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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08BRUSSELS962
2008-06-25 12:58:00
CONFIDENTIAL
USEU Brussels
Cable title:  

DIRECTOR WALTERS DISCUSSES DRUG FLOWS AND

Tags:   OVIP  KCRM  PREL  SNAR  PTER  EUM  BE  CO  MX 
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VZCZCXRO2789
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
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INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
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RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ PRIORITY
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 10 BRUSSELS 000962 

SIPDIS

DIR ONDCP FOR DIRECTOR, OSR, ODR
STATE FOR INL/FO, INL/PC, EUR/ERA, L/LEI;
JUSTICE FOR CRIMINAL DIVISION, OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS;
DEA HQS FOR OG, OGE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/2016
TAGS: OVIP KCRM PREL SNAR PTER EUM BE CO MX
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR WALTERS DISCUSSES DRUG FLOWS AND
CHALLENGES WITH EU COUNTERPARTS

REF: A. USEU BRUSSELS 0494 (NOTAL)

B. DIR ONDCP TELEGRAM DTG 242042Z MAR 08

Classified By: INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
AFFAIRS (INL) COUNSELOR JAMES P. MCANULTY FOR REASONS
1.4 (B) AND (D)

-------
SUMMARY
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 10 BRUSSELS 000962

SIPDIS

DIR ONDCP FOR DIRECTOR, OSR, ODR
STATE FOR INL/FO, INL/PC, EUR/ERA, L/LEI;
JUSTICE FOR CRIMINAL DIVISION, OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL
AFFAIRS;
DEA HQS FOR OG, OGE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/25/2016
TAGS: OVIP KCRM PREL SNAR PTER EUM BE CO MX
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR WALTERS DISCUSSES DRUG FLOWS AND
CHALLENGES WITH EU COUNTERPARTS

REF: A. USEU BRUSSELS 0494 (NOTAL)

B. DIR ONDCP TELEGRAM DTG 242042Z MAR 08

Classified By: INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
AFFAIRS (INL) COUNSELOR JAMES P. MCANULTY FOR REASONS
1.4 (B) AND (D)

--------------
SUMMARY
--------------


1. (C) During his recent visit to Brussels, the Director of
the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
(ONDCP), John Walters, discussed a wide range of drug issues
with European Union (EU) counterparts and media. He briefed
EU officials and journalists on U.S. domestic counter-drug
efforts including significant reductions in drug use within
the United States. The Director emphasized the need to focus
more effectively on drug flows from Latin America and
Afghanistan. He challenged EU officials to press Venezuela's
President to work more forcefully against the flow of cocaine
to Europe. A major unsolved mystery involves the destination
of opium products and drug proceeds from Afghanistan, as
heroin consumption has not yet registered notable increases
in Europe. Some interlocutors speculated that such drugs
remained in neighboring countries of Afghanistan but could
not offer more precise answers. END SUMMARY.

--------------
PROGRESS IN REDUCING U.S. DRUG CONSUMPTION
--------------


2. (C) ONDCP Director, accompanied by the U.S. Special Envoy
to the European Union, Acting ONDCP Deputy Director for
Supply Reduction Patrick Ward, ONDCP Associate Director of
Public Affairs Thomas Riley, ONDCP Press Officer Jennifer
de-Vallance and Mission International Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs (INL) Counselor, met with EU
Counter-Terrorism Coordinator (CTC) Gilles de Kerchove and
Council Secretariat Deputy Director General (DDG) for Justice

and Home Affairs (JHA) Rafael Fernandez-Pita y Gonzalez.
Director Walters reported positive news on domestic
consumption of cocaine. Authorities in various cities have
reported shortages in the supply of cocaine, increases in
prices, and decreases in purity. Officials at the Southwest
border have reported fewer seizures in recent months. Since
March, work force drug testing involving millions of
employees has shown a drop of 20 percent in cocaine use.
Improved interdiction along maritime routes and courageous
efforts by the Calderon Administration in Mexico and the
Uribe Administration in Colombia have appeared to reduce the
flow of cocaine into the United States. Drug traffickers
almost certainly are reconstituting their efforts and could
be re-directing their trade towards other destinations,
including Europe. De Kerchove noted that his son, who was
studying in Monterey, Mexico, had reported frequent instances
of drug-related violence. Walters indicated that
counter-drug efforts had elicited violent attacks by
traffickers against each other and against Mexican law
enforcement personnel.

