- The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia
"The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia" is a major nonfiction book on
herointrafficking, specifically in Southeast Asiafrom before World War IIto during the Vietnam War. Published in 1972, it was the product of 18 months' research and at least one trip to Laosby Alfred W. McCoy[Hersh 1972; also bookjacket description of the 2003 edition.] , its principal author, who wrote it while seeking a PhD in Southeast Asian history at Yale University. Cathleen B. Read, a graduate student and co-author, also spent time in Vietnam researching the book during the Vietnam War and was one of the few American civilians, let alone American women civilians, to be in Vietnam during that time.
Its most groundbreaking feature was its documentation of CIA complicity and aid to the Southeast Asian opium/heroin trade; along with McCoy's Congressional testimony, its initially controversial thesis has gained a degree of mainstream acceptance. The central idea is that at the time, the vast majority of
heroinproduced was produced in the Golden Triangle, from which:
"It is transported in the planes, vehicles, and other conveyances supplied by the
United States. The profit from the trade has been going into the pockets of some of our best friends in Southeast Asia. The charge concludes with the statement that the traffic is being carried on with the indifference if not the closed-eye compliance of some American officials and there is no likelihood of its being shut down in the foreseeable future." [Lask 192]
Air America in particular was used for this transport. Further, this heroin supply is responsible for the parlous state of the Army in Vietnam: "By mid 1971 Army medical officers were estimating that about 10 to 15 per cent... of the lower ranking enlisted men serving in Vietnam were heroin users." [McCoy 1972, as quoted in Lask 1972.]
Maurice Belleux, former head of the French SDECEintelligence agency, Mc Coy also uncovered parts of the French Connectionscheme, as the French military agency had financed all of its covert operations, during the Indochina War, from its control of the Indochina drug trade [ Alfred Mc Coy, [http://www.bearcave.com/bookrev/nugan_hand.html 9 November 1991 interview] , by Paul DeRienzo] .
Unusually, the CIA reacted strongly to the book: "...high-ranking officials of the C.I.A have signed letters for publication to a newspaper and magazine, granted a rare on-the-record interview at the agency's headquarters in McLean, Va." (the letters were to the "
Washington Star" and were signed by William E. Colbyand Paul C. Velte Jr.["a Washington-based official with Air America, a charter airline that flies missions for the C.I.A. in Southeast Asia." Hersh 1972] ); the letter to Harper & Row(the book's publishers) on 5 July by C.I.A. general counsel Lawrence R. Houstonasked that they be given the galleys so that they could criticize errors and unproven accusations ["C.I.A officials said they had reason to believe that Mr. McCoy's book contained many unwarranted, unproven and fallacious accusations. They acknowledged that the public stance in opposition to such allegations was a departure from the usual 'low profile' of the agency..." Hersh 1972.] ("we believe we could demonstrate to you that a considerable number of Mr. McCoy's claims about this agency's alleged involvement are totally false and without foundation, a number are distorted beyond recognition and none is based on convincing evidence."Hersh 1972] ) and take whatever legal action they felt necessary before the book's publication.
McCoy's initial extreme hostility to providing a copy to the C.I.A. was eventually overcome, and the promised list of criticisms and correction was sent. Harper & Row felt that the material the CIA offered was extremely weak, that the book was reasonably well sourced (McCoy conducted "more than 250 interviews, some of them with past and present officials of the C.I.A. He said that top-level South Vietnamese officials, including President
Nguyen Van Thieuand Premier Tran Van Khiem, were specifically involved."; a vice-president and general counsel of Harper & Row said "We don't have any doubts about the book at all. We've had it reviewed by others and we're persuaded that the work is amply documented and scholarly." [Lask 1972 also describes it as "a serious, sober, headline-shunning study with 63 pages of supporting notes, referring to a large number of personal interviews, newspaper accounts, previously pbulsihed books, Congressional committee hearings, Government reports and United Nations documents. It is so filled with information that it will take a great deal more than mere dislike of its contents to demolish it."] ) and not only published it, but published it two weeks before its scheduled release date. The third & expanded edition was published in 2003, more pointedly entitled "The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade" (ISBN 1-55652-483-8); the book has also been translated into nine languages ["But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic (Revised Edition, New York, 2003)." [http://history.wisc.edu/people/faculty/mccoy.htm] ]
* "We have to continue to fight the evil of Communism, and to fight you must have an army, and an army must have guns, and to buy guns you must have money. In these mountains the only money is
opium." General Tuan Shi-wen, commander of the Chinese Nationalist Fifth Army(based in the Golden Triangle), as quoted by McCoy.
