drug war

Competition to the Afghan Opium Trade…..In Oregon?

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Trying to cut in on the CIA and globalist bankers money making activities?


Yamhill Drug Cops Take Out Another Opium Poppy Grow Site


(McMinnville, Ore.) – A crop normally grown in places like Afghanistan and China, the fabled opium poppy, has been making a showing lately in Oregon Willamette Valley farm country.

The Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team raided an illegal poppy plant grow site in rural Yamhill County, On July 17th, 2009.

Sgt. Dwayne Willis with the Yamhill County Interagency Narcotics Team, says the plants were reportedly discovered on private timber lands northwest of Grand Ronde. Willis says the plants were growing in multiple plots in a clear cut area and ranged in size from a few inches to 4 feet in height.

“A total of 24,045 plants were seized by detectives. The estimated street value of the opium contained in the plants was approximately $90,000.”

He says this is the second opium poppy plant seizure the drug team has made this month.

The previous grow site was eradicated on July 2nd where a total of 12,056 plants were seized. Investigators believe the two are connected. {source with more photos}

“Everybody hears about marijuana growth but you don’t hear a lot about poppy growth.

Sheriff raids poppy fields in Lebanon, Oregon



1,2,3…..What are we fighting for

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Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn
Next stop is Tajikistan

paraphrased from Country Joe McDonald

Drug flow means big bucks for the big banks and for the CIA.

U.S. – built bridge is windfall – for illegal Afghan drug trade

Gateway for Afghan opium

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers

NIZHNY PANJ, Tajikistan — In August 2007, the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37 million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers designed to link two of Central Asia’s poorest countries.

Dressed in a gray suit with an American flag pin in his lapel, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S. taxpayers paid for would be “a critical transit route for trade and commerce” between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber: It’s paved the way for drug traffickers to transport larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond to Russia and Western Europe.

Standing near his truck in a dusty patch on the Afghan side of the river, Yar Mohammed said it was easy to drive drugs past the Afghan and Tajik border guards.

“It’s an issue of money,” Mohammed said, to the nods and grins of the small group of truckers gathered around him near the bridge at Nizhny Panj. “If you give them money, you can do whatever you want.”

The roots of the global drug trade are often a murky tangle of poverty, addiction, violence and corruption. However, it’s clear why the dirt-poor former Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan is on the verge of becoming a narco-state.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the United States and other Western powers looked the other way as opium and heroin production surged to record levels, making Afghanistan by far the world’s biggest producer.

Much of the ballooning supply of drugs shipped across Afghanistan’s northern border, up to one-fifth of the country’s output, has traveled to and through Tajikistan. The opium and heroin funded rampant corruption in Tajikistan and turned the country, still hobbled by five years of civil war in the 1990s, into what at times seems like one big drug-trafficking organization.

Every day last year — extrapolating from United Nations estimates — an average of more than 4 metric tons of opium, which can be made into some 1,320 pounds of heroin, moved on the northern route. Put another way, the equivalent of nearly 6 million doses of pure heroin — at 100 milligrams each — is carried across the northern Afghan border each day.

After it’s cut with other substances and sold on the street corners and in the apartment stairwells of Russia and Western Europe, the main retail markets for Central Asian heroin, that could produce at least 12 million doses.

Nevertheless, it’s clear even to a casual visitor at the bridge that neither the Afghan or the Tajik border guards have much interest in curbing, or even inspecting, the exports that pass in front of them.

In fact, as the Afghan drug supply has grown, Tajik seizures have fallen. In 2004, Afghanistan produced 4,200 metric tons of opium, and some 5 metric tons of heroin or its equivalent in opium were seized in Tajikistan, according to U.N. figures. Last year, with Afghan cultivation rising to 7,700 metric tons of opium, Tajik authorities seized less than 2 metric tons of heroin.

Although the United States wields enormous influence in both countries, their drug problems have taken a back seat to the war against the Taliban. Until the past year, Afghanistan’s growing drug production was at best a midlevel priority for Washington, and the U.S. hasn’t pressed Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to rein in his country’s drug trafficking, Western officials said. Nor, they said, has any other Western government with troops in Afghanistan.

All along the Afghan-Tajik border, smugglers for years have thrown sacks of heroin over the Panj River, waded across when the water is low, set up flotillas of car tires and used small ferries or footbridges.

The U.S.-financed bridge has made drug trafficking even easier, truck driver Mohammed said with a toothy smile: “You load the truck with drugs.”

The ferry that used to operate at Nizhny Panj carried about 40 trucks a day. The bridge can carry 1,000 vehicles daily.