--------------
VENEZUELA'S UNHELPFUL ROLE
--------------


3. (C) Director Walters, who had just visited the Maritime
Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC) and the European
Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in
Lisbon, inquired whether EU officials had observed an
increase in cocaine flow to Europe. He understood that Spain
and Portugal had become major entry points for cocaine
flowing from South America through West Africa into Europe.
The drug flow has also produced a destabilizing effect in
countries in West Africa. CTC de Kerchove noted that an EU
Security Sector Reform Mission (SSRM) would soon begin in
Guinea-Bissau. Walters welcomed this news, noting that the

BRUSSELS 00000962 002 OF 010


international community needed to help nations build
effective criminal justice systems that could not only arrest
but also effectively prosecute drug traffickers. Drug
corruption has affected many of these transit countries. CTC
de Kerchove noted that the Portuguese have shown keen
interest in Africa, particularly during their recent Council
Presidency from July to December 2007. Their top priorities
included increasing EU assistance to third countries,
particularly in the Sahel, and fighting drug trafficking in
West Africa. Walters expressed concern over the flow of
cocaine from western Colombia through Venezuela to Africa and
Europe, with smugglers using a variety of air and maritime
routes. Colombia's leaders have made tremendous progress in
demobilizing or apprehending paramilitary leaders and their
forces (including the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia
-- AUC) and in countering the activities of the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He noted media reports
indicating that the Venezuelan military had transported
wounded FARC members to medical facilities in Venezuela.
Colombian military forces recently seized electronic media
from killed FARC leader Reyes, which further confirmed
Venezuelan assistance to the FARC. DDG Fernandez-Pita
remarked that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had attempted
to discredit the seized information.


4. (C) CTC de Kerchove noted that EU officials, including
High Representative Javier Solana (de Kerchove's boss), had
met recently with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and would
not be deceived by President Chavez's claims. Walters noted
that FARC members, while initially portraying themselves as
"freedom fighters," had become increasingly involved in drug
trafficking and kidnappings. The FARC, however, has fallen
on hard times, with an average ten or more members deserting
each day and food and other supplies dwindling dramatically.
A bodyguard even killed a senior FARC leader because this
leader refused to allow members to surrender. Walters
expressed concern over the destabilizing impact of the drug
trade on West African governments and institutions. The U.S.
Government would like to keep up pressure on the source
countries. He commended the work of the recently established
MAOC, which has worked closely with U.S. officials from Joint
Interagency Task Force - South (JIATF - South) based in Key
West, Florida. Walters explained the critical importance of
using intelligence to direct drug interdiction operations.
Areas of operation have proven too large to patrol randomly
with scarce assets. Therefore, use of intelligence,
particularly from human sources such as port watchers, has
become a key factor in daily interdiction successes. Use of
JIATF-South information about the transit zone between Latin
America, Africa, and Europe can help MAOC officials in
planning deployments of maritime assets. Exploitation of
information from drug seizures in the European arrival zones
would be of interest to U.S. officials as well. For
example, the U.S. has learned during the past seven to eight
years the tremendous utility of pressuring arrested ship
crews to provide information in return for more lenient
sentences. Such intelligence also allows U.S. authorities
to use their interdiction assets more effectively.

--------------
DRUG-TERRORISM LINKS
--------------


5. (C) Walters indicated that drug trafficking and terrorist
financing remained closely linked in Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, as an alliance we have been slow to see this
important relationship. CTC de Kerchove indicated that the
EU wanted to be tough on drugs. Security appears to be the
key factor in determining where drug production occurs in
Afghanistan. Walters noted the ongoing debate as to whether
addressing drug cultivation represented a threat or a
complement to promoting security. In turn, CTC de Kerchove
noted some divergence on how to proceed. Nonetheless, EU
policy makers have wondered why Afghan farmers have not
turned to alternative development. They are concerned that
forced eradication could push farmers toward joining the

BRUSSELS 00000962 003 OF 010


insurgency and al Qaeda. Providing security appears to be
the key. A second factor involves corruption. DDG
Fernandez-Pita mentioned that the EU has expended 452 million
euros for fighting drug trafficking, with such funding
distributed among 57 different projects.

