Corporate Media Won’t Connect Afghanistan War with Heroin Crisis
Apparently it takes the death of a celebrity for mainstream news to suddenly realize there is a drug problem in this country. News outlets like CNN are describing the predictable market factors behind the significant increase in heroin use: increase in supply, decrease in cost, and competition among dealers resulting in higher potency.
What the news is failing to connect, though, is how the decade-long spike in use here in the states correlates perfectly with the increased production in Afghanistan—a direct result of America’s longest war. This NYT report came out just last November:
Despite years of international effort to reel back Afghanistan’s opium culture, cultivation and production hit record levels this year, and programs to counteract them have floundered, according to a new United Nations study.
Given how central an issue the country’s growing drug economy has become — driving official corruption, helping to fund the insurgency, creating instability in neighboring countries and intensifying a domestic addiction crisis — Western diplomats and officials said in interviews that the seeming failure of the drug war in Afghanistan will weigh heavily on the legacy of the dozen-year NATO military mission as it draws to a close next year.
“We have failed, we have lost — that’s all there is to it,” said one Western diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to offend Afghan government officials.
The new report, the Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2013, projects that the land area used for opium cultivation in Afghanistan, long the dominant supplier of most of the world’s heroin, reached a historic high in 2013 of 516,000 acres, a 36 percent increase from 2012. Now, 19 of the country’s 34 provinces are opium growers, also an increase, and overall production was up by almost half — 49 percent — from the previous year, according to the report, officially released on Wednesday.
When the American-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan commenced at the beginning of this century, opium production had been nearly eradicated by the Taliban. Our corporate media can depict the steady increase of production since the invasion as a failure, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s actually a feature of our presence.
Also, this isn’t new. CIA black ops have long required black budgets to fund their terrorism across the globe, including bringing in crack to predominantly black neighborhoods. Gary Webb dragged this dark reality into the light with his 3-part series, later turned into a book, titled Dark Alliance. Here is how the Los Angeles Times described the piece in 2006:
Many reporters besides Webb had sought to uncover the rumored connection between the CIA’s anti-communism efforts in Central America and drug trafficking. “Dark Alliance” documented the first solid link between the agency and drug deals inside the U.S. by profiling the relationship between two Nicaraguan Contra sympathizers and narcotics suppliers, Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, and L.A.’s biggest crack dealer, “Freeway” Ricky Ross.
Two years before Webb’s series, the Los Angeles Times estimated that at its peak, Ross’ “coast-to-coast conglomerate” was selling half a million crack rocks per day. “[I]f there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles’ streets with mass-marketed cocaine,” the article stated, “his name was ‘Freeway’ Rick.”
But after Webb’s reporting tied Ross to the Nicaraguans and showed that they had CIA connections, The Times downgraded Ross’ role to that of one “dominant figure” among many. It dedicated 17 reporters and 20,000 words to a three-day rebuttal to “Dark Alliance” that also included a lengthy musing on whether African Americans disproportionately believe in conspiracy theories.
After his career was effectively destroyed by sycophantic corporate journalists, Gary Webb allegedly committed suicide in 2004, and to this day it remains easy to ridicule anyone who cites Webb’s work as a loony conspiracy theorist.
CIA involvement in drug running is no longer just a theory—it’s a substantiated fact. To what degree and for what purpose remain a bit murkier to discern. Money is the obvious motive, but I think there’s more to it than that.
Don’t expect CNN to delve into any of this. The second Justin Bieber does something illegal again, this heroin crisis will be shelved to make room for the next worthless spectacle.