BANGKOK — In the fall of 2015, I witnessed a late-night kidnapping. The perpetrators weren’t seeking cash, gold or any kind of ransom. They didn’t bother to wear masks.
They belonged to a Baptist vigilante crew sworn to bring wrath upon drug users. Sure of their righteousness, the men let me tag along and observe their crimes: home invasions, assaults and the abduction of a gaunt day laborer with a speed habit.
We were in the Himalayan foothills of Myanmar, near the border with China, the heart of the world’s largest methamphetamine trade. It is here that drug lords continue to churn out one of the Southeast Asian underworld’s top-selling products: little candy-pink pills, packed with methamphetamine, that smell a lot like vanilla frosting.
The pills are becoming more popular in the region than heroin or even marijuana. Armed syndicates produce roughly two billion of these speed tablets a year — more than triple the number of coffees Starbucks sold worldwide in 2015. The rampancy of meth in Southeast Asia has convulsed the people and politics of the region, roiling it with social upheaval with maxed-out prisons, police killings and vigilantes.
The crisis is worsened by the United States.
Consider the rise of Pat Jasan, that vigilante collective in Myanmar’s upcountry. First assembled in 2014, it now claims to have thousands of adherents.
In the local language, Kachin, the group’s name refers to “cleansing” the land of drugs. The Kachin are an ethnic minority who were Christianized in the 19th century by American missionaries — and their leaders use church networks to orchestrate this underground resistance to the meth trade.
Pat Jasan is notorious for its motorbike cavalries, thundering through villages and hunting down drug users. This is what I saw when I joined them in Myitkyina, the country’s northernmost major outpost.
That rainy night, they stormed the farmhouse of a man on their list. More than two dozen men stampeded into his bedroom, yanking open drawers and ripping up floorboards. This search turned up a meth bong with that vanilla smell.
The home’s inhabitant — a sheepish man in a tattered sarong — was then hauled away. They brought him to a nearby house hidden on the grounds of a church. I winced as they flogged his back raw with bamboo rods and, to punish him further, forced his legs into medieval wooden stocks.
Pat Jasan’s leaders defend these tactics as ugly but necessary, a desperate clawing back at the meth scourge imperiling all of Asia. But after the raid, I wondered: Why did they allow me to witness their violence?
Repeatedly, vigilantes told me they hope to draw America’s gaze — to provoke the consciousness of that powerful Christian nation, which once gave them the word of God and might now lend its might to their holy crusade against drugs.
That may sound far-fetched. But these vigilantes have reason to view the United States as a partner.
America’s top allies in the region — Thailand and the Philippines — are both executing versions of our American-style war on drugs. These campaigns enjoy American funding, training and moral support, drawing only a tsk-tsk when they turn vicious.
In Thailand, officials have followed America’s example by erecting the region’s largest prison system. Around 70 percent of Thai inmates are locked up on drug charges, an overwhelming majority caught with meth pills. While embedded with the Thai police, I saw them drag random pedestrians or motorists off the street and test their urine for drugs. Thai prisons are now so jam-packed that inmates often sleep on crowded cement floors, some forced into spooning positions to save space.
It’s even scarier in the Philippines, where the police and death squads stalk the slums in search of meth smokers and low-level dealers. More than 12,000 have been killed in just a few years. President Rodrigo Duterte campaigned — and won — on promises to dump so many dealers’ bodies into the sea that the “fish will grow fat.”
Despite scattered rebukes from American lawmakers, the United States has funded and trained the police engaging in this bloodletting. Moreover, when these killings were in full swing in 2017, President Trump told Mr. Duterte to “keep up the good work — you’re doing an amazing job.”
Leaders around the region took notice. Violent crackdowns on meth users are now spreading to Bangladesh and Indonesia. The leaders don’t appear to fear American pushback — and why should they? Congress has continued doling out millions in “counternarcotics” funding to all three countries.
These are just the most blatant ways in which the American government is tangled up in Asia’s meth wars. Less obvious is the link between the region’s meth appetite and our society’s voracious consumerism.
In the United States, meth is portrayed as a tooth-rotting gutter drug. Yet in Southeast Asia, those pink pills are often taken not to party but to work harder. Each pill brings on a euphoric eight-hour blast, one that zaps boredom and can make repetitive labor pleasurable.
Stitching name-brand sneakers in a Vietnamese factory, hauling shrimp from Thai waters for export to American supermarkets — all of it becomes more tolerable on meth. This drudge work in Asia fills our pantries and closets. It underwrites middle-class lives in the West, supplying our homes with cheap food, cheap clothes and cheap gadgets.
So while many Americans become transfixed by opioids, a drug of despair and letting go, meth use in Southeast Asia often reflects reckless ambition — to work that double shift, hit that quota and squirrel away more cash, perhaps for your children’s education.