--------------
WHERE HAS ALL THE HEROIN GONE?
--------------


6. (C) Walters conveyed a slightly different perspective of
the drug situation in Afghanistan. He reported that drug
trafficking had infiltrated all sectors of Afghan society,
providing up to one-third of the country's gross domestic
product (GDP). Policy makers initially focused on
influencing the planting decisions of farmers, but in many
cases the farmers did not make these decisions. Instead, the
wealthy land owners and warlords told them what to plant.
Dealing with corruption is even more complicated, given that
drug cultivation at one point was declared to be legal many
years earlier. Virtually every family has members who
formerly cultivated drug crops. Now, the northern provinces
are virtually free of opium fields, with drug cultivation
concentrated in the less secure provinces in the south.
Nonetheless, traffickers continue to "tax" drug smuggling
routes and activities throughout the country. Subsistence
farmers cannot be taxed as they have no excess resources.
The only "money-making" business in Afghanistan is drug
trafficking and this could influence upcoming electoral
campaigns. Drug production has doubled in recent years, but
U.S. analysts cannot account for the destination of this
increased output or the related drug proceeds. Health data
is often a lagging indicator, however, in showing the impact
of supply on drug consumption. Some production may be going
to Russia, India, or Iran, but the actual destinations remain
a mystery. Walters wondered whether the drug proceeds
remained in areas under Taliban control as part of taxation
and protection payments. For hundreds of years, Helmand
Province had served as the bread basket for Afghanistan.
Now, farmers have turned from cultivation of wheat to growing
opium. Alternative livelihoods alone will not provide the
answers. Instead, security plays a role in allowing farmers
to choose what they plant. In the south, unfortunately,
opium cultivation has become the enemy's "program for
alternative development."

--------------
QUESTIONS PERSIST ON DRUG MONEY FLOWS
--------------


7. (C) CTC de Kerchove inquired whether the U.S. knew much
about drug money flows in Afghanistan. Walters responded
that U.S. and Afghan officials had gathered information
regarding individual cases, but many questions remained
unanswered regarding overall trends. Even in regions closer
to the States, U.S. analysts have suffered from gaps in
information on drug money flows. For example, the U.S.
cannot account for some 800 million dollars in drug money
flowing into Mexico from the U.S. each month. Traffickers
seem particularly effective at protecting their money. CTC
de Kerchove acknowledged that the EU lacked effective
legislation to freeze the assets of drug traffickers, even
though it had enacted sophisticated legislation recommended
by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in other areas.
Walters suggested using the same approach used by the Office
of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) to designate major
trafficking organizations and then using regulatory authority
to go after their assets. He suggested making the entire
financing and banking system one's ally. For example, OFAC
effectively targeted the Rodriguez brothers in Colombia so
that their families could not use any part of the U.S.
banking system to purchase needed services. Ultimately, the
brothers gave in to pressure after gaining agreement to lift
the sanctions against other family members less directly
involved in the trade.


BRUSSELS 00000962 004 OF 010


-------------- -
POTENTIAL ROLES OF ERADICATION AND EXTRADITION
-------------- -


8. (C) CTC de Kerchove inquired about the role of aerial
fumigation in Afghanistan. Director Walters said the U.S.
has not pressed this issue, given strong resistance from
President Karzai and lack of unity on this option within the
international community. That said, he noted the importance
of integrating counter-narcotics activities into the rest of
police missions in Afghanistan to try to dissuade powerful
individuals from continuing their involvement in the drug
trade. CTC de Kerchove said he had checked with European
Judicial Coordination Office (EUROJUST) colleagues about the
possibility of pursuing extradition requests against major
traffickers. The main obstacle, he understood, involved lack
of evidence linking major Afghan traffickers to drug
shipments arriving in Europe. He promised to follow up on
this issue again at EUROJUST. Director Walters reported that
eradication forces would be withdrawn shortly from Helmand
Province because of the numerous casualties they had
suffered. Again, security has played an important role. CTC
de Kerchove inquired whether NATO would provide security for
such missions. INL Counselor noted his understanding that
the NATO Operations Plan permitted indirect support of
counter-drug missions but not direct engagement.


