Claims of CIA involvement in drug trafficking

 

Accusations of CIA involvement in drug-trafficking are nothing new and have been widely documented for decades both in Latin America and in Central Asia. However recent allegations put forward by the testimony of an infamous FBI whistleblower has claimed that American government agencies directly used NATO resources and locations in Belgium and the UK to smuggle heroin and the proceeds of the drugs trade.

Sibel Edmonds, a Turkish/American translator who worked for the FBI was notoriously fired from her position in 2002 after claiming that a colleague covered-up illicit activity involving foreign nationals, serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups and the intentional blocking of intelligence. She was then fired from her role and as such decided to speak out in public and under oath. 

Of her claims, one of the most revealing is the accusation that the CIA, keen to attract the support of important political/religious figures in turkey following the collapse of the Soviet Union, elicited support by helping traffic heroin to Turkish power-brokers like Fethullah Gulen, now residing in self-proclaimed exile in the United States. She claims much of his fortune (some estimates put it at nearly $25 billion in assets) came from the lucrative heroin route from Afghanistan to Turkey. Her claims go as far as saying Heroin was transported on NATO and U.S military planes via Belgium and then via the UK before reaching the destinations in the United States, notably Chicago, Paterson and New Jersey where the Heroin was then distributed. She also goes on to suggest that Turkish officials also took advantage of their diplomatic status (diplomats are not searched at airports) by travelling with suitcases filled with afghan heroin. 

These allegations which cannot be verified seem to support other troubling accusations against the many security agencies in United States in this period. (In 2004, the US attorney general took the unprecedented step of retroactively classifying all the documents and testimony that she had given the state judicial committee.)The refusal by the current Obama administration to investigate these claims only serves to increase the suspicion of American military involvement in manipulating the drugs trade to obtain support from local power brokers in Central Asia and around the world. These allegations follow continued claims from whistleblowers about US involvement with the current power-brokers and war-lords in Afghanistan who use the profits from heroin production to further their power and control. 

The claims Edmonds makes, although impossible to verify, does highlight the role power-brokers in Turkey and other Central Asian countries play in distributing the output of Afghan Heroin production. The official government line of blaming the Afghan heroin problem solely on the Taliban is certainly an effective tool in justifying the current war there; however corruption and involvement in the trade goes much further and clearly involves high-level officials in many other countries. The attempt to cover-up these claims of western governmental involvement should therefore come as little surprise.