JOURNAL OF THE 24TH YEAR
Japan's Fukushima Disaster
The Shura Case
Death Row Inmates Exonerated
NUGGETS FROM THE NUT HOUSE
From Netanyahu to Mladic
Edward S. Herman
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Veterans Support Manning
Double Dip Recession
Iara Lee's Culture of Resistance
Len Weinglass (1933-2011)
Michael Steven Smith
Checkmate In The Great Game
Nicolas J.S. Davies
The Colonial Predator Legacy
Against Corporatocracy Rule
Bruce E. Levine
The Mideast & South Central Asia
Bin Laden and the Arab "Awakening"
From Poppies to Fentanyl Lollipops
The Lacandon Jungle and the Carbon Market
Displacing People for Profit
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
From Poppies to Fentanyl Lollipops with footnotes
In the twenty-first century,
Communication technologies are concentrated in small, urban areas. A study by the Asia Foundation estimates 88 percent of urban households have TVs while only 28 percent of rural residents do. The digital divide in
Extreme poverty?most Afghans live on less than two dollars a day?condemns millions to a premature death. The average life expectancy in
But in one economic area
This is the backdrop to the war on drugs in
Past is Prologue/Push Down Pop Up
The Chinese have extensive networks in the thriving opiate trade in
During the 1980s,
Opium trafficking is concentrated in three areas that border
Opium and its most lucrative derivative, heroin, are global commodities that cross all borders regardless of the fact that they’re illegal. The moment the cultivation and manufacture is outlawed in one country it simply crosses borders or jumps continents and sets up production in another. This is known as the push down/pop up effect. It is one of the immutable laws of commodity production under capitalism. As long as a market for a particular commodity exists, as it does for psychoactive substances like narcotics and cannabis, prohibition cannot succeed. Prohibition of poppy is like a broom, it sweeps the seeds out of one country and they take root in another.
Opium, Invasion and the Mujahedeen
The Soviet invasion of
The economic meltdown, from which
During the war against the Soviets, Gulbuddin Hekmatyr, founder of the mainly Pashtun Hizb-i-Islami (Islamic Party) became the leading recipient of covert U.S. aid from the CIA via Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and a major drug trafficker. The warlord’s acid misogyny and extreme cruelty were legendary. Under the protection and patronage of the CIA, Hekmatyar was able to capture prime agricultural areas and dramatically boost poppy production in Southern Helmand Province. He coerced Afghan farmers to cultivate poppy, not other crops, and set high production quotas with threats of punishment if they weren’t met. Local commanders collected ushr, a traditional Islamic tax on agricultural products, anywhere from 2.5 to 20 percent. Hekmatyar then moved up the poppy chain into the more lucrative manufacturing of morphine into heroin. In a cross-border alliance with Pakistani heroin syndicates, he invested in and controlled at least six heroin refineries in Koh-i-Soltan in
The leading warlords of the
The withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989 unleashed a civil war that plunged the country into a brutal battle between factions of the
The Taliban consolidated power in
The Taliban Ban
Then in 2000, almost inexplicably, Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, declared the cultivation of opium to be un-Islamic. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca declared, “We welcome the Taliban enforcement of the ban and hope it will be sustained.” The imposition of shari’a law and well-documented, gross human rights violations were shunted aside in American support for the Taliban ban. The ban was enforced ideologically by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and backed up in the provinces by Talibs using tactics that ranged from threats of destruction of property, bribery, to public lashings and death. The
What led to the Taliban one-year ban on opium cultivation is still a subject of speculation. The ban, however, was only on the cultivation of opium, not trafficking in the drug, yet another convenient contradiction that allowed a section of the drug trade to prosper. Taliban leaders might have been motivated to curb production in order to jettison their drug kingpin status in the eyes of the international community. Only three countries recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of
The ban on opium cultivation could never be sustained for four reasons. First, there were no serious economic alternatives for the 1.6 million Afghans who work all along the poppy chain. Second, the Taliban would have faced open revolt. Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the governor of
During the ban the only source of opium production was territory held by the
The year-long ban on opium cultivation made huge profits for the Taliban and drug traffickers at one end of the poppy chain, but impoverished the majority of Afghan opium farmers at the other end. Malnutrition and starvation deaths were reported. And the ban pushed poor farmers into yet more debt, forcing some to flee the country because they couldn’t repay loans. No national banking or credit infrastructure exists in
The ban on poppy was rescinded on September 2nd, 2001 nine days before 9/11. The next month, the
In the initial years after the defeat of the Taliban, the
For years, Afghan officials promised compensation for eradication of poppy and consistently reneged or provided insufficient payment to farmers. Rebuilding an economic infrastructure with agriculture wasn’t a priority or even a part of the government’s “Afghan Stabilization Program.” It defined key infrastructure as: police barracks, a prison, a post office, and a mosque. A collection of NGOs led by USAID promised reconstruction projects, alternative agricultural development, and work opportunities, too, but failed to deliver for a raft of reasons. Over $35.4 billion in aid has been pumped into