9. (C) Director Walters said aerial eradication could serve
as a useful tool in targeting the fields of wealthy farmers
in Helmand without unduly risking the lives of personnel
involved in manual eradication on the ground. CTC de
Kerchove inquired about the safety of the herbicides used in
such programs. Walters said the issue had been studied
exhaustively over the years. Glyphosate, the chemical
typically used in aerial eradication, is widely used by
farmers and consumers in the U.S. and Europe and has the
advantage of adhering to plants to which it was applied.
Moreover, traffickers use chemicals, including pesticides, in
even higher concentrations in their cultivation process.
They simply make false allegations about glyphosate to thwart
aerial eradication programs. In Colombia, President Uribe
authorized widespread use of aerial spraying, particularly in
areas controlled by the FARC. While not the full answer to
drug cultivation, such a strategy proved useful against drug
crops in remote, contested areas. Director Walters noted
that a key factor in Afghanistan would be to introduce an
element of risk for traffickers "in a smart way." Otherwise,
corruption would destroy every institution there.

--------------
DRUG FLOWS INTO EUROPE
--------------


10. (C) DDG Fernandez-Pita then provided an overview of drug
flows into Europe. He expressed concern over the flow of
heroin through the Balkans and from Turkey via three routes
(northern, central, and southern) into Europe. Both Albania
and Bosnia and Herzegovina constitute the major sources of
marijuana for the European market. The flow of cocaine has
increased dramatically to Europe both via the Balkans and
from Colombia and Venezuela via maritime routes and through
Africa. CTC de Kerchove added that Spaniards suffered from
the highest consumption of cocaine.


11. (C) ONDCP Director Walters, accompanied by ONDCP Acting
Deputy Director for Supply Reduction, ONDCP Associate
Director of Public Affairs, ONDCP Press Secretary, Mission
INL Counselor, and Mission Drug Enforcement Administration
(DEA) Assistant Regional Director (ARD), also met with Andrej
Groselj of the Slovenian Presidency, Head of Unit Carel
Edwards of the Commission's Drug Coordination Office, Head of
Unit Johannes Vos of the Council Secretariat's Justice and
Home Affairs (JHA) Directorate, Principal Administrator
Wouter van de Rijt of the Council Secretariat's JHA External
Relations Office, Administrator Suzanne Stauffer of the
Commission's Taxation and Customs Unit, Intern Nicholas

BRUSSELS 00000962 005.2 OF 010


Edwards of the Commission, and other EU officials. As he did
during his meeting with CTC de Kerchove, Director Walters
described significant progress in reducing drug consumption
in the United States and major interdiction successes in the
transit zones. He asked whether EU officials had observed
any changes in drug flows to Europe and consumption rates.
The U.S. aim is to make the drug problem a smaller one
worldwide and not simply move it to other regions, such as
Europe. He reviewed the drug situation in Afghanistan,
noting the need for a balanced strategy to build stability
there. Authorities must introduce an element of risk in a
measurable and responsible way to dissuade drug traffickers
and cultivators from engaging in such activities. Drug
trafficking has reached unprecedented proportions of the
nation's GDP and remains the one major source of money that,
in turn, could be used to corrupt the political system. The
flow of cocaine through West Africa to Europe also presents a
serious concern, with drug money undermining institutions in
underdeveloped transit-zone countries.


