AND GIULIANI OPEN NATIONAL
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, joined by DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and ONDCP Director John Walters launched a new national exhibit about the connection between the drug trade and terrorism, "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists and You" for the media and invited guests on September 3, 2002, at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, VA, with the exhibition opening to the general public on September 10th.
"DEA's Target America is the first exhibit that makes the connection between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism, leaving no doubt that drug abuse can not be viewed as a victimless crime. Before terrorism hit home on September 11, few Americans realized the connection, and fewer still understood that drug money has been used to fund terrorism. We are confident that no one will leave 'Target America' without a greater understanding of the linkage and the knowledge that they can make a difference," said Administrator Hutchinson.
President George W. Bush has said, "It's so important for Americans to know that the traffic in drugs finances the works of terror, sustaining terrorists terrorists use drug profits to fund their cells to commit acts of murder."
Opening with a sculpture composed of rubble and artifacts from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the exhibit uses the events of September 11th as a starting point for the historic story of the connection between the violent drug trade and terror from the Silk Road to the present.
The simultaneous attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, brought home the reality of terrorism. Terrorism, however, is not a new phenomenon. What is new is that fewer nation-states are willing to fund acts of terrorism. Terrorist organizations are turning to alternative methods of funding for their activities. One lucrative revenue source is the sale of illegal drugs.
Drug traffickers and their organizations are also increasingly using terrorist acts to sustain their activities. As profits from the sale of illegal drugs have increased over the years, drug traffickers are using more drastic means to secure their fortunes and keep law enforcement at arms' length. These organizations are located as far away as Afghanistan and as close as Colombia, but all use violence to achieve their goals.
"September 11 is a date that serves as America's wake up call to the threat of international terrorism. Using drugs is not just a personal decision. The terrorist threat comes not just from the Taliban and al-Qaida, but also from the money Americans themselves pay for illegal drugs that helps fund international terrorism," said Mr. Giuliani.
The new exhibit explores this complex relationship, which is divided into six sections:
1. September 11, 2001: A sculpture made of rubble, artifacts and photographs from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are a striking beginning as the visitor examines the relationship between illegal drug trafficking and terrorism: Artifacts and photographs from Afghanistan outline the connections that al-Qaida and the Taliban have had to drug trafficking.
2. Drug Production, Trafficking and Money Laundering: Interactive map kiosks permit visitors to follow the trafficking of drugs, the movement of money and the use of terrorism worldwide.
3. Impact on the U.S. and the World: A photo essay illustrates the impact of drugs and terrorism on both the U.S. and the world.
4. Who is a Narco-Terrorist?: Asking a seemingly simple question, this section examines the individuals and groups responsible for terrorist acts and their role in their communities.
5. Responding to Drugs and Terrorism: This area examines America's response to drugs and terrorism on a personal, law enforcement, military, and political level.
6. Getting Involved: Presenting visitors with information on getting active with an anti-drug message in their communities allows citizens to deny funding to terrorists.
This new exhibit is housed in a new 1,500 square foot addition to the DEA Museum and Visitor's Center, located at 700 Army Navy Drive in Arlington, Virginia. The Museum and the "Target America" exhibit will be open from 10 AM - 4 PM, Tuesday through Friday beginning on September 10, 2002, and will run through April 1, 2003. Target America will then begin a nationwide tour. Current plans include stops in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Los Angeles.
More information on the DEA Museum and "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists and You" can be found at the DEA Museum's website: www.deamuseum.org.