Evgeny Khrushchev (Russia)
Monterey & Marja
Right after 4/20 celebration of Weed Day in California, the duo of Supernova Afghan experts from Monterey published their mind-boggling trip on Marja opium.
What could have been a funny frolic for a couple of stoned students, has turned out to be a false flag operation to exonerate ISAF/UK/USA for clandestine promotion of narco-caliphate in Afghanistan and shift the blame squarely on the USSR.
To detox this opium opus, I’ll examine the validity of its claims against the facts:
Part one: alibi for NATO and number-crunching for dope management
For starters, the flashy headline, “In Afghanistan, Poppy Eradication Pits Russia vs. NATO”, jars with the opening, which splendidly omits NATO from any association or participation in US & UK narco-policy, financially or otherwise:
‘Despite having spent over $1 billion on counter narcotics programs in Afghanistan since 2002, including eradication efforts, the U.S. and the U.K. have failed to curb the illicit drug industry.’
The only way to reconcile this contradiction is to come clean that NATO is a new abbreviation for US/UK military joint venture. Now, let’s check the numbers:
According to GAO AFGHANISTAN DRUG CONTROL March 2010 report, ‘Since 2005 the US has allotted approximately $2.5 billion’ on [counter?] narcotics alone, (p.3) with additional $1.4 billion for alternative development and agriculture programs, (p.4). – which means that overall, the US has wasted, siphoned off or invested in Afghan drug control a whopping amount of $3.9 billion – without the UK input.
This margin of error with dates (2003-2005) and dollars (1- 3.9 bln) in the first paragraph about the US & UK gives a fair feel what to expect when it comes to ‘analyzing’ the Soviet role and Russian stance on drug disease in Afghanistan.
‘The massive decrease in eradication reflects NATO’s new emphasis on attacking entrepreneurs [?] who benefit from the drug trade higher up the value chain, while sparing the lower-level participants, such as farmers. ’
Only dedicated joint chain smoker could exhale such a fairy cloud:
• The concept – to compensate eradication decrease by interdiction increase – seems a sound proposition in theory and on paper, but in practice, it’s utter wishful thinking in Afghanistan. Ask the former governor of Helmand, aka anti-Soviet freedom fighter, what happened after he was accidentally ‘interdicted’ with a few tons of opium is his mansion. The Afghan viceroy has twisted this concept into subterfuge: full stop to eradication and non-start to interdiction.
• The link reflects NATO’s new emphasis leads to …3-years old WPR article, implying that ‘NATO’s new emphasis’ hasn’t changed and remains stale & stinking since then.
• Despite relentless US efforts, NATO hasn’t attacked anybody anywhere – and never will (see the Alliance caveats). Apart from a clinical enlargement obsession, NATO has excelled only at bombing civilians in Yugoslavia & Afghanistan – naturally, in self-defense.
• To call narco terrorists ‘entrepreneurs & participants’ would be appropriate in the context of ‘Transnational Dope Enterprise’. In this case, it’s a rather self-incriminating way to show the true colors and demonstrate the attitude.
Part two: opium sci-fi fantasy or hands off drug plantations
• On the drug issue, the CIA operates at cross purposes with the DEA & SOF – the one promotes it, the others fight it. Despite all the talk about the difference between the Northern & Southern part of the Republic of California, to dial 911 to Langley for beefing up the argument is hardly politically correct or a shoo-in even in Monterey. Hollywood has accurately captured this dope narrative in no uncertain terms: the good guys, DEA and Green Berets vets vs. the bad guys, CIA renegades’ drug network.
• To equate aerial eradication (the best method) with the toxic herbicides of the last century, Spike or Weed-B-Gone (the worst means) is a glaring example of scare mongering & disinformation shtick. I respectfully disagree with the most prominent Republican Californian, Dana Rohrabacher, on many issues, but heartily embrace his views on Afghan drugs remedy: “Opium production obviously remains a great challenge. Micro-herbicides can provide a solution. The State Department for years has refused to test this anti-opium poppy-killing fungus, though I saw to it that money was budgeted for such testing.” (The Washington Times, March 3, 2009). I can only add that fungus, as an organic, not a chemical substance, is the best match for aerial eradication to wipe out the root-cause of narco-terrorism.
Part tree: the Wilson War blame game
Herein comes the Cold War shower of clichés, just as I warned you from the outset:
‘It was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that helped propel the country into the realm of industrial-scale narcotics production… Soviet scorched-earth operations resulted in the destruction of one-quarter to one-third of all irrigation systems.’
First, the Soviet COIN in Afghanistan (as declassified DIA files properly attested) has been meticulously documented by the US National Archive, without any shred of evidence to substantiate such USIA canards.
So back to the first question: who propelled Afghanistan into a ‘full-blown narco state’?
This is what Alfred W McCoy had to say on Fool’s Day in Asia Times:
“The answer to this critical question lies in the history of the three Afghan wars in which Washington has been involved over the past 30 years – the CIA covert warfare of the 1980, the civil war of the 1990s (fueled at its start by $900 million in CIA funding), and since 2001, the US invasion…In each of these conflicts, Washington has tolerated drug trafficking by its Afghan allies as the price of military success – a policy of benign neglect that has helped make Afghanistan today the world’s number one narco-state…the CIA covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world’s largest heroin producing region”.
Here’s the real McCoy answer to the second implied question: In addition to the USAID disastrous irrigation project in Helmand that resulted in land salinization, who later destroyed the unique treasure of Afghan agriculture – high-value added perennial tree crops, including walnut & pistachio?
“While the Soviets simply blasted the landscape with firepower, the Taliban, with an unerring instinct for their society’s economic jugular, violated the unwritten rules of traditional Afghan warfare by cutting down the orchards on the vast Shomali plain north of Kabul”. What shall I say? Bull’s eye!
With the toxic target identified, engaged & neutralized – without collateral damage, excessive force, or overkill – let me run the last pass on my KA-50 over the smoke-belching debris and release the warning flare on the way home.
At the end of the day, this opium opus has made a disservice to the US Navy in general and to the NPS, the Naval Postgraduate School in particular, and especially to the memory of the Navy SEALS sent in harm’s way to the Afghan Valley of Death. Why?
False flag uncovered
Because this dope-loving duo officially associated with the NPS has inadvertently deprived Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, who is in charge of info ops in Afghanistan, the last chance of credible deniability to dismiss the growing suspicion that it was he who had commissioned that propaganda trash to the Naval Postgraduate School to distract attention from the Marja drug deal.
Evgeny Khrushchev is a military analyst for Russia Today.