CIA – The real drug overlords?

Last month a spokesperson for the northern Mexican government of Chihuahua claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency of the US does not fight drug traffickers but merely “manages” them.

Such a claim is a massive accusation considering the amount of foreign monetary aid that the US government feeds into Latin America. Nations such as Mexico and Colombia use this aid to fight an industry that kills thousands with Mexico recording around 55,000 drug-related deaths between 2006 and 2011.

2010 saw the war on drugs reach the $1 trillion mark in terms of budget costs, with the war still raging as fervently as the day it began and with drugs as widely available as ever. (There are still lots of drug addicts everywhere, and sites like continue to provide information about addiction treatment to them.) So why would the CIA want to hold control over the drug industry? The spokesperson elaborated with an analogy where he stated that the CIA is, in effect, a pest control, going on to say that “If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”

The CIA chose not to comment and may think nothing of the claim, but many will remember, back in 1984, Operation Just Cause. In events running up to the American invasion of Panama, CIA officials had known since the early 1960s of General Noriega’s involvement of drug trafficking in the US, a situation that reached a climatic point in 1971 when the DEA tried to indict Noriega on drug charges only to be denied by their fellow countrymen in the CIA. The reason? Noriega’s involvement in the Nicaraguan conflict at the time was beneficial to the US’ foreign policy. After 13 years the CIA decided that Noriega had done all he could for America and swooped in to eradicate his dictatorship.

This may suggest that America could be dealing with the war on drugs these recent years in the same way as in the past. This claim must be taken with a pinch of salt though, after all there is no hardcore evidence from the whistleblower and no obvious investigation; for example there is a severe lack of documentation over a period of time. So how seriously should this claim be taken?

An ex-CIA advisor, Kevin Sabet, claimed that the northern state spokesperson may be trying to raise awareness for his local governing of drugs trafficking and may feel that his community is not getting the help it deserves, he followed by saying that it “is understandable but not productive or grounded in reality”

However a fellow Mexican waded into the debate and quoted recent operations lead by American forces, which had been botched, such as Operation Fast and Furious. Hugo Mireles, a professor at the Autonomous University of Juarez, stated, “The war on drugs is an illusion, the CIA wants to control the population; they don’t want to stop arms trafficking to Mexico, look at [Operation] Fast and Furious.” Operation Fast and Furious was an operation that looked to sell registered automatic weapons to drug traffickers so that once they were bought they could be traced to a drug lords HQ, thus leading to a cache of illicit goods. Out of the 2000 weapons sold only 300 or so were accountable for in the end, leaving 1700 automatic weapons in the hands of drug cartels and other criminals.

With such a highly constructed mess as a result, the US government has sought to share its burden, dealing out big money contracts to private military contractors such as DynCorp. A massive US based military corporation, DynCorp was also integrated into one the USA’s latest solutions for the drug war in Colombia back in 2001, thanks to a $1.3 Billion operation called Plan Colombia where the government effectively outsourced the problem and offered support for right wing paramilitary groups against left wing parties. This outsourcing not only benefits the American government, it also helps stimulate the American economy with DynCorp residing in the US.

Latin America has seen its countries become saturated with American “intervention” in the war on drugs but is this intervention simply a ploy to maintain the war on drugs for economical and political reasons? It is hard to debate the cause without reaching speculation but many believe this to be true and if anything the war on drugs seems to have become worse and worse as years go by and as America gets its hands dirtier.

BY: Craig Cunningham