If the American government really wanted to help lift meth’s spell over Asia, it might divert more foreign aid toward rehab centers instead of dubious police personnel. Or we’d urge decriminalization-style policies designed to heal addicts instead of piling them up in cages.
But such thinking goes against an American crusade to propagate hard-line policies at home and abroad since the Nixon era. And though the Trump administration’s policy toward Southeast Asia is largely incoherent, the American drug war in the region keeps chugging along on autopilot, just as it has through a succession of presidents.
It was President Barack Obama who started funding Myanmar’s anti-narcotics agency. The agency operates under Myanmar’s armed forces, which are notorious for torturing dissidents and ethnic cleansing. This army also created and oversees militias that are major players in the behemoth meth business.
While one tentacle of Myanmar’s security apparatus traffics pink meth pills, another receives millions of American tax dollars to fight the spread of those very drugs.
In its most recent budget, Congress re-upped Myanmar’s annual anti-narcotics funding with a fresh million. This amount, while small, confers legitimacy that Myanmar badly craves, especially since some of the country’s top generals face accusations by the United Nations of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
If this is the best Washington can offer, then doing nothing would be better. We should stop funding, training and equipping anti-narcotics operations in Southeast Asia that increase incarceration and death.
Just a few days after that man was kidnapped in Myanmar, I returned to Pat Jasan’s command center to check on him. He was out of the stocks, up and about, nodding along to a lecture from the Baptists.
They ordered him to ritually burn his plastic meth bong on an altar. As it turned liquid in the flames, the man’s captors held his hand and prayed for his salvation.
Then they sent him back to his farmhouse with a sore back. The man never deserved to be kidnapped and tormented. But that punishment sure beats wasting years in a sweltering cell in Thailand or, worse yet, getting shot dead by cops in the Philippines.
Patrick Winn (@pwinn5), a correspondent in Thailand for “The World,” a Public Radio International program, is the author of “Hello, Shadowlands: Inside the Meth Fiefdoms, Rebel Hideouts and Bomb-Scarred Party Towns of Southeast Asia.”
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红色版八仙过海玄机图【光】【团】【已】【至】，【并】【没】【有】【想】【象】【中】【的】【惊】【心】【动】【魄】，【只】【是】【无】【声】【的】【扩】【撒】【开】【来】，【白】【色】【的】【柔】【波】【凝】【聚】【成】【一】【座】【一】【米】【高】【的】【宝】【塔】，【闪】【耀】【着】【圣】【洁】【的】【光】【辉】。 【借】【着】【神】【罚】【的】【反】【冲】【力】，【秦】【林】【的】【身】【形】【堪】【堪】【脱】【出】【宝】【塔】【的】【中】【心】，【紧】【挨】【着】【塔】【璧】。 “【嗡】” 【宝】【塔】【金】【光】【大】【作】，【发】【出】【令】【人】【眩】【晕】【的】【繁】【重】【声】，【塔】【顶】【的】【金】【光】【生】【出】【一】【条】【半】【透】【明】【金】【乌】，【带】【着】【霞】【光】【钻】【入】【了】【秦】【林】【的】【体】【内】
