View Full Version : Russia criticizes US, NATO over Afghan drugs

Ed Jewett
03-18-2010, 04:32 AM
Russia Criticizes U.S., NATO Over Afghan Drugs *wink* *wink* (http://cryptogon.com/?p=14367)

March 18th, 2010 If the squeals out of Russia about drug trafficking are real, and I have serious doubts about that, why not mention this bridge (http://cryptogon.com/?p=9665)?
In August 2007, the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37 million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers designed to link two of Central Asia’s poorest countries.
Dressed in a gray suit with an American flag pin in his lapel, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S. taxpayers paid for would be “a critical transit route for trade and commerce” between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber: It’s paved the way for drug traffickers to transport larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond to Russia and Western Europe.

All along the Afghan-Tajik border, smugglers for years have thrown sacks of heroin over the Panj River, waded across when the water is low, set up flotillas of car tires and used small ferries or footbridges.
The U.S.-financed bridge has made drug trafficking even easier, truck driver Mohammed said with a toothy smile: “You load the truck with drugs.”
The ferry that used to operate at Nizhny Panj carried about 40 trucks a day. The bridge can carry 1,000 vehicles daily.
Why not send a television crew there and turn it into a media circus? Why not tempt some poor bastards with a bit of rat meat and few crates of AK-47s to place high explosives on the support columns of that bridge?
Russia is an overt mafia state. During the Soviet era, the black market was controlled by the KGB. Putin was involved with the KGB from 1975 until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Now, anyone that matters in Russia has to kiss Putin’s ring. Russian journalists who expose the regime for what it is are routinely killed.
http://cryptogon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg (http://cryptogon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Vladimir_Putin_in_KGB_uniform.jpg)Vladimir Putin in KGB Uniform

Look at the atrocities Russia carried out in Chechnya and more recently the swift kneecapping of Georgia. Look at the unending political assassinations in Russia. When that regime draws a line in the sand: Watch out.
If Russia actually wanted to stop the proliferation of heroin within its borders, do you honestly believe that it wouldn’t turn that bridge into a pile of rubble, if just to send a little message to the U.S. run cartel?
Some participants in the Afghan opium orgy are making a bigger killing than others. My guess is that all this boo hoo out of Russia is just Vlad posturing for a bigger cut of the action.
Related: MI6 Covert Operation in Afghanistan Related to “Farming and Irrigation Techniques” (http://cryptogon.com/?p=1988)
Via: AP (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h8WKqUEWMElRrc1PRSjQ_uC9EuCwD9ED4U400):
Russia’s envoy to NATO has sharply criticized the alliance’s battle with drug trafficking in Afghanistan, saying it has led to a surge in heroin smuggling that is endangering Russia’s national security.
In an interview late Thursday, Dmitry Rogozin also highlighted the lack of cohesion within NATO, saying Moscow is worried about declining public support in Europe for the war.
Russia “is losing 30,000 lives a year to the Afghan drug trade, and a million people are addicts,” Rogozin said. “This is an undeclared war against our country.”
“We are obviously very dissatisfied with the lack of attention from NATO and the United States to our complaints about this problem.”
For years, the allies tried to eradicate poppy crops, but that resulted in a boost to the insurgency as impoverished poppy farmers joined the Taliban. U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s new policy of trying to win the support of the population means that these farmers are now left alone, enabling them to tend crops that produce 90 percent of the world’s heroin.
Last month, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said Afghanistan’s cultivation of opium — the main ingredient in heroin — is unlikely to rise or fall dramatically in 2010, after a major drop over the last two years. But even during 2008 and 2009 Afghanistan was producing far more opium a year than the world consumes, the Vienna-based office said.
Russia claims that drug production in Afghanistan has increased tenfold since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime in 2001. Smugglers freely transport Afghan heroin and opium north into Central Asia and Russia, and also on to Western Europe.
Rogozin pointed to Washington’s inconsistency in its attitude to international drug trafficking saying that in contrast to Afghanistan, it was waging a drug war in Colombia because that was the primary source of cocaine that goes to America.
“But in the case of the heroin which goes to Russia, they are doing practically nothing,” he said. “This is not how you treat your friends and partners.”
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the alliance understands Russian concerns, and that the problem affects Europe as well. The most important part of solving the drug trade was helping to defeat the insurgency, and NATO has 120,000 troops trying to do just that, he said.
Appathurai noted that the U.N. cites the Marjah region, where NATO has just completed a large-scale offensive, as one of the world’s foremost opium-producing areas. “By helping re-establish government control there, we are making a substantial contribution to the counter-narcotics effort,” he said.
“We would welcome increased support from Russia for our overall effort and (NATO) has made very specific requests to Moscow which they are considering,” Appathurai said.
Russia contributes logistical support for NATO- and U.S.-led operations by providing a vital land and air transit corridor for the shipment of supplies to the international force. It also services Soviet helicopters and organizes training for the Afghan anti-drug police. But Moscow always has ruled out sending ground troops.
During the Cold War, the Soviets provided military support for the secular Afghan government, and deployed over 100,000 troops to defend it against religious fundamentalists being financed by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, and other Western nations. About 15,000 Soviet soldiers died in the 10-year war in the 1980s.
“Today we are helping them fight the same fanatics whom they supported against us 20 years ago,” Rogozin noted.
He expressed concern over weakening support for the nine-year war from America’s European allies, “who ended up in Afghanistan without really knowing what they were doing there.”
“The result is falling public commitment to the war,” he said.
Last month, the Dutch government collapsed because it tried to comply with a NATO request to keep its 2,000-strong contingent in Afghanistan. The Dutch crisis, and growing public opposition in other European countries to further involvement in Afghanistan, has sparked fears that other NATO nations might also pull out their troops.
“NATO is still dominated by the United States, and European allies still fall in line just to keep the alliance going, (by) participating in U.S.-initiated military adventures, even though their national interests in doing so are far from clear,” said Ian Buruma, a professor of democracy at Bard College in New York.
“It is hard to see how this can continue for much longer.”
In a related development, NATO’s top official said Russia’s military doctrine — which still identifies the Western military alliance as a top threat — is outdated and “does not reflect the real world.”
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO will “never invade Russia.” He has repeatedly called for the two to forge a “strategic partnership” and cooperate more closely in Afghanistan, anti-piracy operations, and countering terrorism and drug trafficking.

