Tuesday, January 1, 2019

War is Good for Business and Organized Crime: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade. Rising Heroin Addiction in the US


Afghanistan’s opium economy is a multibillion dollar operation which has a direct impact on the surge of  heroin addiction in the US.  

Despite president Trump’s announced US troop withdrawal, the Afghan opium trade continues to flourish. It is protected by US-NATO occupation forces on behalf of a nexus of powerful financial and criminal  interests. 

In 2004,  the proceeds of the Afghan heroin trade yielded an estimated global revenue of the order of 90 billion dollars. This estimate was based on retail sales corresponding to a total supply of the order of 340,000 kg of pure heroin (corresponding to Afghanistan’s 3400 tons of opium production) (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Chapter XVI, Global Research, Montreal 2005)

Today a rough estimate based on US retail prices suggests that the global heroin market is above the 500 billion dollars mark. This multibillion dollar hike is the result of a significant increase in the volume of heroin transacted Worldwide coupled with a moderate increase in retail prices.

Based on the most recent (UNODC) data (2017) opium production in Afghanistan is of the order of 9000 metric tons, which after processing and transformation is equivalent to approximately 900,000 kg. of pure heroin.

With the surge in heroin addiction since 2001, the retail price of heroin has increased. According to DEA intelligence, one gram of pure heroin was selling in December 2016 in the domestic US market for $902 per gram.

The Heroin trade is colossal: one gram of pure heroin selling at $902 is equivalent to almost a million US dollars a kilo ($902,000) (see table below)


Flash back to to 2000-2001.

In 2000, the Taliban government with the support of the United Nations implemented a successful drug eradication program, which was presented to the UN General Assembly on October 12, 2001, barely a week after on the onset of US-NATO invasion. Opium production had collapsed by 94 percent.

In 2001 opium production had collapsed to 185 tons down from 3300 tons in 2000. (see Remarks on behalf of UNODC Executive Director at the UN General Assembly, Oct 2001, excerpt below)

The US-NATO led War against Afghanistan served to Restore the Illicit Heroin trade

The Afghan government’s drug eradication program was repealed.  The 2001 war on Afghanistan served to restore as well as boost the multibillion dollar drug trade. It has also contributed to the surge in heroin addiction in the US.

Opium production had declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001 as a result of the Taliban government’s drug eradication program.

Immediately following the invasion (October 7, 2001) and the occupation of Afghanistan by US-NATO troops, the production of opium regained its historical level
In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.” (see Michel Chossudovsky, op cit.)  
Since 2001, according to UNODC, the production of opium has increased 50 times, reaching 9000 metric tons in 2017. (See Figure 1 below)


Heroin Addiction in the US

Since 2001, the use of heroin in the US has increased more than 20 times. Media reports rarely report how the dramatic increase in the global “supply of heroin” has contributed to “demand” at the retail level.

There were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, before the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan. By 2012-13, there were 3.8 million heroin users in the US according to a study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Extrapolating the 2012-2013 figures (see graph below), one can reasonably confirm that the number of heroin users today (including addicts and casual users) is well in excess of four million.

In 2001, 1,779 Americans were killed as a result of heroin overdose. By 2016, the number of 
Americans killed as a result of heroin addiction shot up to 15,446. (see graph below)

“My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic” says Donald Trump.

Those lives would have been saved had the US and its NATO allies NOT invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001. 

The first thing they did was to undermine the drug eradication program, restore the opium economy and the drug trade.


Opium production has increased 50 times in relation to 2001 (following the Afghan government’s drug eradication program). In 2001, the areas of opium cultivation had fallen to 8000 hectares (185 metric tons of opium).

According to the UNODC, Afghanistan produces (2007) 93% of the illegal “non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates” namely  heroin.

MARJAH, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Corporal Mark Hickok, a 23-year-old combat engineer from North Olmstead, Ohio, patrols through a field during a clearing mission April 9. Marines with Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, learned basic route clearance techniques from engineers like Hickok, who are deployed with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. John M. McCall)
The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey (released in May 2018) by UNODC confirms that the farm areas allocated to opium are of the order of 328,000 hectares with opium production in excess of 9,000 tons.  

War is good for business. It contributed to spearheading heroin use. The Afghan opium economy feeds into a lucrative trade in narcotics and money laundering.