Corruption: Afghan Style
Corruption in the Afghan drug trade follows a predictable pattern with baksheesh, bribery, deeply entrenched and accepted as “business as usual.” Drugs and bribes are estimated to be the two largest income generators in
To prove domestically that they’re prosecuting the war on drugs and terror in
The Solution: Licensing and Legalization of Opium
The solution is to legalize poppy production and regulate recreational use. Afghan farmers should be licensed to grow and manufacture poppy into morphine for domestic use and to sell to the international pharmaceutical industry. Overnight, the most productive opium cultivators in the world would become legal producers of much needed pain relieving drugs. The most important pain medications are derived from poppy: morphine and codeine. The discovery of poppy revolutionized the world of medicine and advanced the sciences of surgery and anesthesia. The reality is millions of people are born into this world with narcotics (the management of labor pain) and leave this world with narcotics (palliative, end-of-life care.) The average person in the
Poppy cultivation in
The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) has developed an Afghan village-based Poppy for Medicine Project (P4M). Raw opium gum would be manufactured into morphine tablets in poppy farming communities and sold countries under special licensing agreements. The project has been roundly condemned by all international narcotics control agencies and individual drug warriors as unworkable. The two major concerns raised are diversion to an illegal market and government corruption. But those are the wrong concerns. Currently, one hundred percent of opium is diverted to the illegal market. The P4M project directs opium to the legal market, generates jobs, and keeps most of the profits in the community. A number of risks are worth taking to transition the 1.6 million people involved in the illegal opium economy and designated as criminals with no rights, into legal growers and manufacturers with rights who are key actors in rebuilding the Afghan economy. In 1974,
The only way to undercut a black market for all drugs is to legalize and regulate the use of them. Legalization of opium and heroin for personal use has to accompany licensing of poppy production in
Prohibition of opium cultivation in
Helen Redmond is a journalist, commentator, and drug and health policy analyst. Props to the following people for assistance in writing this paper: Jorrit Kamminga, Director of Policy Research at ICOS for debates discussions about the Poppies for Medicine Project (P4M) and drug politics in Afghanistan; Anand Gopal for consultation on COIN and the Taliban; Anne Armstrong & John Shuler, UIC librarians extraordinaire, for finding the sources when I couldn’t.
 Mohammed Osman Tariq, Najla Ayoubi, Faxel Rabi Haqbeen.
 Ibid, 153.
 World Health Organization (WHO).
 Citha D. Maass, “
 Paoli, Greenfield & Reuter, 33.
 Wei Hao, Shuiyuan Xiao, Teiqiao Liu, Derson Young, Shanmei Chen, Diran Zhang, Chao Li, et al., “The second national epidemiological survey on illicit drug use at six high-prevalence areas in China: prevalence rates and use patterns, Addiction, V. 97, 10, September 20, 2002.
 Paoli, Greenfield & Reuter, P. 111. See also, “
 Matthew Brzezinski, Heroin: The sleek new business model for the ultimate global product,” New York Times Magazine, June 23, 2002, 26. The vast majority of people put in prison for drug crimes are “low-level” workers and earn small amounts of money. The women in this article were each paid about $20 for transporting a kilo of heroin that is worth between $4500-$9500.
 UN News Centre.
 Paoli, Greenfield & Reuter. 144. The Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) negotiates with licensed farmers to determine how much opium they’ll grow each year using a system called minimum qualifying yield (MQY.) Disagreements over MQY led poppy farmers to strike. In 1997, 30,000 cultivators went out on strike demanding reductions in MQY. The CBN replaced most of the striking farmers but the harvest in 1998 was one of the smallest ever recorded.
 Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Central America, Colombia, (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003, Revised Edition), 483. McCoy’s seminal work exhaustively and conclusively documents in 680 pages the CIA’s role in the world drug trade.
 FATA and
 Kathy Evans, The Tribal Trail, Newsline, (
 “Illicit Drug Trends in
 Iqbal Khattak, “Increase in poppy cultivation in
 Garland H. Williams, “Opium Addiction in
 “Epidemiology of drug use in
 Macdonald, 61.
 International Campaign to Ban Landmines. “
 McCoy, 484-485.
 Vanda Felbab-Brown, Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs, (
 Barnett R. Rubin, The Fragmentation of
 Amir Zada Asad & Robert Harris, The Politics and Economics of Drug Production on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border, (
 Macdonald, 89.
 Felbab-Brown, 120. The CIA continued to fund Massoud through the 1990s. See Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA,
 Malalai Joya, A Woman Among Warlords, (
 Felbab-Brown, 125.
 Michael Griffin, Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in
 Quoted in Ahmed Rashid, Descent into Chaos: The
 Sonali Kolhatkar & James Ingalls, Bleeding
 Dexter Filkins, “Afghan tribe, vowing to fight Taliban, to get
 Macdonald, 79.
 Christian Caryl, “The new ‘silk road’ of death,” Newsweek, September 17, 2001, http://www.newsweek.com/2001/09/16/the-new-silk-road-of-death.html
 “Summary findings of opium trends in
 Quoted in Felbab-Brown, 131.