12. (C) The Slovenian Representative confirmed EU interest in
all these issues. Closing borders completely would be
impossible to do. Therefore, the U.S. and EU must work
closely to counter the sources of drugs in third nations.
Slovenia, as a country along the route from the Baltic
nations, remains particularly interested. Representatives of
the European Police Office (EUROPOL), European Judicial
Coordination Office (EUROJUST), and the European External
Borders Management Agency (FRONTEX) discussed border issues
at a conference in Slovenia in March. EU Member States are
interested in what happens along drug routes as well as the
nexus between drug production and terrorism. Such links are
obvious in places like Colombia and Afghanistan but less so
in other locations. Director Walters agreed that the
international community needed to look at the entire range of
vulnerabilities for drug activities. Although the U.S. has
not yet reached its objective of interdicting 40 percent of
the drug flow, interdiction efforts have become more
effective in seizing large shipments of drugs and proceeds
along transit routes and using intelligence to direct
interdiction operations. The Slovenian representative agreed
on the need for sharing information to attack criminal
activities. He praised the role of the Southeast European
Coordination Initiative (SECI) Center in enhancing
information sharing in the Balkans. He expressed hope that
countries could apply the same model for sharing information
in North Africa to counter terrorism, organized crime, and
drug trafficking activities.


13. (C) While Head of Unit Edwards expressed agreement with
the Director's point regarding the desire to avoid
disproportionate impact of eradication on poor farmers in
Afghanistan, he added that the EU also viewed eradication as
"problematical." He noted that, for the 2006 to 2010 time
frame, the EU has allocated 610 million euros in projects in
Afghanistan, mostly involving alternative development to
encourage farmers to cultivate licit crops. Some of this
funding also goes into a fund for paying police salaries,
although he acknowledged some difficulties in channeling the
money to intended recipients. Corruption seems more
pervasive in Afghan society than many had originally
anticipated. He recalled the admonition of United Nations
Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Director Antonio Costa that
the international community had helped build a 600-bed prison
and it now was up to Afghan authorities to fill it.
Otherwise, governments risked "pouring money into the sand."
On West Africa, Edwards acknowledged the need to bolster
basic police services and infrastructure. Otherwise, the
international community could expect little in the way of
counter-drug cooperation, including handling of controlled
deliveries. The EU would continue to build MAOC's
capacities, including linkages to EUROPOL. Russia, which
suffers from serious heroin abuse, nevertheless is
cooperating with EUROPOL, and this cooperation has started to
produce results. The EU advocates a balanced approach
involving both treatment and law enforcement. Officials are

BRUSSELS 00000962 006 OF 010


studying how illicit drug markets function to determine the
relative impact of supply and demand, including the role of
"supply-led" markets that encourage consumption via broad
availability of inexpensive illicit drugs. A wide range of
drug policies and cultures exists among the 27 Member States,
but most provide public health care, usually free, for drug
users. The EU has attempted to reduce the harm caused by
drugs, for example, by decriminalizing substance abuse to
encourage more users to seek treatment,


14. (U) Director Walters remarked that the more one delved
into drug markets, the more one discovered that they really
functioned quite differently than earlier imagined. The U.S.
had also worked to expand drug treatment tremendously,
expending billions of dollars to attempt to close the gap
between private and public health care systems and between
supply and demand for drug treatment services. Nonetheless,
the fundamental challenge does not involve building treatment
programs, but recognizing drug abuse as a disease. Drug use
produces fundamental changes in the functioning of the brain,
with drug users, who like alcoholics, often engage in denial
and react angrily to efforts by families and friends to
encourage treatment. Walters advocated collective
responsibility to overcome such problems. The U.S. has now
established over 2,000 drug courts with the power to direct
court-supervised treatment. Debunking the "cartoon"
stereotype of the U.S. focusing exclusively on incarceration
as a response to drug use, the U.S. Government has, in fact,
applied considerable resources on demand reduction and drug
treatment, and, as a result of earlier intervention, overall
drug use has dropped significantly in the U.S. Making drug
screening a regular part of visits by patients to doctors and
emergency rooms has helped considerably in identifying those
at risk of becoming abusers. Additionally, extensive
outreach programs, including confidential drug testing in
4,000 school districts, without the threat of punitive
measures, has permitted treatment at early stages. The
influence of peers plays a critical role in fomenting drug
use among adolescents and pre-adolescents. Drug testing has
helped to counter this disease in which young people have
encouraged each other to become "sick." He warned that the
greatest hurdle to successful drug programs came from public
cynicism that drug prevention and treatment would not work.


