of globalization and the „color revolutions.“ Unfortunately those who sing the praises of both neglect the terrible social costs of the drug traffic, and the Force X which so often is the underpinning of the compradorial revolution. Because the drug economy is often not integrated into the legal one, it tends to foster superwealth and income disparity. The benefits tend not to be enjoyed by a society as a whole, or even its middle class. This is even more true when the masters of the drug-traffic are not indigenous but alien (as is conspicuously the case in eastern Myanmar).[8]

There is an undeniable western face to the dominant meta-group. One member of the meta-group at the 1999 meeting, Anton Surikov, had spent time at the London Centre for Defence Studies; and in addition Surikov had had contacts with at least one senior CIA representative.[9] (Another member of the meta-group, former Lithuanian Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, was with Surikov at the London Centre.) We shall see that a third member, Ruslan Saidov, is said to have been paid as a CIA contract agent.

One of the alleged purposes of the meeting at the villa – but not the only one – was to give the Yeltsin „family“ what it supposedly needed: a Russian 9/11.

The „Russian 9/11“ in 1999: Bombings and Plans for War

Russia has been familiar for some time with charges that the bombings in Moscow in 1999, and an accompanying invasion of Russian Dagestan that rekindled the ongoing war in neighboring Chechnya, were both planned by representatives of the Islamist element in the Chechen resistance, in collusion with a representative of the Russian Kremlin.

Read synoptically, these stories indicate that the well-connected drug-trafficking meta-group, with connections to both the Kremlin and the CIA, arranged in advance for the bombings and invasion at the meeting in July 1999, at a French villa owned by the superrich arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi. The group allegedly operated with support from Saudi Arabia and organized global drug trafficking, some of it probably through Kosovo.

The group’s business front, Far West, Ltd., is said to have CIA-approved contractual dealings with Halliburton for geopolitical purposes in the Caucasus, as well as dealings in Iraq with Diligence LLC, a group with connections to Joe Allbaugh (the FEMA chief in 2001) and to the President’s younger brother Neil Bush. The head of Far West recently told a Russian outlet that „a well-known American corporation… is a co-founder of our agency.“[10]

The evidence for this western face of the group is laid out in an article by a so-called Yuri Yasenev, which is clearly a compilation of extracts from intelligence reports, on a Russian website.[11] The article is cited – very selectively – as authoritative by a reputable Hoover Institution scholar, John B. Dunlop.[12] But Dunlop completely ignores, one might say, suppresses, Yasenev’s case as I have summarized it above. He uses the article instead to document a more familiar case: that in 1999 the Yeltsin „family“ in the Kremlin dealt with this same group to create what might be called the „Russian 9/11.“

When I say that Dunlop suppresses certain details, I do not mean to suggest that he does so conspiratorially, or even consciously. My notion of deep politics, which I have developed elsewhere, posits that in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed collectively, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so.[13] Like all other observers, I too have involuntarily suppressed facts and even memories about the drug traffic that were too provocative to be retained with equanimity.[14]

The drug traffic is often the beneficiary of this suppression, which leaves it more free to act without interference. In Deep Politics I referred to the pervasive influence of a U.S. government-drug collaboration which I called „Operation X,“ looking at it from the perspective of a parapolitical manipulation of the traffic by the government.[15] I wish now that I had written of a „Force X,“ a force which was no longer under total government control, and indeed could influence government behavior for its own ends.[16]

Dunlop’s thesis is in itself an alarming one. It is that men of influence in the Kremlin, building on the connections established by the wealthy oligarch Boris Berezovskii, were able to arrange for staged violence, in order to reinforce support for an unpopular Russian government. This staged violence took the form of lethal bombings in the capital and an agreed-upon incursion by Chechens into Russian Dagestan.

This credible thesis is even more alarming when we consider that both Khashoggi and Berezovskii have purchased significant political influence in the West as well. In 2003 Khashoggi was negotiating with Richard Perle, a member of the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique who at the time was still Chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, to invest considerable Saudi money in Perle’s company Trireme.[17] Berezovskii is a shareholder in the software company, Ignite, of President Bush’s delinquent brother Neil Bush.[18]

More significantly, Khashoggi and his connections have shown in the past their ability to influence, even distort, U.S. foreign policy, to the detriment of the latter. An important example was the ill-fated so-called Ghorbanifar initiative during Iran-Contra, to sell arms to the mullahs in Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages:

Ghorbanifar was not acting alone. Although he led us to believe he was using Iranian money, his forward purchases and bridge deposits were actually being bankrolled by Adnan Khashoggi [and BCCI]….Khashoggi had an on-and-off relationship with Israel for many years and evidently had been in the loop as Ghorbanifar’s backer from the very beginning.[19]

Ghorbanifar could never have caused such embarrassment to the Reagan Administration if he had not been backed by deeper, hidden forces.

By the „Russian 9/11“ I mean the bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999,

accompanied by the pre-arranged (and partly staged) second Russian invasion of Chechnya. For some time the West has heard versions of the claim that both events were planned at the time by Russian intelligence. For example Patrick Cockburn reported as follows in the Independent:

Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Comparative Politics, writing in the weekly Novaya Gazeta, says that the bombings in Moscow and elsewhere were arranged by the GRU (the Russian military intelligence service). He says they used members of a group controlled by Shirvani Basayev, brother of the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, to plant the bombs. These killed 300 people in Buikask, Moscow and Volgodonsk in September.[20]

Cockburn’s source, Boris Kagarlitskii, also accused Russian intelligence agents of planting at least one of the bombs.

Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Institute for Comparative Politics, stated: „FSB officers were caught red-handed while planting the bomb. They were arrested by the police and they tried to save themselves by showing FSB identity cards.“ The first man to enter the basement, Police Inspector Andrei Chernyshev, related: „It was about 10 in the evening. There were some strangers who were seen leaving the basement. We were told about the men who came out from the basement and left the car with a licence number which was covered with paper. I went down to the basement. This block of flats had a very deep basement which was completely covered with water. We could see sacks of sugar and in them some electronic device, a few wires and a clock. We were shocked. We ran out of the basement and I stayed on watch by the entrance and my officers went to evacuate the people.“ Despite the arrest of the FSB officers by the police, they were quietly released when the secret service’s Moscow headquarters intervened. The Observer reports that the next day, in an attempt to cover-up the discovery, „the FSB in Moscow announced that there had never been a bomb, only a training exercise.“[21]

Western scholarly analyses have seen the bombings and war as part of a stratagem to boost the popularity of the Kremlin, and particularly the little-known new Prime Minister Putin, for the coming presidential elections in November 1999. The most thorough study, by John Dunlop of the Hoover Institution, blames the plotting on three protégés of the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovskii – Valentin Yumashev, Alexander Voloshin, and Roman Abramovich – who at this point were members of Yeltsin’s „Family“ in the Kremlin.[22] (As for Berezovskii himself, Dunlop writes that by mid-1999 „all of his real but beginning-to-dwindle political influence was obtained through the intercession of D’yachenko [Yeltsin’s daughter] and Yumashev.“)[23]

The Meeting in Khashoggi’s Villa, July 1999

A crucial piece of evidence for this thesis of Kremlin-structured violence is the meeting in July 1999, when Alexander Voloshin met in southern France with the Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev. In Dunlop’s words,

On the day following the initial incursion of rebel forces into the Dagestani highlands in early August of 1999, the investigative weekly Versiya published a path-breaking report claiming that the head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Aleksandr Voloshin, had met secretly with the most wanted man in Russia, Shamil‘ Basaev, through the good offices of a retired officer in the GRU, Anton Surikov, at a villa belonging to international arms merchant Adnan

Khashoggi located between Nice and Monaco.109 A source in French intelligence was credited by Versiya with supplying this information. The article stirred major interest in the Russian media, but at the time documentary confirmation was lacking.

By July of 2000, Versiya, in an effort of persistent journalistic digging, had unearthed what it regarded as the full story of what had occurred, with an acknowledged assist from French and Israeli intelligence. „The meeting [of Voloshin and Basaev],“ the weekly related, „which supposedly took place at the dacha of the international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in the small town of Beaulieu near Nice, occurred on 4 July 1999.[24] Sources in the French special services had earlier communicated that information, in particular a certain professor of political science, a specialist in issues of Russian defense, security,

and organized crime. He is well known for his contract work for French government establishments, including French counter-intelligence.“110….

The investigative weekly then went on to summarize what it had learned from French and Israeli intelligence, as well as from its own journalistic digging: „A luxurious villa in the French city of Beaulieu, located between Nice and the principality of Monaco. This villa, according to the French special services, belongs to the international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. He is an Arab from Saudi Arabia, a billionaire with a complicated reputation. According to the French special services, and also to the French press, in June of 1999 there took up residence at the villa a Venezuelan banker named Alfonso Davidovich.111

In the Latin American press, he is said to be responsible for laundering the funds of the Columbian left insurrection organization FARC, which carries out an armed struggle with the official authorities, supported by the narcotics business.“

110 Petr Pryanishnikov, „Voloshin I Basaev na lazurnom beregu: foto na pamyat‘,“ Versiya, 4 July 2000. The article, accompanied by a photo, can be found at: http:www.compromat.ru/main/voloshin/basaev.htm

111 The article „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya,“ compromat.ru, 17 December 2004 reports that Davidovich lives in Munich and enjoys both German and Venezuelan citizenship. He is also said to be personally acquainted with international arms dealer Khashoggi.[25]

Dunlop’s massively documented essay is 52 pages long, with 142 footnotes. But having thus provocatively included references to both Khashoggi and narcotics, Dunlop does not mention either again. The failure to discuss Khashoggi is particularly surprising. If indeed the meeting took place at his villa, the proceedings were not only likely to be recorded, one would think that they were intended to be recorded.

One would also expect the participants to be confident that the recordings would reach western intelligence, as apparently they promply did. „In France and in the ranks of Israeli intelligence, Versiya wrote, it had been reported that `there exists a video-tape of the meeting at the villa in Beaulieu.'“[26] One would have expected that this video-tape might reach, not just the French and Mossad, but Khashoggi’s long-time associates in U.S. intelligence as well.[27]

Khashoggi’s Interest in Chechnya

Just as Berezovskii was at one point the richest man in Russia, so Khashoggi was once (according to his American biographer) „The Richest Man in the World.“ At one point indeed Khashoggi had an influence in American politics analogous to Berezovskii’s in Russia. For example, Khashoggi attended both Nixon inaugurals and contributed money to his electoral campaigns. He admitted to giving $58,000 in 1968, but allegedly told Pierre Salinger he gave $1 million in 1972.[28] He also arranged a fund-raising event for Jimmy Carter’s Center in Plains, Georgia, an event which probably originated in both men’s connections to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).[29]

Khashoggi is usually thought of as an arms salesman. Although he has never been directly linked to the drug traffic, he was intimately involved in the affairs of the drug-laundering bank BCCI, with which he arranged an arms shipment as part of Oliver North’s dealings in Iran-Contra.[30] He also became notorious for flying into Las Vegas from abroad and then rapidly losing vast sums of cash at the casino tables – a traditional form of money-laundering.[31] His name has surfaced in connection with a number of other scandals, from the illicit real estate ventures of the Marcos family in New York to a major defrauding of a Thai bank in 1998, which was followed by the Asian financial crisis of that year.

Khashoggi had had a financial interest in Chechnya, and connections with its leaders, since 1996, from his participation in a consortium called Caucasian Common Market AO. This was designed to raise $3 billion in the West and Japan for investment in Chechnya.[32] A principal organizer was former Chechen First Deputy Premier Khozh-Akhmed Nukhaev, in conjunction with Lord McAlpine of the Goldsmith family interests in London, and also American capital.[33] But according to the late Paul Klebnikov, Nukhaev had a background in Chechen organized crime, before developing „a radical ideology in line with the one espoused by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.“[34]

Despite this background, Nukhaev found support and financing in Washington for his Caucasian-American Chamber of Commerce. According to once source, in 1997 Khashoggi introduced Nukhaev to former Secretary of State James Baker.[35]

However Dunlop’s inquiry is focused, not on Khashoggi, but on Berezovskii and his representative Voloshin in the Kremlin:

In March of 2002 Interfax reported that, through his long-time business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Berezovskii had „supplied Chechen figures Kazbek Makhashev and Movladi Udugov with money to purchase the raid against Dagestan. According to witnesses, Berezovskii contributed 30 million rubles

for the purpose.“120 This payment, amounting to more than $1 million, if it occurred, may have been only one of several intended to underwrite a „short victorious war“ in Dagestan.

120 „Berezovskii Sponsored Dagestan Raid, Top Policeman’s Abduction — Prosecutors,“ Interfax, 5 March 2002. A well-known journalist for RFE-RL, Andrei Babitskii, who frequently visited Chechnya during this period and was acquainted with a number of leading separatists, writes that he can confirm that Berezovskii did indeed speak by telephone with both Basaev and Movladi Udugov at this juncture. See Andrei Babibitskii, „Na voine,“ hro.org, 2 March 2004.

Dunlop is not alone in suspecting the hand of Berezovskii behind Voloshin’s meeting with Basaev. So does Cockburn’s source Boris Kagarlitskii (about whom we shall have more to say).[36] The Russian observer Lilia Shevtsova reports a rumor at this time that Berezovskii himself, along with his agent Alexander Voloshin, had met in France with Bazayev in the summer of 1999, just before the Dagestan invasion of August 2.[37]

Dunlop’s Redactions of His Source Yasenev

Though he says nothing more about Khashoggi or drugs, Dunlop does however make one more reference to the alleged drug-money launderer Alfonso Davidovich:

„It soon emerged,“ Versiya continued, „that a very frequent visitor to Davidovich was a certain French businessman of Israeli-Soviet origin, a native of Sokhumi [Abkhazia], 53-year-old Yakov Kosman. 112 Soon Kosman brought with him six persons who arrived via Austria carrying Turkish passports.[38] In one of the passports the French [authorities] identified a certain Tsveiba, who is accused by the Tbilisi authorities of having committed genocide during the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict.“ All of the visitors settled into the villa for a three weeks‘ stay.

„Soon,“ the account continues, „the special services succeeded in establishing that

Kosman and Tsveiba went to the Nice airport, where they met two men who had arrived from Paris. Judging from their documents, one of those who arrived was Sultan Sosnaliev, who in the years of the Georgian-Abkhaz war served as the minister of defense of Abkhazia.113 Second there emerged from the airport one more native of Sokhumi — Anton Surikov. According to rumors, during the years of the war in Abkhazia, he was subordinated to Sosnaliev and was responsible for questions of the organization of sabotage and was friendly with field commander Shamil‘ Basaev, who at that time headed the Chechen battalion.“

The next arrival came by sea: „According to the precise information of the French and the Israelis, on 3 July at the port of Beaulieu a private English yacht ‚Magiya‘ [Magic] arrived from Malta. From it to the shore came two passengers. If one is to believe the passport information, one of the ‚Englishmen‘ was a certain Turk, in the past an advisor to the Islamicist premier of Turkey, [Necmettin] Erbakan, a rather influential figure in the Wahhabi circles of Turkey, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.114 From sources in the Russian special services we learned that Mekhmet is also a close friend of the not unknown Khattab.“

„The second person,“ the account goes on, „to the surprise of the intelligence officers, was the Chechen field commander Shamil‘ Basaev.

112 Kosman is reported in the same 17 December 2004 issue of compromat.ru, to live in Nice and to possess German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship.

113 On Sosnaliev as Abkhazia’s defense minister, see RFE-RL Newsline, 2 November 1993.

114 On Erbakan, see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), p. 365.

Dunlop’s cited source for information about both Davidovich and Kosman is an article by Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), on a Russian website, ru.compromat.[39] But Dunlop has significantly edited, one must even say censored, what Yasenev wrote.

In footnote 111 Dunlop says

The article „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya,“ compromat.ru, 17 December 2004 reports that Davidovich lives in Munich and enjoys both German and Venezuelan citizenship. He is also said to be personally acquainted with international arms dealer Khashoggi.

radically curtailing Yasenev’s description of Davidovich:

Alfonso Davidovich – (1948), Venezuelan, lives in Munich. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship.

Speaks Spanish, English, French, German, and Russian fluently. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR (Privol’noe, Nikolaevskaya oblast) and East Germany.

Owns companies and banks in Barbados, the Caymans and other off-shores.

Has friendly relations with Hugo Chavez, and is acquainted with Fidel Castro, Marcus Wolf and Adnan Khashoggi. Has many contacts in Colombia, including FARC. In 1999 Davidovich was alleged to have engaged in arms trafficking for guerillas in Chiapas, Mexico and in money laundering for the Colombian drug mafia. Finances antiglobalization movement in Europe and Latin America.“[40]

With respect to Yakov Kosman, Dunlap says: „Kosman is reported in the same 17 December 2004 issue of compromat.ru, to live in Nice and to possess German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship.“

Compare this with what Yasenev wrote:

Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship. Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Thaçi, the chief commander of KLA.“[41]

Consider that „In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA – formally known as the Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, or UCK – as an international terrorist organization, saying it had bankrolled its operations with proceeds from the international heroin trade and from loans from known terrorists like Osama bin Laden.“[42]

The Khashoggi Villa Meeting, Drugs, and Kosovo

It would appear that Davidovich and Kosman were in Khashoggi’s villa to talk about more than just Chechnya, but that Dunlop did not wish to explore this possibility. For example, he acknowledges the presence of no less than four men of Abkhazian origin and/or influence at the meeting – Kosman, Tsveiba, Sosnaliev, and Surikov — and yet offers no explanation whatsoever for their presence. (A glance at a map will show that Abkhazia is irrelevant to the subsequent events in Dagestan and Chechnya.)

