America’s most highly decorated Green Beret Lt. Col. Bo Gritz claims CIA drug dealing, July 1988
Lt. Col. Bo Gritz, America’s most highly decorated Green Beret, tells MD, Jr. that the CIA is involved in the illegal drug business, namely heroin from Burma.
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Thousands of extra Marines pouring into Afghanistan’s opium-growing heartland will go after those who process drugs but not those who grow the crop, the commander of U.S. Marines in the area said.
Brigadier General Larry Nicholson, commander of 10,000 Marines in Helmand, which produces the bulk of Afghanistan’s and the world’s opium crop, said his forces did not want to alienate local farmers by targeting the crop.
“The reality we have to face right now is that the number one cash crop in this area is still the poppy. We are not making war with the poppy farmer,” Nicholson said in an interview with Reuters and CNN at Camp Leatherneck, the Marines’ sprawling desert base in Helmand.
The U.S. Marine force in southern Afghanistan is set to nearly double over the next few months, the main combat element in the first wave of 30,000 reinforcements dispatched by President Barack Obama this month.
Efforts to persuade farmers to grow other crops in Helmand have had some success, in part because of the high price of wheat and a glut of opium.
Farmers cultivated a third less land in Helmand with opium poppy this year than last year, according to the United Nations, but because of a bumper crop the amount they produced was down only about 22 percent.
The 4,100 metric tons produced in Helmand are still about 60 percent of Afghanistan’s crop, which accounts for more than 90 percent of all global heroin trade.
Marines study opium farming, and have even planted some in a garden on their base so that troops on patrol will know what it looks like and be able to tell when they see it how long it has been growing.
Nicholson said Marines often found black-tar opium alongside bomb-making materials during their raids, a sign of the link between the trade and the insurgency.
“We will go after the processing plants and the labs. We will go after those with great vengeance. We will destroy the poppy seeds if we find it. What we have been very careful not to do is make an enemy of the poppy farmer,” he said.
He said farmers had told his troops they were happy the Marines had driven out the Taliban but had made clear they had no plans to stop growing drugs.
British and American programs were being set up to encourage farmers to grow other crops like wheat, but in some areas it was still not always possible to earn a living growing food crops and get them to market safely.
“The fact of the matter is, for a lot of these people the only way they can make any money is to sell the poppy, and that’s the sad reality now,” he said. “Creating (enemies of) 30,000 to 40,000 farmers, getting them angry at the government and the coalition, is probably not good for us.”
Yara Bayoumy CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan
Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:46am EST
More on the war on terror:
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’ (!)
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
“There are designs of this pipeline, and if you look at the deployment of US forces in Afghanistan, as against other NATO country forces in Afghanistan, you’ll see that undoubtedly the US forces are positioned to guard the pipeline route. It’s what it’s about. It’s about money, it’s about oil, it’s not about democracy.”
“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.
Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.
A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.
The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.
The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.
– Top US commander in Afghanistan: The Taliban have gained the upper hand:
The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)