Consequence of U.S. occupation-‘Unprecedented’ surge in cheap, high-purity heroin expected from Afghanistan, UN warns

‘Unprecedented’ surge in cheap, high-purity heroin expected from Afghanistan, UN warns

Poppy fields in Helmand Province. In 2000 the ruling Taliban outlawed the cultivation of poppies. By June 2001 Afghanistan's drug production had all but ended. Western forces invaded the country in November and the drug trade was quickly re-established. Was this the REAL reason for the U.S. led invasion?  Click to enlarge

Poppy fields in Helmand Province. Click to enlarge

Although the following Telegraph article doesn’t say as much, drugs were the real reason for the West’s “intervention” in Afghanistan
Over the past 17-years and despite the ongoing conflict drugs production has surged to record levels in Afghanistan.
In July 2000 it was reported that the Taliban had banned the cultivation of poppies for opiates, claiming it was “un-Islamic”. By May 2001 that ban had all but put an end the country’s drug trade. In one growing season alone the country’s drug production ground to a virtual halt.
Five months later New York was rocked by the World Trade Center attacks, however. Following Sept 11 it was reported that the alleged mastermind behind the attacks, bin Laden, was hiding somewhere in Afghanistan.
Weeks later a U.S. led invasion was underway and although bin Laden was never located in Afghanistan the country’s drugs trade was quickly restored.
Of course this is all now history but it is vital to understanding what has happened in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was not the reason for the U.S. led invasion. Like claims that he was the mastermind behind 9/11, that was just a smokescreen. The restoration of the country’s drugs trade was the real reason and that’s why the U.S. and its coalition allies are likely to remain in the country. Ed.

‘Unprecedented’ surge in cheap, high-purity heroin expected from Afghanistan, UN warns

Ben Farmer — Telegraph.co.uk May 23, 2018

An unprecedented surge of high quality and low-cost Afghan heroin is bound for the world’s streets after the country’s opium crop jumped two thirds to record levels, the United Nations has warned.

Afghanistan’s farmers grew more than 1,250 square miles of opium poppy last year, paving the way for potentially unseen levels of heroin production.

The bumper crop has the potential to make up to 900 tonnes of high purity, export quality heroin the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime said.

Afghan opium already provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin and 95 percent of that found on Britain’s streets.

The trade also finances militant groups such as the Taliban, forcing the UK to spend tens of millions in the past 15 years trying to destroy poppy crops.

But production in Helmand province alone, the capital of opium growing where Britain spent eight years trying to wean Afghans off the crop, has risen by 79 percent in a single year.

“With the record high of production in 2017, a wave of high quality, low-cost heroin is expected to reach consumer markets across the world,” the UN warned.

It said “unprecedented amounts of heroin” will reach drug users “with increased consumption and related harms as a likely consequence.”

Poor security and the Kabul government’s lack of control in swathes of the country were blamed for the burgeoning trade.

Opium now dwarfs all other sectors of the Afghan economy, despite a 17-year-long international aid campaign to try to rebuild the country after the Taliban regime was toppled in 2001.

The crop was worth up to £5bn, or nearly a third of the country’s entire GDP, while legal exports are worth only around seven percent. Many billions more are made further down the drugs pipeline, as it is smuggled across the Middle East into Europe.

Impoverished farmers are now increasingly reliant on the crop, and it is now the backbone of Afghan agriculture, making efforts to curb the trade harder.

The UN said: “The 2017 record levels of cultivation and production further show the dependency of Afghanistan’s rural economy on opium cultivation.”

Britain has scaled back in recent years on aid efforts designed to encourage farmers to grow crops other than opium, but the National Crime Agency works with Afghan police to try to catch traffickers or seize their wealth.

A Government spokesman said: “The UK supports the investigation and prosecution of narcotics trafficking and associated money laundering. However, this is only one strand of activity required to deliver a sustainable reduction in the opiate threat emanating from Afghanistan.”

Source

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The Longer Washington Stays In, the More Drugs Fly Out of Afghanistan

The Longer Washington Stays In, the More Drugs Fly Out of Afghanistan

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According to the data released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, some 30 million people across the world may be described as habitual drug users. These means that all of these people are not just addicted to drugs but they also require professional treatment. Due to the ever increasing volume of illegal drug trafficking, a total of 100,000 people die every year. Since 2011, Europe has witnessed a 30% increase in cocaine users, while worldwide opium production increased by 33% last year.

The continuous smuggling of drugs enriches terrorists and strengthens extremist groups that pose a real threat to the peace and security of the international community.

As it’s been noted previously, to this day Afghanistan accounts for 75% of worldwide heroin production due to the fact that two thirds of all lands illegally allocated for opium poppy cultivation are situated in this country. The province of Nangarhar in Afghanistan has become the backbone of the opium market. Local farmers are selling their poppy crops to brokers. Brokers then sell the opium to drug production operations, who run clandestine laboratories in the mountains. There, the opium is converted into morphine and heroin. Traffickers refer to the most refined heroin as “spin mal.” This high-purity, heroin delivered by injection is sold around the world, including in the United States.

The well-established drug trafficking routes run from Afghanistan to a number of countries, while passing through many transit points. Those routes allow smugglers to deliver their deadly goods to Russia and various parts of Europe through the countries of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. As for India, it’s being supplied with heavy drugs through neighboring countries including Pakistan. It’s rarely mentioned that both Europe and America are often supplied with deadly drugs through military airports controlled by Western military forces in Afghanistan.

According to official reports, after almost two decades of continuous deployment of several thousand US and NATO servicemen in Afghanistan, the level of production and drug trafficking has increased by 1,000% compared to levels in 2001, the year Washington announced its intentions to invade Afghanistan. There’s no logical explanation American political figures can provide us for this fact, since among the stated goals of the persistent military presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan includes both fighting against terrorism and combating drug trafficking.

A short while ago, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, predicted that US servicemen will stay in Afghanistan for at least another decade. What it basically means is that the soaring level of drug production in this war-torn state will just keep rising.

Among the largest markets for Afghan heroin include Russia, China and other “strategic opponents of Washington.” So it should come as no surprise that the Pentagon shows little to no interests towards the fulfillment of its stated goals in Afghanistan. American generals are convinced that Afghan drugs play an extremely important role in plummeting demographic figures of these targeted states described as potential threats to the United States, since it triggers more deaths than any local armed conflict of recent decades ever could.

