Saturday, March 29, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 4: Problems of Population Control Segment 6/11
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4. The Narcotraffickers

Social policies implemented in Washington contribute to the toll of victims in other ways, a fact illustrated dramatically just as the vast media campaign orchestrated by the White House peaked in September 1989. On September 19, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) panel held a hearing in Washington to consider a tobacco industry request that the U.S. impose sanctions on Thailand if it does not agree to drop restrictions on import of U.S. tobacco. Such U.S. government actions had already rammed tobacco down the throats of consumers in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, with human costs of the kind already sketched.

This huge narcotrafficking operation had its critics. A statement of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association condemned the cigarette advertising in "countries that have already succumbed to the USTR crowbar of trade threats," a campaign "patently designed to increase smoking by...young Asian men and women who see young U.S. men and women as role models." U.S. Surgeon General Everett Koop testified at the USTR panel that "when we are pleading with foreign governments to stop the flow of cocaine, it is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to export tobacco." Denouncing the trade policy "to push addicting substances into foreign markets" regardless of health hazards, he said that "Years from now, our nation will look back on this application of free trade policy and find it scandalous." Koop told reporters that he had not cleared his testimony with the White House because it would not have been approved, and said he also opposed actions under the Reagan administration to force Asian countries to import U.S. tobacco. During his eight years in office, ending a few days after his testimony, Koop backed reports branding tobacco a lethal addictive drug responsible for some 300,000 deaths a year.

Thai witnesses also protested, predicting that the consequence would be to reverse a decline in smoking achieved by a 15-year campaign against tobacco use. They also noted that U.S. drug trafficking would interfere with Washington's efforts to induce Asian governments to halt the flow of illegal drugs. Responding to the claim of U.S. tobacco companies that their product is the best in the world, a Thai witness said, "Certainly in the Golden Triangle we have some of the best products, but we never ask the principle of free trade to govern such products. In fact we suppressed [them]."

Critics invoked the analogy of the Opium War 150 years ago, when the British government compelled China to open its doors to opium from British India, sanctimoniously pleading the virtues of free trade as they forcefully imposed large-scale drug addiction on China. As in the case of the U.S. today, Britain had little that it could sell to China, apart from drugs. The U.S. sought for itself whatever privileges the British were extracting from China by violence, also extolling free trade and even the "great design of Providence to make the wickedness of men subserve his purposes of mercy toward China, in breaking through her wall of exclusion, and bringing the empire into more immediate contact with western and christian nations" (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions). John Quincy Adams denounced the refusal of China to accept British opium as a violation of the Christian principle of "love thy neighbor" and "an enormous outrage upon the rights of human nature, and upon the first principles of the rights of nations." The tobacco industry and its protectors in government invoke similar arguments today as they seek to relive this triumph of Western civilization and its "historic purpose."32

Here we have the biggest drug story of the day, breaking right at the peak moment of the government-media campaign: the U.S. government is perhaps the world's leading drug peddler, even if we put aside the U.S. role in establishing the hard drug racket after World War II and maintaining it since. How did this major story fare in the media blitz? It passed virtually unnoticed -- and, needless to say, without a hint of the obvious conclusion.33

The drug traffic is no trivial matter for the U.S. economy. Tobacco exports doubled in annual value in the 1980s, contributing nearly $25 billion to the U.S. trade ledger over the decade according to a report of the Tobacco Merchants Association, rising from $2.5 billion in 1980 to $5 billion in 1989. Tobacco provided a $4.2 billion contribution to the trade balance for 1989, when the deficit for the year was $109 billion. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky took due note of these figures while testifying in support of the tobacco companies at a Senate hearing. The president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, commenting on the benefits to the U.S. economy from tobacco exports, "cited the removal of overseas trade barriers, primarily in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea" as a contributory factor.34

We see that it is unfair to blame the huge trade deficit on the policies of the Reagan-Bush administrations without giving them credit for their efforts to overcome it by state intervention to increase the sale of lethal addictive drugs.

Go to the next segment.

32 Richard van Alstyne, The Rising American Empire (Oxford, 1960), 170f.

33 AP, Sept. 19, 20. The Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor took note of the hearings, omitting the major points, however. See the sharp editorial in the Boston Globe, Sept. 24, 1989; and Alexander Cockburn, Nation, Oct. 30, 1989.

34 AP, April 17, May 4, 1990. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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