There could be a coincidence of strategic objectives - on the one hand
the Islamic Jihad wanting a wide regional war, and on the other hand Bechtel
wanting military access to all those lovely oil and opium fields.
FTW, October 11, 2001 - The governments of the United States and Britain
- along with a lap-dog mainstream media all too willing to regurgitate falsehoods
- are feeding us a line of demonstrably inaccurate lies about the Taliban
and opium. We are being warned of a "new flood" of al-Q'aeda opium as the
war expands. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair boasts, "We will bomb their
poppy fields," he neglects to mention that there aren't any poppy fields in
Taliban controlled areas to bomb. This outrageous deception of the public,
in an effort to stir up support for the war effort, is further evidence that
most of the rest of the government's line following the attacks of September
11, is simply not credible.
A simple side-by-side comparison of reports from the UN and the U.S.
government, along with major media stories from before and after the September
11 attacks exposes the lie.
Even the U.S. State Department
.) acknowledges that in July 2000, Mullah Omar of the Taliban ordered a
ban on poppy cultivation in all Taliban controlled regions of Afghanistan.
That State Department Fact Sheet, published after Jan 1, 2000, however, expresses
U.S. disbelief in the ban's effectiveness. This position is, however, flatly
contradicted by some very credible sources, including Secretary of State Colin
Powell. He gave the Taliban $43 million this May to replace the income lost
farmers as a result of the ban. Their wheat crops had failed due to the
drought and they had no money from opium harvests to buy food. The middlemen
who had stockpiled the opium had income. But the farmers, who had harvested
in the summer of 2000, had already been paid.
In February 2000 citing reports from Agence France-Presse, the AP, and UPI,
FTW published a story describing the Taliban's successful destruction of
their poppy crop. We viewed this at the time - possibly incorrectly - as
a move by the Taliban to take $90 billion in drug cash out of the western
banking system. That sales remained stable, however, is reflected in the fact
that heroin prices fell only slightly in 2000. Had Afghanistan stopped selling
altogether, then Western Europe, which gets its opium from Afghanistan, would
have seen a steep increase in prices. It did not. So why then did Powell give
Afghanistan the $43 million? I wish I knew.
Now, based upon new evidence, we know that in 1999 Afghanistan produced a
bumper crop of 4,600 metric tons of opium and that this has been verified
by a number of sources including the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP)
as well as in a multitude of press stories. The 2000 harvest was close to
3,300 metric tons. The result, as Colombia expanded poppy cultivation in
the late 1990s, and as the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia showed only a
minor drop in output, was a glut. Therefore the Taliban's ban on production
would have had the impact of creating a price support by reducing supplies.
How successful was the ban and destruction of crops? Well, aside from the
above reports, which all indicated that inspection confirming the ban had
taken place, consider the following:
- On January 3, 2001 an ABC News story, posted on their web site stated,
"Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Inam ul-Haq's claim to have eliminated all opium
plantations in Taliban controlled territories - reported by Agence France-Presse
-- seems to have been confirmed by a UN survey.
"This development could have several important ramifications for both the
geopolitical situation in the region and the world drug trade...."
"The center of world drug production will shift from Afghanistan, which
accounted for 75 percent of world opium production last year, to Colombia
and the Golden Triangle on the border between Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand.
A February 16, 2001 AP story by Kathy Gannon was headlined, "Taliban
virtually wipes out opium production in Afghanistan." It opened with these
"U.N. drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has
virtually wiped out opium production in Afghanistan - once the world's largest
producer - since banning poppy cultivation in July.
"A 12-member team from the U.N. Drug Control Program spent two weeks searching
most of the nation's largest opium-producing areas and found so few poppies
that they do not expect any opium to come out of Afghanistan this year.
"'We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields,' said
Bernard Frahi, regional director for the U.N. program in Afghanistan and
Pakistan. He laid out photographs of vast tracts of land cultivated with wheat
alongside pictures of the same fields taken a year earlier - a sea of blood
On May 24, 2001 Barry Berak of the New York Times wrote a story
entitled, "Taliban Ban on Drug Crops Is Working, U.S. Concludes." Here are
the lead paragraphs:
"ELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan, May 20 - 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 per cent 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
"But American narcotics officials who visited the country confirmed
earlier United Nations reports that the Taliban had, in one growing season,
managed a rare triumph in the long and losing war on drugs...."