It is worth noting that in 2010 UNODC modified the concepts and figures on opium sales and heroin production, as outlined by the  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
UNODC estimates that a large proportion of the Afghan opium harvest is not processed into heroin or morphine” (UNODC, 2010a). …EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis, EMCDDA, Lisbon, January 2013 emphasis added.
What this new methodology has done is to obfuscate the size and criminal nature of the Afghan drug trade, intimating –without evidence– that up to 20% of Afghan opium is no longer channeled towards the illegal heroin market.

More than Half a Trillion Dollars

The profits are largely reaped at the level of the international wholesale and retail markets of heroin as well as in the process of money laundering in Western banking institutions, an issue which is not addressed by the Vienna based UNODC.

The global monetary value of the heroin market (which is protected by powerful groups) is colossal.

Estimation

The retail price of heroin (sold by the gram) can vary dramatically from one country to another, it also depends on the percentage of pure heroin. This does not facilitate the process of estimating the monetary value of the global trade in heroin.

Recorded retail street prices for heroin with a low level of purity must be converted to a dollar value which corresponds to pure heroin.

What is sold at the street level usually has a low percentage of pure heroin. The process of estimation requires transforming the street level prices into what the DEA calls heroin price per gram pure (PPG)

From one ton of opium you can produce 100 kilos of pure heroin. The US retail prices for heroin (with a low level of purity) was, according to UNODC (2012) of the order of $172 a gram (namely $17,200 per kilo)

The estimated price per gram of pure heroin, however, is substantially higher.

In December 2016, the heroin price per gram pure (PPG) was of the order of $902 in the US, according to DEA intelligence  ie. $90,200 a kilo.

Higher Heroin Prices in the UK

In the UK which is the entry point of Afghan heroin into the EU market, the recorded retail price (according to a 2015 estimate) is substantially higher than that estimated for the US market by the DEA:
“An imported kilo [of heroin] cut at 25% street purity provides enough raw material for 16,000 individual deals at £10 a hit – pushing the takings to £160,000 [a kilo]. (The Guardian, December 20, 2015)
Rough Estimate of the  Monetary Value of  Afghanistan’s Global Heroin Market

According to the UNODC, 7600-7900 tons of opium were available for heroin production and export (out of a total of 9000-9300 metric tons). According to the UNODC, approximately half of the opium is processed into heroin within Afghanistan.

The global monetary value for heroin can be roughly estimated using the US price equivalent PPG measurement for pure heroin of US 902,000 a kg. (December 2016, DEA) and the (lower) production figure of 790,000 kg of pure heroin (estimated by the UNODC).

Using the US retail price equivalent of pure heroin (DEA), the global monetary value generated by the Afghan heroin trade (2017) is of the order of  $712,580,000,000 (712.58 billion dollars), an amount equivalent to the US defense budget.

This is a conservative estimate based on adopting the “lower figure” of 7900 metric tons (2017)  (recommended by the UNODC methodology which is arbitrary and questionable, see above).

If we had based the calculation on the total production of opium which is in excess of 9ooo metric tons (2017), the global monetary value of the heroin market would have been in excess of $800 billion. It should also be mentioned that this estimate relies solely on the the US price for pure heroin (DEA).

Back in August 2018, President  Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act “which authorizes a top-line [defense] budget of $717 billion”, just a few million dollars in excess of the estimated global monetary value of the Afghan heroin market.

The global monetary value of the heroin market is of the same order of magnitude as the defense budget of the USA.

Needless to say, the Pentagon not to mention the CIA which launched the opium economy in Afghanistan in the late 1970s  are intent upon protecting this multibillion dollar industry. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade were initially used to finance the recruitment of Al Qaeda Mujahideen mercenaries to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war.






Christmas colors light up a diverse Syria as peace & stability return - and the West barely noticed

SOTT | Dec 31, 2018 | Vanessa Beeley

© Vanessa Beeley
Christmas celebrations have literally radiated out across Syria and western media was curiously silent in the face of such displays of unity and solidarity among Syria's diverse peoples.

Syrians saw off the year 2018 under a glittering canopy of festive lights and elaborate decorations adorn the streets of many cities, towns and villages throughout much of the country.

© Vanessa Beeley
 Damascus Old City, people thronged to the streets to celebrate Christmas 2018.
Izraa, a town in the southern province of Daraa, was liberated from US Coalition client terrorism in July 2018 after the surrender of the armed groups. Residents celebrated Christmas for the first time in seven years and they celebrated in style.

