CHAPTER NINE 89
HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL
Throughout the 1950s, Harry Anslinger, the US Commissioner of Narcotics, worked hard to make people recognise that Communist China was the primary force responsible for narcotics trafficking1. 'The mafia', he explained in response to misleading press reports,
'was not the biggest drug dealer. This was a false impression. By far the biggest drug dealer was Peking'. Anslinger provided extensive data to the United Nations and to the
US Congress. He identified the Chinese government agencies that were involved, as well as numerous trafficking routes out of China through North Korea and Southeast Asia into Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico and the United States. He led operations to attack known distribution nets. But while he was unable to stop the flow, at least he did identify the source of the offensive: Communist China.
Then, in the early 1960s, something happened. In a study of Chinese narcotics traf-
ficking, Stefan T. Possony observed: 'Beginning in the early 1960s, the subject [Communist China's drug offensive against the United States], which originally had attracted great attention, became an 'unsubjecf, to paraphrase Orwell'2.
In a detailed analysis of the problem, A. H. Stanton Candlin observed the same phenomenon, which he explained in the following terms:
The matter was handled differently until about 1962, before which year the United
States showed signs of official comprehension of the problem. Since then, the threat has apparently been concealed from the public by persons who have evidently had the desire to cultivate better relations with the Red Chinese. The Chinese are the principal miscreants in this criminal conspiracy and they have been able, of late, to obtain protection and support in unexpected quarters'3.
It is, perhaps, no mere coincidence that 1962 is the year in which Harry Anslinger retired and that in 1961 the pro-China interests moved into the State Department4. This coincidence is interesting, especially when coupled with the Soviet intelligence on the
1957 meeting of China's Central Committee, when it was decided to encourage overseas investment in China.
In 1969, President Nixon declared war on drugs. One of the first measures taken was
to identify the sources of the problem. In one instance, analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency began looking at drug-trafficking emanating from Southeast Asia. Drawing on a massive amount of detail from a wide spectrum of sources, the first map was drawn of the
'Golden Triangle' - then regarded as the main source of drugs and narcotics5.
The triangle included parts of Thailand, Burma, Laos, and, especially, Yunnan Province, China, as shown by the solid line triangle in Figure 2 below. The northeast tip of the triangle was located well up in Yunnan Province, near Kunming. Yunnan Province was, indeed, the dominant source, both in its own right and through its control of and assistance to operations in northern Burma and Thailand. As the CIA Far East specialist who constructed the map described the position, the triangle was really a 'Golden V the apex of
which was in the region where Thailand, Burma and Laos came together. Most of the area,
the funnel of the V, was in Yunnan Province.
This assessment was identical to the information provided by Sejna, based on Czechoslovak and Soviet intelligence studies. He also reported that in 1960 China signed a 'Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation' with Burma, which provided China with the opportunity to operate openly in Burma. According to KGB estimates, fifty
Figure 2:The Golden Triangle. Bold Triangle: Original CIA Analysis. Dashed Triangle: Modified 'politically correct' White House version, virtually bypassing Communist China.
percent of the Chinese representatives in Burma were involved (officially) in the drug business in the early 1960s.
In 1970, the CIA map of the Golden Triangle was passed to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs [BNDD], a forerunner of the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA: see page 67]. Months later, a new version of the map emerged from the White House. The tip of the triangle had been moved from 25 degrees north latitude in China down to 20 degrees north latitude, in Laos. The new designation is shown by the dashed-line triangle in
Figure 2. With a few strokes of a pen, Communist China had been effectively excluded
from the Golden Triangle.
At that time, the top national-level US organisation concerned with illegal narcotics trafficking was the Ad Hoc Committee on Narcotics, chaired by Henry Kissinger. As Edward Jay Epstein observed, Kissinger evidenced little interest in the heroin problem and rarely attended committee meetings. General Alexander Haig usually chaired the meetings in Kissinger's absence. Kissinger, [Under Secretary of State Elliot] Richardson and Haig spent most of their energies dampening the enthusiasm of White House zealots to launch a new heroin crusade which might again threaten diplomatic relations with important allies6. Certainly, the initiative towards China was one of the high-priority diplomatic initiatives at that time. Epstein also noted that after the Department of Defence began using reconnaissance planes to help identify poppy fields in Burma and Laos, Kissinger stopped the overflights of Burma specifically to avoid threatening detente with China7.
In September 1971, the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control was formed, headed by Secretary of State William P. Rogers. The committee seldom met and was quietly phased out in 1972. While in existence, it was run by Nelson Gross, a Republi- can from Saddle River, New Jersey, who had been defeated in his quest for a Senate seat in
1970 and who President Nixon had then appointed as senior adviser and coordinator for international narcotics matters at the State Department. In August 1972, shortly before the committee's demise, Secretary Rogers released a study which had been prepared under its auspices, World Opium Survey-1972.
The primary producers of illicit opium identified in this report were India, Afghan- istan, Turkey, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Mexico, Eastern Europe, North Africa and Latin America. The geographies of the Southeast Asian network as presented in the study are reproduced in Figure 3 on page 92. As can be seen, both China and North Vietnam are effectively excluded in this representation of the opium network8.
Moreover, the text, which specifically addresses the People's Republic of China, was quite revealing. The text explained that in February 1950, China introduced stringent controls over the production of opium poppy and the use of opiates, that the measures were strictly enforced, and that the problem of opium use had been effectively eliminated. Some small-scale illicit production might remain, the text allowed, and, along with it, 'perhaps, minor amounts of cross-border trade in the commodity'9.
However, 'there is no reliable evidence that China has either engaged in or sanctioned the illicit export of opium and its derivatives nor are there any indications of government participation in the opium trade of Southeast Asia and adjacent markets'10.
Similar statements were also made during the timeframe 1971-73 by the Strategic
Intelligence Office of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD); for example:
'Not one investigation into heroin traffic in the area during the past two years indicates Chinese Communist involvement. In each case, the traffickers were people engaged in criminal activity for the usual profit motive'11
While statements such as these can be explained as the results of naivete or incom- petence12, it seems quite clear that there was also present a continuing intent to cover up Chinese Communist drug-trafficking. One of the favourite words used to avoid the exis- tence of intelligence information is 'evidence'. What really constitutes 'evidence'?
Does a report in draft form constitute an 'investigation'? A former CIA analyst who was detailed to the Strategic Intelligence Office of BNDD (which became the DEA in July
1973) was writing a report on Communist China's intelligence service, and specifically its involvement in narcotics trafficking, at the time the above denial was written.
The report picked up the Chinese narcotics trail back in the days of Anslinger and brought the story forward to the date of the report. It identified names, dates, places, organisations and so forth. The extensive and deliberate involvement of Communist China was obvious. The report was suppressed by DEA officials in 1973 while still in draft stage.
Figure 3: The South Asian illicit opium network9. [see pdf for pictures]