Thesis: Narco Terrorism You Live in the Shadow

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Narco Terrorism

You live in the shadow of a monster the Afghan opium trade that threatens not only your nation, but the world."

Karen Tandy, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (Peters, 2007)

The Shadowed "Face" of Narco Terrorism

The war on drugs would support the fight against terrorists," (Peters, 2007) Karen Tandy, administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), stresses. Consequently, Pakistan and Afghanistan need to cooperate more in their fight against this regions "exploding opium trade," Tandy contends. (Peters, 2007) Tandy warns Pakistan and Afghanistan that because of the Afghan opium trade, they "...live in the shadow of a monster," a monster of narco-terrorism that not only threatens their nations, but others in the world. (Peters, 2007) Narco-terrorism, Douglas J. Davids explains in his book, Narco-Terrorism: A United Strategy to Fight a Growing Terrorist Menace, constitutes "terrorism that aims to protect and support the activities of illegal drug traffickers," as well as, "terrorism by organizations that use the financial profits of narco-trafficking to support their political, religious or other goals." (Saskiewicz, 2006)

History of Narco Terrorism in 1983, former Peruvian President Belaunde Terry described the Shining Path Marxist rebels' terrorist-type attacks against Peru's anti-narcotics police as "narco-terrorism. During 1986, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan also referred to "narco-terrorism" when discussing "purported links between international drug trafficking and terrorism among allies of the Soviet Union (Cuba, Nicaragua)." (Chouvy, 2004)

Recently, a DEA official, also purported that, "the war on terror and the war on drugs are linked."

The DEA also contends that narco-terrorism refers to terrorist acts carried out by groups that are: "directly or indirectly involved in cultivating, manufacturing, transporting, or distributing illicit drugs." (Chouvy, 2004) Hutchinson (2002) discusses the connection between drugs and terrorism, noting that during 1000, Afghanistan, a major source of heroin in the world, produced approximately70% of the world's supply of opium (converted to heroin). During this time, the Taliban, the then ruling authority, taxed drug trade and, in some cases issued tax receipts for revenue collected from the heroin traffickers.

Hutchinson also noted:

the DEA...received multi-source information that Osama bin Laden [financed/facilitated]...heroin-trafficking activities.

To put this in perspective, when you look at one area of the world producing 2,700 metric tons of opium, that contrasts to less than 100 metric tons of heroin being consumed in the United States. it's an overproduction in supply. It is a huge challenge that we face in Afghanistan, but it is also a tremendous opportunity for the international community to be energized, to be cooperative in their efforts to engage in that arena to impact the huge supply that comes out of Afghanistan.

Colombia. In Colombia, we deal with three groups designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department: the revolutionary group called the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia); the ELN (National Liberation Army); and a paramilitary group, the AUC (United Self-Defenses of Colombia). At least two of those, without any doubt, are heavily engaged in drug trafficking, receiving enormous funds from drug trafficking: the AUC and the FARC.

The State Department estimates that the FARC receives $300 million a year from drug sales to finance its terrorist activities.

So we see a clear connection by al-Qaeda and the FARC using drug proceeds to finance their terrorist activities. They are not by any means the only two groups.

Peru. In Peru, you have the Shining Path. There's evidence that they were responsible for the car bombing that occurred just two weeks ago that killed nine people prior to President Bush's visit to Peru. They have historically also benefited from the taxation of coca cultivation in the region of Peru that they control....the facts demonstrate that drugs are a funding source for terrorism and violence against government. But it's not just the facts that are involved here; it's also the lives that are impacted to such an extraordinary extent.

Mexico. When I went to Mexico City in February, I had a meeting with the Attorney General, Macedo de la Concha, and in that meeting, I shook hands with the prosecutors that were on the back row as I was leaving. One of the prosecutors, Mario Roldan Quirino, was handling a case that we were involved in that was a multi-ton seizure of cocaine off of a fishing vessel. I shook hands with that prosecutor. Within one hour after I left Mexico City, Mario Roldon was shot 28 times outside of Mexico City and assassinated.

