WHY These Facts Have Been Kept from the Public!
Plain Truth Magazine
August 1981
Volume: Vol 46, No.7
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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WHY These Facts Have Been Kept from the Public!
Thurston L Sexton  

We disclose here how the world's drug problems really began and why! You will be shocked.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
   LAST NOVEMBER concerned law enforcement officials from all over the world gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
   It was a momentous meeting. Delegates from Interpol to Thailand's Office of Narcotics Control Board were alarmed by the ominous projections that this year 1981 would see bumper harvests of opium from Southeast Asia's infamous Golden Triangle.

...and the Bumper Harvests Came

   Their concern was well-founded. Favorable weather conditions and the cultivation of much larger crop areas this year have more than compensated for poor yields of the previous two years. More than 300 tons of raw opium have already been harvested by the ethnic hill tribes who live in these rugged mountain fast lands I see out of my window as I write. That's where the colorful red and white poppies are grown.
   Massive quantities of opium and their more refined forms of morphine and heroin are even now threading their way along the various drug-smuggling routes, known as "connections," on their way to factories of greed in the mass population centers of the world.
   International drug suppression forces are being marshaled to counter this unwanted addition to an already insurmountable worldwide problem. An official United Nations report, released in early February this year, concluded that the worldwide drug problem "has never been more serious or complex."
   Drug enforcement officials, especially those of the affluent nations, are especially concerned that this year's bumper harvest will lead to a rejuvenation of dormant connections. They also fear the development of new connections that may lead to the reestablishment of the Golden Triangle as the major source of heroin for the world markets.
   Before World War II, opium products in this little-known and sparsely populated area of the world held virtually no significance to the international drug trade. But at the height of this area's opium production during the Vietnam War, the Golden Triangle region held the dubious distinction of being the world's major source of illicit opium and its deadly children, morphine and heroin.
   How did this rugged mountainous area formed by the conjunction of the three countries of Thailand, Laos and Burma become a major center of illicit opium cultivation? Who is responsible?
   Strangely enough, in a macabre twist of circumstances, the governments of the Western world, motivated by the selfish way of life we call the get way as opposed to the way of giving carry historical responsibility for the sordid growth of opium poppy cultivation in Asia. After you read this story you will see why the incriminating facts of history have been kept from the general public.