Organized crime groups now are focusing on using official checkpoints to move their drugs, a senior official at the Tajik State Committee for National Security said, speaking to a recent meeting of Central Asian counter-narcotics officers.

“Especially through the Tajik-Afghan bridge on the Panj River,” Davlat Zarifov said.

Zarifov apparently didn’t know that a reporter was present, and he declined further comment and quickly walked away.

To try to get the Tajik government’s side of the story, a McClatchy reporter approached Sherali Mirzo, the official in charge of the country’s border guards, a man with a full mustache and medals across his uniformed chest. Mirzo said he didn’t talk to the media.

Rustam Nazarov, the director of the country’s drug control agency, said in a brief interview that the declining heroin and opium seizures suggested that there was less trafficking of those drugs through Tajikistan, an analysis that the facts on the ground would seem to contradict.

Nazarov, however, did allow that, “There is corruption in Tajikistan; no one denies that. Unfortunately, we have some civil servants who are corrupt.”

A few days later at the Afghan-Tajik border, as the sun began to dip below a horizon framed by jagged mountains, Mohammed Zahir, an Afghan truck driver, gave a simple explanation for how drugs get across the bridge.

“People involved with the drug business know the guards,” Zahir said. “Before sending their drugs across, they pay them money.”

A second driver, Qand Agha, chimed in: “If high officials on the border weren’t involved, then people like me couldn’t take drugs into their country.”

Down the road, a line of trucks was crossing the bridge.


Sitting in a $40,000 SUV with soft leather seats and a dark orange paint job, a man named Negmatullo hitched up his shirtsleeve to show the sore on his arm from the heroin he’d been shooting up. He fiddled with his designer sunglasses, absentmindedly brushed his hair and said in a junkie’s mumble that, “If you pay someone at the border, you can bring drugs up.”

Negmatullo, a thin man with dirty blond hair, had just come out of a drug treatment clinic in the town of Kurgan-Tyube, a halfway point between the border and the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. He asked that his last name not be used for his own security.

When Negmatullo was asked why guards and other Tajik law-enforcement officials would be susceptible to corruption, he rubbed his fingers together and muttered “dengi, dengi,” Russian for “money, money.”

The car’s license plate flashed by as Negmatullo pulled away; it was number 7777, a calling card of those connected to the president’s inner circle.

The spoils of the drug trade are as obvious as the shiny new BMWs speeding down the dusty roads that cut from south to north across the steppes of Tajikistan, passing hunched old men who tend the cotton fields with hoes. It’s an ancient setting: Alexander the Great and his men conquered parts of the territory in the fourth century B.C, and they’re said to have crossed the Panj River by floating on leather hides.

These days, in a nation where some 50 percent of the population makes less than $41 a month, there’s a steady stream of new Mercedes and Lexus sedans, not only in Dushanbe, but also in the hamlets that dot the way to the Afghan border.

Locals say the cars often are given in trade for loads of heroin shipped north to the Russian border. The stuff is easy to get.

“You can just take two bags over your back, walk across the Panj and bring them back filled with heroin. It’s no problem,” said Vazir, a Tajik who was released from a Russian prison last February after he was caught trying to take 600 grams of heroin through a Moscow airport. During an interview in Dushanbe, he asked that his last name not be used because he feared retribution.

Vazir continued: “You can give your bag of heroin to one of the guards, and he will carry it across for you.”


The supply chain appears to reach far beyond hustlers such as Vazir. Many Western officials and Tajik observers suspect that the Rahmon government controls the drug trade.

“I don’t know if the president is involved personally, but he gives the percentages to different groups for what they can do,” said one Western diplomat in Dushanbe, who like others spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of criticizing the regime. “Just go to the airport. There are bags of heroin going through unchecked. . . . People are pretty open about it. There’s more and more a culture of impunity.”

After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Russian troops continued to patrol the Tajik border. They withdrew from the area in 2005 after the Tajik government demanded that they leave — though it allowed them to stay in other parts of the country — asserting that as a sovereign nation Tajikistan was capable of securing its own frontiers.

An assortment of local conscripts replaced the relatively professional Russian contingent, which trained and financed the Tajik officer corps.

“You have conscripts earning maybe $3 a month stretched out over 1,344 kilometers of border” — 835 miles — said another Western diplomat in Dushanbe, discussing the problem of drug dealers paying border guards to look the other way. “It’s obvious that if you need to eat, corruption is an option.”

Some Russian and Western officials said privately that the Tajik government wanted the Russians out of the way to ensure a larger supply of opium and heroin.

It was a move designed to gain “hold of a bigger part of the drug trade,” one Western diplomat in Dushanbe said.

