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The CIA and the Global Drug Trade

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Last year’s revelations in the San Jose Mercury News about the role of the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contra rebels in California’s crack- cocaine trade in the 1980s highlighted the CIA’s relations with illegal narcotic traffickers. But CIA alliances with international narcotics traffickers is nothing new. Professor Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison argues in his acclaimed book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, that CIA alliances with illegal drug production and distribution has been an integral part of the agency’s efforts to maintain US power abroad.

Today, we are joined by Professor McCoy for a historical review of the CIA’s role in the international drug business, from Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Southeast Asia, to Honduras and Nicaragua.

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