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bongme

UK/Afghanistan : Afghan opium crop failure 'led to UK heroin short

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Hi

Afghan opium crop failure 'led to UK heroin shortage'

By Bethany Bell

BBC News

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Afghanistan produces about 63% of the world's opium

26 June 2012

Opium crop failures in Afghanistan in 2010 may have led to heroin shortages in the UK, the United Nations says.

The 2012 UN drugs report suggests the subsequent mixing of heroin with other dangerous substances to make it go further could have contributed to a number of deaths in England and Wales.

Drugs charity Addaction said "any unmanaged disruption in supply" could be very dangerous for users.

The UN also noted a drop in cocaine and amphetamine use in the UK in 2010/11.

Afghanistan accounts for about 63% of global poppy cultivation.

In its 2012 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says plant disease, which wiped out almost half of the crop in 2010, appears to have affected illicit heroin markets elsewhere in the world, including the UK.

"By the end of October 2010 and the beginning of 2011, there were definite indications of a shortage in the availability of heroin in Ireland and the United Kingdom," it says.

'Adulteration'

Total seizures of heroin in the UK fell by more than half from 1.7 tonnes in 2009 to 789 kg in 2010.

The UNODC also says the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency reported instances of prices increasing by 50% and falls of one third in heroin purity levels.

That fall in purity was the result of heroin being mixed - or cut - with other substances, including other drugs, to stretch the supply.

"The adulteration of street heroin with substances such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates also resulted in a number of drug-related deaths in England and Wales," the UN report says.

The UNODC admits it is difficult to establish the extent of the link between the decline of opium production in Afghanistan and shortages of heroin in Britain.

It acknowledges that the dismantling of drug smuggling networks between Turkey and the UK may also have played a role in the decline.

"The full impact of this shortage and its impact on heroin consumption, prices and purity levels may become clearer when more data for 2011 becomes available," according to the report.

But the UNODC warns that the effect of the Afghan poppy blight may be short-lived.

It says Afghanistan has now returned to high levels of opium production, and that rises in poppy cultivation have also taken place in Burma and Laos.

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of Addaction, said the charity had seen a "heroin drought" in 2010.

"The police often work closely with agencies like Addaction to ensure that users affected by drug seizures are supported with treatment, but any unmanaged disruption in supply can be very dangerous," he said.

"When it happens, the strength of heroin on the street can vary hugely, and addicts can start experimenting and increasing doses to get the 'hit' they require. This can easily lead to overdose."

Mephedrone

In other findings the report says cocaine consumption in England and Wales fell from 3% of the population in 2008/09 to 2.1% in 2010/11.

The use of amphetamines, excluding ecstasy, also dropped - from a peak of 3.2% of those aged 16-59 in 1996 to 1.0% in 2010/11.

Cannabis consumption has also been falling in the UK since 2002, the report said.

Elsewhere, it says the market in new synthetic drugs continues to evolve rapidly.

Mephedrone, also known as M-Cat, is now the third most widely consumed illicit drug among adults, after cannabis and cocaine.

In Northern Ireland, 286 of the 3,564 drug seizures in 2010-2011 involved mephedrone, considerably more than the seizures of amphetamines (128) and ecstasy (150).

Formerly a so-called "legal high", mephedrone was made a Class B drug in 2010 after reports of its links to a number of deaths.

It now carries a maximum sentence of five years for possession or 14 years for supply.

Ear

Bongme

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It says Afghanistan has now returned to high levels of opium production

Classic example of the involvement of other governments around to world, they say they want to eradicate the fields of poppies but then allow recovery to full scale production, the US/UK governments are lying hypocritical pigs :soap:

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Oh but...but...but we're there to save the women :ouch: honest!

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It says Afghanistan has now returned to high levels of opium production

Classic example of the involvement of other governments around to world, they say they want to eradicate the fields of poppies but then allow recovery to full scale production, the US/UK governments are lying hypocritical pigs :soap:

one thing to be clear on though - that stuff about how the US and UK are making money out of growing and selling the opium/herion is total bollocks

of course there may be corrupt agents etc.

but it's not some grand conspiracy

only about 15% of people in the world have access to adequate pain medication

there's a global shortage of morphine etc.

if you want the actual 'conspiracy' - this poppy fungus is a biological weapon developed with funding from the west, involving Dyncorp etc. who do all the glyphosphate spraying etc. in South America --- (that's linked to spontaneous abortions etc.)

people have known about the poppy fungus for years - you can read about it in "Drugs in Afghanistan"

Killer fungus is no mystery to Afghan poppy growers

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/may/17/poppy-fungus-mystery-afghanistan

Afghanistan's opium producers believe they are victims of a biological attack by the United States

17 May 2010

A-field-of-opium-poppies-006.jpg

Reports of a "mysterious" fungus that has damaged opium poppy crops in Afghanistan have hit international headlines but on the ground the "mystery" is an open secret. Helmand farmers interviewed by BBC Pashto service for the early-morning news programme a couple of days ago were convinced that "they" had deliberately destroyed the crops.

