Cowell is a British filmmaker

Q:  In Washington, what were the stakes for President Carter...at the time, as far as the Shans' proposal to sell opium to the U.S. was concerned?
Cowell:  I don't think President Carter was much aware of it. Who was interested was Peter Bourne [ the drug policy chief in the White House], and I think President Carter...let Bourne do what he had liked. And there's no question at the beginning of the Carter administration when we started filming, they were extremely open. And later when they were being attacked, they closed up very much. But we were lucky to be there when they were very open.

Q:  The two sides of the argument are?
Cowell:  Lester Wolff was advocating that they take a look at the Shan offer to take in U.S. advisors to help them reduce the opium crop. And the White House I think let us film this, because at the beginning they didn't know what their policy was going to be, but gradually the State Department, the CIA and the DEA persuaded Bourne not to go ahead with that policy. And in that sense, I think he came out badly from it, because our conclusion shows that that's not going to be successful. He said as an alternative he'd give planes and helicopters, and in those places helicopters were not effective.

Q:  .....But the White House was persuaded......
Cowell:  That Wolff's proposal would be suicide, both politically and internationally. I mean, they looked at it in a whole wide area. But, you know, all those people sometimes say, "Well, it's a pity we didn't try it." If they had tried it, what would have happened? The Shans might have cheated them, you might have paid $12 million, and you might have found the Shans cheated so. So alright, next time you just cancel the deal. Actually, you wouldn't have lost, except what you said, lost in political reputation. But the amount of money that would have been lost was very little.

Q:  So the result of this back and forth is?
Cowell:  Well, from the time that Bourne makes the deal, and there is increasing military and intelligence cooperation with the Burmese army, they're giving the army troop planes to carry troops up to forward staging points where helicopters then take them on to where they can attack the convoys. Many State Department and CIA people were also involved in the intelligence gathering to do with those convoys....[F]or instance, they had agents who were planting beepers...so that they could be located either from satellite or other systems. They were even being pushed up the anus of the mules so that they couldn't be found. And every convoy, every mule that moved was being tracked, and they were getting instant intelligence, the Burmese army, of course.
  That, of course, therefore the U.S. could not have provided more for the hitting of those convoys. Why did they not succeed in every capturing a single convoy? Why did they not succeed in stopping in any way? The reason is that in the jungle areas, you could go off in all sorts of directions, and a helicopter has the one disadvantage, that unless somebody has a loud Walkman blasting into his ears, he's going to hear it. And those troops can just vanish like that. A mule isn't like a truck, you know, it can just go off the trail into the jungle, anything like that. And they were never effective.
  And one of the things that the constant attacks on the convoys meant was that it meant that for the merchants and the people who were convoying the opium in the old system, it became more uncomfortable. So what did they do? They just moved the factories higher up. Opium weighs ten times as much as the amount of heroin you extract from it, so they just made it into heroin. And then when they thought things were difficult, they just put the heroin in the backpacks of soldiers, so you didn't even have to move it by mule. So of course the impact was nil.
  I think part of what's wrong about it all was for them to go on, keep suggesting that this was a solution, when it was quite blatantly ...it wasn't a solution.

Q:  When the word got back to Khun Sa that he'd just been through the ringer in American politics, and a very good idea had been lost on the altar of expedience or political whim...What was his reaction?
Cowell:  He never ceased trying....The problem with Khun Sa is [that] I a number of times said, "My advice to you is to write to the President of the United States less often." He was, every six months he'd fire off a letter to the American President on something or other.

Q:  And the letter would say what?
Cowell:  In some form or other, he was offering to resolve this problem. Certainly, every time a new President came in, any time there was any change, he'd sit down and write a letter.

Q:  [Khun Sa] played a very sophisticated...game of public relations....he becomes the subject of fictionalized Japanese kung-fu movies and everything else. What was that all about?
Cowell:  Well, there's a certain degree of...living in Khun Sa's capital was like living ...in a sort of comic opera. There were mad things going on all the time, really mad things. And that comes from the fact that they are on the fringe of the legal world. I mean, there are all sorts of mercenaries going up there, trying to sell them different sorts of weapons. There were all sorts of other deals going on, which were not narcotics deals, especially gem dealers and things like that. So from the point of view of people who live in a more stable society, it was a slightly mad society, but it came from the fact that it was a society outside the legal parameters of the international community.