“Frankly speaking, there were forces in the government of Tajikistan who wanted to replace the Russian troops with Tajik troops to allow more holes in the border,” said a Russian official in Moscow who travels regularly to Tajikistan and has high-level contact with the Tajik government. “It was to make the penetration of drugs easier.”

The State Committee for National Security, Tajikistan’s version of the KGB, took control of border enforcement in 2007 and almost immediately barred the country’s Interior Ministry and drug control agency from access to the border region.


When a McClatchy reporter drove to the border at Nizhny Panj to do interviews, troops turned him back because he didn’t have official permission. A border guard supervisor in plainclothes pulled the reporter’s driver aside and suggested in a menacing tone that the driver was a spy. The Tajik government later denied McClatchy permission to visit the southern border.

The reporter resorted to crossing the bridge into Afghanistan with a routine visa, and he saw no evidence that Afghan or Tajik officials were inspecting trucks for contraband.

Despite the public nature of the drug trade and related corruption in Tajikistan, however, the West has done relatively little to pressure President Rahmon.

Some Western officials acknowledge that it’s the result of a political tradeoff: No one wants to risk alienating Rahmon on the issue of drug corruption because his authoritarian regime’s cooperation is important for preventing Islamic militants from using the Tajik-Afghan border as a sanctuary.

“The Americans want to have a logistics base here, so do you think they’re going to pressure the government about corruption?” said William Lawrence, a chief adviser for a U.N. Afghan border-management program based in Dushanbe. “The answer is no.”

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe declined to comment, but a State Department official said that such balancing acts were common.

“There is always going to be a tradeoff based on different foreign-policy objectives, different security objectives, the tolerance for different types of corruption, different levels of corruption,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol. “I don’t think the situation in Tajikistan, frankly, is that much different than the rest of Central Asia in terms of these types of tradeoffs.”

A second Western diplomat in Dushanbe was more blunt about Western governments ignoring reports on Tajikistan’s official complicity in drug corruption.

“We send reports every month to our capitals, very negative, but they don’t (care),” said the diplomat, whose country has troops in Afghanistan. “Because it’s a so-called stable country leading to Afghanistan, we accept it.”

The diplomat said that his country had funded projects to help train and equip the Tajiks to deal with the drug problem. The United States and other Western nations have done the same.

This month, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan broke ground on a $2.5 million project to overhaul the border guard training academy in Dushanbe. The American Embassy said in a recent news release that it had implemented more than $37.5 million of initiatives to help Tajik law enforcement since 1992.

However, the second Western diplomat said, there isn’t much arm-twisting to make sure the Tajik government cracks down.

“We don’t dare to say to the president, ‘We give you money for anti-corruption but the first thing you see on the streets is these police taking bribes,’ ” the diplomat said. “Nobody says, ‘We’ll give you money for border security, but in three years we want to see a reduction in drugs.’ “ {source}

Post by way of There are no sunglasses


Flood of Afghan heroin fuels drug plague in Russia

Afghanistan: Drug Addiction Lucrative for Neolib Banksters, CIA

CIA, Drugs and the US Economy – video

CIA Drug Trafficking and remembering Gary Webb

Afghanistan, American Drug Colony

CIA: Secret Operations, Drug Money

The CIA and Drugs

Pentagon Talk…Is Mexico Next?

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https://i0.wp.com/www.annunciationhouse.org/bae/image001.jpg Downtown El Paso viewed from Cuidad Juarez
Ciudad Juarez of Chihuahua with an estimated population of 1,512,354. It stands on the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), across the border from El Paso, Texas. The two cities form a Metroplex metropolitan area of over 2,700,000 making it the largest international border community in which the first and third worlds meet in such a close proximity.

“The Pentagon is prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Bill Van Auken reports:

Obama and US commander discuss military intervention in Mexico

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen briefed President Barack Obama over the weekend on the so-called drug war in Mexico and the prospect of increased US military involvement in the conflict south of the border.

Mullen had just returned from a six-day tour of Latin America, which took him on his last and most important stop to Mexico City. There he held meetings with Mexico’s secretary of national defense and other top military officials and discussed proposals for rushing increased US aid to Mexico under the auspices of Plan Merida, a three-year, $1.4 billion package designed to provide equipment, training and other assistance to the Mexican armed forces.

In a telephone press conference conducted as he returned from Mexico, Mullen said that the Pentagon was prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US military, he said, was “sharing a lot of lessons we have learned, how we’ve developed similar capabilities over the last three or four years in our counterinsurgency efforts as we have fought terrorist networks.” He added, “There are an awful lot of similarities.”