David Guyatt
03-18-2010, 08:47 AM
I seem to recall that a good, fast road was also built in SE Asia's "Golden Triangle" region which was said to facilitate the transport of heroin from the land-locked region to distribution points on the coast.

Magda Hassan
03-24-2010, 11:11 PM

Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 24, 2010

NATO rejects Russia's demand to destroy Afghan poppy fields

NATO and Russia clashed on Wednesday over how to tackle the drug problem in Afghanistan, where Western nations have been fighting a Taliban-led insurgency for eight years, dpa reported.

The country is the world's largest producer of poppy seeds, a key ingredient in the manufacture of heroin. Russia is keen to pursue an aggressive eradication strategy, while Western allies fear that such an approach risks antagonizing the local population, who rely on selling poppy crops to survive.

The different points of view came to a head at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council attended by the head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Agency (FSKN), Victor Ivanov and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"Afghan opiates led to the death of 1 million people by overdose in the last 10 years, and that is United Nations data. Is that not a threat to world peace and security?" Ivanov asked journalists after the meeting.

In his speech to NATO diplomats, a copy of which was handed to the press, Ivanov stressed that "NATO is fully responsible for normalizing the situation in Afghanistan, including the elimination of drug production."

The Russian official presented a 7-point plan that foresees, among other things, an extension of the UN mandate for NATO troops in Afghanistan that would oblige them to eradicate poppy fields, as well as targeting the Taliban-led insurgency.

Ivanov said at least 25 per cent of the opium crop should be destroyed as part of the proposed joint NATO-Russia plan. He added that Marjah, the former Taliban stronghold that NATO troops cleared in recent weeks, offered a "unique opportunity" to start the effort.

But NATO spokesman James Appathurai indicated that allies were not ready to follow Russia's suggestions.

"We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income for people who live in the second poorest country in the world without being able to provide them an alternative. That is simply not possible," he told journalists.

However, he stressed that there was "a very positive mood" in the talks with Ivanov and said that the two sides agreed to boost an already existing programme that involves joint training of Afghan counter-narcotics police.

Heroin addiction is a big problem for Russia. According to figures cited in Ivanov's speech, Russia was the single largest consumer of heroin in 2008, with 21 per cent of world production ending up in its territory.

"In Russia up to 30,000 people are killed annually from Afghan drugs ... almost every family in Russia has been affected," the head of the FSKN stated.

