Friday, August 14, 2009

US military planes carrying Afghanistan's heroin

Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan, writes:
There is an excellent interview with former head of the Pakistani intelligence service, General Hamid Gul, here. He makes some very strong points. It is undoubtedly true that it is warlords in the US-backed Karzai government who control 90% of the world heroin trade, and that the trade has expanded to its highest ever levels under coalition control. It is undoubtedly true that US foreign policy in the region is dictated by the desire to access Central Asian oil and gas. It is also undoubtedly true that the US works closely with Mossad and with India in Central Asia, and that many of its attacks appear calculated to stir up rather than ease conflict.
Read the whole interview. Here are a couple of snippets:
But what, I asked General Gul, in his view, were the true reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan, and why the U.S. is still there?

“A very good question,” he responded. “I think you have reached the point precisely.” It is a “principle of war,” he said, “that you never mix objectives. Because when you mix objectives then you end up with egg on your face. You face defeat. And here was a case where the objectives were mixed up. Ostensibly, it was to disperse al Qaeda, to get Osama bin Laden. But latently, the reasons for the offensive, for the attack on Afghanistan, were quite different.”

First, he says, the U.S. wanted to “reach out to the Central Asian oilfields” and “open the door there”, which “was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that’s why they were talking at that time very hotly about ‘greater Middle East’. They were redrawing the map.”


I pointed out to the former ISI chief that Afghan opium finds its way into Europe via Pakistan, via Iran and Turkey, and via the former Soviet republics. According to the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, convoys under General Rashid Dostum — who was reappointed last month to his government position as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Afghan National Army by President Hamid Karzai — would truck the drugs over the border. And President Karzai’s own brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has been accused of being a major drug lord. So I asked General Gul who was really responsible for the Afghan drug trade.
Note that NYTimes reporter James Risen recently noted that last year, Dostum "finally kind of left (Afghanistan) under a cloud to Turkey... the Turks have kind of been his sponsors."

Back to the interview with Gul:
Returning to the drug trade, General Gul named the brother of President Karzai, Abdul Wali Karzai. “Abdul Wali Karzai is the biggest drug baron of Afghanistan,” he stated bluntly. He added that the drug lords are also involved in arms trafficking, which is “a flourishing trade” in Afghanistan. “But what is most disturbing from my point of view is that the military aircraft, American military aircraft are also being used. You said very rightly that the drug routes are northward through the Central Asia republics and through some of the Russian territory, and then into Europe and beyond. But some of it is going directly. That is by the military aircraft. I have so many times in my interviews said, ‘Please listen to this information, because I am an aware person.’ We have Afghans still in Pakistan, and they sometimes contact and pass on the stories to me. And some of them are very authentic. I can judge that. So they are saying that the American military aircraft are being used for this purpose. So, if that is true, it is very, very disturbing indeed.”

Note that the claims about US military planes carrying Afghanistan's heroin are not new. This article (see also) is from February 2008:
Now Russia has joined the fray accusing the U.S. military of involvement in the heroin trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe. The Vesti channel’s report from Afghanistan said that drugs from Afghanistan were hauled by American transport aircraft to the U.S. airbases Ganci in Kyrgyzstan and Incirlik in Turkey.

Update: Also see this 2008 interview of Malalai Joya, former member of Afghanistan's national parliament, the Loya Jirga, and said to be The Bravest Woman in Afghanistan:
Joya: Corruption and drug trafficking have become a big issues. In my view, security is the biggest issue. After that it is corruption. The so-called international community which in fact is US government and its allies, has sent a lot of money. This amount was enough to build two instead of one Afghanistan. But even Karzai himself confesses that the money has ended up in the pockets of ministers, bureaucrats and member parliaments. On the other hand, one hears about a mother in Heart selling her daughter for ten dollars. And not merely the brother of Karzai is a drug lord, foreign troops have been allegedly involved.

Really? Any proof? Press reports?