It seems likely that a drug-route was discussed involving Abkhazia, which now „has become a key heroin transiting point.“[43] Its drug-trafficking importance is noted by none other than Surikov himself:

In general then, the Chechen [drug-trafficking] group has allotted a very important place to Abkhazia in its plans. This is due firstly to the strong position of local field commanders after the end of the Georgian/Abkhazian conflict….Secondly…a large number of `volunteers‘ [notably Basaev] came from Chechnia and other North Caucasian republics….Amongst these people were a number of criminals whose presence facilitated later contacts with local undesirables….As a result of these developments Abkhazia today is one of the most criminalised areas of the former Soviet Union.[44]

Note that in this passage Surikov makes no reference to his own Abkhazian origin, his involvement as a GRU officer in the Russian-backed Abkhazian insurrection, and his friendship there with Basaev (referred to by Dunlop). Here and elsewhere in his text it would appear that the „Chechen group“ he describes is one overseen by his own meta-group.

Russian observers have pointed out that the meeting(s) in France, which took place in June and/or July 1999, came shortly after the unexpected entry of Russian troops into Kosovo.

On June 11, 1999, 200 Russian troops in SFOR drove from Bosnia to Prishtina and secured Slatina airport. Gen Wesley Clark then ordered [UK] Gen. Sir Mike Jackson (who on June 9 had signed technical agreement for withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo) „to seize the airport. Jackson responded, famously, that he would not start World War Three for him“[45]

Following two days of talks directly between Clinton and Yeltsin, the crisis was averted.

Instead there followed weeks of „protracted negotiations on Russia’s role in the Kosovo peacekeeping mission.“[46] In the end, under circumstances still not fully understood, the United States and NATO agreed that the Russians could stay.

The Russian troops finally withdrew from the airport in July 2003.[47] Significantly, a chart of Russian drug-trafficking prepared by one of Surikov’s partners, Sergei Petrov, indicates that in 2003 Kosovo ceased to be a main point of export for Russian drugs, its place being taken by the Black Sea oil port of Novorossiysk.[48]

Within a year of the troops‘ arrival, by 2000, according to DEA statistics, Afghan heroin accounted for almost 20 percent of the heroin seized in the United States – nearly double the percentage taken four years earlier. Much of it was now distributed in America by Kosovar Albanians.[49]

It is significant therefore that

The `Pristina dash‘ by Russian parachutists in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis (the purpose of the `dash‘ was to force NATO to guarantee for Russia a separate sector of responsibility in Kosovo) was organized by the head of the General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, and his deputy, Leonid Ivashov, without the knowledge of minister of defense Igor Sergeyev and most likely without Yeltsin’s knowledge.[50]

Yasenev says nothing about this, but does assert that Kvashnin was the Russian Army connection of two leading drug traffickers (Vladimir Filin andAlexey Likhvintsev) in the Saidov-Surikov group.

II. The Meta-Group, Drugs, Salafist Islam, and America

The Role of Anton Surikov: The Dunlop and Yasenev Versions

As we have seen, Dunlop describes Anton Surikov, the organizer of the Beaulieu meeting between Voloshin and Basaev, as „a retired officer in the GRU.“ He fails to quote from his source Yasenev’s description of Surikov:

Anton Victorovich Surikov (b. 1961). Presents himself as political scientist. Responsible for informational and political projects. Actively publishes in press. Some of his publications resemble ciphered directives to the elements in Russian special services disloyal [emphasis added] to President Vladimir Putin. His other articles contain political messages intended for abroad. Surikov has contacts with F[ritz] Ermarth, former leading CIA analyst of the USSR and Russia, now in the Nixon Foundation….[51]

Surikov has close relations with Alexander Prokhanov and Alexander Nagorny [respectively, chief editor and assistant chief editor of newspaper „Zavtra“], Anatoly Baranov [chief editor of Pravda.info and KPRF.ru], Mikhail Delyagin,[52] former advisor to Mikhail Kasyanov[53], Alexei Kondaurov (head of YUKOS security department, former general of KGB and FSB, State Duma deputy from CPRF), Ilya Ponomarev (former YUKOS CEO, CPRF).

In 2002-03, together with Kondaurov–who represented Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Leonid Nevzlin–Surikov, with the help of Victor Vidmanov, organized financing of CPRF by YUKOS shareholders and the individuals associated with OPS [the organized criminal society] (Yakov Kosman, Nikolai Lugovskoi) to the tune of $15 million.

Boris Kagarlitskii’s essay and Yasenev’s memo, taken from intelligence files, talk about Surikov, but from opposing perspectives. Kagarlitskii, a longtime dissident and foe of Putin, saw the Beaulieu meeting as the venue for Kremlin-instigated violence, designed to restore the Kremlin’s popularity before the coming election. Yasenev’s memo sees Surikov as part of an on-going effort to destabilize Russia, and weaken the Kremlin.

Kagarlitskii (and after him Dunlop) say almost nothing about Surikov, other than to refer to his past years with Russian military intelligence, the GRU. To quote Dunlop,

Kagarlitskii also notes: „During Primakov’s time, Surikov worked on the staff of the government of the Russian Federation. Despite this fact, he also developed regular work relations with Voloshin’s people.“ It seems therefore quite likely that Surikov and Voloshin were personally acquainted.[54]

However Yasenev’s memo in December 2004 links Surikov, not to the government or Kremlin, but (through Kondaurov) to the sphere of the man who by that time had emerged as America’s best friend and Putin’s most powerful enemy in Russia, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskii. (The Kondaurov-Khodorkovskii connection is abundantly documented: both men freely admit it.)

Forbes magazine, which underwrote Klebnikov’s damning accounts of both Berezovskii and Nukhaev, wrote on March 18, 2002 that Khodorkovskii appeared „to be the West’s best friend“ in Russia. According to PBS in 2003, Khodorkovskii’s firm Menatep shared business interests with the western investment firms Global Asset Management, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and AIG Capital Partners. In addition

He frequently travels to the United States. He reportedly dined with Condoleezza Rice last year and recently was a guest at Herb Allen’s Idaho ranch, along with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other luminaries, for an annual telecommunications executives meeting.[55]

Quoting from an anti-Yeltsin essay of May 1999 by Surikov in Versiya, the American right-wing Jamestown Foundation agrees with Yasenev (against Kagarlitskii) that „Surikov is clearly in the camp of Yeltsin’s opponents.“[56] More recently Surikov has also shown himself to be anti-Putin, criticizing Putin’s „obvious inability … to struggle against terrorism effectively.“[57]

Furthermore Surikov clearly had western support in his opposition to government corruption under Yeltsin. We need only look to the following description of a Surikov book published in London:

Crime in Russia: the international implications Anton Surikov London Defence Studies.Examines (1) the growth of organized crime in post-Soviet Russia (2) the extraordinary extent to which the Colombian cartel has targeted Russia as a conduit for its penetration of the world market (3) the scale of drug-trafficking in Russia, predominantly by the ‚Chechen group‘ controlled by the Dudayev regime.[58] The author’s interesting career details are set out on a prelim page. The monograph is introduced by Jonathan Aves (lecturer in Russian studies at the University of Sussex) ‚Introduction‘ pp1-6, 12 refs, detailing both the scale of the problem and Surikov’s background expertise. This expertise has to be assumed by the reader, as the monograph contains no literature references of its own.[59]

According to his webpage at the IPROG website, Surikov spent the year 1994 at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London.[60] (Audrius Butkevicius is said to have spent the year there as well.)

As for Yasenev’s allegations that „Surikov has contacts with F. Ermarth,“ Surikov when questioned about this admitted it frankly: „I am personally acquainted with Mr. Ermarth as political scientist since 1996. It’s well known by many people and we never hid this fact.“[61] In saying this, Surikov was admitting to a CIA connection: Ermarth, a senior officer who twice served on the National Security Council, did not retire from the CIA until 1998. The two men had met in April 1996 at a Global International Security Seminar in Virginia.[62]

Above all, Kagarlitskii is silent about the charge which has since aroused controversy in the Russian media: Surikov’s supposed involvement with „a group of renegade Soviet secret service officers who are allegedly involved in international drug trafficking and have ties with Western and Saudi security apparatus.“[63]

It would be interesting to learn at what point Kagarlitskii first met Surikov, and whether Surikov was in fact the source for Kagarlitskii’s article about the meeting in southern France. Today the two men are close, and serve together at the Moscow Institute for the Study of Globalization (IPROG).[64]

Saidov, Surikov, Muslim Insurrectionism, and Drug Trafficking

The most conspicuous clue to Dunlop’s selectivity in his use of the Yasenev memo is his failure to identify „Mekhmet,“ the „certain Turk, in the past an advisor to the Islamicist premier of Turkey, [Necmettin] Erbakan.“[65] Yasenev identifies Mekhmet, linking him not only to Erbakan but also to the CIA, to Saudi intelligence, and to al-Qaeda:

In 2003 the Turkish citizen Mehmet whose real name is Ruslan Saidov, persuaded the President of the Chechen Republic, Ahmed Kadyrov, that he could be of use with Kadyrov’s policy of „national reconciliation.“ Saidov took part in organizing Kadyrov’s visit to Saudi Arabia. There Kadyrov made an agreement with the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Naif Ibn Abdel-Aziz, that the Arab militants under the Lieutenant Colonel Aziz ben Said ben Ali al Hamdi (alias Abu al Walid al-Hamadi), Prince Naif’s subordinate, would be removed from Chechnya by May 2004. The agreement stipulated that Kadyrov guaranteed safe passage to Abu al-Walid. Playing a double game and intending to set up both parties, Saidov (probably together with Abu al-Walid himself) gave this information to the CIA. Apparently the CIA was concerned that having left Chechnya the Arab militants would resurface in Iraq and join the terrorist group of the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that belongs to the al-Qaida network.

Trying to prevent this, and besides, wanting to discredit Kadyrov in the eyes of Prince Naif, the CIA gave Saidov an „assignment“. On April 13 in the Nozhai-Yurt district of Chechnya, Russian troops killed Abu al-Walid (or alleged having done so). Saidov paid $300,000 to those who carried out this operation. Their bosses in Moscow received $500,000. How much the CIA paid Saidov is unknown….

Yasenev describes Saidov as both a drug trafficker and an arms trafficker, involved with the supply of Russian arms to the Saudi-backed secessionists from Yemen in Aden. This was at a time when Russia had officially ceased support to the one-time Marxist country in favor of supporting Yemeni unity:[66]

In May-June 1994, Saidov together with Usman Imaev and Khozh-Ahmed Nukhaev and under an agreement with Pavel Grachev and Dzhohar Dudaev, organized twenty-two flights to airlift arms and ammunition via the Chechen airport Sheikh Mansur to the airport Aden in Yemen.[67]

In the spring of 1995 Saidov began to cooperate with the organized society, led by Vladimir Filin and Alexei Likhvintsev [see below] in handling [narcotics] traffic through the port of Novorossiysk.

Saidov is described by Yasenev as having good relations not only with the CIA, but also with both Turkish Islamists and even with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man often described as both the „mastermind“ behind 9/11 and the senior partner in al Qaeda with the younger bin Laden:[68]

Since August 1995 Saidov resides in Turkey.

In December 1995 he published an extremist book in Turkish The Muslims of the Caucasus in the 19th century: Genocide by Russia. The leader of the Welfare Party and the future Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, gave a good review of this book. In July 1996 Saidov became his advisor.[69]

In December 1996 Ayman al-Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan for illegal entry.[70] He carried a false Sudanese passport. When he was arrested Saidov went to Makhachkala [the capital of Dagestan]. There he organized a petition to the authorities in support of Zawahiri. It was signed by twenty-six Muslim clergymen and the Russian State Duma deputy, Nadirshakh Khachilaev.[71] Saidov managed to obtain a court decision, condemning Zawahiri to a six-month prison term, which had actually expired by that time….

Since the middle of the nineties, Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal (then head of the Saudi intelligence and at present, Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain) and Prince Naif.[72]

In addition Yasenev made it clear that Saidov was not pro-Putin, but a Muslim activist who was passionately anti-Putin and indeed anti-Russian:

In September 2003, Saidov participated in the congress of the extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in Jordan. At this congress he announced that Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami was an organization effectively acting in the underground throughout Russia, Central Asia and the Crimea….[73]

On December 8, 2004 Saidov addressed Muslim youth in Moscow. In his words, „following Ukraine, the Orange Revolution is coming to Russia.“ „Our liberals say that in 2008 the situation in Moscow will be like the one in Kiev.“ However, everything will be different, and not in 2008, but earlier.“ „Amirs and mudjahideen will soon make the Kremlin shudder with horror.“ In 2005, „they will throw into hell the servant of Satan,“ i.e., President Putin, who is allegedly „wanted by the International Tribunal at The Hague.“

The same goal of Muslim liberation was attributed by Yasenev to the organizer of the meeting in France, Anton Surikov:

On December 13 2004, in Adygeia, Surikov had a meeting with a group of Sufi believers and said this: „In the past we were against ahl-ad-dalala (those who gone astray) with their Arab money. We used to say that one should not separate from Russia. But now „Russia is on the brink of collapse and chaos.“ So „we’ll be separating [from Russia] with all Muslims of the Caucasus.“ A new state will be created on our historical lands from Psou and the Black Sea to Laba and Kuban.“

(The goal of splitting up Russia attributed here to Surikov is that which, in an earlier text co-authored by Surikov, is attributed by Russian „radicals“ to the United States:

The radicals believe that the US actively utilizes Turkish and Muslim elements….From Azerbaijan, radicals foresee a strategic penetration which would irrevocably split the Federation. US influence would be distributed to the former Soviet Central Asian Republics, to Chechnya and the other North Caucasus Muslim autonomous republics of T[at]arstan and Bashkortostan. As a result Russian territorial integrity would be irreparably compromised.)[74]

Yasenev claims also that, in the summer of 2004, the meta-group

started a project in the Near-Volgian Federal District to train cadres for Volga-Urals chapter of the international extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in 2003. The project is financed by private philanthropic foundations of the Arabic Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

In this context we can further question Dunlop’s assumption that the 1999 meeting organized by Surikov in southern France was called to promote the intentions of the Yeltsin „family.“ In the light of the Yasenev essay, it is more likely to have served the purposes of militant Islam and the drug traffic.

The portraits of Saidov’s and Surikov’s connections with al-Zawahiri, Erbakan, and Hizb ut-Tahrir confirm the criticism, by the Indian analyst B. Raman and others, that American studies of Islamist jihadism err in their restrictive focus on al-Qaeda.[75] The full range of Islamic jihadism is far more complex.

In my conclusion I shall return to the possibility that U.S. government might share common goals with Hizb ut-Tahrir and the meta-group in Russia, even while combating the Islamist terrorism of al-Qaeda in the Middle East and the West.

III. Allegations of Drug-Trafficking and Far West, Ltd

Yasenev links Saidov, Surikov, and others to their former service in a drug-interception group in Afghanistan, under a Leonid Kosyakov who now headed a company called Far West, Ltd.:

Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Citizen of Ukraine. Retired from the service in May 1993. Presently the president of Far West Ltd. In 1983-85 Kosyakov was in command of a special group in Shindand (Afghanistan), assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his direct command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Petrov, as well as Saidov[76]

Yasenev also presents testimony that this group developed into what the Russians call an OPS (an Organized Criminal Society) responsible for massive drug-trafficking:

These accusations were made by the former officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine Sergei Petrov (alias Serge Rodin, French citizen).

According to his testimony:

„The OPS [organized criminal society] was involved in drug trafficking since the beginning of 1990s:

-from 1995 the OPS transports heroin (produced in Afghanistan) from Tajikistan to European countries via Russia with the assistance of the Russian Defense Ministry.

– from 2000 the OPS is involved in smuggling Colombian cocaine to Russia through the seaports of Novorossiysk and St. Petersburg under the disguise of import shipments from Latin America.

Among the OPS contacts in Novorossyisk is Saidov; in St. Petersburg it used to be Roman Tsepov.

Received profits are used for personal enrichment of the OPS leaders, the officials at the Ministry of Defense who provide them with „the roof“ [protection], and for financing extremist activities.“

In November of 2003, Rodin contacted the law enforcement agencies of Germany and France. Their investigation did not result in any actions against Filin, Likhvintsev, and their partners.

In January 2004, Rodin was blown up in his car in South Africa.

Yasenev’s charge of a military organized crime group under Filin had been reported a year earlier by Russian journalist Nikita Kaledin:

There is a powerful military organized crime community which from 1992 through to the present has controlled substantial drug flows from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe and is also involved in laundering „dirty“ money and is actively involved in Russia’s political life. The community is controlled by former intelligence officers, Afghan war veterans, and now drugs barons Vova Filin and Lesha Pribalt. The former lives in Switzerland, the latter in London. Both make quite frequent trips to Moscow, Dushanbe, Nazran, and Khankala….

Filin and Pribalt literally flooded Russia with heroin. The Kremlin could not tolerate this abomination any longer and ordered a mighty „Chekist raid“ [i.e., ordered the FSB to shut down the operation] against the narcobarons. However, it is rumored that the raid has ended up with the agreement that the latter would 1) share their profits; 2) help in the facilitating the peaceful referendum on the constitution in Chechnya; 3) bring some order to the drug market by liquidating the leaders of ethnic criminal groups.“[77]

As if in fulfillment of the third point, Surikov in 2001 denounced the leaders of an influential Tajik heroin cartel, including the mayor of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.[78] (Tajiks until then had been one of the ethnic mafias who most dominated the trafficking of Afghan heroin through Russia.)

