Subject CHEMICAL INDUSTRY - COCAINE CONNECTION Written 430 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in
Subject: CHEMICAL INDUSTRY - COCAINE CONNECTION
Written 4:30 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdp:christic.news
THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY AND ITS COCAINE CONNECTION
Project Censored: Nomination for "The Ten Best Censored Stories of 1990"
War has always been good for business, and the war on drugs is no
exception. During the years of blustering "just say no" rhetoric and
swelling drug enforcement budgets, American industry openly and legally
collaborated with South America's cocaine cartels, supplying the chemicals
needed to turn coca leaves into cocaine.
The process requires a number of so-called precursor chemicals that are
also used for hundreds of legitimate products (which is the implausible
defense used by the chemical industry).
During the 1980s, American firms were the leading suppliers of these
chemicals to South America. From 1982 to 1988, U.S. exports of the precursor
chemicals to the Andean region doubled, and no one in government or business
seemed even remotely curious why.
There ought to be a law, and there is, sort of: the Chemical Diversion and
Trafficking Act, which was signed by Ronald Reagan in November 1988. The act
went into effect in February 1990 after two years of hearings and
significant input from the chemical industry.
In fact, some critics of the legislation, like Senator Harry Reid of
Nevada, would even say the industry's lobbyists wrote it. "We looked at the
law and saw the loopholes and contacted drug czar William Bennett's office,"
Reid says. "And he simply wasn't concerned. He sent a form letter in
response to my inquiry."
In its final form, the antidiversion law allows the DEA to screen only the
new customers of chemical companies and permits the agency just fifteen days
to do so. "And we only get one shot," says Gene Haislip, the DEA's director
of diversion control. Once cleared, a customer can't be investigated again.
Since the controls have been implemented, the DEA has denied permission to
seventy percent of new customers for these chemicals. In the first six
months of 1990, U.S. chemical exports to South America dropped fifty
Picking up the slack, however, is Germany, which has increased its exports
to the region by over 400 percent in recent months.
In response to the German connection, legislation has been introduced
which would empower the president to ban foreign companies that sell
chemicals to the drug cartels from doing business in the U.S. While
President Bush has yet to call for such a measure, an equally large question
looms: While the media devotes so much coverage to the "war on drugs," where
were they during this battle?
SOURCE: ROLLING STONE, 11/1/90, "By Keeping the Chemicals Flowing,
American Industry Kept the Cocaine Cartels In Business," by Linda Feldman, p
End of text from cdp:christic.news
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