Tag Archive: Afghanistan

The public policy debate on Afghan  opium is filled with simple narratives (i.e., it is mostly opium that fuels the insurgency, poppy farmers are wealthy) justified by simple metrics and responded to with simple solutions. The problem with simplicity, of course, is that it crowds out complexity and propels us toward ineffective and even counterproductive policies.

Much of the counternarcotics debate in Afghanistan focuses obsessively on cultivation numbers produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) annual opium survey, with annual changes in cultivated area used as indicators of policy success or failure. Yet such changes are the result of a range of factors, including price shifts, household perceptions of future food insecurity and larger market forces. They are therefore transient, not necessarily indicative of fundamental changes in the rural economy.

For instance, last year’s 22 percent reduction in national opium acreage was largely attributed to the distribution of wheat seed and fertilizer in Helmand Province, which by itself produces around half of Afghanistan’s opium. But this reduction was less the result of policies and programs than farmers‘ rational response to the changing relative prices of wheat and opium. Memories of high wheat prices and concerns over insecurity in central Helmand continue to shape planting decisions, highlighting the fact that farmers give greater priority to managing the risk of food insecurity than to maximizing profits. After all, one can’t eat opium poppy no matter what its price.

The addiction to annual cultivation numbers has similarly produced praise for the firm commitment and strong hand of the provincial governors in Balkh and Nangarhar, the two provinces most lauded for success in becoming „poppy free“ in 2008 (in 2009, some poppy cultivation resumed in Nangarhar). Yet short-term reductions brought about by coercion may not be sustainable, and the side effects include migration to Pakistan (with attendant risk of radicalization), increasing enlistment in the Afghan National Security Forces under duress, sales of household assets and incurring of debt—as well as the potential undermining of support for the national government, which was seen as the driving force behind the coercion.

Fieldwork done in the areas hardest hit by the opium ban in these two provinces reveals a widespread perception that the economic impact on the general population has been too severe and that the social „contract“ under which reductions have been made is breaking down. In fact, one could argue that coercive suppression of cultivation in areas where there are no other viable sources of income is leading to greater instability—and thereby establishing preconditions for increased cultivation. One needs only to look at recent insurgency penetration in a number of districts in Nangarhar to see what appears to be the failure of success.

Some of the narratives analysts use to justify an aggressive approach to opium poppy reduction, including the „nuclear option“ of aerial chemical spraying, are built on „faith-based“ policy and questionable data. Several years ago, for instance, a US military commander mentioned that the percentage of the insurgency funded by the opium trade was likely between 20 and 40 percent, although an „international expert“ had said that the percentage could reach 60 percent; within weeks, much of the media had discarded the caveats so that 60 percent became the number of record. In some counterinsurgency circles, the belief that only 10 percent of the population is directly engaged in cultivation legitimates coercive measures on the grounds that even the harshest approach will not alienate the majority of the population. Yet the figure is based on a flawed methodology, and it ignores both the multiplier effect of the created wealth as well as bonds of solidarity, by which communities will band together to resist outside threats to life and livelihoods.

Such arguments also tend to shift from year to year. In 2007, UNODC proclaimed that „opium cultivation is no longer associated with poverty—quite the opposite.“ But by 2009 it was saying that „opium remains a major source of income in one of the world’s poorest and most unstable countries. Farmers may grow it to stave off poverty…. Eradicate poverty, not just poppies.“

The past two years have brought a welcome respite from the eradication debate, in part because of the Obama administration’s focus on the interdiction of traffickers rather than the destruction of crops, and in part because the military has sensibly recognized that obliterating Afghan rural livelihoods does not win hearts and minds. Still, there are forces that remain committed to a more aggressive eradication strategy, and they may be revived if the number of hectares heads upward in key provinces. If this year’s opium figures show an increase in cultivation, brace yourself for lurid headlines, Congressional delegations and calls to abandon a failed policy.

Rather than constantly alternating between back-slapping and hand-wringing, in the discussion over counternarcotics we should keep in mind that the transition away from opium is a long-term process and that the annual ups and downs are somewhat irrelevant. We must recognize that one size will not fit all areas, and that we can’t simply view drugs as a „bad“ to be stomped out while ignoring the role they play at all levels of the political economy. Ironically, aspects of the opium economy have contributed to stability and development by generating financial flows that have, in turn, been used to fund other licit economic activities, while counternarcotics policies have destabilized areas by forcing households deeper into poverty and by undermining political arrangements.

Above all else, acknowledging that drugs are a part of the rural economy and social structure in the distressed environment of a country wracked by decades of war and violence will allow us to focus on governance, security and economic growth—which will facilitate a slow but steady transition out of opium rather than spending on stovepiped, single-season interventions.

Source: http://www.thenation.com/article/157630/addicted-numbers

Hundreds of drug users from Iran are turning up in Afghanistan’s western Nimroz province, with some claiming they were dumped there as undesirables by police from their own country.

Afghan officials worry that Tehran is exporting its social problems, although Iranian diplomats say there is no such policy. Others say that at least some drug users congregate in Afghanistan because narcotics are so freely available there and there are none of the draconian punishments meted out by the Iranian authorities.

Reza, 27, told how he was detained as a drug user in his home city of Zahedan in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan province, and was then included among a group of Afghan refugees who were being deported.

“I have documents showing I’m an Iranian national,” he told IWPR. “When I apply to government offices in Nimroz, they tell me to go to the border and ask the Iranian frontier officers to let me cross over. But when I go there, Iranian border officials abuse me and refuse to let me enter my own country.”

Reza says he sleeps in religious shrines in Zaranj, the main provincial town in Nimroz, and survives on the food he gathers from rubbish piles. He recently helped bury a friend. aged 40 and like him from Zahedan, who he says died “for lack of drugs”.

“Other addicts buried him between two graves,” he said.

Another man, Hossein, 38, said he was detained after family members in Iran’s Zabol province went to the police to complain about his chronic addiction problem.

He too said he was packed off across the border as part of a group of deported Afghan nationals. When he showed Afghan police his Iranian ID, they made efforts to send him home, but guards on the other side of the border would not admit him.

Mohammad Anwar Muradi, the head of the provincial counter-narcotics department, said ten to 15 Iranian drug users were entering Nimroz every week.

“There are currently about 2,000 drug addicts in Nimroz province, 80 per cent of them Afghans and Iranians deported from Iran,” he said. “It isn’t yet clear why Iranian border officials are deporting their own nationals to Afghanistan.”

The provincial police chief Hajji Musa Rasuli says his men have detained around 40 Iranian nationals in the region in the past two months, but have yet to pinpoint those living in Zaranj. His officers have tried to send ten drug users back home in recent weeks but Iranian frontier guards would not let them in.

Hajji Najibullah Alami, chief of staff in the provincial governor’s office, said the matter had been raised with Iranian officials, but no satisfactory response had been received.

An Iranian diplomat at the consulate in Herat, speaking on condition of anonymity, flatly denied that his country was expelling its own citizens. He suggested that individuals claiming to be Iranian nationals were in fact Afghans who had been properly deported, and were now seeking a way back into Iran.

“Anyone who has documents can enter Iran and will be assisted by Iranian border officers,” he said.

Residents of Nimroz province say many Iranians come and go voluntarily to enjoy the free market in heroin and other drugs.

“There’s no rigorous control in border areas, so Iranians come over from the other side, buy drugs and go back,” restaurant owner Hajji Sultan said.

He went on to voice a belief that appears to be widespread and was even articulated by some of the officials interviewed for this article, “Iran is deliberately deporting its addicts to Afghanistan in order to spread lethal diseases among Afghans.”

The Afghan government is struggling to provide drug treatment centres for the expanding number of users, and health officials in Nimroz say they do not have the resources to admit Iranian nationals as well. The country’s counter-narcotics minister, Zarar Ahmad Moqbel, recently said there was capacity to treat just one per cent of the estimated one million addicts.

Dr Nur Ahmad, the provincial health chief for Nimroz province, said no clinics existed to run medical checks on individuals – whether returning Afghan refugees or Iranians – as they entered the country.

“Initial assessments indicate that 50 per cent of addicts in Nimroz province are using needles, which increases the incidence of diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis,” he said.

Zia Ahmadi is an IWPR-trained journalist reporting from western Afghanistan.

Source: http://iwpr.net/report-news/iranian-drug-users-%E2%80%9Cdumped%E2%80%9D-afghanistan

Multi-National Operation Nets $55.9 Million Heroin Seizure in Afghanistan
First-ever joint mission for DEA, Afghan, and Russian drug agents nets nearly one metric ton of drugs

OCT 29 — A multinational DEA operation led to the seizure of $55.9 million in heroin at four clandestine laboratories located in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The nearly one metric ton of narcotics was seized as a result of a large-scale joint narcotics enforcement operation by DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug agents in Afghanistan.

Members of the U.S. military’s 101st Airborne Division, along with ISAF, took part in “Operation Tar Pit.”

Acting on DEA intelligence, the multinational task force was able to identify a major clandestine heroin laboratory in the Zerasari Village of the Achin District. Upon arrival at the site, agents discovered three additional labs hidden by vegetation. Evidence collected confirmed that all of the labs were actively producing heroin and morphine.

“Thanks to the close cooperation among DEA, Afghan, and Russian anti-drug personnel as well as U.S. Military and ISAF in Afghanistan, one metric ton of heroin was seized from four clandestine laboratories along with various precursor chemicals. Operation Tar Pit was a significant enforcement success due to the fearsome force multiplier arrayed against the narco-traffickers and insurgents,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “This nearly $60 million worth of heroin seized in Afghanistan will never find its way to vulnerable communities around the world.”

In addition to 932 kilograms of heroin and 156 kilograms of opium seized, the following precursor chemicals and materials were also confiscated: 10 liters of acetic anhydride, 15 kilograms of ammonium chloride, 10 kilograms of soda ash, 40 kilograms of charcoal, two mechanical heroin presses, three metal industrial cooking vats, and 500 feet of plastic irrigation equipment.‪

An investigation into the drug trafficking organization responsible for operating the clandestine heroin labs is ongoing.

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By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

Republicans and “Tea Party” candidates are expecting to take over congress in a very few days, a “big win” totally underwritten with drug money.  There is no secret about it.

By June, $200 million in “foreign” contributions had already come into the GOP and Tea Party and not one cent of it is accounted for.  It is “corporate” money, money that doesn’t have to be American, doesn’t have to be legal, money that would put any normal American in prison for years if they had one cent in their pockets.

The $200 million is laundered drug money, much from Afghanistan but much also from Mexico, those drug money cartels that are buying America’s Southwest, the same cartels that did so well during the Bush years when the border with Mexico was open and totally unwatched.

You didn’t know that?

Those photographs showing backpacks and trash, abandoned by drug money “mules” and other illegals, the massive flow across the border, you didn’t know those photos were taken between 2001 and 2008?  You didn’t know that, in 8 very long years, the 8 years of the “W” Bush presidency, the number of illegal aliens in the United States doubled?

Now you wonder why the Mexican drug cartels are sending millions into America, all legal and proper “corporate” contributions, nice and clean, laundered just the way the Supreme Court wants it, drug money to keep their business growing, reopen the border, money to guarantee them favorable courts, friendly “law enforcement” and a return to “business as usual.”

The majority of the cash, however, originates from Afghanistan.  Not from the country itself, but from the $65 billion dollar a year heroin industry created from nothing after the US invasion of Iraq.  America joined with the drug money cartels of the Northern Alliance to remove the Taliban.  You remember the Taliban, the group that wanted too much of a percentage from the American oil companies who were planning a pipeline through Afghanistan, the same Taliban that eliminated opium production entirely?

Drug Money Made from American Fertilizer

Now the opium is being processed right there in Afghanistan, heroin made from opium grown with American fertilizer in fields protected by American soldiers, fields controlled by war lords working closely with the CIA and America’s military commanders in the region who make sure Russia, Europe and America have that needle in the arm and stay hooked for another generation.

Vietnam was a drug war as were the Reagan era phony wars in Central America.  You can’t turn on the TV without seeing it in a movie.  Movies aren’t always right but whenever you see Stephen Seagal or Chuck Norris stomp a drug money baron, we only wish they were doing it for real.

What is this election going to create?  Never in American history has foreign money been allowed this freely into the United States.  Japan, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Israel have typically spent the most and bought the most power.  Then came China.  They began buying politicians too, a million here, a hundred thousand there.

There is a lot of reasons to invest in a new congress.  If the war in Afghanistan ends, drugs won’t move freely.  If torture and rendition end, those planes that fly prisoners around won’t be able to carry the tons of heroin around the world too.  Isn’t part of the plan to make heroin so cheap that millions of Russians will be addicted?  Isn’t this part of the secret CIA plan also?

Drug Money War Being Taken Over By Terrorists

Isn’t all that drug money keeping Afghanistan from being taken over by terrorists?  This is what Ambassador Richard Holbrooke keeps telling us, keep the drugs flowing and America will be safe, safe except for that addict who just kicked down your door.

Over $1.2 billion will be spent on the upcoming election, over a billion to fund the jobs of 200 legislators whose income wouldn’t cover two days interest on that money.  Can you smell that smell, that rotten “government” smell?  Money used to come from big oil, crooked banks, pharma and nutty billionaires with names like Buffett and Scaife or perhaps DeVos.

Now the money is from drug cartels, mercenary armies and huge drug money laundering banks, brought in by the carload, open and free, no laws can control it.  All that is needed is a corporation, and that can be done in some states for 15 bucks.  Corporations can take foreign assets, send them to the United States, assets from any source, legal or illegal, and transfer those assets to a political party.

This year 90% of the drug money is going to the Republicans.  I wonder what is is buying?  I suspect Americans will eventually find out.

The production of opium — the raw material for heroin and a major source of revenue for the Taliban insurgency — has halved in Afghanistan due to crop infection this year, but prices have tripled, a UN report released on Thursday said. The sharp drop in output is largely due to bad weather and a plant infection hitting the major poppy-crop growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar particularly hard, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

“As a result of the damage, yield fell 48 per cent to 29.2 kilograms per hectare, from 56.1 kilograms per hectare compared with the previous year,” it said.

The report said the area of land under poppy cultivation remained stable in 2010 at 123,000 hectares.

Some 98 per cent of the all opium poppy was cultivated in nine provinces in the country’s western and southern regions, it said, adding, “Helmand and Kandahar took the lion’s share with Helmand alone accounting for 53 per cent of total opium cultivation in Afghanistan.” The two provinces, where Taliban are most active, are the focus of a US military surge this year, with the bulk of 30,000 extra US troops moved to Afghanistan this year deployed to Helmand and Kandahar.

“These regions are dominated by insurgency and organized crime networks,” UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov said in a statement.

“This underscores the link between opium poppy cultivation and insecurity in Afghanistan, a trend we have observed since 2007.” Taliban militants are believed to fund their insurgency against the Afghan government and the 150,000 US and NATO troops by collecting tax from opium money.

Fedotov cautioned against “false optimism” because of the drop in production, saying the rising price for opium might make the market again lucrative for growers.

In 2010, the average farm-gate price of dry opium at harvest time was recorded at USD 169 per kilogram, a 164-per-cent increase over 2009, when the price was USD 64 per kilogram, the report found.

The rising prices could also prompt former poppy farmers to think twice about having switched to wheat, an important alternative crop in Afghanistan, Fedotov said.

He said also that any meaningful fight against Afghan opium production would also require the international community to curb demand in the region and western countries. “As long as demand drives this market, there will always be another farmer to replace one we convince to stop cultivating, and another trafficker to replace one we catch.” Afghanistan supplies more than 90 per cent of the world’s opium.

Thursday’s report said that the forced eradication programme led by the government was at its lowest level this year. Afghan forces eradicated 2,316 hectares of poppy crops, more than half of them in Helmand province.

NATO has also stepped up its targeting of opium convoys and traffickers, arresting dozens of suspects and seizing thousands of tons of the illicit drug.

On Wednesday, Baz Mohammed Ahmadi, the deputy interior minister, said nearly 8 tons of opium, heroin and hashish had been seized by Afghan forces in the past six months.

Coalition forces in Afghanistan have taken £712million of heroin in what is the world’s biggest seizure of the drug.

The haul of 5.7tonnes was seized with 11.3tonnes of opium, worth £141million, and 841kg of hashish valued at £3.3million.

During the operation last month, 63 terrorists were killed, ten armed insurgents and drug traffickers of national and foreign citizenship arrested, and 14 Afghan hostages released.

The raids took place with Afghan police in the Bahramcha and Haji Wakil areas of Helmand province, where British forces are based.

It was aimed at seizing drugs before they are exported and possibly make their way on to the streets of Europe.

Bomb and weapon making materials were also taken in the operation.

The drugs, along with 4.5tonnes of ammonium chloride used to turn opium into heroin, were burnt and two processing factories destroyed.

The heroin seizure alone was more than the entire amount seized during the first three months of this year.

Afghan interior minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi said: ‘Our special counter-narcotics forces have brought a fantastic achievement to the people of Afghanistan.

‘The seizure of heroin represents the largest single seizure of heroin not only in Afghanistan but the world.’

Helmand’s former head of counter-narcotics Philippa Brown said the amount of the seized drug represented 25-30 per cent of Britain’s annual consumption of heroin.

‘We are making these seizures in conjunction with giving out alternative crops including wheat, grape and fruit trees to show that there is an
alternative to poppy cultivation,’ said Mrs Brown.

Opium seizures in Helmand are significantly higher than levels last year but prices for the drug have also risen sharply, British officials warned.

Bad weather, disease and insect damage have resulted in the cost of a kilogramme of raw opium rocketing from £29 to £142.


Thanks to http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/articles/global-drug.htm

this is a brilliant piece of Paper, with more than Dynamite inside!

(I wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance in the preparation of this essay from N, a Russian who for the time being prefers to remain anonymous.)

Tajik authorities have claimed repeatedly that neither the US nor NATO exerts any pressure on the drug warlords inside Afghanistan. „There’s absolutely no threat to the labs inside Afghanistan,“ said Avaz Yuldashov of the Tajikistan Drug Control Agency. „Our intelligence shows there are 400 labs making heroin there, and 80 of them are situated right along our border … Drug trafficking from Afghanistan is the main source of support for international terrorism now,“ Yuldashov pointed out last year.[1]


  1. The Meta-Group, the Russian 9/11, and Kosovo
    • Violence and the Political Requirements of the Global Drug Traffic
    • A Digression: Drugs, Meta-Groups and the Compradorial Revolution
    • The „Russian 9/11“ in 1999: Bombings and Plans for War
    • The Meeting in Khashoggi’s Villa, July 1999
    • Khashoggi’s Interest in Chechnya
    • Dunlop’s Redactions of His Source Yasenev
    • The Khashoggi Villa Meeting, Drugs, and Kosovo
  2. The Meta-Group, Drugs, Salafist Islam, and America
    • The Role of Anton Surikov: The Dunlop and Yasenev Versions
    • Surikov, Muslim Insurrectionism, and Drug Trafficking
    • Allegations of Drug-Trafficking and Far West, Ltd
    • Far West, Ltd, Halliburton, Diligence LLC, New Bridge, and Neil Bush
    • The U.S. Contribution to the Afghan-Kosovo Drug Traffic
    • How the U.S. Restored Narco-Barons to Power in Afghanistan, 2001
  3. The Meta-Group, the War on Terror, and 9/11
    • U.S. Geostrategic Goals and Chechnya
    • The Meta-Group’s Geostrategic Goal: Maintain the War of Terror
    • Concluding Question: The Meta-Group and the United States Government
    • The False Dilemmas of 9/11 Theories

I. The Meta-Group, the Russian 9/11, and Kosovo

Violence and the Political Requirements of the Global Drug Traffic

In the last three decades, three important facts have emerged about the international drug traffic. The first is that it is both huge and growing.

Narcotics are estimated to be worth between $500 billion and $1 trillion a year, an amount, according to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in remarks to a United Nations General Assembly session in June 2003, that is greater than the global oil and gas industry, and twice as large as the overall automobile industry.[2]

The second is that it is both worldwide and above all „highly integrated.“[3] At global drug summits such as the one in Armenia in 1993, representatives of the Sicilian Mafia, the Brighton Beach Organizatsiya, and Colombian drug lords, have worked out a common modus operandi, with the laundering of dirty money entrusted chiefly to the lawless Russian banks.[4]

The third important fact, undeniable since the 1980 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, is that governments with global pretensions will avail themselves, in pursuit of their own political ends, of the resources, both financial and political, of the drug traffic. It was striking in the 1980s that the CIA, in its choice of Afghan mujahedin leaders to back against the Soviet Union, passed over those with indigenous support in favor of those, notably Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who dominated the heroin trade. The result was to enhance Hekmatyar’s power until he became a leading heroin trafficker, not just in Afghanistan but in the world.[5]

Three more important features of the global drug traffic have been less noticed; thus although I regard them as facts I shall refer to them not as facts but as propositions to be tested against evidence. The first proposition is that the highly integrated drug traffic industry, in addition to serving the political ends of world powers, has its own political as well as economic objectives. It requires that in major growing areas there must be limited state control, a condition most easily reached by fostering regional rebellion and warfare, often fought by its own private armies. This is the on-going situation of designed violence in every major growing area, from Lebanon to Myanmar, Colombia to Afghanistan.

Once the local power of drug armies was enough in itself to neutralize the imposition of state authority. But today there are increasing signs that those at the highest level of the drug traffic will plot with the leaders of major states to ensure, or even to stage, violence that serves the power of the state and the industry alike.

Thanks to extensive research in Russia, we now have initial evidence of a second and even more significant proposition: There exists on the global level a drug meta-group, able to manipulate the resources of the drug traffic for its own political and business ends, without being at risk for actual trafficking. These ends include the creation of designed violence to serve the purposes of cabals in political power – most conspicuously in the case of the Yeltsin „family“ in the Kremlin, but allegedly, according to Russian sources, also for those currently in power in the United States.

One piece of evidence for this consists in a meeting which took place in July 1999 in southern France near Nice, at the villa in Beaulieu of Adnan Khashoggi, once called „the richest man in the world.“ Those at the meeting included a member of the Yeltsin cabal in the Kremlin and four representatives from the meta-group, with passports from Venezuela, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Germany. Between them they allegedly enjoyed excellent relations with:

1) Ayman al-Zawahiri, the acknowledged mastermind of 9/11 and senior mentor to Osama bin Laden.

2) Soviet military intelligence.

3) the FARC, the Colombian revolutionary group that has become increasingly involved in the drug traffic.

4) the Kosovo Liberation Army, a similarly involved group.

5) (according to a well-informed Russian source) the CIA.

