The CIA regularly deals with nasty people. Probably, it’s got something to do with the fact that they are nasty people, too.
It must be nice to believe you’re a scion of the East Coast Elite, a fraternity brother in some Ivy League School, yet like a non-ironic Kingsman, you go forth to rub shoulders with creeps and thugs right out of a James Bond movie. Then, your tours of duty done, you parlay your former rank into a job at a think tank, defense contractor, or some department appointment at Harvard. Best of all, your incompetence and the trail of bodies you leave behind get classified until well after your death.
Here’s a fun one that was declassified. What a problem to have: [cia reading room]
That was from 1968, of course – the opium was probably obtained as a part of some dirty deal for money in Vietnam or Cambodia.
The CIA was not (they say) involved in drug-running in the 1980s; they had nothing to do with the cocaine ‘epidemic’ as the Central American cartels (which were a result of political destabilization that the US Government preferred for the region) funded themselves by selling drugs – to the rich country north of them. The CIA has always claimed that it’s hands were clean – though (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) they did have to do business with some very nasty people.
They are very nasty people.
Vientiane is the capital of Laos.
In today’s street prices, uncut, that’s $16,000,000 worth of opium.
Oh my. That reminds me of L.A. cops – they’d take a fucktonne of weed out to a private field, right off the freeway, and set it on fire. It took them around 6 months of doing this to figure out that the mass crowds of people sitting on the fence and hanging around weren’t doing it to admire their fire setting talents.
Destroy it? Such a waste. They ought to (maybe do?) have warehouses all over the planet filled with things of questionable legality and origin. Just in case it’ll come in handy at some point in the future. If they have facilities to stash and ‘interrogate’ people outside US jurisdiction, why not add include generous storage cellar? Then stuff it with all the drugs, weapons and other kit that ‘turns up’ as part of normal operations.
Now if the CIA decides it has to addict an entire population to drugs they’ll have to shop around first when they could have used the opium they chucked in the river. Besides, the resident CIA ecologist and enviornmental officer was probably appalled by the plan.
It’s not the first time people have had to deal with this problem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destruction_of_opium_at_Humen#Destruction_of_opium
Marcus Ranum says
That reminds me of L.A. cops – they’d take a fucktonne of weed out to a private field, right off the freeway, and set it on fire.
Not the “best and the brightest” really.
Marcus Ranum says
It’s not the first time people have had to deal with this problem
Whoah, I remember reading about that. I never realized it was 1,000+ tons.
That’s an incredible stash.
At that time, opium was in tons of stuff – most nostrums were opium and alcohol to some degree. And it was (for obvious reasons!) relatively inexpensive.
I’ve smelled raw opium and it’s lovely-smelling stuff. Anyone who’s ever smelled it burning (especially if they inhaled!) will recognize it immediately. For a while I was investigating getting a few ounces of it and making incense with opium in it (frankincense, opium, and clove with a hint of vanilla to take down the edge) – but the downsides of getting caught with that much of the stuff are daunting. It’s also pretty expensive. I thought it would be great, though, to have people go, “wait! what’s that scent?!?”
There’s a reason there was a very popular parfum called Opium back in the day.
Oh, it was worse than that. The cops tried changing their locations, but they were always leaked by one of the radio stations, uh, KLOS or KMET, and it still took them 6 fucking months to figure it out.
bluerizlagirl . says
At least they weren’t nasty enough to try contaminating the opium with some radioactive isotope and then selling it on to other drug dealers. That would be a pretty nasty thing to do, especially if it was alpha-particles. Not many of them would make it through even a polybag, or even human skin for that matter; but once the drug is inhaled or injected, and the α-source is up close and personal with the organs, it’s basicly goodnight Vienna.
Marcus Ranum says
They probably just didn’t think of it.
I remember reading about the Opium Wars and the shock of realising we (the Brits) had gone to war to force China to alow us to sell them opium. I was young.
When I was a child if any of us got diarrhoea we were given Collis Brown’s Compound which contained opium, and as a friend said using it was ‘like turning a tap off’. Disgustingtaste, but very effective.