The pronoun "they" is a euphemism for US secret agents, whom farmers suspect of having sprayed the crops with the fungus. Afghan farmers have been cultivating opium poppies for a considerable period of time. This allows them to distinguishing between natural causes and artificially induced problems.

In their suspicion and accusation, Afghan farmers are likely to be ignored. The government lacks the necessary equipment to conduct proper research. The United Nations Drugs Office in Afghanistan is conducting research but the institution is no longer widely trusted. As with all other mysterious incidents in Afghanistan, this story too is likely to be lost and forgotten in the fog of war.

When the report of the fungus was first published, a reliable source directed the author of this article to the Sunshine Project, a now suspended non-profit organisation. In 2000, the international NGO had published a report about "dangerous US fungus experiments", warning against the potentially harmful impact of the fungus on biodiversity in the target drug-producing regions.

The report said: "The strains of the fungi fusarium oxysporum and pleospora papveracae might infect and kill plants other than coca, poppy and cannabis in ecologically sensitive areas of Asia and the Americas."

An indication of the potential risks caused by the use of such fungi, tailored to affect drug-producing plants, is the fact that their use was banned in the United States itself.

Further investigation into the fungi shows that their production and use is bordering on illegal. According to the Sunshine Project report, the US has created genetically modified strands of the fungus, and this, in turn, means that the product can be classified as a biological weapon.

Farmers in Afghanistan might regard the disease affecting their crops as artificially induced but they are probably unaware of the manner in which the crop samples were in all likelihood collected. To trace the probable route of sample collection leads us to a BBC Panorama programme entitled Britain's Secret War on Drugs, broadcast in 2000.

The report takes us to Uzbekistan, to a Soviet laboratory that was set up to conduct research into biological weapons. The laboratory was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union but resumed operation with funding provided by US and British governments. It was in this laboratory that pleospora papaveracea, the fungus that affects opium poppies, was discovered, becoming the Soviet Union's first biological weapon.

Professor Abdusattar, a scientist working at the laboratory, explained to the BBC Panorama reporter, Tom Mangold, that samples from Afghanistan were provided with help from the US embassy.

Scientists working on the fungus back in 2000 said that the fungus was safe, affecting opium poppies only and that it represented no danger to the environment and was unlikely to spread to other region. In a manner that is typical of scientists, it was pointed out that this assessment was to the best of scientific knowledge. A reasonable disclaimer but hardly reassuring. An interesting aspect of the fungus research is the fact that leading fungus researchers joined the UN's Drugs Control Programme and their endorsement helped to ensure British and American governments' funding of the project.

Research for a product bordering on illegality, funded with taxpayer money from the United States and the United Kingdom, has led to the creation of a lethal weapon against opium poppy crops in Afghanistan.

Whether the fungus presently affecting the crops in Afghanistan is in fact pleospora papaveracea is far from clear. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Kabul is conducting sample research and has been unable to confirm the identity of the disease.

But farmers in Afghanistan are convinced that the disease has been artificially induced. They suspect that Kabul's allies in London and Washington are involved. The loss of the crop will subject small farmers to financial hardship and the consequences will be felt by entire families. Young girls are likely to become the first victim of the situation as small farmers will not be able to pay their debts and will have to offer the family's young girls for marriage in substitution for the missing cash.

The resentment felt among farmers is also likely to further drive them into the sphere of influence of the Taliban insurgents who present themselves as friends and protectors. Environmentalist activists in Afghanistan are equally likely to feel disenchanted as the contradictions between official policy of environmentalism advocated by London and Washington and the realities on the ground fail to make sense. If women's rights groups in the US and the UK are outraged by the fact that young Afghan girls are traded for debt, the fact that their own governments might have implicitly supported policies that increase risks for young girls is even more puzzling to Afghan women activists on the ground.

Perhaps the most pertinent aspect of debates about the Afghan drugs trade is the lack of discussion of the other side: the consumer markets in the urban centres of the western world which have turned opium poppy into a lucrative cash crop in a country in persistent threat of famine. To discuss the Afghan drugs trade in isolation from the markets that it supplies is not only morally questionable, it is also a denial of the social problems that lead to addiction from Moscow, to Paris and London. The small farmers of Afghanistan may not be entirely innocent but they certainly are as vulnerable as the addicts they supply.