The third important proposition is that a meta-group of this scale does not just help government agencies make history. I hope to show that it, and its predecessors, are powerful enough to help make history themselves. However they do not do so overtly, but as a hidden Force X whose presence is not normally acknowledged in the polite discourse of academic political scientists. On the contrary, as we shall see, references to it are usually suppressed.

A Digression: Drugs, Meta-Groups and the Compradorial Revolution

The question arises whether this is the only such meta-group in the international drug milieu. My tentative answer is that there are indeed other focal nodes for organized international drug trafficking, often above the reach of the law. (The remnants of the dissident Hekmatyar drug network in Afghanistan would be a prime example.) What is special about this meta-group is its global reach, which makes it of especial interest to the CIA and other pro-American agencies committed to globalization.

A drug meta-group with such broad connections is not unprecedented. A clear predecessor was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a drug-laundering bank which was of use to CIA Director William Casey precisely because of its corrupt global reach. As a Washington insider said to two Time reporters covering BCCI,

They were the only way we could talk to certain folks, and they were the only vehicle available for some transactions. Who else could wire something together to Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and the U.S.?[6]

It is worthy of note that Khashoggi has enjoyed intimate connections to both, as well as to western intelligence and wePeter Dale Scott, Deep Politicsdstern politicians.

The „wiring together“ effected by drugs has helped give a significant boost to the global banking network, particularly in Russia and southeast Asia. In these areas it has also fostered trade and investment, bringing businessmen from previous diverse commercial areas into increasing contact with each other. From this perspective globalization can be seen as a compradorial revolution: compradorial classes have moved into positions of power, and in some cases their international networks have been more than a match for local state power.[6a]

There are three different ways in which this compradorial revolution has proceeded, and it could be shown that drugs have often helped supply a base for all three:

1) In some countries (as in Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, and to some extent Indonesia) these classes have displaced military regimes. Drug-based fortunes clearly played a major role in the compradorial revolution of Thailand.

2) In some countries compradorial elements have succeeding in converting (or, depending on your point of view, corrupting) the cadres of socialist governments. Drugs have played a significant role in the compradorial embourgeoisement of China, Laos, and Cambodia, and may have played an indirect role in the case of Vietnam.

3) Recently – as in the „color revolutions“ of eastern Europe and central Asia – compradorial elements have helped to oust the remnants of the former Soviet governing apparatus. I hope in this essay to give preliminary evidence that the global drug meta-group I have described has played a role in the „color revolutions“ as well.

As to how many drug meta-groups exist in the world, I believe there are at least two. A second, which we will not examine here, oversees the new drug highway from north Myanmar (Burma) through the entrepreneurial zones of south China, and manages the international connections necessary to arrange for the smuggling of heroin and people into Australia and the eastern and western United States.

The relation of the west to this second or eastern meta-group is unknown, and in all probability it is highly complex and ambiguous. It is probably safe to say however that the global reach of the second meta-group, overseeing the much smaller flow of drugs east from Myanmar, is less than the first or western meta-group we shall discuss here, overseeing the far greater flow of drugs west from Afghanistan. (It has been estimated that by now Afghanistan supplies from 80 to 90 percent of the global heroin trade.)[7]

The west, and particularly the United States, have not concealed their interest in the success of globalization and the „color revolutions.“ Unfortunately those who sing the praises of both neglect the terrible social costs of the drug traffic, and the Force X which so often is the underpinning of the compradorial revolution. Because the drug economy is often not integrated into the legal one, it tends to foster superwealth and income disparity. The benefits tend not to be enjoyed by a society as a whole, or even its middle class. This is even more true when the masters of the drug-traffic are not indigenous but alien (as is conspicuously the case in eastern Myanmar).[8]

There is an undeniable western face to the dominant meta-group. One member of the meta-group at the 1999 meeting, Anton Surikov, had spent time at the London Centre for Defence Studies; and in addition Surikov had had contacts with at least one senior CIA representative.[9] (Another member of the meta-group, former Lithuanian Defense Minister Audrius Butkevicius, was with Surikov at the London Centre.) We shall see that a third member, Ruslan Saidov, is said to have been paid as a CIA contract agent.

One of the alleged purposes of the meeting at the villa – but not the only one – was to give the Yeltsin „family“ what it supposedly needed: a Russian 9/11.

The „Russian 9/11“ in 1999: Bombings and Plans for War

Russia has been familiar for some time with charges that the bombings in Moscow in 1999, and an accompanying invasion of Russian Dagestan that rekindled the ongoing war in neighboring Chechnya, were both planned by representatives of the Islamist element in the Chechen resistance, in collusion with a representative of the Russian Kremlin.

Read synoptically, these stories indicate that the well-connected drug-trafficking meta-group, with connections to both the Kremlin and the CIA, arranged in advance for the bombings and invasion at the meeting in July 1999, at a French villa owned by the superrich arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi. The group allegedly operated with support from Saudi Arabia and organized global drug trafficking, some of it probably through Kosovo.

The group’s business front, Far West, Ltd., is said to have CIA-approved contractual dealings with Halliburton for geopolitical purposes in the Caucasus, as well as dealings in Iraq with Diligence LLC, a group with connections to Joe Allbaugh (the FEMA chief in 2001) and to the President’s younger brother Neil Bush. The head of Far West recently told a Russian outlet that „a well-known American corporation… is a co-founder of our agency.“[10]

The evidence for this western face of the group is laid out in an article by a so-called Yuri Yasenev, which is clearly a compilation of extracts from intelligence reports, on a Russian website.[11] The article is cited – very selectively – as authoritative by a reputable Hoover Institution scholar, John B. Dunlop.[12] But Dunlop completely ignores, one might say, suppresses, Yasenev’s case as I have summarized it above. He uses the article instead to document a more familiar case: that in 1999 the Yeltsin „family“ in the Kremlin dealt with this same group to create what might be called the „Russian 9/11.“

When I say that Dunlop suppresses certain details, I do not mean to suggest that he does so conspiratorially, or even consciously. My notion of deep politics, which I have developed elsewhere, posits that in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed collectively, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so.[13] Like all other observers, I too have involuntarily suppressed facts and even memories about the drug traffic that were too provocative to be retained with equanimity.[14]

The drug traffic is often the beneficiary of this suppression, which leaves it more free to act without interference. In Deep Politics I referred to the pervasive influence of a U.S. government-drug collaboration which I called „Operation X,“ looking at it from the perspective of a parapolitical manipulation of the traffic by the government.[15] I wish now that I had written of a „Force X,“ a force which was no longer under total government control, and indeed could influence government behavior for its own ends.[16]

Dunlop’s thesis is in itself an alarming one. It is that men of influence in the Kremlin, building on the connections established by the wealthy oligarch Boris Berezovskii, were able to arrange for staged violence, in order to reinforce support for an unpopular Russian government. This staged violence took the form of lethal bombings in the capital and an agreed-upon incursion by Chechens into Russian Dagestan.

This credible thesis is even more alarming when we consider that both Khashoggi and Berezovskii have purchased significant political influence in the West as well. In 2003 Khashoggi was negotiating with Richard Perle, a member of the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique who at the time was still Chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Board, to invest considerable Saudi money in Perle’s company Trireme.[17] Berezovskii is a shareholder in the software company, Ignite, of President Bush’s delinquent brother Neil Bush.[18]

More significantly, Khashoggi and his connections have shown in the past their ability to influence, even distort, U.S. foreign policy, to the detriment of the latter. An important example was the ill-fated so-called Ghorbanifar initiative during Iran-Contra, to sell arms to the mullahs in Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages:

Ghorbanifar was not acting alone. Although he led us to believe he was using Iranian money, his forward purchases and bridge deposits were actually being bankrolled by Adnan Khashoggi [and BCCI]….Khashoggi had an on-and-off relationship with Israel for many years and evidently had been in the loop as Ghorbanifar’s backer from the very beginning.[19]

Ghorbanifar could never have caused such embarrassment to the Reagan Administration if he had not been backed by deeper, hidden forces.

By the „Russian 9/11“ I mean the bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999,

accompanied by the pre-arranged (and partly staged) second Russian invasion of Chechnya. For some time the West has heard versions of the claim that both events were planned at the time by Russian intelligence. For example Patrick Cockburn reported as follows in the Independent:

Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Comparative Politics, writing in the weekly Novaya Gazeta, says that the bombings in Moscow and elsewhere were arranged by the GRU (the Russian military intelligence service). He says they used members of a group controlled by Shirvani Basayev, brother of the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, to plant the bombs. These killed 300 people in Buikask, Moscow and Volgodonsk in September.[20]

Cockburn’s source, Boris Kagarlitskii, also accused Russian intelligence agents of planting at least one of the bombs.

Boris Kagarlitsky, a member of the Russian Institute for Comparative Politics, stated: „FSB officers were caught red-handed while planting the bomb. They were arrested by the police and they tried to save themselves by showing FSB identity cards.“ The first man to enter the basement, Police Inspector Andrei Chernyshev, related: „It was about 10 in the evening. There were some strangers who were seen leaving the basement. We were told about the men who came out from the basement and left the car with a licence number which was covered with paper. I went down to the basement. This block of flats had a very deep basement which was completely covered with water. We could see sacks of sugar and in them some electronic device, a few wires and a clock. We were shocked. We ran out of the basement and I stayed on watch by the entrance and my officers went to evacuate the people.“ Despite the arrest of the FSB officers by the police, they were quietly released when the secret service’s Moscow headquarters intervened. The Observer reports that the next day, in an attempt to cover-up the discovery, „the FSB in Moscow announced that there had never been a bomb, only a training exercise.“[21]

Western scholarly analyses have seen the bombings and war as part of a stratagem to boost the popularity of the Kremlin, and particularly the little-known new Prime Minister Putin, for the coming presidential elections in November 1999. The most thorough study, by John Dunlop of the Hoover Institution, blames the plotting on three protégés of the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovskii – Valentin Yumashev, Alexander Voloshin, and Roman Abramovich – who at this point were members of Yeltsin’s „Family“ in the Kremlin.[22] (As for Berezovskii himself, Dunlop writes that by mid-1999 „all of his real but beginning-to-dwindle political influence was obtained through the intercession of D’yachenko [Yeltsin’s daughter] and Yumashev.“)[23]

The Meeting in Khashoggi’s Villa, July 1999

A crucial piece of evidence for this thesis of Kremlin-structured violence is the meeting in July 1999, when Alexander Voloshin met in southern France with the Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev. In Dunlop’s words,

On the day following the initial incursion of rebel forces into the Dagestani highlands in early August of 1999, the investigative weekly Versiya published a path-breaking report claiming that the head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Aleksandr Voloshin, had met secretly with the most wanted man in Russia, Shamil‘ Basaev, through the good offices of a retired officer in the GRU, Anton Surikov, at a villa belonging to international arms merchant Adnan

Khashoggi located between Nice and Monaco.109 A source in French intelligence was credited by Versiya with supplying this information. The article stirred major interest in the Russian media, but at the time documentary confirmation was lacking.

By July of 2000, Versiya, in an effort of persistent journalistic digging, had unearthed what it regarded as the full story of what had occurred, with an acknowledged assist from French and Israeli intelligence. „The meeting [of Voloshin and Basaev],“ the weekly related, „which supposedly took place at the dacha of the international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi in the small town of Beaulieu near Nice, occurred on 4 July 1999.[24] Sources in the French special services had earlier communicated that information, in particular a certain professor of political science, a specialist in issues of Russian defense, security,

and organized crime. He is well known for his contract work for French government establishments, including French counter-intelligence.“110….

The investigative weekly then went on to summarize what it had learned from French and Israeli intelligence, as well as from its own journalistic digging: „A luxurious villa in the French city of Beaulieu, located between Nice and the principality of Monaco. This villa, according to the French special services, belongs to the international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. He is an Arab from Saudi Arabia, a billionaire with a complicated reputation. According to the French special services, and also to the French press, in June of 1999 there took up residence at the villa a Venezuelan banker named Alfonso Davidovich.111

In the Latin American press, he is said to be responsible for laundering the funds of the Columbian left insurrection organization FARC, which carries out an armed struggle with the official authorities, supported by the narcotics business.“

110 Petr Pryanishnikov, „Voloshin I Basaev na lazurnom beregu: foto na pamyat‘,“ Versiya, 4 July 2000. The article, accompanied by a photo, can be found at: http:www.compromat.ru/main/voloshin/basaev.htm

111 The article „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya,“ compromat.ru, 17 December 2004 reports that Davidovich lives in Munich and enjoys both German and Venezuelan citizenship. He is also said to be personally acquainted with international arms dealer Khashoggi.[25]

Dunlop’s massively documented essay is 52 pages long, with 142 footnotes. But having thus provocatively included references to both Khashoggi and narcotics, Dunlop does not mention either again. The failure to discuss Khashoggi is particularly surprising. If indeed the meeting took place at his villa, the proceedings were not only likely to be recorded, one would think that they were intended to be recorded.

One would also expect the participants to be confident that the recordings would reach western intelligence, as apparently they promply did. „In France and in the ranks of Israeli intelligence, Versiya wrote, it had been reported that `there exists a video-tape of the meeting at the villa in Beaulieu.'“[26] One would have expected that this video-tape might reach, not just the French and Mossad, but Khashoggi’s long-time associates in U.S. intelligence as well.[27]

Khashoggi’s Interest in Chechnya

Just as Berezovskii was at one point the richest man in Russia, so Khashoggi was once (according to his American biographer) „The Richest Man in the World.“ At one point indeed Khashoggi had an influence in American politics analogous to Berezovskii’s in Russia. For example, Khashoggi attended both Nixon inaugurals and contributed money to his electoral campaigns. He admitted to giving $58,000 in 1968, but allegedly told Pierre Salinger he gave $1 million in 1972.[28] He also arranged a fund-raising event for Jimmy Carter’s Center in Plains, Georgia, an event which probably originated in both men’s connections to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).[29]

Khashoggi is usually thought of as an arms salesman. Although he has never been directly linked to the drug traffic, he was intimately involved in the affairs of the drug-laundering bank BCCI, with which he arranged an arms shipment as part of Oliver North’s dealings in Iran-Contra.[30] He also became notorious for flying into Las Vegas from abroad and then rapidly losing vast sums of cash at the casino tables – a traditional form of money-laundering.[31] His name has surfaced in connection with a number of other scandals, from the illicit real estate ventures of the Marcos family in New York to a major defrauding of a Thai bank in 1998, which was followed by the Asian financial crisis of that year.

Khashoggi had had a financial interest in Chechnya, and connections with its leaders, since 1996, from his participation in a consortium called Caucasian Common Market AO. This was designed to raise $3 billion in the West and Japan for investment in Chechnya.[32] A principal organizer was former Chechen First Deputy Premier Khozh-Akhmed Nukhaev, in conjunction with Lord McAlpine of the Goldsmith family interests in London, and also American capital.[33] But according to the late Paul Klebnikov, Nukhaev had a background in Chechen organized crime, before developing „a radical ideology in line with the one espoused by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network.“[34]

Despite this background, Nukhaev found support and financing in Washington for his Caucasian-American Chamber of Commerce. According to once source, in 1997 Khashoggi introduced Nukhaev to former Secretary of State James Baker.[35]

However Dunlop’s inquiry is focused, not on Khashoggi, but on Berezovskii and his representative Voloshin in the Kremlin:

In March of 2002 Interfax reported that, through his long-time business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili, Berezovskii had „supplied Chechen figures Kazbek Makhashev and Movladi Udugov with money to purchase the raid against Dagestan. According to witnesses, Berezovskii contributed 30 million rubles

for the purpose.“120 This payment, amounting to more than $1 million, if it occurred, may have been only one of several intended to underwrite a „short victorious war“ in Dagestan.

120 „Berezovskii Sponsored Dagestan Raid, Top Policeman’s Abduction — Prosecutors,“ Interfax, 5 March 2002. A well-known journalist for RFE-RL, Andrei Babitskii, who frequently visited Chechnya during this period and was acquainted with a number of leading separatists, writes that he can confirm that Berezovskii did indeed speak by telephone with both Basaev and Movladi Udugov at this juncture. See Andrei Babibitskii, „Na voine,“ hro.org, 2 March 2004.

Dunlop is not alone in suspecting the hand of Berezovskii behind Voloshin’s meeting with Basaev. So does Cockburn’s source Boris Kagarlitskii (about whom we shall have more to say).[36] The Russian observer Lilia Shevtsova reports a rumor at this time that Berezovskii himself, along with his agent Alexander Voloshin, had met in France with Bazayev in the summer of 1999, just before the Dagestan invasion of August 2.[37]

Dunlop’s Redactions of His Source Yasenev

Though he says nothing more about Khashoggi or drugs, Dunlop does however make one more reference to the alleged drug-money launderer Alfonso Davidovich:

„It soon emerged,“ Versiya continued, „that a very frequent visitor to Davidovich was a certain French businessman of Israeli-Soviet origin, a native of Sokhumi [Abkhazia], 53-year-old Yakov Kosman. 112 Soon Kosman brought with him six persons who arrived via Austria carrying Turkish passports.[38] In one of the passports the French [authorities] identified a certain Tsveiba, who is accused by the Tbilisi authorities of having committed genocide during the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict.“ All of the visitors settled into the villa for a three weeks‘ stay.

„Soon,“ the account continues, „the special services succeeded in establishing that

Kosman and Tsveiba went to the Nice airport, where they met two men who had arrived from Paris. Judging from their documents, one of those who arrived was Sultan Sosnaliev, who in the years of the Georgian-Abkhaz war served as the minister of defense of Abkhazia.113 Second there emerged from the airport one more native of Sokhumi — Anton Surikov. According to rumors, during the years of the war in Abkhazia, he was subordinated to Sosnaliev and was responsible for questions of the organization of sabotage and was friendly with field commander Shamil‘ Basaev, who at that time headed the Chechen battalion.“

The next arrival came by sea: „According to the precise information of the French and the Israelis, on 3 July at the port of Beaulieu a private English yacht ‚Magiya‘ [Magic] arrived from Malta. From it to the shore came two passengers. If one is to believe the passport information, one of the ‚Englishmen‘ was a certain Turk, in the past an advisor to the Islamicist premier of Turkey, [Necmettin] Erbakan, a rather influential figure in the Wahhabi circles of Turkey, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.114 From sources in the Russian special services we learned that Mekhmet is also a close friend of the not unknown Khattab.“

„The second person,“ the account goes on, „to the surprise of the intelligence officers, was the Chechen field commander Shamil‘ Basaev.

112 Kosman is reported in the same 17 December 2004 issue of compromat.ru, to live in Nice and to possess German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship.

113 On Sosnaliev as Abkhazia’s defense minister, see RFE-RL Newsline, 2 November 1993.

114 On Erbakan, see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), p. 365.

Dunlop’s cited source for information about both Davidovich and Kosman is an article by Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), on a Russian website, ru.compromat.[39] But Dunlop has significantly edited, one must even say censored, what Yasenev wrote.

In footnote 111 Dunlop says

The article „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya,“ compromat.ru, 17 December 2004 reports that Davidovich lives in Munich and enjoys both German and Venezuelan citizenship. He is also said to be personally acquainted with international arms dealer Khashoggi.

radically curtailing Yasenev’s description of Davidovich:

Alfonso Davidovich – (1948), Venezuelan, lives in Munich. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship.

Speaks Spanish, English, French, German, and Russian fluently. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR (Privol’noe, Nikolaevskaya oblast) and East Germany.

Owns companies and banks in Barbados, the Caymans and other off-shores.

Has friendly relations with Hugo Chavez, and is acquainted with Fidel Castro, Marcus Wolf and Adnan Khashoggi. Has many contacts in Colombia, including FARC. In 1999 Davidovich was alleged to have engaged in arms trafficking for guerillas in Chiapas, Mexico and in money laundering for the Colombian drug mafia. Finances antiglobalization movement in Europe and Latin America.“[40]

With respect to Yakov Kosman, Dunlap says: „Kosman is reported in the same 17 December 2004 issue of compromat.ru, to live in Nice and to possess German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship.“

Compare this with what Yasenev wrote:

Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship. Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Thaçi, the chief commander of KLA.“[41]

Consider that „In 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA – formally known as the Ushtria Clirimtare e Kosoves, or UCK – as an international terrorist organization, saying it had bankrolled its operations with proceeds from the international heroin trade and from loans from known terrorists like Osama bin Laden.“[42]

The Khashoggi Villa Meeting, Drugs, and Kosovo

It would appear that Davidovich and Kosman were in Khashoggi’s villa to talk about more than just Chechnya, but that Dunlop did not wish to explore this possibility. For example, he acknowledges the presence of no less than four men of Abkhazian origin and/or influence at the meeting – Kosman, Tsveiba, Sosnaliev, and Surikov — and yet offers no explanation whatsoever for their presence. (A glance at a map will show that Abkhazia is irrelevant to the subsequent events in Dagestan and Chechnya.)

It seems likely that a drug-route was discussed involving Abkhazia, which now „has become a key heroin transiting point.“[43] Its drug-trafficking importance is noted by none other than Surikov himself:

In general then, the Chechen [drug-trafficking] group has allotted a very important place to Abkhazia in its plans. This is due firstly to the strong position of local field commanders after the end of the Georgian/Abkhazian conflict….Secondly…a large number of `volunteers‘ [notably Basaev] came from Chechnia and other North Caucasian republics….Amongst these people were a number of criminals whose presence facilitated later contacts with local undesirables….As a result of these developments Abkhazia today is one of the most criminalised areas of the former Soviet Union.[44]

Note that in this passage Surikov makes no reference to his own Abkhazian origin, his involvement as a GRU officer in the Russian-backed Abkhazian insurrection, and his friendship there with Basaev (referred to by Dunlop). Here and elsewhere in his text it would appear that the „Chechen group“ he describes is one overseen by his own meta-group.

Russian observers have pointed out that the meeting(s) in France, which took place in June and/or July 1999, came shortly after the unexpected entry of Russian troops into Kosovo.

On June 11, 1999, 200 Russian troops in SFOR drove from Bosnia to Prishtina and secured Slatina airport. Gen Wesley Clark then ordered [UK] Gen. Sir Mike Jackson (who on June 9 had signed technical agreement for withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo) „to seize the airport. Jackson responded, famously, that he would not start World War Three for him“[45]

Following two days of talks directly between Clinton and Yeltsin, the crisis was averted.

Instead there followed weeks of „protracted negotiations on Russia’s role in the Kosovo peacekeeping mission.“[46] In the end, under circumstances still not fully understood, the United States and NATO agreed that the Russians could stay.

