1971 Meditation Lesson/Poetry Reading/Discussion – 3 (CIA & Opium Traffic)

Allen Ginsberg Detroit, 1971 transcript continues from here

AG: ..the CIA conspiracy with various Indo-Chinese groups to traffic in opium.

Interviewer: the CIA?
AG: The CIA itself.
Interviewer: The Central Intelligence Agency..
AG: the Central Intelligence Agency.
Interviewer: …traffics.?. can you document this?

AG: Yes, we can document it too, which is what’s so great about it. So, we begin. If you check out the New York Times for April 19 1968 page 11, or The Washington Post April 19 1968, or the AP, April 29th, 1968.

Saigon – AP – report before a Senate.. US Senate Sub-committee alleging that Marshall Ky took advantage of a Central Intelligence Agency-backed sabotage operation to smuggle opium from Laos to Saigon – quote – the report was disclosed April 18th by Senator Ernest Gruening, Democrat, Alaska, head of the Sub-committee on Foreign Aid Expenditures. The report accused Marshall Ky of using US planes for the alleged smuggling while he commanded Vietnamese pilots in Operation Haylift 1963-64, operated by the CIA,  Air America flying the US into Laos by Peter Dale Scott and Ramparts, February 1970, page 39 – “In Vietnam and even more in Laos Air America is the chief airline serving the CIA and its clandestine war activities. Air America’s planes also serve to transport the Meo tribe’s main cash crop opium” – unquote   Christian Science Monitor, May 29, 1970 (section of a series by John Hughes) page 9 – quote – “In Laos some of the man growers of illegal opium are tough mountain tribesmen upon whom the U.S.Central Intelligence Agency relies heavily. Clearly the CIA is cognizant of, if not party to, the extensive movement of opium out of Laos. One charter pilot told me that friendly opium shipments get special CIA clearance and monitoring on their flight southward out of the country, two or three flights without this protection crashed under mysterious circumstances” – Speech March 24th, 1970, by Senator John V Tunney, Democrat, California, to the Wiltshire Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles – text available from the Tunney Washington office – quote (also quoted in The New Yorker and “Talk of the Town”) – “We are engaged in a secret war in Laos, a tribal war, in which the CIA has committed the United States to support a faction of Meio Tribesmen led by General Vang Pao  whose sole function is to dominate other factions of this opium-producing Meio tribe throughout Northern Laos. The administration has deliberately veiled in secrecy our deepening involvement in an opium tribal war, clandestine yet official operations of the United States government  could be aiding and abetting heroin traffic here at home”.

A report on the New York Times financial page gives a little bit of background to all this August 30, 1970, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Associated Press – “South East Asia accounts for a thousand tons , eighty-three percent of the world’s illegal supply of opium, an Iranian government official told the United Nations seminar on narcotics control. Turkey is the second major producing area he said” – unquote –  Banning Garrett  – Ramparts – “The Vietnamization of Laos” – June 1970, page 44-45 – “This opium trade is international, supposedly involving the Burmese, the Chinese and the Kuomintang from Taiwan as well as the Laotians. Opium politics are probably the only relatively autonomous sphere of action for the Laotian elite and probably the major preoccupation for most of them” – unquote.  Those are precisely the people that the CIA have been backing in its tribal wars in Laos.

Finally, we have a long book by Joel Fort called  The Pleasure Seekers put out this year by Grove Press, in which he, Doctor Fort, reports on his work for the World Health Organization, investigating the opium traffic on the spot in Indo-China, and he said, in his book – page 60 to 63, “The world’s biggest illegal opium producing area ..in the world centers in northern Thailand and includes portions of Burma, Laos, and the People’s Republic of China. Several United Nations and World Health Organization-sponsored studies  (including my own investigation for these bodies) have shown that hundreds of tons of opium are being produced each year by the tens of thousands of acres under cultivation in Thailand by hill tribes including the Meio and the Yao – for distribution to the rest of Asia and to the United States. Along the more dangerous parts of this journey, the opium products are guarded by Chinese nationalist troops (actually that’s the 93rd… division of the Kuomintang army, who settled in the area following Chiang Kai-shek’s expulsion from the mainland and who have subsequently maintained themselves with illicit narcotics profits and according to some reports with additional subsidies from the American Central Intelligence Agency  as a bulwark against Communism: –  unquote.

There is a new book out this early part of ‘71 called  Laos – War and Revolution with a preface by Noam Chomsky, Harper and Row, with a thirty-page essay by a guy named David Feingold, anthropology department at Columbia, who..  It’s called “Opium and Politics and Laos”, and the opening, very opening paragraph cites Chicago Sun Times, April 26, 1970 for the fact that an army air force major, the very pilot for Ambassador Bunker, the pilot for General Westmoreland was convicted smuggling 150,000 dollars worth of opium in his plane, convicted on April 26, 1970 (his plea was he didn’t know it was opium, he thought it was dirty pictures! That was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times).

Interviewer: It does make all the difference in the world.

AG: Yeah, so what we finally have is the realization that on a local level the local narcs are peddling (at least in New York, there is quite a bit of documentation of that including the indictment this year of the head of the narcotics bureau in New York…for hanky-panky and relations with the Syndicate, trying to get the Syndicate man at the head of the special investigating unit of the narcotics bureau in New York City which is the largest narcotics bureau in the world. That was in the Times earlier this.early 1970..February 1970.

Interviewer:  That’s almost to be expected though isn’t it when you have a police officer, no matter what his rank, his pay is not going to be good and you put him in direct contact with all the money that changes hands in the world of narcotics, It’s just a…it’s likely that he’ll be subverted, isn’t it?

AG: Yeah, the very… ,Well, the whole operation was illegal and unconstitutional to begin with – to deny junkies the right to medical treatment by doctors has actually literally been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1926 under the Linder decision   The present problem is a lot of doctors, like Dr Howard Levy’s Health Pack (sic), or the Medical Committee For Human Rights are now trying to get themselves together and get the doctors together to start treating addicts. The problem is that the administrative rules of the narcotics bureaus of the states and federal government insists that anybody who gives methadone maintenance (or any other kind of maintenance treatment to a junkie has got to register with the cops first, they’ve got to get a license from the cops, which is interference with medical practice, which is actually quite literally unconstitutional. So, the immediate legal point of the year 1971 probably that will be pursued by advanced lawyers, avant-garde lawyers, avant-garde doctors and will be a push to get more and more people into treatment, maintenance treatment (or any other that they can), they’ll hve to fight the cops to do that, in the sense that they’ll have a legal case pushing the cops back from their control over the scene because the danger of it is, like, say…the Black Panther Party, now in its recent issue, has okayed the use of methadone, limited, a limited extent, but what they’re afraid of basically is that the junkie will be tied up mainline to the government and the cops, that they’ll use the control of the supply of medicine to determine his political activities (in other words, if you’re on methadone you can’t be a Black Panther maybe, tho’ to avoid… because that’s already arisen in Washington, there are some cases of that, where people have been tried, the cops have tried to kick junkies off the methadone program and drive them back into the streets and into the hands of the mafia – for political activity. So that’s what’s one  of the main political objections to the government-sponsored methadone programs – which might be solved if, like, the law is obeyed, the Supreme Court is obeyed.

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