Far West, Ltd, Halliburton, Diligence LLC, New Bridge, and Neil Bush

The connection to Far West, Ltd, of Filin, Likhvinsky, Surikov, and Saidov (along with Alfonso Davidovich) has since been stunningly corroborated by a news story on the Pravda-info website about Far West, Ltd, and Kosyakov’s resignation from it.

At a meeting of its stockholders on 2 May in the Hotel Ritz Carlton in Dubai „Far West Ltd.“ accepted the retirement of the president of the Agency Leonid Kosiakov, who moved to government service in Ukraine. Vladimir Filin, member of the Editorial Board of „Pravda-info,“ was elected the new president, at the same time retaining his previous position as executive director. The meeting of stockholders, in accordance with its charter, selected new members of the board of directors of „Far West Ltd.,“ which will now contain 9 members. Besides Vladimir Filin, Anatolii Baranov and Anton Surikov, it will include four more members if the Editorial Board of „Pravda-info“: Audrius Butkevicius, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Natal’ia Roeva, and Ruslan Saidov, and also Valerii Lunev,[79] a veteran of the Armed Forces, and Alfonso Davidovich, a political scientist from Venezuela.

Far West, the story said,

specializes in consulting work on questions of security in conducting business in regions of the world with unstable environments and hiring personnel for foreign private military companies [last three words in English]. Its head office is located in Switzerland. In addition, the Agency has a network of representatives in OAE [United Arab Emirates], Afghanistan, Colombia, the autonomous region of Kosovo, the autonomous republic of Crimea, Georgia, and the Volga Federal District of the RF [Russian Federation].[80]

Recently Filin gave Pravda.info some details about Far West’s work, and revealed that the firm had been co-founded by „a sub-division of a well-known American corporation.“ He said that the company’s new contract is

connected with the secured transport of commercial shipments from Afghanistan, where we have an office, to ports on the Black Sea. In Afghanistan there is a well-known U.S. air base in Bagram. It is connected by an aerial bridge with a number of other US air bases. For example, with the largest base in Frankfurt-on-Main, that’s in Germany, with an intermediary landing in Chkalovsk, in the Moscow area. But the most commercially attractive route seems to be that from Bagram to the US air base in Magas, in Kyrgyzstan. By the way, it is quite near the Russian air base in Kant. A significant flow of shipments passes through Magas, there is a niche there for commercial shipments too. This is very profitable. It is much more profitable than routing commercial shipments from Afghanistan through Tajikistan. Therefore last year we completely withdrew from all shipping through Tajikistan and closed our office in that country.Who are your partners?

Who our partners are is a commercial secret. I can say that they are four private firms from three countries, Turkey, Russia, and the USA,which engage among other things in shipping. One of these firms is a sub-division of a well-known American corporation. This firm is a co-founder of our agency.[81]

We can assume that Pravda.info is an inside source for information about Far West, for the two organizations seem in fact to be two different manifestations of the same group. Among the directors of Far West on the masthead of Pravda.info we find first of all Anton Surikov, followed by Anatolii Baranov, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Ruslan Saidov, Vladimir Filin, Natal’ia Roeva, and Audrius Butkevicius.[82]

Also on the Pravda.info masthead is Boris Kagarlitskii, who as we saw at the outset is a main source for the Western accounts of the meeting in southern France, by Patrick Cockburn, Nafeez Ahmed, and John Dunlop.[83] Many of the Far West directors, notably Anton Surikov, are or have been also associated with Kagarlitskii at the Russian Institute for Globalization Studies (IPROG).[84]

Although Filin and Pravda.info did not identify the foreign private military companies with which it worked, another source did:

Filin and Likhvintsev do business with foreign private military companies (PMCs):

– «Meteoric Tactical Solutions» (South Africa) – in Angola;

– «Kellogg, Brown &Root» (KBR Halliburton) – in Colombia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, and Iraq.

– «Diligence Iraq LLC» (controlled by the Kuwaiti Mohammed as-Sagar) – in Iraq.“

Their cooperation with these companies began in the end of 1994 in Angola on the initiative of Victor Bout, who was involved in the shipments of Soviet-made arms to the antigovernment group UNITA in exchange to raw diamonds.[85] Apparently, Bout became interested in Likhvintsev’s contacts (L. worked in Angola in 1986-87). Later, in October of 1998, Filin, Likhvintsev’s wife Liudmila Rozkina (b. 1966) and Anton Surikov (at that time he worked in the Russian government) established the company Far West Ltd., with the office in Lausanne, which officially does security consulting for business ventures in countries with unstable regimes. De facto, this is a legalized form of recruiting mercenaries for PMCs.[86]

Furthermore Yasenev claims that some of Far West’s work with Halliburton is apparently approved by the CIA for geopolitical purposes:

In 2003-2004, Filin and Likhvintsev worked on the Georgian project, financed by KBR Halliburton, apparently, with the approval of the CIA. The project had the goal of weakening the competitors of Halliburton in the oil business and, in a broader context, of facilitating the geopolitical objectives of the United States in the Caucasus. The OPS man in Georgia is Audrius Butkevicius, former Lithuanian minister of defense, presently advisor to Badri Patarkatsishvili.[87]

Some of Yasenev’s information about Diligence Iraq is corroborated by a Press Release from Diligence itself.[88]

Diligence LLC, a private military company (PMC), could be described as a CIA spin-off:

Diligence was founded by William Webster, the only man to head both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mike Baker, its chief executive officer, spent 14 years at the CIA as a covert field operations officer specializing in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Whitley Bruner, its chief operating officer in Baghdad, was once the CIA station chief in Iraq.[89]

Its partner in Diligence Middle East (DME) is New Bridge Strategies, whose political clout was described by the Financial Times:

New Bridge was established in May [2003] and came to public attention because of the Republican heavyweights on its board – most linked to one or other Bush administration [officials] or to the family itself. Those include Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush’s presidential campaign manager, and Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, former George H.W. Bush aids.[90]

Joe Allbaugh, the co-chairman of the company, was also head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the day of the 9/11 attacks, and indeed until March 2003, the month that the U.S. invaded Iraq.

The Financial Times wrote that the success of New Bridge in securing contracts had to do with their relationship to Neil Bush, the President’s brother:

Two businessmen instrumental in setting up New Bridge Strategies, a well-connected Washington firm designed to help clients win contracts in Iraq, have previously used an association with the younger brother of President George W. Bush to seek business in the Middle East, an FT investigation has found.

John Howland, the company president, and Jamal Daniel, a principal, have maintained an important business relationship with Neil Bush stretching back several years. In Mr Daniel’s case, the relationship spans more than a decade, with his French office arranging a trip for Mr Bush’s family to Disneyland Paris in 1992, while his father, George H.W.Bush, was president.

On several occasions, the two have attempted to exploit their association with the president’s brother to help win business and investors.

Three people contacted by the FT have seen letters written by Neil Bush recommending business ventures promoted by Mr Howland, Mr Daniel and his family in the Middle East. Mr Daniel has also had his photograph taken with the elder Mr Bush. Such letters and photographs can be valuable props when doing business in the Middle East.

Mr Daniel’s Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman. Crest Investment also helped fund Neil Bush’s Ignite!, an educational software company. Mr Daniel sometimes introduces himself as a founding backer of Mr Bush’s company, a Middle-Eastern businessman who has met him said, and has persuaded the families of prominent leaders in the region to invest.[91]

Until recently, news stories about the international backers for Neil Bush’s firm ignite have focused on Taiwanese businessmen, and Middle East billionaires, such as Defense Minister and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.[92] But it was a surprise to learn in September 2005 that „Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was in Riga along with Neil Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, to discuss an educational project with Latvian businessmen.“[93] In an interview with Interfax, „Berezovsky pointed out that he is one of the shareholders of Ignite! Inc., an educational software company. U.S. President George W. Bush’s brother Neil Bush is the company’s chairman and chief executive.“[94]

The U.S. Contribution to the Afghan-Kosovo Drug Traffic

Much remains to be learned about Far West, Ltd., its personnel, and the American firm which co-founded it. Reportedly it was founded in 1998; and already had Surikov and Saidov as directors when they attended the meeting in Khashoggi’s villa in July 1999.

I suspect myself that the meeting did indeed have to do with destabilizing Russia, as Dunlop claimed. But I believe also that the group at the meeting was more concerned with facilitating drug-trafficking than with strengthening the Kremlin. I believe further that they also discussed the Russian presence in Kosovo, and the imminent increase in the flow of Afghan drugs through Kosovo.

That this flow is huge has been attested to by many observers. Russian sources estimate that from 1991 to 2003 the same group shipped to Western Europe up to 300 tons of heroin and sold it to wholesale buyers of Kosovo Albanian nationality.  In the same period they sold up to 60 tons of heroin to Azeri and Roma (gypsy) wholesalers in the Volga and the Urals Federal Districts of Russia. The group’s total receipts for heroin in 1991-2003 are estimated to be $5 billion.[95]

The chief narco-baron of the group is said to be Vladimir Filin, who is also the head of Far West. Here is a relevant interview Filin afforded to his colleague Alexander Nagorny at Filin’s own alternate organization, Pravda.info:

There have been reports in mass media about the involvement of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in drug trafficking. I asked the well-known political scientist and specialist on organized crime Vladimir Filin to comment on this.

-Vladimir Ilyich, is it true that Americans are involved in drug business?

-Yes, they are in ideal situation for this. They control the Bagram airfield from where the Air Force transport planes fly to a U.S. military base in Germany. In the last two years this base became the largest transit hub for moving Afghan heroin to other US bases and installations in Europe. Much of it goes to Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. From there the Kosovo Albanian mafia moves heroin back to Germany and other EU countries.

-Why such a complex arrangement?

Drug traffickers enjoy relative safety in military bases. There is no serious control there. German police cannot work there. However, outside of military bases German law-enforcement is in effect. True, any police can be bought. But the level of corruption in Germany is not as high as, say, in Russia. This is why it is more convenient for Americans to establish distribution centers in other places. I believe that, in time, such centers will move to their military installations in Poznan, Poland, and also in Romania and Bulgaria. Poland is already a EU member. Romania and Bulgaria are expected to be in 2007. Corruption in these countries is almost as high as in Russia.

-How big is American drug traffic to Europe and who is behind it?

-About 15-20 tons of heroin a year. When Poznan become open, I think it could rise to 50, even 70 tons. Behind this business are the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). Actually, this is what they did already in Indochina in the 1960s-70s and in Central America in the 1980s.[96]

Under the circumstances I consider Filin to be no more reliable than his opposite number, Joseph D. Douglass, the author of Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West. But legitimate questions abound as to why the USA empowered the KLA to take over Kosovo.

<!– I will close with a question I have raised before. One has to ask why in 2004 some U.S. bureaucratic sectors in the Bush Administration were still using the KLA’s very special background to deal with the difficult situation in Haiti:

In 2004 a USAID Report confirmed that „Training and management specialists of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a civilian response unit consisting primarily of former Kosovo Liberation Army members, have been brought to Haiti“[97]

Why would AID bring veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, „a major force in international organized crime, moving staggering amounts of narcotics.“[98] to train and manage the Haitian Army, an organization traditionally „corrupted by Colombian cocaine kingpins“?[99]

Whatever the answer, it is hard to imagine that AID in 2004 did not have drugs somehow in mind.

[„Peter Dale Scott has requested the deletion here of three erroneous paragraphs concerning Kosovo, Haiti, and AID. The error arose because his published source had misread and misunderstood an AID document.“]

How the U.S. Restored Narco-Barons to Power in Afghanistan, 2001

It is clear that the Blair and Bush Administrations did have drugs in mind when in 2001 they developed a strategy for ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their plans focused chiefly on Ahmad Shah Massoud, overcoming the long-time resistance in Washington to supporting this known drug trafficker.[100]

Massoud of course was also the most successful guerrilla opponent of the Taliban. A more naked example of a U.S. drug ally was Haji Zaman in Jalalabad.

When the Taliban claimed Jalalabad…Zaman had fled Afghanistan for a leisurely life in Dijon, France. Just a few years at the top of the heroin trade in Jalalabad had given „Mr. Ten Percent“ a ticket to just about any destination he could have chosen. In late September 2001, British and American officials, keen to build up an opposition core to take back the country from the Taliban, met with and persuaded Zaman to return to Afghanistan.[101]

According to Asian sources, Zaman’s long-time Pakistani drug-trafficking partner, Haji Ayub Afridi, was also released from a Pakistani jail at this time, „reportedly at the request of the CIA.“[102]

The informed Indian observer B. Raman was outspoken about the U.S. use of narcobarons to oust the Taliban. Citing the subsequent failure to curb opium production, he wrote:

There are disturbing reports from reliable sources in Afghanistan that this marked lack of success in the heroin front is due to the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, which encouraged these heroin barons during the Afghan war of the 1980s in order to spread heroin-addiction amongst the Soviet troops, is now using them in its search for bin Laden and other surviving leaders of the Al Qaeda, by taking advantage of their local knowledge and contacts. These Pakistani heroin barons and their Afghan lieutenants are reported to have played an important role in facilitating the induction of Hamid Karzai into the Pashtun areas to counter the Taliban in November, 2001. It is alleged that in return for the services rendered by them, the USA has turned a blind eye to their heroin refineries and reserves.[103]

A third major narcobaron selected by the CIA, according to Raman, was Haji Abdul Qadeer.

Haji Abdul Qadeer was the CIA’s choice [in 2001] as the Governor of the Nangarhar province in which Jalalabad is located. …. During the first Afghan war against the Soviet troops in the 1980s, he played an active role under the control of the CIA and the Directorate-General For External Security (DGES), the French external intelligence agency, in organizing the heroin trail to the Soviet troops from the heroin refineries of Pakistan owned by Haji Ayub Afridi, the Pakistani narcotics baron, who was a prized operative of the CIA in the 1980s. Abdul Qadeer and Afridi became very close associates in running this drug trade with the blessings of the CIA. Amongst others who were associated with this trade were Haji Mohammed Zaman and Hazrat Ali.[104]

If Raman is correct, therefore, the CIA not only blessed but controlled the flow of drugs from Afridi, Zaman, and Abdul Qadeer into the hands of Soviet troops like Vladimir Filin and Aleksei Likhvintsev.[105]

IV. The Meta-Group, the War on Terror, and 9/11

U.S. Geostrategic Goals and Chechnya

In the 1980s CIA Director William Casey used narcotics to achieve two goals, the immediate goal of weakening the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the long-term goal of financing Islamist resistance to break up the Soviet Union.[106] According to the partisan but well-informed observer Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the U.S. still pursues the goal of weakening destabilizing Russia.

As if reliving the „good ol‘ days“ of Afghanistan of the 1980s, Washington is once again seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces. The US crossed the line in mid-December 1999, when US officials participated in a formal meeting in Azerbaijan in which specific programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central/South Asia and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon. This meeting led to Washington’s tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and US „private security companies“ (of the type which did the Clinton Administration’s dirty job in the Balkans while skirting and violating the international embargo the US formally supported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in the Spring of 2000 and sustain the ensuing jihad for a long time.

Washington’s motivation is oil pipeline politics and the economy. Essentially, Washington is determined to deprive Russia of a viable pipeline route through spiraling violence and terrorism, the political fallout of media accusations of Russian war crimes. In the calculations of the Clinton Administration, a US-assisted escalation and expansion of the war in Chechnya should deliver the desired debilitation of Russia.

The Clinton Administration believes that the spiraling violence in the Caucasus will scare Western investors and oil buyers from making deals with Russia. Meanwhile, with the sudden US attempted rapprochement with Iran, the Clinton Administration is heralding the Azerbaijani southern route (with a little detour in Iran) as seemingly feasible. And so, in the Summer of 2000, the Clinton Administration keeps fanning the flames of the Islamist jihad in the Caucasus through covert assistance, tacit encouragement of allies to actively support the mujahedin, as well as the orchestrating of an intense media campaign against Russia and its conduct in Chechnya.[107]

The Caucasian Common Market project of Khashoggi, Lord McAlpine, and James Baker, can be seen as contributing to this goal. While these western investors may have sought profits as the result of their investment, they were perhaps more anxious to see the reduction of Russian influence, thus providing a more secure environment for the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which western oil companies count on to deliver oil from the Caspian Basin to the Mediterranean.

As the State Department noted in 2005,

the involvement of U.S. firms in the development and export of Azerbaijani oil is key to our objectives of diversifying world oil supplies, providing a solid base for the regional economy, and promoting U.S. energy security.[108]

The Bush Administration committed an estimated $1.5 billion to the Caspian basin area, including an $11 million program to train a „pipeline protection battalion“ for the special Georgian unit created to protect the Georgian section of the BTC pipeline.[109]

The Meta-Group’s Geostrategic Goal: Maintain the War of Terror

The fact that the United States will use drug traffickers as geostrategic assets does not at all mean that Washington and the traffickers will necessarily have the same agendas. In theory at least, the contrary should be true. Although the United States may have used known traffickers like Zaman and Qadir to regain access to Afghanistan, its stated ultimate goal, and the one assumed by the mainstream media, was to reimpose its own kind of order. Whether the country is Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Colombia, or Kosovo, America’s national interest is said to be to install and then protect pipelines. And pipelines require peace and security.

The prime geostrategic goal of the drug traffic in Afghanistan is precisely to prevent peace and security from happening. It is true that the international illicit drug industry, like the international oil industry, is polymorphous and flexible, relying on diversified sources and markets for its products in order to maintain its global dominance. But for the global drug traffic to prosper, there must always be key growing areas where there is ongoing violence, and state order does not prevail.