The Russian troops finally withdrew from the airport in July 2003.[47] Significantly, a chart of Russian drug-trafficking prepared by one of Surikov’s partners, Sergei Petrov, indicates that in 2003 Kosovo ceased to be a main point of export for Russian drugs, its place being taken by the Black Sea oil port of Novorossiysk.[48]

Within a year of the troops‘ arrival, by 2000, according to DEA statistics, Afghan heroin accounted for almost 20 percent of the heroin seized in the United States – nearly double the percentage taken four years earlier. Much of it was now distributed in America by Kosovar Albanians.[49]

It is significant therefore that

The `Pristina dash‘ by Russian parachutists in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis (the purpose of the `dash‘ was to force NATO to guarantee for Russia a separate sector of responsibility in Kosovo) was organized by the head of the General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, and his deputy, Leonid Ivashov, without the knowledge of minister of defense Igor Sergeyev and most likely without Yeltsin’s knowledge.[50]

Yasenev says nothing about this, but does assert that Kvashnin was the Russian Army connection of two leading drug traffickers (Vladimir Filin andAlexey Likhvintsev) in the Saidov-Surikov group.

II. The Meta-Group, Drugs, Salafist Islam, and America

The Role of Anton Surikov: The Dunlop and Yasenev Versions

As we have seen, Dunlop describes Anton Surikov, the organizer of the Beaulieu meeting between Voloshin and Basaev, as „a retired officer in the GRU.“ He fails to quote from his source Yasenev’s description of Surikov:

Anton Victorovich Surikov (b. 1961). Presents himself as political scientist. Responsible for informational and political projects. Actively publishes in press. Some of his publications resemble ciphered directives to the elements in Russian special services disloyal [emphasis added] to President Vladimir Putin. His other articles contain political messages intended for abroad. Surikov has contacts with F[ritz] Ermarth, former leading CIA analyst of the USSR and Russia, now in the Nixon Foundation….[51]

Surikov has close relations with Alexander Prokhanov and Alexander Nagorny [respectively, chief editor and assistant chief editor of newspaper „Zavtra“], Anatoly Baranov [chief editor of Pravda.info and KPRF.ru], Mikhail Delyagin,[52] former advisor to Mikhail Kasyanov[53], Alexei Kondaurov (head of YUKOS security department, former general of KGB and FSB, State Duma deputy from CPRF), Ilya Ponomarev (former YUKOS CEO, CPRF).

In 2002-03, together with Kondaurov–who represented Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Leonid Nevzlin–Surikov, with the help of Victor Vidmanov, organized financing of CPRF by YUKOS shareholders and the individuals associated with OPS [the organized criminal society] (Yakov Kosman, Nikolai Lugovskoi) to the tune of $15 million.

Boris Kagarlitskii’s essay and Yasenev’s memo, taken from intelligence files, talk about Surikov, but from opposing perspectives. Kagarlitskii, a longtime dissident and foe of Putin, saw the Beaulieu meeting as the venue for Kremlin-instigated violence, designed to restore the Kremlin’s popularity before the coming election. Yasenev’s memo sees Surikov as part of an on-going effort to destabilize Russia, and weaken the Kremlin.

Kagarlitskii (and after him Dunlop) say almost nothing about Surikov, other than to refer to his past years with Russian military intelligence, the GRU. To quote Dunlop,

Kagarlitskii also notes: „During Primakov’s time, Surikov worked on the staff of the government of the Russian Federation. Despite this fact, he also developed regular work relations with Voloshin’s people.“ It seems therefore quite likely that Surikov and Voloshin were personally acquainted.[54]

However Yasenev’s memo in December 2004 links Surikov, not to the government or Kremlin, but (through Kondaurov) to the sphere of the man who by that time had emerged as America’s best friend and Putin’s most powerful enemy in Russia, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovskii. (The Kondaurov-Khodorkovskii connection is abundantly documented: both men freely admit it.)

Forbes magazine, which underwrote Klebnikov’s damning accounts of both Berezovskii and Nukhaev, wrote on March 18, 2002 that Khodorkovskii appeared „to be the West’s best friend“ in Russia. According to PBS in 2003, Khodorkovskii’s firm Menatep shared business interests with the western investment firms Global Asset Management, the Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group and AIG Capital Partners. In addition

He frequently travels to the United States. He reportedly dined with Condoleezza Rice last year and recently was a guest at Herb Allen’s Idaho ranch, along with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other luminaries, for an annual telecommunications executives meeting.[55]

Quoting from an anti-Yeltsin essay of May 1999 by Surikov in Versiya, the American right-wing Jamestown Foundation agrees with Yasenev (against Kagarlitskii) that „Surikov is clearly in the camp of Yeltsin’s opponents.“[56] More recently Surikov has also shown himself to be anti-Putin, criticizing Putin’s „obvious inability … to struggle against terrorism effectively.“[57]

Furthermore Surikov clearly had western support in his opposition to government corruption under Yeltsin. We need only look to the following description of a Surikov book published in London:

Crime in Russia: the international implications Anton Surikov London Defence Studies.Examines (1) the growth of organized crime in post-Soviet Russia (2) the extraordinary extent to which the Colombian cartel has targeted Russia as a conduit for its penetration of the world market (3) the scale of drug-trafficking in Russia, predominantly by the ‚Chechen group‘ controlled by the Dudayev regime.[58] The author’s interesting career details are set out on a prelim page. The monograph is introduced by Jonathan Aves (lecturer in Russian studies at the University of Sussex) ‚Introduction‘ pp1-6, 12 refs, detailing both the scale of the problem and Surikov’s background expertise. This expertise has to be assumed by the reader, as the monograph contains no literature references of its own.[59]

According to his webpage at the IPROG website, Surikov spent the year 1994 at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London.[60] (Audrius Butkevicius is said to have spent the year there as well.)

As for Yasenev’s allegations that „Surikov has contacts with F. Ermarth,“ Surikov when questioned about this admitted it frankly: „I am personally acquainted with Mr. Ermarth as political scientist since 1996. It’s well known by many people and we never hid this fact.“[61] In saying this, Surikov was admitting to a CIA connection: Ermarth, a senior officer who twice served on the National Security Council, did not retire from the CIA until 1998. The two men had met in April 1996 at a Global International Security Seminar in Virginia.[62]

Above all, Kagarlitskii is silent about the charge which has since aroused controversy in the Russian media: Surikov’s supposed involvement with „a group of renegade Soviet secret service officers who are allegedly involved in international drug trafficking and have ties with Western and Saudi security apparatus.“[63]

It would be interesting to learn at what point Kagarlitskii first met Surikov, and whether Surikov was in fact the source for Kagarlitskii’s article about the meeting in southern France. Today the two men are close, and serve together at the Moscow Institute for the Study of Globalization (IPROG).[64]

Saidov, Surikov, Muslim Insurrectionism, and Drug Trafficking

The most conspicuous clue to Dunlop’s selectivity in his use of the Yasenev memo is his failure to identify „Mekhmet,“ the „certain Turk, in the past an advisor to the Islamicist premier of Turkey, [Necmettin] Erbakan.“[65] Yasenev identifies Mekhmet, linking him not only to Erbakan but also to the CIA, to Saudi intelligence, and to al-Qaeda:

In 2003 the Turkish citizen Mehmet whose real name is Ruslan Saidov, persuaded the President of the Chechen Republic, Ahmed Kadyrov, that he could be of use with Kadyrov’s policy of „national reconciliation.“ Saidov took part in organizing Kadyrov’s visit to Saudi Arabia. There Kadyrov made an agreement with the head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Naif Ibn Abdel-Aziz, that the Arab militants under the Lieutenant Colonel Aziz ben Said ben Ali al Hamdi (alias Abu al Walid al-Hamadi), Prince Naif’s subordinate, would be removed from Chechnya by May 2004. The agreement stipulated that Kadyrov guaranteed safe passage to Abu al-Walid. Playing a double game and intending to set up both parties, Saidov (probably together with Abu al-Walid himself) gave this information to the CIA. Apparently the CIA was concerned that having left Chechnya the Arab militants would resurface in Iraq and join the terrorist group of the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that belongs to the al-Qaida network.

Trying to prevent this, and besides, wanting to discredit Kadyrov in the eyes of Prince Naif, the CIA gave Saidov an „assignment“. On April 13 in the Nozhai-Yurt district of Chechnya, Russian troops killed Abu al-Walid (or alleged having done so). Saidov paid $300,000 to those who carried out this operation. Their bosses in Moscow received $500,000. How much the CIA paid Saidov is unknown….

Yasenev describes Saidov as both a drug trafficker and an arms trafficker, involved with the supply of Russian arms to the Saudi-backed secessionists from Yemen in Aden. This was at a time when Russia had officially ceased support to the one-time Marxist country in favor of supporting Yemeni unity:[66]

In May-June 1994, Saidov together with Usman Imaev and Khozh-Ahmed Nukhaev and under an agreement with Pavel Grachev and Dzhohar Dudaev, organized twenty-two flights to airlift arms and ammunition via the Chechen airport Sheikh Mansur to the airport Aden in Yemen.[67]

In the spring of 1995 Saidov began to cooperate with the organized society, led by Vladimir Filin and Alexei Likhvintsev [see below] in handling [narcotics] traffic through the port of Novorossiysk.

Saidov is described by Yasenev as having good relations not only with the CIA, but also with both Turkish Islamists and even with Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man often described as both the „mastermind“ behind 9/11 and the senior partner in al Qaeda with the younger bin Laden:[68]

Since August 1995 Saidov resides in Turkey.

In December 1995 he published an extremist book in Turkish The Muslims of the Caucasus in the 19th century: Genocide by Russia. The leader of the Welfare Party and the future Turkish Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, gave a good review of this book. In July 1996 Saidov became his advisor.[69]

In December 1996 Ayman al-Zawahiri was arrested in Dagestan for illegal entry.[70] He carried a false Sudanese passport. When he was arrested Saidov went to Makhachkala [the capital of Dagestan]. There he organized a petition to the authorities in support of Zawahiri. It was signed by twenty-six Muslim clergymen and the Russian State Duma deputy, Nadirshakh Khachilaev.[71] Saidov managed to obtain a court decision, condemning Zawahiri to a six-month prison term, which had actually expired by that time….

Since the middle of the nineties, Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal (then head of the Saudi intelligence and at present, Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain) and Prince Naif.[72]

In addition Yasenev made it clear that Saidov was not pro-Putin, but a Muslim activist who was passionately anti-Putin and indeed anti-Russian:

In September 2003, Saidov participated in the congress of the extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami in Jordan. At this congress he announced that Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami was an organization effectively acting in the underground throughout Russia, Central Asia and the Crimea….[73]

On December 8, 2004 Saidov addressed Muslim youth in Moscow. In his words, „following Ukraine, the Orange Revolution is coming to Russia.“ „Our liberals say that in 2008 the situation in Moscow will be like the one in Kiev.“ However, everything will be different, and not in 2008, but earlier.“ „Amirs and mudjahideen will soon make the Kremlin shudder with horror.“ In 2005, „they will throw into hell the servant of Satan,“ i.e., President Putin, who is allegedly „wanted by the International Tribunal at The Hague.“

The same goal of Muslim liberation was attributed by Yasenev to the organizer of the meeting in France, Anton Surikov:

On December 13 2004, in Adygeia, Surikov had a meeting with a group of Sufi believers and said this: „In the past we were against ahl-ad-dalala (those who gone astray) with their Arab money. We used to say that one should not separate from Russia. But now „Russia is on the brink of collapse and chaos.“ So „we’ll be separating [from Russia] with all Muslims of the Caucasus.“ A new state will be created on our historical lands from Psou and the Black Sea to Laba and Kuban.“

(The goal of splitting up Russia attributed here to Surikov is that which, in an earlier text co-authored by Surikov, is attributed by Russian „radicals“ to the United States:

The radicals believe that the US actively utilizes Turkish and Muslim elements….From Azerbaijan, radicals foresee a strategic penetration which would irrevocably split the Federation. US influence would be distributed to the former Soviet Central Asian Republics, to Chechnya and the other North Caucasus Muslim autonomous republics of T[at]arstan and Bashkortostan. As a result Russian territorial integrity would be irreparably compromised.)[74]

Yasenev claims also that, in the summer of 2004, the meta-group

started a project in the Near-Volgian Federal District to train cadres for Volga-Urals chapter of the international extremist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in 2003. The project is financed by private philanthropic foundations of the Arabic Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

In this context we can further question Dunlop’s assumption that the 1999 meeting organized by Surikov in southern France was called to promote the intentions of the Yeltsin „family.“ In the light of the Yasenev essay, it is more likely to have served the purposes of militant Islam and the drug traffic.

The portraits of Saidov’s and Surikov’s connections with al-Zawahiri, Erbakan, and Hizb ut-Tahrir confirm the criticism, by the Indian analyst B. Raman and others, that American studies of Islamist jihadism err in their restrictive focus on al-Qaeda.[75] The full range of Islamic jihadism is far more complex.

In my conclusion I shall return to the possibility that U.S. government might share common goals with Hizb ut-Tahrir and the meta-group in Russia, even while combating the Islamist terrorism of al-Qaeda in the Middle East and the West.

III. Allegations of Drug-Trafficking and Far West, Ltd

Yasenev links Saidov, Surikov, and others to their former service in a drug-interception group in Afghanistan, under a Leonid Kosyakov who now headed a company called Far West, Ltd.:

Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Citizen of Ukraine. Retired from the service in May 1993. Presently the president of Far West Ltd. In 1983-85 Kosyakov was in command of a special group in Shindand (Afghanistan), assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his direct command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Petrov, as well as Saidov[76]

Yasenev also presents testimony that this group developed into what the Russians call an OPS (an Organized Criminal Society) responsible for massive drug-trafficking:

These accusations were made by the former officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine Sergei Petrov (alias Serge Rodin, French citizen).

According to his testimony:

„The OPS [organized criminal society] was involved in drug trafficking since the beginning of 1990s:

-from 1995 the OPS transports heroin (produced in Afghanistan) from Tajikistan to European countries via Russia with the assistance of the Russian Defense Ministry.

– from 2000 the OPS is involved in smuggling Colombian cocaine to Russia through the seaports of Novorossiysk and St. Petersburg under the disguise of import shipments from Latin America.

Among the OPS contacts in Novorossyisk is Saidov; in St. Petersburg it used to be Roman Tsepov.

Received profits are used for personal enrichment of the OPS leaders, the officials at the Ministry of Defense who provide them with „the roof“ [protection], and for financing extremist activities.“

In November of 2003, Rodin contacted the law enforcement agencies of Germany and France. Their investigation did not result in any actions against Filin, Likhvintsev, and their partners.

In January 2004, Rodin was blown up in his car in South Africa.

Yasenev’s charge of a military organized crime group under Filin had been reported a year earlier by Russian journalist Nikita Kaledin:

There is a powerful military organized crime community which from 1992 through to the present has controlled substantial drug flows from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe and is also involved in laundering „dirty“ money and is actively involved in Russia’s political life. The community is controlled by former intelligence officers, Afghan war veterans, and now drugs barons Vova Filin and Lesha Pribalt. The former lives in Switzerland, the latter in London. Both make quite frequent trips to Moscow, Dushanbe, Nazran, and Khankala….

Filin and Pribalt literally flooded Russia with heroin. The Kremlin could not tolerate this abomination any longer and ordered a mighty „Chekist raid“ [i.e., ordered the FSB to shut down the operation] against the narcobarons. However, it is rumored that the raid has ended up with the agreement that the latter would 1) share their profits; 2) help in the facilitating the peaceful referendum on the constitution in Chechnya; 3) bring some order to the drug market by liquidating the leaders of ethnic criminal groups.“[77]

As if in fulfillment of the third point, Surikov in 2001 denounced the leaders of an influential Tajik heroin cartel, including the mayor of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.[78] (Tajiks until then had been one of the ethnic mafias who most dominated the trafficking of Afghan heroin through Russia.)

Far West, Ltd, Halliburton, Diligence LLC, New Bridge, and Neil Bush

The connection to Far West, Ltd, of Filin, Likhvinsky, Surikov, and Saidov (along with Alfonso Davidovich) has since been stunningly corroborated by a news story on the Pravda-info website about Far West, Ltd, and Kosyakov’s resignation from it.

At a meeting of its stockholders on 2 May in the Hotel Ritz Carlton in Dubai „Far West Ltd.“ accepted the retirement of the president of the Agency Leonid Kosiakov, who moved to government service in Ukraine. Vladimir Filin, member of the Editorial Board of „Pravda-info,“ was elected the new president, at the same time retaining his previous position as executive director. The meeting of stockholders, in accordance with its charter, selected new members of the board of directors of „Far West Ltd.,“ which will now contain 9 members. Besides Vladimir Filin, Anatolii Baranov and Anton Surikov, it will include four more members if the Editorial Board of „Pravda-info“: Audrius Butkevicius, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Natal’ia Roeva, and Ruslan Saidov, and also Valerii Lunev,[79] a veteran of the Armed Forces, and Alfonso Davidovich, a political scientist from Venezuela.

Far West, the story said,

specializes in consulting work on questions of security in conducting business in regions of the world with unstable environments and hiring personnel for foreign private military companies [last three words in English]. Its head office is located in Switzerland. In addition, the Agency has a network of representatives in OAE [United Arab Emirates], Afghanistan, Colombia, the autonomous region of Kosovo, the autonomous republic of Crimea, Georgia, and the Volga Federal District of the RF [Russian Federation].[80]

Recently Filin gave Pravda.info some details about Far West’s work, and revealed that the firm had been co-founded by „a sub-division of a well-known American corporation.“ He said that the company’s new contract is

connected with the secured transport of commercial shipments from Afghanistan, where we have an office, to ports on the Black Sea. In Afghanistan there is a well-known U.S. air base in Bagram. It is connected by an aerial bridge with a number of other US air bases. For example, with the largest base in Frankfurt-on-Main, that’s in Germany, with an intermediary landing in Chkalovsk, in the Moscow area. But the most commercially attractive route seems to be that from Bagram to the US air base in Magas, in Kyrgyzstan. By the way, it is quite near the Russian air base in Kant. A significant flow of shipments passes through Magas, there is a niche there for commercial shipments too. This is very profitable. It is much more profitable than routing commercial shipments from Afghanistan through Tajikistan. Therefore last year we completely withdrew from all shipping through Tajikistan and closed our office in that country.Who are your partners?

Who our partners are is a commercial secret. I can say that they are four private firms from three countries, Turkey, Russia, and the USA,which engage among other things in shipping. One of these firms is a sub-division of a well-known American corporation. This firm is a co-founder of our agency.[81]

We can assume that Pravda.info is an inside source for information about Far West, for the two organizations seem in fact to be two different manifestations of the same group. Among the directors of Far West on the masthead of Pravda.info we find first of all Anton Surikov, followed by Anatolii Baranov, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Ruslan Saidov, Vladimir Filin, Natal’ia Roeva, and Audrius Butkevicius.[82]

Also on the Pravda.info masthead is Boris Kagarlitskii, who as we saw at the outset is a main source for the Western accounts of the meeting in southern France, by Patrick Cockburn, Nafeez Ahmed, and John Dunlop.[83] Many of the Far West directors, notably Anton Surikov, are or have been also associated with Kagarlitskii at the Russian Institute for Globalization Studies (IPROG).[84]

Although Filin and Pravda.info did not identify the foreign private military companies with which it worked, another source did:

Filin and Likhvintsev do business with foreign private military companies (PMCs):

– «Meteoric Tactical Solutions» (South Africa) – in Angola;

– «Kellogg, Brown &Root» (KBR Halliburton) – in Colombia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, and Iraq.

– «Diligence Iraq LLC» (controlled by the Kuwaiti Mohammed as-Sagar) – in Iraq.“

Their cooperation with these companies began in the end of 1994 in Angola on the initiative of Victor Bout, who was involved in the shipments of Soviet-made arms to the antigovernment group UNITA in exchange to raw diamonds.[85] Apparently, Bout became interested in Likhvintsev’s contacts (L. worked in Angola in 1986-87). Later, in October of 1998, Filin, Likhvintsev’s wife Liudmila Rozkina (b. 1966) and Anton Surikov (at that time he worked in the Russian government) established the company Far West Ltd., with the office in Lausanne, which officially does security consulting for business ventures in countries with unstable regimes. De facto, this is a legalized form of recruiting mercenaries for PMCs.[86]

Furthermore Yasenev claims that some of Far West’s work with Halliburton is apparently approved by the CIA for geopolitical purposes:

In 2003-2004, Filin and Likhvintsev worked on the Georgian project, financed by KBR Halliburton, apparently, with the approval of the CIA. The project had the goal of weakening the competitors of Halliburton in the oil business and, in a broader context, of facilitating the geopolitical objectives of the United States in the Caucasus. The OPS man in Georgia is Audrius Butkevicius, former Lithuanian minister of defense, presently advisor to Badri Patarkatsishvili.[87]

Some of Yasenev’s information about Diligence Iraq is corroborated by a Press Release from Diligence itself.[88]

Diligence LLC, a private military company (PMC), could be described as a CIA spin-off:

Diligence was founded by William Webster, the only man to head both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mike Baker, its chief executive officer, spent 14 years at the CIA as a covert field operations officer specializing in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Whitley Bruner, its chief operating officer in Baghdad, was once the CIA station chief in Iraq.[89]

Its partner in Diligence Middle East (DME) is New Bridge Strategies, whose political clout was described by the Financial Times:

New Bridge was established in May [2003] and came to public attention because of the Republican heavyweights on its board – most linked to one or other Bush administration [officials] or to the family itself. Those include Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush’s presidential campaign manager, and Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, former George H.W. Bush aids.[90]

Joe Allbaugh, the co-chairman of the company, was also head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the day of the 9/11 attacks, and indeed until March 2003, the month that the U.S. invaded Iraq.

The Financial Times wrote that the success of New Bridge in securing contracts had to do with their relationship to Neil Bush, the President’s brother:

Two businessmen instrumental in setting up New Bridge Strategies, a well-connected Washington firm designed to help clients win contracts in Iraq, have previously used an association with the younger brother of President George W. Bush to seek business in the Middle East, an FT investigation has found.

John Howland, the company president, and Jamal Daniel, a principal, have maintained an important business relationship with Neil Bush stretching back several years. In Mr Daniel’s case, the relationship spans more than a decade, with his French office arranging a trip for Mr Bush’s family to Disneyland Paris in 1992, while his father, George H.W.Bush, was president.

On several occasions, the two have attempted to exploit their association with the president’s brother to help win business and investors.

Three people contacted by the FT have seen letters written by Neil Bush recommending business ventures promoted by Mr Howland, Mr Daniel and his family in the Middle East. Mr Daniel has also had his photograph taken with the elder Mr Bush. Such letters and photographs can be valuable props when doing business in the Middle East.