Q:  Dangerous society?
Cowell:  Yes. If you did something wrong, you could die. And to give you an example, journalists were right there, because they were never let out of the main areas where it was, nothing serious was going on. But at different times we were allowed to travel across a variety of areas of Shan state. And I never asked--I felt that what I was trying to do was to project the reality of the political and social system there, and that's the avenue to a solution. I never asked anyone where a heroin factory was, because I knew, a, they wouldn't tell me, and , if I started to ask, I would be chucked out.
  But to give you an example, we once broke down, and I took out a camera to photograph a village, and we were on the hill above, and one of the Shan liaison officers who was with me said, "I wouldn't photograph that village if I were you." So I said, "Okay, I won't photograph it, but why not?" And he said, "Oh well, our military use it for a lot of special things." Well actually we'd been to all their military things. So I always thought, hmmm. And when Khun Sa surrendered and the Burmese ordered them to close down the heroin factories, I was told that that was a heroin factory. They actually volunteered it to me.
  So that in that sense, you see, if you're going to deal with people like that, you cannot deal with them if you're going to transgress one boundary, and that boundary was I should not seek the sort of information that the DEA would seek. I could seek a general understanding of what they were up to, and I could ask them everything possible about the general things about the narcotics trade, but I shouldn't ask them about things that could lead to direct raids on people or factories, and I could get killed if they even believed I was doing that.

Q:  This policy of the United States...of helping the Burmese government with airplanes and troops support...Was there a difference within the United States, from your perspective, between the DEA's enthusiasm for this and the State Department?
Cowell:  There's no question....[T]he State Department expelled from Burma, declared persona non grata the three heads of the DEA during that period, and this became a very public controversy. It even went into the courts here in the United States. So there was a direct difference between the State Department and the DEA on this policy, yes.

Q:  And what was the State Department's position?
Cowell:  It's easier to look at it the other way. The DEA hoped that by cooperating with the Burmese government, and that by giving them training and other forms of aid, they would be able to work closely with the Burmese anti-drug wing, and that that would then help them start to attack the narcotics traffic. I mean, it's quite a genuine thing. You know, policemen trying to do their job.
  The State Department knew that the narcotics traffic, the political structure for it, was actually part of the Burmese government's handling of this problem...the main people who were moving most of it were these cease-fire forces of Wa and Kokang, who had a treaty with the Burmese and who were allowed to do this. They also knew, or later a lot of the row between the CIA and the DEA came up from the fact that they knew eventually, that the DEA's intelligence people who were directly providing intelligence for the DEA had been provided for them by men who were secretly Burmese military intelligence, so that actually the DEA's intelligence arm was set up by the Burmese military intelligence.
  One of the court cases was the DEA suing the head of the CIA and the head of the State Department in Rangoon for bugging his telephone exactly over these issues of these different and rival intelligence services. So that is a very different policy.

Q:  And in your experience, did either one of them really know what was going on?
Cowell:  Well, I think the State Department view was more realistic. I mean, don't forget, State Department people, when they go to another country, they are given some training in that country. The DEA police chiefs who go out there, not the intelligence end of this, but their police chiefs are not given any training in that country. And a lot of their behavior in Burma expresses that lack of reality. And there certainly was, they were very much cozied up to the Burmese military, and they were doing these drug burns to make the Burmese military look good, which have subsequently come out, you know, were fake drug burns. I mean, they were provided by traffickers to the military to provide them with drugs to burn to make it look as though something was happening in Burma. mean, I don't think the State Department or even the DEA will now deny that the drug traffic today is very heavily linked to the Burmese military.

Q:  By 1989 terrible events in the Burmese capital of Rangoon have occurred, including the massacre of pro-democracy dissidents. What is the world's response then? What is the United States' position? Does anything change?
Cowell:  You see, this is where the row between the State Department and the DEA came up. Up [until] that time a major part of U.S. policy in Burma was to provide aid to the Burmese military to try and interdict drugs. And the State Department and the DEA cooperated on that. In 1989, when the Burmese massacred thousands of protesters against democracy, and then abolished the results of the elections, the State Department took direct human rights issue on this case. They cut off all aid until a democratic government would be returned.
In that sense, I think their policy is quite logical. The DEA, however, when the aid was cut off, the Burmese drug people didn't want to really do anything with them anymore. And so the DEA were constantly pushing for the renewal of some sort of aid which would give them some sort of pull with the Burmese military. And because the Burmese military knew this was their position, they were always much friendlier with the DEA than with the State Department. I mean, if you wanted to talk to Burmese officials, the Embassy had much more trouble than the DEA.
And you can understand. The policemen he sent there, his job is try and catch something. And he'll do whatever he can to catch it, but what the State Department was saying was that in the overall situation, the catching of an odd consignment here, as Burton Levin, who was then the U.S. ambassador to Burma, said, "You know, you feel good, you capture a hundred pounds or you capture two hundred pounds. But actually it makes absolutely no difference when you've got thousands of tons moving." So what's it for?