“【住】【手】！”【方】【澄】【和】【唐】【奕】【从】【手】【术】【室】【里】【出】【来】，【两】【人】【身】【上】【都】【带】【着】【伤】。 【确】【切】【的】【说】，【是】【脸】【上】【带】【着】【伤】…… “【你】【们】……”【莫】【言】【瞪】【大】【了】【眼】【睛】，【这】【不】【是】【去】【做】【手】【术】【了】【嘛】？【怎】【么】【感】【觉】【好】【像】【是】【在】【里】【面】【打】【了】【一】【架】。 “【莫】【溪】，【快】【让】【景】【七】【住】【手】。”【方】【澄】【捂】【着】【自】【己】【的】【嘴】【角】，【因】【为】【说】【话】【而】【扯】【痛】【了】【嘴】【角】，【疼】【的】【龇】【牙】【咧】【嘴】。 【叶】【睿】【挑】【挑】【眉】，“【你】【们】【到】
“【嗯】？【这】【片】【天】【空】……【怎】【么】【变】【了】？”【孤】【命】【峡】【灵】【地】【中】，【须】【陀】【山】【四】【将】【抬】【起】【头】【看】【向】【天】【空】，【原】【本】【充】【斥】【着】【白】【色】【光】【芒】【的】【天】【空】，【在】【缓】【缓】【的】【变】【成】【深】【蓝】【色】，【甚】【至】【能】【看】【到】【一】【朵】【朵】【白】【云】【的】【痕】【迹】。 【而】【整】【个】【灵】【地】【中】【的】【纯】【阳】【之】【气】，【在】【快】【速】【的】【消】【散】。【这】【片】【灵】【地】【仿】【佛】【变】【成】【了】【一】【个】【气】【球】，【现】【在】【有】【人】【给】【这】【个】【气】【球】【扎】【了】【一】【个】【洞】。 “【嗡】。”【在】【天】【空】【上】，【出】【现】【了】【一】红色版八仙过海玄机图【楚】【天】【穆】【此】【行】【就】【是】【明】【知】【山】【有】【虎】【偏】【向】【虎】【山】【行】，【他】【这】【么】【孤】【注】【一】【掷】，【为】【的】【就】【是】【心】【中】【的】【那】【点】【不】【甘】【和】【不】【愿】，【到】【头】【来】【却】【落】【得】【个】【独】【守】【皇】【陵】，【坐】【着】【等】【死】【的】【下】【场】。 【随】【着】【帝】【后】【大】【婚】【和】【楚】【天】【穆】【造】【反】【一】【事】【结】【束】，【最】【受】【京】【城】【人】【关】【注】【的】【还】【有】【骠】【骑】【大】【将】【军】【新】【郡】【主】【的】【婚】【事】，【而】【此】【事】【也】【很】【快】【就】【被】【提】【上】【了】【日】【程】。 【这】【二】【人】【的】【婚】【礼】【最】【终】【订】【在】【了】【七】【月】【初】【七】，【刚】【好】【是】
“【为】【啥】【是】【我】【去】？” “【因】【为】【你】【是】【我】【最】【可】【爱】、【最】【聪】【明】【的】【弟】【弟】【啊】。【还】【有】【娘】【亲】【也】【最】【疼】【你】。【再】【说】【皇】【祖】【母】【对】【你】【的】【话】【也】【能】【听】【进】【去】【几】【分】。” “【真】【的】？” “【真】【的】！” 【阿】【蛮】【说】【着】【解】【下】【腰】【里】【的】【一】【个】【荷】【包】， “【懒】【懒】，【这】【事】【儿】【你】【要】【是】【帮】【大】【哥】【办】【妥】【了】，【娘】【亲】【手】【做】【的】【这】【个】【荷】【包】【就】【归】【你】。” “【不】【要】，【父】【皇】【又】【得】【说】【我】【抢】【太】【子】【大】【哥】【的】【东】
【刘】【延】【自】【然】【不】【可】【能】【让】【守】【卫】【进】【去】【找】【信】，【毕】【竟】【这】【所】【谓】【的】【信】【件】【根】【本】【就】【不】【存】【在】。 “【这】【位】【伍】【长】，【不】【是】【兄】【弟】【不】【守】【规】【矩】，【只】【是】【将】【军】【说】【过】【这】【信】【除】【了】【我】【二】【人】，【绝】【不】【允】【许】【让】【其】【他】【人】【经】【手】，【所】【以】【恕】【小】【弟】【不】【能】【同】【意】【您】【的】【建】【议】。”【刘】【延】【挺】【直】【了】【脖】【颈】，【脸】【色】【淡】【然】【又】【坚】【决】，【若】【是】【单】【看】【他】【这】【副】【神】【情】，【恐】【怕】【大】【部】【分】【人】【都】【不】【会】【怀】【疑】【他】【有】【什】【么】【猫】【腻】。 “【那】【你】【可】
“【克】【洛】【迪】【雅】·【德】【芙】。”【白】【色】【巫】【师】【袍】【老】【头】【念】【到】。 【终】【于】【来】【了】，【卡】【尼】【坐】【正】【了】【身】【子】，【看】【着】【布】【斯】【巴】【顿】【魔】【法】【学】【院】【的】【美】【少】【女】【克】【洛】【迪】【雅】【从】【座】【位】【上】【走】【进】【中】【间】【的】【场】【地】。 【德】【芙】【是】【什】【么】【鬼】，【不】【是】【巧】【克】【力】【吗】，【卡】【尼】【内】【心】【吐】【槽】【道】。 【这】【才】【是】【她】【的】【全】【名】【吗】？【这】【样】【的】【话】【不】【是】【又】【可】【以】【多】【水】【两】【个】…【咳】【咳】【不】【是】，【这】【样】【的】【话】【就】【可】【以】【叫】【全】【名】【了】。 【布】【斯】【巴】【顿】
【牧】【云】【此】【刻】，【神】【色】【肃】【然】。 【两】【道】【身】【影】，【在】【虚】【空】，【打】【的】【天】【地】【崩】【开】，【规】【则】【散】【乱】。 【界】【圣】【境】【界】【的】【爆】【发】【力】，【本】【就】【不】【俗】。 【此】【时】【此】【刻】，【牧】【云】【的】【底】【牌】，【一】【一】【施】【展】。 【天】【地】【烘】【炉】！ 【化】【龙】【之】【身】。 【开】【天】【眼】【的】【太】【极】【之】【道】。 【苍】【天】【之】【眼】【以】【及】【轮】【回】【之】【眸】。 【这】【几】【种】【手】【段】，【无】【一】【不】【是】【牧】【云】【的】【杀】【手】【锏】。 【威】【力】，【远】【超】【陨】【星】【神】【剑】【决】【和】