Mr Daniel’s Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman. Crest Investment also helped fund Neil Bush’s Ignite!, an educational software company. Mr Daniel sometimes introduces himself as a founding backer of Mr Bush’s company, a Middle-Eastern businessman who has met him said, and has persuaded the families of prominent leaders in the region to invest.[91]

Until recently, news stories about the international backers for Neil Bush’s firm ignite have focused on Taiwanese businessmen, and Middle East billionaires, such as Defense Minister and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.[92] But it was a surprise to learn in September 2005 that „Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was in Riga along with Neil Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, to discuss an educational project with Latvian businessmen.“[93] In an interview with Interfax, „Berezovsky pointed out that he is one of the shareholders of Ignite! Inc., an educational software company. U.S. President George W. Bush’s brother Neil Bush is the company’s chairman and chief executive.“[94]

The U.S. Contribution to the Afghan-Kosovo Drug Traffic

Much remains to be learned about Far West, Ltd., its personnel, and the American firm which co-founded it. Reportedly it was founded in 1998; and already had Surikov and Saidov as directors when they attended the meeting in Khashoggi’s villa in July 1999.

I suspect myself that the meeting did indeed have to do with destabilizing Russia, as Dunlop claimed. But I believe also that the group at the meeting was more concerned with facilitating drug-trafficking than with strengthening the Kremlin. I believe further that they also discussed the Russian presence in Kosovo, and the imminent increase in the flow of Afghan drugs through Kosovo.

That this flow is huge has been attested to by many observers. Russian sources estimate that from 1991 to 2003 the same group shipped to Western Europe up to 300 tons of heroin and sold it to wholesale buyers of Kosovo Albanian nationality.  In the same period they sold up to 60 tons of heroin to Azeri and Roma (gypsy) wholesalers in the Volga and the Urals Federal Districts of Russia. The group’s total receipts for heroin in 1991-2003 are estimated to be $5 billion.[95]

The chief narco-baron of the group is said to be Vladimir Filin, who is also the head of Far West. Here is a relevant interview Filin afforded to his colleague Alexander Nagorny at Filin’s own alternate organization, Pravda.info:

There have been reports in mass media about the involvement of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in drug trafficking. I asked the well-known political scientist and specialist on organized crime Vladimir Filin to comment on this.

-Vladimir Ilyich, is it true that Americans are involved in drug business?

-Yes, they are in ideal situation for this. They control the Bagram airfield from where the Air Force transport planes fly to a U.S. military base in Germany. In the last two years this base became the largest transit hub for moving Afghan heroin to other US bases and installations in Europe. Much of it goes to Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. From there the Kosovo Albanian mafia moves heroin back to Germany and other EU countries.

-Why such a complex arrangement?

Drug traffickers enjoy relative safety in military bases. There is no serious control there. German police cannot work there. However, outside of military bases German law-enforcement is in effect. True, any police can be bought. But the level of corruption in Germany is not as high as, say, in Russia. This is why it is more convenient for Americans to establish distribution centers in other places. I believe that, in time, such centers will move to their military installations in Poznan, Poland, and also in Romania and Bulgaria. Poland is already a EU member. Romania and Bulgaria are expected to be in 2007. Corruption in these countries is almost as high as in Russia.

-How big is American drug traffic to Europe and who is behind it?

-About 15-20 tons of heroin a year. When Poznan become open, I think it could rise to 50, even 70 tons. Behind this business are the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). Actually, this is what they did already in Indochina in the 1960s-70s and in Central America in the 1980s.[96]

Under the circumstances I consider Filin to be no more reliable than his opposite number, Joseph D. Douglass, the author of Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West. But legitimate questions abound as to why the USA empowered the KLA to take over Kosovo.

<!– I will close with a question I have raised before. One has to ask why in 2004 some U.S. bureaucratic sectors in the Bush Administration were still using the KLA’s very special background to deal with the difficult situation in Haiti:

In 2004 a USAID Report confirmed that „Training and management specialists of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a civilian response unit consisting primarily of former Kosovo Liberation Army members, have been brought to Haiti“[97]

Why would AID bring veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, „a major force in international organized crime, moving staggering amounts of narcotics.“[98] to train and manage the Haitian Army, an organization traditionally „corrupted by Colombian cocaine kingpins“?[99]

Whatever the answer, it is hard to imagine that AID in 2004 did not have drugs somehow in mind.

[„Peter Dale Scott has requested the deletion here of three erroneous paragraphs concerning Kosovo, Haiti, and AID. The error arose because his published source had misread and misunderstood an AID document.“]

How the U.S. Restored Narco-Barons to Power in Afghanistan, 2001

It is clear that the Blair and Bush Administrations did have drugs in mind when in 2001 they developed a strategy for ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their plans focused chiefly on Ahmad Shah Massoud, overcoming the long-time resistance in Washington to supporting this known drug trafficker.[100]

Massoud of course was also the most successful guerrilla opponent of the Taliban. A more naked example of a U.S. drug ally was Haji Zaman in Jalalabad.

When the Taliban claimed Jalalabad…Zaman had fled Afghanistan for a leisurely life in Dijon, France. Just a few years at the top of the heroin trade in Jalalabad had given „Mr. Ten Percent“ a ticket to just about any destination he could have chosen. In late September 2001, British and American officials, keen to build up an opposition core to take back the country from the Taliban, met with and persuaded Zaman to return to Afghanistan.[101]

According to Asian sources, Zaman’s long-time Pakistani drug-trafficking partner, Haji Ayub Afridi, was also released from a Pakistani jail at this time, „reportedly at the request of the CIA.“[102]

The informed Indian observer B. Raman was outspoken about the U.S. use of narcobarons to oust the Taliban. Citing the subsequent failure to curb opium production, he wrote:

There are disturbing reports from reliable sources in Afghanistan that this marked lack of success in the heroin front is due to the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, which encouraged these heroin barons during the Afghan war of the 1980s in order to spread heroin-addiction amongst the Soviet troops, is now using them in its search for bin Laden and other surviving leaders of the Al Qaeda, by taking advantage of their local knowledge and contacts. These Pakistani heroin barons and their Afghan lieutenants are reported to have played an important role in facilitating the induction of Hamid Karzai into the Pashtun areas to counter the Taliban in November, 2001. It is alleged that in return for the services rendered by them, the USA has turned a blind eye to their heroin refineries and reserves.[103]

A third major narcobaron selected by the CIA, according to Raman, was Haji Abdul Qadeer.

Haji Abdul Qadeer was the CIA’s choice [in 2001] as the Governor of the Nangarhar province in which Jalalabad is located. …. During the first Afghan war against the Soviet troops in the 1980s, he played an active role under the control of the CIA and the Directorate-General For External Security (DGES), the French external intelligence agency, in organizing the heroin trail to the Soviet troops from the heroin refineries of Pakistan owned by Haji Ayub Afridi, the Pakistani narcotics baron, who was a prized operative of the CIA in the 1980s. Abdul Qadeer and Afridi became very close associates in running this drug trade with the blessings of the CIA. Amongst others who were associated with this trade were Haji Mohammed Zaman and Hazrat Ali.[104]

If Raman is correct, therefore, the CIA not only blessed but controlled the flow of drugs from Afridi, Zaman, and Abdul Qadeer into the hands of Soviet troops like Vladimir Filin and Aleksei Likhvintsev.[105]

IV. The Meta-Group, the War on Terror, and 9/11

U.S. Geostrategic Goals and Chechnya

In the 1980s CIA Director William Casey used narcotics to achieve two goals, the immediate goal of weakening the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the long-term goal of financing Islamist resistance to break up the Soviet Union.[106] According to the partisan but well-informed observer Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the U.S. still pursues the goal of weakening destabilizing Russia.

As if reliving the „good ol‘ days“ of Afghanistan of the 1980s, Washington is once again seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces. The US crossed the line in mid-December 1999, when US officials participated in a formal meeting in Azerbaijan in which specific programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central/South Asia and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon. This meeting led to Washington’s tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and US „private security companies“ (of the type which did the Clinton Administration’s dirty job in the Balkans while skirting and violating the international embargo the US formally supported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in the Spring of 2000 and sustain the ensuing jihad for a long time.

Washington’s motivation is oil pipeline politics and the economy. Essentially, Washington is determined to deprive Russia of a viable pipeline route through spiraling violence and terrorism, the political fallout of media accusations of Russian war crimes. In the calculations of the Clinton Administration, a US-assisted escalation and expansion of the war in Chechnya should deliver the desired debilitation of Russia.

The Clinton Administration believes that the spiraling violence in the Caucasus will scare Western investors and oil buyers from making deals with Russia. Meanwhile, with the sudden US attempted rapprochement with Iran, the Clinton Administration is heralding the Azerbaijani southern route (with a little detour in Iran) as seemingly feasible. And so, in the Summer of 2000, the Clinton Administration keeps fanning the flames of the Islamist jihad in the Caucasus through covert assistance, tacit encouragement of allies to actively support the mujahedin, as well as the orchestrating of an intense media campaign against Russia and its conduct in Chechnya.[107]

The Caucasian Common Market project of Khashoggi, Lord McAlpine, and James Baker, can be seen as contributing to this goal. While these western investors may have sought profits as the result of their investment, they were perhaps more anxious to see the reduction of Russian influence, thus providing a more secure environment for the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which western oil companies count on to deliver oil from the Caspian Basin to the Mediterranean.

As the State Department noted in 2005,

the involvement of U.S. firms in the development and export of Azerbaijani oil is key to our objectives of diversifying world oil supplies, providing a solid base for the regional economy, and promoting U.S. energy security.[108]

The Bush Administration committed an estimated $1.5 billion to the Caspian basin area, including an $11 million program to train a „pipeline protection battalion“ for the special Georgian unit created to protect the Georgian section of the BTC pipeline.[109]

The Meta-Group’s Geostrategic Goal: Maintain the War of Terror

The fact that the United States will use drug traffickers as geostrategic assets does not at all mean that Washington and the traffickers will necessarily have the same agendas. In theory at least, the contrary should be true. Although the United States may have used known traffickers like Zaman and Qadir to regain access to Afghanistan, its stated ultimate goal, and the one assumed by the mainstream media, was to reimpose its own kind of order. Whether the country is Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Colombia, or Kosovo, America’s national interest is said to be to install and then protect pipelines. And pipelines require peace and security.

The prime geostrategic goal of the drug traffic in Afghanistan is precisely to prevent peace and security from happening. It is true that the international illicit drug industry, like the international oil industry, is polymorphous and flexible, relying on diversified sources and markets for its products in order to maintain its global dominance. But for the global drug traffic to prosper, there must always be key growing areas where there is ongoing violence, and state order does not prevail.

However, in speaking above of America’s stated national interest, I do not assume that a U.S. government will always represent that national interest. Something else has happened in recent decades, the growth of the drug trade to the point that it now represents a significant portion of national and international wealth. And it has to be said that the American free enterprise system, like every other dominant political system in a current nation with world pretensions, will tend above all to represent the interests of the wealthy.

Thus Bush Administration policies cannot be assumed to reflect the national goals of peace and security, as outlined above. On the contrary, its shocking underfunding of Afghanistan’s recovery, like its complex and destabilizing interventions in Georgia, suggest that it, as much as the drug traffic, hopes to utilize instability – as a pretext for maintaining unstable U.S. bases in countries like Uzbekistan, whose people eventually will more and more object to them. These policies can be said to favor the interests of the drug traffic more than the interests of security and orderly development.

A test of the Bush Administration’s true intentions in the War on Terror came as early as November 2001. The Americans had learned, correctly, that Osama bin Laden was holed up in the caves of Tora Bora. While storming the caves was a difficult military challenge, surrounding and isolating them was well within the capacity of U.S. military strength. However General Franks, the United States commander, entrusted the task of capturing bin Laden to two local commanders: Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman.

As we have seen, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman were not only drug lords, they were earlier part of the 1980s heroin trail to Soviet troops that had been organized „with the blessings of the CIA.“ Thus the U.S. could hardly plead ignorance as to these men’s activities and interests, which clearly involved making sure that the writ of Kabul would never extend to their own Nangahar Province. For the drug trade to thrive in Afghanistan, it was necessary that the influence of Osama and the Taliban be preserved, not extinguished.

The folly of using Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman was brought to Franks‘ attention at the time:

Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn’t be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn’t attack until four days after American planes began bombing – leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.[110]

The failure to use U.S. troops cannot be attributed to the motive of appeasing local sentiments:

Pir Baksh Bardiwal, the intelligence chief for the Eastern Shura, said that he would welcome a massive influx of U.S. troops. He believed that the Pentagon planners were making a grave mistake by not surrounding Tora Bora.[111]

A U.S. journalist who was there, Philip Smucker, claims that the treachery of the local commanders went beyond their slowness to surround Tora Bora. He describes hearing how one lower level commander

whom Ali had assigned to guard the Pakistani border, had acted as an outright escort for al Qaeda…. „Ilyas Khel just showed the Arabs the way out of the country into Pakistan“…..That Ali had entrusted [Khel, who had once served under the military commander of Osama’s friend Younis Khalis] suggested to us that the escapes were part of a much broader conspiracy to assist al Qaeda right through to the end.[112]

How high up did this conspiracy go? Certainly Ali’s failure to capture Osama could have been and was predicted. But if capturing Osama was indeed the U.S. goal (as announced at the time by Colin Powell), the real question is why the task was not entrusted to U.S. troops.

In the wake of 9/11, Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, has claimed to possess information linking the American 9/11, and much else, to massive drug-trafficking which has corrupted high level U.S. officials. Among other things, she has claimed that the U.S. has never gone after top-level drug traffickers, because

this would upset „certain foreign relations.“ But it would also expose certain of our elected officials, who have significant connections with high-level drugs- and weapons-smuggling – and thus with the criminal underground, even with the terrorists themselves…..[113]

After Ms. Edmonds reported improprieties to her FBI employers, she was fired. She has appealed her firing, but the Bush administration has invoked the unusual claim of the „state-secrets privilege“ to prevent the lawsuits she has filed from being heard in court. At this point we know little more than that what concerned her involved arms-dealing, drug-trafficking, and Turkey.

It is I think a matter of national priority to learn more about the American links to Far West, Ltd., the group accused of staging the Russian 9/11. It is a matter of more than purely historic interest to learn if that group’s Islamist and American connections could have supplied a meeting-ground for staging the American 9/11 as well.

For at present America faces in Afghanistan, what Russia faces in Chechnya, a war which is favorable to drug trafficking but increasingly deleterious to national well-being.[114] The Bush Administration continues to use 9/11 to sell its Asian adventures to the American people. Meanwhile elements profiting from the flow of Afghan drugs continue to grow stronger and more dangerous to the well-being of both countries.

Concluding Question: The Meta-Group and the United States Government

It seems clear that the meta-group, with its influential connections on at least three continents, was powerful enough to effect changes, through the Russian 9/11, in Russian history. The question arises whether they could similarly effect changes in American history as well.

As we have seen Russian sources claim that the U.S. Government has had access to he meta-group, for such especially sensitive projects as the assassination of Abu al Walid al-Hamadi. They claim the meta-group’s involvement in a number of U.S.-sponsored regime changes in eastern Europe, from the overthrow of Ceausescu in Romania to the recent deposition of Shevardnadze in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal attributed the latter to the work of „a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations.“[115] One of these was the Albert Einstein Institution, funded by both the NED and the Soros foundations, which helped to create the dissident youth movementKmara in Georgia.Audrius Butkevicius, the meta-group member now resident in Georgia, is said to be closely connected with the Albert Einstein Institution.[116]

To this we should possibly add the so-called tulip revolution in March 2005 that ousted long-time leader Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan, (It was after this event that Far West opened its office in Kyrgyzstan.)[117] Nagorny claims that the coup was organized by British intelligence and Chechens in Istanbul, with the „technical assistance“ of Americans.[118] Since then the heroin traffic through Kyrgyzstan has allegedly almost trebled.[119]

Returning to a question raised earlier, it also seems possible that the U.S. government might contemplate using Hizb ut-Tahrir and the meta-group for political changes in Russia itself, even while combating the Islamism of al-Qaeda elsewhere. This would be far from the first time that the U.S. Government had used drug-trafficking proxies as assets, and would do a lot to explain the role of the U.S. in 2001 in restoring major drug traffickers to power in Afghanistan. Dubious figures like Nukhaev, Khodorkovskii, and Khashoggi have already shown their interest in such initiatives; and western business interests have shown their eagerness to work with these allies of the meta-group.

It is fitting to think of most U.S. intelligence assets as chess pieces, moved at the whim of their controllers. That is however not an apt metaphor for the meta-group, which clearly has the resources to negotiate and to exert its own influence interactively upon the governments it works with.

Since first hearing about the meta-group’s role in the Russian 9/11, I have pondered the question whether it could have played a similar role in the American 9/11 as well. At this point I have to say that I have found no persuasive evidence that would prove its involvement. The fact remains that two informed and credible witnesses, Sibell Edmonds and Indira Singh, have spoken independently of the importance of international drug trafficking in the background of 9/11.

The Bush Administration has paid Sibell Edmonds the tribute of silencing her on the grounds of national interest. She has nonetheless made it clear that what she would talk about concerns that part of the world where the meta-group has influence:

SE [Sibell Edmonds]: It’s interesting, in one of my interviews, they say „Turkish countries,“ but I believe they meant Turkic countries – that is, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all the ‚Stans, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and [non-Turkic countries like] Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these countries play a big part in the sort of things I have been talking about.

CD [Chris Deliso]: What, you mean drug-smuggling?

SE: Among other things. Yes, that is a major part of it. It’s amazing that in this whole „war on terror“ thing, no one ever talks about these issues.[120]

Indira Singh, who lost her high-tech job at J.P. Morgan after telling the FBI about Ptech and 9/11, was even more dramatic in her public testimony at a Canadian event:

I did a number of things in my research and when I ran into the drugs I was told that if I mentioned the money to the drugs around 9/11 that would be the end of me.[121]

The False Dilemmas of 9/11 Theories

I said earlier that by suppressing awareness of the role of drug-trafficking in our society, we give drug traffickers a de facto franchise to exert political influence without criticism or opposition. An example of this is the discussion of 9/11 in America, which usually fails to consider the meta-group among the list of possible suspects.

I have tried to suggest in this paper that in fact the meta-group had both motive – to restore the Afghan opium harvest and increase instability and chaos along the trade routes through Central Asia – and opportunity – to utilize its contacts with both al-Zawahiri in al Qaeda and the CIA in Washington. It is furthermore the best candidate to explain one of the more difficult anomalies (or indeed paradoxes) of the clues surrounding 9/11: that many of the clues lead in the direction of Saudi Arabia, but some lead also in a very different direction, towards Israel.[122]

Here it is worth quoting again the well-informed remark of a Washington insider about the meta-group’s predecessor, BCCI: „Who else could wire something together to Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and the U.S.?“[123] The current meta-group fills the same bill, for it unites supporters of Muslim Salafism (Saidov) with at least one Israeli citizen (Kosman).

The meta-group’s involvement in the Russian 9/11 of course does nothing to prove its involvement in the American one. However awareness of its presence – as an unrecognized Force X operating in the world – makes previous discussions of 9/11 seem curiously limited. Again and again questions of responsibility have been unthinkingly limited to false dilemmas in which the possible involvement of this or any other Force X is excluded.

An early example is Michael Moore’s naïve question to President Bush in Dude, Where’s My Country: „Who attacked the United States on September 11 – a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friends, Saudi Arabia?“[124] A far more widespread dilemma is that articulated by David Ray Griffin in his searching critique of the 9/11 Commission Report:

There are two basic theories about 9/11. Each of these theories is a „conspiracy theory.“ One of these is the official conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks of 9/11 were planned and executed solely by al-Qaeda terrorists under the guidance of Osama bin Laden….Opposing this official theory is the [sic] alternative conspiracy theory, which holds that the attacks of 9/11 were able to succeed only because they were facilitated by the Bush administration and its agencies.[125]

Griffin of course is not consciously excluding a third possible theory – that a Force X was responsible. But his failure to acknowledge this possibility is an example of the almost universal cultural denial I referred to earlier. In America few are likely to conceive of the possibility that a force in contact with the U.S. government could be not just an asset, but a force exerting influence on that government.

My personal suggestion to 9/11 researchers is that they focus on the connections of the meta-group’s firm Far West, Ltd. – in particular those which lead to Khashoggi, Berezovskii, Halliburton and Dick Cheney, and Diligence, Joe Allbaugh, and Neil Bush.


Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Dubai and Switzerland. ’83-’85 – in command of a special GRU group in Shindand, West. Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Saidov, and Petrov. Ret. in ’93. Owns big travel company in Dubai. In the spring of 2005 was appointed to general’s position in Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) and stepped down as the official president of Far West Ltd.

Vladimir „Ilyich“ Filin, b. 1960, Kiev, Ukraine. Ukrainian. Doctor of sciences (1982). In ’83-84 served in a special unit of GRU in Western Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In 1993 retired from GRU in the rank of Lt.-Colonel. A British citizen since 2000. In 2004 Filin was listed as political scientist and expert on „revolutionary and guerilla movements in the developing world“ at IPROG, the Moscow Institute for Globalization Studies.

Anatoly Baranov. Journalist. Under Masliukov-Primakov cabinet served as public relations executive director, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. In 2002 bought forum.msk.ru. Owner of Pravda-info. 2003 – Press secretary to the deputy prime minister Alyoshin (military-industrial complex). „Coordinator of media projects“ at IPROG.

Audrius Butkevicius, Lithuanian. Presently resides in Georgia. Former Lithuanian minister of defense. Sentenced for bribery. Has close ties with Albert Einstein Institution. Member of Far West Ltd. board of directors and the editorial board of Pravda.info. ’94 – visiting scholar at Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London (together with Anton Surikov and Igor Sutyagin, now in prison for espionage).

Alfonso Davidovich Ochoa (b. 1948), Venezuelan, resides in Munich, Germany. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR and East Germany. Was close to the Cuban General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez. In the past used passports in the names of Jose Rodriguez, Captain of the Cuban Army, and Jose Alva, Colombian citizen. Responsible for FWL office in Bogotá.

Alexei Likhvintsev („Abdulla,“ „Pribalt“), b. 1959, Lviv, Ukraine. Ukrainian. British citizen (2000), resides in Britain (Scotland?). ’84-85 special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). Nov ’87-Jan ’89 – military advisor in Angola. 90′-’93 – together with Filin on assignment to sell the property of the Soviet Army in East Germany, did business with Kosovo Albanian companies. ’93.