15. (C) As he had done earlier with CTC de Kerchove, Director
Walters provided an overview of the drug situation in
Afghanistan. The international community must establish not
only a program of benefits and risks but also one that
produces greater security throughout the country. In theory,
Afghanistan should benefit considerably from high levels of
foreign assistance, but, in the south, "the guys with the
guns control the night" and therefore determine what farmers
grow. Administrator Stauffer noted the importance of
controlling precursor and processing chemicals as part of
efforts to decrease the supply of drugs. EU officials have
cooperated closely with the U.S. and other international
partners in controlling the flow of acetic anhydride into
Afghanistan under "Project Cohesion." Whenever possible,
officials are attempting to fill in intelligence gaps on the
flows of this chemical. Elsewhere, EU officials have
cooperated on initiatives designed to control the diversion
of precursor chemicals associated with the production of
methamphetamine, including under Projects "Prism" and
"Crystal Flow." She pointed to the record seizure of 207
million dollars in proceeds in Mexico City stemming from a
trafficker involved in importing and diverting precursor
chemicals for methamphetamine.


16. (C) Walters agreed on the importance of chemicals
control. In this area, the U.S. and other countries have
achieved much greater results than previously expected.
Methamphetamine production had become a huge problem in the
States because of the ability of individuals to download the
recipe from the Internet and produce this drug in their homes
from widely available ingredients. Authorities cracked down
on over-the-counter sales of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine

BRUSSELS 00000962 007 OF 010


and helped to curb such production, which then moved to
Mexico. The Mexican Government has taken aggressive actions,
reducing significantly the licit imports of pseudoephedrine
and ephedrine and has instituted an outright ban of such
imports for 2008.


17. (C) Walters noted that he had just visited the European
Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in
Lisbon. EMMDCA officials said they had not yet detected any
indicators of major increases in cocaine abuse in Europe, but
remarked that indicators, particularly those based on health
reporting, could lag by one to two years. Changes will not
be detected overnight. He inquired as to efforts that EU
nations have taken to develop more speedy indicators, perhaps
including an experimental project to measure traces of drugs
in community water supplies. Walters said that the amounts
of drugs consumed by addicts "dwarfed" those of casual users.
In many instances, addicts have built up such high
tolerances that they regularly consume "staggering" amounts
that would otherwise kill first-time users. He once more
sought opinions on where all the excess production of opiates
and heroin from Afghanistan had gone -- along with the
associated drug proceeds. Head of Unit Edwards acknowledged
that colleagues had not developed satisfactory explanations.
He expressed doubt over the theory offered by UNODC Executive
Director Costa -- stockpiling in the region. One difficulty
is that the economics associated with these drugs do not
follow those patterns of most commodities. Instead, EU
analysts have seen an increase in prices, rather than the
decreases expected to result from increased supplies. To
date, the percentage of heroin from Afghanistan in the
European market has dropped from 14 percent to seven percent.
Edwards called for clearer analyses, including perhaps from
independent experts.

--------------
PROGRESS IN COLOMBIA AND MEXICO
--------------


18. (C) In response to a question from Head of Unit Vos about
Colombia, Walters observed that Colombia represented a
"remarkable" success. The Colombian Government has
established a presence in 1,100 municipalities and the
economy has grown strongly in recent years, with
entrepreneurs choosing to re-invest in the country. To date,
Colombia has extradited over 600 drug traffickers to the
U.S., thereby reducing the ability of traffickers to corrupt
the local court system. The justice system has changed from
an inquisitorial one to a more efficient accusatory system
open to public scrutiny. Authorities have reduced violence
against unions and have "damaged" the drug trade
considerably. Instead of targeting the FARC from the "top
down," as originally envisioned, the Colombian Government has
worked systematically to target the organization's resources.
Currently, FARC desertions average 10 to 20 members each
day. Drug trafficking corrupts everyone, including guerrilla
leaders, and the FARC is no exception, changing more into a
drug trafficking organization than a guerrilla movement.
President Uribe has stood up institutions around the country
and enjoys job approval ratings of 70 to 80 percent. He
approved use of glyphosate for aerial eradication in
contested areas on a scale not seen previously. As a result,
authorities eradicated 200,000 hectares of coca (some areas
multiple times) from an estimated 130,000 to 140,000 hectares
under cultivation in the past year.


