Using drug money to finance terror

Expect to hear more in coming months about Middle East terrorists turning to the illegal drug trade to finance their evildoing.

Michael Braun, operations chief for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, says the "nexus between drugs and terror is growing at light speed," largely because more traditional sources of funds have been dammed up by anti-terror efforts and a pullback in the sponsorship of terror groups by countries such as Syria.

So drug money fills the void, providing financing to recruit, equip and train terrorist operatives, bribe local officials and arrange logistics.

And the amount of narcotics in play is astonishing. Over the past five months alone, the British navy has seized 30 tons of cocaine, opiates and other drugs as they were being transported in the Persian Gulf. The suspicion is the shipments were tied to Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.


Count tiny El Salvador as one of America’s most stalwart global supporters when it comes to the U.S. effort in Iraq. The Central American nation — the only one in the region to contribute soldiers — just announced it will send a 280-person contingent of troops to Iraq this month. That will mark the 11th deployment of Salvadoran troops since the war began in 2003.

Another of the few foreign stalwarts — the Republic of Georgia, which now has 3,000 troops in Iraq — will likely be looking for robust U.S. support as payback as it battles Russia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia.


Oprah Winfrey, according to the Rocky Mountain News, has plunked down a reported $50,000 to rent a house in Denver for the week of the Democratic National Convention, which opens Aug. 25. Winfrey, who was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, has not revealed if she will actually attend the convention, speak at it or just throw some parties.


Next week, the odometer on the Hubble Space Telescope rolls past 100,000 — not miles, but orbits of Earth it has made since its April 1990 launch. Since then, the spacecraft has been zipping along at 5 miles a second ever since, racking up about 2.72 billion miles while being propelled by gravity alone.

The telescope is due for a final tune-up by the space shuttle Atlantis in early October, with astronauts replacing worn and micrometeorite-dinged parts, and adding a couple new instruments to improve the telescope’s view toward the edge of the universe.


It’s true that GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has gotten more than $1.3 million in campaign contributions from the overall oil industry, while Democratic White House contender Sen. Barack Obama has received only about $400,000. But campaign-finance watchdog discovered that Obama has actually outraised McCain in individual contributions from oil-industry employees. Exxon employees, for instance, have given Obama $42,000 to McCain’s $35,000. Chevron workers have donated $35,000 to Obama compared to $28,500 to McCain.




"If I tell her, ‘Sweetie, we’ve got Game 5 of the NBA finals on,’ she’s willing to give me a little slack. Most of the time, though, the TV is on HGTV, and I suffer that silently." — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, responding to a question from an entertainment-news outlet about his family’s TV preferences. (HGTV is owned by Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.)


(E-mail Lisa Hoffman at HoffmanL(at) SHNS correspondents Lee Bowman and Michael Collins contributed to this column.)


  1. woody188

    Expect to hear more in coming months about Middle East terrorists turning to the illegal drug trade to finance their evildoing.

    Seems they learned more from the CIA than anticipated. Certainly we can’t have them competing with the CIA’s black-ops funding. Just ask George H. W. “Poppy” Bush.

  2. dbumRob

    This isn’t new. This has been happening since Viet Nam. The French did it, the Cong out did the French, the Americans did it during Iran/Contra, and what do you suppose is happening with record poppy yields in Afghanistan since we invaded that country? And for a long time a stretch of highway heading into Lebanon during the 80’s was a very large marijuana field for the PLO.

    There’s a great book about this, but I can’t remember the name. Been a few years since I read it.

  3. pollchecker

    Wait a second… this column is suppose to be about drugs and terrorism…and then goes on to talk about Oprah Winfrey and the Hubble Telescope and ends with a quote from Obama about television?

    I smell an agenda here! I mean look at the tags for crying out loud. That says a lot right there.

    Want to stop this the terroism problem? Legalize the drugs and terrorists are out of business. Problem solved.

  4. silentSCREAM

    pollchecker… Drug money is secondary in funding the anti Americanization uprisings among Islamic fundamentalists. Terminating the drug related enterprise will not solve the terrorism problem. At best, it would only have a nominal impact. Of course official American propaganda outlets would have the world believe otherwise.

    The truth… “trickle down” economics is primary responsible for their growing empowerment. Fundamental Muslims have been objecting to Western profiteers polluting their heavily faith-based culture since oil rigs first appeared on their horizon. As is the case everywhere, no wealth equals no say. Their cries fell on deaf ears. Things change. In time they found another way.

    Over the course of recent decades petroleum riches have increasingly found their way into the hands of faithful fanatics of all classes throughout the Islamic world. In short, without going into the socio-economic transition of their daily existence, no one is more to blame for funding so-called terrorism than the world’s largest consumer of their oil resources – the USA.

    The first major step towards solving the “terrorist problem” is to break our dependence on petroleum focused national interests. Step two, retract our [mercenary] military security presence from the Middle East region and leave the multinational oil profiteers – Israel and the Chinese – to fend for themselves.

  5. pollchecker

    I agree with your commentary. However, think of all the money that would be saved if drugs were legal?

  6. barak

    Perhaps this is one of those times when we should follow the example of the terrorists. Use the supposed millions of seized drug money to finance some mundane thing like education, or health care for poor children.

    And if you can accept that idea without exception, then why don’t we begin acts of terror against the Taliban? We could place some IEDs along their trails, bomb a few of their schools (surreptitiously, of course), and send a few robots with huge bombs and vests of ball bearings, razor blades, and grapeshot strapped to the explosives for max effect, into their mosques while the faithful Talis are at prayer.

    Don’t worry, it is a blessing if a Moslem dies during prayer.

    An eye for an eye, sez I.

    And with that, we need to incarcerate Bush and Cheney alongside the suspected terrorists in Guantenamo, and toss in Sweet Nancy for flavor, while they await trial as traitors, murderers, and crooked pols.

    Aye Aye. An eye for an eye, sez I.