Valery Nikolaevich Lunev (b. 1960, Belorussia). Belorussian. ’83-84 – special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Married to Dzhokhar Dudaev’s relative Fatima (b. 1970). Retired from the military in March of 1995. Lunev is responsible for security and „strong arm operations“. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. Resides in the Netherlands, has Dutch citizenship. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia. Has extensive contacts in Tajikistan.

Ruslan Shamilievich Saidov (b. 1960, city of Khasavyurt, Dagestan). Avar Chechen-Spanish. Has Turkish passport in the name of Hungar (?) Mehmet and passport of Arab Emirates. ’83-84 – special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Later, assignments in Lebanon and Syria. Ret. Major of GRU ’93. Resides in Turkey since ’95 and in Dubai. Advisor to Necmettin Erbakan – ’96. Business partner of the Islamic Bank of Dubai and Habib Bank. Since mid-90s Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Hashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal and Prince Na’f. Close to Basaev and Khattab.

Anton Victorovich Surikov , „Mansur“ (Ancestral name: Mansur Ali-Hadzhi Natkhoev), b. 1961, Sukhimi, Georgia, USSR. Ethnic Adygei. Son of a leading figure in the Soviet military-industrial establishment. Resides in Moscow. Has Turkish and, possibly, US citizenship. Doctor of sciences. ’84-served in a special GRU unit, based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). ’90-96 – Institute of USA and Canada. ’92 – 93 – deputy of the Abkhazian minister of defense, makes friends with Shamil Basaev, commander of the special battalion trained by GRU. ’94 – visiting scholar at the Center for Defense Studies, King’s College London. ’96 – ret. Colonel. Also on IPROG staff.

Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship. Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Thaçi, the chief commander of KLA. The new president of Far West, Ltd.

Peter Dale Scott’s last book was Drugs, Oil, and War (2003). For the past three years he has been living in Berkeley and Thailand, while writing a book on oil, drugs, and 9/11. His website is www.peterdalescott.net


[1] Asia Times, 10/27/05, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/GJ27Ag02.html.

[2] Nick Kochan, The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us (Mason, OH: Thomson, 2005), 124.

[3] Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, 2004; quoted in Kochan, The Washing Machine, 124: „The effects of this worldwide, highly integrated industry have been felt from Colombia to Thailand, from Afghanistan to Sudan, and from Russia to the United States. No country has been impervious. Transnational drug networks have exploded in response to the new conditions in the former Soviet Union. Particularly menacing are the connections that have been identified between networks in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Soviet successor states.“

[4] Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America (Boston: Little Brown, 2000), 208-09.

[5] Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2001); Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).

[6] Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), 347.

[6a] A comprador is an agent who acts as intermediary between local and international commerce. The term is used pejoratively in Marxist literature, but I use it neutrally here. Each compradorial revolution must be judged on its own merits

[7] „According to the UN, opium production [in Afghanistan] peaked in 2004 to near record levels of 4,200 metric tonnes – nearly 90% of the world market“ (BBC News, 4/26/05, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4487433.stm).

[8] The former dominance of the Burma drug trade by the Taiwan-based Guomindang (GMD) has now been replaced in press accounts by the control of the United Wa State Army, an ostensibly indigenous group. At the heart of the Wa Army, however, control of the traffic by Taiwan intelligence endures. See Bertil Lintner, Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency since 1948 (Chiang Mai: Silkworm, 1999), 321, 324, 380.

[9] Letter of Anton Surikov to Oleg Grechenevsky, discussed below: „I am personally acquainted with Mr. Ermarth as political scientist since 1996. It’s well known by many people and we never hid this fact.“ Fritz Ermath did not retire from the CIA until 1998. Cf. Argumenty i Facty, 9/15/99, http://www.aif.ru/oldsite/986/art010.html. That the two men met in 1996 was indeed public knowledge. The Russian journal Commersant published a photo of the two men and others at the International Seminar on Global Security in Virginia, April, 1996.

[10] Interview, http://www.pravda.info/region/3601.html, discussed below. Cf. Letter of Anton Surikov to Oleg Grechenevsky, discussed below: „We cooperate with the American side in the sphere of commercial transportation not on the basis of direct commercial contracts between our agency [Far West, Ltd.] and the U. S. government, but through the intermediary company co-founded by the agency and a private U.S. company, which in its turn also interacts with the U.S. government.“

[11] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/saidov.htm.

[12]John B. Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow“: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004, http://www.sais-jhu.edu/programs/res/papers/Dunlop%20paper.pdf.

[13] Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 6-15.

[14] See the anecdote in the latest edition of Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Traffic (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books/ Chicago Review Press, 2003), xii; discussed also in Peter Dale Scott, „The Sleep of Reason: Denial, Memory-Work, and the Reconstruction of Social Order,“ Literary Responses to Mass Violence (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University, 2004).

[15] Scott, Deep Politics, 164-81.

[16] This distinction between a government operation ad a socio-political force reflects the distinction I make between parapolitics and deep politics (Scott, Deep Politics, 6-12).

[17] Seymour Hersh, New Yorker, 3/17/03, http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030317fa_fact. Soon after the exposure of Perle’s contact with Khashoggi, which, Hersh argued, violated a federal Code of Conduct for government employees, Perle resigned his influential position as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board.

[18] Interfax, 9/21/05. See below.

[19] Richard Secord, with Jay Wurts, Honored and Betrayed: Irangate, Covert Affairs, and the Secret War in Laos (New York: John Wiley, 1992), 283-84; cf. Robert Parry, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (Arlington, VA: Media Consortium, 2004), 136, 139.

[20] Patrick Cockburn, „Russia ‚planned Chechen war before bombings,'“ Independent, 1/29/00, http://www.naqshbandi.net/haqqani/features/caucasus/news/stepashin_confession.htm.

[21] Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed, „The Smashing of Chechnya: An International Irrelevance.

A Case Study of the Role of Human Rights in Western Foreign Policy“


[22] John B. Dunlop, „`Storm in Moscow‘: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004, 15-17

[23] Dunlop, „`Storm in Moscow,'“ 18.

[24] Although Dunlop does not mention it, Khashoggi „himself, in a letter addressed to Versiya, denied the allegation that the meeting occurred specifically at his estate“ (Versiya, 2/3/00). The book Blowing Up Russia goes further, arguing that „no such meeting took place, and someone deliberately misinformed the Russian media.“ The logic advanced for this conclusion is that the bombings were not needed „by the insurgents in Chechnya to encourage the legal recognition of their independent republic“ (Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko, Blowing Up Russia [New York: S.P.I. Books, 2002], 105, 108). However this „logic“ ignores the more likely motive of Basaev: to weaken the influence of the moderate Chechen leader Maskhadov, and create future political space for action by Salafi Muslim jihadists. See Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), 152-55.

[25] John B. Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow“: A Plan of the Yeltsin „Family“ to Destabilize Russia

The Hoover Institution, October 8, 2004.

[26] Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 41: „At the end of June [2000] there arrived at the editorial board of Versiya a large postal envelope without a return address. In it was a photograph in which were depicted three men…. After a time, there was a telephone call to the editorial offices, and the man who called, who did not introduce himself, said: ‚That is the photograph of the meeting of Voloshin with Basaev. It is easy to recognize Voloshin, but Basaev is the bearded man to the extreme right. That is what you wrote about [in the 3 August 1999 issue] and what you need.‘ The unidentified man explained that the photograph was from a still of footage shot with a video-camera…“ (The third man in the photograph, Versiya asserted, was former GRU operative Anton Surikov.) Versiya published the photograph of the three men at the head of the article.“

[27] Khashoggi’s connections to U.S. intelligence date back to his involvement in Lockheed payoffs to Saudi politicians in the 1960s. These tended to overlap with CIA patterns of corruption; and the USAF actually ran a similar program with Lockheed, „code-named ‚Operation Buttercup‘ that operated out of Norton Air Force Base in California from 1965 to 1972“ (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/24/73, 22).“ For the pattern of Lockheed payoffs tracking the CIA’s, see Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar (New York: Viking, 1977), 134, 227-8, 238.

[28] Anthony Summers with Robbyn Swann, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), 283.

[29] Peter Truell and Larry Gurwin, False Profits: The Inside Story of BCCI, the World’s Most Corrupt Financial Empire (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), 84.

[30] Robert Parry, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (Arlington, VA: Media Consortium, 2004), 136, 139. A Portuguese newspaper article alleged that Khashoggi was a director of BCCI, and this claim has often been repeated. The best sources confirm only Khashoggi’s profitable arms deals with the bank as co-investor, and his cousin Yassin’s participation in a BCCI affiliate, Hong Kong Deposit and Guaranty (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 108-09, 129, 135-38).

[31] Ron Kessler, The Richest Man in the World , 181-83.

[32] „Separatism, Islam and Oil,“ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2000/02/game/344.htm. Cf. „The tendencies of interregional and international integration in North Caucasia,“ Caucasian Knot, eng.kavkaz.memo.ru/reginfotext/ engreginfo/id/560578.html: „One of the projects of Caucasian integration is called „Caucasian Common Market“. It was offered in 1997 by Chechen politicians with the support of the western states – USA and Great Britain. This project is on the stage of implementation: in Georgia a branch of Caucasian Common Market is established, a company for insurance of foreign investments is established, an industrial construction consortium „Caucasus“ is organised that apart from renovation of the port Poti plans to construct motorways and railways in Chechnya. The executive bodies of Caucasian Common Market are also represented in Baku. Caucasian-American chamber of commerce and as part of it Caucasian investment fund were organised in the USA. These organisations are going to collect 3 billion USD as the initial capital for the projects of Caucasian Common Market.“

[33] Jamestown Foundation, Monitor, Vol. 3, Issue 206, 11/4/97. Another interested party before his tragic death with Princess Diana was Dodi al-Fayad, the owner of Harrod’s and Khashoggi’s nephew.

[34] AFP, „From criminal to Islamist: US journalist traces the life of a Chechen rebel,“ JRL 7252, 7/16/03, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/7252-17.cfm#top. Nukhaev’s criminal background was known in the West before his dealings with Lord McAlpine and (allegedly) James Baker. See A. Zhilin, “ The Shadow of Chechen Crime over Moscow,“ Jamestown Foundation, 3/22/96, http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?search=1&volume_id=3&issue_id=128&article_id=15.27; Paul Klebnikov, Razgovor S Varvarom Besedy S Chechenskim Polevym Komandirom Khozhakhmedom Nukhaevym O Banditizme I Islame (Talks with a Barbarian). . This background did not deter Margaret Thatcher from posing in a photograph with Nukhaev.

[35] „Caucasian diamond traffic“ (Moscow, 2005), http://www.civilresearch.org/pdf/7.pdf: „In spring 1997 Adnan Khashoggi introduced Hozh-Ahmed Nukhaev to James Baker.“

[36] Boris Kagarlitskii, „S terroristami ne razgovarivaem. No pomogaem?“ Novaya gazeta, 24 January 2000; Boris Kagarlitskii, trans. Olga Kryazheva, „We Don’t Talk To Terrorists. But We Help Them? A version of apartment explosions in Russia,“ Novaya Gazeta, 1/24/00, http://geocities.com/chechenistan/conspiracy.html).

[37] See Lilia Shevtsova, translated by Antonina Bouis, Putin’s Russia (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003), 279, fn 15; citing Profil‘, 11/27/00, 18-20.

[38] For the complex story of Turkish involvement in the Chechen War, see e.g. „Turkey and the Chechens,“ BBC News, 3/16/01, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1223398.stm;. Hunter, Islam in Russia, 362-71.

[39] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/saidov.htm.

[40] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat. This and other discrepancies between Dunlop and his source Yasenev were first pointed out by the Russian research group burtsev.ru at http://left.ru/2005/10/burtsev127.html .

[41] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat..

[42] „KLA Funding Tied To Heroin Profits,“ Washington Times, 5/3/99.

[43] SIDA/Cornell Caspian Consulting, „The South Caucasus: A Regional Overview,“ 2002, http://www.cornellcaspian.com/sida/sida-cfl-2.html.

[44] Anton Surikov, Crime in Russia, 38-39.

[45] Tim Judah, Kosovo: War and Revenge (New Haven: Yale UP, 2002), 279, 284-85.

[46] Toronto Sun, 6/27/99.

[47] Pravda.ru, 7/3/03, http://english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/365/10389_peacekeepers.html.

[48] The map was allegedly shown by Surikov’s partner Sergei Petrov to a Russian businessman in Geneva while discussing a drug deal (http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/a.htm).

[49] Peter Klebnikov, „Heroin Heroes,“ Mother Jones, January/February 2000, http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2000/01/heroin.html; Peter Dale Scott, „Deep Politics: Drugs, Oil, Covert Operations and Terrorism,“ http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/911Background.htm.

[50] Shevtsova, Putin’s Russia, 285, fn. 11.

[51] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat. Cf. Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America (Boston: Little Brown, 2000), 265: „Astonishingly, both the [George H.W.] Bush and the Clinton administrations have unwittingly helped foster the Russian mob and the untrammeled corruption of post-Soviet Union Russia. When the CIA was asked in 1992 by Kroll and Associates, working on behalf of the Russian government, to help locate $20 billion that was hidden offshore by the KGB and the mob, the Bush national security team declined to cooperate. The Bush group rationalized, according to Fritz Ermarth, a top CIA policy analyst writing in The National Interest, `that capital flight is capital flight. It doesn’t matter who has the money or how it was acquired even if by theft; so long as it is private, it will return to do good things if there was a market.'“

[52] Founder and Chair of IPROG Board and the Institute’s director until April 2002 when he was replaced by Boris Kagarlitskii.

[53] Member of Yeltsin „family;“ Deputy Minister of Finance and then Prime Minister for four years until fired by Putin 2/24/04.

[54] Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 44-45.

[55] PBS, Frontline, October 2003, http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/moscow/khodorkovsky.html. Cf. Menatep Press Release of 4/30/02, http://www.groupmenatep.com/pressroom/pressroom_april_30_02.cfm: „30.04.2002: Group MENATEP Invests US $25 Million in Blackstone Capital Partners IV: Group MENATEP’s GM Investment & Co Ltd has agreed to invest up to US $25 million in Blackstone Capital Partners IV, a private equity investment fund managed by The Blackstone Group, an investment bank with offices in New York and London. Primary investment targets will include major industrial, service and communications-related companies in the United States and Europe. In the last six months, Group MENATEP has made commitments to invest in excess of US $150 million with a number of investment firms, including AIG Capital Partners, Global Asset Management, The Carlyle Group, and now The Blackstone Group (Source: PR Newswire).“

[56]„Former Primakov Official Attacks High-Level Corruption and Yeltsin’s Plans in 2000,“ Jamestown Foundation Monitor, 5/25/99, JRL 3306, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/3306.html##9.

[57] Chechen Press, 5/28/05, http://www.chechenpress.co.uk/english/news/2005/05/28/08.shtml.

[58] As will be apparent in a moment, it makes sense that Surikov would have been opposed not only to Yeltsin but to the relatively secular, anti-Islamist Chechen leader Dzhokar Dudaev. For Dudaev see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), 150-51.

[59] Military Policy Research, Archive Search Results, http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:Vt5emTAcJJEJ:www.mpr.co.uk/scripts/sweb.dll/li_archive_item%3Fmethod%3DGET%26object%3DLDS_1995_25_MAR+%22Crime+in+Russia:+the+international+implications+&hl=en. The full citation for the book is Anton Surikov, Crime in Russia: the International Implications (London: Brassey’s for the Centre for Defence Studies, University of London, 1995). The database WorldCat lists it in three U.S. libraries: Columbia, Cornell, and the U.S. Army War College.

[60] www.iprog.ru/cast/?id=8.

[61] Letter of 9/17/05 to Oleg Grechenevsky, http://www.mail-archive.com/cia-drugs@yahoogroups.com/msg01967.html. According to one 1999 article in Russia, Ermarth introduced Surikov to Steve Forbes who offered to help him participate in the project –together with Ermarth and UK Ambassador Sir Rodric Braithwaite –to reveal the ties between the Yeltsin Administration and Russian corruption. But this claim needs to be treated with extreme caution, given the false stories at the time linking Ermarth, Braithwaite, and Surikov to an imaginary joint campaign against Russian corruption. See The Electronic Telegraph (UK), 9/11/99, JRI #3493, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/3493.html.

[62] Commersant (n.d). In an alleged transcript of a drug-related dialogue beween Sergei [Petrov] and a businessman, the latter says, „You’ve said Surikov was also a CIA man.“ See transcript of audio recorded conversation between businessman Gennady Nikolaevich (GN) with Sergei (S), which took place on September 29, 2003 in the Hotel Noga Hilton in Geneva, http://www.compromat.ru/main/surikov/narko.htm.

[63] Left Front Press Conference, , http://left.ru/2005/11/preskonf_eng.html. Kagarlitskii was defended at the press conference by the former Yukos official Ilya Ponomarev.

[64] Another IPROG member is Ilya Ponomarev (see preceding footnote).

[65]Dunlop, „Storm in Moscow,“ 42. Dunlop’s important and truncated description of Mekhmet has a strange and irrelevant citation: „On Erbakan, see Shireen T. Hunter, Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), p. 365.“But there is no need to identify Erbakan, and Hunter is silent about Mekhmet.

[66] See e.g. Mohamed H. Heikal, Daily Yomiuri, 8/8/94.

[67] Surikov’s book, Crime in Russia, p. 33, confirms that „Chechen transport of armaments to Aden airport was even carried on during the civil war in Yemen in 1994.“

[68] Independent (London), 8/5/05.

[69] Milli Görüş, the chief organization of Turks in Germany, is said to have as it goals the „abolition of the laicist government system in Turkey and the establishment of an Islamic state and social system ….Former Turkish prime minister Nehmettin Erbakan, whose Refah Party was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court in January of 1998 for `activities against the country’s secular regime,‘ is still Milli Görüş‘ undisputed leader, even if his nephew Mehmet Sabri Erbakan is its president“ (Lorenzo Vidino, „The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe,“ Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005, http://www.meforum.org/article/687.

[70] Cf. Independent (London), 8/5/05.

[71] On 1/20/02, „Dagestani authorities announced that they had detained Nadirshakh Khachilaev, the leader of Dagestan’s Laks minority groups and a former State Duma deputy, on suspicion of having organized the bombing of the Interior Ministry troop truck in Makhachkala. Khachilaev, who once headed the Union of Muslims of Russia and has also been described as one of Dagestan’s most powerful mafia bosses, was detained along with another eight or so suspects over the weekend“ ( Jamestown Foundation, Monitor, 1/21/02, http://jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=25&issue_id=2179&article_id=19084). Cf. Hunter, Islam in Russia, 264-65.

[72] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat.

[73] „Russia is also concerned about the HT [Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami], for it fears that the movement will spread to Muslim regions of Russia. Russian intelligence is now collaborating closely with the Central Asian states to combat the HT“ (Ahmed Rashid, Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia [New Haven: Yale UP, 2002], 132). Cf. Surikov statement to Sufis below.

[74] Graeme Herd with Ene Rôngelep and Anton Surikov, Crisis for Estonia? Russia, Estonia and a Post-Chechen Cold War. London Defence Studies, 29 (London: Brassey’s for the Centre for Defence Studies, 1994), 33.

[75] Cf. B. Raman, „Istanbul: The enemy within,“ Asia Times, 11/22/03, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EK22Ak01.html. In this essay Raman shows the direct links between Turkish terrorists (former disciples of Erbakan) and groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba sponsored by Pakistan’s ISI.

[76] Yuri Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya“ („An Orange Revolution is in Store for Russia“), ru.compromat.

[77] „Geroinovyi tur.“ By Nikita Kaledin. Stringer-news, November 4, 2003: http://www.stringer-news.ru/Publication.mhtml?PubID=2448&Part=39; partially translated in „Afghan Drug Scene: The Poppy Power,“ News Central Asia, http://www.newscentralasia.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=406.

[78] Pravda.ru, 7/30/01, http://english.pravda.ru/main/2001/07/30/11317.html. Surikov’s accusation was noted by Maureen Orth in the March 2002 issue of Vanity Fair: „To find out, I track down in Moscow the only Russian official who has spoken on the record about this issue. Dr. Anton V. Surikov is chief staff of the Committee of Industry, Construction, and High Technology in the Russian parliament. Last spring he told the Moscow News that the mayor of Dushanbe was a major drug dealer. That interview precipitated not only a denial from the mayor but also, according to Surikov, a demand that the Tajik journalist the mayor

erroneously believed was Surikov’s source be arrested.“ In the same interview, Surikov also noted that, „as early as the mid-90s, the Russians were`buying heroin and transporting it from the northern part of Afghanistan to Russian military bases in Tajikistan by truck and helicopter.'“

[79] According to Yasenev, „Lunev is responsible for security and `strong arm operations‘. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia.“ Lunev thus helped install Shevardnadze, who in 1991 supported Yeltsin against Gorbachev.

[80] http://www.pravda.info/news/2695.html,

Анатолий Баранов и Антон Суриков вошли в состав руководства агентства «FarWestLtd» – 2005.05.03.

[81] http://www.pravda.info/region/3601.html.

[82] http://pravda.info/aboutus/.

[83] Kagarlitskii, Director of IPROG, has also published many books in English, as well as in The Nation, Zmag, Counterpunch, and other journals.

[84] Those in both organizations are Anton Surikov, Vladimir Filin, Ruslan Saidov, Anatolii Baranov, Audrius Butkevicius, and Natalia Roeva. This list differs from the paravda.info list only in the omission of Likhvintsev.


[85]For Bout’s involvement with blood diamonds, and the US failure to deal with this problem, see Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (New York: Broadway Books, 2004), especially 44: „Intelligence officials say Bout [following 9/11] flew U.S. clandestine operatives into Afghanistan and badly needed ammunition and other supplies to the Northern Alliance. In exchange, they said, his past activities would be ignored.“ For more on Bout see Nick Kochan, The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us (Mason, OH: Thomson, 2005), 36-61.

Cf. Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003), 15: „In the early 1990s, Osama bin Laden’s main supply sergeant was Victor Bout, a former Russian military officer who had served in Angola, where he got involved in arms trafficking and oil. …Bout had a reputation for delivering anything, anywhere, including the nasty stuff.“

[86] Yasenev, „Rossiyu zhdet oranzhevaya revolytsiya.“

[87] Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovskii. Cf. Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin, 262: „Often Berezovskii acted in Chechnya through Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Logovaz partner who, according to the Russian security services, had long served as the company’s primary intermediary with organized crime groups.“ Klebnikov reports (161, cf. 331) that Moscow police heard in early 1995 from a gangster that „he had been approached by Berezovsky’s aide, Badri, with a contract for Listyev’s assassination.“ (In February 1995 Listyev, the director of Russia’s most important TV network ORT, was shot dead in his apartment building.)