With US backing, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has increasingly militarized the country, deploying tens of thousands of troops in areas ranging from Matamoros and Reynosa in the east to Tijuana, Guerrero, Michoacán and Sinaloa in the west.

On the eve of Mullen’s visit, the Mexican military poured some 5,000 additional troops into Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, redoubling patrols by combat-equipped units and effectively sealing the city off with roadblocks. Some 2,500 troops had already been deployed in the city last spring.

He said that in his meetings with Mexican military officials he had discussed US aid focusing on “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” or ISR in US military parlance.

He indicated that intelligence-sharing had already been implemented, but that “there are additional assets that could be brought to bear across the full ISR spectrum.”

In the first instance, this could mean the deployment of US manned surveillance aircraft as well as unmanned drones over Mexican territory. It could likewise suggest the deployment of Special Forces units or military “contractors.”

Mullen refused to answer when questioned whether unmanned drones had already been deployed over Ciudad Juarez and other Mexican cities.

read the rest at wsws.org


From Drug War Doublespeak

Through late February and early March, a blitzkrieg of declarations from U.S. government and military officials and pundits hit the media, claiming that Mexico was alternately at risk of being a failed state, on the verge of civil war, losing control of its territory, and posing a threat to U.S. national security.

In the same breath, we’re told that President Calderon with the aid of the U.S. government is winning the war on drugs, significantly weakening organized crime, and restoring order and legality.

None of these claims is true. Instead they are critical elements in waging the hypocritical drug war in Mexico.

Drug-war doublespeak pervades and defines the U.S.-Mexico relationship today. The discourse aims not to win the war on drugs, but to assure funding and public support for the military model of combating illegal drug trafficking, despite the losses and overwhelming evidence that current strategies are not working.

Sorting Reality from Hype

Mexico, and particularly border cities and other key points along the drug routes, has a serious problem. In these places, violence characterizes daily life. But Mexico is not a failed state. It is a tragic example of the results of failed policies-on both sides of the border. Both governments want to obscure this simple fact.

In the past, exaggerated risk assessments, amplified by the media and accompanied by dire warnings to the public, prepare the ground for military intervention. They usually pack hyperbole or outright lies, the most recent example being the “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

While military intervention in Mexico is not on the horizon, the recent hype has been accompanied by requests for military build-up on the border. Texas Governor Rick Perry jetted to Washington to ask for $135 million and 1,000 soldiers. Talk of sending more National Guard troops circulated, along with mentions of a border “surge.” The Texas state government announced a rapid-mobilization plan in case Mexico “collapsed,” replete with tanks and aircraft.

After outgoing Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff spoke of a contingency plan for the border, the media wondered aloud whether incoming head Janet Napolitano would be tough enough. She responded by calling the situation a “top priority.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the Mexican drug war “a serious problem.” He raised a maelstrom of protest in Mexico with the announcement that the disappearance of Mexico’s anti-Pentagon biases had cleared the way for tighter cooperation. The U.S. Embassy was forced to issue a press release declaring that the United States had no intention of sending troops into Mexico.

Congress also leapt to respond to the rhetoric. Hearings have been called in both houses, including the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee under Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who, according to news reports, will be looking for “potential implications for increased terrorist activity.” The committees will likely hear testimony primarily from persons who confirm the perceived threat in lurid and imprecise terms.

the entire article is at Drug War Doublespeak


The Drug War: An Old Mission for the Pentagon

by Jacob G. Hornberger

As the Berlin Wall came crashing down, the Pentagon was desperately in search of a mission. Given the demise of the Soviet Union, which had been the excuse for an ever-growing military-industrial complex for decades, the talk of a “peace dividend” was in the air. “What do we need all that military spending for if the communist threat is now nonexistent?” people were asking.

Wait a minute, cried the Pentagon. We can still find something to do. Just don’t cut our budget. Among the things they proposed was to help wage the “war on drugs.” Of course, that was long before U.S. foreign policy produced the terrorist blowback that resulted in the “war on terrorism” and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the decreasing enthusiasm for the perpetual war on terrorism and the 6-year and 7-year occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan among the American people, the Pentagon is now returning to the old mission that it spoke about soon after the demise of the Berlin Wall. That would be the drug war.

As most everyone knows, the drug war has produced untold violence on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Thousands of people, including both government officials and private individuals, are being killed in an all-out war between the drug cartels and Mexican law-enforcement officials. The violence has gotten so bad that it is threatening to spill over into the United States.