Under those circumstances, some Afghan experts are inclined to believe that NATO personnel deployed in their country are actively engaged in the production and trafficking of drugs. According to these experts, Kandahar, Helmand and Urozgan provinces have certain opium fields that are situated in areas controlled by the British and American military, who in no way interfere with the cultivation and harvesting of poppy crops. Moreover, local peasants have confined to them that military helicopters and airplanes are landing in their villages around the clock to be loaded with crops only to fly away in an unknown direction.

There are more grounds for such claims than one may think, especially against the backdrop of earlier British and Canadian investigations into Camp Bastion and Kandahar, the two main airports through which servicemen arrive and depart, regarding allegations of both being used for drug trafficking.

In addition, as reported by British media sources, their informers among Afghan drug smugglers say that British troops are a part of this deadly trade too.

Experts say that not only Afghan drug dealers, but also foreigners, especially American and other NATO servicemen receive unparalleled profits from the production and illegal trafficking of drugs in Afghanistan. If this wasn’t the case, then Afghan drugs would be nearly impossible to find on the European black market. After all, the task of transporting large shipments of drugs is beyond the capacity of any typical smuggler. So it’s only logical to assume that foreign cargo planes that cross the Afghan border regularly without any inspection or supervision by local authorities are used for routine drug trafficking.

According to the statement made by the Afghan Deputy Minister for Combating Drugs, Khalil Bakhtiyar, nearly three million people are involved in the illegal drug trade in Afghanistan. In 2017 alone, the level of Afghan drug production reached 4,800 tons.

However, recently, Afghan special services have voiced their concern that in addition to the massive production of heroin their country, Afghan territory is now being used for the production of synthetic drugs – so-called methamphetamine or meth, even in spite of the fact that such drugs are in no way associated with opium. As for the precursors that are required for their production, they must be smuggled inside the country the same way heroine is being smuggled out. Afghanistan, with its highly-developed drug infrastructure, will be able to produce tons of new types of drugs, while continuously refining the actual process of production. In the early 1990s the production of opium, and then of heroin, followed a similar scenario. The first time local security forces seized synthetic drugs in Afghanistan in 2008, the amount they managed to retrieve was minuscule. Then in 2012, they captured 458 traffickers last year smuggling some 500 pounds of synthetic drugs.

If we talk about the involvement of the United States in the illegal drug business in Afghanistan, we mustn’t forget that the estimated profits of Afghan drug trade may be approaching 100 billion dollars a year, which empowers Washington to calmly manage crises in Muslim countries, support terrorists and overthrow undesirable Islamic governments . In all likelihood, Washington will never agree to abandon such colossal revenue streams, which enable Washington to establish a lasting presence in such a dangerous region. There’s little doubt that both NATO and the US are in full control of the Afghan drug trade, or in the very least use it to reap maximum profits for themselves.

The huge financial costs of the US and NATO unhindered military presence in Afghanistan results in the continuous loss of life. At the same time, none of the stated goals of the US-NATO occupation have been fulfilled. We have seen no successful steps made in the direction of actually defeating terrorism, nor the eradication of Afghan drug trafficking, nor the establishment of peace and prosperity in this perpetually contested land. Washington has failed in every regard, which means that the flow of deadly drugs will continue ravaging lives globally for years and decades to come.

In such a situation, the only way to combat the unparalleled level of production and trafficking of Afghan drugs is to consolidate the efforts of the entire international community with the aim of monitoring and containing the activities of US and NATO servicemen in this war-torn country. There’s no other solution to this crisis.

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.” 

Eurasia torn between war and peace

The Saker

May 02, 2018Eurasia torn between war and peace

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Iran’s top trading partner is China, while Tehran and Moscow have been improving ties as the three countries move closer to cementing a solid alliance

Two summits – the cross-border handshake that shook the world between Kim and Moon in Panmunjom and Xi and Modi’s cordial walk by the lake in Wuhan – may have provided the impression Eurasia integration is entering a smoother path.

Not really. It’s all back to confrontation: predictably the actual, working Iran nuclear deal, known by the ungainly acronym JCPOA, is at the heart of it.

And faithful to the slowly evolving Eurasia integration roadmap, Russia and China are at the forefront of supporting Iran.

China is Iran’s top trading partner – especially because of its energy imports. Iran for its part is a major food importer. Russia aims to cover this front.

Chinese companies are developing massive oil fields in Yadavaran and North Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) took a significant 30% stake in a project to develop South Pars – the largest natural gas field in the world. A $3 billion deal is upgrading Iran’s oil refineries, including a contract between Sinopec and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to expand the decades-old Abadan oil refinery.

In a notorious trip to Iran right after the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, President Xi Jinping backed up an ambitious plan to increase bilateral trade by over tenfold to US$600 billion in the next decade.

For Beijing, Iran is an absolutely key hub of the New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). A key BRI project is the $2.5 billion, 926 kilometer high-speed railway from Tehran to Mashhad; for that China came up with a $1.6 billion loan – the first foreign-backed project in Iran after the signing of the JCPOA.

There’s wild chatter in Brussels concerning the impossibility of European banks financing deals in Iran – due to the ferocious, wildly oscillating Washington sanctions obsession. That opened the way for China’s CITIC to come up with up to $15 billion in credit lines.

The Export-Import Bank of China so far has financed 26 projects in Iran – everything from highway building and mining to steel producing – totaling roughly $8.5 billion in loans. China Export and Credit Insurance Corp – Sinosure – signed a memorandum of understanding to help Chinese companies invest in Iranian projects.

China’s National Machinery Industry Corp signed an $845 million contract to build a 410km railway in western Iran connecting Tehran, Hamedan and Sanandaj. And insistent rumors persist that China in the long run may even replace cash-strapped India in developing the strategic port of Chabahar on the Arabian Sea – the proposed starting point of India’s mini-Silk Road to Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

So amid the business blitz, Beijing is not exactly thrilled with the US Department of Justice setting its sights on Huawei, essentially because of hefty sales of value-for-money smart phones in the Iranian market.

Have Sukhoi will travel

Russia mirrors, and more than matches, the Chinese business offensive in Iran.