Britain Plants

   In 1600 the British East India Co. was formed in order to expand trade contacts with the past.
   In the three centuries to follow, this goal was pursued with much vigor. The stalwart merchant mariners of the East India Co. fought their way into the highly competitive markets of the Orient, followed by the armies of Britain's ever expanding colonial empire.
   China, with her teeming millions, held the greatest attraction to the traders. Not only as a potential market for the products of the growing empire, but mainly as a supplier of luxury goods for the insatiable appetites of the growing mercantile empire, especially that indispensable item tea.
   But Britain faced a monumental problem in its trade relations with China. The Chinese wanted little of what the British had to offer in exchange for China's coveted products.
   For the first two centuries of Britain's contact with China, the balance of trade was always unfavorable to the British. This put a great strain on the economics of the Empire, as the only item of exchange acceptable to the Chinese was silver. In fact, nine-tenths of the cargo of every ship sailing for Canton was silver bullion.
   Motivated by the spirit of getting, a solution had to be found to stop this flood of silver specie from the Empire's treasury into the coffers of Imperial China.
   That solution was eventually found in a little-known trade product of India opium.
   The Chinese had long considered opium ingested whole as useful for medicinal purposes. Then in the 17th century, Dutch traders on the island of Formosa taught them the habit of smoking the drug mixed with tobacco. The Chinese gradually omitted the tobacco and began smoking only the opium in their pipes.
   In the early years of the 19th century, mainly young men of wealthy families indulged in opium smoking. But as the drug became more readily available, people from all walks of life began to acquire the habit. Mandarins, soldiers, merchants, laborers, women and even Taoist priests took up the pipe. More and more people were being seduced from productive careers in the society. Opium became an increasingly malignant cancer in an already diseased society.
   Opium was cultivated in small amounts in parts of China at this time but the Chinese population was kept supplied by Portuguese traders who brought the drug to China from Mogul India, the chief producer of opium as a cash crop for export. Opium remained a relatively unimportant trade item, even when the British took control of the coasts of India, until it became the answer to the Empire's trade problem with China.
   British colonial powers in India soon organized the drug trade into a large-scale, directly administered government monopoly that actively encouraged foreign sales and fostered new markets, mainly in China.
   Opium replaced silver as the currency of trade with the Chinese. The flow of silver specie into China was effectively halted and after the middle of the 19th century the flow had completely reversed direction.
   The answer to Britain's balance of trade problem became the curse of China. The opium trade became so lucrative that others soon joined Britain in opening China to foreign trade. While the British controlled the production, transport and sale of Indian opium, the United States held a monopoly on the import of Turkish opium to China.
   The influx of opium on such an organized scale had a devastating effect on the Chinese population.
   While the British were openly pursuing the expansion of the opium trade with China, the Chinese Imperial government began an active drive to suppress it. As early as 1729, the domestic sale and consumption had been prohibited by Imperial edict. In 1800, the importation of opium was specifically banned. But the Ching dynasty of China was too weak to enforce its suppression policies.
   Opium smuggling was so lucrative that corrupt officials and merchants greedily became involved in the drug traffic.
   The Emperor's last attempt to seriously stop the flow of opium in, and the drain of specie out, resulted in the infamous "Opium War" of 1839 to 1842.
   The results of the Opium War were twofold. First, the Chinese had to pay the victorious British millions in war indemnity. Second, it broke the back of any effective resistance by the Chinese government to the importation of the drug. Opium continued to flow in and silver out of China, and in 1856, another war was fought with the British. The results were the same. The Chinese were forced to legalize the import of opium.
   All effective opposition to Britain's control of the trade relations with China was ended.

China Grows Its Own

   Finally, the Chinese decided that if they couldn't beat them, then they should join them. A small tax was levied on imported opium and domestic production encouraged. Poppy soon became a valuable cash crop for the peasants as it brought two to four times as much as wheat grown on the same amount of land.
   The territory most suited for the growing of the opium poppy was the provinces of Szechwan and Yunnan, which bordered the Southeast Asian states of Tonkin (Vietnam), Laos and Burma.
   This mountainous region had a high enough elevation for the growth of the delicate poppy. In addition it has traditionally been the home of scattered hill tribes ethnically distinct from both the Han Chinese to the north and the lowland races of Southeast Asia. These nomadic hill peoples harbored no consideration for border demarcations. So the growing of the opium poppy soon spilled over into Southeast Asia, chiefly into the Shan states of Burma and the mountains of northern Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.
   Eventually, missionaries and a growing group of people concerned with the spread of opium smoking to Europe brought pressure to bear on the English government. In 1915 the exportation of British opium to China was effectively banned. But not before multiple millions in profits had been made at the expense of the lives of so many Chinese. And not before the seeds of a future plague of opium had been planted in the remote highlands of Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle.