However, in speaking above of America’s stated national interest, I do not assume that a U.S. government will always represent that national interest. Something else has happened in recent decades, the growth of the drug trade to the point that it now represents a significant portion of national and international wealth. And it has to be said that the American free enterprise system, like every other dominant political system in a current nation with world pretensions, will tend above all to represent the interests of the wealthy.

Thus Bush Administration policies cannot be assumed to reflect the national goals of peace and security, as outlined above. On the contrary, its shocking underfunding of Afghanistan’s recovery, like its complex and destabilizing interventions in Georgia, suggest that it, as much as the drug traffic, hopes to utilize instability – as a pretext for maintaining unstable U.S. bases in countries like Uzbekistan, whose people eventually will more and more object to them. These policies can be said to favor the interests of the drug traffic more than the interests of security and orderly development.

A test of the Bush Administration’s true intentions in the War on Terror came as early as November 2001. The Americans had learned, correctly, that Osama bin Laden was holed up in the caves of Tora Bora. While storming the caves was a difficult military challenge, surrounding and isolating them was well within the capacity of U.S. military strength. However General Franks, the United States commander, entrusted the task of capturing bin Laden to two local commanders: Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman.

As we have seen, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman were not only drug lords, they were earlier part of the 1980s heroin trail to Soviet troops that had been organized „with the blessings of the CIA.“ Thus the U.S. could hardly plead ignorance as to these men’s activities and interests, which clearly involved making sure that the writ of Kabul would never extend to their own Nangahar Province. For the drug trade to thrive in Afghanistan, it was necessary that the influence of Osama and the Taliban be preserved, not extinguished.

The folly of using Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman was brought to Franks‘ attention at the time:

Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn’t be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn’t attack until four days after American planes began bombing – leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.[110]

The failure to use U.S. troops cannot be attributed to the motive of appeasing local sentiments:

Pir Baksh Bardiwal, the intelligence chief for the Eastern Shura, said that he would welcome a massive influx of U.S. troops. He believed that the Pentagon planners were making a grave mistake by not surrounding Tora Bora.[111]

A U.S. journalist who was there, Philip Smucker, claims that the treachery of the local commanders went beyond their slowness to surround Tora Bora. He describes hearing how one lower level commander

whom Ali had assigned to guard the Pakistani border, had acted as an outright escort for al Qaeda…. „Ilyas Khel just showed the Arabs the way out of the country into Pakistan“…..That Ali had entrusted [Khel, who had once served under the military commander of Osama’s friend Younis Khalis] suggested to us that the escapes were part of a much broader conspiracy to assist al Qaeda right through to the end.[112]

How high up did this conspiracy go? Certainly Ali’s failure to capture Osama could have been and was predicted. But if capturing Osama was indeed the U.S. goal (as announced at the time by Colin Powell), the real question is why the task was not entrusted to U.S. troops.

In the wake of 9/11, Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, has claimed to possess information linking the American 9/11, and much else, to massive drug-trafficking which has corrupted high level U.S. officials. Among other things, she has claimed that the U.S. has never gone after top-level drug traffickers, because

this would upset „certain foreign relations.“ But it would also expose certain of our elected officials, who have significant connections with high-level drugs- and weapons-smuggling – and thus with the criminal underground, even with the terrorists themselves…..[113]

After Ms. Edmonds reported improprieties to her FBI employers, she was fired. She has appealed her firing, but the Bush administration has invoked the unusual claim of the „state-secrets privilege“ to prevent the lawsuits she has filed from being heard in court. At this point we know little more than that what concerned her involved arms-dealing, drug-trafficking, and Turkey.

It is I think a matter of national priority to learn more about the American links to Far West, Ltd., the group accused of staging the Russian 9/11. It is a matter of more than purely historic interest to learn if that group’s Islamist and American connections could have supplied a meeting-ground for staging the American 9/11 as well.

For at present America faces in Afghanistan, what Russia faces in Chechnya, a war which is favorable to drug trafficking but increasingly deleterious to national well-being.[114] The Bush Administration continues to use 9/11 to sell its Asian adventures to the American people. Meanwhile elements profiting from the flow of Afghan drugs continue to grow stronger and more dangerous to the well-being of both countries.

Concluding Question: The Meta-Group and the United States Government

It seems clear that the meta-group, with its influential connections on at least three continents, was powerful enough to effect changes, through the Russian 9/11, in Russian history. The question arises whether they could similarly effect changes in American history as well.

As we have seen Russian sources claim that the U.S. Government has had access to he meta-group, for such especially sensitive projects as the assassination of Abu al Walid al-Hamadi. They claim the meta-group’s involvement in a number of U.S.-sponsored regime changes in eastern Europe, from the overthrow of Ceausescu in Romania to the recent deposition of Shevardnadze in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal attributed the latter to the work of „a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations.“[115] One of these was the Albert Einstein Institution, funded by both the NED and the Soros foundations, which helped to create the dissident youth movementKmara in Georgia.Audrius Butkevicius, the meta-group member now resident in Georgia, is said to be closely connected with the Albert Einstein Institution.[116]

To this we should possibly add the so-called tulip revolution in March 2005 that ousted long-time leader Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan, (It was after this event that Far West opened its office in Kyrgyzstan.)[117] Nagorny claims that the coup was organized by British intelligence and Chechens in Istanbul, with the „technical assistance“ of Americans.[118] Since then the heroin traffic through Kyrgyzstan has allegedly almost trebled.[119]

Returning to a question raised earlier, it also seems possible that the U.S. government might contemplate using Hizb ut-Tahrir and the meta-group for political changes in Russia itself, even while combating the Islamism of al-Qaeda elsewhere. This would be far from the first time that the U.S. Government had used drug-trafficking proxies as assets, and would do a lot to explain the role of the U.S. in 2001 in restoring major drug traffickers to power in Afghanistan. Dubious figures like Nukhaev, Khodorkovskii, and Khashoggi have already shown their interest in such initiatives; and western business interests have shown their eagerness to work with these allies of the meta-group.

It is fitting to think of most U.S. intelligence assets as chess pieces, moved at the whim of their controllers. That is however not an apt metaphor for the meta-group, which clearly has the resources to negotiate and to exert its own influence interactively upon the governments it works with.

Since first hearing about the meta-group’s role in the Russian 9/11, I have pondered the question whether it could have played a similar role in the American 9/11 as well. At this point I have to say that I have found no persuasive evidence that would prove its involvement. The fact remains that two informed and credible witnesses, Sibell Edmonds and Indira Singh, have spoken independently of the importance of international drug trafficking in the background of 9/11.

The Bush Administration has paid Sibell Edmonds the tribute of silencing her on the grounds of national interest. She has nonetheless made it clear that what she would talk about concerns that part of the world where the meta-group has influence:

SE [Sibell Edmonds]: It’s interesting, in one of my interviews, they say „Turkish countries,“ but I believe they meant Turkic countries – that is, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all the ‚Stans, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and [non-Turkic countries like] Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these countries play a big part in the sort of things I have been talking about.

CD [Chris Deliso]: What, you mean drug-smuggling?

SE: Among other things. Yes, that is a major part of it. It’s amazing that in this whole „war on terror“ thing, no one ever talks about these issues.[120]

Indira Singh, who lost her high-tech job at J.P. Morgan after telling the FBI about Ptech and 9/11, was even more dramatic in her public testimony at a Canadian event:

I did a number of things in my research and when I ran into the drugs I was told that if I mentioned the money to the drugs around 9/11 that would be the end of me.[121]

The False Dilemmas of 9/11 Theories

I said earlier that by suppressing awareness of the role of drug-trafficking in our society, we give drug traffickers a de facto franchise to exert political influence without criticism or opposition. An example of this is the discussion of 9/11 in America, which usually fails to consider the meta-group among the list of possible suspects.

I have tried to suggest in this paper that in fact the meta-group had both motive – to restore the Afghan opium harvest and increase instability and chaos along the trade routes through Central Asia – and opportunity – to utilize its contacts with both al-Zawahiri in al Qaeda and the CIA in Washington. It is furthermore the best candidate to explain one of the more difficult anomalies (or indeed paradoxes) of the clues surrounding 9/11: that many of the clues lead in the direction of Saudi Arabia, but some lead also in a very different direction, towards Israel.[122]

Here it is worth quoting again the well-informed remark of a Washington insider about the meta-group’s predecessor, BCCI: „Who else could wire something together to Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and the U.S.?“[123] The current meta-group fills the same bill, for it unites supporters of Muslim Salafism (Saidov) with at least one Israeli citizen (Kosman).

The meta-group’s involvement in the Russian 9/11 of course does nothing to prove its involvement in the American one. However awareness of its presence – as an unrecognized Force X operating in the world – makes previous discussions of 9/11 seem curiously limited. Again and again questions of responsibility have been unthinkingly limited to false dilemmas in which the possible involvement of this or any other Force X is excluded.

An early example is Michael Moore’s naïve question to President Bush in Dude, Where’s My Country: „Who attacked the United States on September 11 – a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friends, Saudi Arabia?“[124] A far more widespread dilemma is that articulated by David Ray Griffin in his searching critique of the 9/11 Commission Report:

There are two basic theories about 9/11. Each of these theories is a „conspiracy theory.“ One of these is the official conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks of 9/11 were planned and executed solely by al-Qaeda terrorists under the guidance of Osama bin Laden….Opposing this official theory is the [sic] alternative conspiracy theory, which holds that the attacks of 9/11 were able to succeed only because they were facilitated by the Bush administration and its agencies.[125]

Griffin of course is not consciously excluding a third possible theory – that a Force X was responsible. But his failure to acknowledge this possibility is an example of the almost universal cultural denial I referred to earlier. In America few are likely to conceive of the possibility that a force in contact with the U.S. government could be not just an asset, but a force exerting influence on that government.

My personal suggestion to 9/11 researchers is that they focus on the connections of the meta-group’s firm Far West, Ltd. – in particular those which lead to Khashoggi, Berezovskii, Halliburton and Dick Cheney, and Diligence, Joe Allbaugh, and Neil Bush.

DIRECTORS OF FAR WEST, LTD.[126]

Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Dubai and Switzerland. ’83-’85 – in command of a special GRU group in Shindand, West. Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Saidov, and Petrov. Ret. in ’93. Owns big travel company in Dubai. In the spring of 2005 was appointed to general’s position in Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) and stepped down as the official president of Far West Ltd.

Vladimir „Ilyich“ Filin, b. 1960, Kiev, Ukraine. Ukrainian. Doctor of sciences (1982). In ’83-84 served in a special unit of GRU in Western Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In 1993 retired from GRU in the rank of Lt.-Colonel. A British citizen since 2000. In 2004 Filin was listed as political scientist and expert on „revolutionary and guerilla movements in the developing world“ at IPROG, the Moscow Institute for Globalization Studies.

Anatoly Baranov. Journalist. Under Masliukov-Primakov cabinet served as public relations executive director, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. In 2002 bought forum.msk.ru. Owner of Pravda-info. 2003 – Press secretary to the deputy prime minister Alyoshin (military-industrial complex). „Coordinator of media projects“ at IPROG.

Audrius Butkevicius, Lithuanian. Presently resides in Georgia. Former Lithuanian minister of defense. Sentenced for bribery. Has close ties with Albert Einstein Institution. Member of Far West Ltd. board of directors and the editorial board of Pravda.info. ’94 – visiting scholar at Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London (together with Anton Surikov and Igor Sutyagin, now in prison for espionage).

Alfonso Davidovich Ochoa (b. 1948), Venezuelan, resides in Munich, Germany. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR and East Germany. Was close to the Cuban General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez. In the past used passports in the names of Jose Rodriguez, Captain of the Cuban Army, and Jose Alva, Colombian citizen. Responsible for FWL office in Bogotá.

Alexei Likhvintsev („Abdulla,“ „Pribalt“), b. 1959, Lviv, Ukraine. Ukrainian. British citizen (2000), resides in Britain (Scotland?). ’84-85 special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). Nov ’87-Jan ’89 – military advisor in Angola. 90′-’93 – together with Filin on assignment to sell the property of the Soviet Army in East Germany, did business with Kosovo Albanian companies. ’93.

Valery Nikolaevich Lunev (b. 1960, Belorussia). Belorussian. ’83-84 – special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Married to Dzhokhar Dudaev’s relative Fatima (b. 1970). Retired from the military in March of 1995. Lunev is responsible for security and „strong arm operations“. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. Resides in the Netherlands, has Dutch citizenship. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia. Has extensive contacts in Tajikistan.

Ruslan Shamilievich Saidov (b. 1960, city of Khasavyurt, Dagestan). Avar Chechen-Spanish. Has Turkish passport in the name of Hungar (?) Mehmet and passport of Arab Emirates. ’83-84 – special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Later, assignments in Lebanon and Syria. Ret. Major of GRU ’93. Resides in Turkey since ’95 and in Dubai. Advisor to Necmettin Erbakan – ’96. Business partner of the Islamic Bank of Dubai and Habib Bank. Since mid-90s Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Hashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal and Prince Na’f. Close to Basaev and Khattab.

Anton Victorovich Surikov , „Mansur“ (Ancestral name: Mansur Ali-Hadzhi Natkhoev), b. 1961, Sukhimi, Georgia, USSR. Ethnic Adygei. Son of a leading figure in the Soviet military-industrial establishment. Resides in Moscow. Has Turkish and, possibly, US citizenship. Doctor of sciences. ’84-served in a special GRU unit, based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). ’90-96 – Institute of USA and Canada. ’92 – 93 – deputy of the Abkhazian minister of defense, makes friends with Shamil Basaev, commander of the special battalion trained by GRU. ’94 – visiting scholar at the Center for Defense Studies, King’s College London. ’96 – ret. Colonel. Also on IPROG staff.

Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship. Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Thaçi, the chief commander of KLA. The new president of Far West, Ltd.

Peter Dale Scott’s last book was Drugs, Oil, and War (2003). For the past three years he has been living in Berkeley and Thailand, while writing a book on oil, drugs, and 9/11. His website is www.peterdalescott.net

Footnotes

[1] Asia Times, 10/27/05, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/GJ27Ag02.html.

[2] Nick Kochan, The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us (Mason, OH: Thomson, 2005), 124.

[3] Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, 2004; quoted in Kochan, The Washing Machine, 124: „The effects of this worldwide, highly integrated industry have been felt from Colombia to Thailand, from Afghanistan to Sudan, and from Russia to the United States. No country has been impervious. Transnational drug networks have exploded in response to the new conditions in the former Soviet Union. Particularly menacing are the connections that have been identified between networks in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Soviet successor states.“

[4] Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America (Boston: Little Brown, 2000), 208-09.

[5] Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2001); Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

[6] Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), 347.

[6a] A comprador is an agent who acts as intermediary between local and international commerce. The term is used pejoratively in Marxist literature, but I use it neutrally here. Each compradorial revolution must be judged on its own merits

[7] „According to the UN, opium production [in Afghanistan] peaked in 2004 to near record levels of 4,200 metric tonnes – nearly 90% of the world market“ (BBC News, 4/26/05, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4487433.stm).

[8] The former dominance of the Burma drug trade by the Taiwan-based Guomindang (GMD) has now been replaced in press accounts by the control of the United Wa State Army, an ostensibly indigenous group. At the heart of the Wa Army, however, control of the traffic by Taiwan intelligence endures. See Bertil Lintner, Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency since 1948 (Chiang Mai: Silkworm, 1999), 321, 324, 380.

[9] Letter of Anton Surikov to Oleg Grechenevsky, discussed below: „I am personally acquainted with Mr. Ermarth as political scientist since 1996. It’s well known by many people and we never hid this fact.“ Fritz Ermath did not retire from the CIA until 1998. Cf. Argumenty i Facty, 9/15/99, http://www.aif.ru/oldsite/986/art010.html. That the two men met in 1996 was indeed public knowledge. The Russian journal Commersant published a photo of the two men and others at the International Seminar on Global Security in Virginia, April, 1996.

[10] Interview, http://www.pravda.info/region/3601.html, discussed below. Cf. Letter of Anton Surikov to Oleg Grechenevsky, discussed below: „We cooperate with the American side in the sphere of commercial transportation not on the basis of direct commercial contracts between our agency [Far West, Ltd.] and the U. S. government, but through the intermediary company co-founded by the agency and a private U.S. company, which in its turn also interacts with the U.S. government.“

[11] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/saidov.htm.

[12]John B. Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow“: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004, http://www.sais-jhu.edu/programs/res/papers/Dunlop%20paper.pdf.

[13] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 6-15.

[14] See the anecdote in the latest edition of Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Traffic (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2003), xii; discussed also in Peter Dale Scott, „The Sleep of Reason: Denial, Memory-Work, and the Reconstruction of Social Order,“ Literary Responses to Mass Violence (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, 2004).

[15] Scott, Deep Politics, 164-81.

[16] This distinction between a government operation ad a socio-political force reflects the distinction I make between parapolitics and deep politics (Scott, Deep Politics, 6-12).

[17] Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, 3/17/03, http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030317fa_fact. Soon after the exposure of Perle’s contact with Khashoggi, which, Hersh argued, violated a federal Code of Conduct for government employees, Perle resigned his influential position as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board.

[18] Interfax, 9/21/05. See below.

[19] Richard Secord, with Jay Wurts, Honored and Betrayed: Irangate, Covert Affairs, and the Secret War in Laos (New York: John Wiley, 1992), 283-84; cf. Robert Parry, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (Arlington, VA: Media Consortium, 2004), 136, 139.

[20] Patrick Cockburn, „Russia ‚planned Chechen war before bombings,'“ Independent, 1/29/00, http://www.naqshbandi.net/haqqani/features/caucasus/news/stepashin_confession.htm.