With snail pace progress when it comes to buying American or European passenger jets, Aseman Airlines decided to buy 20 Sukhoi SuperJet 100s while Iran Air Tours – a subsidiary of Iran Air –  has also ordered another 20. The deals, worth more than $2 billion, were clinched at the 2018 Eurasia Airshow at Antalya International Airport in Turkey last week, supervised by Russia’s deputy minister of industry and trade Oleg Bocharov.

Both Iran and Russia are fighting US sanctions. Despite historical frictions, Iran and Russia are getting closer and closer. Tehran provides crucial strategic depth to Moscow’s Southwest Asia presence. And Moscow unequivocally supports the JCPOA. Moscow-Tehran is heading the same way of the strategic partnership in all but name between Moscow and Beijing.

According to Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, the 2014  Moscow-Tehran oil-for-goods deal, bypassing the US dollar, is finally in effect, with Russia initially buying 100,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day.

Russia and Iran are closely coordinating their energy policy. They have signed six agreements to collaborate on strategic energy deals worth up to $30 billion. According to President Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov, Russian investment in developing Iran’s oil and gas fields could reach more than $50 billion.

Iran will become a formal member of the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) before the end of the year. And with solid Russian backing, Iran will be accepted as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) by 2019.

Iran is guilty because we say so

Now compare it with the Trump administration’s Iran policy.

Barely certified as the new US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip  to Saudi Arabia and Israel amounts in practice to briefing both allies on the imminent Trump withdrawal of the JCPOA on May 12. Subsequently, this will imply a heavy new batch of US sanctions.

Riyadh – via Beltway darling Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, (MBS) – will be all in on the anti-Iran front. In parallel, the Trump administration may demand it, but MBS won’t relinquish the failed blockade of Qatar or the humanitarian disaster that is the war on Yemen.

What’s certain is there won’t be a concerted Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) front against Iran. Qatar, Oman and Kuwait see it as counterproductive. That leaves only Saudi Arabia and the Emirates plus irrelevant, barely disguised Saudi vassal Bahrain.

On the European front, French president Emmanuel Macron has stepped up as a sort of unofficial King of Europe, leveraging himself to Trump as the likely enforcer of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as dictating Iran to stay out of Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Macron has made a direct – and patently absurd  connection between Tehran abandoning its nuclear enrichment program, including the destruction of uranium stockpiles enriched to less that 20%, and being the guilty party helping Baghdad and Damascus to defeat Daesh and other Salafi-jihadi outfits.

No wonder Tehran – as well as Moscow and Beijing – is connecting recent, massive US weapons deals with Riyadh as well as MBS’s hefty investments in the West to the Washington-Paris attempt to renegotiate the JCPOA.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov has been adamant; the JCPOA  was the product of a strenuous seven-country negotiation over many years: “The question is, will it be possible to repeat such successful work in the current situation?”

Certainly not

Thus the suspicion widely floated in Moscow, Beijing and even Brussels that the JCPOA irks Trump because it’s essentially a multilateral, no “America First” deal directly involving the Obama administration.

The Obama administration’s pivot to Asia – which depended on settling the Iranian nuclear dossier – ended up setting off a formidable, unintended chain of geopolitical events.

Neocon factions in Washington would never admit to normalized Iranian relations with the West; and yet Iran not only is doing business with Europe but got closer to its Eurasian partners.

Artificially inflating the North Korea crisis to try to trap Beijing has led to the Kim-Moon summit defusing the “bomb the DPRK” crowd.

Not to mention that the DPRK, ahead of the Kim-Trump summit, is carefully monitoring what happens to the JCPOA.

The bottom line is that the Russia-China partnership won’t allow for a JCPOA renegotiation, for a number of serious reasons.

On the ballistic missile front, Moscow’s priority will be to sell S-300 and S-400 missile systems to Tehran, sanctions-free.

Russia-China might eventually agree with the JCPOA 10-year sunset provisions to be extended, although they won’t force Tehran to accept it.

On the Syrian front, Damascus is regarded as an indispensable ally of both Moscow and Beijing. China will invest in the reconstruction of Syria and its revamping as a key Southwest Asia node of the BRI. “Assad must go” is a non-starter; Russia-China see Damascus as essential in the fight against Salafi-jihadis of all stripes who may be tempted to return and wreak havoc in Chechnya and Xinjiang.

A week ago, at an SCO ministerial meeting, Russia-China issued a joint communiqué supporting the JCPOA. The Trump administration is picking yet another fight against the very pillars of Eurasia integration.

الأسد وحزب الله يكتبان يالطا الجديدة والغوطة آخر ملامح الخريطة

أبريل 4, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

في ممرات الغوطة الشرقية وشوارعها يتمّ وضع النقاط على الحروف لوثيقة ما سيعرف مستقبلاً بيالطا ما بعد الحرب الكونية على سورية…

من حلب الى دوما تمّ رسم المسار الذي ستتخذه كلّ اجتماعات الوفود الإقليمية والدولية التي ستشارك في رسم لوحة عالم ما بعد حرب السنوات السبع العجاف على درة التاج العربي والإسلامي.

حزب الله وإيران وسورية وروسيا يسجلون في هذه الساعات نهاية واحدة من أهم معارك التحرير الكبرى ضدّ النازية الحديثة التي حاولت واشنطن وتل أبيب بواسطتها اجتياح العالمين العربي والاسلامي بأسماء مستعارة!

نعم سقط المشروع وانهار الهيكل على رؤوس أصحابه.

لذلك يسارع دونالد ترامب للهرب سريعاً من عنق الزجاجة التي حوصر فيها على أرض الشام تاركاً العملاء يواجهون مصيرهم بالاقتتال الثنائي والمتعدّد لتصفية بقايا الحملة الكونية.

وأوّل الغارقين في رمال صحراء ترامب القاحلة التي سيتركها وراءه وهو يهرول خارجاً هو الأسير المخطوف محمد بن سلمان الذي لن ينقذه هذه المرّة من مصيره المحتوم حتى المغامر كوشنر صهر المايسترو الفارّ!