Not surprisingly, the crisis is causing U.S. officials, especially those in the Pentagon, to call for U.S. intervention to fix the problem. “The drug cartels are a threat to national security,” U.S. officials are exclaiming. Just recently, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, flew to Mexico to discuss rushing military assistance to Mexico. “We have a sense of urgency about this, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, a Republican, has jumped on the crisis bandwagon by calling on President Obama to send U.S. troops to the border, perhaps in the hope that they’ll wage the war on drugs in the way they’ve waged the war on terrorism — by busting people’s doors down without warrants, confiscating guns, incarcerating people without due process and trial, and maybe even torturing them into talking about pending drug deals.

Here is how the system works. U.S. government policy produces the conditions for a crisis, which then is used as the excuse for military intervention, which means ever-growing budgets for government officials.

For years, the U.S. government has been exhorting the Mexican government to ramp up the drug war, despite warnings from libertarians and others that doing so would only increase the level of violence.

Now that the Mexican government has complied with U.S. wishes, producing the predictable results, the U.S. government, especially the Pentagon, is now responding in the predictable way — by calling for military intervention, which means ever-increasing budgets for you-know-who.

What’s the 35-year-old drug war really all about? It’s about money and power. Let’s face it: These people are not stupid enough to believe that doing the same thing they’ve done for 35 years is going to produce a different result. The fact is that there are lots of people making big money from the drug war. And no, it’s not just the drug dealers and corrupt Mexican government officials. It’s also corrupt federal, state, and local officials on the U.S. side of the border.

First and foremost are the bribes, especially to law-enforcement people along the border who are paid big money to look the other way. But there is also the “legitimate” money that people make from the drug war — the nice salaries paid to judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, marshals, clerks, and staffs. And, of course, let’s not forget the budgets for the military and the military-industrial complex.

Oh, I forget to mention the other big money that is being made from the drug war — the asset-forfeiture crowd. Those are the public officials whose budgets have soared from the money they have confiscated and stolen from countless people, in the name of the war on drugs. Just ask African-Americans who have had the misfortune of traveling through Tenaha, Texas. They’ve had thousands of dollars taken from them by the cops, without any charges ever being filed against them. What better example of highway robbery than that?

Don’t count on public officials to willingly bring an end to the war on drugs. Like those drug cartels they’re fighting, they’re benefitting too much from it, in terms of bribes, salaries, budgets, and power. The drug-war idiocy will come to an end only when the American people finally declare that enough is enough and demand that the drug war be ended, immediately.

Source: The Future of Freedom Foundation


Let’s not forget that the central banks have a vested interest in the drug trade.

UN Crime Office Says Illegal Drug Money Floated Bank Stocks

The United Nations’ crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis.

Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.

“In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital,” Costa was quoted as saying by Profil. “In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.” source


And of course our own CIA is involved in drug trafficking and has been for a very long time.
They can’t let the competition get out of hand.

The CIA’s Drug-Trafficking Activities


While allowing some to continue and control the drug trade, the prison system benefits from the low-level busts and imprisonment of ‘patsies.’ A racket of immense proportions.

From Ziofascism: The Prison Lobby


There’s possibly one way to stop all of this madness.
Legalize drugs without taxing them.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition shows some sanity.



After nearly four decades of fueling the U.S. policy of a war on drugs with over a trillion tax dollars and 37 million arrests for nonviolent drug offenses, our confined population has quadrupled making building prisons the fastest growing industry in the United States. More than 2.2 million of our citizens are currently incarcerated and every year we arrest an additional 1.9 million more guaranteeing those prisons will be bursting at their seams. Every year we choose to continue this war will cost U.S. taxpayers another 69 billion dollars. Despite all the lives we have destroyed and all the money so ill spent, today illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and far easier to get than they were 35 years ago at the beginning of the war on drugs. Meanwhile, people continue dying in our streets while drug barons and terrorists continue to grow richer than ever before. We would suggest that this scenario must be the very definition of a failed public policy. This madness must cease!

The stated goals of current U.S.drug policy — reducing crime, drug addiction, and juvenile drug use — have not been achieved, even after nearly four decades of a policy of “war on drugs”. This policy, fueled by over a trillion of our tax dollars has had little or no effect on the levels of drug addiction among our fellow citizens, but has instead resulted in a tremendous increase in crime and in the numbers of Americans in our prisons and jails. With 4.6% of the world’s population, America today has 22.5% of the worlds prisoners. But, after all that time, after all the destroyed lives and after all the wasted resources, prohibited drugs today are cheaper, stronger, and easier to get than they were thirty-five years ago at the beginning of the so-called “war on drugs”. With this in mind, we current and former members of law enforcement have created a drug-policy reform movement — LEAP. We believe that to save lives and lower the rates of disease, crime and addiction. as well as to conserve tax dollars, we must end drug prohibition. LEAP believes that a system of regulation and control of production and distribution will be far more effective and ethical than one of prohibition. We do this in hopes that we in Law Enforcement can regain the public’s respect and trust, which have been greatly diminished by our involvement in imposing drug prohibition. Please consider joining us. source


Drug Tourism in the Netherlands and Afghanistan

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Drug Reporter:

Smoking without Borders — a 10-minute film by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union about drug tourism in the Netherlands.

