Sunday, September 5, 2010

Covert Finances: Transition to Afghan Drugs

In 1984 Peter Jennings of ABC aired agent Scott Barnes, who said he asked two fellow agents in Honolulu to kill Ronald Rewald, an agent and officer of the BBRDW bank. William Casey demanded that ABC muzzle Jennings, whjo refused to back off. Then the SEC gave Capital Cities, a firm tied to Casey, permission to purchase ABC. Jennings was silenced and some started calling it the “ C.I.A. Network.” Rewald was not killed. Rather he was sent to prison with an 80 year sentence.

In 1986, a team lead by much-decorated Lt. Colonel James “Bo” Gritz went to Burma to interview warlord General Khun Sa real name was Chang Chi-fu. The general was supposed to have information about missing POWs, but did not. Gritz asked him to cooperate in the US war on drugs, and the general replied that the US was his biggest drug customer. He said he could produce aq long list ofofficials he dealt with over twenty years, After being told in Washington that the general was lying, Gritz returned to interview the general. Khun Sa refused to name some current contacts but he did name Shackley and Armitage. Subsequently, the US indicted Khun Sa, so he could not come to the US and testify, and an effort was made to destroy the good name of Gritz, probably America’s most decorated officer at that time. Gritz also had to defend himself from charges of passport abuse. William Maddox, the US attorney who unsuccessfully prosecuted Gritz, said “”George Bush called me up and told me to get Bo Gritz.”

Nugan Hand was succeeded by Household International, and its general counsel was former C.I.A. director William Colby. He became somewhat outspoken in retirement and died in a strange boating accident in 1996.

The beginnings of American interest in Afghan opium seem to be in the 1970s, when the USAID –funded Helmand-Arghandab Valley authority constructed the Kajaki Dam, which made possible irrigation efforts that permitted opium production to reach new levels. It was handled by the St. Joe Company, a firm tied to the Bush family and Jeb’s Bushb’s Codina Firm. The St. Joe Company was founded in 1936 by the Alfred I. Du Pont Testamentary Trust. It used its Florida National Bank to move drug profits to Switzerland, and it also cooperated with the Lanksy/Trafficante Miami National in moving illicit money. MucSt. Joe Company, Peter Jennings, drugs, Bill Casey, CIAh of the money eventually ended up in Citibank. In 2002, Karl Rove managed to purchase a magnificient beach tract in Florida from the St. Joe Company for a mere $165,000.

Codina and the St. Joe Company had links to th e now disgraced financier Sir Allen Stanford, who was investigated for laundering C.I.A. drug money in his off-shore banks. The Soviets claimed that the C.I.A. allied in 1979 with mujahedeen drug dealers. By 1989, the Times of London reported that half the heroin getting to the United States came from Afghanistan. In July 2000, trhe Taliban shut down poppy production. Production resumed after the Taliban was overthrown. One impediment to even more opium reaching the west is the determination of Ayatolah Khatami to prevent its movement from Iran. However, he has relatively weak border forces.

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