فمن يتابع تصريحات إبن سلمان يصل الى قناعة تامة بانّ الأمير المدلل عند أبيه لا يفقه شيئاً لا في السياسة ولا في الاقتصاد ولا في العسكرية طبعاً، والتي يظهر فيها مع كلّ ساعة تمرّ فشلاً ذريعاً من خلال حربه التدميرية ضد الشعب اليمني الصامد والمنتصر لا محالة…

تتذكرون جيداً بالطبع كيف توسّل والد هذا الأمير المغامر سيده السابق أوباما بإرسال بضع كتائب وبضع أسراب من الطائرات الأميركية المرابطة في قاعدة العيديد بقطر لإسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية، وأنه مستعدّ للمساهمة بإسقاط الأسد من خلال قوات برية يرسلها من الرياض، فإذا بابنه وبعد درس الزمن القاسي يقرّ ويذعن بأنّ الأسد باقٍ ثم يتوسّل حاكم البيت الأبيض الجديد بعدم سحب القوات الأميركية بشكل فوري من سورية وإبقائها هناك لسنة أخرى أو أكثر قليلاً، مما يشير الى حالة الرعب التي يعيشها حكام آل سعود بسبب الكارثة الميدانية التي تلحق بهم وبأسيادهم، علاوة على التخبّط الذي يعيشه محمد بن سلمان شخصياً والذي يحاول تغطيته من خلال بعض البهلوانيات في الولايات المتحدة وهو يتناول القهوة المرة في أحد مقاهي ستاربكس..!

ولكننا نقول لهذا الأمير الواهم والتائه إن الشمس لا تغطّى بالغربال يا إبن سلمان…!

فالعالم كله يراقبك بدقة، وهو يرى حالة الارتجاف التي تعيشها، والتي تجاوزتها الى ما هو أبعد. فنحن نتذكّر جميعاً كيف كنت تتبجّح بنقل المعركة الى الداخل الإيراني، كما أعلنت خلال المقابلة التلفزيونية الشهيرة التي اجريتها قبل أشهر مع محطة «العربية» السعودية، وكأن قرار حربك عليها على الأبواب فإذا بك اليوم تتحدث عن احتمالية الحرب، وليس حتميتها، مع إيران وخلال عشرة الى خمسة عشر عاماً المقبلة…!

أي أنك تطبق المثل القائل: الهرب ثلثا المراجل…!

ولكن الى أين؟ الى الجهة الخطأ، اي الى «إسرائيل»، معتقداً أنها ستحميك وتحمي مملكتك من خطر إيراني تتوهّمه ويستخدمه سيدك في البيت الأبيض كفزاعة يبتزّ من خلالها أسرتك وباقي حكام مشيخات الرجعية العربية…!

ذلك الابتزاز الذي لا يعرف حدوداً على الإطلاق عند الرئيس الأميركي، وذلك بدليل تذكيره لهؤلاء البؤساء، حكام الخليج، بأن الولايات المتحدة قد خسرت سبعة تريليونات دولار في حروبها في الشرق الأوسط، مع تذكير حكام الرياض بأن إسقاط الدعوى المقامة، على قاعدة قانون جاستا لمكافحة الاٍرهاب، ضد الحكومة السعودية في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية لم تسقط بعد، أي أن على السعودية دفع تعويضات تصل قيمتها الى ستة تريليونات دولار، أي أقل مما يطالب به ترامب بقليل فقط…

وهذا يعني أن الحساب الأميركي معكم لم يغلق بعد يا إبن سلمان، كما أن عمليات الابتزاز المالي التي تتعرضون لها تتم بمشاركة إسرائيلية كاملة، مما يعني أن إسرائيل هذه، ومهما قدمتم لها وتنازلتم لها عن حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني في وطنه بشكل خاص، لن تقوم بحمايتكم وإنما تعمل على تدميركم وستبدأ هي نفسها بمطالبتكم قريباً بتعويضات عن أملاك وخسائر يهود خَيْبَر منذ صدر الإسلام وحتى الآن. وعليكم أن تقوموا بإجراء عملية حسابية بسيطة للمبالغ التي سيترتب عليكم دفعها لـ»إسرائيل» عندما ترفعون علمها في الرياض رسمياً…!

لذلك فإن القراءة الصحيحة للوضع الجيوسياسي ولموازين القوى في العالم وفي المنطقة هو الذي يوفر الحماية لأي دولة في العالم وليست البهلوانيات الحربية او الاستقواء بالأجنبي كما تفعل السعودية ودول الرجعية العربية…

وها هي موازين القوى الدولية بدأت تشير بوضوح الى حصول تغير جذري فيها مع اختلال كبير في غير مصلحة المعسكر الاستعماري الأميركي الذي يستخدمكم، أنتم و«إسرائيل» مجرد أدوات لخدمة مصالحه الاستراتيجية في العالم.

وهذا يدفع الولايات المتحدة إلى إعادة انتشار قواتها ونشر مرتزقتها، من داعش إلى غيرها من المسميات، على مستوى العالم.

حيث قامت القيادة العسكرية الاميركية أخيراً كما هو معلوم وفِي هذا الإطار بالبدء في إرسال المزيد من قواتها الى افغانستان، وذلك ضمن عمليات الحشد الاستراتيجي المتواصل ضد كل من الصين وروسيا. كما أن الولايات المتحدة تواصل نقل عناصر داعش وغيرها من المسميات من سورية والعراق الى افغانستان وتعمل على نشر هذه العصابات في جميع أنحاء الأراضي الأفغانية عبر استعمال مروحيات النقل العسكرية الأميركية بعد إزالة شارات سلاح الجو الأميركي عنها كي تُسمّى في وسائل الإعلام الأميركية والدولية بالمروحيات «المجهولة الهوية»…!

الى ذلك نقول:

أما اذا كنت يا إبن سلمان تعتقد أن تصريحات وتهديدات ايزنكوت الأخيرة قادرة على حمايتك أو أنها مؤشر قوة أو مصدر تهديد لقوات حلف المقاومة، فإننا نبشرك بأن هذا الشرطي الإسرائيلي ليس قادرًا على حماية «إسرائيل» من حماس وحدها، وليس من حزب الله. وعليك أن تنظر فقط الى تصريحات زملائه المتكررة حول عدم جهوزية الجبهة الداخلية الإسرائيلية لمواجهة حرب في الشمال….