Smoking without Borders from Hungarian Civil Liberties Union on Vimeo.

Their conclusions:

1) The problem of drug tourism is not caused by cannabis use or coffee shops. The real problem is the illegality of cannabis in neighboring countries.

2) The problem cannot be solved by closing down coffee shops: the supply won’t be reduced but it will go underground to cause more problems.

3) The real solution to the problem is in the hands of the neighboring countries: to regulate and control the cannabis market.

from Drug War Rant


From photos and videos, Afghanistan seems to be a lovely country. Giant poppy fields in bloom must be a sight to behold.


Of course there’s no tourism because things and people keep getting blown up there.

Controlling the drug trade is a full time job for the outsiders occupying the country and tourists would just get in the way.

A few more American troops, a few more wasted lives and we’ll get the situation under control.

Even Canada feels the need to join in. The Queen’s Bank of England needs cash flow.

An Afghan man walks through a poppy field in the Nangharhar province of Afghanistan.An Afghan man walks through a poppy field in the Nangharhar province of Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan will be ordered to attack opium traffickers and drug facilities when there is proof of direct links to the Taliban, CBC News has learned.

The new order follows a heated debate among NATO allies over whether the attacks could be declared war crimes.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay told CBC News soldiers would indeed target drug traffickers and their production facilities.

“We’re not going specifically to eradicate poppy crops, but we would go after proven drug traffickers with operations linked to the terrorists,” he said. more

For the foreseeable future the only ‘tourists’ from other countries in Afghanistan will be the soldiers.

Maybe they will write home and describe for us the beauty of the ‘poppy fields.’

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


American Company Stops Travel to Juarez

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There’s a war going on just across our border and it has made some American companies halt travel to the hot spot, Juarez, Mexico.

Working as a contractor for a company that has a contract manufacturing plant in Juarez, I got the first hand story from a friend who is in Nashville this week.

On his last trip to the plant, coming back to El Paso, he saw a decapitated body hanging from a bridge on the main route. Some from his company had already refused to travel there and upon his return and telling what he saw, a policy was implemented banning all travel to Juarez.

American manufacturing has lost thousands of jobs to the cheap labor available in Mexico. NAFTA and greed at work. Working with Mexican manufacturers often needs a hands on approach to stay on top of the quality problems and differences in work ethic.

Having been to Juarez a few times in the past, I understand the poverty and the willingness of the people there to work for a penance. Now the drug wars there have virtually destroyed any semblance of a culture that was once there.

My contacts say that the manufacturing done in Juarez could be accomplished in Texas without a loss of profit. The problems out weigh any perceived benefits.

Perhaps sending our jobs to Mexico wasn’t such a good idea after all.


Mexico’s drug violence expected to intensify in ’09

WASHINGTON – Drug-related violence in Mexico, already at unprecedented levels, is expected to escalate further this year, with targets likely to include top Mexican politicians and law enforcement agents and possibly even U.S. officials, according to diplomats and intelligence experts on both sides of the border.

CLAUDIO CRUZ/The Associated PressCoffins of six Mexican soldiers, decapitated in a gruesome, drug-related attack, were carried during their funeral last month in Chilpancingo. “

The warning underscores the difficult choices confronting President Felipe Calderón as he takes on drug cartels while weighing the implications of growing casualties in a year of midterm elections and a slowing economy.

It also reflects rising concern among U.S. officials and analysts about the deteriorating security situation, corruption among Mexico’s top crime fighters, and the vulnerability of the military to possible corruption in battling cartel gangs.

As the war against cartels escalates in 2009, so will the threats, particularly against U.S. officials and other Americans, officials, analysts and diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza, said in recent interviews.

“Calderón must, and will, keep the pressure on the cartels, but look, let’s not be naïve – there will be more violence, more blood, and, yes, things will get worse before they get better. That’s the nature of the battle,” Garza said. “The more pressure the cartels feel, the more they’ll lash out like cornered animals.

“Our folks know exactly how high the stakes are,” Garza said. He advised Americans traveling to Mexico to check State Department travel alerts at http://www.state.gov.

