NARCO-POLITIK: ‘The Great Heroin Coup’, Drugs, Intelligence, & International Fascism – By Henrik Kruger (Archive)

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– The story of Christian David, an international narcotics trafficker used by the Intelligence services of at least three nations, is fascinating in itself. It is even more important for what it tells us of a larger, less documented history-‑the secret collaboration of government intelligence services and parallel police throughout the world, and their use of criminals, particularly from drug networks, for political counter-subversion…

The heavy censorship of David’s story in the United States, or what may be called the media resistance to it, is perhaps the clearest symptom of America’s involvement. For example, it was surely newsworthy that in June 1973 Le Monde, France’s most respected newspaper, charged that the break‑up of the Ricord French drug network in Latin America (which had included David’s arrest and extradition to the United States), was the result of a “close Mafia‑police‑Narcotics Bureau collaboration” in the U.S. The result of this collaboration, according to Le Monde, was to shatter Corsican influence in the worldwide narcotics traffic, and create a virtual monopoly for the U.S.‑Italian Mafia connection (whose key figures were Santo Trafficante in America and Luciano Liggio in Europe).

Le Monde’s charges, many details of which have since been corroborated, were passed over in silence by the U.S. press…

For the history of Nixon’s involvement in Watergate is intertwined with that of his personal involvement in drug enforcement. Nixon’s public declaration in June 1971 of his war on heroin promptly led to his assemblage of White House Plumbers, Cubans, and even “hit squads” with the avowed purpose of combatting the international narcotics traffic. (Among those with a White House narcotics mission, or cover, were Krogh, Liddy, Hunt, Caulfield, Sturgis, and Bernard Barker.)

Many writers have since suggested that Nixon’s war on heroin was part of his “grand design” to develop a new drug super-agency, under direct White House control, into “the strong investigative arm for domestic surveillance that President Nixon had long quested after.” Yet the establishment press failed to look critically at Nixon’s war on heroin. Instead it blandly reported Nixon’s decision in June 1971 to provide $100 million in aid to end opium production in Turkey, a country which (according to CIA estimates) produced only 3 to 8 percent of the illicit opium available throughout the world.

At the time perhaps 80 percent of the world’s illicit opium was grown, much of it by CIA‑supported tribesmen, in the “golden triangle” of Laos, Burma, and Thailand, while the Shah of Iran, who became one of Nixon’s closest foreign allies, had just announced resumption of Iranian opium production of over 20,000 hectares (an area 50 percent greater than the total cultivation in Turkey). As the New Republic noted only one month later, Nixon’s decision to shut down the supply of Turkish opium was “likely to do no more than drive the industry further east.”

Another, and even more cynical view of Nixon’s action is to see it as a direct attack on the French Corsican networks which relied almost exclusively on Turkey as their source of supply, and which, according to Le Monde, were being deliberately forced out of the international drug trade as the result of a “close Mafia‑police‑Narcotics Bureau collaboration.” Le Monde stated explicitly that it was the U.S.‑Sicilian Mafia which closed down the sluice‑gates of Turkish opium production. Was Nixon personally playing a role, as Henrik Kruger suggests, in this seamy international drug war between rival networks? Such a possibility seems less remote when we recall the rivalry which had grown up in the 1960s between deGaulle’s intelligence services and the CIA, and the respective reliance of these services upon the rival Corsican and U.S.‑Italian crime syndicates.

As Kruger tells the story, the motivations for the alleged heroin coup were primarily political: to break the power of the old Gaullist SAC connection, which by 1970 was as distasteful to de Gaulle’s pro-American successor Pompidou as it was to Nixon, and (on the American side) to replace it by an alternative power base. In Kruger’s analysis it was not so much a struggle between the French and American intelligence services, SDECE and CIA, as it was a struggle between old and new leaderships. The coming to power of Pompidou in France, and of Nixon in America, had created unprecedented tensions and suspicions between these two presidents and their old-line intelligence services: hence Nixon’s desire to use the war on heroin as a pretext for a new super-agency under White House control. Hence also the successive agreements between Nixon, Pompidou, and their cabinet officers to crack down on the old Corsican connection.

Thus Kruger’s book is urgent and timely: it lifts the veil on the global networks of these parafascist terrorists who can so frequently plot and murder with impunity, thanks to their relationships and services to the intelligence agencies of the so‑called “free world.” In short, it tells a story which our own media have systematically failed to tell…

I cannot promise that his account is flawless. He writes about intrigues where disinformation is rife and the truth about an event is frequently misunderstood even by its participants. But he has brought together a prodigious amount of information, supported by shrewd analysis, particularly with respect to the European scene which he knows best. As for the American scene, it may be difficult on first reading to accept his hypothesis of a huge “Miami conspiracy”, now “reaching out with a vengeance to Latin America” (Kruger p. 204). Other observers of the so‑called “Fascist international” phenomenon (to use the term first given respectability by Le Monde), have seen it as more polycentric, continuously divided by sectarianism, paranoia, and the ultimate inadequacy of national socialism as an international ideology. But, even if nationalist ideologues continue to clash, there is unquestionably increasing international unity among the professional terrorists. I prefer to call the latter parafascists rather than Fascists because their primary concern is neither ideology nor a mass movement, but rather to function covertly in the service of, or parallel to, intelligence bureaucracies. Among parafascists there is a tendency toward international cohesion, even if this is fluid, and requires no one single capital or base. Where Kruger focuses on Miami, others have focused on Madrid, Costa Rica or Washington…

Kruger’s invaluable contribution is to have spelled out the pervasive role of narcotics in supplying finances, organization, and sanctions to this parafascist network, from the Argentine AAA to the World Anti‑Communist League (WACL) founded by KMT intelligence personnel on Taiwan. Before World War II the KMT regime in China was perhaps the best example of political manipulation of the narcotics traffic, under the guise of an “opium suppression campaign,” to finance both a political and an intelligence apparatus (under General Tai Li). This practice spread after World War II to a number of other WACL member countries and groups.

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