France Waters

   The victorious communist government in postwar China effectively stopped the cultivation of the opium poppy throughout the country, even as far as its remote southern borders. The one nation that was delivered to opium has delivered itself from it!
   Today the People's Republic of China is no longer a factor in international narcotics traffic. But enough seeds had been planted long before in the remote mountains of Southeast Asia to allow this area eventually to more than fill any gap left by China in supplying heroin to the European and American markets. By the end of the 1950s, Burma, Laos and Thailand together had become the source of more than half of the world's illicit supply of opium and opium products.
   How did this transformation occur? Once again the governments of the West, having failed to come to grips and punish greedy pushers, must bear a significant portion of the responsibility.
   While the British had been colonizing India and Burma and forcing the opium trade on China, France was busy bringing Indochina (modern Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) under her political domination.
   France began the conquest of Indochina by annexing Saigon in 1862. Then Cambodia became a protectorate in 1863 and later central Vietnam (1883), Tonkin (1884) and Laos (1893) followed.
   To finance the conquest of these areas and to underwrite the heavy expenses of colonial rule, France turned to that most lucrative and readily available source of income opium. Indochina already had a large opium-smoking population primarily of the Chinese merchant class and imported opium from China.
   France followed the time-honored traditions of the governments of the Orient. She created several government-licensed opium monopolies that imported the drug from India, paid the colonial government a tax and then sold it to the populations of Indochina.
   Later, factories were built to refine raw Indian opium resin into smokable opium and the different drug interests were consolidated and reorganized under a single government-administrated opium monopoly.
   Profits soared. By 1900, opium accounted for more than half of French Indochina's colonial revenues. France did not succumb to the same moralistic pressures against the drug that ended Britain's participation in the China trade. The governors of Indochina continued to control the lucrative and destructive trade until the advent of World War II.

World War II

   During World War II, French Indochina was occupied by the Japanese. As the Vichy French were nominally allied with Japan against the Allies, the French retained administration of Indochina.
   Battle lines effectively disrupted Indochina's opium supply routes from India and forced the opium monopoly to develop a new source of supply in order to continue this very lucrative trade:
   That new source was readily available in the mountains of northwestern Vietnam and northern Laos.
   The opium poppy had long been grown in this remote region in small quantities by Hmong and Yao tribesmen who had migrated from Yunnan, bringing with them the knowledge of opium cultivation. Their new home in Indochina was well suited to the growing of poppies. Large expanses of mountain rain forests provided virgin territory for the nomadic hill tribes' slash and burn techniques of agriculture.
   Also much of the area is above the 3,000-foot elevation mark, providing cool temperatures for ideal cultivation.
   The French opium monopoly began a campaign of inducing these Hmong and Yao tribesmen to expand areas of cultivation and to increase production. French colonial agents were sent out to contact tribal leaders and negotiate contracts for increased production. In return for new quantities of raw opium, French authorities gave political support to aggressive tribal leaders.
   Production boomed and, consequently, the opium monopoly filled the vacuum created by the war. At the same time an entirely new chapter opened in the saga of the opium poppy that would prove to have far-reaching effects on the whole world.

First Indochina War

   The First Indochina War proved to be a costly and bitter lesson to the French. French professional soldiers considered it a war to be fought in the traditional style.
   Their Viet Minh communist opponents saw it as an entirely different kind of war, a political war for the control of the hearts and minds of the people themselves.
   Slowly, the French began to realize that traditional tactics would not work in this kind of war. France knew it needed allies among the people. They turned to the ethnic minorities and religious factions to find these allies. Among them were the opium-producing Hmong of the highlands of Indochina.
   These hearty hill people proved effective allies of the French in their fight with the Viet Minh. At the height of the First Indochina War, as many as 40,000 mercenary tribesmen were ambushing Viet Minh supply lines and providing intelligence. There was one catch: for the French to ensure the loyalty and livelihood of their mountain allies, they had to see that the Laos and Tonkin hill tribes' major cash crop, opium, was purchased, delivered and sold to the ready market through Hanoi, Saigon and on to the outside world.
   This proved to be a mutually profitable agreement. The French had a highly effective counterinsurgency unit operating under the military's direct control. The Hmong and Yao had a secure market for their lucrative cash crop. As well, profits from the sale of the opium and heroin could be used by the French military commanders to finance their mercenary units.
   Dien Bien Phu brought an end to this profitable arrangement. But the pattern of cooperation in the opium trade between a Western army operating in Indochina and their hill-tribe mercenary forces was soon to be repeated with even more devastating consequences.

