Corporate Media Won’t Connect Afghanistan War with Heroin Crisis

by lizard

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.


  1. No Olly North video?

    Yeah, that little shit Bieber gets all the headlines. At least he smiles in his mug shots, although I’m not sure if he’ll continue to do so.

    I wonder if any of those $10 smack bags are festooning the front yard of his latest palatial retreat. They sure cluster around urban city neighborhoods, many no doubt thrown out expensive car windows by rich kids still needing to finish CALC II homework.

    And we wouldn’t want to talk about all the opium needed for those pills people are popping with their doctors prescriptions. Once they can’t get those anymore they’ll go get the heroin, at least that’s what many news stories I’ve seen this week say.

    But hey, we lied to them that pot was bad, so why should they believe us that heroin was bad? We like to cry wolf in this country a lot and I wish we’d be a little more honest with ourselves and our kids.

    When I was working at the gas station at the Van Buren exit in 2004 a biker pulled up with his woman on the back. They came in and asked me where they could get some tar. I said I don’t know, maybe go check down at the Oxford or the Dirty Dollar.

    Not sure if they had any luck there, but at the time I didn’t think they would. Probably just some bikers passing through to the coast, after all, we don’t have a heroin problem here, right? Maybe, but I bet we’ve got quite the opium problem, just in other forms.

    Wonder if those two died yet.

    • JC

      Greg, we have a huge heroin problem in Missoula. And oxycontin dependency problems, lortabs, etc… And a huge benzo addiction problem, and rampant alcoholism. You wouldn’t believe how many folks in Missoula get started on a doctor’s script, and then end up doctor shopping or hitting the black market once the prescriptions quit working, or dry up.

      • Yeah, there’s no reporting on it I know of. I wish the papers would talk about things like that more often.

        On another note, the people in power have known since the 1830s in China how powerful Opium is at controlling the masses. Sure, the Opium Wars might have ended eons ago, but have the networks set up during that time done so?

        If you want to stay in power, having a large segment of your population nodding off isn’t such a bad think. Ask Karzai.

        • JC

          Here’s a good backgrounder on opiates in the U.S.

          Prescription drug overdoses or poisonings are the #1 cause of accidental death in the country. So yeah, our country is following China’s example in controlling the masses in yet another way. Networks? Regulated by the FDA.

          Oh, and I see you’re dipping your toes in the political waters. How’s that going for you?

          • Well I’ve raised $1,080 so far, which would make me a joke to most political observers.

            The hold up now is getting better family photos to put on my walking cards, which I’ll hand out to people door-to-door here real soon. I’m having a university student make those for me to save a little cash and give them something to tell an employer. Got a name tag made too!

            It’ll be a small campaign that doesn’t insult the people in my district with the amounts raised. Mainly it focuses on talking to people at their door.

            I’ll get some remittance envelopes printed so people that seem happy to support me will get one and can give a few bucks if they want. That’ll help me get yard signs in April and May.

            After that it’s pretty much just waiting for the primary. I think HD 98 is the only race in Missoula where two democrats are running in the primary.

            Here’s a link if anyone’s interested in what I’m doing:

  2. Steve W

    The correlation between US foreign intelligence activity and drugs has long been obvious. Back when we were in Vietnam, Southeast Asia was the number one opium growing area in the world, much like Afghanistan is now.. Then we left. Now SE Asia hardly produces any opium.

    There is a reason that heroin production picked up in Columbia. during the mid 70s and 80s. We were there more.

    During the economic seizure/stroker of 2007 when all the markets world wide froze, the only liquid market left was the illegal drug and arms trade.

    The money is the reason.

    Illegal drugs and arms are always what the cover-up is about. They are almost fungible. There is nothing else that rivals their ability to raise lots of cold hard cash quickly from relatively tiny economic inputs.

    The profits are huge if you can do your activity with impunity. Only US intelligence has that very real impunity. Local corrupt leo s always have the possibility that someone from a state or fed agency will find them out.

    But who is going to turn in the CIA? Obviously, not the President. Not congress. Not the Supreme Court.

    Intel has impunity. They are also the biggest players in producing, processing, and distribution of illegal drugs.

    Because they and they alone are in the position to do it.

  3. steve kelly

    The addiction that tops all: MONEY!

    • $41.3 Billion saved from legalization. Does that count all the law enforcement jobs that will be cut?

      We spent $2.6 billion to deter drugs from crossing our borders in 2005. Did that cause drug use or shipments into the country to go down? And if it didn’t, are we continuing throw money at it?

      $38 billion spent on coke, $34 billion spent on pot, and $11 billion spent on heroin – all by American people between 2000 and 2006.

      How are you going to get rid of that demand? And if we didn’t do so for however many years, then how can we?

      Maybe we should just give them what they want and tax the hell out of it to pay for all the things that are falling apart in this country.

      • mike

        sources greg

        • It’s right there in the link Steve Kelly put above me.

  4. Steve W

    Liz, your timing is good!

    • lizard19

      wow, great article, thank you Steve.

      • mike

        montana conspiracy theorists types, lmfao. it’s a proggie circle jerk on a Rushian level. You guys are funny , but sadly pathetic.

        • lizard19

          you have yet to demonstrate you have a fucking clue about how the world works. I see your insulting, fly-by-night commentary as evidence of empty-headed thinking.

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