a very lucrative trade


Will Hardiker

The Bush Administrations war on terror continues to provide the primary justification for the war in Afghanistan whilst the multi-billion dollar trade is wholly overlooked.

United States Secretary of State Clinton recently explained that it is necessary for the United States to be in Afghanistan to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda”. Meanwhile Afghanistan’s puppet President was in London ranting about the need to stamp out corruption and reiterating that US troops will be needed in Afghanistan for years. Clinton is merely disseminating a myth that has enabled the United States and Israel to pursue their strategic and economic interests in the Middle East since 9/11whilst Karzai’s border on the absurd. Mr. Karzai was recruited by the CIA during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980’s and as the fraudulent elections last year proved to the world is about as corrupt as they come. His brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, also on the CIA payroll since 2001 is widely recognized to be a major player in the countries drug trade. Billions of US aid dollars are received by Karzai’s government and distributed by corrupt ministers to the provincial drug lords who overseer opium cultivation. Hamid Karzai is the CIA’s pawn in Kabul controlling this racket, thus the pre-determined ‘free and fair’ elections last year.

President Obama described al-Qaeda as “a cancer in that country” when justifying his decision to deploy an additional 30,000 troops, however he left out one key fact. According to senior US intelligence officers in late 2008 the Taliban had severed ties with al-Qaeda and there were fewer than 100 members remaining in Afghanistan. It is hugely disappointing to witness Obama taking up the baton and perpetuating the war on terror mythology. On taking office his administration vowed to cease with this misnomer. Unfortunately it seems that’s all we can expect.

It is barely credible that within three days of the attacks on September 11, 2001 US authorities had identified 19 highjackers and accused a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden, the son of a wealthy Saudi Arabian family with close ties to the Bush family overnight became the evil countenance of international terrorism. Never mind that there was no concrete proof that an organization by the name of al-Qaeda even existed and that it was not simply a creation of the CIA to justify their covert operations in the 1980’s. The United States government and mass media have used the war on terror to justify two major wars and to implement draconian domestic policies which include curtailing of civil rights and dramatic increases in public surveillance and security. The general acceptance of the war on terror as justification for the extreme policies governments have implemented demonstrates just how easy it is for governments and the corporate sector to manipulate public opinion.

The relative insignificance of the threat of global terrorism becomes apparent when viewed up against the many human made scourges which cause death and destruction on a massive scale. Civil wars, poverty, third world debt, AIDS, de-forestation, climate change, poverty, hunger and the consequences of globalization to name but a few all make a mockery of the war on terror. In 2003 a mere thirty five Americans died from international terrorism; none of them in North America, Europe, Africa or Australia. In the same year 16,503 died as a result of murder in the US alone. Even before the 9/11 attacks the US federal budget allocated over 8 billion dollars a year to fighting terrorism.

Since September 11, 2001 the war on terror has been milked for all it is worth and blown completely out of proportion by the mass media. It has provided the United States and NATO the means to manipulate public opinion and wage illegal, unjust wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. As an excuse to fight a war in Afghanistan it is difficult not to consider the war on terror as anything other than a complete fraud. There is however another more compelling reason why the United States has such a keen interest in this part of the world.

If the war on terror is to be dismissed as a fraudulent excuse the question must be asked, why then are we there? Some interesting facts are worth considering; according to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), global money laundering from illicit drugs is estimated to be between 590 billion and 1.5 trillion US dollars per year. This figure represents 2.5% of global GDP. Drug trafficking constitutes the third biggest global commodity after oil and the arms trade. Afghanistan produces over 95% of the world’s opium and its street derivative - heroin. The estimated value of Afghanistan’s opium crop is estimated to be somewhere around 80 billion US dollars. The United States government, the CIA, powerful corporations, drug traders and organized crime all compete for strategic control over Afghanistan’s multi-billion dollar drug trade. Despite what we are told, only a small percentage of the proceeds of opium production remain in Afghanistan and more than 80% of the multi-billion dollar revenues end up in the Western banking system, financial institutions and on Wall Street. These are compelling facts and statistics because they present the US and NATO with very real incentives to be in Afghanistan.

Prior to 2001 opium production was booming. Business was great and everyone was happy, especially the CIA and the United States government. Everyone that is except the Taliban who in 1999 in partnership with UNODC, (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) embarked on a programme of eradicating Afghanistan’s opium industry. This was a huge success and within a year production stood at a mere 185 tons; the crops had been destroyed, the trade routes halted and heroin shortages were being experienced across Europe. Suddenly the Americans were deeply unhappy. The situation needed urgent attention and after the attacks on the world trade centre in September 2001 the capitals of western banking and finance the US and Great Britain, launched a pre-emptive war against those who had rudely disrupted what had been a very lucrative trade indeed. In 2002 under US and UN occupation, opium production returned to a record 3400 tons and the Afghan opium trade was restored.

The result of Taliban and UNODC efforts to eradicate Afghanistan’s opium production in 1999 and its rebound after the United State’s intervention in 2001 is clear. Since then production has steadily increased. According to UNODC Afghan farmers earned $6.4 billion from opium poppy cultivation between 2002 and 2008, while Afghan traffickers made some $18 billion from local opiate processing and trading.

Afghan farmers are amongst the poorest people in the world. Only a very small percentage of opium profits accrue to farmers and traders; a fraction of the estimated one billion dollar amount believed to remain in Afghanistan and that I assume is aside from that used to prop up the CIA sponsored Karzai presidency. So where do the multi-billion dollar profits end up? In all likelihood distributed amongst intelligence agencies, business syndicates and western banks and financial institutions. The only way for UNODC to account for the absent billions is to blame the Taliban and the hapless Afghan farmer.

Occupying a country in order to “disarm and dismantle terrorist networks” is an absurd proposition. No size army can stop small groups of individuals carrying out acts of terrorism. The first casualty of war is said to be the truth and the US war in Afghanistan is certainly no exception. The US lost control of Afghanistan’s opium trade in 1999. It was quickly regained and a war to maintain it has raged since. Occupying a country only ever serves to inflame hatred and incite violence and the United States has never been in the business of liberating oppressed peoples for purely altruistic reasons. This war is about protecting a very lucrative trade indeed.



...moreover we MUST have export market share in the current debt finance system.
Even at the cost of war.
Investments in Afghanistan are numerous and from China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India, apart from US-Anglo corporations. Investments mean a future economic stranglehold.
WW 3 is highly disguised when finance comes in.