Q:  The nineties begin. Where is Khun Sa?
Cowell:  ... he then had set up inside Burma, but close to the Thai border, another big base further to the West. And he had united with two other Shan armies.

So for the first time he was with much greater numbers, and he had a chance to launch himself as a Shan political figure who would do something about Shan politics. And this is when he started his big training school, and the schools that we saw were training 3500, 4000 recruits, and there would be several of these-- There would be at least two a year. In one 18-month period, we saw about 11,000 troops trained, and he built his army up to 30,000.
Now, you don't need 30,000 troops to escort narcotics. People will say all sorts of things about Khun Sa, but there's no question that he was aiming at a political military solution. For the first time ever he declared independence from the Burmese, he set up a Shan assembly, he set up a Shan government, and he was in direct conflict with the Burmese. Previously his troops had been advised in the old days, carry out your mission. In many cases that was to defend opium convoys. But don't attack the Burmese unless they attack you. But once this period started, he started to attack the Burmese, so he had completely changed, and he was trying to be a Shan political leader. That didn't mean he had less income from drugs, but he was trying to be not just a drug war lord, but to be a Shan military leader.

Q:  So when you catch up with Bourne in the 1990's, what does he think?
Cowell:  See, that's the really interesting thing about Bourne. I feel he was completely open to consider his past policies, whether it reflected on his policies being successful or not. And he was surprisingly open when we said, "Did he think his policy had succeeded?" And he said, "Well, if you look at it, it hasn't." Because the point was to reduce the amount of narcotics coming out, and in fact the amount of narcotics had increased. That's unusual for a politician to say that, and he asked me if I could arrange for him to go and see Khun Sa. It was not my idea.

Q:  You show a scene in the film, where there's a young girl , a heroin addict, who's dead, and her mother...is very distraught, and it seems that Khun Sa is distraught. He can't take his eyes off the picture. He's very worried about it. What are you trying to say with that scene?
Cowell:  It's terribly easy when you are with people like that, and you're trying to understand their situation, just to accept everything in their way, and not wing into it the real reality of what's happening. And the reality is hundreds of tons of heroin going out, and heroin has a very bad effect. And every now and again I would try and rub this in Khun Sa's face. I mean, it's alright for him to be talking about it...and I'm trying to understand that point of view, but I think as a journalist, it's my job not just to accept it, you know?
Now, there are ways you can do it, but they will never talk to you again. So in this situation I showed him somebody else's article, and I said, "Look, that's there. It's out in the public. What is your comment on that?" And he was very angry. We held the camera close on him to show that anger. But in the long run he stomached it, and several other times. I mean, when I asked him whether he had shares in heroin factories like that, he did not like it at all. He was extremely angry. I had told him at various times that when we'd do interviews, we're going to present his point of view, but we are also in that interview going to ask the questions of people who have another point of view. And he had to accept that.
The problem with an authoritarian leader--I mean, he is never challenged by his own Shan, so he gets unused to being challenged. If you're like John Major, you take the minor abuse from the journalists in your stride compared with what you're getting from everyone else. But an autocratic leader doesn't. And he does not like it, and it can be quite--I don't mean dangerous, but I mean, he could have just said, "Get those people out of here and never let them in again." Without question.

Q:  And what does he think of that negative image of him?
Cowell:  He has a great sense of humor actually. He's called the 'king of opium', so he often says, "Well, as I'm a king, I should take precedence over the Thai prime minister," you know, things like that. So in that sense he plays to the publicity, yes, and with humor.