Joya: Yes some press reports have pointed that out. For instance, Russian state TV has hinted at US troops involvement in drug trafficking. That was reported in the press here. But this is like an open secret. Karzai in one of his speeches last year said that it was not only Afghans who are involved in drug trafficking. He hinted at foreign connections. Though he did not name any country or troops but people in Afghanistan understood what he meant.


Anonymous said...

Anon the Neocon-

Dear Lukery,

The former head of the ISI has a history of working with the Taleba, and Al-Qaeda. His words are about as good as those of Adam Gadhan.

You ought to be more discerning about your sources ;)

Anonymous said...

Anon the Neocon -


He claims he is not friendly with Al-Qaeda, but he denies Bin Laden was behind 911, and claims it was an inside job. Coincidentally, he defends Bin Laden, as a religious warrior.

I used to have alot of respect for Mrs. Edmonds, but it sinks with every post on her blog.

She has no great revelations. Six months at the FBI - fired, and now milking it for every penny.

That's not bravery, that's immoral.

lukery said...

AtN - see the update to the post with another source.

As for 'no great revelations,' let's wait until the video and transcript of the deposition is released.

Anonymous said...

Anon the Neocon-

There are two sources for the accusation of Bagram serving to export drugs.

One is a documentary by Evgeny Morozov.

A blog you might like is called the "Ghosts of Alexander" it is by a professional in Afghanistan.

That's where I first learned of the documentary.

Morozov is rather oblique about the drug shippments, in fact, I'd say he doesn't make such a bold claim. The Russian's have never made a direct claim about this - and you'd be hard up to find proof.

THe second sources happens to be a 10 minute show, to whose description you have linked. I'd suggest that there again, you find the only person referring to America shipping the drugs, is the head of Russia's Islamic council.

Like Mr. Gul, he has gone on record doubting the official 911 narrative, and claiming that America is waging a mercyless war on Islam. While he is highly regarded in Russia, he knows next to nothing about international politics, and it shows.

So far, there have been no official accusations againts America and drugs coming from anyone in Russia, and no accusations being made by credible sources.

This is becuase the facts on the ground reveal that at least half of Afghan opium goes through Russia.

Of course the Russians' like to play up the threat of Albanians, and you get all kinds of quoets on that. But this contradicts all published figures for the drug trade, which show that - again- half of it traverses the Northern Balkans, and does not pass through any Albanian hands.

And no, 90 percent of heroin in Europe, does not pass via Turkey.

That Dostum went to Turkey, is meaningless. He also lived in Tajikistan, and owns property in Russia. Of all the warlords in Afghanistan, he is amongs the best, most reliable, and cleanest.

Please remember, in Afghanistan, no one trusts Americans, and is counting the days before we leave. They are not about to stake their livelihood on our little soldiers addicted to their heroin. If any soldiers do partake in some bootlegging, its entirely a small-time affair unrelated to any possible intelligence operation. Our time is short, and the Afghans know it.

Per Gul, I believe Mr. Murray has discredited himself big time. He aught to really tread more lightly. He did a rather poor job in Tashkent, and had none of the background knowledge for the region. He remains as wide-eyed as he was the day he got the job. He waxes clean about oppression, not mentioning once the threat posed by Wahabism, and radical Islam. He's got his protagonists and antagonists backwards.

I have a question for you Lukery. You are a very smart guy, with a good eye. But why are you all so convinced that you can gather information so quickly, and beat people who have been in this game for long? Do you really think experience, and sound theoretical background, neither of which either you, Brad Friedman, or Sibel Edmonds have, is useless?

Consider that Robert Baer, or Ghiraldi, have experience - but they know jack shit about theory, and area studies, and this shows in everything they say! They act like journalists, because that seems to be their real activity in the last twenty years. They served small time roles, and have precisely the poor skills most of our CIA agents have. You'd be criticisng them, if they weren't whistleblowers.

Why don't either you, or Edmonds, bother even reading a single Inetrnational Relations primer?

It comes accross as a kind of arrogance. maybe not in your case - because you are very careful - but in everyone elses - yes.

And by the way, you do a great job, most of the time. Your Tinners story, I always come to you, for updates. You clearly have a high IQ.

lukery said...

