Budding journalist Rory Cahill is a solid lefty and follower of international news. Whilst some of this might constitute a rave, it is nevertheless an insightful and thoughtful piece about the war on the drugs.
Jack works as a freelance journalist and has travelled widely, including manhy “hotspots” such Croatia in 1991 and Chiapas State, Mexico in 1994, when the Zapatistas under Subcommandante Marcos occupied the entire province.
To say he knows his shit is an understatement.
The Sunday Herald Sun printed a number of his stories while he was in Afganistan but the best and biggest story for mine, well, just isn’t being told.
Afganistan produces about 60-70% of the worlds heroin, supplying all of Western Europe, Russia and increasingly Australia. Shah Masood has done a deal with the Russians to stop trading smack and opium and in return the Russians are arming him to fight the goat-loving peasants that are the Talibs. This is undeniably a good thing.
But in the 90% of Afganistan held by the Taliban, a strange thing has occured. Desperate to win international aid and have Clinton’s limited 1998 sanctions removed, the Talibs actually cut opium production by 97% in 2000-01, mainly by burning crops and confiscating farming equipment.
This has resulted in about 100,000 poor peasants, denied the one cash crop that grows in the harsh Afgan soils, becoming refugees and heading to Pakistan to join 1.5 million of their compatriots who have been sheltering in squalid camps since the Russians invaded in 1979.
This season there will be no opium harvested in Afganistan and thus a major drop in world-wide heroin supplies, with accompanying crime waves as addicts steal more and more to pay for more expensive, less pure heroin.
One would think the Americans would be over-joyed by this, especially seeing as George Dubya “Coke And Whisky And Coke For Me Thanks” Bush is now resting his boots on the Oval Office table, especially as not-so-subtle messages were sent indicating the US would drop the sanctions if the Taliban cut the drugs.
Alas, no! Due to its racist and inept ways, the US is convinced hepatitic old Usuma bin Laden personally directs ALL international terrorism from his cave near Kandahar, despite the fact he is on dialysis and the Taliban have taken all his satellite communications equipment away.
That there are 2 billion Muslims on Earth and some of them, like the Chechen Mujahideen currently defeating the Russian Army for the second time in five years, are the best guerilla fighters in the world, seems to elude the US – clearly Usuma bin Laden and his 500 ageing supporters are the root of all evil!
So, because the strictly Muslim Talibs won’t betray their culture, religion and nation by giving bin Laden up to the Yanks to be tried by a kangaroo court in Washington, the US has jacked yet harsher sanctions onto poor old Afganistan.
The result? The Taliban are feeling, quite correctly, that the Americans cannot be trusted to keep their promises and have now embarked on a massive, industrial scale preparation for Season 2001-2. They are going to grow more opium and sell more smack to more Western kiddies than in anybody in human history. Jack saw new heroin labs and opium storage sheds being constructed!
What a great result all around. The Taliban will never, ever again bother with anything the West says, hence their glee in blowing the Buddhas at Bamiyan. Usuma bin Laden will never be brought to trial for his ALLEGED involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings and the world will be flooded with yet more smack.
The Americans will continue to stand over nations like Australia that want to look at other ways of dealing with drugs, because the War on Drugs is a key tenet of any US domestic political agenda.
And what your other correspondent, who’s name escapes me, writes about previous US adventures in the world of smack is absolutely correct.
Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, major player in Murder Incorporated and legendery New York gangster cut a deal with the authorities in 1944. He had been jailed in the ’30’s on prostitution charges although the Feds really wanted to get him for heroin dealing as it was Luciano who basically invented modern, organised drug dealing. The deal was that he would use his old Mafia contacts in Sicily to prepare the way for invasion, sabotaging Nazi equipment etc, if the Yanks let him stay there after the war.
Luciano’s work saved thousands of Americans lives during the invasion, but then he promptly began running heroin from Sicily back to the US, making himself a millionaire and thousands of US kids dead as a result … again good work Yanks!
Similarly, it is widely accepted that the US allowed the Afgan Mujahideen to pay for Stinger missiles with heroin during the 1980’s Jihad against the Russians. The CIA then on-sold this heroin, usually in their own backyard and channeled resultant funds to the neo-fascist Contra idiots in Nicaragua.
There are also a series of cases before the California “legal system” seeking to demonstrate the CIA orchestrated the crack cocaine epidemic that started in LA in the early 1980’s, again to fund illegal adventures in sovereign nations with democratically elected governments.
Enter the name Ricky “Freeway” Ross, the CIA man in South Central, into google and have a suss of what comes up!
It has been alleged that the same CIA unit that recruited Freeway Ross was involved in the slaughter of Archbishop Romero at the altar in El Salvador in 1981.
Which brings me to the next part of my rant. Drugs, especially heroin, are as much a POLITICAL issue as they are MEDICAL … and not CRIMINAL.
Little Johnny’s new anti-drug ads are a fantastic case in point. They are clearly aimed at protecting his own constituency and nothing else.
Each of the three kids portrayed is white and middle class. They get into white middle class Liberal voter problems with drugs and Howard offers them white-middle class Liberal voter solutions.
What is the non English speaking Vietnamese woman in Springvale or Cabramatta who’s son is hopelessly addicted and forced to sell on the street meant to make of these ads?
What is the family in Braybrook that has not been employed in three generations and has not been off smack in the same three generations meant to think?
What are people who are suspicious of orchestrated religion meant to think of a drug policy overseen by a Salvation Army “officer”?
What are the close-knit Muslim community in Lakemba, who are responsible for large areas of heroin turf in Sydney, meant to make of the Judeo-Christian, anglo, middle-class feel of these ads?
But this comes as no surprise. And one doubts Labor would do any better.
Steve “Don’t the rock the boat” Bracks is secretly over-joyed the cannibalistic rabble that hold the majority in the Victorian Legislative Assembly (once known as the Liberal Party) blocked his half-hearted injecting rooms measures.
Bob Carr has shown a similar tendency to squeal on the big ones up in NSW.
Peter Beattie would no doubt advocate shooting addicts if polls suggested it would fly and would probably execute them himself for the cameras.
Quick digression – I can hear readers mumbling to themselves — “Kennett was going to decriminalise drugs but wasn’t he?” — and I have to say dear readers, if you believed that one, you’ll believe anything.
Kennett would make noises about reforming drug laws as elections approached. This ensured every spotty bong smoker in the marginal outer Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne (IE – everybody aged between 12-25) voted Liberal, especially in 1996, whereupon the Kennett Government promptly did nothing.
I will leave the rant here but suffice to say, the Yanks and every other politician in the world are the root cause of smack problems, not poppies in the dusty valleys of Afganistan.
Cheers, Rory Cahill