Q:  Moving forward, a price is put on Khun Sa's head...The State Department announces the $2 million reward...The DEA has clearly decided to demonize him. Why?
Cowell:  I think the DEA demonized Khun Sa long before that. I think the price that was put on his head, it was announced by the State Department, and was probably a State Department thing. And the DEA, first of all, demonized Lo Hsin Han, and then when they got Khun Sa, they demonized him, and it seems to be part of their policy. I don't know whether it's deliberately that they think by personalizing the issue, you make it more understandable to people.
The funny thing is usually when they get these people, those people are already no longer important in the business. When Khun Sa was eventually forced out to surrender, he already only controlled a small portion of the business, which was one of the reasons why he was getting weaker.

Q:  Ten of Khun Sa's alleged compatriots are arrested in Thailand in 1994. What was that about?

Cowell:  These people were arrested for a number of shipments of heroin to the United States. I think one of them was a ton of heroin. And presumably the DEA has good evidence on them, and they are trying to expedite them from Thailand and to try them in the United States.

Q:  Do they work for Khun Sa?
Cowell:  This is where there is confusion. There's no question that some of them I know are directly related to Khun Sa....There are various groups that protect heroin. There's the Wa and the Kokang and Khun Sa. These are people who are dealing with Khun Sa. And the end effect is the same. The DEA tends to discuss everything as though it's a cartel. You have a man at the top, and then everyone else is his staff. In fact, how the traffic works in Burma is that the army or especially in Shan state is that the army gives protection to the people moving the narcotics, and especially the heroin factories.
And, for instance, the heroin factories, they tax between 40% and 60%, depending on the price. And those heroin factories are run by separate individuals. They are merchants who run those heroin factories. It's quite possible that Khun Sa might have a share in it, but they are not actually his factories. The people who buy it and smuggle it on are also their own operations, merchants who come up, they buy it and they smuggle it. It's quite possible that Khun Sa could have shares in that. But actually each part of the operation is different groups and different people. And that's why it has no effect when you actually arrest them. You just arrest one little molecule, and the place is immediately taken by another molecule.
So there's no question that those people were traffickers, there's no question that their main links were through the traffic coming through the Khun Sa area. But the impression that they are subordinates in a cartel, that I think is just a misunderstanding of the situation.

Q:  So when I talk to the DEA agent in charge, Don Ferrarone, and he says, "We're decapitating his leadership, we're sucking the infrastructure out...This is a signal of how well we're doing. This is the multi-pronged strategy, and look how effective it is." What do you think?
Cowell:  Arresting those people who were involved in trafficking certainly stopped them [from] trafficking. It didn't reduce the traffic, because someone else immediately started trafficking. The Thai closing of the border did have an effect on Khun Sa, because previously the trucks that cross the border carrying rice to Khun Sa...went in the daytime. Now they could only go at night, paying a bribe. So it actually puts the price of the rice up, which therefore put Khun Sa's expenses up.
It didn't actually stop anything, but it actually meant that they were economically paying more for what they wanted. And it was very annoying to the Shans, because previously in Khun Sa's capital you got into a car and you drove down into the state capital of Thailand...in two and a half hours. Now you drove to the border, and you then had to spend another hour and a half walking around the border before you caught the next car. So it was annoying to them.
But the important thing was it certainly put up Khun Sa's costs. The important thing that actually undercut Khun Sa was one, the Kokang and Wa, heroin was no longer coming that way, and he wasn't getting that tax, and two, that his forces in the middle of Shan state mutinied in August 1995, and that mutiny not only took that group away, but more and more people were deserting from other areas, and Khun Sa lost all his force in the eastern side of his area to the Wa. And those were being overrun, and it was like I think they felt like standing in quicksand. So long as their people were deserting, they hadn't hope.
Now in that, the DEA played no part in the desertion or anything. It had nothing to do with the DEA. And they played no part in the fact that Kokang and Wa heroin was going elsewhere. The DEA were doing their job. Their job is to try and catch people who are smuggling heroin from the United States--from Thailand to the United States. But to pretend that that actually had a significant effect on the political structure of Khun Sa, well, it may help you get your budget, but it's really just--no one would believe it. Not even the State Department.

Q:  During 1995, you say, the Shans held their own in the war.
Cowell:  Yes, the Burmese did not make any inroads into Shan state at that time at all, and the inroads only began when the desertions came, and that then had a disastrous effect on ....their big base in the east, and that base--all its outer defenses had been overrun for the first time in at least half a dozen years of fighting, and they were about to take the central headquarters when Khun Sa surrendered to the Burmese, and brought Burmese troops in there, and denied the area to the Wa.