[21] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, „The Smashing of Chechnya: An International Irrelevance.

A Case Study of the Role of Human Rights in Western Foreign Policy“

http://mediamonitors.net/mosaddeq5.html.

[22] John B. Dunlop, „`Storm in Moscow‘: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004, 15-17

[23] Dunlop, „`Storm in Moscow,'“ 18.

[24] Although Dunlop does not mention it, Khashoggi „himself, in a letter addressed to Versiya, denied the allegation that the meeting occurred specifically at his estate“ (Versiya, 2/3/00). The book Blowing Up Russia goes further, arguing that „no such meeting took place, and someone deliberately misinformed the Russian media.“ The logic advanced for this conclusion is that the bombings were not needed „by the insurgents in Chechnya to encourage the legal recognition of their independent republic“ (Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko, Blowing Up Russia [New York: S.P.I. Books, 2002], 105, 108). However this „logic“ ignores the more likely motive of Basaev: to weaken the influence of the moderate Chechen leader Maskhadov, and create future political space for action by Salafi Muslim jihadists. See Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), 152-55.

[25] John B. Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow“: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004.

[26] Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 41: „At the end of June [2000] there arrived at the editorial board of Versiya a large postal envelope without a return address. In it was a photograph in which were depicted three men…. After a time, there was a telephone call to the editorial offices, and the man who called, who did not introduce himself, said: ‚That is the photograph of the meeting of Voloshin with Basaev. It is easy to recognize Voloshin, but Basaev is the bearded man to the extreme right. That is what you wrote about [in the 3 August 1999 issue] and what you need.‘ The unidentified man explained that the photograph was from a still of footage shot with a video-camera…“ (The third man in the photograph, Versiya asserted, was former GRU operative Anton Surikov.) Versiya published the photograph of the three men at the head of the article.“

[27] Khashoggi’s connections to U.S. intelligence date back to his involvement in Lockheed payoffs to Saudi politicians in the 1960s. These tended to overlap with CIA patterns of corruption; and the USAF actually ran a similar program with Lockheed, „code-named ‚Operation Buttercup‘ that operated out of Norton Air Force Base in California from 1965 to 1972“ (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/24/73, 22).“ For the pattern of Lockheed payoffs tracking the CIA’s, see Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar (New York: Viking, 1977), 134, 227-8, 238.

[28] Anthony Summers with Robbyn Swann, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), 283.

[29] Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 84.

[30] Robert Parry, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (Arlington, VA: Media Consortium, 2004), 136, 139. A Portuguese newspaper article alleged that Khashoggi was a director of BCCI, and this claim has often been repeated. The best sources confirm only Khashoggi’s profitable arms deals with the bank as co-investor, and his cousin Yassin’s participation in a BCCI affiliate, Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 108-09, 129, 135-38).

[31] Ron Kessler, The Richest Man in the World , 181-83.

[32] „Separatism, Islam and Oil,“ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2000/02/game/344.htm. Cf. „The tendencies of interregional and international integration in North Caucasia,“ Caucasian Knot, eng.kavkaz.memo.ru/reginfotext/ engreginfo/id/560578.html: „One of the projects of Caucasian integration is called „Caucasian Common Market“. It was offered in 1997 by Chechen politicians with the support of the western states – USA and Great Britain. This project is on the stage of implementation: in Georgia a branch of Caucasian Common Market is established, a company for insurance of foreign investments is established, an industrial construction consortium „Caucasus“ is organised that apart from renovation of the port Poti plans to construct motorways and railways in Chechnya. The executive bodies of Caucasian Common Market are also represented in Baku. Caucasian-American chamber of commerce and as part of it Caucasian investment fund were organised in the USA. These organisations are going to collect 3 billion USD as the initial capital for the projects of Caucasian Common Market.“

[33] Jamestown Foundation, Monitor, Vol. 3, Issue 206, 11/4/97. Another interested party before his tragic death with Princess Diana was Dodi al-Fayad, the owner of Harrod’s and Khashoggi’s nephew.

[34] AFP, „From criminal to Islamist: US journalist traces the life of a Chechen rebel,“ JRL 7252, 7/16/03, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/7252-17.cfm#top. Nukhaev’s criminal background was known in the West before his dealings with Lord McAlpine and (allegedly) James Baker. See A. Zhilin, “ The Shadow of Chechen Crime over Moscow,“ Jamestown Foundation, 3/22/96, http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?search=1&volume_id=3&issue_id=128&article_id=15.27; Paul Klebnikov, Razgovor S Varvarom Besedy S Chechenskim Polevym Komandirom Khozhakhmedom Nukhaevym O Banditizme I Islame (Talks with a Barbarian). . This background did not deter Margaret Thatcher from posing in a photograph with Nukhaev.

[35] „Caucasian diamond traffic“ (Moscow, 2005), http://www.civilresearch.org/pdf/7.pdf: „In spring 1997 Adnan Khashoggi introduced Hozh-Ahmed Nukhaev to James Baker.“

[36] Boris Kagarlitskii, „S terroristami ne razgovarivaem. No pomogaem?“ Novaya gazeta, 24 January 2000; Boris Kagarlitskii, trans. Olga Kryazheva, „We Don’t Talk To Terrorists. But We Help Them? A version of apartment explosions in Russia,“ Novaya Gazeta, 1/24/00, http://geocities.com/chechenistan/conspiracy.html).

[37] See Lilia Shevtsova, translated by Antonina Bouis, Putin’s Russia (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003), 279, fn 15; citing Profil‘, 11/27/00, 18-20.

[38] For the complex story of Turkish involvement in the Chechen War, see e.g. „Turkey and the Chechens,“ BBC News, 3/16/01, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1223398.stm;. Hunter, Islam in Russia, 362-71.

[39] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/saidov.htm.

[40] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat. This and other discrepancies between Dunlop and his source Yasenev were first pointed out by the Russian research group burtsev.ru at http://left.ru/2005/10/burtsev127.html .

[41] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat..

[42] „KLA Funding Tied To Heroin Profits,“ Washington Times, 5/3/99.

[43] SIDA/Cornell Caspian Consulting, „The South Caucasus: A Regional Overview,“ 2002, http://www.cornellcaspian.com/sida/sida-cfl-2.html.

[44] Anton Surikov, Crime in Russia, 38-39.

[45] Tim Judah, Kosovo: War and Revenge (New Haven: Yale UP, 2002), 279, 284-85.

[46] Toronto Sun, 6/27/99.

[47] Pravda.ru, 7/3/03, http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/365/10389_peacekeepers.html.

[48] The map was allegedly shown by Surikov’s partner Sergei Petrov to a Russian businessman in Geneva while discussing a drug deal (http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/a.htm).

[49] Peter Klebnikov, „Heroin Heroes,“ Mother Jones, January/February 2000, http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2000/01/heroin.html; Peter Dale Scott, „Deep Politics: Drugs, Oil, Covert Operations and Terrorism,“ http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/911Background.htm.

[50] Shevtsova, Putin’s Russia, 285, fn. 11.

[51] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat. Cf. Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America (Boston: Little Brown, 2000), 265: „Astonishingly, both the [George H.W.] Bush and the Clinton administrations have unwittingly helped foster the Russian mob and the untrammeled corruption of post-Soviet Union Russia. When the CIA was asked in 1992 by Kroll and Associates, working on behalf of the Russian government, to help locate $20 billion that was hidden offshore by the KGB and the mob, the Bush national security team declined to cooperate. The Bush group rationalized, according to Fritz Ermarth, a top CIA policy analyst writing in The National Interest, `that capital flight is capital flight. It doesn’t matter who has the money or how it was acquired even if by theft; so long as it is private, it will return to do good things if there was a market.'“

[52] Founder and Chair of IPROG Board and the Institute’s director until April 2002 when he was replaced by Boris Kagarlitskii.

[53] Member of Yeltsin „family;“ Deputy Minister of Finance and then Prime Minister for four years until fired by Putin 2/24/04.

[54] Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 44-45.

[55] PBS, Frontline, October 2003, http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/moscow/khodorkovsky.html. Cf. Menatep Press Release of 4/30/02, http://www.groupmenatep.com/pressroom/pressroom_april_30_02.cfm: „30.04.2002: Group MENATEP Invests US $25 Million in Blackstone Capital Partners IV: Group MENATEP’s GM Investment & Co Ltd has agreed to invest up to US $25 million in Blackstone Capital Partners IV, a private equity investment fund managed by The Blackstone Group, an investment bank with offices in New York and London. Primary investment targets will include major industrial, service and communications-related companies in the United States and Europe. In the last six months, Group MENATEP has made commitments to invest in excess of US $150 million with a number of investment firms, including AIG Capital Partners, Global Asset Management, The Carlyle Group, and now The Blackstone Group (Source: PR Newswire).“

[56]„Former Primakov Official Attacks High-Level Corruption and Yeltsin’s Plans in 2000,“ Jamestown Foundation Monitor, 5/25/99, JRL 3306, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/3306.html##9.

[57] Chechen Press, 5/28/05, http://www.chechenpress.co.uk/english/news/2005/05/28/08.shtml.

[58] As will be apparent in a moment, it makes sense that Surikov would have been opposed not only to Yeltsin but to the relatively secular, anti-Islamist Chechen leader Dzhokar Dudaev. For Dudaev see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), 150-51.

[59] Military Policy Research, Archive Search Results, http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:Vt5emTAcJJEJ:www.mpr.co.uk/scripts/sweb.dll/li_archive_item%3Fmethod%3DGET%26object%3DLDS_1995_25_MAR+%22Crime+in+Russia:+the+international+implications+&hl=en. The full citation for the book is Anton Surikov, Crime in Russia: the International Implications (London: Brassey’s for the Centre for Defence Studies, University of London, 1995). The database WorldCat lists it in three U.S. libraries: Columbia, Cornell, and the U.S. Army War College.

[60] www.iprog.ru/cast/?id=8.

[61] Letter of 9/17/05 to Oleg Grechenevsky, http://www.mail-archive.com/cia-drugs@yahoogroups.com/msg01967.html. According to one 1999 article in Russia, Ermarth introduced Surikov to Steve Forbes who offered to help him participate in the project –together with Ermarth and UK Ambassador Sir Rodric Braithwaite –to reveal the ties between the Yeltsin Administration and Russian corruption. But this claim needs to be treated with extreme caution, given the false stories at the time linking Ermarth, Braithwaite, and Surikov to an imaginary joint campaign against Russian corruption. See The Electronic Telegraph (UK), 9/11/99, JRI #3493, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/3493.html.

[62] Commersant (n.d). In an alleged transcript of a drug-related dialogue beween Sergei [Petrov] and a businessman, the latter says, „You’ve said Surikov was also a CIA man.“ See transcript of audio recorded conversation between businessman Gennady Nikolaevich (GN) with Sergei (S), which took place on September 29, 2003 in the Hotel Noga Hilton in Geneva, http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/narko.htm.

[63] Left Front Press Conference, , http://left.ru/2005/11/preskonf_eng.html. Kagarlitskii was defended at the press conference by the former Yukos official Ilya Ponomarev.

[64] Another IPROG member is Ilya Ponomarev (see preceding footnote).

[65]Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 42. Dunlop’s important and truncated description of Mekhmet has a strange and irrelevant citation: „On Erbakan, see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), p. 365.“But there is no need to identify Erbakan, and Hunter is silent about Mekhmet.

[66] See e.g. Mohamed H. Heikal, Daily Yomiuri, 8/8/94.

[67] Surikov’s book, Crime in Russia, p. 33, confirms that „Chechen transport of armaments to Aden airport was even carried on during the civil war in Yemen in 1994.“

[68] Independent (London), 8/5/05.

[69] Milli Görüş, the chief organization of Turks in Germany, is said to have as it goals the „abolition of the laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic state and social system ….Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan, whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in January of 1998 for `activities against the country’s secular regime,‘ is still Milli Görüş‘ undisputed leader, even if his nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president“ (Lorenzo Vidino, „The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe,“ Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005, http://www.meforum.org/article/687.

[70] Cf. Independent (London), 8/5/05.

[71] On 1/20/02, „Dagestani authorities announced that they had detained Nadirshakh Khachilaev, the leader of Dagestan’s Laks minority groups and a former State Duma deputy, on suspicion of having organized the bombing of the Interior Ministry troop truck in Makhachkala. Khachilaev, who once headed the Union of Muslims of Russia and has also been described as one of Dagestan’s most powerful mafia bosses, was detained along with another eight or so suspects over the weekend“ ( Jamestown Foundation, Monitor, 1/21/02, http://jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=25&issue_id=2179&article_id=19084). Cf. Hunter, Islam in Russia, 264-65.

[72] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat.

[73] „Russia is also concerned about the HT [Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami], for it fears that the movement will spread to Muslim regions of Russia. Russian intelligence is now collaborating closely with the Central Asian states to combat the HT“ (Ahmed Rashid, Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia [New Haven: Yale UP, 2002], 132). Cf. Surikov statement to Sufis below.

[74] Graeme Herd with Ene Rôngelep and Anton Surikov, Crisis for Estonia? Russia, Estonia and a Post-Chechen Cold War. London Defence Studies, 29 (London: Brassey’s for the Centre for Defence Studies, 1994), 33.

[75] Cf. B. Raman, „Istanbul: The enemy within,“ Asia Times, 11/22/03, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EK22Ak01.html. In this essay Raman shows the direct links between Turkish terrorists (former disciples of Erbakan) and groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba sponsored by Pakistan’s ISI.

[76] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat.

[77] „Geroinovyi tur.“ By Nikita Kaledin. Stringer-news, November 4, 2003: http://www.stringer-news.ru/Publication.mhtml?PubID=2448&Part=39; partially translated in „Afghan Drug Scene: The Poppy Power,“ News Central Asia, http://www.newscentralasia.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=406.

[78] Pravda.ru, 7/30/01, http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/07/30/11317.html. Surikov’s accusation was noted by Maureen Orth in the March 2002 issue of Vanity Fair: „To find out, I track down in Moscow the only Russian official who has spoken on the record about this issue. Dr. Anton V. Surikov is chief staff of the Committee of Industry, Construction, and High Technology in the Russian parliament. Last spring he told the Moscow News that the mayor of Dushanbe was a major drug dealer. That interview precipitated not only a denial from the mayor but also, according to Surikov, a demand that the Tajik journalist the mayor

erroneously believed was Surikov’s source be arrested.“ In the same interview, Surikov also noted that, „as early as the mid-90s, the Russians were`buying heroin and transporting it from the northern part of Afghanistan to Russian military bases in Tajikistan by truck and helicopter.'“

[79] According to Yasenev, „Lunev is responsible for security and `strong arm operations‘. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia.“ Lunev thus helped install Shevardnadze, who in 1991 supported Yeltsin against Gorbachev.

[80] http://www.pravda.info/news/2695.html,

Анатолий Баранов и Антон Суриков вошли в состав руководства агентства «FarWestLtd» – 2005.05.03.

[81] http://www.pravda.info/region/3601.html.

[82] http://pravda.info/aboutus/.

[83] Kagarlitskii, Director of IPROG, has also published many books in English, as well as in The Nation, Zmag, Counterpunch, and other journals.

[84] Those in both organizations are Anton Surikov, Vladimir Filin, Ruslan Saidov, Anatolii Baranov, Audrius Butkevicius, and Natalia Roeva. This list differs from the paravda.info list only in the omission of Likhvintsev.

.

[85]For Bout’s involvement with blood diamonds, and the US failure to deal with this problem, see Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (New York: Broadway Books, 2004), especially 44: „Intelligence officials say Bout [following 9/11] flew U.S. clandestine operatives into Afghanistan and badly needed ammunition and other supplies to the Northern Alliance. In exchange, they said, his past activities would be ignored.“ For more on Bout see Nick Kochan, The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us (Mason, OH: Thomson, 2005), 36-61.

Cf. Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003), 15: „In the early 1990s, Osama bin Laden’s main supply sergeant was Victor Bout, a former Russian military officer who had served in Angola, where he got involved in arms trafficking and oil. …Bout had a reputation for delivering anything, anywhere, including the nasty stuff.“

[86] Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya.“

[87] Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovskii. Cf. Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin, 262: „Often Berezovskii acted in Chechnya through Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Logovaz partner who, according to the Russian security services, had long served as the company’s primary intermediary with organized crime groups.“ Klebnikov reports (161, cf. 331) that Moscow police heard in early 1995 from a gangster that „he had been approached by Berezovsky’s aide, Badri, with a contract for Listyev’s assassination.“ (In February 1995 Listyev, the director of Russia’s most important TV network ORT, was shot dead in his apartment building.)

[88] Diligence, LLC Press Release 12/8/03, http://www.diligencellc.com/DME_announce.html.

[89] David Isenberg, „Myths and mystery,“ Asia Times, 5/20/04.

[90]Financial Times, 12/11/03. Cf. Asia Times, 5/20/04.

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=9375. „Mr Daniel’s Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman.“ Ed Rogers, Diligence’s vice chairman, was one of George H.W. Bush’s top assistants when he was US president. On resigning from the White House, he negotiated a lucrative contract to act as lobbyist for the former Saudi intelligence chief and BCCI front man Kamal Adham, at a time when American and British prosecutors were preparing criminal cases against him. Rogers used Khashoggi as a go-between to secure the contract, which was canceled after White House criticism of it (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 362-64).

[91] Ibid.

[92] Wayne Madsen,

[93] The Baltic Times, 9/23/05, http://www.baltictimes.com/hot1.php?art_id=13659.