19. (C) Similarly, Walters commended the Mexican Government
for beginning to extradite major drug traffickers to the
States, including various kingpins in early 2007. He
suggested that EU officials consider seeking the extradition
of Afghan drug traffickers as a way to help Afghanistan deal
with its challenges. He also noted Administration efforts to
gain Congressional approval of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in
funding over three years for counter-drug and security
projects in Mexico and Central America. Projects would focus
on institution-building and enhancing airlift capacity for

BRUSSELS 00000962 008 OF 010


moving police forces around Mexico.


--------------
VENEZUELA NEEDS TO DO MORE IN FIGHTING DRUGS
--------------


20. (C) Vos inquired about the Director's views on Iranian
counter-drug efforts. Walters remarked that the U.S. had
little visibility on any changes, saying that Iran and
Venezuela, despite efforts to forge closer ties, had failed
to enhance counter-drug cooperation because of political
differences. He noted that the U.S. even enjoyed better
counter-drug cooperation with Cuba than with Venezuela,
because Cuba has recognized the threat posed by drugs to its
society. In contrast, Venezuelan President Chavez has proven
"willful" in his support of the FARC and has permitted use of
his country's border regions to facilitate the flow of drugs.
A Venezuelan official boasted recently of bombing 157
clandestine airstrips. This would be positive news, if the
actions actually produced results. However, the Venezuelans
seized no cocaine during such missions. The drug fight
involves people and not inanimate objects. Airport personnel
allegedly permit use of their facilities for drug shipments.
Cooperation with the DEA broke off after joint investigations
exposed official corruption in Venezuela. Nonetheless, the
U.S. remains open to working with President Chavez on
counter-drug activities. Because some EU Member States
likely enjoyed better relations with Venezuela, he urged EU
colleagues to try to convince President Chavez to move
against drug trafficking. Current inaction is not good for
Venezuela, not good for Africa, and not good for Europe.

--------------
EU ASSISTANCE TO BOLIVIA
--------------


21. (C) Walters expressed appreciation for EU assistance in
helping Bolivia to calculate the extent of legitimate need
for coca leaf. He heard about Bolivian Government efforts to
"adjust" the terms of reference more broadly to promote their
political aims. Citing INL Counselor's recent discussions
with Commission colleagues about U.S. concerns over
implementation of the coca study in Bolivia, he encouraged EU
officials to continue to "push back" unhelpful Bolivian
efforts. The international community can tolerate coca leaf
production for legitimate uses, but excess capacity must be
destroyed.

--------------
"HARM" REDUCTION
--------------


22. (C) Director Walters noted that U.S. and EU views
coincided considerably on drug supply issues, but more often
differed on demand side issues. Everyone wants to reduce the
"harm" caused by drug use. U.S. officials have tried to
advance scientific understanding of drug abuse as a
"disease." Advocates of needle exchanges seek to reduce
transmission of blood-borne illnesses, but such efforts often
become an alternative to drug treatment and build on public
cynicism that exchanging needles is the best that we can do
for some drug users. The U.S. does not want to give up on
drug users. Getting users to quit intravenous drug use is
the best prevention. Addicts often engage in other
inherently unhealthy activities, such as prostitution, to
support their habits. Authorities must encourage screening
and build such measures into their health care system.
Initially, some opposed screening, but without screening,
authorities cannot obtain accurate data on the extent of the
drug problem, especially when part of the drug addict's
problem involves denial.


23. (C) Head of Unit Edwards pointed to EU efforts at the
March session of the Commission on Narcotics Drugs to gain
approval of the resolution on screening. He admitted that

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some skepticism remains regarding this idea. Doctors already
conduct screening, but methodological indicators are missing.
Walters said screening helps to peel away some of the lack
of information regarding drug use. Screening identifies
persons who need counseling and treatment, even if outward
appearances seem otherwise. Yet, persistent drug use causes
chemical imbalances in the brain over time. The prevalent
view in the U.S. is that users often "hit bottom" before
seeking treatment. Screening permits referrals to drug
treatment at earlier stages. Ultimately, users seek
treatment because they are compelled -- whether by the
insistence of relatives or by direction of the courts.