[88] Diligence, LLC Press Release 12/8/03, http://www.diligencellc.com/DME_announce.html.

[89] David Isenberg, „Myths and mystery,“ Asia Times, 5/20/04.

[90]Financial Times, 12/11/03. Cf. Asia Times, 5/20/04.

http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=9375. „Mr Daniel’s Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman.“ Ed Rogers, Diligence’s vice chairman, was one of George H.W. Bush’s top assistants when he was US president. On resigning from the White House, he negotiated a lucrative contract to act as lobbyist for the former Saudi intelligence chief and BCCI front man Kamal Adham, at a time when American and British prosecutors were preparing criminal cases against him. Rogers used Khashoggi as a go-between to secure the contract, which was canceled after White House criticism of it (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 362-64).

[91] Ibid.

[92] Wayne Madsen,

[93] The Baltic Times, 9/23/05, http://www.baltictimes.com/hot1.php?art_id=13659.

[94] Interfax, 9/21/05, http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?id_issue=11386915. Cf. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/09/22/berezovskyriga.shtml: „Berezovsky is meeting Neil Bush on business, as the U.S. president’s brother is a stockholder of Berezovsky’s educational company Ignite, the spokesperson [for Belokon Holding] said.“

[95] www.compromat.ru/main/zuganov/surikov2.htm.

[96] Alexander Nagorny „Narcobarons from the CIA and MI-6“ Pravda-info 2004.09.13 http://www.pravda.info/kompromat/1203.html.

59 Anthony Fenton, „Kosovo Liberation Army helps establish `Protectorate‘ in Haiti,“ citing Flashpoints interview, 11/19/04, http://www.flashpoints.net). Cf. Anthony Fenton, „Canada in Haiti: Humanitarian Extermination,“ CMAQ.net, 12/8/04; http://www.cmaq.net/fr/node.php?id=19240.

[98] San Francisco Chronicle, 5/5/99.

[99] New York Times, 6/2/04.

[100] Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 536: „Massoud was a drug trafficker.“ Cf. 345, 430, 458, 516, 519.

[101] Philip Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror’s Trail (Washington: Brassey’s, 2004), 9. Ironically, this decision by British and American officials (the latter almost certainly CIA) may have contributed to bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. Cf. CNN, 12/29/01: „Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in Afghanistan, says he has received `reliable information‘ that the terrorist leader paid a `large amount‘ of money to buy his way out of Afghanistan. Tawheedi named Haji Zaman — a well-known independent military commander — as the man responsible for taking bin Laden across the border to Pakistan. Ironically, Haji Zaman had recently been fighting against bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization. But Tawheedi says he believes Haji Zaman was apparently persuaded — by money — to help the terrorist leader.“

[102] B. Raman, „Assassination of Haji Abdul Qadeer in Kabul,“ South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 489, www.saag.org/papers5/paper489.html: „11.With an Afghan passport, Afridi, a Pakistani national belonging to the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), voluntarily traveled to Dubai , where he allegedly negotiated with American authorities the terms of his voluntary surrender and from there he boarded a cargo flight to the US in December 1995 to hand himself over to the US drug control authorities. He was sentenced to three and a half year’s imprisonment. After serving his sentence, he returned to Pakistan in August,1999. He was arrested by the Pakistani drug control authorities and prosecuted in a drug smuggling case pending against him. The court sentenced him to seven years imprisonment in the middle of 2001. Hardly had he started his sentence in a Karachi jail, when he was got released by the ISI, reportedly at the request of the CIA, after the war against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda had started on October 7, 2001, and allowed to proceed to his home in the Khyber Agency.“ Cf. Asia Times Online, 12/4/01; Peter Dale Scott, „Pre-1990 Drug Networks Being Restored Under New Coalition?“ http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/qf5.html.

[103] B. Raman, „Assassination of Haji Abdul Qadeer in Kabul, South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 489.

[104] Raman, op. cit., emphasis added.

[105] A possible explanation for the release and recruitment of major traffickers in 2001 would be the desire to combat the influence in the traffic of narco-barons who supported the Taliban, such as Bashir Noorzai and Juma Khan. The fact remains that the Taliban had effectively suppressed the planting of opium, a major event in drug suppression that has now been completely reversed by the U.S. invasion.

[106] Peter Dale Scott, Drugs, Oil, and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 49-50.

[107] Yossef Bodansky, „The Great Game for OIL,“ Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, June-July 2000, pp. 4-10, http://news.suc.org/bydate/2000/Sep_28/11.html. Kagarlitsky’s article itself can be seen as an important part of this campaign.

[108] U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification: Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2005, 363; quoted in Michael T. Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2004), 137.

[109] Klare, Blood and Oil, 136, 137.

[110] Knight-Ridder, 10/31/04.

[111] Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, 88.

[112] Smucker, Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, 110-11. Some of those whose escape from Tora Bora was assisted later led terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

[113] Christopher Deliso, „The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now,“ interview with Sibel Edmonds, http://antiwar.com/deliso/. For a survey of the Sibel Edmonds story, see David Rose, „An Inconvenient Patriot,“ Vanity Fair, September 2005: „Much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder.“

[114] The Iraq War is also beneficial to the drug traffic. See the following story from the Balochistan Post, quoting the London Independent: „“BAGHDAD: The city, which had never seen heroin, a deadly addictive drug, until March 2003, is now flooded with narcotics including heroin. According to a report published by London’s The Independent newspaper, the citizens of Baghdad complained that the drugs like heroin and cocaine were being peddled on the streets of the Iraqi metropolis. Some reports suggest that the drug and arms trafficking is patronized by the CIA to finance its covert operations worldwide.“

[115] Wall Street Journal, 11/24/03.

[116] „In June 1992, independent Lithuanian Minister of Defense, Audrius Butkevicius, hosted a symposium to thank the Albert Einstein Institution’s key role during the independence process of the Baltic countries“ (Thierry Meyssan,“ The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA,“ http://www.voltairenet.org/article30032.html). Cf. Paul Labarique : «Les dessous du coup d’État en Géorgie», text in French, Voltaire, January 7, 2004.

[117] Saidov, in his own words, was in Andijan at the time of the subsequent turmoil in the Uzbek Fergana Valley, which straddles the drug route through the Kyrgyz town of Osh: „`In May 11-18 I was in Uzbekistan, in the Fergana Valley, where I witnessed the suppression of the people’s uprising in Andijan by the dictatorial regime of Islam Karimov,‘ – says the Dagestani historian Ruslan Saidov“ (http://www.muslimuzbekistan.com/rus/rusnews/2005/05/rusnews30052005_5.html).

[118] http://www.apn.ru/?chapter_name=impres&data_id=430&do=view_single.

[119] Из Оша в Андижан(„From Osh to Andijan“), http//www.polit.ru/analytics/2005/06/06/andij_print.html.

[120] Christopher Deliso, „The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now,“ interview with Sibel Edmonds, 8/15/05, http://antiwar.com/deliso/.

[121] Indira Singh testimony, 9/11 Citizen’s Commission, 130, http://justicefor911.org/September-Hearings.doc.

[122] Khashoggi is perhaps the most famous example of a Saudi-Israel connection. One of the few in the United States who has dared to discuss the 9/11 clues pointing towards Israel is Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004), 259-68, 578-79.

[123] Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), 347.

[124] Michael Moore, Dude, Where’s My Country (New York: Warner Books, 2003), 15. The same superficial analysis is a blemish of his film Fahrenheit 911.

[125] David Ray Griffin, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press/Interlink, 2004), 5.

[126] Commenting on the list published by Pravda.info on May 3, 2005, http://www.pravda.info/news/2695.html.

Site Meter

The revelation that the number of opium-addicted Afghan children has reached new highs is a sad unintended consequence of that war. It dramatically illustrates how adult war games can doom generations of children to a miserable life, argues César Chelala. Worse, it is a growing problem in neighboring Iran and Pakistan as well.
A group of researchers hired by the U.S. Department of State found staggering levels of opium in Afghan children, some as young as 14 months old, who had been passively exposed by adult drug users in their homes.
In 25% of homes where adult addicts lived, children tested showed signs of significant drug exposure, according to the researchers.

According to one of the researchers, the children exhibit the typical behavior of opium and heroin addicts. If the drug is withdrawn, they go through a withdrawal process.

The results of the study should sound an alarm. Not only were opium products found in indoor air samples, but their concentrations were also extremely high. This suggests that, as with second-hand cigarette smoke, contaminated indoor air and surfaces pose a serious health risk to women’s and children’s health.

The extent of health problems in children as a result of such exposure is not known. What is known is that the number of Afghan drug users has increased from 920,000 in 2005 to over 1.5 million, according to Zalmai Afzali, the spokesman for the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics (MCN) in Afghanistan.

A quarter of those users are thought to be women and children. Afzali stated that Afghanistan could become the world’s top drug-using nation per capita if current trends continue.

According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), no other country in the world produces as much heroin, opium and hashish as Afghanistan — a sad distinction for a country already ravaged by war.

This may explain why control efforts so far have been concentrated on poppy eradication and interdiction to stem exports, while less attention was paid to the rising domestic addiction problem, particularly in children.

Both American and Afghan counter narcotic officials have said that such widespread domestic drug addiction is a relatively new problem. Among the factors leading to increased levels of drug use is on a high unemployment rate throughout the country, the social upheaval provoked by this war and those that preceded it, as well as the return of refugees from Iran and Pakistan who became addicts while abroad.

In both those countries, the high number of opium-addicted children is also a serious problem, particularly among street children. In Tehran, although the government has opened several shelters for street children, many more centers are still needed to take care of them.

According to some estimates, there are between 35,000 and 50,000 children in Tehran who are forced by their parents or other adults to live and beg in the streets or to work in sweatshops.

These children are subject to all kinds of abuse, and many among them end up in organized prostitution rings and become part of the sex trade. They are transported to other countries where they are obliged to work as prostitutes, while others simply disappear.

The situation is equally serious in Pakistan, where in Karachi alone there are tens of thousands of children who are addicted, as drug trafficking prevails all over the city. In Karachi, the main addiction is to hashish.

According to Rana Asif Habib, president of the Initiator Human Development Foundation (IHDF), due to the increase in the number of street children, the street crime rate is also on the rise as children get involved in drug trafficking activities in the city.

Injecting drug users face the additional risk of HIV-infection through the sharing of contaminated syringes. “Drug addiction and HIV/AIDS are, together, Afghanistan’s silent tsunami,” declared Tariq Suliman, director of the Nejat’s rehabilitation center to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs.

There are about 40 treatment centers for addicts dispersed throughout the country, but most are small, poorly staffed and under-resourced.

For the first time ever, an international team including World Health Organization (WHO) officials and experts from Johns Hopkins University and the Medical University of Vienna have joined efforts to design a treatment regime for young children.

The United States and its allies have the resources to rapidly expand and adequately fund and resource such treatment and rehabilitation centers throughout the country. Anything less will be yet another serious indictment of an occupation gone astray.

source: http://www.theglobalist.com/printSto…x?StoryId=8472

KABUL – Antonia Maria Costa, head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), last month informed the world that Afghanistan’s expected opium harvest for the 2010 season will be three-quarters of last year’s output – a substantial reduction of 2,600 tonnes. Afghanistan produces over 90% of the world’s illicit supply of opiates, the key ingredient of heroin, and has produced more than 6,000 tonnes of opium a year since 2006.

A ravaging naturally occurring blight exacerbated by climatic conditions is behind this season’s failed harvest, according to UN forensic findings. In the case of Kandahar, Helmand and Urozgan provinces, which collectively produced 80% of the total amount of opium in Afghanistan last year, the blight was further spread by aphids, small plant-eating bugs that can carry fungi and viruses.

The UN estimates that up to 50% of Afghanistan’s opium crops
have been affected. Following Costa’s announcement, Taliban insurgents and angry farmers in southern Afghanistan were quick to blame international forces for „aerial spraying“ their fields to disrupt this year’s harvest. Farmers claim unconfirmed spraying of their fields has also sickened livestock, children and hurt production of legal crops like fruit and nut trees. The UN, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and US officials deny the claims.

Taliban insurgents, who have a high influence throughout the south, have already started exploiting the spray theory, with statements to the local population blaming international forces for spraying unknown chemicals over southern Afghanistan. „The people believe that this disease is sprayed by ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] onto the crops,“ a source in Helmand province told Asia Times Online. “Farmers claim to have some evidence, saying ‚when we get up early in the morning after a night’s sleep, we have seen some white powder-like residue in our fields and even in our homes which are near the field‘.“

Anecdotal claims of usage of chemicals also have been made in neighboring Uruzgan province. „There are strong rumors among the people that foreign forces sprayed drugs with a virus from the air onto their poppy fields,“ Murad, a resident of Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan province, said. “Some of them say that they have found white material that looks like poppy seeds, but there is not clear evidence.”

The Taliban’s insistence on ISAF involvement and claims by farmers have been galvanized by a previous UNODC program funded by the United States that sought to „weaponize“ fusarium oxysporum, a plant fungus capable of devouring coca bushes, poppy fields and marijuana plants.

Uzbekistan served as the test-bed for the project although at least two Central Asian states refused to participate, opting to manually eradicate their poppy fields, and the project was ultimately terminated in 2002 without the fungus ever being used. Efforts to deploy the virus to South America were blocked by Colombia and Peru and even the United States prohibited aerial dispersal of the fungal agent against marijuana fields in the state of Florida following warnings from scientists that the fungus could mutate into a hardier-strain capable of attacking non-targeted crops and livestock.

The Taliban-perpetuated propaganda machine, however, is having an impact among conspiracy minded communities in southern Afghanistan who are adamant that international forces are responsible for the destruction of their crops.

A much less nefarious culprit may bear ultimate responsibility for the wide-scale destruction of the opium poppies: Mother Nature. Although the UNODC is currently testing samples from the badly damaged opium crop, physical evidence points to a fungus, possibly macrosporium papaverus, a blight that causes root and capsule rot, resulting in little to no opium latex for extraction by farmers.

Enyathullah, a landlord from Arghandab district of Kandahar province, shed light on the decrease in opium production in Kandahar. „Farmers used to receive 140 kilograms of opium while they now yield 14 kg from the same land,“ he said. Countering Taliban claims of a conspiracy, Enyathullah supports the physical evidence that the poppy blight is natural occurring. „Last year, pomegranates were affected by a virus; whereas this year, poppy plants suffer from such problem. A limited number of farmers cultivated opium in Arghandab last year since it was very costly to pay high bribes to the police, bear very low prices of opium, and deal with increasing raids by local security forces,“ said Enyathullah.

The poppy plant blight has already hurt general markets and businesses in Kandahar city because the income of farmers from the poppy fields has been slashed, he said. The several highly destructive funguses, viral diseases and forms of blight that affect poppy plants can be exacerbated by excessive moisture, high humidity and overly watered poppy crops. For example, pleospora calvescens, a type of leaf blight harmful to poppy varieties, is worse in times of heavy rainfall or high humidity.

„Beginning in early March, the temperature range between day and night was substantially high so it caused dew in the field. Although dew is good for poppy plants during maturation, this year the increase in dew and high temperature during the day coupled with low temperatures during the night at the growing and blooming stage caused an aphid infestation,“ a source from Helmand familiar with poppy cultivation explained to Asia Times Online. „This aphid infestation causes different problems for different crops, and this year it came late in the season so it helped destroy large plots of poppy crops in southern Afghanistan.“

Costa of the UNODC told participants at an anti-drug forum held in Moscow on June 9 that Afghanistan was entering its third year of substantial decrease in opium output. „This downward trend will continue in 2010 but for a different reason: a natural occurring blight, or plant disease. The same amount of hectares was cultivated as last year but with a drastically different opium output. The blight is caused by a known fungus that has been recorded in Afghanistan over the past 35 years.“

International forces in Afghanistan have adopted a less aggressive opium poppy eradication campaign in favor of increased focus on interdiction and disrupting drug-processing workshops. Widespread destruction will create a new cycle of indebtedness for farmers, raising tensions between rural communities and the Afghan government, and has drastically driven up prices for opium. Opium prices have surged to nearly $115-125 per kilogram from a stable US$25-$35 in some areas.

„The price of opium has gone up because every farmer thinks that this year the opium production was low, so they keep their opium and do not sell it because they hope that the prices will go up,“ Ahmad Jawed, a resident from Helmand province, told Asia Times Online.

„I heard that the opium price is around 65,000 [US$720] to 75,000 Pakistani rupees per seven kilograms, right now. But it was around 10,000-25,000 Pakistani rupees. The quality of the opium is important regarding the price,“ Murad told Asia Times Online.

The UNODC estimates that upwards of 12,000 tonnes of opium are currently in storage and held by a collection of farmers, drug traffickers and insurgents. The soaring prices of raw opium will lead to windfall profits for those wealthy enough to hold onto their caches and sell at times they can make most profit.

The underwhelming 2010 opium harvest will likely lead to farmers planting more in hopes of a bumper crop next year, boosting the profits that anti-government groups like the Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami make from taxing the cultivation and trafficking of narcotics. Rising profits will also threaten the success of the UNODC-sponsored poppy-free province initiative that gives incentives to provinces that wipe out their illicit opium production. Currently 17 of the country’s 34 provinces are poppy-free, a decrease of three from last year, according to UNODC statistics.

Despite the Barack Obama administration’s overhaul of the Afghan war effort beginning last year, little if any meaningful commitment has been made toward curbing the industrial-scale production of narcotics in Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, the UNODC released a long-awaited Afghan cannabis survey that confirmed suspicions that Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of two illicit narcotics: opiates and cannabis resin, known better as hashish. Gross misunderstanding of the narcotics problem plaguing Afghanistan has festered for almost nine years under the international community’s watch. The problem has soared to epidemic proportions, causing a tidal wave of legal, health, economic and security problems from Southwest Asia to Europe.

Although corruption has been identified by the ISAF and the US as a bigger challenge than the insurgency in Afghanistan, little has been done to recognize the source of this corruption: the entrenched narco-economy and its penetration of the Afghan state.

Russian government officials have been quick to criticize the ISAF and the US for failure to tackle the burgeoning drug trade as each year an estimated 30,000 Russian youths perish from overdosing on heroin that originated in Afghanistan.

„How are we supposed to take on the drug trade when Afghan government officials cannot explain where the bulk of international financial assistance is and how it was spent?“ asked Rudik Iskujin, head of the Group on Cooperation between the Federation Council of the Russian Federation and the National Assembly of Afghanistan. „Nearly 50% of the international financial aid [given to Afghanistan] is processed by Afghan government entities. The sad fact is only 2% of international monetary assistance is visible by Afghan government entities.“

As thousands of international and Afghan security forces prepare to pacify large swathes of Taliban-occupied and Taliban-influenced territory throughout southern Afghanistan this summer, Afghan farmers will be preparing for a possible record-breaking opium poppy planting season beginning in mid-September, 2010.

The invariably harmful effects of the drug industry on governance, stability and its perversion of the local economy will continue to haunt the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan and thwart progress toward a stable and self-sustaining state until the problem is finally recognized as a key source of the current political and economic instability.

Matthew DuPee and Ahmad Waheed are research associates at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Matthew is an Afghan specialist who focuses on the Southwestern Asia narcotics industry. Ahmad was awarded the J William Fulbright Scholarship and received his master’s degree in international policy studies, with a specialization in international development, at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

source: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LF22Df03.html

Raw Opium

The opium poppy is botanically classified as Papaver somniferum. The genus is named from the Greek noun for a poppy, the species from the Latin word meaning ’sleep inducing‘: it was Linnaeus, the father of botany, who first classified it in his book Genera Plantarum in 1753. Like many of his contemporaries, and generations before him, he was well aware of its capabilities.

The plant has a dubious history. Some horticulturists consider it evolved naturally, but there are others who claim it is a cultivor developed by century upon century of careful human cultivation. Another theory is that it is a naturally mutated plant which evolved because of a quirk of climate or altitude. This is not far-fetched for plants will take on atypical forms in unique conditions: the cannabis trees of Bhutan prove the point. No one can be certain.

Although there is no positive proof, it is thought P. somniferum may have evolved, or been generated, either from the wild poppy, Papaver setigerum, which contains small amounts of opium and which indigenously grows throughout the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, or from a poppy native to Asia Minor.

To many not specifically engaged in its cultivation, the poppy is either an ornamental flower with a delicate beauty or a simple, scarlet blossom growing wild in the cereal fields of Europe, an image for the blood spilled in the trenches of the First World War. In fact, it comes from a large botanical family of 28 genera and over 250 individual species, most of which grow in the temperate and sub-tropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Many popular varieties have been specifically cultivated: the bush and tree poppies, the Welsh poppy, the blue and Syrian tulip poppies, the alpine poppy, the sub-arctic Iceland poppy, the Californian poppy. Even the opium poppy itself may be found in borders and displays in well-kept gardens, albeit illegally in most countries. In its wild state, the poppy is a single bloom but double flowers and specialist blooms with serrated and fringed petals have also been bred in a multitude of colours: the most exquisite are two variations of the opium poppy, the Pink Chiffon and the Paeony-flowered Mixed. Several species, such as the Oriental poppy from Asia Minor, are perennials.

Of all these species, only P. somniferum and P. bracteatum produce opium in any significant amount, although the latter is not used at present as a commercial drug source but is sometimes grown as decorative blossom from which a number of hybrids have derived.

Papaver somniferum is an annual with a growth cycle of approximately 120 days. It requires a rich, well-cultivated soil and, in the wild, is more likely to flourish in recently dug or ploughed ground, hence its presence in farm fields and, traditionally, by cart tracks and animal droves. The best growing climate is temperate, warm with low humidity and not too much rainfall during early growth. Ideally, although it will grow in clay or sandy clay, the best soil is a sandy loam which retains nutrients and moisture and is not too hard for the delicate early roots to penetrate. Both excessive and insufficient rainfall affect growth: too much moisture causes waterlogging and, if the soil is not properly drained, the plants will quickly die whilst dull, cloudy weather or excessive rain in days thirty to ninety of the growth period will reduce the opium-producing capabilities. Sunlight is especially important. The opium poppy is a ‚long day‘ photo-responsive plant which means it will not produce blooms unless it has grown through a period of long days and short nights, preferably with direct sunlight at least twelve hours daily.

These requirements aside, the plant is easy to grow. It does not require irrigation unless it is in danger of drying out, demands no expensive fertilisers, has few pests or ailments and, therefore, requires no insecticides or fungicides.