[94] Interfax, 9/21/05, http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11386915. Cf. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/09/22/berezovskyriga.shtml: „Berezovsky is meeting Neil Bush on business, as the U.S. president’s brother is a stockholder of Berezovsky’s educational company Ignite, the spokesperson [for Belokon Holding] said.“

[95] www.compromat.ru/main/zuganov/surikov2.htm.

[96] Alexander Nagorny „Narcobarons from the CIA and MI-6“ Pravda-info 2004.09.13 http://www.pravda.info/kompromat/1203.html.

59 Anthony Fenton, „Kosovo Liberation Army helps establish `Protectorate‘ in Haiti,“ citing Flashpoints interview, 11/19/04, http://www.flashpoints.net). Cf. Anthony Fenton, „Canada in Haiti: Humanitarian Extermination,“ CMAQ.net, 12/8/04; http://www.cmaq.net/fr/node.php?id=19240.

[98] San Francisco Chronicle, 5/5/99.

[99] New York Times, 6/2/04.

[100] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 536: „Massoud was a drug trafficker.“ Cf. 345, 430, 458, 516, 519.

[101] Philip Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror’s Trail (Washington: Brassey’s, 2004), 9. Ironically, this decision by British and American officials (the latter almost certainly CIA) may have contributed to bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. Cf. CNN, 12/29/01: „Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in Afghanistan, says he has received `reliable information‘ that the terrorist leader paid a `large amount‘ of money to buy his way out of Afghanistan. Tawheedi named Haji Zaman — a well-known independent military commander — as the man responsible for taking bin Laden across the border to Pakistan. Ironically, Haji Zaman had recently been fighting against bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization. But Tawheedi says he believes Haji Zaman was apparently persuaded — by money — to help the terrorist leader.“

[102] B. Raman, „Assassination of Haji Abdul Qadeer in Kabul,“ South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 489, www.saag.org/papers5/paper489.html: „11.With an Afghan passport, Afridi, a Pakistani national belonging to the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), voluntarily traveled to Dubai , where he allegedly negotiated with American authorities the terms of his voluntary surrender and from there he boarded a cargo flight to the US in December 1995 to hand himself over to the US drug control authorities. He was sentenced to three and a half year’s imprisonment. After serving his sentence, he returned to Pakistan in August,1999. He was arrested by the Pakistani drug control authorities and prosecuted in a drug smuggling case pending against him. The court sentenced him to seven years imprisonment in the middle of 2001. Hardly had he started his sentence in a Karachi jail, when he was got released by the ISI, reportedly at the request of the CIA, after the war against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda had started on October 7, 2001, and allowed to proceed to his home in the Khyber Agency.“ Cf. Asia Times Online, 12/4/01; Peter Dale Scott, „Pre-1990 Drug Networks Being Restored Under New Coalition?“ http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/qf5.html.

[103] B. Raman, „Assassination of Haji Abdul Qadeer in Kabul, South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 489.

[104] Raman, op. cit., emphasis added.

[105] A possible explanation for the release and recruitment of major traffickers in 2001 would be the desire to combat the influence in the traffic of narco-barons who supported the Taliban, such as Bashir Noorzai and Juma Khan. The fact remains that the Taliban had effectively suppressed the planting of opium, a major event in drug suppression that has now been completely reversed by the U.S. invasion.

[106] Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 49-50.

[107] Yossef Bodansky, „The Great Game for OIL,“ Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, June-July 2000, pp. 4-10, http://news.suc.org/bydate/2000/Sep_28/11.html. Kagarlitsky’s article itself can be seen as an important part of this campaign.

[108] U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification: Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2005, 363; quoted in Michael T. Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2004), 137.

[109] Klare, Blood and Oil, 136, 137.

[110] Knight-Ridder, 10/31/04.

[111] Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, 88.

[112] Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, 110-11. Some of those whose escape from Tora Bora was assisted later led terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

[113] Christopher Deliso, „The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now,“ interview with Sibel Edmonds, http://antiwar.com/deliso/. For a survey of the Sibel Edmonds story, see David Rose, „An Inconvenient Patriot,“ Vanity Fair, September 2005: „Much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.“

[114] The Iraq War is also beneficial to the drug traffic. See the following story from the Balochistan Post, quoting the London Independent: „“BAGHDAD: The city, which had never seen heroin, a deadly addictive drug, until March 2003, is now flooded with narcotics including heroin. According to a report published by London’s The Independent newspaper, the citizens of Baghdad complained that the drugs like heroin and cocaine were being peddled on the streets of the Iraqi metropolis. Some reports suggest that the drug and arms trafficking is patronized by the CIA to finance its covert operations worldwide.“

[115] Wall Street Journal, 11/24/03.

[116] „In June 1992, independent Lithuanian Minister of Defense, Audrius Butkevicius, hosted a symposium to thank the Albert Einstein Institution’s key role during the independence process of the Baltic countries“ (Thierry Meyssan,“ The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA,“ http://www.voltairenet.org/article30032.html). Cf. Paul Labarique : «Les dessous du coup d’État en Géorgie», text in French, Voltaire, January 7, 2004.

[117] Saidov, in his own words, was in Andijan at the time of the subsequent turmoil in the Uzbek Fergana Valley, which straddles the drug route through the Kyrgyz town of Osh: „`In May 11-18 I was in Uzbekistan, in the Fergana Valley, where I witnessed the suppression of the people’s uprising in Andijan by the dictatorial regime of Islam Karimov,‘ – says the Dagestani historian Ruslan Saidov“ (http://www.muslimuzbekistan.com/rus/rusnews/2005/05/rusnews30052005_5.html).

[118] http://www.apn.ru/?chapter_name=impres&data_id=430&do=view_single.

[119] Из Оша в Андижан(„From Osh to Andijan“), http//www.polit.ru/analytics/2005/06/06/andij_print.html.

[120] Christopher Deliso, „The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now,“ interview with Sibel Edmonds, 8/15/05, http://antiwar.com/deliso/.

[121] Indira Singh testimony, 9/11 Citizen’s Commission, 130, http://justicefor911.org/September-Hearings.doc.

[122] Khashoggi is perhaps the most famous example of a Saudi-Israel connection. One of the few in the United States who has dared to discuss the 9/11 clues pointing towards Israel is Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004), 259-68, 578-79.

[123] Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), 347.

[124] Michael Moore, Dude, Where’s My Country (New York: Warner Books, 2003), 15. The same superficial analysis is a blemish of his film Fahrenheit 911.

[125] David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press/Interlink, 2004), 5.

[126] Commenting on the list published by Pravda.info on May 3, 2005, http://www.pravda.info/news/2695.html.


Site Meter

Kokang rebels produce drugs in Asia World Company dam sitesIn a new revelation Kokang rebels sheltered in China’s southwest Yunnan province are allegedly into illegal amphetamine production in the dam construction sites of Burma-Asia World Company in Kachin State, in northern Burma. This was revealed by sources close to the rebels.left align image

The amphetamines, also called Yama tablets are being produced in the dam construction sites jointly operated by ASW and the Chinese state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) in Kachin State, since last year, added the sources.

Currently, the Chipwi dam in N’Mai Hka River and Myitsone dam in Irrawaddy River, or Mali Hka River are being constructed by the two companies, where the illegal drugs are produced. The sites are provided security by Burmese security forces, the sources added.

There are several hundred labourers in the two dam sites and all workers are Chinese except those into road construction and the day labourers.

In early July, about 300 Kokang troops led by Peng Daxun, eldest son of absconding Kokang leader Peng Jia-sheng sneaked into areas controlled by former New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K) in eastern Kachin state, bordering Yunnan province, from the Chinese border town Nansan, opposite Kokang territories in Northeast Shan State.

Peng Daxun’s troops were given shelter in the Chinese border city Nansan along with their arms by Chinese authorities in the wake of the fall of Laogai, the capital of the Kokang rebels, or the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) to the Burmese Army in August, last year.

The rebel capital was seized by Burmese troops on the allegation that they were producing illegal drugs and weapons.

Peng Daxun’s troops have been secretly producing amphetamines in the dam construction sites before they entered Kachin State from Nansan, said sources.right align image

Recently, Peng Daxun’s men were said to have explored the illegal drug market on the Burma-Bangladesh border, said sources close to him.

The illegal drug production done in utmost secrecy has the cooperation of the AWC owned by Burmese drug lord Lo Hsing Han and Peng Daxun’s Kokang troops.

Lo Hsing Han and Kokang leader Peng Jia-sheng are close relatives and the sons of the two — U Tun Myint Naing, a.k.a Steven Law, son of Lo Hsing Han and Peng Daxun son of Peng Jia-sheng are also close and have businesses links, said sources close to them.

Peng Daxun has business investments in companies in Singapore through U Tun Myint Naing, who is married to a Singaporean.

source: http://www.bnionline.net/news/kng/89…dam-sites.html

This is a little bit out of time but still interesting!

„SINGAPORE’S economic linkage with Burma is one of the most vital factors for the survival of Burma’s
military regime,“ says Professor Mya Maung, a Burmese economist based in Boston. This link, he continues,
is also central to „the expansion of the heroin trade.“ Singapore has acieved the distinction of being the
Burmese junta’s number one business partner – both largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. More
than half these investments, totaling upwards of $1.3 billion, are in partnership with Burma’s infamous heroin
kingpin Lo Hsing Han who now controls a substantial portion of the world’s opium trade. The close political,
economic and military relationship between the two countries facilitates the weaving of millions of narcodollars
into the legitimate world economy.

Singapore has become a major player in Asian commerce. According to Steven Green, US Ambassador to
Singapore, free market policies have „allowed this small country to develop one of the world’s most successful
trading and investment economies.“ Singapore also has a strong role in the powerful 132-member country
World Trade Organization. Indeed, the tiny China Sea island of three and a half million people is known far
and wide as the blue chip of the region – a financial trading base and a route for the vast sums of money that
flow in and out of Asia.

If the brutal Burmese dictatorship’s international pariah status is of any concern to its more powerful partner,
Singapore shows no sign of it. Following the March 24 visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to
Rangoon, a Singapore spokesperson proclaimed, „Singapore and Myanmar should continue to explore areas
where they can complement each other.“ As both countries continue to celebrate their „complementary“
relationship, the international community must take note of the powerful support this relationship provides
both to Burma’s illegitimate regime and to its booming billion dollar drug trade.

Drugs ‘R’ Us
THE Burmese military dictatorship – known by the acronym slorc for State Law and Order Restoration
Council until it changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (spdc) last November –
depends on the resources of Burma’s drug barons for its financial survival. Since it seized power in 1988,
opium production has doubled, equaling all legal exports and making the country the world’s biggest heroin
supplier. Burma now supplies the US with 60 percent of its heroin imports and has recently become a major
regional producer of methamphetamines. With 50 percent of the economy unaccounted for, drug traffickers,
businessmen and government officials are able to integrate spectacular profits throughout Burma’s permanent
economy.

Both the Burmese generals and drug lords have been able to take advantage of Singapore’s liberal banking
laws and money laundering opportunities. In 1991, for eaxample, the slorc laundered $400 million through a
Singapore bank which it used as a down payment for Chinese arms. Despite the large sum, Burma’s foreign
exchange reserves registered no change either before or after the sale. With no laws to prevent money
laundering, Singapore is widely reported to be a financial haven for Burma’s elite, including its two most
notorious traffickers, Lo Hsing Han and Khun Sa (also known by his Chinese name Chang Qifu).
SLORC cut a deal with Khun Sa for his „surrender“ in early 1996, allowing him protection and business
opportunities in exchange for retirement from the drug trade.

Khun Sa now bills himself as „a commercial real estate agent who also has a foot in the Burmese construction
industry.“ Already in control of a bus route into the northern poppy growing region where the military is
actively involved in the drug business, he is now investing $250 million in a new highway between Rangoon
and Mandalay, an spdc cabinet member confirmed. „The Burmese government says one thing but does
another,“ according to Banphot Piamdi, director of Thailand’s Northern Region’s Narcotics Suppression
Center. „It claims to have subdued Khun Sa’s group…However the fact is that the group under the supervision
of…Khun Sa’s son has received permission from Rangoon to produce narcotics in the areas along the
Thai-Burmese border.“

Khun Sa’s son is not the only trafficker reaping benefits in the Shan State area which borders Thailand and
China and serves as Burma’s primary poppy growing area. Field intelligence and ethnic militia sources
consistently report a pattern of Burmese military involvement with drug production in these remote areas.
Government troops offer protection to the heroin and amphetamine refineries in the area in exchange for
payoffs and gifts, such as Toyota sedans, pistols and army uniforms. The only access to the refineries is
through permits issued by Burmese military intelligence – without this, the heavily guarded areas surrounding
the refineries are too dangerous to approach. The military is also involved in protecting the transport of
narcotics throughout the region, which the authorities have sealed off from the outside world.
„There are persistent and reliable reports that officials, particularly army personnel posted in outlying areas,
are involved in the drug business,“ confirms the March 1998 US government narcotics report. „Army
personnel wield considerable political clout locally, and their involvement in trafficking is a significant
problem.“ Intelligence sources, working for ethnic leaders combating both the drug trade and the military
dictatorship, report that the pattern of government involvement extends all the way to the top. The central
government in Rangoon demands funds on a regular basis from regional commanders who, in turn, expect
payoffs from the rank and file. The soldiers get the money any way they can – through smuggling, gambling or
selling jade – with drugs being the most accessible source of revenue in Shan State. The officers in the field
also „tax“ refineries, drug transporters, and opium farmers.

At great risk, the intellignce sources – who go undercover to infiltrate troops in the field — collect
painstakingly detailed data including names, dates and places, such as these delivered in March 1998 from
Shan State: „On 10th Jan. 98, spdc army no. 65 stationed at Mong Ton sent 40 troops to Nam Hkek village,
Pon Pa Khem village tract, collected 0.16 kilo of opium per household or [collected payment of] Baht 600.
Then the troops sold the collected opium to the drug business men at the rate of Baht 6000 for 1.6 kilos „
Another report states: „Troops from spdc Battalion nos. 277 & 65 stationed at Mong Ton are still protecting
heroin refineries situated at Hkai lon, Pay lon & Ho ya areas, Mong Ton township. Those who can pay
B.200,00 per month are allowed to run the heroin refineries.“ And: „On 3rd of Jan. 98, Burma Army no. 99
collected opium tax in Lashio township. They charged 0.32 kilo per household. They arrested and beat
seriously those who failed to give.“

These sources also report that Ko Tat, Private 90900 from spdc battalion no. 525 stationed in Lin Kay,
recently defected from the Burmese army and said that his company had been giving protection to the opium
fields around Ho Mong. While the lower ranked officers struggle to meet their quotas in the field, the highest
levels of the goverment in the capital city strike deals with Burma’s two top traffickers, one of whom is the
prosperous partner of Singapore.
Lo Hsing Han: At Home in Singapore
WITH massive financial ties to Singapore, Lo Hsing Han is now one of Burma’s top investors. He, along with
Khun Sa, the former „king of opium,“ is a major player in the Burmese economy.
In the early 1990s, Lo Hsing Han controlled the most heavily armed drug-trafficking organization in Southeast

Asia. He was arrested in 1973 and sentenced to death, but was freed under a general amnesty in 1980. Now,

like Khun Sa, he wears the public persona of a successful businessman in Rangoon – where no one does
business without close government cooperation. Although he still overseas rural drug operations with the
status of a godfather, according to US narcotics officials, the notorious Lo currently serves as an advisor on
ethnic affairs to Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the military intelligence chief and the junta’s powerful „Secretary 1.“
Lo Hsing Han is the chair of Burma’s biggest conglomerate, Asia World, founded in 1992. His son, Steven
Law, is managing director and also runs three companies in Singapore which are „overseas branches“ of Asia
World. Although Singapore is proud of its mandatory death penalty for small-time narcotics smugglers and
heroin addicts, both father and son travel freely in and out of the friendly island nation. „The family money is
offshore,“ said a high level US narcotics official. „The old man is a convicted drug trafficker, so his kid is
handling the financial activities.“

In 1996, when Law married his Singaporean business partner in a lavish, well-publicized Rangoon wedding,
guests from Singapore were flown in on two chartered planes. According to a high-level US government
official familiar with the situation, Law’s wife Cecilia Ng operates an underground banking system, and „is a
contact for people in Burma to get their drug money into Singapore, because she has a connection to the
government.“ The official said that she spends half her time in Rangoon, half in Singapore; when in Rangoon,
she is headquartered at Asia Lite, a subsidiary of Asia World. The husband-wife team are also the sole
officers and shareholders of Asia World subsidiary, Kokang Singapore Pte Ltd. Founded in Singapore in 1993
with $4.6 million, the company „engages in general trading activities in goods/products of all
kinds/descriptions.“

Singapore’s ventures with Asia World include both government and private investments. Kuok Singapore
Ltd., a partner with Asia World in many ventures, was Burma’s largest single real estate investor as of late
1996, with over $650 million invested. Other Singaporean companies are mentioned in Asia World’s company
reports. Sinmardev, another major Singaporean project linked to Lo’s company, is a $207 million industrial
park and port on the outskirts of Rangoon, which broke ground in 1997. Singaporean entrepreneur Albert
Hong, head of Sinmardev, described the project as the largest foreign investment in Burma outside the energy
field. The Singaporean consortium leads the joint venture along with the Burmese junta, Lo’s Asia World, and
a slew of international shareholders.