أي أن ما أدلى به من أقوال لموقع المصدر الاسرائيلي يوم أمس، في مقابلة بمناسبة الفصح اليهودي، لا يعدو كونه رسائل تطمين للمجتمع الإسرائيلي الذي يرتعد خوفاً ويعيش أزمة وجودية حتى على الصعيد الشخصي، بدليل أن أكثر من نصف المجتمع الإسرائيلي يبحث منذ اكثر من عام عن مكان يلجأ أو يهاجر إليه في حال انهيار أو زوال دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، كما تشير التقارير الاستخبارية من داخل نسيج الدولة الصهيونية…

يُضاف إلى ذلك السؤال الطبيعي والبسيط الذي يجب توجيهه الى هذا الرامبو الإسرائيلي الذي تحدّث في مقابلته المذكورة أعلاه، عن نيته بتدمير بنايات عالية لحزب الله وضرب كل شيء في لبنان من شماله الى جنوبه، وهو:

هل أنت متأكد من أن طائرات سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي ستكون قادرة إذا أعلنت الحرب على الإقلاع من أي قاعدة جوية إسرائيلية لتنفيذ غارات جوية ضد أهداف لبنانية دون أي عوائق!؟

ثم من أين لك هذه الثقة بأن قواعدك الجوية ستبقى صالحة للاستعمال في حال وقوع الحرب؟

من يضمن لك سلامة المدارج ومهاجع الطائرات؟

إضافة إلى سؤال آخر: هل أنت الوحيد القادر على إطلاق صواريخ من بعد ألفي كيلومتر تصيب أهدافها بدقة!؟

ألا تعرف أن زمن تفوّق «إسرائيل» قد ولى الى غير رجعه، تماماً كما ولى عهد أحادية القطبية في العالم!؟

يضاف الى ذلك أنك وبسبب الأفق الواسع والذكاء الخارق الذي تتمتع به نسيت أن مراكز القيادة والسيطرة لسلاح الجو الإسرائيلي ولبقية أفرع جيشك ستكون غير قادرة على العمل، لا بل مشلولة تماماً؟

ثم هل نسيت طائرة الاستطلاع الإسرائيلية بدون طيار من طراز هيرمس 450 والتي سيطرت عليها جهة «معادية لإسرائيل» الكترونياً يوم أمس وأنزلتها على بعد تسعة كيلومترات من الحدود، في قضاء بنت جبيل اللبنانية، مما اضطر قيادة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي الى إرسال طائرة مسيرة، لتقصف الطائرة المسيطر عليها بأربعة صواريخ جو/ أرض وتدمّرها قبل أن تتمكن «الجهة المعادية» من إخلائها الى مكان آمن…!؟

هذه هي «إسرائيل» التي تتملقون لها وتتنازلون لها عن حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني في فلسطين يا إبن سلمان وها هو ايزنكوت وبقية زملائه… يتوسّلون الباتريوت وغيره من السيد الاميركي، كما تتوسّلون أنتم بالضبط، ويتوسلون المناورات المشتركة، تماماً كما تفعلون ظناً منهم ومنكم أن هذا الضجيج قادر على تغطية خوفهم وخوفكم وارتعاد فرائصهم وفرائصكم من قوة حلف المقاومة التي ستكتب نهايتكم ونهايتهم معاً.

ولعل من المفيد، في هذا السياق، أن تطلع يا إبن سلمان، وأنت تحتسي القهوة المرة في مقهى ستاربكس، على ما نشرته مجلة فورين بوليسي الأميركية حول فعالية صواريخ الباتريوت، اذ أكد خبراؤها بأن صواريخ الباتريوت لم تنجح في اعتراض أي صاروخ في أي مواجهة كانت والتي كان آخرها الصواريخ التي أطلقت من اليمن على أهداف مختلفة داخل السعودية، حيث أكد هؤلاء الخبراء أن جميع صواريخ الباتريوت العشرين التي اطلقتها السعودية إما انفجرت أثناء عملية الإطلاق أو أنها انطلقت وعادت باتجاه الارض وانفجرت على الأرض.

إذن: لن تحميكم كل هذه الأسلحة التي بحوزتكم أو بحوزة «إسرائيل».

ما قد ينقذ ما تبقى من أسرتكم الآيلة للانقراض لا محالة أو يؤخر في اضمحلالها هو:

العودة إلى العقل واستخدامه للتفكير والإبداع بدلاً من التدمير والإجرام والاقتناع بأن سيدكم لم يعد قادرًا على لعب دور شرطي العالم. فها هو يعلن نيته سحب قواته من سورية وذلك خوفاً من تورطه في حرب استنزاف في هذا البلد لن يكون قادرًا لا على الانتصار فيها ولا على تحمّل تكاليفها وخسائرها.

خاصة أن عليه ان يواصل استعداداته لمواجهة النمو الاقتصادي الصيني الهائل وما يترتب عليه من اختلال كبير في موازين القوى الدولية، وعلى كل الصعد ومنها الصعيد العسكري الذي توليه الولايات المتحدة جل اهتمامها في إطار حشدها الاستراتيجي ضد الصين وروسيا.. إنهم يهربون من شرق السويس كله يا إبن سلمان…!

ويتركونك وحيداً وجهاً لوجه مع الحائط،

أو لتواجه مصيرك المحتوم على أيدي مرتزقتهم أو مشنقة شعب الجزيرة العربية وسيّدها اليمن العزيز القوي المنتصر على قرن الشيطان!

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

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How Many People Has the U.S. Killed in its Post-9/11 Wars? Part 2: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The numbers of casualties of U.S. wars since Sept. 11, 2001 have largely gone uncounted, but coming to terms with the true scale of the crimes committed remains an urgent moral, political and legal imperative, argues Nicolas J.S. Davies, in part two of his series.

By Nicolas J.S. Davies

In the first part of this series, I estimated that about 2.4 million Iraqis have been killed as a result of the illegal invasion of their country by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2003. I turn now to Afghan and Pakistani deaths in the ongoing 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. In part two, I will examine U.S.-caused war deaths in Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.  According to Ret. U.S. General Tommy Franks, who led the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan in reaction to 9/11, the U.S. government does not keep track of civilian casualty that it causes. ”You know, we don’t do body counts,” Franks once said. Whether that’s true or a count is covered up is difficult to know.