Q:  What did you mean when you said, 'They would soon be brought to their knees by narcotics"?
Cowell:  [B]y that I meant the gradual diverting of the narcotics traffic away from them. What Khun Sa had done was started his build-up of his army to 30,000 men, when most of the narcotics trade was coming his way. And also most of the gem trade was coming his way. And the gem trade in Burma is a billion dollars a year going out into Thailand. It's a big trade.
And he was drawing a tax on that. And as the gem and the narcotics were diverted away from him, he had much less income to pay his big army, and his costs of maintaining his troops, which was particularly rice, had gone up because of the closing of the border. So that they had to pay a bribe to get the rice in. So his economic situation was distinctly worse, and I'm sure he was spending capital just to keep it going.

Q:  And then the Burmese generals play the trump card, Lo Hsin Han.
Cowell:  Lo Hsin Han was the trump card earlier than that. What happened was that when he made the deal with the Wa and Kokang, it took time for all of that to impact on Khun Sa. But there's no question that Lo Hsin Han was the key to the changing of that situation...And is still a major figure in Shan economics and politics.

Q:  Was your merry-go-round metaphor proven that is, that despite arrests and attempts at drug enforcement, the merry-go-round of opium trade keeps spinning merrily along?
Cowell:  I mean, that's a metaphor [that] just comes from years of watching in total bemusement... And just trying to illustrate it in some form or other. Everybody keeps chasing everyone else, but the situation goes on.
Q:  Were you surprised to see Lo Hsin Han suddenly rise up, suddenly become a player again?
Cowel: I wasn't surprised to see that, because basically what is happening in all these discussion[s] is the Burmese have to deal with the reality of those areas. To deal with the reality you have to deal with the leaders. There aren't all that many leaders, so who are you going to deal with? There's Khun Sa, there's Lo Hsin Han, and there's one or two others. If we could have a democratically elected government, all those people would be out, and you'd be dealing with democratic people. But until then you're dealing with someone who has military and economic force, and he is one of them, so there's no question you have to deal with him.
Q:  Is Lo Hsin Han still in the opium business?
Cowell:  He says he isn't. And I think, you see, it depends on what your view of it is. The DEA apparently says that they are still in the business, and the U.S. has refused his two sons visas to the United States.
  Now one way of looking at it is that in some form or other, they certainly created political structure of the business, and very possibly some of the money they're handling is money that has something to do with drugs. If it is, then ipso facto, it's money laundering. Therefore, from the DEA's point of view, they are guilty of a conspiracy. I think they don't understand those sort of complexities, so he may have been....Even if he was in the business, he'd tell me he wasn't in the business. And then I'm trying to look at, could he be telling the truth. It is possible that he's telling the truth. It is possible he's not in the business. But there's no question that he created the structure of the business.

Q:  And what's happened to Khun Sa?
Cowell:  Khun Sa is pretty sick....[H]e's in Rangoon, but he's heavily protected. I mean, $2 million is a lot of money in that part of the world, especially when the chat is so inflated. You know, it's an enormous amount of money. So there could be a lot of people who would like to grab him, and he's set up some bus companies and various construction companies and it's rumored he wants to build hotels and he's said to have opened a casino....Possibly if he had shares in the drug business, you presume he still has shares in the drug business. I don't know about the shares, of course.
  But Khun Sa, the troops that refused to surrender and all Shan nationalists are bitter about Khun Sa, and it's difficult for him to ever go back to being what he tried to be, which was a political savior of the Shan people.....It's quite clear what he has done, and probably no one will forgive him for it.
Q:  What has he done?
Cowell:  He surrendered. Khun Sa surrendered to the Burmese. He didn't do what the other Wa and Kokang do, make a cease-fire and continue holding the area...under the cease-fire. He let the Burmese army into his area without telling his subordinates what he was going to do until it was too late. And the subordinates, a lot of who could get away, ran away and fought on, and many of the others are very bitter about what he did. He traded his area and the hopes of everyone for his own advantage, monetary and political survival advantage.