Kuok Singapore Ltd., Lo Hsing Han’s Asia World, and the Burmese junta are also partners in the luxury
Traders Hotel. The hotel’s November 1996 opening ceremony was attended by the Singapore ambassador, the
president of Kuok Singapore, and briefly by Lo Hsing Han himself. The presiding Burmese minister publicly
thanked Steven Law and the government of Singapore „without whose support and encouragement there
would be very few Singaporean businessmen in our country.“
While government and business connections in Burma and Singapore have boosted Asia World’s prospects,
other factors have contributed to the company’s extraordinary growth. In the last six years, Asia World has
expanded from a modest trading company to become Burma’s largest and fastest-growing private sector
enterprise with interests in trading, manufacturing, property, industrial investment, development, construction,
transportation, import and distribution, and infrastructure. „How is it that a company that has a humble
beginning trading beans and pulses is suddenly involved in $200 million projects?“ a US government official
said, requesting anonymity. „Where did all that start-up capital come from?“

The US government ventured a guess in 1996: it denied Asia World’s CEO Steven Law a visa to the US „on
suspicion of drug trafficking.“ Asia World’s operations now include a deepwater port in Rangoon, the Leo
Express bus line into Northern Burma, and a $33 million toll highway from the heart of Burma’s poppygrowing
region to the China border. On December 20, the conglomerate opened a wharf with freight handling,
storage, and a customs yard for ships carrying up to 15,000 tons. „If you’re in the dope business, these are the
types of things that you’ve got to have to be able to move your product,“ said a high level US narcotics
official. „They have set up institutions to facilitate the movement of drugs. And in all probability, they are

using laundered drug proceeds, or funds generated from investments of drug trafficking proceeds, to build this
infrastructure,“ he added.

The activities of Lo’s company Asia World have triggered an international narcotics investigation lead by
Washington. US investigators allege that Asia World’s relationship to Singapore paves the way for the
narcotics trade to be woven into all legitimate investments between the two countries. „Singapore’s
investments in Burma are opening doors for the drug traffickers, giving them access to banks and financial
systems,“ said one government official familiar with the situation.
One Stop Shopping: Intelligence to Repression
THE Burmese junta’s control of its impoverished population through crude methods such as torture, forced
labor, and mass killings leaves it open to international condemnation. In contrast, Singapore takes a more
sophisticated approach to repression, both at home and abroad. While the island-nation’s citizens have
material benefits and the appearance of rule of law, they live in fear of an Orwellian government that closely
monitors every aspect of their lives. The ruling party often sues those who dare to oppose it on trumped up
defamation charges, forcing many into bankruptcy or exile.

The FBI is investigating complaints by US citizens of harassment by Singapore’s Internal Security Department
(ISD). One California academic, a widely respected specialist on Southeast Asian affairs who asked not to be
identified, says ISD agents broke into his home because he was working to bring leading Singaporean
opposition figure Tang Liang Hong to an American university. The operatives tore out his door handle to get
in, then searched his computer and desk. A week later, an Asian man, waiting in a tree, photographed and
videotaped the academic while he walked in the park. After temporarily blinding the academic with his bright
flash, the man jumped from the tree and made a getaway in his car. Tang – who is facing a $4.5 million
defamation lawsuit by Singaporean senior ministers – was not surprised by the burglary. „I’ve been followed
everywhere, whether I was in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia or in London,“ he said in a phone interview
from Australia.

Singapore has been more than willing to share its expertise in intelligence with its Burmese counterparts. The
Singapore-Myanmar Ministerial-Level Work Committee was set up in 1993 in Rangoon to „forge mutual
benefits in investment, trade and economic sectors.“ The committee includes intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin
Nyunt, other top Burmese ministers, and high-level Singaporean officials. At the December 23 meeting, Khin
Nyunt urged his ministers to give priority to projects arranged by the Singaporean Government. „Pilot projects
are being implemented to transfer know how to Myanmar,“ said Khin Nyunt in his address.
One such project is a state-of-the-art cyber-war center in Rangoon. Burma’s military leaders can now
intercept a range of incoming communications – including telephone calls, faxes, emails and computer data
transmissions – from 20 other countries.

The high-tech cyber-war center was built by Singapore Technologies, the city-state’s largest industrial and
technology conglomerate, comprising more than 100 companies. This government-owned company also
provides on-site training at Burma’s Defense Ministry complex, and reportedly passes on its „sophisticated
capability“ to hundreds of Burmese „secret police“ at an institution inside Singapore.
Burma has no external enemies, but the ruling junta goes to extremes to terrorize the population through its
elaborate intelligence network. Intelligence officials have already used their newly-acquired talents from the
cyber-war center to arrest pro-democracy activists, and it is well known that Burma’s feared military
intelligence often tortures its victims during lengthy interrogations.
Singaporean companies have also helped suppress dissent in Burma by supplying the military with arms to use
against its own people. The first shipment of guns and ammunition was delivered on October 6, 1988.

Throughout the month, hundreds of boxes of mortars, ammunition, and other supplies marked „Allied
Ordnance, Singapore“ were unloaded from vessels in Rangoon. Allied Ordnance is a subsidiary of Chartered
Industries of Singapore, the arms branch of Singapore Technologies – the same government-owned company
which built the cyber-war center. The shipments also included rockets made by Chartered Industries of
Singapore under license from a Swedish company and sold in violation of an agreement with Sweden
requiring authorization for re-exports.

These shipments from Singapore arrived only weeks after the 1988 military takeover in Rangoon, in which
the new leaders of the SLORC massacred hundreds of peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrators in the street.
These killings followed another wave of government massacres earlier that summer, when longtime dictator
Ne Win struggled to keep power in the face of nationwide strikes and demonstrations for democracy. He
eventually stepped down but, operating behind the scenes, installed the puppet SLORC. As the killings
continued, thousands of civilians fled the country fearing for their lives. When numerous countries responded
by suspending aid and Burma’s traditional suppliers cut shipments, the SLORC became desperate. Singapore
was the first country to come to its rescue.
Singapore companies have continued to supply Burma’s military, sometimes acting as middlemen for arms
from other countries. In 1989, Israel and Belgium delivered grenade launchers and anti-tank guns via
Singapore. In 1992, Singapore violated the European Commission arms embargo on the Burmese regime by
acting as a broker and arranging for a $1.5 million shipment of mortars from Portugal.
„It is highly unlikely that any of these shipments to Burma could have been made without the knowledge and
support of the Singapore Government,“ wrote William Ashton in Jane’s Intelligence Review. „By assisting
with weapons sales, defense technology transfers, military training and intelligence cooperation, Singapore
has been able to win a sympathetic hearing at the very heart of Burma’s official councils.“

Singapore’s Stakes
LAST November, Singapore deployed its diplomatic arsenal to defend Rangoon at the UN. Singaporean UN
representatives made an effort to water down the General Assembly resolution which castigated the Burmese
government for its harsh treatment of pro-democracy activists, widespread human rights violations, and
nullification of free and fair elections that had voted it out of power. In an „urgent“ letter to the Swedish
mission, which was drafting the resolution, Singapore representative Bilahari Kausikan cited „progress“ in
Burma and said that „the majority of your co-sponsors have little or no substantive interests in Myanmar.
…Our position is different. We have concrete and immediate stakes.“
Objecting to parts of the resolution and attempting to soften the language, Singapore’s representative
circulated the letter to key members of the UN’s Third Committee on Human Rights „The driving force was
definitely business connections,“ according to Dr. Thaung Htun, Representative for UN Affairs of Burma’s
government-in-exile. „Singapore is defending its investments at the diplomatic level, using its efforts at the
UN level to promote its business interests.“

The protection of Singapore’s „concrete and immediate stakes“ is essential to the ruling party’s success in
maintaining power and the basis of its support for Burma, said Case Western Reserve University economist
Christopher Lingle. „Singapore depends heavily upon its symbiotic relationship with crony capitalists and
upon accommodating a high enough rate of return to keep the citizenry in line. Therefore its very survival is
tied up with business and government investments.“
William Ashton, writing in Jane’s Intelligence Review, suggested an additional incentive for Singapore’s
alliance with Burma. As Rangoon’s major regional backer and strategic ally, China has provided much of the
weaponry, training, and financial assistance for the junta. China’s expanding commercial and strategic
interests in the Asia-Pacific region, coupled with its alliance with neighboring Burma, is a source of great

concern in Singapore. The desire to keep Burma from becoming Beijing’s stalking horse in the region may
provide another motivation for Singapore’s wooing of Rangoon.

Turning a Blind Eye
THE Singapore government has consistently disregarded the gross human rights violations perpetrated by its
allies in Burma. The UN Special Rapporteur, appointed to report to the United Nations on the situation in
Burma, has been barred entry into Burma since 1995. The new US State Department Country report on
Burma for 1997 states that its „longstanding severe repression of human rights continued during the year.
Citizens continued to live subject at any time and without appeal to the arbitrary and sometimes brutal
dictates of the military dictatorship.“ Amnesty International reports that there are well over 1,200 political
prisoners languishing in Burmese dungeons where torture is commonplace.

Singapore has issued no urgent letters about a recent report by Danish Doctors for Human Rights which noted
that „sixty-six percent of [the over 120,000] refugees from Burma now living in Thailand have been tortured“
and subjected to „forced labor, deportation, pillaging, destruction of villages, and various forms of torture and
rape.“ The doctors reported that refugees witnessed the junta’s military forces murder members of their
families.
Singaporean leaders also seem unconcerned about the fact that the Burmese government shut down almost all
of Burma’s colleges and universities following student protests in December of 1996 and imprisoned hundreds
of students. At a February ceremony of the Singapore Association in Myanmar, the Ambassador to Singapore
presented a large check to Gen. Khin Nyunt – who is also Chairman of the government Education Committee
– for the „Myanmar education development fund.“ While depriving young Burmese of higher education, the
junta’s „Secretary 1″ Khin Nyunt responded that „Uplifting the educational standards of our people is one of
the social objectives of our Government.“ He then went on at length to extol the „firm foundation of growing
economic and trade ties“ between Singapore and Burma.

The Burmese government has also kept computers and communication technology away from students and
others in opposition to the regime. All computers, software, email services and other telecommunication
devices – which hardly anyone can afford anyway – must be licensed, but licences are almost impossible to
obtain. Yet Singapore has made the best computer technology available to the ruling elite and their business
partners. Singapore Telecom, the largest company in Asia outside of Japan, was the first to provide Burmese
businesses and government offices with the ability to set up inter-and intra-corporate communications in more
than 90 countries.

Complimentary Relations
SINGAPORE’Ss concerns are dramatically different from those of countries sharing a border with Burma.
Thailand has to deal with the deadly narcotics trade and an overwhelming number of refugees arriving on a
daily basis. Banphot Piamdi, the Thai counter-narcotics official, believes Thailand made a big mistake when it
voted for Burma’s entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean), given Burma’s lack of
cooperation in fighting drugs. Not surprisingly, the Singapore government lobbied hard for Burma’s 1997
acceptance into the powerful regional trade alliance.

Ironically, Burma’s inclusion in asean may force member nations, including Singapore, to address the havoc
that their newest ally is imposing on the region – especially since Burma provides approximately 90 percent of
the total production of Southeast Asian opium. China and India, Burma’s other neighbors, now face severe
aids epidemics related to increased heroin use in their bordering provinces. Most of the heroin exported from
Burma to the West passes through China’s Yunnan province, which now has more than half a million addicts.
And even Singapore – whose heroin supply comes mostly from Burma – had a 41 percent rise in HIV cases in
1997.

As we head into the „Asian century,“ Singapore has become Washington’s forward partner in the unfolding
era of East-West trade. Ambassador Green called the country „a major entry port and a natural gateway to
Asia for American firms.“ US companies exported $16 billion worth of goods to Singapore in 1996 and more
than 1,300 US firms now operate in the country. Singapore’s strategic and economic importance to the US
cannot be overstated. The two countries just reached an agreement allowing the US Navy to use a Singapore
base even though the deal violates asean’s 1997 nuclear-weapons-free zone agreement.

The US has condemned the Burmese junta’s record of human rights abuses and support for the drug trade, but
has turned a blind eye when it comes to Singapore’s dealings with the regime. Although President Clinton
imposed economic sanctions on Burma partly for it’s role in providing pure and cheap heroin to America’s
youth, he has not commented on Singapore’s willingness to play ball with the world’s biggest heroin
traffickers. Ambassador Green told Congress last year that the US „has an important role in working with the
Singapore government to deal with illegal drug and weapons proliferation issues,“ but most US officials have
remianed silent about Singapore’s investments with Lo Hsing Han and Burma’s narco-dictatorship. It’s
unlikely Clinton made any mention of this issue last fall while golfing with Singaporean Prime Minister Goh
Chok Tong during the apec summit in Vancouver.

Unless the financial crisis in Asia limits profits, Singapore will probably continue to expand its investments in
Burma. „Our two economies are complementary and although we can derive satisfaction from the progress
made, I believe that there still remains a great potential that is yet to be exploited,“ said the junta’s Gen. Khin
Nyunt last February. Aided by Singapore’s support, Burma’s thriving heroin trade has plagued the majority of
countries around the globe. While these countries blithely pour money into drug-connected companies based
in Burma and thereby help them to expand into foreign markets, an abundance of the world’s finest heroin
continues to plague their citizens. At the same time, the line between legitimate and illegitimate investments
grows dimmer in the global economy.„SINGAPORE’S economic linkage with Burma is one of the most vital factors for the survival of Burma’s
military regime,“ says Professor Mya Maung, a Burmese economist based in Boston. This link, he continues,
is also central to „the expansion of the heroin trade.“ Singapore has acieved the distinction of being the
Burmese junta’s number one business partner – both largest trading partner and largest foreign investor. More
than half these investments, totaling upwards of $1.3 billion, are in partnership with Burma’s infamous heroin
kingpin Lo Hsing Han who now controls a substantial portion of the world’s opium trade. The close political,
economic and military relationship between the two countries facilitates the weaving of millions of narcodollars
into the legitimate world economy.

Singapore has become a major player in Asian commerce. According to Steven Green, US Ambassador to
Singapore, free market policies have „allowed this small country to develop one of the world’s most successful
trading and investment economies.“ Singapore also has a strong role in the powerful 132-member country
World Trade Organization. Indeed, the tiny China Sea island of three and a half million people is known far
and wide as the blue chip of the region – a financial trading base and a route for the vast sums of money that
flow in and out of Asia.

If the brutal Burmese dictatorship’s international pariah status is of any concern to its more powerful partner,
Singapore shows no sign of it. Following the March 24 visit of Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to
Rangoon, a Singapore spokesperson proclaimed, „Singapore and Myanmar should continue to explore areas
where they can complement each other.“ As both countries continue to celebrate their „complementary“
relationship, the international community must take note of the powerful support this relationship provides
both to Burma’s illegitimate regime and to its booming billion dollar drug trade.

Drugs ‘R’ Us
THE Burmese military dictatorship – known by the acronym slorc for State Law and Order Restoration
Council until it changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (spdc) last November –
depends on the resources of Burma’s drug barons for its financial survival. Since it seized power in 1988,
opium production has doubled, equaling all legal exports and making the country the world’s biggest heroin
supplier. Burma now supplies the US with 60 percent of its heroin imports and has recently become a major
regional producer of methamphetamines. With 50 percent of the economy unaccounted for, drug traffickers,
businessmen and government officials are able to integrate spectacular profits throughout Burma’s permanent
economy.

Both the Burmese generals and drug lords have been able to take advantage of Singapore’s liberal banking
laws and money laundering opportunities. In 1991, for eaxample, the slorc laundered $400 million through a
Singapore bank which it used as a down payment for Chinese arms. Despite the large sum, Burma’s foreign
exchange reserves registered no change either before or after the sale. With no laws to prevent money
laundering, Singapore is widely reported to be a financial haven for Burma’s elite, including its two most
notorious traffickers, Lo Hsing Han and Khun Sa (also known by his Chinese name Chang Qifu).
SLORC cut a deal with Khun Sa for his „surrender“ in early 1996, allowing him protection and business
opportunities in exchange for retirement from the drug trade.

Khun Sa now bills himself as „a commercial real estate agent who also has a foot in the Burmese construction
industry.“ Already in control of a bus route into the northern poppy growing region where the military is
actively involved in the drug business, he is now investing $250 million in a new highway between Rangoon
and Mandalay, an spdc cabinet member confirmed. „The Burmese government says one thing but does
another,“ according to Banphot Piamdi, director of Thailand’s Northern Region’s Narcotics Suppression
Center. „It claims to have subdued Khun Sa’s group…However the fact is that the group under the supervision
of…Khun Sa’s son has received permission from Rangoon to produce narcotics in the areas along the
Thai-Burmese border.“

Khun Sa’s son is not the only trafficker reaping benefits in the Shan State area which borders Thailand and
China and serves as Burma’s primary poppy growing area. Field intelligence and ethnic militia sources
consistently report a pattern of Burmese military involvement with drug production in these remote areas.
Government troops offer protection to the heroin and amphetamine refineries in the area in exchange for
payoffs and gifts, such as Toyota sedans, pistols and army uniforms. The only access to the refineries is
through permits issued by Burmese military intelligence – without this, the heavily guarded areas surrounding
the refineries are too dangerous to approach. The military is also involved in protecting the transport of
narcotics throughout the region, which the authorities have sealed off from the outside world.
„There are persistent and reliable reports that officials, particularly army personnel posted in outlying areas,
are involved in the drug business,“ confirms the March 1998 US government narcotics report. „Army
personnel wield considerable political clout locally, and their involvement in trafficking is a significant
problem.“ Intelligence sources, working for ethnic leaders combating both the drug trade and the military
dictatorship, report that the pattern of government involvement extends all the way to the top. The central
government in Rangoon demands funds on a regular basis from regional commanders who, in turn, expect
payoffs from the rank and file. The soldiers get the money any way they can – through smuggling, gambling or
selling jade – with drugs being the most accessible source of revenue in Shan State. The officers in the field
also „tax“ refineries, drug transporters, and opium farmers.