Second Indochina War the Vietnam War

   In the late 1950s, Americans gradually replaced the French as advisers to the then-fledgling government of the Republic of Vietnam, popularly known as South Vietnam. This involvement continued the overall U.S. policy of halting the spread of communism in Southeast Asia.
   America became more and more embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. Relationships with the ethnic and religious minority groups in both Vietnam and Laos followed the pattern already established by their French forerunners.
   U.S. Special Force teams (Green Berets) were given the responsibility of recruiting, supplying and training hill-tribe mercenary units to fight the communist Viet Cong, just as the Red Berets of the French had done before them.
   Soon the Americans discovered that any viable relationship with the Hmong and Yao hill tribes was always tied to the opium trade.
   The hearty Hmong hill man was the ideal guerrilla in what would once again prove to be a guerrilla war. He lived simply, led a spartan life, knew the terrain and was a good fighter.
   U.S. Special Forces personnel soon learned respect and appreciation for the several abilities of these simple mountain folk. The basic problem was they needed to eat too, and opium was traditionally their chief cash crop. Consequently, the Americans replaced the French in assuming the responsibility of purchasing and transporting the deadly product of their mountain allies to the markets of Southeast Asia's capitals. Opium from as far away as the Shan states in Burma found its way by way of American transport to drug trafficking centers and heroin factories.
   What is the legacy of this arrangement? Appalling. Northern Thailand became a center for opium smuggling and heroin production. Motivated by the get principle, corrupt officials in all the countries involved in the war grew fat from the profits of the illicit narcotics trade. New and highly lucrative smuggling routes or connections sprang up everywhere.
   Saigon became one of the major centers of the trafficking of drugs in Southeast Asia. Heroin, morphine and opium were readily available at inexpensive prices. This had a spinoff effect (aside from increased flow of heroin to the United States) that has had a far-reaching and powerful impact on the attitudes of American youths toward the sale and use of illicit narcotic drugs.
   American GIs in Vietnam discovered that the heroin and related products so readily available for a nominal fee on Saigon's streets were a quick way to find solace and relief from the pains of conscience and the horrors of an unpopular war.
   With drugs so readily available, traditional taboos against the use of drugs were broken. Drug abuse, especially the use of heroin, became commonplace among American GIs serving in Vietnam.
   This new attitude toward drug use and the sale of drugs was not left behind when the involved GIs returned home.
   Having broken the traditional taboos against the use of drugs, the floodgates opened. Habits formed in Vietnam were carried back to the United States by returning soldiers. Even more damaging, however, was the new freer attitude toward the entire drug scene. Coupled with the moral decay of society and subsequent pressures on our youths, this attitude has led to a life filled with escapism through the use of drugs.
   Many of the "hard drug" users of the sixties have switched to so-called soft drugs, supposedly less harmful. But the demand for hard drugs is on the increase among youths of the new generation. Where will it all end?
   There can be only one answer to that question. Man, by himself, cannot solve the problems he has created. Only the People's Republic of China has paid the price to overcome the maelstrom of drug usage. What other nations are willing to pay the same price in centralized authority and reeducation? The plain truth is that only in the soon-coming Kingdom of God to this earth, will the vicious cycle be broken. In tomorrow's world under the government of God, there will be no misery to cause a desire for escapism the root cause of the drug problem today. That is the good news that The Plain Truth magazine is privileged to announce in advance.
   The government of Jesus Christ of Nazareth will exercise authority. It will not be one based on lust for power and greed. It will reeducate the nations so no one will be interested in sponsoring policies that lead to enriching some at the expense of multiple millions of other human beings. It will teach the way of give instead of get.
   Drug abuse in the World Tomorrow will disappear through the exercise of divine force and total reeducation. In the meantime, the nations at fault Britain, France and the United States must contend with an explosive epidemic of drug abuse among youths that reaches out and touches all nations of the Free World.

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Plain Truth MagazineAugust 1981Vol 46, No.7ISSN 0032-0420