A U.S. intelligence official based along the Texas border warned that U.S. officials, American businessmen and journalists will “become targets, if they’re not already.”

“All bets are off,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The more pressure you apply on the cartels, the bolder these thugs become.”

The official, citing information from informants and other intelligence, said attacks against Americans may include car bombs placed outside consulate offices and embassies or attacks on “specific individuals.”

The threats, the intelligence official said, are a result of “growing frustration” among cartel leaders and the internal dynamics of cartel organizations. He described the drug gangs as “transnational, with deep financial, cultural and social ties to Mexican and U.S. cities, whether Ciudad Juárez; Culiacán, Sinaloa; as well as El Paso, Houston or Dallas.”

“The cartels are playing a game of chicken,” said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, head of Washington-based Peschard-Sverdrup & Associates, a political consulting group. “They’re testing the resolve of the Mexican government, society in general, and the U.S. government as well by targeting Americans.”

‘Failed cities’

Already, the violence is crippling regions and cities, some of them on the border with Texas. Some top U.S. officials and analysts describe these cities, including Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, as “failed cities,” in which cartels, not city or police officials, have control.

Ciudad Juárez, whose mayor and other elected officials have moved to El Paso in recent months and commute to Juárez, ended the year with more than 1,600 drug-related killings. Nationwide, more than 5,700 – criminals, soldiers, police, journalists and bystanders – were killed. That’s more than twice the estimated 2,300 slain in 2007.

Philip Heymann, a Harvard law professor and expert on terrorism, characterized the ongoing violence in Mexico as “narcoterrorism, given the tactics used,” including beheadings and efforts to silence and intimidate society through threats, gruesome videos and text messages.

“I think the situation in Mexico is very, very dangerous for everyone, including the United States,” he said. “The situation hasn’t yet registered in the mindset of Americans, but it will, especially when Americans become the target. All you need are two, three Americans killed and the issue will suddenly become important.”

more – The Dallas Morning News


Ciudad Juarez a.k.a. Hell’s waiting room

There are more secrets hidden in the deserted city of Ciudad Juarez, than there are sand crystals in the desert. This poverty-stricken city tells tales that will never be forgotten regarding the decade-long mystery of the women massacres, which began in the early ’90s and continued through 2003. To this day, more than 400 murders of young women have yet to be investigated.

Before we get into the victims’ stories, let me paint the big picture. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico resides just across the border from El Paso, Texas in the state of Chihuahua, with a population of about 1.4 million people. After the North American Free Trade Agreement passed in 1993, companies like General Electric, Alcoa and Dupont established factories (maquiladoras) in Juarez employing, by majority, women for cheap labor.

Low working class females usually reside in the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez where they live in shanty homes with no running water, electricity or telephones. They begin their journey to work by walking through dirt roads in order to catch the buses provided by the big Fortune 500 factories. Working for mere cents an hour, according to the article “Murder in Juarez: Gender, Sexual Violence and the Assembly Line,” the maquiladoras provide higher wages than in any other factories around Mexico City and it has become the hot spot for women workers.

According to an article from Business Network, writer Jessica Livingston’s investigation regarding maquiladoras connected with the deaths to the different women in Juarez, in many instances employers justify the reason for hiring women simply “because of their manual dexterity and their ability to tolerate tedious and repetitive work.” I am a woman and hate tedious and repetitive work. Not a very good argument, Fortune 500s.

Livingston’s investigation further explains that in some factories supervisors host “Senorita Maquiladora” beauty contests, and the dance clubs host “Most Daring Bra” and “Wet String” bikini contests. And apparently the buses provided by the company drops the employees at the night clubs.

How can big companies like General Electric promote this type of behavior? Livingston further explains that the lack of justice in Ciudad Juarez leads to constant cases of unresolved sexual assault and murder.

During a 10-year period, bodies of victims were found in the middle of the desert, raped and mutilated. More than 400 bodies of young women were found in the same circumstances, and by majority, were employed at a factory in Juarez. The young women had similar characteristics: tan skin, dark, long hair, slim bodies and of the young ages 12 to 19.

To this day the mothers have been fighting corruption, and investigators link the deaths with the police. Ciudad Juarez has become a battle zone between drug cartels and the police. According to different newspaper articles in the area, “anyone can get away with murder.”

Juarez, that corner of the world just south of our border, feeds on the blood of young women. The cry for help from the different mothers continues to echo throughout the dark corners of the desert.

The mothers have organized activist groups to fight off corrupt police in Juarez and get the investigations rolling, but help has not answered. They looked to the North, but the U.S. government was too busy finding weapons of mass destruction and disregarded the matter.