In Damascus, people poured onto the streets of the Old City without fear of a rain of mortars from extremist groups in Eastern Ghouta, an area fully cleansed of armed groups, by the Syrian Arab Army and allies in April 2018. I walked among the thousands of civilians who gathered around the towering Christmas trees and jostled each other to take selfies next to the myriad of Christmas displays that lined the streets.

Read more at SOTT..


 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dave Janda – Hammer of Justice Falls in 2019

Greg Hunter | DEC 29, 2018

Host of the popular radio show “Operation Freedom” Dr. Dave Janda warns about the massive debt problems the world is facing and the coming economic reset. Dr. Janda says Trump is correct when he says, “The real problem is the Fed and not China.” Janda says the Deep State “rigged the economy to implode” with massive amounts of debt. Dr. Janda says, “Trump has been buying time” to put the American people in the best position possible when it all comes down. Dr. Janda says the economic system is “vapor” and contends, “This is all part of the war we are in right now.”




Tuesday, December 25, 2018

TRUTH EXPOSED: Syrian American Doctor on The Propaganda, Criminal Sanctions, and War Crimes, In The War on Syria

Eva K Bartlett | Dec 24, 2018

I spoke with a US-based Syrian doctor, educated and trained in Syria but living in the United States about a variety of issues related to war propaganda on Syria since the start in 2011, as well as the draconian effects of the criminal western sanctions on Syria.


Some Related Links:

*on terrorists hoarding food: Madaya, ghouta (saqba), east Aleppo https://www.mintpressnews.com/order-r...

Men from Madaya speak on terrorists hoarding food, starving civilians https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Ktf...

Madaya Terrorists' Bomb Factory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xl54...

Madaya prison and torture room https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXW2D...

Wounded Buqayn employee, Madaya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikgV0...

Rendered displaced by terrorists, Aleppo Syrians start anew in Latakia https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2016/08/...

The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/0...

On Sanctions:

Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria https://www.rt.com/op-ed/334401-weste...

Madeleine Albright says 500,000 dead Iraqi Children was "worth it" wins Medal of Freedom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omnsk...

2012 World Health Organization on Sanctions http://www.emro.who.int/press-release...

Syria’s Grand Mufti Hassoun Discusses Peaceful Coexistence, Love, and an Inclusive, Nonsectarian Syria https://www.mintpressnews.com/intervi...

*VIDEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6Z_X...

UN On Khan Sheikhoun - Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10...

The Red Line and the Rat Line https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour...

Roland Dumas: The British prepared for war in Syria 2 years before the eruption of the crisis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeyRw...

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria https://dissidentvoice.org/2015/10/de...

Syria Dispatch: Most Syrians Support Assad, Reject Phony Foreign ‘Revolution’ https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2016/03/...

The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn’t https://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/...

On The White Helmets

White Helmets Movie: Updated Evidence From Swedish Doctors Confirm Fake ‘Lifesaving’ and Malpractices on Children http://theindicter.com/white-helmets-...

Vanessa Beeley Meets the White Helmets and Armed Group Leader in Dara’a Al Balad https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/10/1...

Decision to bring White Helmets to Canada dangerous and criminal https://www.rt.com/op-ed/435670-white...

Monday, December 24, 2018

Dow Ponzi plunges 650 points in worst Christmas Eve trading day on record

RT | Dec 24, 2018

© marketwatch.com
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 650 points on Monday after President Donald Trump renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve on Twitter.

The losses add to last week's low performance, in what seems like the index's worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Dow Jones lost 2.9 percent and the benchmark S&P500 lost 2.7 percent after the president's tweet expressing frustration over the Fed's decision to raise its key short-term rate. The tech-heavy NASDAQ was also down, trading 3.8 percent lower.

Earlier on Monday Trump continued his regular attacks on the Federal Reserve. “The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market,” Trump tweeted. “The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!”

So-called Integrity Initiative: 'Army of propagandists disguised as anti-propagandists'

RT | Dec 24, 2018

Exposing a sinister state-funded underhand influence network is a scoop. Yet the real conspiracy is the blind eye turned by the Western establishment, which appears fine with subterfuge, as long as it doesn't come from Russia.


READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9l3s