Before looking at what the press is saying since the WTC attacks, take
three facts and lock them firmly in your brain. First, the opium-growing
season in the region, according to the UN and other drug monitoring agencies,
is a planting in October and November with a harvest in May and June. There
have been no crops planted or harvested in Afghanistan or Pakistan
since the summer of 2000. The Taliban and farmers have been sustaining themselves
by selling stockpiles, with the prices fairly stable since the ban.
Second, Afghanistan, for the last four years, has been suffering under one
of the worst droughts in its history. The last year has been the worst.
Third, Central Asian expert, Vladimir Davlatov, writing for "1 world media,"
from the Tajikistan capital of Dushnabe, interviewed a General [Rustam Nazarov]
in command of Tajik border guards charged with intercepting heroin supplies
smuggled out of Afghanistan. The August 31 story (Issue No. 67) quoted the
General as saying, "The quality of Afghan heroin has recently deteriorate[d]."
- "The West At War: Drugs Wipeout - We'll Bomb Poppy Fields - Blair Targets
Terror Profits - Poppy fields which supply the Taliban's multi-billion pound
drugs trade are to be a key target of military strikes in Afghanistan" read
the headline of a September 30, 2000 story in the British paper, The Sunday
Mirror. The story said:
"A senior Downing street aide said: 'We have reliable information that the
Taliban are planning to use money from drugs to finance military action, and
that bin Laden has ordered farmers to step up production..." How can they
step up production? It takes six months to grow a crop and they have
to plant one first. The planting doesn't start until November. Meantime we're
bombing the region to smithereens. Is this a new form of plowing the soil?
"There is an estimated 3,000 tonnes of opium stockpiled inside Afghanistan...."
OK, what have they been selling for the last year, wheat? Mushrooms?
- "Flood of Cheap Afghan Heroin," blazed the headline of a story in the
Times of London dated September 25, 2001. The lead sentences of that
"AFGHAN farmers are ready to swamp world markets with heroin amid signs
that the Taliban has dropped its ban on opium growing.
"The ban was imposed by Mullah Muhammad Omar last year, leaving many farmers
ruined. But the sudden halving of the price of raw opium to $250 a kg suggests
the decree has been reversed." So whose heroin is flooding the markets?
-The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and the WashingtonPost, along with every network, have all reported that the Taliban's
response to U.S. attacks will be to increase heroin production. Strange for
a country that is now militarily sealed off and has no remaining operable
airfields and whose land borders are now sealed by the U.S. military. That
gives a whole new meaning to the term "Thunder Road."
- On September 30 The Chicago Tribune published a story entitled "Panicked
Opium Traders Unload Huge Stocks. Implying that it was the Taliban doing
so, the story opened with the lead:
"ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Just as the Dow Jones industrial average fell
precipitously in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S., so did the
main economic marker in the ramshackle street bazaars of Pakistan's North
West Frontier province.
"Traders from Peshawar reported that the price of opium had plunged from
$700 a kilo to $90 since September 11...."
There is no mention in the story of the fact that Pakistan itself grows
opium poppy or that the Pakistani government of Musharraf Pervez - our erstwhile
ally - has been dependent upon drug money to sustain itself for at least
ten years. How come the story doesn't look to the Pakistani issue?
- The Ananova press agency reported on September 29th, "...A Downing Street
spokesman says there is evidence of a sudden movement of opium out of neighboring
Pakistan where it was being stockpiled." Now let me get this straight.
The stockpiles are in Pakistan so we're going to bomb Afghanistan for it.
That makes real good sense!
- In this most outrageous propaganda of all, the Indian news service PTI
in New Delhi, published a story on October 4, headlined, "Laden Planned to
Wreak Havoc in U.S. Through Super Heroin." It's lead paragraph reads:
"The most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden had planned to develop a 'super
heroin' drug and export the same to United States and West Europe to wreak
havoc there much before the deadly September 11 attacks. 'The terror network
headed by Osama bin Laden has tried to develop a high-strength form of heroin
that it planned to export to United States and Western Europe," a major American
daily said today quoting intelligence reports."
This is the most patent b.s. [nonsense]I have ever read. I specialized in
heroin at Los Angeles Police Department. I was also trained by the DEA in
1976. There is no such thing as super heroin. Heroin is a chemical, diacetyl
morphine. Its purest form is 100%. It is usually "cut" at least four times
- each time by 50% - to 6.25% purity or less before it is sold on the streets.
There is no way to make it stronger
unless you just cut it less, which automatically cuts the profits to
street vendors. And it is the middlemen and retailers who do the cutting,
not the manufacturer. It is easier to smuggle one kilo of pure heroin from
Afghanistan to Uzbekistan or Pakistan or Turkey than it is to smuggle eight
kilos at 6.25%. It would take eight times as many airplanes and trucks.
