Tag Archives: heroin

Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline, by Pepe Escobar

The real reason we don’t get out of Afghanistan, from Pepe Escobar at sputniknews.com:

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistanin 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

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Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline, by Pepe Escobar

There have been substantiated allegations of CIA involvement in drug running and money laundering since Vietnam, although the CIA throws up its usual smokescreens. From Pepe Escobar at Sputnik News via lewrockwell.com:

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.

Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

Have a SIGAR

An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints — discreetly — at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America’s heroin epidemic.

Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline — in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress.

To continue reading: Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline

US War In Afghanistan Is Fueling Global Heroin Epidemic & Enabling The Drug Trade, by Mnar Muhawesh

What happens when two failed wars intersect? A global heroin epidemic. From  Mnar Muhawesh at mintprintnews.com:

MINNEAPOLIS — The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are more intertwined than that media and our elected officials would like us to think.

And this became full front and center when the U.S.-led global crusades overlapped in Afghanistan, leaving in their wake a legacy of death, addiction and government corruption tainting Afghan and American soil.

In the U.S., the War in Afghanistan is among the major contributing factors to the country’s devastating heroin epidemic.

Over 10,000 people in America died of heroin-related overdoses in 2014 alone– an epidemic fuelled partly by the low cost and availability of one of the world’s most addictive, and most deadly, drugs.

Despite our promises to eradicate the black market, the U.S. actually enables the illegal drug trade. As journalist Abby Martin writes, the U.S. government has had a long history of facilitating the global drug trade: In the 1950s, it allowed opium to be moved, processed and trafficked throughout the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia while it trained Taiwanese troops to fight Communist China. In the 80s, the CIA provided logistical and financial support to anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua who were also known international drug traffickers.

Since the DEA got the boot from the Bolivian government in 2008, cocaine production in that country has steadily fallen year after year.

And in 2012, a Mexican government official claimed that rather than fighting drug traffickers, the CIA and other international security forces are actually trying to “manage the drug trade.”

“It’s like pest control companies, they only control,” Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, the Chihuahua spokesman, told Al Jazeera. “If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”

While there is no conclusive proof that the CIA is physically running opium out of Afghanistan, Martin notes:

“[I]t’s hard to believe that a region under full US military occupation – with guard posts and surveillance drones monitoring the mountains of Tora Bora – aren’t able to track supply routes of opium exported from the country’s various poppy farms (you know, the ones the US military are guarding).”

Ironically, it was the U.S. mission to obliterate the Taliban in the “War on Terror” that turned Afghanistan into a “narco state.”

Prior to the War in Afghanistan, the Taliban actually offered subsidies to farmers to grow food crops not drugs.

In the summer of 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar announced a total ban on the cultivation of opium poppy, the plant from which heroin is made. Those caught planting poppies in Taliban-controlled parts of the country were beaten and marched through villages with motor oil on their faces.

The only opium harvest the following spring was in the northeast, in an area controlled by the Taliban’s rivals, the Northern Alliance. That year, as Matthieu Aikins reported for Rolling Stone in 2012, “Opium production fell from an estimated 3,276 tons in 2000 to 185 tons in 2001.”

But then 9/11 hit and the Bush administration pushed into Afghanistan once again, carrying the banner of the “War on Terror.”

To continue reading: US War In Afghanistan Is Fueling Global Heroin Epidemic & Enabling The Drug Trade

 

 

The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts, by Michaela Whitton

This is one of those articles that’s tough to read, which is why it should be read. Heroin-addicted children are some of the collateral damage of US intervention in Afghanistan the last 15 years. From Michaela Whitton at theantimedia.org:

(ANTIMEDIA) One of the many catastrophic legacies left behind by the longest war in U.S. history is that Afghanistan produces 90% of the world’s opium. As with most parts of the world, the most vulnerable pay the heaviest price of war, and the country has faced a harrowing escalation in the number of child heroin addicts.

“What’s happened in Afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco-state that is really without any parallel in history,” Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins told Democracy Now back in 2014.

Adding that all levels of Afghan society are involved in the flourishing trade — which became undeniably worse after the U.S.-led invasion — Aikins accused both the Taliban and government-linked officials of profiting from the crisis. He claimed the U.S., in its quest for vengeance against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, not only cooperated with warlords but ignored corruption by criminals whose human rights abuses created the conditions that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place.

As a result, Afghanistan now produces twice as much opium as it did in the year 2000, and the booming trade now accounts for 50% of the country’s GDP. Since the cartels began refining their poppy harvests into addictive and profitable heroin, the street price for “powder,” as it is known, is the cheapest in the world — and it costs less than food in the war-torn country.

Lost childhoods

The psychological damage of war, together with the flood of cheap heroin, has led to a doubling in addiction rates over the last five years. In the Channel 4 documentary, Unreported World, Ramita Naval explores a harrowing escalation in child addiction. In the ravaged country, where access to drug treatment is severely limited, she visits a rehabilitation centre where children as young four or five — haunted by horrors they have witnessed — attempt to regain lost childhoods.

To continue reading: The War in Afghanistan Has Turned a Generation of Children Into Heroin Addicts