Harvest of Hypocrisy? UK Opium Poppy Farming Kept Hush-Hush

Harvest of Hypocrisy? UK Opium Poppy Farming Kept Hush-Hush
by grtv

The “War on Drugs” that came soon after the “War on Terror” is being decisively lost. Ten years after the US invasion Afghanistan remains the world’s biggest opium poppy producer. Meanwhile, the UK is making inroads to the market.

As the West struggles to destroy drug production in Afghanistan, Britain harvests a new crop of poppies to plug a growing painkiller shortage. Some believe that is counterproductive.

In the rolling fields of Oxfordshire, UK, at this time of year, you will probably see wheat or barley ripening for the harvest. But dry springs and warm summers have enabled local farmers to plant a very different type of crop – opium poppies. They are under contract to a pharmaceutical company that turns the opium into morphine and codeine in order to plug a shortfall in strong painkillers in the National Health Service. In fact, there is a global shortage of drugs made from poppies. The opium grown in Britain will be put to good use, but thousands of miles away, NATO troops are wiping out existing Afghan poppies with bombing, burning and spraying.

“The main question is why are we destroying the Afghan crop and then having to grown poppies in fields in Oxfordshire? It’s been used by the American and British governments repeatedly, one of the so called soft arguments that they put, one of the liberal arguments that they put, is that they’re fighting a war on drugs. This is complete hypocrisy, it’s not true, it’s not what the war is about, and we should own up to that,” says Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition.

It is easy to understand why Afghan farmers grow, then sell opium to the Taliban. There’s an effective distribution network, and they can make around 17 times more profit per hectare than they can on wheat. Despite the obvious economics, farmers are still being encouraged to grow other crops.

British MP Frank Field thinks that policy has failed, but the Americans will not budge.

“America rules and we follow on behind them. It makes a nonsense of what this relationship is about, when you’re putting British lives at stake, not to be able to use this as a bargaining position with the Americans, to rethink a strategy which I think most people think over the years has failed, historically, has failed, why don’t we try a new tack?”

Frank Field and his group Poppy Relief believe that Afghan opium should be legalized instead. It would benefit Afghan farmers, raise much-needed revenue for the government’s nation building efforts, and stop the opium from falling into the hands of the drug cartels. Field also says it should be military strategy too.

“In Afghanistan we have chosen bombs, rather than brains. Anybody who would be thinking about how do we get ordinary people, ordinary farmers who see poppies as a cash crop, how do we get them to protect the backs of our troops, we would be thinking about how do we harness this crop, how do we pay them for it and how do we then use that crop to transfer it into medicines to counter pain.”

With opium being burned in Afghanistan and kept a secret in Britain, no-one wants to talk about the UK’s opium-growing program. RT asked both the farmers and MacFarlane Smith, the company they grow for, if they would give an interview. MacFarlane Smith said they would not allow the farmers to talk because it is a part of their contract with the Home Office that they keep the poppy growing secretive. The Home Office also declined to comment.

While poppies are increasingly harvested in Britain, the so-called war on drugs is being decisively lost. The UN says opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since the US occupation began in 2001.


Drugs for Europe: Afghanistan Heroin Transits Through Kosovo
by grtv
“Two years ago a joke was being circulated on the Runet that a heroin producer has recognized its distributor’s independence. It was about Afghanistan, which was to the first to recognize the independence of the Serbian province of Kosovo which had illegally separated from Yugoslavia.

Kosovo has since become a transit point for drugs, channelled from Asia to Europe…”

Read more: http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19581

June 5, 2010



Afghanistan is Not the Right War

TRANSCRIPT: If history has taught us anything, it is that we need to beware those populist politicians who claim to be men of peace by nature but men of war by necessity. The most violent wars this planet has ever seen, the most brutal regimes that have ever sought to repress their own citizens, the most genocidal schemes have always been nurtured under the leadership of politicians who offer war, violence and domination as a way of achieving peace.

Napoleon waged wars of agression in country after country, terrorizing the peoples of Europe and ravaging their lands in the name of a continent-wide peace under the French flag.