At great risk, the intellignce sources – who go undercover to infiltrate troops in the field — collect
painstakingly detailed data including names, dates and places, such as these delivered in March 1998 from
Shan State: „On 10th Jan. 98, spdc army no. 65 stationed at Mong Ton sent 40 troops to Nam Hkek village,
Pon Pa Khem village tract, collected 0.16 kilo of opium per household or [collected payment of] Baht 600.
Then the troops sold the collected opium to the drug business men at the rate of Baht 6000 for 1.6 kilos „
Another report states: „Troops from spdc Battalion nos. 277 & 65 stationed at Mong Ton are still protecting
heroin refineries situated at Hkai lon, Pay lon & Ho ya areas, Mong Ton township. Those who can pay
B.200,00 per month are allowed to run the heroin refineries.“ And: „On 3rd of Jan. 98, Burma Army no. 99
collected opium tax in Lashio township. They charged 0.32 kilo per household. They arrested and beat
seriously those who failed to give.“

These sources also report that Ko Tat, Private 90900 from spdc battalion no. 525 stationed in Lin Kay,
recently defected from the Burmese army and said that his company had been giving protection to the opium
fields around Ho Mong. While the lower ranked officers struggle to meet their quotas in the field, the highest
levels of the goverment in the capital city strike deals with Burma’s two top traffickers, one of whom is the
prosperous partner of Singapore.
Lo Hsing Han: At Home in Singapore
WITH massive financial ties to Singapore, Lo Hsing Han is now one of Burma’s top investors. He, along with
Khun Sa, the former „king of opium,“ is a major player in the Burmese economy.
In the early 1990s, Lo Hsing Han controlled the most heavily armed drug-trafficking organization in Southeast

Asia. He was arrested in 1973 and sentenced to death, but was freed under a general amnesty in 1980. Now,

like Khun Sa, he wears the public persona of a successful businessman in Rangoon – where no one does
business without close government cooperation. Although he still overseas rural drug operations with the
status of a godfather, according to US narcotics officials, the notorious Lo currently serves as an advisor on
ethnic affairs to Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the military intelligence chief and the junta’s powerful „Secretary 1.“
Lo Hsing Han is the chair of Burma’s biggest conglomerate, Asia World, founded in 1992. His son, Steven
Law, is managing director and also runs three companies in Singapore which are „overseas branches“ of Asia
World. Although Singapore is proud of its mandatory death penalty for small-time narcotics smugglers and
heroin addicts, both father and son travel freely in and out of the friendly island nation. „The family money is
offshore,“ said a high level US narcotics official. „The old man is a convicted drug trafficker, so his kid is
handling the financial activities.“

In 1996, when Law married his Singaporean business partner in a lavish, well-publicized Rangoon wedding,
guests from Singapore were flown in on two chartered planes. According to a high-level US government
official familiar with the situation, Law’s wife Cecilia Ng operates an underground banking system, and „is a
contact for people in Burma to get their drug money into Singapore, because she has a connection to the
government.“ The official said that she spends half her time in Rangoon, half in Singapore; when in Rangoon,
she is headquartered at Asia Lite, a subsidiary of Asia World. The husband-wife team are also the sole
officers and shareholders of Asia World subsidiary, Kokang Singapore Pte Ltd. Founded in Singapore in 1993
with $4.6 million, the company „engages in general trading activities in goods/products of all
kinds/descriptions.“

Singapore’s ventures with Asia World include both government and private investments. Kuok Singapore
Ltd., a partner with Asia World in many ventures, was Burma’s largest single real estate investor as of late
1996, with over $650 million invested. Other Singaporean companies are mentioned in Asia World’s company
reports. Sinmardev, another major Singaporean project linked to Lo’s company, is a $207 million industrial
park and port on the outskirts of Rangoon, which broke ground in 1997. Singaporean entrepreneur Albert
Hong, head of Sinmardev, described the project as the largest foreign investment in Burma outside the energy
field. The Singaporean consortium leads the joint venture along with the Burmese junta, Lo’s Asia World, and
a slew of international shareholders.

Kuok Singapore Ltd., Lo Hsing Han’s Asia World, and the Burmese junta are also partners in the luxury
Traders Hotel. The hotel’s November 1996 opening ceremony was attended by the Singapore ambassador, the
president of Kuok Singapore, and briefly by Lo Hsing Han himself. The presiding Burmese minister publicly
thanked Steven Law and the government of Singapore „without whose support and encouragement there
would be very few Singaporean businessmen in our country.“
While government and business connections in Burma and Singapore have boosted Asia World’s prospects,
other factors have contributed to the company’s extraordinary growth. In the last six years, Asia World has
expanded from a modest trading company to become Burma’s largest and fastest-growing private sector
enterprise with interests in trading, manufacturing, property, industrial investment, development, construction,
transportation, import and distribution, and infrastructure. „How is it that a company that has a humble
beginning trading beans and pulses is suddenly involved in $200 million projects?“ a US government official
said, requesting anonymity. „Where did all that start-up capital come from?“

The US government ventured a guess in 1996: it denied Asia World’s CEO Steven Law a visa to the US „on
suspicion of drug trafficking.“ Asia World’s operations now include a deepwater port in Rangoon, the Leo
Express bus line into Northern Burma, and a $33 million toll highway from the heart of Burma’s poppygrowing
region to the China border. On December 20, the conglomerate opened a wharf with freight handling,
storage, and a customs yard for ships carrying up to 15,000 tons. „If you’re in the dope business, these are the
types of things that you’ve got to have to be able to move your product,“ said a high level US narcotics
official. „They have set up institutions to facilitate the movement of drugs. And in all probability, they are

using laundered drug proceeds, or funds generated from investments of drug trafficking proceeds, to build this
infrastructure,“ he added.

The activities of Lo’s company Asia World have triggered an international narcotics investigation lead by
Washington. US investigators allege that Asia World’s relationship to Singapore paves the way for the
narcotics trade to be woven into all legitimate investments between the two countries. „Singapore’s
investments in Burma are opening doors for the drug traffickers, giving them access to banks and financial
systems,“ said one government official familiar with the situation.
One Stop Shopping: Intelligence to Repression
THE Burmese junta’s control of its impoverished population through crude methods such as torture, forced
labor, and mass killings leaves it open to international condemnation. In contrast, Singapore takes a more
sophisticated approach to repression, both at home and abroad. While the island-nation’s citizens have
material benefits and the appearance of rule of law, they live in fear of an Orwellian government that closely
monitors every aspect of their lives. The ruling party often sues those who dare to oppose it on trumped up
defamation charges, forcing many into bankruptcy or exile.

The FBI is investigating complaints by US citizens of harassment by Singapore’s Internal Security Department
(ISD). One California academic, a widely respected specialist on Southeast Asian affairs who asked not to be
identified, says ISD agents broke into his home because he was working to bring leading Singaporean
opposition figure Tang Liang Hong to an American university. The operatives tore out his door handle to get
in, then searched his computer and desk. A week later, an Asian man, waiting in a tree, photographed and
videotaped the academic while he walked in the park. After temporarily blinding the academic with his bright
flash, the man jumped from the tree and made a getaway in his car. Tang – who is facing a $4.5 million
defamation lawsuit by Singaporean senior ministers – was not surprised by the burglary. „I’ve been followed
everywhere, whether I was in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia or in London,“ he said in a phone interview
from Australia.

Singapore has been more than willing to share its expertise in intelligence with its Burmese counterparts. The
Singapore-Myanmar Ministerial-Level Work Committee was set up in 1993 in Rangoon to „forge mutual
benefits in investment, trade and economic sectors.“ The committee includes intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin
Nyunt, other top Burmese ministers, and high-level Singaporean officials. At the December 23 meeting, Khin
Nyunt urged his ministers to give priority to projects arranged by the Singaporean Government. „Pilot projects
are being implemented to transfer know how to Myanmar,“ said Khin Nyunt in his address.
One such project is a state-of-the-art cyber-war center in Rangoon. Burma’s military leaders can now
intercept a range of incoming communications – including telephone calls, faxes, emails and computer data
transmissions – from 20 other countries.

The high-tech cyber-war center was built by Singapore Technologies, the city-state’s largest industrial and
technology conglomerate, comprising more than 100 companies. This government-owned company also
provides on-site training at Burma’s Defense Ministry complex, and reportedly passes on its „sophisticated
capability“ to hundreds of Burmese „secret police“ at an institution inside Singapore.
Burma has no external enemies, but the ruling junta goes to extremes to terrorize the population through its
elaborate intelligence network. Intelligence officials have already used their newly-acquired talents from the
cyber-war center to arrest pro-democracy activists, and it is well known that Burma’s feared military
intelligence often tortures its victims during lengthy interrogations.
Singaporean companies have also helped suppress dissent in Burma by supplying the military with arms to use
against its own people. The first shipment of guns and ammunition was delivered on October 6, 1988.

Throughout the month, hundreds of boxes of mortars, ammunition, and other supplies marked „Allied
Ordnance, Singapore“ were unloaded from vessels in Rangoon. Allied Ordnance is a subsidiary of Chartered
Industries of Singapore, the arms branch of Singapore Technologies – the same government-owned company
which built the cyber-war center. The shipments also included rockets made by Chartered Industries of
Singapore under license from a Swedish company and sold in violation of an agreement with Sweden
requiring authorization for re-exports.

These shipments from Singapore arrived only weeks after the 1988 military takeover in Rangoon, in which
the new leaders of the SLORC massacred hundreds of peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrators in the street.
These killings followed another wave of government massacres earlier that summer, when longtime dictator
Ne Win struggled to keep power in the face of nationwide strikes and demonstrations for democracy. He
eventually stepped down but, operating behind the scenes, installed the puppet SLORC. As the killings
continued, thousands of civilians fled the country fearing for their lives. When numerous countries responded
by suspending aid and Burma’s traditional suppliers cut shipments, the SLORC became desperate. Singapore
was the first country to come to its rescue.
Singapore companies have continued to supply Burma’s military, sometimes acting as middlemen for arms
from other countries. In 1989, Israel and Belgium delivered grenade launchers and anti-tank guns via
Singapore. In 1992, Singapore violated the European Commission arms embargo on the Burmese regime by
acting as a broker and arranging for a $1.5 million shipment of mortars from Portugal.
„It is highly unlikely that any of these shipments to Burma could have been made without the knowledge and
support of the Singapore Government,“ wrote William Ashton in Jane’s Intelligence Review. „By assisting
with weapons sales, defense technology transfers, military training and intelligence cooperation, Singapore
has been able to win a sympathetic hearing at the very heart of Burma’s official councils.“

Singapore’s Stakes
LAST November, Singapore deployed its diplomatic arsenal to defend Rangoon at the UN. Singaporean UN
representatives made an effort to water down the General Assembly resolution which castigated the Burmese
government for its harsh treatment of pro-democracy activists, widespread human rights violations, and
nullification of free and fair elections that had voted it out of power. In an „urgent“ letter to the Swedish
mission, which was drafting the resolution, Singapore representative Bilahari Kausikan cited „progress“ in
Burma and said that „the majority of your co-sponsors have little or no substantive interests in Myanmar.
…Our position is different. We have concrete and immediate stakes.“
Objecting to parts of the resolution and attempting to soften the language, Singapore’s representative
circulated the letter to key members of the UN’s Third Committee on Human Rights „The driving force was
definitely business connections,“ according to Dr. Thaung Htun, Representative for UN Affairs of Burma’s
government-in-exile. „Singapore is defending its investments at the diplomatic level, using its efforts at the
UN level to promote its business interests.“

The protection of Singapore’s „concrete and immediate stakes“ is essential to the ruling party’s success in
maintaining power and the basis of its support for Burma, said Case Western Reserve University economist
Christopher Lingle. „Singapore depends heavily upon its symbiotic relationship with crony capitalists and
upon accommodating a high enough rate of return to keep the citizenry in line. Therefore its very survival is
tied up with business and government investments.“
William Ashton, writing in Jane’s Intelligence Review, suggested an additional incentive for Singapore’s
alliance with Burma. As Rangoon’s major regional backer and strategic ally, China has provided much of the
weaponry, training, and financial assistance for the junta. China’s expanding commercial and strategic
interests in the Asia-Pacific region, coupled with its alliance with neighboring Burma, is a source of great

concern in Singapore. The desire to keep Burma from becoming Beijing’s stalking horse in the region may
provide another motivation for Singapore’s wooing of Rangoon.

Turning a Blind Eye
THE Singapore government has consistently disregarded the gross human rights violations perpetrated by its
allies in Burma. The UN Special Rapporteur, appointed to report to the United Nations on the situation in
Burma, has been barred entry into Burma since 1995. The new US State Department Country report on
Burma for 1997 states that its „longstanding severe repression of human rights continued during the year.
Citizens continued to live subject at any time and without appeal to the arbitrary and sometimes brutal
dictates of the military dictatorship.“ Amnesty International reports that there are well over 1,200 political
prisoners languishing in Burmese dungeons where torture is commonplace.

Singapore has issued no urgent letters about a recent report by Danish Doctors for Human Rights which noted
that „sixty-six percent of [the over 120,000] refugees from Burma now living in Thailand have been tortured“
and subjected to „forced labor, deportation, pillaging, destruction of villages, and various forms of torture and
rape.“ The doctors reported that refugees witnessed the junta’s military forces murder members of their
families.
Singaporean leaders also seem unconcerned about the fact that the Burmese government shut down almost all
of Burma’s colleges and universities following student protests in December of 1996 and imprisoned hundreds
of students. At a February ceremony of the Singapore Association in Myanmar, the Ambassador to Singapore
presented a large check to Gen. Khin Nyunt – who is also Chairman of the government Education Committee
– for the „Myanmar education development fund.“ While depriving young Burmese of higher education, the
junta’s „Secretary 1″ Khin Nyunt responded that „Uplifting the educational standards of our people is one of
the social objectives of our Government.“ He then went on at length to extol the „firm foundation of growing
economic and trade ties“ between Singapore and Burma.

The Burmese government has also kept computers and communication technology away from students and
others in opposition to the regime. All computers, software, email services and other telecommunication
devices – which hardly anyone can afford anyway – must be licensed, but licences are almost impossible to
obtain. Yet Singapore has made the best computer technology available to the ruling elite and their business
partners. Singapore Telecom, the largest company in Asia outside of Japan, was the first to provide Burmese
businesses and government offices with the ability to set up inter-and intra-corporate communications in more
than 90 countries.

Complimentary Relations
SINGAPORE’Ss concerns are dramatically different from those of countries sharing a border with Burma.
Thailand has to deal with the deadly narcotics trade and an overwhelming number of refugees arriving on a
daily basis. Banphot Piamdi, the Thai counter-narcotics official, believes Thailand made a big mistake when it
voted for Burma’s entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (asean), given Burma’s lack of
cooperation in fighting drugs. Not surprisingly, the Singapore government lobbied hard for Burma’s 1997
acceptance into the powerful regional trade alliance.

Ironically, Burma’s inclusion in asean may force member nations, including Singapore, to address the havoc
that their newest ally is imposing on the region – especially since Burma provides approximately 90 percent of
the total production of Southeast Asian opium. China and India, Burma’s other neighbors, now face severe
aids epidemics related to increased heroin use in their bordering provinces. Most of the heroin exported from
Burma to the West passes through China’s Yunnan province, which now has more than half a million addicts.
And even Singapore – whose heroin supply comes mostly from Burma – had a 41 percent rise in HIV cases in
1997.

As we head into the „Asian century,“ Singapore has become Washington’s forward partner in the unfolding
era of East-West trade. Ambassador Green called the country „a major entry port and a natural gateway to
Asia for American firms.“ US companies exported $16 billion worth of goods to Singapore in 1996 and more
than 1,300 US firms now operate in the country. Singapore’s strategic and economic importance to the US
cannot be overstated. The two countries just reached an agreement allowing the US Navy to use a Singapore
base even though the deal violates asean’s 1997 nuclear-weapons-free zone agreement.

The US has condemned the Burmese junta’s record of human rights abuses and support for the drug trade, but
has turned a blind eye when it comes to Singapore’s dealings with the regime. Although President Clinton
imposed economic sanctions on Burma partly for it’s role in providing pure and cheap heroin to America’s
youth, he has not commented on Singapore’s willingness to play ball with the world’s biggest heroin
traffickers. Ambassador Green told Congress last year that the US „has an important role in working with the
Singapore government to deal with illegal drug and weapons proliferation issues,“ but most US officials have
remianed silent about Singapore’s investments with Lo Hsing Han and Burma’s narco-dictatorship. It’s
unlikely Clinton made any mention of this issue last fall while golfing with Singaporean Prime Minister Goh
Chok Tong during the apec summit in Vancouver.

Unless the financial crisis in Asia limits profits, Singapore will probably continue to expand its investments in
Burma. „Our two economies are complementary and although we can derive satisfaction from the progress
made, I believe that there still remains a great potential that is yet to be exploited,“ said the junta’s Gen. Khin
Nyunt last February. Aided by Singapore’s support, Burma’s thriving heroin trade has plagued the majority of
countries around the globe. While these countries blithely pour money into drug-connected companies based
in Burma and thereby help them to expand into foreign markets, an abundance of the world’s finest heroin
continues to plague their citizens. At the same time, the line between legitimate and illegitimate investments
grows dimmer in the global economy.