The seeds (about the size of a pin-head) are naturally sown by the pod blowing in the breeze and shaking like a pepper-pot, the contents scattering. When deliberately set, they are either broadcast or dropped in rows of shallow holes made by a stick or dibber, the timing of the sowing depending heavily upon local seasonal and climatic conditions. About 500 grams of seed are sown to half a hectare. The seeds may range over a wide variety of colours from white through yellow to brown, grey or black, the coloration not being relevant to the eventual blossom. Other cash crops, such as beans, peas or tobacco, may be planted alongside the poppy: these do not hinder it and are usually only a means of obtaining a higher return from the same area of land.

The seeds germinate quickly in warm, moist conditions and, within six weeks, the plant is established by which time it vaguely resembles a young cabbage with glaucous, green leaves with a dull grey or bluish tint. By eight weeks, it reaches a height of about 60 centimetres and consists of a main stem the upper portion of which (the peduncle) bears no leaves or secondary stems. Below the peduncle, secondary stems (called tillers) may appear from leaf bases where they join the main stem. Apart from the peduncle, the stems are frequently covered with hairs.

As the plant matures, it grows to a height of between 90 and 150 centimetres, the leaves appearing alternately, those on the main stem being oblong, tooth-edged and between 10 and 40 centimetres long. The main stem and each tiller ends in a single flower bud. As these develop, the ends of the peduncle and tillers extend and bend over to form a distinctive hook shape, the young buds suspended upside down. However, as the buds mature the stems straighten, the main bud at the head of the peduncle pointing upwards. Within two days of becoming vertical, the sepals of the bud – which are the same colour as the leaves – open and the flower blooms. In ideal conditions, the main blossom appears around the ninetieth day from germination.

At first, it appears crumpled, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, but the four petals quickly expand and smoothen, each marginally overlapping the other. Their colour may vary from plant to plant. Traditionally, opium poppies are white but they may just as readily be pink crimson, weakly purple or a variegation of these with the colour darker at the petal base. Inside the flower is a ring of anthers on top of what will become the pod. Fertilisation is carried out by insects.

The flower is short-lived. In two to four days the petals drop, exposing a small, round pod the size of a large pea. This rapidly grows and may become ovoid or globular: when mature, it is the size of a small hen’s egg with a diameter of between 5 and 7.5 centimetres. It is bluish green with a slightly waxy appearance, the top surrounded by a small crown from which the stigmas rise. Where the pod joins the peduncle is a ring of petal base scars.

The pod is made of an outer skin enclosing the wall of the ovary, which is made up of three layers, and cavities or segments separated by seed-producing walls. The seeds, of which one pod may produce over 1000, are reniform in shape with distinct reticulations. When mature, they are loose in the pod before dispersal through small holes which open just under the crown.

The opium poppy has two main products: one, the seeds, is quite innocuous whilst the other, opium, is infamously insidious.

The word ‚opium‘ is misleading, implying the substance is a single chemical compound whereas it is an elaborate cocktail containing sugars, proteins, ammonia, latex, gums, plant wax, fats, sulphuric and lactic acids, water, meconic acid and a wide range of alkaloids. The significant parts are the alkaloids.

An alkaloid is a highly complex organic base (an alkali) with the common characteristic properties of containing nitrogen, of being basic and forming salts and water with acids, found in plants and having a characteristically bitter taste. Over fifty have been identified in opium, the most important being morphine (from which heroin can be made noscapine, papaverine, codeine and thebaine. They appear partially or loosely chemically bonded to meconic acid, the presence of which can be used as a test to detect opium.

In its raw state, opium is the dried latex or juice of the seed pod which is also known as the capsule, bulb or poppy-head. It is an opaque, milky sap which, although found throughout the plant, concentrates the active ingredients in the pod.

Until recently, it was unknown how the poppy manufactured such a complex chemical as an alkaloid. It is now accepted that the substances are actually created in the lactifers (cells which produce the latex), possibly from the synthesis of albumen: the mechanism, however, is still undiscovered. Furthermore, opium is only produced during a ten-to-twelve-day period when the pod is ripening. Once it has reached maturity, the alkaloids are no longer made and are broken down in time.

Why the plant goes through such a process is unknown. Theories abound. One suggests the alkaloids are essential to the formation of the seeds. Another proposes they are a form of deterrent against animal pests. The most intriguing propounds that the plant has developed opium simply to ensure humans maintain it in cultivation, an elaborate and incredibly ingenious example of symbiosis.

Harvesting opium is an exhausting, back-breaking and labour-intensive process which can really only be done by hand and requires knowledge, experience and dexterity. Little changed for centuries, it is obtained by tapping the individual pods.

The harvest begins about two weeks after the petals have dropped. The opium farmer first examines the pod and erect crown. By now, the pod will have lost its grey-green colour and darkened. If the points of the crown are standing straight out or curving upwards, the pod is ready. Not all the pods in a field will mature at the same time so the farmer has to keep a close daily eye on his whole crop over a period of some weeks.

Today, the tapping tool is generally a specialised knife consisting of a set of three or four parallel steel or glass blades mounted on a handle. This is run vertically over two or three sides of the pod. If the blades cut too deeply into the pod wall, the opium will flow too quickly and drip to the earth where it will be lost. Furthermore, deep incisions will cause it to weep internally and injure the pod, cutting off production will the lactifers and preventing the seeds from developing. The will then shrivel and die. If the cuts are too shallow, the flow be too slow and harden on the pod wall, sealing the cut like a scab. The ideal depth for a cut is 1-1.5 millimetres, achieved by setting the tapping knife blades.

The tapping (also known as scoring or lancing) is sometimes carried out in the late afternoon in the hope that the opium will ooze out overnight and coagulate slowly on the surface of the pod. If the tapping is carried out when the sun is still high, the heat of the sunlight can dry up the first sap to appear which then closes the wounds: however, in some countries, the collection of sap is done at midday, the sun’s heat actually encouraging the milky sap to trickle out.

When the opium first appears, it is a cloudy, white, fairly mobile substance but on contact with air it oxidises, turning into a dark brown, viscous substance, sticky to the touch with a distinctive delicate perfume. The opium, now a resinous gum, is carefully scraped from the pod with a short-handled blunt iron blade about 10 centimetres, long. In order to prevent the blade from becoming covered in gum, the farmer wets it between plants. Poppy growers working on licensed farms, where poppies are cultivated for the pharmaceutical industry, do this by dipping the blade in water, peasant farmers, who are the vast majority of the world’s poppy growers, often simply lick the blade. Needless to say, this addicts the farmers to their crop.

A pod will continue to secrete opium for some days and may be tapped up to half a dozen times. The opium yield varies according to the size of the pod and the efficiency of the farmer. The average is 50 milligrams per pod, a hectare of poppies providing, between 8 and 15 kilograms of raw opium.

The farmers work their way backwards across the fields, tapping lower mature pods before the taller ones so as not to spill the opium inadvertently. This is collected in a container hanging around the farmer’s waist. As they go, they mark the larger or more potent pods with coloured yarn. This directs the farmer to the pods on subsequent harvesting sessions and indicates which are eventually to be gathered in whole. These will be opened, dried in the sun and the seeds collected for the next season’s planting.

In gum form, raw opium contains a high percentage of water so it is sun-dried for several days until the mass is reduced by evaporation to a sticky, dark brown substance with a strong odour and the consistency of warmed beeswax. The freshness of raw opium is judged by its pliability: when fresh, it is putty-like. It is then beaten into an homogeneous mass and moulded into cakes, balls or blocks which can be stored for months, wrapped in plastic or leaves and stacked on shelves in a shady place. As it dries, it hardens. Excessive moisture or heat during drying or early storage will cause it to deteriorate but, once dried, it is stable and will gain in value for the older it is the less water it contains and the more concentrated it becomes by weight. In some cases, harvested pods are gathered and pulped in warm water which is then sieved and simmered over a fire, resulting in a poor quality opium which is not traded but may be retained by the farmer for personal use.

Raw opium, which is slightly granular, contains more than just the coagulated latex. In the scraping of the pod, pieces of the outer wall may be removed and up to 7 per cent by weight of raw opium may consist of extraneous plant matter. What is more, it can be deliberately adulterated by the farmer with sand, tree sap or ash, although a trained opium buyer can spot these tricks and few farmers dare resort to such chicanery.

Before the opium can be smoked or further processed, it has to be cooked. As traders usually prefer it somewhat improved from its rough state, cooking also prepares it for market.

The cooking is done by adding the raw opium to boiling water. It dissolves, any impurities such as pod fragments floating to the surface with heavier adulterates sinking to the bottom. The solution is passed through cheesecloth or a fine sieve to remove impurities then brought to the boil again and reduced. It is now a clean, brown, mobile fluid known as liquid opium. Very slowly, it is left to simmer until all that remains is a thick, brown paste known as prepared, cooked or smoking opium. This is pressed into moulds or trays and dried once more in the sun until it takes on the consistency of dense modelling clay which will harden as it matures. Much purer than raw opium, the cooked opium is now ready for the addict, the trader or the drug baron’s laboratories.

The remainder of the plant is not discarded. Once ripe, the seeds contain no dangerous substances whatsoever and are edible. Black, blue and grey seeds are frequently used as a decoration for cakes and bread whilst brown seeds are used in Turkey to make halva and to give the typical crunchiness to such traditional Turkish pastries as silgin boereghi and hashash coereghi. In India, yellow seeds are milled and added to sauces as flavouring or thickening agents.

Ripe poppy seeds yield about 50 per of a fixed oil made up of the glycerides of linolic, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids. Poppy seed oil has a straw-yellow colour, is odourless and tastes vaguely of almonds. It may be employed in cooking and as a salad dressing and it has been used as an adulterate of olive oil. Other uses are in the manufacture of perfumes and, because of its drying properties, as a base for expensive artists‘ oil paints.

In the nineteenth century, Turkish growers wasted little of the plant. Seeds were pressed to give both vegetable and lamp oil, the residual seed cake, stems and leaves being used as cattle fodder. This was historically an important factor in dairy produce, for cows fed on the detritus of poppies were said to provide the milk which made the finest yoghurt. Mixed with flour, the residuals also made a coarse bread. Seed was also sold to merchants in Smyrna who traded it on to Marseilles, where it was used in soap factories, whilst poppy heads were infused to make a traditional sedative drink.

Today, in most areas where the plant is commercially and legally grown, the opium producing stage is bypassed and the dried capsules, known as poppy straw, are milled and processed for the extraction of their alkaloids. Very large quantities of poppy straw have to be processed, but morphine, codeine and thebaine are recoverable. The seeds, which have almost as much value, are used in the food industry.

Although poppy straw morphine was extracted first in 1823 by a French chemist called Tilloy working in Dijon, it was not until 1928 that a factory was built when Janos Kabay, an Hungarian, developed a commercially feasible extraction process. During the Second World War, poppy straw processing began under German control as a source of opium during the Allied blockade. Since then, refinements to extraction techniques, and agricultural development have greatly increased yields, so that today more than 50 per cent of the world’s legal annual morphine demand of about 230 tonnes is derived from this source which, in some countries such as Australia, is a highly mechanised agricultural procedure.

The traditional growing, harvesting and preparation of opium however is and always has been essentially a peasant-farming activity, although there have been variations according to time and place. In Bengal, for example, it was customary to incise the pod with a sharpened mussel shell whilst elsewhere the extruded juice was placed upon a lower leaf of the plant to dry, a practice which lingers in parts of Afghanistan. However, from the late eighteenth century and with the expansion in world trade promoted by Europeans, opium growing and production became in places a highly organised, efficient and lucrative industry.

In India in the nineteenth century, opium growing was far from being a peasant-run operation. Admittedly, smallholders produced the opium but it was sold through a structured market and was big business, employing tens of thousands of growers and workers, many of whom became habituated to the drug.

As a commercial commodity, opium was an extensive branch of Indian agriculture. Grown mostly on the Ganges plain between Patna and Benares (now known as Varanasi), it was a major revenue source for the Indian economy. Its importance is reflected in the substantial records compiled about the business which afford a fascinating glimpse of how the industry began in modern times.

Sown early in November, the crop was harvested from early February the following year. The tapping tool (known as a nushtur) was of similar design to that used today, whilst the collecting blade was an iron scoop (a sittooha) and the collecting vessel an earthenware pot called a kurrace. This was emptied into a shallow tilted brass dish (a thallee) which allowed the water content (pusseewah) to drain away. The raw opium was allowed to dry for several weeks, being turned and stirred daily, before being stored in clay pots in godowns, or warehouses. Once weighed, tested and valued, it was thrown into vast vats, kneaded and subsequently pressed into spheres the size of small cannon balls.

This process was an important part of opium manufacture. The factory hands sat in rows in the godown, each man in front of a tagar, a tin vessel holding enough opium to make three to five balls. A basin containing water, a supply of poppy flower petals, a cup of lewah (inferior opium) and a brass cup in which the ball was shaped made up the rest of a worker’s equipment.

Taking the cup, the worker placed a petal in the base and smeared it with lewah. Another petal was added overlapping the first until the receptacle was lined by opium-soaked petals. An opium ball was rolled and placed in the cup so the dome protruding from the top was the same size as that contained by the vessel. This was then covered in poppy petals and lewah, the petals at the rim carefully interwoven to make a seal. When completed, the ball was about 15 centimetres in diameter and covered in a shell of petals. It weighed about 1.5 kilograms.

Once the ball was formed, it was placed on lattice-work racks in a drying room, a warehouse with open ends to allow the wind to pass through. Checked and turned daily by small boys, who ensured no insects were damaging the opium, it was kept until sufficiently dry then packed into mango-wood chests with two fitted trays, each chest containing forty balls in individual compartments, twenty to a tray. The chests were sealed with pitch, sewn into gunny or hides and sent for trading or to market. In Ghazipur, the centre of India’s modern legal opium production system, some opium-making equipment a century old is still in use in technique which have not significantly changed for 200 years.

The size of the opium industry can be judged from contemporary accounts. The area under poppy cultivation in 1870 was 560,608 acres. In the financial year of 1871-72, the number of chests sold was 49,695 at a trade price of 139 [pounds sterling] each. The net profit per chest was 90 [pounds sterling]. The opium revenue came to 7,657,213 [pounds sterling]. At 1996 currency rates, equates to approximately 612 [pounds sterling] million or $950 million.

The product and the style of marketing varied from place to place. While Indian opium was sold in forty-ball chests in the nineteenth century, Turkish opium from Smyrna – upon which was based a speculative commodities market – was packed in grey calico bags in oblong wicker baskets, the strength and quality of the goods being measured in carats on a 1 to 24 unit scale like gold: under 20 carats, the standard was considered poor and the opium discarded. The opium was blackish-brown, waxy to the touch, wrapped in poppy leaves and sold in irregular, flattened oval cakes weighing between 250 gram and a kilogram. The surface of each was sprinkled with the winged seeds of a species of sorrel to prevent them from sticking together. When shipped, it was transported in hermetically sealed, zinc-lined wooden cases, each sufficiently large to take an entire basket.

An alternative Turkish opium from Constantinople was a redder brown and sold in small lens-shaped cakes covered with poppy leaves whilst Persian opium from Yezd and Isfahan, where the Persian trade was centred, was usually dark brown and came in the form of sticks wrapped in grease-proof paper and tied about with cotton twine, or cones weighing 200-400 grams. Egyptian opium was formed into round, flattened cakes like ice hockey pucks, was reddish in colour and quite hard.

Aficionados, dealers, merchants and users were expert at assessing quality and strength in each and every variety and cargo. Opium was judged with all the finesse of a tea or coffee blender, the pertinent factors being its colour, weight, density, water content and granularity. Many traders could identify and judge the quality of individual samples just as experienced wine tasters can tell the vintage of a bottle of claret and from which vineyard it comes.

When and how man first discovered the potency of opium is hard to ascertain: he has been familiar with it since prehistoric times. The nineteenth century botanist, George Watts, suggested man came upon the poppy’s secret by stages of gradual awareness. Watts conjectured that humans aesthetically appreciated the poppy for its flower before they came to use it as a vegetable: certainly, it was eaten in salads in India as recently as the 1890s, although this may have been for its medicinal qualities. The juice was then found to make a refreshing drink when diluted with water and, eventually, the neat juice would be discovered to have narcotic effects inducing feelings of contentment and capable of numbing pain.

However that first discovery might have been made, today it is known that opiates can be swallowed, smoked, injected, sniffed, inhaled or absorbed through mucous membranes. How it is taken affects the intensity and speed with which it has an effect upon the brain and the whole body.

Historically, there have been only two basic ways to indulge in opium: one was to eat it, the other to smoke it.

Opium eating refers, in effect, to the general swallowing of it for as well as eating it in solid form it is also possible to drink raw opium dissolved in a variety of liquids. Opium in solution might well have been the first common method of taking it as, before the technique of cutting the pods to allow the sap to ooze out, the whole poppy head was crushed and mixed with wine or honey and water. Such a solution served more than one purpose for raw opium has a bitter taste and eating it neat would not have been easy: indeed, raw opium can induce severe vomiting.

Despite this, it was taken orally in India for over 1500 years, the dictum going that efficacy improved with unpalatability. In 1687, it was recorded the Turks ate opium for pleasure but disguised the bitterness with nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon or mace and served it with saffron or ambergris. Even then, it was essentially a medicine and regarded as an aphrodisiac. In Europe, opium was mixed with wine or wine and sugar or honey.

Smoking opium was chiefly confined to China, the East Indies, the eastern seaboard of Indo-China (particularly Vietnam) and Taiwan (formerly Formosa). It had to be concentrated before it could be used. A method of preparing opium for smoking was published in the British Pharmacopoeia in the early nineteenth century:

Take of opium in thin slices, 1lb; distilled water 6 pints. Macerate the opium in 2 pints of water for 24 hours, an express the liquor. Reduce the residue of the opium to a uniform pulp, macerate it again in 2 pints of water for 24 hours, and express. Repeat the operation a third time. Mix the liquors, strain through flannel, and evaporate by a water-bath until the extract has acquired a suitable consistence for forming pills.

Once the extract was produced, the opium mass had been reduced by about 50 per cent, the concentration more or less doubled. Known in China as chan du, the pills were round, pea-sized, dark-coloured and stiffly malleable.

A traditional opium pipe was quite unlike that used by tobacco smokers. There were variations but basically it consisted of a broad tube (often made of a length of bamboo about 5 centimetres in diameter and perhaps 50 centimetres long) with a smaller, usually metal, tube protruding about two-thirds of the way down, ending in a tiny cup or bowl up to 2 centimetres across. In typical Chinese pipes, the bowl was a hollow chamber with a tiny hole in the roof.

The would-be smoker reclined on his side and held the pipe in one hand. With the other he took a thin metal spike or needle about 15 centimetres long, impaling the pill of opium on the end. This task of preparing the pill was traditionally carried out in opium dens by small boys who were, on occasion, also catamites. If the pill was too moist, it was dried over the flame of a small, specifically designed spirit lamp which produced a fierce hot spot above a toughened glass cowl. With the desired consistency achieved, the opium was spread around the base of the bowl or placed over the hole of the hollow bowl by inserting the spike into the hole and pulling it free, the index and second fingers of the pipe hand holding it in place. The bowl was then inverted over the spirit lamp until the opium pill melted and began to vaporise. At this moment, the smoker took a very deep breath and sucked air rich with opium fumes through the main tube. Some early Chinese pipes were similar to hookahs, the fumes drawn through water or scented liquid before inhalation.

The action was ideally done in one large inhalation for the opium was quick to vaporise: a pipe took between fifteen and thirty seconds to run its course. The pipe characteristically whistled while the opium was drawn in. As the smoker inhaled, he sometimes manipulated the opium with a needle-like probe to keep an air-hole open and to force the opium into the chamber of the bowl. Unvaporised opium, or vapour which had not been inhaled, solidified on the interior of the pipes: needless to say, old pipes had a value because they were coated with a residue of raw opium which could be recycled. Known as ‚dross‘, it was a mixture of charcoal, empyreumatic oil and opium and was sold as pills to the poor or mixed with tobacco, tea or some other material smoked by them.

The inhaled fumes were retained as long as the smoker could hold his breath, exhalation made only through the nostrils to gain the best advantage of the fumes: what the lungs did not absorb, the nose might take in. A first-time user was usually nauseated by his pipe but this effect passed after two or three further pipes, diminishing with each. Experienced smokers would take three or four pipes in quick succession, a pipe consisting of one pill.

His smoking over, the smoker fell into a deep but not refreshing sleep which could last from fifteen minutes (with one pipe) to several hours. Upon waking, there were no after-effects, such as a hangover. The smoker was subdued and calm, in a state of extreme lassitude.

The habit of reclining to smoke opium had its origins in China but was not essential: it was, however, convenient for the smoker would quickly fall asleep after his pipe, the effects of which were quite rapid. As Jean Cocteau, the French writer and opium addict, observed: ‚Of all drugs „the drug“ is the most delicate. The lungs instantaneously assimilate its smoke. The effect of a pipe is immediate.‘ He called opium ‚the ultimate siesta‘.

The method of smoking opium has not changed and, in the few places were it is still smoked today, such as the Shan states of north-east Burma (now called the Union of Myanmar), China, Laos and Thailand, the technique and paraphernalia survive. Opium smoking is in fact legal in some countries, notably in the Middle East, where it is sold as sticks about the size of a hot dog sausage.

One does not have to be an addict, or an eater or smoker, to come under the effect of opium: passive consumption is possible. Walking through a field of incised pods can induce mild effects and poppy farmers can tell when the time to harvest is nigh because they wake in the morning with severe headaches and even nausea. Harvesters may absorb opium through their skin and excise officers and traders who come into frequent contact with it can also be affected.

Opium is still consumed by the traditional means of eating and smoking in Third World countries, especially in those where it is produced, but in more technologically advanced nations opium is not widely used today. Its derivative, heroin, is the main opiate of addiction and there are several ways in which that drug can be taken. Unlike opium, heroin is rarely swallowed because this is an ineffectual method of consumption but it is frequently smoked, either mixed with tobacco in a hand-rolled reefer or ‚joint‘, or inserted into a cigarette filter tip.

Smoking is, however, a relatively inefficient way of taking heroin and requires a high purity to be effective. The best non-injectable way to use heroin is to sniff it in powder form through the nostrils – a method known as ’snorting‘ – which allows absorption into the bloodstream through the nasal mucous membranes.

The quickest, most effective way to take heroin is to inject it. This requires certain equipment: a cooker (usually a large spoon), a source of flame and a hypodermic syringe. The addict mixes heroin in the spoon with water, or glucose and water, in order to dissolve it. Lemon juice, citric acid or vitamin C may be added to aid dissolving. This cocktail is heated until it boils, drawn into the syringe through a piece of cotton wool or a cigarette filter to remove solid impurities and injected whilst still warm. An addict calls his equipment his ‚works‘ or ‚kit‘.