Hitler, too, assured the world that his conquests were born of necessity, a means to achieve the “living space” that the German people required to live in peace.

Vietnam, too, was a war to achieve peace. If Vietnam fell to the communists, the world was told, the dominoes would begin to fall in country after country and it would not be long before the red tide flooded Western shores.

Wars are always waged in the name of utopia. Blood is always spilt in the name of the noble cause.

In our own times, we have seen first hand how the the language of peace has been used to sell us on war. The war in Iraq, we were told, was a war for peace. A war to prevent a madman from using weapons we now know he never had. We were asked to ignore the the no-bid contracts, the seizing of oil, the dead civilians, the use of white phosphorous in Fallujah, the thousands of tons of depleted uranium munitions used in that conflict leading to as many as 75% of newborn babies in some areas of the country being born with severe deformities, 24% of whom die in the first week of life.

Eventually, the tissue of lies that was the Iraq war was based on became too thin for even President Bush’s own party to support. During the 2008 presidential primaries, the candidate who received the most donations from active-duty military personnel was neither Obama nor McCain, but Ron Paul, one of the only candidates who proposed bringing all of the troops home immediately upon taking office. Not some of the troops, not in a few years, not after a surge, but all of the troops, immediately.

In 2008, Paul spoke to the conservative CPAC conference and when he called for a non-interventionist foreign policy he received massive applause. When he pointed out that there were no weapons of mass destruction or Al Qaeda bases in Iraq, the applause were even louder.

None now dispute that the Iraq war was never about peace. It was only about war.

But we are in a new era now with a new president. He does not look the same as the last president, nor does he speak in the same way. Gone is the bellicose delivery and inflammatory rhetoric, the cowboy diplomacy that so rankled Bush’s political opponents. The new president has come with promises of change and hope and paid lip service to cooperation and goodwill.

On the campaign trail, at first he said he would bring troops home immediately. Then in 12 months. Then in 18 months. Now he is quadrupling the private military contractor force in Iraq while drawing down the number of uniformed personnel in the region. The permanent bases built by his predecessor remain standing. Still, the public–desperate for the change in direction promised by the Obama administration–have been happy to fill in with their imagination what the new president has failed to deliver in reality. In a feat of doublethink so Orwellian that we can imagine Orwell himself would scarcely have believed it, there are many people who will say that Obama has ended the Iraq war.

Many, too, will go along with the adminstration’s latest canard that they are turning away from Iraq, the wrong war, in order to focus on Afghanistan, the right war. This is the war to stop Al Qaeda from regrouping, the public is told. This is the war to bring freedom to Afghani women. To bring democracy and peace to a war-torn land.

There will be no cries of dissent from the warmongers on the left. No protests against the surge in troops. No rallies where this administration is denounced, no protests where political activists demonstrate that the blood is on this administration’s hands. After all, this is the right war.

The right war despite the fact that US intelligence now privately estimate there are no more than 100 Al-CIAda operatives in Afghanistan.

The right war despite the fact that everyone from the president of Pakistan to Rush Limbaugh believe Osama Bin Laden to be dead.

The right war despite the fact that opium production has reached record high after record high year after year since the invasion took place.

The right war despite the fact that even now, 8 years on, the country is still unable to hold a free and fair election and is still being ruled by the same ex-UNOCAL representatives who the Bush administration installed as their puppet.

The right war despite the fact that Taliban representatives were brought to Texas and told that US oil companies would receive pipline rights-of-way in Afghanistan either by a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs.

The right war despite the fact that the Bush administration told Pakistan and India five weeks before 9/11 that there would be war in Afghanistan by October of that year.

The right war despite the fact that the invasion orders for Afghanistan, NSPD 9, were sitting on President Bush’s desk waiting to be signed on September 4, 2001.

It is the right because President Obama has said so, and he is a man of peace. And how many more lives need to be lost, how much more blood spilt, how many more homes destroyed and families ripped apart before we learn, once again, that war in the name of peace is still nothing other than war?

The travesty is not that another politician has tried to trick another nation into another war in the name of peace. The travesty is that the public has fallen for it once again.




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