Subject: Between Oil and Drugs: the Roots of Conflict in Central Asia

Between Oil and Drugs: the Roots of Conflict in Central Asia

By Chris Floyd
The Moscow TImes

MOSCOW, Dec. 4, 2001 -- Among the isolated, out-of-step losers who dare open
their mouths to mutter "doubts" about America's military campaign in
Afghanistan, you will sometimes hear the traitorous comment: "This war is
just about oil."

We here at the Global Eye take stern exception to such cynical tommyrot. No
one who has made a clear and dispassionate assessment of the situation in
the region could possibly say the new Afghan war is "just about oil."

It's also about drugs.

For although we must now hail the warlords of the Northern Alliance as noble
defenders of civilization, the fact is that for some time they have also
functioned as one of the world's biggest drug-dealing operations. Indeed,
one of the main sticking points between the holy warriors of the alliance
and their ideological brethren in the Taliban has been control of the
profitable poppy, which by God's grace grows so plentifully in a land
otherwise bereft of natural resources. (Always excepting the production of

In the good old days, when the mujahedin were united against the Soviet
devil, all shared equally in the drug-running trade, under the benevolent
eye of that great lubricator of illicit commerce, the CIA. When the Northern
Alliance was driven from Kabul -- having killed 50,000 of the city's
inhabitants during its civilized rule -- the Taliban seized the lion's share
of Afghanistan's opium production. The noble lords managed to hold on to
several prize fields in the north, however, and together with avaricious
Taliban, they helped fuel a worldwide rise in heroin traffic.

Earlier this year, the U.S. administration bribed the Taliban to stop
growing opium -- a most effective use of baksheesh, according to the United
Nations, which found that Afghan opium production dropped from 3,300 tons
annually to less than 200. But the Northern Alliance leapt manfully into the
breach, engineering a threefold rise in opium output in its territory this

Now the bountiful southern fields are also there for the plucking. For
war-ravaged Afghan farmers, the "market realities" are clear: they can plant
wheat, and get 20 bucks per hectare, or plant opium and pull down $8,000 in
hard cash for the same fields. Needless to say, the poppy replanting has
already begun. Come harvest time, the drug lords -- sorry, the noble
warlords -- will take their cut and ship the dope off to pollute the minds
of decadent infidels in the West. Ah, the spoils of victory!

Hey, maybe their CIA buddies will help coordinate the shipments. Those guys
are killer when it comes to covert logistics.


After all, as U.S. Attorney General "Jailin' John" Ashcroft tells us, the
"war on terrorism" is just like "the war on drugs" -- that is to say, a
never-ending fount of profitable corruption for the ruthless, the murderous
and the well-connected.

Certainly, the "war on drugs" makes little sense otherwise. We all know that
if the ingestion of various arbitrarily chosen substances were no longer
prosecuted, the level of violence, crime and repression in society would be
reduced immeasurably. "Substance abuse" would then become what is it is now
for drugs like alcohol and nicotine: a matter of personal character and
private consequence.

A crack addict, for example, could have his nightly pipe in the safety of
his own home, for the same price as a six-pack of beer, a carton of
cigarettes, or the latest Disney video. He wouldn't need to resort to crime
to feed an expensive criminalized habit. And his resulting stupefaction
would be no more harmful to the public good than that of millions of his
fellow citizens sitting slack-jawed in front of the tube.

But decriminalization will never happen. Illegal drugs are simply too
profitable for the various powerful criminal elements known as "mafias,"
"warlords" -- and "intelligence agencies." For drug-running is the perfect
way to fund your black ops -- no budget restraints, no legal niceties, no
pesky legislators looking over your shoulder.

That's how they did it back in those high old Iran-Contra days, as
investigator Robert Parry reports on Buried in the
papers of that thwarted investigation are outright admissions of CIA
connivance with the drug dealers who helped finance the murderous
Reagan-Bush terrorist network in Latin America.

This is -- in part -- what Bush Jr. is covering up with his recent
autocratic edict sealing past presidential papers. And the fact that his
Daddy lied about his own involvement in the criminal enterprise -- lies that
he drowned certain fathoms deep by pardoning his co-conspirators. Some of
these criminal connivers with drug-running now hold high office in the new
Bush administration.

You know, the one that "restored honor and integrity" to the White House.

Bottom Line

Let's connect the dots. Drugs help stoke war. Defense firms sell the weapons
of war -- to governments, warlords, terrorists, whoever will pay. The
investors and owners of defense firms -- like, say, the Bush family and the
bin Ladens -- are directly enriched by war. And so the wars go on.

For every American soldier killed, for every Afghan child murdered, George
W. Bush adds a few more dollars to his inheritance. His former business
associates, the bin Ladens -- whom he protected by stifling FBI
investigations into their activities, while also crippling probes into Saudi
funding of al-Qaida and other terrorist groups -- will do quite nicely as

What can you say? Such is the eternal way of the world, where "oft 'tis
seen, the wicked prize itself buys out the law." So it was in Babylon, so it
was in Rome; so it was in Jerusalem, Mecca, Peking and Thebes. The ruthless,
the murderous and the well-connected carry it away.

This email was sent to:

Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!

Reply via email to