Paul Rigby
04-08-2010, 08:14 PM

Russian Counterdrug Tsar General Ivanov has given NATO a last chance to prove its mettle in Helmand against opium poppy cultivation – but the alliance has blown it again – after its patent failure in counterterrorism & counterinsurgency ops in Iraq & AfPak.

With tacit prodding from the US viceroy of Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, NATO, instead of unleashing IO and psyops to support defoliation of Helmand killing fields, opted for lobbying narco-farmers’ interests and has launched a gray propaganda campaign against Russia’s unyielding stance to nip the Afghan opium in the bud.

To get the difference between the Russian position and Western brainwashing, compare both sides of the same story:

TimesLive claimed that “According to figures cited in Ivanov’s speech, Russia was the single largest consumer of heroin in 2008, with 21 per cent of world production ending up in its territory.”

And this is what General Ivanov actually said, referring to Afghan drug stats:

“International heroin consumption in 2008 amounted to: 21 per cent in Russia, 26 per cent in Europe [wake up, NATO, this is you!]”…

“It’s shocking that annual civil losses in the NATO countries due to heroin overdoses are 50 times higher than their military losses in Afghanistan. This is confirmed by the data provided by UNODC Director Antonio Costa regarding annual death of 10,000 citizens of the North Atlantic Treaty countries caused by Afghan drugs.”
NATO: US propaganda enforcement agency

NATO spokesman James Appathurai perfectly parroted US poppy-centric policy: "We cannot be in a situation where we remove the only source of income for people who live in the second-poorest country in the world without being able to provide them with an alternative. That is simply not possible."

I’m at loss how to qualify this poison pill, sugarcoated as "a slight difference of views": highly enriched narco-propaganda or lowly depleted intelligence?

1. [Opium is] the only source of income? C’mon, James, there are plenty of opportunities for local tribesmen – that is, if you don’t consider them fast-food morons – in addition to filling jihadist job opportunities, they could create or join posse comitatus (Arbakai) against the Taliban and their feudal land/drug/war lords; enlist in the ANSF or a private army of contractors and NGOs; migrate to Pakistan or apply as “freedom-farmers” for drug asylum to NATO countries.

2. Remove the only source of income without an alternative? Don’t sweat it, partner – stop searching for a McDonald’s menu and start reading the US GAO “Afghanistan Drug Control” testimony’s fine print: “Funding allotments for US alternative development and agriculture …totaled $1.4 billion (sic!) from fiscal years 2005 through 2009.” (Page 4). Amigo, read my lips: for one-and-a-half billion bucks allegedly spent by the State Department on “alternative development and agriculture”, you could have built a Napa Valley in Helmand! Where’s the money, James?

Frankly, Appathurai deserves a standing ovation for blurting out NATO’s top-secret motto of mighty military impotence: “We cannot… That is simply not possible.”

When at last NATO is laid to rest, this will be an epitaph engraved in gold on its tombstone

Paul Rigby
04-09-2010, 04:52 AM

Opium and the CIA: Can the US Triumph in the Drug-Addicted War in Afghanistan?

by Prof Peter Dale Scott

Conclusion: The Source of the Global Drug problem is not Kabul, but Washington

I understand why McCoy, in his desire to change an ill-fated policy, is more decorous than I am in acknowledging the extent to which powerful American institutions—government, intelligence and finance—and not just the Karzai government, have been corrupted by the pervasive international drug traffic. But I believe that his tactfulness will prove counter-productive. The biggest source of the global drug problem is not in Kabul, but in Washington. To change this scandal will require the airing of facts which McCoy, in this essay, is reluctant to address.

In his magisterial work, The Politics of Heroin, McCoy tells the story of Carter’s White House drug advisor David Musto. In 1980 Musto told the White House Strategy Council on Drug Abuse that “we were going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets. Shouldn’t we try to avoid what we had done in Laos?”27 Denied access by the CIA to data to which he was legally entitled, Musto took his concerns public in May 1980, noting in a New York Times op-ed that Golden Crescent heroin was already (and for the first time) causing a medical crisis in New York. And he warned, presciently, that “this crisis is bound to worsen.”28

Musto hoped that he could achieve a change of policy by going public with a sensible warning about a disastrous drug-assisted adventure in Afghanistan. But his wise words were powerless against the relentless determination of what I have called the U.S. war machine in our government and political economy. I fear that McCoy’s sensible message, by being decorous precisely where it is now necessary to be outspoken, will suffer the same fate.