Edited by namkha
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I meant it ends up in the hands of big pharma, where do think all the opium they need for pills ect come from? :unsure:

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I meant it ends up in the hands of big pharma, where do think all the opium they need for pills ect come from? :unsure:

big pharma get their opium as poppy straw

and mostly that comes from Tasmania

illicit opium doesn't get diverted into legit supply chains

it happens the other way round - mostly in India, where they have a problem with legit raw opium getting diverted to the black market

and like I say - there is a massive world opiate shortage

which gives you some sense of how insane this situation is

85% of people in agony have to endure it, and no small part of that is because of the perverse morality of prohibitionists in the US...

i.e. paranoia about poppy/opium getting diverted to the black market

you know they don't even allow pharmaceutical heroin in the US?

Edited by namkha
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This is all news to me now. I was certain CIA were funding their operations with the sale of Afghan Heroin.

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This is all news to me now. I was certain CIA were funding their operations with the sale of Afghan Heroin.

I'd be really interested to see some stuff saying they are -

I've seen articles about forces people getting found bringing back hash etc., and about drug use among ISAF troops

and about Russian arms dealers selling arms to the Taleban etc.

but I've not seen anything about CIA etc. getting fields planted

I'd be interested to see it though

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Namkha - check out the Wikipedia article called Allegations of CIA drug trafficking.

Also check out the Wikipedia page of Michael Ruppert.

It's not something I've read much about (though have at various times heard stories that the CIA uses drug money to fund activities it doesn't want or can't get approval to carry out. Not saying it's true or false, but it sounds somehow plausible to me.

E2A the Wikipedia entry called "CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US" details the CIA running cocaine into the US and using the profits to fund the arming of rebels in Nicaragua. There are those who say this played no small part in the crack problem in the USA.

A google search for 'CIA drugs' sill bring up an R.T. article (3rd result for me) where Ron Paul talks about CIA drug running.

Edited by tengreenfingers

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it's well known the CIA have been involved in drug trafficking in Latin America - and also Southeast Asia, although some people will dispute the latter ---

I'm talking specifically about in Afghanistan with heroin post 9/11

I'll have a look at those wikipedia things for what they're worth

Edited by namkha
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it's well known the CIA have been involved in drug trafficking in Latin America - and also Southeast Asia, although some people will dispute the latter ---

I'm talking specifically about in Afghanistan with heroin post 9/11

I'll have a look at those wikipedia things for what they're worth

Got you.

Dunno if there's anything in there about it. That said, they have form so it wouldn't exactly be a surprise.

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it's well known the CIA have been involved in drug trafficking in Latin America - and also Southeast Asia, although some people will dispute the latter ---

I'm talking specifically about in Afghanistan with heroin post 9/11

I'll have a look at those wikipedia things for what they're worth

The only reason we know about the CIA's drug ops in Latin America is because it is many years after the fact. It wouldn't surprise me if there wasn't anything tangible to directly connect the CIA to Afghan Opium now, but give it a few years...

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.

Source

It's just too coincidental that an Organisation like the CIA, KNOWN to traffic drugs around the world, just happened to bankroll Hamid Karzai's brother who was a prominent Afghan Drug Kingpin and politician who was shot dead last year by his own bodyguard. Maybe I'm putting the carriage before the horse, but it smells fucking fishy.

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there's no question that senior Afghan figures are involved in the trade - in Kabul, Kandahar etc. - as well as the Taleban...

but I've not heard any suggestion that there is anything comparable to what went on in Nicaragua, or is alleged to have gone on in Lao

i.e. I haven't seen anybody seriously suggesting that there is systematic exploitation of the narcotics trade going on

there's a big difference between that and just straightforward corruption, which it goes without saying is rife

Edited by namkha

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First published in the early 1970s, now updated, this is a central text on the heroin trade and its history.

Alfred McCoy "The Politics of Heroin: Central Intelligence Agency Complicity in the Global Drug Trade."

www.amazon.co.uk/The-Politics-Heroin-Intelligence-Complicity/dp/1556521251/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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Namkha we are not nonchalantly talking 'senior Afghan figures' we are talking the brother of the (US-backed puppet) President of Afghanistan, and his deep links to the opium trade along with his mini-guerilla unit being directly funded by the CIA. (ring a bell? *cough*contras*cough*) That's huge.

Just because the CIA have learnt to cover their tracks better in the last 30years since the Contras or the media have learnt to keep quiet doesn't mean they aren't heavily involved in the drug trade either directly or, I would of thought indirectly via proxies (death squads, warlords etc).

When the Taliban came to power it is well known that Opium production was nearly wiped out, so regardless of what some Afghans who have aligned themselves with the Taliban get up to, the official mantra of the Taliban is a pretty harsh no opium policy.

Anyway, some one on here also said there is a shortage of Heroin in Europe now, well guess what, the addict population in Russia has exploded since the start of the Afghan war...so maybe all that heroin destined for Europe has detoured to Russia and is now hitting two birds with one stone....make money and weaken Russia. Sounds like something the CIA would do no?

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