Dear AtN,

Thank you for your comment, as always. I have not quite ascertained the balance between your 'concern-trolling,' flattery, and valuable contribution - so bear with me :-)

If you'd like me to read up on some more IR theory, then I'll happily oblige. Please point me to some of the relevant material.

If you are arguing that the crimes/activity that Sibel points to are S.O.P. in IR then please acknowledge that. You can't simultaneously argue that she is bonkers, AND that this behaviour is SOP.

And no, it is not only the head of Russia's Islamic council that is making these claims. The Russian ambassador and 'the bravest woman in Afghanistan,' a congresswoman, and the president of Afghanistan, is also making these claims. Maybe they are all wrong. Maybe Craig Murray is wrong. I don't know.

One thing I do know, however, is that people are susceptible to power games. To paraphrase Winston Churchill (perhaps apocryphally), when it comes to money, American politicians are just as susceptible as Karzai. There is no reason to believe that Americans, especially the politicians, are any more immune than the 'lowly' Afghan politicians. If it can happen there, why not in the US? Maybe the price is higher (although by all accounts they are very cheap) - but so what?

Anonymous said...

Anon the Neocon-

I cannot comment on SOP - but Murray is not a credible source.

I can only ask that you link to the Russian ambassador's claims.

We know people around Karzai are involved in drugs. I never challanged that.

What I am challanging, is that anyone credible has accused American military planes of being used to transport heroin.

Am I wrong? Or are we talking about two different claims? I am focusing on US cargo planes. That's my concern.

As per flattery. I genuinly like your work - and there is no agenda behind it. Like I said, I follow you to get good news.

But I think it is fair to point out what the flaws are in a given epistemic community. One such flaw, is to treat events ahistorically, or without reference to competitors ambitions in a strategic area.

Mrs. Edmonds, who ends up being mostly hot air, very often reads like someone who has just discovered the moon. It's irritating - because all along the assumption was, she didn't need Chomsky to interpret her world. Alas, this was the wrong impression.

Foundation text?

I am prejudiced towards the sources - because they spoke more frankly. So I generally recommend plowing through MacKinder's Geographical Pivot of History, regardless of what you think of its anachronisms, along with a cursory look at Admiral Mahan's seminal work. Then you can peruse Nicholas Spykman, and definitely Hans Morgenthaus's classic "politics amongs nations."

Reading a few updated evaluations of the strategies of top 10 nations in the world as dessert.

But whatever you do - don't try to take shortcuts from Pepe Escobar and Noam Chomsky. Neither are scholars or educated in the field.

Anonymous said...

OH JESUS CHRIST! THE US IS FLYING DRUGS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN? This isn't news. further the US hasn't done anything except burn down the date industry in Afghanistan. Heroin poppies are their chief export!! The US flew cocaine out Colombia for Ollie North, and heroin out of Vietnam. The drugs are SOLD ON THE STREETS OF THESE UNITED STATES TO AMERICANS! (among other places) This way the money isn't traceable and congress and the dumbshit Americans don't know a thing. There are some NAIVE people in this ragbag country

tedbohne said...

OH JESUS CHRIST! THE US IS FLYING DRUGS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN? This isn't news. further the US hasn't done anything except burn down the date industry in Afghanistan. Heroin poppies are their chief export!! The US flew cocaine out Colombia for Ollie North, and heroin out of Vietnam. The drugs are SOLD ON THE STREETS OF THESE UNITED STATES TO AMERICANS! (among other places) This way the money isn't traceable and congress and the dumbshit Americans don't know a thing. There are some NAIVE people in this ragbag country

KIOWA351 said...

The US has known, as has the entire world of Afghanistan poppies. The dumb bastard US will bomb them, the Afghans will simply grow them under more clandestine means. Further if the CIA would stop buying Cocaine and Heroin to sell right here in the good ole USA to Americans to finance their many little covert fuckups, we might see a diminution in all the misery we owe to drugs. Fuck the CIA! GODDAMN AMERICA!!! The US CREATED THE TALEBAN, AND AL QAIDA!!.