As I explained in part one, the U.S. has attempted to justify its invasions of Afghanistan and several other countries as a legitimate response to the terrorist crimes of 9/11. But the U.S. was not attacked by another country on that day, and no crime, however horrific, can justify 16 years of war – and counting – against a series of countries that did not attack the U.S.

As former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz told NPR a week after the terrorist attacks, they were crimes against humanity, but not “war crimes,” because the U.S. was not at war. “It is never a legitimate response to punish people who are not responsible for the wrong done.” Ferencz explained. “We must make a distinction between punishing the guilty and punishing others. If you simply retaliate en masse by bombing Afghanistan, let us say, or the Taliban, you will kill many people who don’t believe in what has happened, who don’t approve of what has happened.”

As Ferencz predicted, we have killed “many people” who had nothing to do with the crimes of September 11. How many people? That is the subject of this report.

Afghanistan

In 2011, award-winning investigative journalist Gareth Porter was researching night raids by U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan for his article, “How McChrystal and Petraeus Built an Indiscriminate Killing Machine.”  The expansion of night raids from 2009 to 2011 was a central element in Barack Obama’s escalation of the U.S. War in Afghanistan.  Porter documented a gradual 50-fold ramping up from 20 raids per month in May 2009 to over 1,000 raids per month by April 2011.

But strangely, the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported a decrease in the numbers of civilians killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2010, including a decrease in the numbers of civilians killed in night raids from 135 in 2009 to only 80 in 2010.

U.S. Marines patrol street in Shah Karez in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Feb. 10. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Storm)

UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths are based on investigations by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), so Noori Shah Noori, an Afghan journalist working with Porter on the article, interviewed Nader Nadery, a Commissioner of the AIHRC, to find out what was going on.

Nadery explained to Noori, “…that that figure represented only the number of civilian deaths from 13 incidents that had been fully investigated.  It excluded the deaths from 60 other incidents in which complaints had been received, but had not yet been thoroughly investigated.”

“Nadery has since estimated that the total civilian deaths for all 73 night raids about which it had complaints was 420,” Porter continued. “But the AIHRC admits that it does not have access to most of the districts dominated by the Taliban and that people in those districts are not aware of the possibility of complaining to the Commission about night raids.  So, neither the AIHRC nor the United Nations learns about a significant proportion – and very likely the majority – of night raids that end in civilian deaths.”

UNAMA has since updated its count of civilians killed in U.S. night raids in 2010 from 80 to 103, still nowhere close to Nadery’s estimate of 420.  But as Nadery explained, even that estimate must have been a small fraction of the number of civilian deaths in about 5,000 night raids that year, most of which were probably conducted in areas where people have no contact with UNAMA or the AIHRC.

As senior U.S. military officers admitted to Dana Priest and William Arkin of The Washington Post, more than half the raids conducted by U.S. special operations forces target the wrong person or house, so a large increase in civilian deaths was a predictable and expected result of such a massive expansion of these deadly “kill or capture” raids.

The massive escalation of U.S. night raids in 2010 probably made it an exceptional year, so it is unlikely that UNAMA’s reports regularly exclude as many uninvestigated reports of civilian deaths as in 2010.  But on the other hand, UNAMA’s annual reports never mention that their figures for civilian deaths are based only on investigations completed by the AIHRC, so it is unclear how unusual it was to omit 82 percent of reported incidents of civilian deaths in U.S. night raids from that year’s report.

We can only guess how many reported incidents have been omitted from UNAMA’s other annual reports since 2007, and, in any case, that would still tell us nothing about civilians killed in areas that have no contact with UNAMA or the AIHRC.

In fact, for the AIHRC, counting the dead is only a by-product of its main function, which is to investigate reports of human rights violations in Afghanistan.  But Porter and Noori’s research revealed that UNAMA’s reliance on investigations completed by the AIHRC as the basis for definitive statements about the number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in its reports has the effect of sweeping an unknown number of incomplete investigations and unreported civilian deaths down a kind of “memory hole,” writing them out of virtually all published accounts of the human cost of the war in Afghanistan.

UNAMA’s annual reports even include colorful pie-charts to bolster the false impression that these are realistic estimates of the number of civilians killed in a given year, and that pro-government forces and foreign occupation forces are only responsible for a small portion of them.

UNAMA’s systematic undercounts and meaningless pie-charts become the basis for headlines and news stories all over the world.  But they are all based on numbers that UNAMA and the AIHRC know very well to be a small fraction of civilian deaths in Afghanistan.  It is only a rare story like Porter’s in 2011 that gives any hint of this shocking reality.

In fact, UNAMA’s reports reflect only how many deaths the AIHRC staff have investigated in a given year, and may bear little or no relation to how many people have actually been killed. Seen in this light, the relatively small fluctuations in UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths from year to year in Afghanistan seem just as likely to represent fluctuations in resources and staffing at the AIHRC as actual increases or decreases in the numbers of people killed.

If only one thing is clear about UNAMA’s reports of civilian deaths, it is that nobody should ever cite them as estimates of total numbers of civilians killed in Afghanistan – least of all UN and government officials and mainstream journalists who, knowingly or not, mislead millions of people when they repeat them.

Estimating Afghan Deaths Through the Fog of Official Deception

So the most widely cited figures for civilian deaths in Afghanistan are based, not just on “passive reporting,” but on misleading reports that knowingly ignore many or most of the deaths reported by bereaved families and local officials, while many or most civilian deaths are never reported to UNAMA or the AIHCR in the first place. So how can we come up with an intelligent or remotely accurate estimate of how many civilians have really been killed in Afghanistan?

Body Count: Casualty Figures After 10 Years of the “War On Terror”, published in 2015 by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a co-winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize, estimated deaths of combatants and civilians in Afghanistan based on UNAMA’s reports and other sources.  Body Count’s figures for numbers of Afghan combatants killed seem more reliable than UNAMA’s undercounts of civilian deaths.

The Afghan government reported that 15,000 of its soldiers and police were killed through 2013.  The authors of Body Count took estimates of Taliban and other anti-government forces killed in 2001, 2007 and 2010 from other sources and extrapolated to years for which no estimates were available, based on other measures of the intensity of the conflict (numbers of air strikes, night raids etc,).  They estimated that 55,000 “insurgents” were killed by the end of 2013.

In Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pfc. Sean Serritelli provides security outside Combat Outpost Charkh on Aug. 23, 2012. (Photo credit: Spc. Alexandra Campo)

The years since 2013 have been increasingly violent for the people of Afghanistan.  With reductions in U.S. and NATO occupation forces, Afghan pro-government forces now bear the brunt of combat against their fiercely independent countrymen, and another 25,000 soldiers and police have been killed since 2013, according to my own calculations from news reports and this study by the Watson Institute at Brown University.

If the same number of anti-government fighters have been killed, that would mean that at least 120,000 Afghan combatants have been killed since 2001.  But, since pro-government forces are armed with heavier weapons and are still backed by U.S. air support, anti-government losses are likely to be greater than those of government troops.  So a more realistic estimate would be that between 130,000 and 150,000 Afghan combatants have been killed.

The more difficult task is to estimate how many civilians have been killed in Afghanistan through the fog of UNAMA’s misinformation.  UNAMA’s passive reporting has been deeply flawed, based on completed investigations of as few as 18 percent of reported incidents, as in the case of night raid deaths in 2010, with no reports at all from large parts of the country where the Taliban are most active and most U.S. air strikes and night raids take place. The Taliban appear to have never published any numbers of civilian deaths in areas under its control, but it has challenged UNAMA’s figures.

There has been no attempt to conduct a serious mortality study in Afghanistan like the 2006 Lancet study in Iraq.  The world owes the people of Afghanistan that kind of serious accounting for the human cost of the war it has allowed to engulf them.  But it seems unlikely that that will happen before the world fulfills the more urgent task of ending the now 16-year-old war.

Body Count took estimates by Neta Crawford and the Costs of War project at Boston University for 2001-6, plus the UN’s flawed count since 2007, and multiplied them by a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8, to produce a range of 106,000 to 170,000 civilians killed from 2001 to 2013.  The authors seem to have been unaware of the flaws in UNAMA’s reports revealed to Porter and Noori by Nadery in 2011.

But Body Count did acknowledge the very conservative nature of its estimate, noting that, “compared to Iraq, where urbanization is more pronounced, and monitoring by local and foreign press is more pronounced than in Afghanistan, the registration of civilian deaths has been much more fragmentary.”

In my 2016 article, “Playing Games With War Deaths,” I suggested that the ratio of passive reporting to actual civilian deaths in Afghanistan was therefore more likely to fall between the ratios found in Iraq in 2006 (12:1) and Guatemala at the end of its Civil War in 1996 (20:1).

Mortality in Guatemala and Afghanistan

In fact, the geographical and military situation in Afghanistan is more analogous to Guatemala, with many years of war in remote, mountainous areas against an indigenous civilian population who have taken up arms against a corrupt, foreign-backed central government.

The Guatemalan Civil War lasted from 1960 to 1996.  The deadliest phase of the war was unleashed when the Reagan administration restored U.S. military aid to Guatemala in 1981,after a meeting between former Deputy CIA Director Vernon Walters and President Romeo Lucas García, in Guatemala.

U.S. military adviser Lieutenant Colonel George Maynes and President Lucas’s brother, General Benedicto Lucas, planned a campaign called Operation Ash, in which 15,000 Guatemalan troops swept through the Ixil region massacring indigenous communities and burning hundreds of villages.

President Ronald Reagan meeting with Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt.

CIA documents that Robert Parry unearthed at the Reagan library and in other U.S. archives specifically defined the targets of this campaign to include “the civilian support mechanism” of the guerrillas, in effect the entire rural indigenous population.  A CIA report from February 1982 described how this worked in practice in Ixil:

“The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.”

Guatemalan President Rios Montt, who died on Sunday, seized power in a coup in 1983 and continued the campaign in Ixil. He was prosecuted for genocide, but neither Walters, Mayne nor any other American official have been charged for helping to plan and support the mass killings in Guatemala.

At the time, many villages in Ixil were not even marked on official maps and there were no paved roads in this remote region (there are still very few today).  As in Afghanistan, the outside world had no idea of the scale and brutality of the killing and destruction.

One of the demands of the Guerrilla Army of the Poor (EGP), the Revolutionary Organization of Armed People (ORPA) and other revolutionary groups in the negotiations that led to the 1996 peace agreement in Guatemala was for a genuine accounting of the reality of the war, including how many people were killed and who killed them.

The UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission documented 626 massacres, and found that about 200,000 people had been killed in Guatemala’s civil war.  At least 93 percent were killed by U.S.-backed military forces and death squads and only 3 percent by the guerrillas, with 4 percent unknown.  The total number of people killed was 20 times previous estimates based on passive reporting.

Mortality studies in other countries (like Angola, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda) have never found a larger discrepancy between passive reporting and mortality studies than in Guatemala.

Based on the discrepancy between passive reporting in Guatemala and what the U.N. ultimately found there, UNAMA appears to have reported less than 5 percent of actual civilian deaths in Afghanistan, which would be unprecedented.

Costs of War and UNAMA have counted 36,754 civilian deaths up to the end of 2017.  If these (extremely) passive reports represent 5 percent of total civilian deaths, as in Guatemala, the actual death toll would be about 735,000.  If UNAMA has in fact eclipsed Guatemala’s previously unsurpassed record of undercounting civilian deaths and only counted 3 or 4 percent of actual deaths, then the real total could be as high as 1.23 million.  If the ratio were only the same as originally found in Iraq in 2006 (14:1 – before Iraq Body Count revised its figures), it would be only 515,000.

Adding these figures to my estimate of Afghan combatants killed on both sides, we can make a rough estimate that about 875,000 Afghans have been killed since 2001, with a minimum of 640,000 and a maximum of 1.4 million.

Pakistan

The U.S. expanded its war in Afghanistan into Pakistan in 2004.  The CIA began launching drone strikes, and the Pakistani military, under U.S. pressure, launched a military campaign against militants in South Waziristan suspected of links to Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.  Since then, the U.S. has conducted at least 430 drone strikes in Pakistan, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and the Pakistani military has conducted several operations in areas bordering Afghanistan.