The Toll on Law Enforcement. In the first few months of 2002, 13 law enforcement officers have been murdered in Mexico. You say, "this may not be terrorism." When you're going after government officials, judicial officials, to impact the stability of a government, in my judgment, it is terrorism. (Hutchinson, 2002)

Impact of Narco Terrorism as a new and sinister "monster," narco-terrorism presents a shadowy "aspect of the international terrorist phenomenon because its effects are insidious, persistent and more difficult to identify than are the sporadic, violent outbursts of the armed assailant." (Thackrah, 2004, p. 177)

Drugs, as a vivid, vital component of the terrorist portfolio serve as a source of revenue to support terrorist organizations' general activities. In addition, the use of drugs in target countries, such as the U.S. constitutes part of the terrorists' program to undermine its enemy country's integrity, by weakening the society's moral fiber, as it foster widespread addiction and nurtures socially debilitating, criminal activities, accompanying drug/use trade. In his analytical study of narco-terrorism, Davids reveals numerous ways revenues earned illicit drugs sold on the international market repeatedly financed terrorist organizations, insurgencies, as well as, known U.S. enemies. Through seven case studies, he identifies links between global illegal drug use and financial support of internationally recognized terrorist organizations. Due to the dearth of international cooperation to establish a counternarcotics plan, and the rigid interpretation of national sovereignty thwarting country-specific law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) from tracking down narco-traffickers, who flee to neighboring countries, along with a flawed approach overemphasizing the LEAs' role, as well as, limiting military force, Davids stresses, contemporary drug eradication and interdiction efforts continue to fail. (Saskiewicz, 2006) the majority of Americans, according to Davids, do not realize profits from illegal drugs finance insurgencies and international terrorist organizations' Members of the U.S. public need to be educated about the international drug/terrorist connection, Davids purports. Those who fail to comply with U.S. drug laws need to be held accountable and their actions. Repeat offenders, drug distributors and/or dealers, Davids argues, ought to extradited to foreign nations adversely affected by narcotics-funded insurgencies or terrorist organizations. (Saskiewicz, 2006)

An abundance of evidence confirms connections between the international narcotics trade and terrorist organizations. The Palestine Liberation Organization, for instance, "has been involved in over a hundred operations in the last decade involving drugs, and linking that organization [sic] through Bulgaria, Cuba and Syria to drug traffic to the U.S.A." (Thackrah, 2004, p. 177)

Organized crime networks, another example, which also serve to distribute drugs, routinely involve drugs-for-arms transactions.

Narco-terrorism in the U.S.A. has been uncovered during investigations of illegal immigration, organised crime, political corruption and Japan's penetration of the American car market. For some years the Sandinista guerrillas were involved in the international drug trade both before and after achieving power in Nicaragua.

The narco-terrorist, connected to drug traffic and employing the method of random killing of innocent bystanders, is a very special hybrid and the latest in a long line of terrorist groups. The Federal Government of the U.S.A. has known for quite some time about the narco-terrorist threat to the integrity of the state, but generally has been unable to control the spread of the problem.

The links between terrorist and insurgent groups and traffickers are most substantial in drug source countries, including Burma, Colombia, Peru, and Thailand. In Colombia, four major insurgent organisations work in collaboration with cocaine traffickers. In 1982 the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia (FARC) reportedly obtained over 3.8 million dollars per month by collecting protection (Thackrah, 2004, p. 177)

Narco-Terrorism in Afghanistan "The illicit drug economy in Afghanistan is said to be fuelling terrorism," Chouvy (2004) cites Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to also warn during 2004. Costa noted that a barrage of evidence confirmed drug money finances criminal activities - including terrorism. He stressed: fighting drug trafficking equals fighting terrorism."

Davids proposes a "unified strategy," based on four pillars to overcome shortfalls undermining efforts in the war against narco-terrorism:

education, extradition, specialized force and civic action. (Saskiewicz, 2006)

Creating a "specialized force" composed of special-operations forces from the Western Hemisphere nations, according to Davids, along with a group of legal experts to perform arrests and provide legal advice, to accompany this multinational force, or MNF could more effectively attack he command and control structure of the drug cartels first and foremost. Next, the MNF could target the active narco-traffickers. In areas such as Columbia, where guerrillas and the right-wing paramilitary are currently deeply caught up in drug trafficking, it would… [END OF PREVIEW]

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