Subcutaneous injection is known by addicts as ’skin-popping‘, whilst intravenous injection – injecting straight into the vein – is called ‚mainlining.‘ The mainliner also requires a tourniquet of some sort to distend veins. When the tourniquet is released, the effects of the heroin are almost instantaneous. Most heroin is taken by injection: however, since the arrival of AIDS and the risk of cross-infection through shared needles, the habit of smoking and snorting heroin has been on the gradual increase.

Whatever the means of consumption, whatever methods of taking the drug have become tenable or fashionable, the fact remains that, well before man had developed into a civilised, social being, he had discovered the precarious magic of poppy sap

Joshua Foust is an American military analyst. He blogs about Central Asia and Afghanistan at Registan.net . Reuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

It would be an understatement to call opium cultivation in Afghanistan America’s headache. The issue of illegal drug cultivation and smuggling has vexed policymakers for three decades, and led to a multi-billion dollar campaign to combat the phenomenon.

Opium causes all of our problems, so they say—according to  a factsheet at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (pdf), opium creates instability, funds the insurgency, and wreaks havoc on the government. They’re not alone –  entire books have been written on the subject.

The blame game on opium, however, ignores a critical – and quite uncomfortable – fact: it misses the point. The reality is, while the cultivation of opium does not help matters from a Western perspective, in Afghanistan it is actually a healthy economic activity. The concerns over its cultivation, too, are overblown: even a brief look at the numbers show it to be at best a trailing indicator of insecurity, insurgency, corruption, and economic malaise. Opium, therefore, is only an indicator of other, more substantial problems.

Consider, for example, what I call The Nangarhar Swing. According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, in 2005 Nangarhar produced nearly 1/5 of Afghanistan’s opium, but was virtually poppy-free in 2006.  2007 saw a 285 percent increase (pdf) in cultivation, making the province one of the country’s top poppy producers. Yet in 2008, it was  once again virtually poppy-free (pdf). This shift cannot be tied only to security, as many like to claim: according to the violence statistics compiled by the Long War Journal, even as Nangarhar has stopped the large scale cultivation of opium, it has become steadily more violent. Moreover, there are many other areas of the country, like Khost province along the border with Pakistan, or Kunar province further north, where the insurgency has become worse even as those provinces were emptied of opium.

The discrepancy is really a trick of language: When the UNODC declares a province poppy-free, what they mean is, production there is “negligible”, not non-existent. Whether that is in the context of total production, other provinces, or some sort of absolute number (a percentage of arable land or total worldwide opium production) isn’t really clear. In Nangarhar, several times declared “poppy free” by the UNODC, there remain active opium eradication missions in outlying districts such as Sherzad. What’s noteworthy about it is not the presence of some fairly smallish opium farms in southwestern Nangarhar, as most opium farms are small family affairs. What is interesting is the density of the farms. In a single 5 km stretch of the countryside, teams found and destroyed 100 poppy fields. For a supposedly poppy-free province, that is simply stunning.

It also covers up the substantial effect of destroying the opium economy. In many parts of Afghanistan, opium is the economy, and the World Bank estimated in 2008 it accounts for 1/3 of the country’s economy. In opium-adjacent communities, opium funds underpin the entire local economy: especially in the opium “heartland” in the South, the only way for small farmers to get microcredit loans or deal with exporters is through opium traders. Through a system of loans called salaam, they in essence create informal futures markets on crops… but only opium. Cereal crops and fruits, or other licit agriculture, are not included in this system (even though it is possible for other actors, whether the government or NGOs, to provide this service). In fact, the ways these markets have developed in the south is remarkably similar to how informal credit markets formed in rural medieval Europe. It is normal. The West just happens to dislike the crop.

But even in opium “success stories”, there are significant problems to simply removing the crop. In Nangarhar, the wild swings in opium prices and cultivation crashed the rural economy again and again. Most of the microcredit salaam loans farmers take out are not denominated in any currency – they pay in opium. So, when prices crash or an eradication team sweeps through, farmers become trapped in a horrendous debt cycle where the only means of escape is to grow yet more opium. There are even rumors of farmers selling a daughter or son to the traffickers in payment, and many families have fled to either Iran or Pakistan to avoid reprisals for unpaid opium debt.

There is a more fundamental economic problem to growing poppy, however: areas that grow opium actually tend to be the wealthiest. Sherzad District in Nangarhar, where there is still opium cultivation and eradication, actually has relatively high income compared to the rest of Nangarhar.  According to the International Monetary Fund (pdf), when Nangarhar province saw a huge drop in opium cultivation in 2005/6, province-wide GDP was about $1.3 billion (which was a big drop from the year before, when there was much more opium). The next year, 2006/7, when opium production spiked 285%, province-level GDP rose to $3.2 billion, only to fall the next year to $1.8 billion as the UNODC declared it poppy-free.

So what is to be done? The Obama administration has wisely recognized that opium eradication is a non-starter, and does far more harm than the marginal good of destroying some opium crops. UNODC Chief Antonio Maria Costa recently agreed, and suggested a “flood of drugs” in its place. Under this plan, somehow the borders of Afghanistan would be sealed so that no drugs can “escape”, in their words, thus crashing the price of opium. Feasible or not, Costa’s idea at least tries to examine other ways of reducing the need for opium cultivation. Looking at opium cultivation as an economic factor, however, leads one to many other conclusions that are inconvenient for a political and military apparatus designed to oppose the very idea of drug cultivation.

If opium is an economic puzzle, and not a political-military one, then there should be an economic (or at least non-military) solution to it. Several years ago, the Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit published a study (pdf) comparing the factors behind the cultivation of opium in adjacent provinces in the “poppy-free” north. Water shortages, soil moisture and salinity, severe socioeconomic inequality driving food insecurity, a poor presence of formal institutions, all have decisive impacts on a household decision whether or not to cultivate opium.

More recently, a team of Norwegian researchers has noted a strong causation between violence and opium cultivation, but not in the way most think:  in their research paper (pdf), they assert that opium follows conflict, and not the other way around. In other words, opium cultivation is simply a feature of ungoverned conflict zones, and especially in Afghanistan, something people do as a last resort when other economic activities fail to provide for their families.

Taken together, these studies (and the many others like them—this is a growing field of study) point to a counterintuitive conclusion: do nothing. That is, focusing only on opium misses the point, and doesn’t address the reasons why it is grown. If opium cultivation were an indicator of an ungoverned or contested space, then that would indicate that making that space governed and uncontested would also address the opium.

There are a few examples even within Afghanistan where governance and security came first, and then opium cultivation simply dropped off. Badakhshan province was the only province in the country that was completely Taliban-free in 2001, and as a result was the only one to grow opium in any really measurable amount during the Taliban’s prohibition. Since the American invasion, it has remained mostly quiet, and has seen a growing success in both trade connections to neighboring areas and better governance by multiple levels of officials. As an aid worker active there told me recently, “the price of poppy has fallen fastest in the north (where the poppy has a lower morphine content), and in Badakhshan, farmers can already make more from okra or onions than opium.” Selling vegetables is relatively low risk and carries a good profit margin – something that cannot be said for the majority of Afghanistan’s non-subsistence farmers.

Drug traffickers have taken enormous measures to lower the risk of drug cultivation, but the development community has not taken the time to do so for legal agriculture. It remains prohibitively expensive to ship anything out of Afghanistan, and border politics especially with Pakistan (one worker recently complained that difficulties in crossing the border into Pakistan meant an entire crop of potatoes from Khost province rotted at the border crossing, unsold) keep export-driven agriculture uncertain and extremely risky. By focusing so much of its energies onto eradication or somehow controlling the cultivation of opium, both the International Community and the government of Afghanistan have ignored providing other ways for farmers to make money legally – even when Alternative Livelihood programs exist in an area, they’re poorly administered and often barely make a dent in the local economy.

So why not do nothing? Opium is not Afghanistan’s biggest problem – it is horrendous poverty, bad infrastructure and no security. When it comes to all three problems, Afghanistan faces two major hurdles – underinvestment (money, equipment, education, health, and security) and corruption-driven illegitimacy. Making matters worse, the overwhelming majority of aid in the country flows outside government channels or oversight, which undercuts Kabul’s legitimacy even among the people it helps.

Focusing only on opium, therefore, doesn’t actually focus on the more fundamental problems facing the country. It is an obsession on symptoms, while the causes go unaddressed. The missing piece of governance, and with it the development of the necessary institutions of society and economy, is the critically ignored piece of almost all plans to eliminate opium in Afghanistan. And as examples like Badakhshan have shown, when even moderate progress is made on these fronts, people will voluntarily switch to growing other crops, and they will make enough money to support themselves. It’s enough to make one wonder just why there needs to be a plan in the first place. It’s counterintuitive, but scrapping the West’s counternarcotics policies is surest way to actually achieve the counternarcotics goal of a poppy-free Afghanistan.

(Reuters photos: Opium fields in Farah province/Goran Tomasevic)

Mal wieder etwas Politik, diesmal von der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik!

Enjoy it:2010_S02_mss_ks

By Farzana Shah

Monday, 23 February 2009.

In Afghanistan, U.S./NATO have put the blame on Taliban for poppy cultivation to finance their resistance to allied forces. Ironically, it was only in Taliban era when the world had seen a sharp decline in opium crop in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban had banned opium cultivation nationwide, probably for the first time in Afghan history. A more important question is how and when this business of drug production and trafficking started in region? CIA has been using drug money since long to generate money to support its operations all over the world. It did not start in Afghanistan it was brought here after experimenting somewhere else. This is something which is not a lead story in international media for obvious reasons despite the fact it is harming millions of lives around the globe.

1. CIA’s secret Operations

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on of the most active and dynamic intelligence setups in the world needs massive amount of money to carry on its clandestine operations all over the world. It has happened when CIA used local sources to conduct a coups, assassinations, regime change, etc. As U.S. has a long history to support democracy by hook and crook until and unless a dictator is ready to serve U.S. interests to prolong its rule.

Operations like the one completed in Iran in 1953 to remove Prime Minister Mussadaq and backing Shah’s regime by using assets in civil society, or in Iraq in 1975 to arm Iraqi Kurds to destabilize Pre-Saddam Iraq or more recently using its assets in Pakistan to pave the way of direct U.S. intervention in Pakistan under pretext of hunting Al-Qaeda.

These kinds of operations need a lot of financial input. Usually CIA arranges revenue from its own means for this kind of operations where expenses can’t be predicted by any measure. Funds from Whitehouse always need a complete audit and detailed reports about usage of these funds. There are numerous occasions when CIA never shared details of operations with its own analytical wing nor with any other public office in Washington. Most of the time it is drug money that compensates these expenses.

CIA operations are not only single expenditure fulfilled by drugs there are also other deficiencies which are compensated with this money like financial institutes and banks in current financial crisis. UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa based in Vienna revealed that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiraled out of control last year.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had found evidence that “inter bank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities,” Costa was quoted as saying. There were “signs that some banks were rescued in that way.”

It is not only CIA anymore in trade for using it as gold mine to finance its illegal operations all over the world but U.S. economy also need some liquidity in its banks, it doesn’t matter if it is coming by drug trade.

2. Drug Production & Consumption

Afghanistan is largest producer of heroin’s main ingredient; opium and opium is nothing new in this part of the world. In Afghanistan and FATA, Pakistan it is being produced since centuries; used as remedy for various diseases. Commercial production of opium began just during the Russian invasion in Afghanistan where it is estimated to produce some 8250 metric tons (Source: AmericanFreePress.net, November 24, 2008) of opium per year which makes 85% to 90%

of the world’s supply of opium. This also contributes towards Afghan warlords’ wealth directly. This is what CIA brought to the region: Opium production without a brand name obviously. Today’s world opium production map is as under;

Left: Demand and trafficking of drugs globally. U.S. is one of very high concentration drug trafficking territory thanks to Regan’s National Security Council who turned a blind eye towards South American cocaine socking into U.S. in 1980 when CIA was backing all the drug traffickers of Contra movements in Nicaragua.

Markets for these drugs stretched world over from Western Europe to Far East, From Canada to Latin America and From China to Morocco, Africa. Profits related to this business also vary along with market’s location.

This business enriches not only the United States-friendly Afghan warlords but also elements of the Northern Alliance, the U.S. key ally in the country. More disturbing is fact that this money also contributes in CIA’s operations against Pakistan as well.

3. Contra Movements (1980)

In Asia demand for heroin is more than any other drug but it is not the case world over. Cocaine is favourite drug which is consumed the most. Cocaine was nothing new in South American countries but it was only during Nicaraguan contra movements against the then dictator it got shoot up. It was again CIA’s regime change operation to bring “democracy” in Nicaragua. It was during this period when the whole region saw an unprecedented surge in cocaine trafficking in 1980. This has been investigated none other than but by CIA’s inspector general in later years.

Was CIA a part of this?

Answer is not only CIA was aiding these cocaine traffickers and money-launderers but Ronald Reagon’s National Security Council also turned a blind eye towards these drug trades despite the fact that later these very drug traffickers brought cocaine to mainland U.S.. According to CIA’s inspector general report, published in online magazine The Consortium magazine, Oct. 15, 1998, it was Reagan’s National Security Council which cleared proven drug traffickers and CIA inspector general Frederick Hitz confirmed long standing allegations of cocaine traffickers. The NSC’s covert airline was the main transportation mean to do this trade in safest possible way.
1: Armed men of Nicaragua insurgency during 1980s, armed with CIA weapons bought with drug money.

Most stunning part of all this contra movements and CIA involvement is methods these movements used to dismantle the then Nicaraguan government including bombing and killing of civilians and CIA withheld all evidence of contra crimes from Justice Department, the Congress and even its own analytical division just to conceal its connection with drug traffickers.

4. Afghanistan

As it is mentioned earlier that Afghanistan was not a hub of drug supply to world before Russian invasion in 1979. It was CIA once again to implement what it successfully implemented in Nicaragua in 1980. Now, Afghanistan is biggest contributor in drug production with its massive opium production.

Russian Afghan War (1979-1989)

CIA was not fully done with contra movements when Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979 threatening the region with her expansionist design to gain control over Afghanistan and Baluchistan province of Pakistan to reach Arabian Sea. Pakistan decided to confront Russia inside Afghanistan to thwart communist designs. CIA found an opportunity in Afghanistan to settle its long standing duel with Russian for global dominion, after initial successes by Afghan fighters. CIA once again brought tested formula of drug to finance this war which it used in South America with only difference in prescription where cocaine was replaced with heroin. Poppy cultivation was nothing new to Afghan but it was level of production and demand created by international traffickers in the world which shocked many in vicinity of these poppy fields.

Profit gained by these drugs was main driving force behind all this trade and with heroin it was much more than what it was with cocaine. Ironically U.S. and Europe became biggest markets of heroin prepared produced in Afghanistan.

Regan’s administration is also a common factor in both Afghan heroin trade and contra cocaine traffickers. Role of CIA in first Afghan war was not overt as it could provoke Russians in more direct retaliation albeit Cuban missile crisis of 1960s. To avoid that kind of hostility it was more suitable for CIA to have silent links with Afghan warlords and providing sources to grow poppy. “By the end of Russian invasion in 1989 Afghanistan was second largest opium production spot with 1350 Metric ton after notorious Golden Triangle including countries like Laos, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam which was producing 2645 Metric ton at that time leaving Latin America way behind with just 112 Metric ton”, as per U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Pre and Post Taliban Era (1994-2001)

In 1994 unrest and lawlessness in Afghanistan gave rise to Taliban. Motivated with their strict religious background and education they put ban on all kinds of drugs in territory under their control but this was not the cure for chronically infected Afghan economy and society. Non availability of any job market and strong hold of Northern Alliance of Northern part of country remained biggest challenge to these efforts to cut down poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. But despite all the challenges Talibans were able to put a serious cut on opium production in Afghanistan by start of 2001 when they were about to capture Northern Alliance’s strong hold Mazar-e-Sharif but post 9/11 scenario not only changed the geopolitical dynamics of the whole world but also destroyed the efforts of Taliban to control opium production.

Figure 2: Afghan opium sells in cheap at home, worth a fortune in U.S. market

Left: In year 2001, just before U.S./NATO invasion into Afghanistan, Taliban were able to cut down opium production by a decisive margin. This was also one of core reasons against Taliban along with other excuses. After year 2002, when Taliban were removed from power there is a historical increase in opium production in Afghanistan, money is going to pentagon to carry on Afghan and Iraq war despite a historical recession in U.S..

Recent Afghan Conflict (2002 – To date)

Afghanistan is leading opium production in world today but after the invasion of U.S. in 2002 Afghanistan is also attributed to have largest heroin production in the world as well.

Without active support of Pentagon and CIA it is not possible to export drug prepared with more than 8000 metric tons of opium. U.S. relations with Northern Alliance in Afghanistan after Taliban have given a free license to drug producers, traffickers. CIA and Pentagon both have their links to all these criminals in order to get supplies of the drugs and export it in U.S. Army planes. It has been reported that CIA used U.S. Army planes leaving Afghanistan carrying coffins which were filled with drugs instead of bodies.

To make sure undisturbed trade U.S. appointed all Northern Alliance drug lords at key posts in Afghanistan and most prominent appointment was none other than President Hamid Karzai. Karzai’s brother, head of Kandahar’s provincial council is proven drug trafficker facilitating the transportation of heroin from Kandahar eastward through Helmand and out across the Iranian border.

There is no reason to believe that CIA is not aware of this but as it is all one big enterprise where Karzai is also a partner so no danger to his brother.

Bush administration pushed the level of poppy cultivation to next level in Afghanistan just to keep Wall Streets alive in crisis. Many top Bush administration’s officials were worried about growing influence of countries in Golden Triangle (Loas, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma) in Russian and Chinese drug markets. Like Oil in Iraq this was just another opportunity for the Bush administration to have some quick bucks.

Blames for using drugs to fight with NATO and U.S. forces is always put on Taliban. But looking at areas of Taliban’s active zones one can easily understand where all this poppy cultivation is taking place. Taliban put ban on poppy when they were incharge of majority of Afghan territories and Kabul, the capital. Afghanistan was suffering worst economic crisis at that time but Taliban never went to build their economy with heroin trade. Now it is just ridiculous to blame Taliban to have vast fields of poppy and having enough peace and time to grow and process it into heroin and then trade it in Pakistan and Iran to dens it to destinations in Eastern Europe. Below is map of Afghanistan indicating high poppy cultivation provinces and it is quite evident that Taliban dominant

Hamid Karzai, to represent Kandahar province in Kabul. According to media reports he is main player in exporting heroin and opium to European countries through Turkmenistan.

Provinces like Kunar, Pektika,Paktya has low poppy cultivation and other provinces where all U.S./CIA supported warlords are holding key positions are growing most of opium crop. It was only after U.S. invasion there was a 4400% increase in opium production.

U.S. role in Afghan social debacle will go in history as described The Huffington Post on October 15, 2008When the history of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is written, Washington’s sordid involvement in the heroin trade and its alliance with drug lords and war criminals of the Afghan Communist Party will be one of the most shameful chapters.”

5. Pakistan: Indirect Victim of the CIA’s Drug business

Almost the whole world is affected by this drug trade but countries which lie in routes of drug traffickers are worst effected after the original drug markets. Countries like Pakistan are paying a very high price for U.S./CIA drug trade as there is a constant increase in drug addiction in Pakistan. Iran is another country which happens to be in route of international drug traffickers so it is also facing problem of smuggling of heroin and morphine from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Turkey and Europe. After U.S. invasion of Afghanistan this route has become active manifold then it was previously.

Effects of this trade are not limited to drug usage only but it destroys the social fabric in a society and gives rise to street crimes in order to get some cash to buy drugs from street market. A more horrible outcome is spread of HIV virus among addicted persons when they share the injection syringes. This threat is increasing with each passing day as number of HIV positive is increasing.

Another disastrous effect it brought to Pakistan and Afghanistan other neighbors is serious law and order situation in bordering area of each country with Afghanistan. Combating this evil trade is not possible until a holistic effort is made by international community in this regards but its chances are bleak as this trade is needed by global imperialism (Israel, U.S., UK) more than ever before to give some support to their dying economies.

Above: Pakistan has become main artery in heroin trafficking route and it has a lot of implication on Pakistani security. Level of drug addicted also increased over the year due to high availability of drugs in street market. Afghanistan is main producer but Pakistan us where most of drugs are seized.

6. Conclusion

Under current situation it is very important for countries like Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia to think about how to put jinni of drug back to the bottle before international drug mafia takes over these countries by destroying their social norms and values.

CIA not only has a long history of having links with traffickers but also encouraging the drug trade to get its own interests served. CIA always encourages this trade even if it affected its own citizens like in Contra movements of 1980.

Afghanistan became leader in opium production and main hub for providing heroin and its main ingredient to whole world. All this happened under the control of champion of human rights U.S. and its intelligence setup mainly CIA.

Situation is becoming more and bleaker unless Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran and Afghanistan governments start thinking about this trade and its far reaching affects on U.S. economy and CIA’s funding. It is time when the whole region should become equivocal against this trade and ask U.S. to leave the region for greater good of the billions of people in region.

Farzana Shah is a Pakistani researcher and journalist based in Peshawar. She can be reached at janashah_1ATyahoo.com

The present article documents an authentic process of heroin manufacturing
in Afghanistan: white heroin hydrochloride produced using simple equipment and
a small quantity of chemicals. The quantities of chemicals actually used corresponded
to the minimum needed for manufacturing heroin. The only organic solvent
used was acetone, and only a very small quantity of it was used.
Because the chemicals used in the demonstration were from actual seizures
in Afghanistan, some of the chemicals had been disguised or repackaged by
smugglers. Others had been put into labelled containers that proved to be counterfeit,
and some glass containers used were not the original containers of the
manufacturer displayed on the label.
The brown heroin base prepared as an intermediate step in the process shares
some of the characteristics of the South-West Asia type of heroin preparations
often seized in Germany. The final product of the documented heroin manufacturing
process was white heroin hydrochloride, which shares the key characteristics
of the white heroin occasionally seized in Germany and other countries in Western
Europe since 2000. The present article demonstrates that this kind of heroin can
be produced in Afghanistan.


(Vielleicht bewegt dieser Artikel ja den ein oder anderen „einzusehen“ wie ekelig das Strassen Heroin in deutschsprachigen Raum wirklich ist, dieser Artikel ist keine perfekte Synthese Anleitung, aber er hilft mit vielen „Urban legends“ aufzuraeumen)