AFGHANISTAN: US DRUG POLICY, TOTAL CORRUPTION OR UTTER INSANITY?
By Colonel Eugene Khrushchev (ret) STAFF WRITER/Editor
The new American drug policy is easy to understand. America is telling the world it can no longer eradicate opium/heroin production because “poor farmers” are going to suffer. In truth, the poppy fields America now protects are run by drug lords with ties to the Karzai regime. America is building a narco-mafia behind the government of Afghanistan tied to an unsound and corrupt policy being peddled by the Special Envoy, Richard Holbrooke.
The US has no plans to eradicate drug production in Afghanistan, production they and everyone else claims is funding the Taliban and is certainly pumping 65 billion dollars into somebody’s hands. This is what NATO commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal has decided to do:
McChrystal’s solution is to set up a “slush fund” to pay off the Majah opium poppy growers. What this is doing is to dismantle any real counter-narcotics program the DEA and SOF were supposedly implementing. What we are learning is that the US State Department, for reasons unknown and unknowable, wants to manage Afghanistan as a crime ridden “narco-state” for the foreseeable future.
What the Secretary of State called “the best decision in the face of an array of less-than-perfect options” has set in motion the worst-case nightmare scenario – a boon for the drug lords, a bane for the drug busters.
What the “drug eradication” policy does is simple. It eradicates no drugs, it supplies money to criminal elements that destabilize the government, destroys the internal tribal system America’s war policy depends on and is building unstable and ungovernable regions that will support terrorism and extremism forever.
The essence of this nefarious proposition, promoted by narco lobby special envoy to the US Richard Holbrooke, was unveiled in theWashington Post on April 13:
“Marines try unorthodox tactics to disrupt Afghan opium harvest”.
The article carefully misleads a gullible reader to believe this hoax was initiated by the White House to be happily implemented by the US Marines. Though the narco envoy was never mentioned in the WP piece, it was Richard Holbrooke who concocted The Bucks for Drugs subterfuge and dispatched his minion John Kael Weston to bamboozle Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
As the story goes, the Marines ought to cash in $12 million from the Commander’s Emergency Response Program – “to disrupt the Afghan opium harvest”.
The whole scheme is a total scam, nothing is “disrupted,” far from it. In fact the policy is much closer to “agricultural support and
subsidy,” with the product being death dealing narcotics and the goal almost too insidious to imagine.
Here are the main fraudulent premises of the swindle – political & financial – attributed to the US administration as outlined in the Washington Post:
• “Eradication would drive farmers into the hands of the insurgency”
• “Poppy farmers are poor creatures who face economic peril if they cannot harvest or sell their crops”
These disinformation sound bites betray the Holbrooke hallmark and are adroitly exploited by narco-insurgency propaganda. Ambassador Thomas Schweich, a former US top drug buster in Afghanistan, exposed this drug lobby guerilla marketing in his seminal article “Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?” in the NYT way back in July 27, 2008:
“Karzai had long opposed aerial eradication,” (p.2) Why? “More than 95 percent of the residents of the poppy growing provinces [Helmand & Kandahar] – voted for Karzai.” (p.7)
“Poppy cultivation was becoming limited to the south, more associated with the insurgency and disassociated from poverty…UNODC convincingly demonstrated that poor farmers were abandoning the crop and that poppy growth was confined to the wealthiest parts of Afghanistan…It rejected the idea that farmers would starve without the poppy, concluding that ‘poverty doesn’t appear to have been the main driving factor in the expansion of opium poppy’.”
“UNODC shattered the myth that poppies are grown by destitute farmers…Eighty percent of the land under poppy cultivation in the south had been planted with it only in the last two years …these farmers didn’t need an alternative livelihood. They had abandoned their previous livelihoods…to take advantage of the security vacuum [which coincides with UK military presence] to grow a more profitable crop: opium…Yet Afghan officials continued to say that poppy cultivation was the only choice for its poor farmers.” (p.4)
“The ‘starving farmer’ was a convenient myth. [NATO] …wanted to avoid any uptick in violence from [counternarcotics] strategy, even if the strategy would result in long-term success…the Taliban loved it because their propaganda campaign consisted of trotting out farmers whose fields had been eradicated and having them say that they were going to starve.” (p.5)
What WP spins as “unorthodox tactics” and “one of the most novel US attempts to crack down on Afghanistan’s drug trade” is a highly inaccurate depiction of what is actually happening. The drug trade is being built, protected and now subsidized with no mention of the massive distribution and banking empire supporting it and enriching many players, few of them from Afghanistan.
Back to Ambassador Thomas Schweich:
“Payment for eradication is disastrous counternarcotics policy:
if you pay cash for poppies, farmers keep the cash and grow poppies again next year for more cash. And farmers who grow less-lucrative crops start growing poppies so that they can get the money, too. Drug experts call this type of offer a ‘perverse incentive’, and it has never worked anywhere in the world.” (p.8)
ARE AMERICA’S EFFORTS SIMPLY TOTALLY MISGUIDED OR UTTERLY CORRUPT?
How does the world’s largest money laundering scheme and the world’s largest narcotics distribution network totally escape American attention in Afghanistan? This isn’t America’s first “dance” in this arena, with a massive drug war on its border with Mexico and decades of efforts in South America having little or no effect.
We are also ignoring decades of substantive reports of CIA involvement in using narcotic trafficking to fund covert operations. You can’t turn on a TV without seeing this mentioned, the CIA-drug connection is a major part of American culture. Former FBI translator, Sibel Edmond’s testimony of US involvement in shipping drugs from Afghanistan on rendition flights has proven to be widely reliable and has received key support from members of the military and intelligence community
With America’s mainstream media running interference for these confused, misguided and corrupt efforts through taking part in a combination of spin and cover-up, a debate on a rational policy will be impossible.
I didn’t know that Rear Admiral Gregory Smith could manipulate Washington Post imbed at CAMP LEATHERNECK as a message multiplier for Richard Holbrooke narco propaganda. Now I do – and you do too.