Q:  What do you make of what happened to Lo Hsin Han. What does his story tell you?
Cowell:  Lo Hsing Han is a Chinese Yunanese type trader, and those people are very practical. They are business people, but they also have a practical look at things. They're gamblers too, like the actions he took. So he is going to say, "Is there an alternative policy? If not, then I'm going to go on doing this." Bang. Like that. And he's always behaved like that. I asked him, I asked his chief of staff, who lived with him during the seventies, why on earth did Lo Hsin Han get into that helicopter? And he just said he's stubborn, like that, you know. So I mean, that was his character.
  And I asked him why he needed to fight over the opium convoys, because surely he could have paid them off and it would have been cheaper than actually fighting. And again, his chief of staff said, "You know, Yuninese people are like that. They don't like paying protection money unless they have to. And he's going to--bang--you know fight." And that's that character. I mean, China's a huge country and there are many different sorts of people, and Lo Hsin Han is-- I mean, they're on the border of the southern Chinese province of Yunan, they are basically Yunanese.

Q:  What does Khun Sa's story tell us?
Cowell:  Khun Sa was an intelligent man, who had the courage to use power, and he may have used it wrongfully. But he was someone who came from more or less nowhere, saw that the secret to this guerrilla war was to build up the economic resources to put into a major army, and he did that. When he did it, and when he had an army as big as 30,000, he still saw no way to end the situation, to win a victory. I mean, it was just going to go on and on and on.
  And he resigned ... and brought all the press up there, for exactly the same reason. And when he saw that nobody was prepared to deal with him, and that the Burmese were closing in and the Americans were closing in, and that his troops were deserting, I think he saw no way out for himself personally.
  Now the difference is, if it had been a different type of Shan leader--and I've known quite a lot of them--they would have just fought to the death with the Burmese, and possibly somewhere during that fight they might have found a loophole. Khun Sa comes from the same type of Yunanese Chinese. He is a Shan that lived there in Shan state for hundreds of years, his family. But the border is just an accident of British imperialism. You've got the same people on both sides of the border, and they are ethnic Chinese, and he thinks and behaves like Lo Hsing Han. Quite practical. Well, if there's no way out, bang, I'll take it.
  What he betrayed, of course, was the thousands of young men who joined his army and got paid very little for it, and who fought for him all those years, and thousands who got killed as well. And that's what many Shan people cannot forgive him for.

Q:  How have the Shan people been affected over the decades?
Cowell:  The great tragedy of Burma and Shan state is the misery of those people. And the misery of those people comes from the fact that when they were given democracy and a constitution, it didn't look as though it was working, and the military grabbed power. And all of this is a direct descent from colonialism. I mean, you put a country in a political vacuum for a hundred years, and you tear away that vacuum, and then say, "Alright boys, be good boys and go off and be democratically constitutional." They just don't have any experience of it. And it kept collapsing, which gave the military a chance to come in. And as a result there has been ceaseless warfare ever since.
  And somehow that needs a solution. At one period it looked as though Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Buma's pro-democracy movement and a Nobel laureate, could be a solution. Whether she really can - I'm not doubting her good intentions - but whether she can bring that country together, which actually wasn't a country. I mean, most of those areas were not part of Burma when the British went in. It's just an accident the British conquered Burma and made treaties with all these tribal people. And they tried to lump them together. And they spent 40 years fighting.
  So that there you have an enormous political mistake, and an enormous human rights tragedy as a result. And the numbers of people who are dying every year from rape, torture, massacre, forced movement of villages,...porters driven through minefields....[T]here are constant Amnesty and Asia Watch reports on it....

Q:  What's the lesson in all of this saga for the United States, the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency?
Cowell:  What we as journalists were trying to do was to try and expose to foreign view the reality of the situation. You're not going to go anywhere if you pretend that a situation is different than it really is. And the thing about Shan state, because the Burmese have stopped anyone going there, is it's an unknown area. And just like the Amazon where I'm working, because it's unknown, someone can create a myth or a dream like Eldorado or the Lost Cities of Atlantis.
  For a while U.S. policy created the dream that it was possible to solve the drug problem in Burma, to cut off 60% of the U.S.'s heroin, by enforcement methods. Helicopters, police attacks, etc. I think all that we are doing is exposing the reality, actually that it has not worked. And if it has not worked, then you need to think about it, and think well, what will work. But that hasn't worked. And there's no point in going on saying that that's a solution if 30 years have proved it hasn't worked.
  When Peter Bourne rejected the idea of dealing with the people who grow the opium and trying to help them replace the crop, and decided it'd be more effective to give planes, helicopters, enforcement method, the crop was about 250 tons a year. Then at the beginning of the nineties. It was 2,500 tons a year. I think last year it went up 10%. From what I'm hearing, this year it's up again another percentage. It's going on and on and on and going up. And it's an illusion to think that enforcement is a way of solving it.




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