* "The picture of corruption that he draws, of cruel and naked jockeying for power, of bloodletting and cynical maneuvering with underworld peddlers, is so strongly documented that it might make even the stanchest defender of the war in Southeast Asia wonder if it is worth it." Thomas Lask, "Bonanza in 'Golden Triangle'".
* cite book
first= Alfred W.
authorlink= Alfred W. McCoy
coauthors= Cathleen B. Read, Leonard P. Adams II
title= The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. CIA complicity in the global drug trade |year= 1972
date= mid-September 1972
publisher= Harper & Row
url = http://www.drugtext.org/library/books/McCoy/default.htm |isbn= 0-06-012901-8 | pages = 464
* Cite news
page = A1
last = Hersh
first = Seymour M.
title = C.I.A. aides assail Asia drug charge: Agency fights reports that it ignored heroin traffic among allies of U.S.
accessdate = 2007-05-01
date = 1972-07-21
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10D12F9345A137B93C0AB178CD85F468785F9
* Cite news
last = Lask
first = Thomas
title = Bonanza in 'Golden Triangle'
page = A31
date = 1972-07-21
accessdate = 2007-05-01
url = http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00917F93854127B93C3AA1783D85F468785F9
Nugan Hand Bank
* [http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=10079 "A Correspondence with the CIA"] — (part of an article for "
The New York Review of Books" on the CIA's interest in "The Politics of Heroin".)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
June 2006 in Southeast Asia — NOTOC This page deals with events that took place in or are of interest to Southeast Asia and/or events that involved its citizens.30 June 2006 (Friday)* Indonesian police are investigating the editor of Playboy Indonesia and two models whose… … Wikipedia
Heroin — Not to be confused with heroine. For other uses, see Heroin (disambiguation). Heroin … Wikipedia
Collaborations between the United States government and Italian Mafia — The United States government has collaborated with the Italian Mafia on several occasions. During World War II, the United States Navy was worried about strikes and labor disputes in eastern shipping ports interfering with their wartime logistics … Wikipedia
Media representation of the illegal drug trade — Drug smuggling was the topic of or played a major role in: Contents 1 Documentary Film 1.1 Films 1.2 TV Series 1.3 Novels Documentary Film … Wikipedia
Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China — Diplomatic relations between world states and People s Republic of China People s Republic of China … Wikipedia
CIA activities in Asia and the Pacific — Main article: Central Intelligence Agency This article deals with activities of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in the Asia/Pacific geopolitical area. In this region, East Asia, Central Asia (except Afghanistan), Southeast Asia (but not… … Wikipedia
Illegal drug trade in the People's Republic of China — The illegal drug trade in China is influenced by factors such as history, location, size, population, and current economic conditions which are good. China has one fifth of the world s population and a large and expanding economy. Opium has… … Wikipedia
Counterculture of the 1960s — The Peace Sign, designed and first used in Britain in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, became a major symbol of the counterculture era The counterculture of the 1960s refers to a cultural movement that mainly developed in the United States… … Wikipedia
List of The Dresden Files characters — The Dresden Files series features a diverse cast of complicated characters. Contents 1 Main characters 1.1 Harry Dresden 1.2 Karrin Murphy 1.3 Bob … Wikipedia
Foreign policy of the United States — United States This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the United States … Wikipedia