In an amazing propaganda segment, Fox News’ Gerald Rivera talks with an occupation soldier about U.S. support of the opium trade in Afghanistan. The soldier tells Rivera he does not like supporting Afghan opium production. The U.S., he insists, has turned a blind eye to the cultivation because it is a cultural thing. He’d rather the Afghans grow watermelons.
Is it possible the U.S. will tell the brother of Afghanistan’s U.S.-installed ruler he should get in the watermelon business?
It was reported a few months ago that Ahmed Wali Karzai was on the CIA payroll and intimately involved in the opium trade Fox News and the rest of the corporate media tell us is run by the evil Taliban.
Fox News did not report that before everything changed on September 11, 2001, and before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban had imposed a ban on opium production. This resulted in opium production collapsing by more than 90 per cent. It was the U.S. supported Northern Alliance that came to the rescue and began protecting the production of raw opium.
“CIA-supported Mujahedeen rebels [who in 2001 were part of the Northern Alliance] engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society,” William Blum writes in The Real Drug Lords.
Under the interim government of Hamid Karzai, opium poppy cultivation once again began to skyrocket and opium markets were restored. According to the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP), opium cultivation increased by 657 per cent in 2002 in relation to its 2001 level. The UNDCP estimated 2002 opium poppy cultivation would cover an area between 45,000 and 65,000 hectares. Opium cultivation in 2001 had fallen to an estimated 7,606 hectares. According to the UN, in 2006 alone Afghanistan supplied 92 percent of the world’s supply of opium (see Apratim Mukarji’s Afghanistan: From Freedom to Terror, p. 22-23).
“The Golden Crescent drug trade, launched by the CIA in the early 1980s, continues to be protected by US intelligence, in liaison with NATO occupation forces and the British military. In recent developments, British occupation forces have promoted opium cultivation through paid radio advertisements,” Michel Chossudovsky wrote in 2007.
“Respected people of Helmand. The soldiers of ISAF and ANA do not destroy poppy fields,” the radio promo said. “They know that many people of Afghanistan have no choice but to grow poppy. ISAF and the ANA do not want to stop people from earning their livelihoods.” This is basically the same excuse used by the soldier interviewed by Geraldo.
“Senior Bush Administration officials had displayed a complete lack of interest in the Afghan opium problem ever since 9/11,” James Risen writes in State of War. “In fact, the White House and Pentagon went out of their way to avoid taking on the Afghan drug lords from the very outset of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.”
Not mentioned is the fact that more than 95 percent of the revenue generated by opium production is siphoned off to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions.
“In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital,” said Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said last January. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.”
Former Managing Director and board member of Wall Street investment bank Dillon Read, Catherine Austin Fitts, has long alleged that the banksters launder imponderable amounts of drug money. “According to the Department of Justice, the US launders between $500 billion – $1 trillion annually. I have little idea what percentage of that is narco dollars, but it is probably safe to assume that at least $100-200 billion relates to US drug import-exports and retail trade,” writes Fitts.
The CIA has long secured the lucrative global drug market for Wall Street and for its own operational “off-the-books” purposes. “The CIA’s operational directorate, in other words that’s their covert operations, para-military, dirty tricks — call it whatever you want — has for at least 40 years that we can document paid for a significant amount of its work through the sales of heroin and cocaine,” Guerrilla News Network reported in an interview with Christopher Simpson.
The CIA has been in the drug running business since the 1950s. In Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Latin America, and Afghanistan, the CIA — also known as the “Cocaine Import Agency” — has remained at the forefront of the international illicit drug trade. The journalist Gary Webb and the San Jose Mercury News tied the CIA and the Contras to a large crack cocaine ring in Los Angeles. Webb paid with his life for revealing this information to the public.
None of this was mentioned by Geraldo Rivera and Fox News. Instead we are told drug dealing in Afghanistan is something engaged in by the evil Taliban (a group of religious fanatics created by the CIA and its partner, Pakistin’s ISI intelligence service).
Not that the Taliban are innocent — they have abandoned their old ways and are now exploiting the opium bumper crop to fund their operations.
“Curbing the Taliban’s multimillion dollar opium poppy business was a major goal of a military operation to seize this former insurgent stronghold,” the Associated Press reported in March. “If they destroy the crops and curb the trade, they lose the support of the population — a problem for which they have no easy solution.”
Support of the population, of course, comes in a far distant second to maintaining the addiction of Wall Street and the CIA to billions of dollars in profit.