-------------- .
MEDIA OUTREACH
--------------


24. (U) During his visit, Director Walters conducted
interviews at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
studios and participated in a media roundtable at the Mission
with journalists. He provided a detailed overview of U.S.
domestic efforts against drugs, including successes in
reducing demand for drugs. Cocaine use and availability have
dropped significantly. Workplace testing shows a decline of
20 percent in cocaine use alone. He also provided
comprehensive information on drug developments around the
globe. He raised U.S. concerns with Venezuela's troublesome
role in international drug trafficking. He expressed
disappointment over the decision by the U.S. Congress to
avoid a vote on the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, which
has shown great strides in fighting drugs and in
strengthening human rights. In Afghanistan, growth in drug
cultivation in the south has produced a net increase in
overall cultivation, and violence has hampered efforts to
enhance law enforcement capabilities and economic
development. No other nation has faced the same extent of
drug problems, poverty, and terrorism. Director Walters
expressed appreciation for international commitment of
resources, training, and financial development to address
these challenges in Afghanistan, but much more needs to be
done. Director Walters than responded to numerous questions
from the journalists.

--------------
DEA BRIEFING ON DRUG TRENDS AND ATTITUDES
--------------


25. (C) Mission DEA Assistant Regional Director (ARD) and
Embassy Country Attache (provided briefings on the drug flows
to Europe and European attitudes towards the drug threat.
Mission ARD noted that his office has responsibility for much
of Europe and Africa encompassing six regions and 63
personnel. Embassy Attache said his office of three persons
covers activities in Belgium and Luxembourg. Substances of
primary interest involve heroin, cocaine, and precursors.
Director Walters, who had just visited Lisbon, noted
Portuguese concern over drug shipments from Africa, even
though seizures had actually declined during the past year.
He inquired about attitudes by other EU nations. Mission ARD
said Spain and Portugal have shown the most concern, but
other Europeans seem to be gaining more awareness of the drug
threat. INL Counselor said the Portuguese expressed serious
concern over the flow of drugs from Latin America through
Africa to Europe during their recent Council Presidency.
Similarly, the Slovenians have expressed concern over
criminal activities, including drug flows, from the Balkans.
Mission ARD noted that the vast majority of heroin from
Southwest Asia appears destined for Europe. Precursor
chemicals used in Afghanistan appear to originate mainly in
China and India. Fifty percent of the heroin seized in
Canada appears to be of Afghan origin, with ninety percent
going through Europe to Canada. DEA suggested possible use
of extraditions. Director Walters remarked that he believed
the British would not attempt extraditions. DEA concurred,
noting that they would encounter difficulty using

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intelligence from wiretaps as evidence in British courts.
Under the "African Frontier" pilot project, DEA scoured
records to identify several high-value drug informants in
Africa and will be working jointly with European counterparts.


26. (C) Embassy Attache estimated that 30 tons of heroin
entered the Benelux (Belgium, The Netherlands, and
Luxembourg) last year, with Belgian authorities seizing at
least four tons. Anecdotally, heroin consumption appears to
be worsening in Belgium, but criminal laws provide lenient
sentences for drug trafficking -- only two to four years in
prison, compared with 20 years in the States. ARD remarked
that EU Member States tend to treat drug use more as a health
problem than a law enforcement issue. Authorities are
attempting to investigate drug money flows. Considerable
"hawala" activity occurs in Antwerp, with police looking at
52 targets there alone. Antwerp's status as a major port and
center for the diamond trade make it an attractive location.
He heard that traffickers were exchanging heroin for
ecstasy.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------


27. (C) Director Walters' visit produced a valuable exchange
of views on counter-drug issues of interest to both the U.S.
and the EU. The Director engaged in productive discussions
with both EU counterparts and the media to increase awareness
of the serious drug threats confronting Europe, including the
flow of cocaine from Latin America and of heroin from
Afghanistan. He sought to dispel the widespread stereotype
of U.S. drug programs focusing exclusively on the
incarceration of drug users. A major mystery that both sides
have yet to answer effectively involves the destination of
opium products and drug proceeds from Afghanistan. END
COMMENT.


28. (U) ONDCP has cleared this telegram.

MURRAY
.