 Paul Harris, “Victorious warlords set to open the opium floodgates,” Guardian.co.uk., The Observer, November 25, 2001, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/25/afghanistan.drugstrade
 David Mansfield, “The impact of the Taliban prohibition on opium cultivation in
 Sami Yousafzai, “The opium brides of
 Ibid. See also, Elaheh Rostami-Povey, Afghan Women: Identity & Invasion, (
 David Mansfield, “The economic superiority of illicit drug production: Myth and reality. Opium poppy cultivation in
 “In-depth: Bitter-sweet harvest:
 John Pilger, “Breaking the silence: Truth and lies in the war on terror, a special report,” 2003, http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/guides/breakguide.pdf
 Gretchen Peters, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and Al Qaeda, (
 Joel Hafvenstein, Opium Season: A Year on the Afghan Frontier, (
 Ibid, 257.
 Felbab-Brown, 140.
 “The people of Nangarhar oppose the campaign against poppy,” Arman-e Milli, February 20, 2007, Afghanwire, http://www.afghanwire.com/article.php?id=4201
 “People clash with security officials,” Arman-e Milli, April 3 2007, Afghanwire, http://www.afghanwire.com/article.php?id=4995
 Seth G. Jones, In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan, (
 Ben Farmer, “
 Anand Gopal, “The battle for
 Ibid, 171.
 “Afghans wealthier, remain among the poorest,” Killid Correspondents, January 29 2010, Asia Times Online, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LA29Df04.html. Speen Jan Lalahand, a member of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Kabul reports that in the last eight years no agricultural project has been successfully implemented anywhere in the country.
 For example, according to the Asia Foundation, to register a car, it used to require up to 50 bribes and take up to 6 months. Now, allegedly, it is a three-step process and takes a few days.
 “Corruption widespread in
 Ryan Harvey, “The Afghan war: spreading democracy (and heroin), December 10, 2010, Truthout.org, http://www.truth-out.org/the-afghan-war-spreading-democracy-and-heroin65816
 Jonathan Steele and Jon Boone, “Wikileaks: Afghan vice-president landed in
 Graeme Smith, “Afghan officials in drug trade cut deals across enemy lines,” March 11, 2009, The Globe and Mail, http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?153879-Afghan-officials-in-drug-trade-cut-deals-across-enemy-lines
 James Risen, “Propping up a drug lord, then arresting him,” December 11, 2010, New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/world/asia/12drugs.html?adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1299865763-AXgEdafgT5gBV31XTCS0FA
 Benjamin Weiser, “Afghan linked to Taliban sentenced to life in drug trafficking case,” New York Times, May 1, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/nyregion/01sentence.html?ref=hajibashirnoorzai. Bashir’s arrest was a classic DEA set-up. Agents promised he wouldn’t be detained if he came to the
 Hajji Bashir was given a life sentence. Hajjir Khan is awaiting trial.
 Peter Kenyon, “Exploring the Taliban’s complex, shadowy finances,” National Public Radio, March 19, 2010, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124821049
 Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, (
 “Army request for burn unit & maternity ward in
 Case study: “War zone hospitals in
 Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine. The fentanyl lollipop is put under the tongue which is super vascular. The opioid is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and pain is relieved within minutes. Fentanyl lollipops are given to wounded soldiers in the battlefield to treat acute pain until they can be transported to a hospital where they’ll receive IV morphine.
 “Availability of internationally controlled drugs: Ensuring adequate access for medical and scientific purposes,” 2010, International Narcotics Control Board, http://www.incb.org/pdf/annual-report/2010/en/supp/AR10_Supp_E.pdf. Unfortunately, the INCB is more concerned with creating drug control systems, drug diversion, and preventing illegal narcotic use than in assuring patients have adequate pain control, or developing systems to assist poor nations to access opiate-based medications. See also, International Council on Security and Development, Poppies for Medicine Project, http://www.poppyformedicine.net/
 “Who model list of essential medications,” 16th list, March 2009, http://www.who.int/selection_medicines/committees/expert/17/sixteenth_adult_list_en.pdf
 Poppy For Medicine: Licensing poppy cultivation for the production of essential medicines: on an integrated counter-narcotics, development, and counter-insurgency model for
 P4M proposes to sell finished poppy-based medicines to less developed countries that currently lack access under a two-tier system. According to P4M, “A second tier system of product supply is most useful where a significant sector of consumers are disconnected from the overall market for that product having been priced out, or ignored altogether.” This is a nice way of saying the drug companies have no interest in selling medicine to poor people in poor countries, there’s no profit in that. The international HIV/AIDS crisis put a spotlight on the criminal and monopolistic pricing practices of the pharmaceutical industry. Grassroots struggles by thousands of activists in African countries,
 Jorrit Kamminga, “Opium poppy licensing in
 See the Drug Policy Alliances’ website on harm reduction interventions around the world, including heroin prescription, http://www.drugpolicy.org/homepage.cfm
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
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MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
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BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
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ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
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CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
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IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
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CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
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ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
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LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
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WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
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HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
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SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
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WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
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POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.