Saturday, March 10, 2007

State Dept drug report plays politics

The U.S. State Department report on the worldwide illegal drugs trade issued March 1 reads like a political propaganda bulletin more than a real research report. Regimes that have Bush administration support, such as Colombia and Afghanistan, get patted on the head for their alleged drug control efforts, while heads of state that give Bush hell (as in Venezuela, Bolivia, and others) get blasted for alleged complicity in the dirty business.

The facts remain -- and the report admits -- that Colombia produces 90 per cent of the world supply of cocaine, and Afghanistan supplies more than 90 per cent of the heroin, and both are close allies of the Bush administration. Neither Colombia nor Afghanistan could achieve anything remotely near this kind of market domination without at least the active benevolence of their respective governments.

The report, which runs to 9 megabytes in PDF online (Vol. 1 here and Vol. 2 here), shows its political bias most transparently in the summary on Afghanistan. While admitting that Afghan opium production increased 25 per cent last year, the report claims that heroin stemming from Afghan opium is distributed almost exclusively in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Asia. It claims that most of the heroin sold in the U.S. comes from poppies grown in Colombia and Mexico, which together account for only four per cent of the world supply.

The State Department strains credulity when it asks us to believe that the huge U.S. heroin demand is fed by this relative trickle of supply. The report says in one passing sentence that "Heroin produced from Afghan opium also finds its way to the United States" (Vol. 1, p. 19) but makes no effort to quantify this grudging admission.

The presence of Afghan heroin in the United States is a political landmine for the Bush administration. The bumper crops of opium recorded in Afghanistan since the invasion are unmistakably the administration's baby. To protect the administration, the State Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy all repeat the fairy tale that Afghan heroin in the U.S. is insignificant. But local police and treatment staff in many parts of the U.S. know better. Search this blog under "Afghanistan" for a selection of local news stories, many of them from the heartland, about heroin addiction and overdose deaths due to the high-potency white powder heroin made in Afghanistan under the protection of American troops by a regime propped up with American taxpayer dollars.

WHAT war on drugs?" As Gandhi reportedly said about Western civilization, "I think it would be a good idea."

1 comment:

thejunkyswife said...

Scary stuff. Thanks for finding it for us.