Map of Pakistan and Afghanistan (Wikipedia)

The beautiful Swat valley (once called “the Switzerland of the East” by the visiting Queen Elizabeth of the U.K.) and three neighboring districts were taken over by the Pakistani Taliban between 2007 and 2009.  They were retaken by the Pakistani Army in 2009 in a devastating military campaign that left 3.4 million people as refugees.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that 2,515 to 4,026 people have been killed in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, but that is a small fraction of total war deaths in Pakistan.  Crawford and the Costs of War program at Boston University estimated the number of Pakistanis killed at about 61,300 through August 2016, based mainly on reports by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) in Islamabad and the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) in New Delhi.  That included 8,200 soldiers and police, 31,000 rebel fighters and 22,100 civilians.

Costs of War’s estimate for rebel fighters killed was an average of 29,000 reported by PIPS and 33,000 reported by SATP, which SATP has since updated to 33,950.  SATP has updated its count of civilian deaths to 22,230.

If we accept the higher of these passively reported figures for the numbers of combatants killed on both sides and use historically typical 5:1 to 20:1 ratios to passive reports to generate a minimum and maximum number of civilian deaths, that would mean that between 150,000 and 500,000 Pakistanis have been killed.

A reasonable mid-point estimate would be that about 325,000 people have been killed in Pakistan as a result of the U.S. War in Afghanistan spilling across its borders.

Combining my estimates for Afghanistan and Pakistan, I estimate that about 1.2 million Afghans and Pakistanis have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Before US Troops Protected Poppies In Afghanistan, There was No Opioid Epidemic in America

BEFORE US TROOPS PROTECTED POPPIES IN AFGHANISTAN, THERE WAS NO OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN AMERICA

By Rachel Blevins

Image result for troops opium

The Afghanistan War is the longest in United States history, and despite initial claims that the goal of the invasion was to keep Americans safe by destroying the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the result has been a massive increase in opium production that has fueled an on-going opioid crisis in the United States and ensnared more than 2.5 million Americans in heroin addiction.

As whistleblower and former FBI contractor Sibel Edmonds noted, before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, there were around 189,000 heroin users in the United States. By 2016, that figure increased to 4.5 million—an estimated 2.5 million heroin addicts and 2 million casual users.

The number of heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. also skyrocketed with a 533 percent increase from around 2,000 deaths in 2002 to more than 13,200 deaths in 2016. The is part of more than 64,000 deaths attributed to drug overdoses in 2016, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

If the United States’ goal was to eradicate the source of heroin in order to cut down on addiction and overdoses among Americans, then troops would be destroying opium fields with flamethrowers. Instead, the opposite is happening and U.S. troops have been caught guarding poppy fields. Under supervision from the U.S., Afghanistan is now responsible for producing 90 percent of the world’s opium supply.

As the U.S. warns that there is no end to the Afghanistan War in the foreseeable future, the country’s contribution to the world’s opium supply continues to increase. Coinciding with the completion of a massive troop surge, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics released a report claiming that the “area under opium poppy cultivation increased by 63% since 2016, reaching a new record high.”

The total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 328,000 hectares in 2017, a 63% increase or 127,000 hectares more compared to the previous year. This level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high and exceeds the formerly highest value recorded in 2014 (224,000 hectares) by 104,000 hectares or 46%. Strong increases were observed in almost all major poppy cultivating provinces.

As a result of the increase in 2017, the report acknowledges, “The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates will probably further fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan. More high quality, low-cost heroin will reach consumer markets across the world, with increased consumption and related harms as a likely consequence.”

Many users who are currently addicted to heroin did not start with the drug. They were originally prescribed opioid painkillers, and when their prescriptions ran out they began looking for alternatives. A 2014 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association claimed that “there is now growing evidence that some prescription opioid abusers … graduate or shift to heroin, at least in part because it has become more accessible and far less expensive than prescription opioids.”

An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control noted that “heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels,” over the years and that individuals who are addicted to prescription painkillers are now 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

The Afghanistan War will cost American taxpayers more than $45 billion in 2018 and while the U.S. continues to monopolize on the country’s opium production, it is having a direct effect on the millions of Americans who have found themselves in the snares of a deadly addiction—and while most are paying for it with their taxes, thousands are being for it with their lives.

Rachel Blevins is an independent journalist from Texas, who aspires to break the false left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on FacebookTwitterYouTubeSteemit and Patreon. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

Two articles, one from 2001 & from 2017, highlight the affect U.S. occupation has had on opium production

Figures reveal dire trend in Afghan opium production

CBS News — Nov 15, 2017

An Afghan farmer collects raw opium from poppies in Balkh province, Afghanistan. Heroin production in the country has increased significantly in recent years. Click to enlarge

An Afghan farmer collects raw opium from poppies in Balkh province, Afghanistan. Heroin production in the country has increased significantly in recent years. Click to enlarge

Afghanistan’s opium production has almost doubled this year compared to 2016, while areas that are under poppy cultivation rose by 63 percent, according to a new joint survey released Wednesday by the United Nations and the Afghan government.

The production increased by 87 percent and stands at a record level of 9,921 tons so far in 2017, compared to the 2016 levels of 5,291 tons.

Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said the area under opium poppy cultivation has also increased to a record 810,488 acres in 2017, up 63 percent compared with the 496,671 acres that cultivated the poppy in 2016.

 

At Heroin’s Source, Taliban Do What ‘Just Say No’ Could Not

Barry Bearak – New York Times May 24, 2001

This has been heroin’s great heartland, where the narcotic came to life as an opium resin taken from fragile buds of red and white poppies. Last year, 75 percent of the world’s opium crop was grown in Afghanistan, with the biggest yield sprouting from here in the fertile plains of the country’s south, sustained by the meander of the Helmand River.
But something astonishing has become evident with this spring’s harvest. Behind the narrow dikes of packed earth, the fields are empty of their most profitable plant. Poor farmers, scythes in hand, stoop among brown stems.
Mile after mile, there is only a dry stubble of wheat to cut from the lumpy soil.
Last July, the ruling Taliban banned the growing of poppies as a sin against the teachings of Islam. The edict was issued by Mullah Muhammad Omar, referred to as Amir-ul-Momineen, the supreme leader of the faithful.
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