US To Spend $413bn More On Afghan War

A decision by US President Barack Obama to extend the presence of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 Read more of this post

Australian PM Announces Snap Election

Australia’s new prime minister has announced snap elections to be held next month. Read more of this post

Russia Blasts US Over Afghan Drug Scheme

Russia accuses the United States of consiring with Afghanistan’s drug producers by refusing to eradicate opium plantations in the country. Read more of this post

NATO Won’t Destroy Afghan Poppy Fields

NATO has rejected an appeal made by Russia for eradication of opium fields in Afghanistan, arguing that the sole source of income in the region cannot be removed. Read more of this post

Occupiers Involved In Drug Trade: Afghan Minister

The Afghan minister of counter narcotics says foreign troops are earning money from drug production in Afghanistan.

General Khodaidad Khodaidad said the majority of drugs are stockpiled in two provinces controlled by troops from the US, the UK, and Canada, IRNA reported on Saturday.

He went on to say that NATO forces are taxing the production of opium in the regions under their control.

Afghanistan is the world’s biggest supplier of opium. Drug production in the Central Asian country has increased dramatically since the US-led invasion eight years ago. Read more of this post

NY Times – Afghan ‘Opium’ Kingpin On CIA Payroll

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.

The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House. Read more of this post

Afghanistan Opium Production Reaches 6,900 Tons

Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years despite the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.

A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.

The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars. The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.

The UN office estimated some 15 million people take the drug each year, out of which 100,000 people die annually, warning that opium use contributes to the spread of HIV and AIDS. Read more of this post

Opium Poppy Crop Set To Break Records This Year

Photo credit: www.bbc.co.uk   Iranian police officials say drug production in Afghanistan has had a 40-fold increase since the US led invasion of the country in 2001.


Afghanistan’s opium poppy crop is set to break all records this year, as grim reports by Iranian sources showed that drug production has reached a new height in the land-locked country.

Instability in the wake of the US invasion is widely believed to be the main reason behind Afghanistan’s booming market for drug production and opium trade. Read more of this post

It Has Always Been About Oil

We somewhat had given up searching for commentary on the news surrounding Western oil companies worming their way back into Iraq to exploit its oil fields again after being kicked out by Saddam Hussein. For those still brainwashed by the usual rhetoric out of Washington, the below article was taken from Barbados Underground posted by Green Monkey from Toronto Sun a previous online edition we had use in the past and forgot all about!

These wars are about oil, not democracy

By ERIC MARGOLIS
Toronto Sun

PARIS — The ugly truth behind the Iraq and Afghanistan wars finally has emerged.

Four major western oil companies, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP and Total are about to sign U.S.-brokered no-bid contracts to begin exploiting Iraq’s oil fields. Saddam Hussein had kicked these firms out three decades ago when he nationalized Iraq’s oil industry. The U.S.-installed Baghdad regime is welcoming them back.

Iraq is getting back the same oil companies that used to exploit it when it was a British colony.

As former fed chairman Alan Greenspan recently admitted, the Iraq war was all about oil. The invasion was about SUV’s, not democracy.

Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1,680-km pipeline project expected to cost $8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and later oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the West.

The Caspian basin located under the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakkstan, holds an estimated 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 100-200 billion barrels of oil. Securing the world’s last remaining known energy El Dorado is a strategic priority for the western powers.

But there are only two practical ways to get gas and oil out of land-locked Central Asia to the sea: Through Iran, or through Afghanistan to Pakistan. Iran is taboo for Washington. That leaves Pakistan, but to get there, the planned pipeline must cross western Afghanistan, including the cities of Herat and Kandahar.

SNIP

Washington disguised its energy geopolitics by claiming the Afghan occupation was to fight “Islamic terrorism,” liberate women, build schools and promote democracy. Ironically, the Soviets made exactly the same claims when they occupied Afghanistan from 1979-1989. The Iraq cover story was weapons of mass destruction and democracy.

http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Margolis_Eric/2008/06/22/5953041-sun.php

Drug Cartels Running Rampant

In its 127 page annual report, the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board {INCB} reported that governments across the world are failing to target cartels. Instead they are concentrating on small time users, which has led to the ‘rampant flow’ of drugs into fresh markets through new international trade routes.

For instance around 40% of the cocaine reaching Europe is shipped through longer established routes via the Caribbean. In 2006 Colombia accounted for 50% of the world coca cultivation, Peru 33%, Bolivia 17%. However the INCB report also found West Africa to be rapidly developing into a major drug smuggling route. Interpol estimates that 200-300 tonnes of cocaine from Latin America pass through such countries as Benin, CapeVerde, Mauritania and Senegal every year,then smuggled into Spain, Portugal and the UK.

The UN watchdog further states in its report that the illicit cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan has continued to increase ‘at a alarming level’. The total area use for illicit opium cultivation increased by 59% in 2006 and by a further 17% last year. That country now account for 93% of the global market in opiates – such as heroin, opium and morphine. Afghan opiates are smuggled to Iran, Pakistan and countries in Central Asia en route to Europe. Under article 14 of the UN  convention, the International Narcotics Control board can recommed an embargo against a country if its government fails to take remedial action to co-operate in the fight against drugs. As was taken against Afghanistan in 2000 when the Taliban was in power.

According to top UN drug enforcement offical in Afghan, Christina Oguz, the opium trade brings in about $4 billion each year to that country and that money makes the trafficking networks a powerful force in the improvished country. “The networks are powerful because these drug traders are linked to corrupt officials and to criminal networks outside Afghanistan.”

As of Europe, Britian appears to have the worst crack cocaine problem in Europe. “The abuse of crack cocaine continue to be marginal in all countries in Western Europe, with the possible exception of the UK” the report said.

{Adapted from International Press Reports}

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