Each time a middleman cuts the heroin he has twice as much to sell.
This lie of a story implies that Osama bin Laden controls street-level
drug dealing in the United States from the black ghettos of New York and
Los Angeles to the white suburbs of San Francisco and Chicago. That's the
only way it is possible to get a higher-strength heroin on the streets of
And what about the fact that the U.S. receives - according to the DEA and
the Department of Justice - more than 60 per cent of its heroin from Colombia.
Does bin Laden control Colombia too?
"Oh Yeah [yes], We Forgot To Tell You"
Only belatedly have major outlets like the Wall Street Journal
The Associated Press (Oct. 5), and the Washington Post (Oct. 5) begun
to acknowledge, in stories placed well back in the paper, and with much less
emphasis, that the Northern Alliance - our allies against the Taliban -are
now in real control of the heroin trade. Smuggling routes have shifted from
south through Pakistan northward through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
They acknowledge the obvious - that the Taliban is no longer the primary supplier
of heroin. How could they be?
The Real Story
In March 2001 FTW reported from Moscow that Uzbekistan was "awash" in a
sea of poppies. Since September 11 we have seen Uzbekistan not surprisingly
become the hub for all U.S. military operations going into Afghanistan. It
was, in fact, the very first place that U.S. military and "special
operations" forces deployed - within days of the attacks. Unmentioned in
press stories is the fact that firms like Southern Air, Evergreen and other
CIA proprietary or contract operations have been establishing a presence
in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent for more than a year. And Tashkent is a
surprisingly modern city. It even has an Intercontinental Hotel. This is
undoubtedly due in part to increased oil exploration, but it hauntingly parallels
our experience from another era - Vietnam.
Now, as we are hearing the first reports that the Uzbeki government,
fighting its own battle against a Muslim insurgency, will permit offensive
operations from its military bases, FTW has had two reports that CIA operative
Richard Secord has recently traveled to Tashkent. Secord's documented history
of involvement in heroin smuggling, from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand in the
1960's and his criminal involvement in illegal operations, including drug
smuggling during the Iran-Contra years, tells us exactly what is happening.
These same intelligence sources have also reported that many other CIA veterans
of Iran-Contra and Vietnam - despite their age - are converging on Tashkent
like bees to a field of flowers - poppy flowers.
In the 1960s and 1970s, as the Vietnam War raged, the CIA fostered and maintained
a series of covert wars in Laos and Cambodia. They did this by funding their
operations with heroin, refined from opium grown by indigenous tribesmen
including the Hmong in Laos. The Hmong, in turn became surrogate U.S. armies
and the money from the trade supported the CIA and its allies as the region
became totally unstable. In the years since, the only difference is that
drug money has become a $500-600 billion a year cash flow that is now an
essential part of the world banking and financial system because it
provides the liquid cash necessary to make the "minimum monthly payments"
on huge stock and derivative and investment bubbles in the U.S. and Britain.
These bubbles were already bursting in the weeks prior to the September 11
Now, as the CIA moves to control the drug trade in the region you can be
sure of several things. First, when the world sees an explosion of heroin
from the region it won't be the Taliban's doing. Second, the cash flows from
the smuggling will now be directed through U.S. banks and stocks. That is
what the CIA does. Third, those cash flows - as direct air operations from
Tashkent to the U.S. become commonplace - will be taken away from Russia,
the Balkans, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Fourth, the result of that will be
de-stabilization of the entire region. Fifth, destabilization in the region
will Balkanize Russia. Sixth, the increasing U.S. military and economic presence
will consolidate U.S. control over the vast oil and gas reserves in the region.
A revived Unocal-Saudi pipeline project, which will begin
construction soon after the U.S. establishes control, will take the oil
and gas from Central Asia, through Afghanistan, and down to the Pakistani
coast where it will then be sold to China and Japan. The profits from those
sales will come back into Wall Street. This will be a further drain on Russian
influence in the region and greatly increase global instability.
Throughout the 1990s the United States - under an exclusive arrangement coordinated
by the Harvard Endowment, Goldman Sachs and the U.S Treasury -looted some
$300 billion from Russia. During the period from 1989-2001 the population
of that country shrank from 165 to 145 million people. As infrastructure collapsed,
as services disappeared, as unemployment skyrocketed, as the Ruble collapsed,
the life expectancy for a Russian male dropped from 68 to 48 years.
Make no mistake. Russia is the target here just as much as is the propping
up of a feeble U.S. economy with drug money. And remember that Russia still
has most of its nuclear arsenal intact.