Sir-- In 'Lincoln or Ford?' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 30 April-6 May), concerning prosecuting former top administration officials for torture, I am motivated to express my profound displeasure with your view. First, you apparently make no distinction between enhanced interrogation techniques and recreation abuse of prisoners. You would use photographs of either and both to trash and prosecute public officials you don't like. While you may genuinely disagree with enhanced interrogation techniques, I don't see the logic in using photographs which show misconduct which was never policy and which has been prosecuted to secure criminal convictions. Yes, in case you hadn't heard, the pictures which you gleefully anticipate being released were used to secure convictions against the perpetrators of prisoner abuse. Spreading the latter photographs and related information around increases the risk of injury and death to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. My son is deployed in Afghanistan with the Marine 2nd Expeditionary Brigade, and I deeply resent irrationally angry people like you who, for personal gratification, promote things that increase risk to our troops.
CIA drug money
Sir-- On the US concern about drugs in Afghanistan ('NATO, SCO or PATO?' Al-Ahram Weekly 23-29 April) anyone who knows the illegal drug industry knows that the CIA ran the Golden Triangle, having bought off the Hong Kong-based triads, and owning and operating Tiger Airlines, which handled the 1960s traffic to Saigon (incidentally making one in five GIs addicts). Observers also know that Noriega was the CIA's front contact man in Colombia, and incarcerated him in Florida when he got greedy and tried to up the ante. Drugs are the source of the CIA's black ops finance, which Congress would never agree to approve, and it is generally understood that the CIA/DEA operation eclipses Mafia/Triad and bike gang traffickers combined. Because the Quran forbids drugs and alcohol, the fanatical Taliban ordered poppy farming stopped, but provided no alternative for livelihoods, and enraged the drug traders and exporters in the bargain. Under the nominal leadership of Karzai they quickly agreed to an attack against the Taliban, which was immediately successful; within a year they were providing 80 per cent of Europe's heroin, from zero in the preceding years. By 2006 Afghanistan was providing 90 per cent of the world's supply. The CIA, of course, had the advantage of pre- existing relationships with the drug lords.
Here is my question; are the SCO members genuinely ingenuous, or is this studied naiveté just a part of the diplomacy game? As I read it, the SCO is specifically set up to contain US/NATO expansionism, but later addressed other emerging needs: to force a backdown on nuclear or other war against Iran (and China), to provide a meeting room for regional common interest, and more recently to repress the flagrant crime cartels (Russian Mafia, CIA, et al) and drug trafficking which profits their nations not at all, and which complicates internal power distribution in destructive ways. Obviously, each nation would have its own special agenda for which trade-offs can be brokered, but I intuit that the above is the prime motivation, (and that Fieganbaum is both inordinately stupid and delusional).