When President George W. Bush signed the Drug-Free Communities Act in 2002, he asserted, "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America." During the 2002 Superbowl, in the aftermath of 9/11, Bush's Office of National Drug Control Policy aired two TV ads asking the simple question, "Where do terrorists get their money?" The answer: "If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you."
Many marijuana activists have argued that growing your own weed is counterterrorist activity. Still, this line of thinking concedes Bush's simple-minded assertion.
The better response to the terrorist money question should be from Friends and Family of Bush (FOBs). The terrorist network responsible for 9/11 was primarily financed by opium profits from the Golden Crescent where Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran come together. The Reagan and Bush administration policy was to allow the opium lords to launder their drug money through the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) as long as some of the proceeds went to finance the fight against the Soviet Union. Ironically, all of this is documented in a Senate Report, "The BCCI Affair," chaired by Senator John Kerry.
The Bush family is close friends with Texas' Bath brothers. James R. Bath was an investor in George W.'s Arbusto Oil Company. Bath was also an investor in BCCI. The Senate Report also documents that Sheikh Abdullah Bahksh of Saudi Arabia not only held 16% of the stock of Harken Energy, a company that later bought up George W.'s Spectrum 7 oil company, but also was a key investor in BCCI. George H.W. Bush, former director of the CIA, maintained ties with BCCI despite its narcotics trafficking during both the 1970s and 80s.
Legal documents show that James Bath served as the U.S. business representative for Salem bin Laden, brother of Osama, beginning in 1976, the same year that George the Elder took over the directorship of the CIA.
So, where did the terrorist money come from? The FOBs. A good book on the subject is False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World's Most Corrupt Financial Empire, by Peter Truell of the Wall Street Journal, and Larry Gurwin, award-winning business reporter. Another resource is Chapter eleven: "Making Afghanistan Safe for Opium" of Alexander Cockburn's and Jeffrey St. Clair's Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press.
Cynics might sneer that these connections are pre-1991, when Osama bin Laden broke with his CIA allies. Yet, the Bush family's relationship with opium runners remains odd. Initially, Bush the Younger's administration gave Afghanistan's Taliban $43 million to eradicate opium crops. The fact that the Taliban was harboring Osama and were one of the most repressive regimes on Earth did not sit well with critics.
Following September 11, 2001, however, the Bush administration's drug policy toward Afghanistan changed dramatically. The UN issued a report documenting continued opium production in Afghanistan and advised the U.S.-led coalition to act quickly to destroy the bumper crop of opium. The UN report determined that: "Afghanistan has been the main source of illicit opium: 70 percent of global illicit opium production in 2000 and up to 90 percent of heroin in European drug markets originated from Afghanistan."
"The global importance of the ban on opium poppy cultivation and trafficking in Afghanistan is enormous," concluded the UN report.
Charles R. Smith, writing for NewsMax.com, reported the grumblings from anonymous sources on Capitol Hill in late March 2002 when the Bush administration reversed its policy and decided not to push for the destruction of Afghanistan's opium crops. The CIA argued that the destruction of the opium crop might destabilize General Pervez Musharraf's Pakistani government. After all, Americans wouldn't want that.
Musharraf is everything that Saddam longed to be, but could never accomplish. He's a military dictator referred to by the American mainstream press as a "self-appointed" president. He has nuclear weapons; he harbors an effective terrorist network including Osama bin Laden and key Al Qaeda figures; he's responsible for giving North Korea radioactive material to build their nuclear bombs; and despite all of this, he is still a friend of the U.S. and, more importantly, a FOB. By the way, scientists in his government offered Saddam Hussein nuclear material, which the Iraqi leader turned down, according to The New York Times.
Who are we to challenge the CIA? Wasn't it necessary for them to allow their Contra allies to run cocaine into the United States in the 1980s? Wasn't it the height of patriotism when they allowed Air America to transport opium into U.S. military bases in the 1960s and 70s? But all that concerned the Cold War, national security and geopolitical strategy.
But what about the President's own actions in the war against drugs? In 1999, our President has steadfastly maintained that he hadn't done cocaine in the last seven years, no wait, fifteen years, or possibly since 1974, all reported in Time magazine. As Governor of Texas, he announced that people "need to know that drug use has consequences." Apparently, bad memory may be one of those consequences. As governor, Bush signed legislation that authorized judges to sentence first-time offenders with less than a gram of cocaine to a maximum 180 days in jail instead of automatic probation.
During the height of the notorious Blowgate scandal, George W. scrambled back to his ancestral home in Columbus, Ohio to proclaim "I'm going to tell people I made mistakes and that I've learned from my mistakes." His mistakes most likely cost him his flight status in the National Guard when he failed to take a medical exam following the military's adoption of a mandatory drug testing policy.
If hemp activists want to stop the insane and authoritarian War on Drugs, they've got to admit their mistakes. The movement's biggest problem appears to be lack of connections with the CIA, bin Laden, the Bush family and other known terrorists.
Dr. Bob Fitrakis is Senior Editor of The Free Press (http://freepress.org), a political science professor, and author of numerous articles and books.