After all, why should we worry? The sad reality of students, myself included, is to view Mexico as only a vacation spot where we can party endlessly with cheap alcohol.

Vanessa Guerrero


Drug-related slaying in Juarez top 1,600 mark as 2008 ends

A couple of fatal stabbings and a homicide arrest were among the incidents that occurred as a bloody 2008 came to a close in Juárez.

A Chihuahua state police spokesman said official statistics for the number of homicides were still being compiled. But an unofficial tally shows that the Juárez area ended the year with a record high with more than 1,600 killings, most of them attributed to turf wars among drug cartels. more

A Short History of Opium

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The war in Afghanistan is intertwined with the opium/heroin trade. The coming ‘surge’ will partially be an attempt to maintain western control of the crop and the trade routes for heroin into Europe and beyond.


opium poppies
“God’s Own Medicine”
Sir William Osler

Opium is an extract of the exudate derived from seedpods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. The poppy plant was cultivated in the ancient civilisations of Persia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Archaeological evidence and fossilised poppy seeds suggest that Neanderthal man may have used the opium poppy over thirty thousand years ago. Less controversially, the first known written reference to the poppy appears in a Sumerian text dated around 4,000 BC. The flower was known as hul gil, plant of joy. Papaver somniferum is the only species of Papaver used to produce opium. It is believed to have evolved through centuries of breeding and cultivation from a Mediterranean-growing wild strain, Papaver setigerum.

Homer conveys its effects in The Odyssey. In one episode, Telemachus is depressed after failing to find his father Odysseus. But then Helen…

“…had a happy thought. Into the bowl in which their wine was mixed, she slipped a drug that had the power of robbing grief and anger of their sting and banishing all painful memories. No one who swallowed this dissolved in their wine could shed a single tear that day, even for the death of his mother or father, or if they put his brother or his own son to the sword and he were there to see it done…”

In some parts of the contemporary Middle East, chilled glasses of poppy tea are served to mourners at funerals to ease their grief.

Papaver somniferum has long been popular in Europe. Fossil remains of poppy-seed cake and poppy-pods have been found in Neolithic Swiss lake-dwellings dating from over 4,000 years ago. Poppy images appear in Egyptian pictography and Roman sculpture. Representations of the Greek and Roman gods of sleep, Hypnos and Somnos, show them wearing or carrying poppies. Throughout Egyptian civilisation, priest-physicians promoted the household use of opium preparations. Such remedies were called “thebacium” after the highly potent poppies grown near the capital city of Thebes. Egyptian pharaohs were entombed with opium artefacts by their side. Opium could also readily be bought on the street-markets of Rome. By the eighth century AD, opium use had spread to Arabia, India and China. The Arabs both used opium and organised its trade. For the Prophet had prohibited the use of alcohol, not hashish or opiates.

Classical Greek physicians either ground the whole plant or used opium extract. Galen lists its medical indications, noting how opium…

…resists poison and venomous bites, cures chronic headache, vertigo, deafness, epilepsy, apoplexy, dimness of sight, loss of voice, asthma, coughs of all kinds, spitting of blood, tightness of breath, colic, the lilac poison, jaundice, hardness of the spleen stone, urinary complaints, fever, dropsies, leprosies, the trouble to which women are subject, melancholy and all pestilences.”

Later authorities were scarcely less enthusiastic. Physicians commonly believed that the poppy plant was of divine origin; opium was variously called the Sacred Anchor Of Life, Milk Of Paradise, the Hand Of God, and Destroyer Of Grief. Thomas Sydenham, the 17th-century pioneer of English medicine, writes….

“Among the remedies which it has pleased Almighty God to give to man to relieve his sufferings, none is so universal and so efficacious as opium.”

This may be overstating God’s benevolence; but by relieving emotional as well as physical pain, opiates have been understandably popular. Robert Burton, scholar, priest and author of Anatomy of Melancholy, commended laudanum – essentially opium dissolved in wine – for those who were insomniacs…

“…by reason of their continual cares, fears, sorrows, dry brains [which] is a symptom that much crucifies melancholy men…”

Indeed opium was probably the world’s first authentic antidepressant. Unlike other pain-relieving agents such as ethyl alcohol, ether or the barbiturates, opium doesn’t impair sensory perception, the intellect or motor co-ordination. Pain ceases to be threatening, intrusive and distressing; but it can still be sensed and avoided. At lower dosages, opium may be pleasantly stimulating rather than soporific. In the East, opium was typically treated as a social drug; and opium-smoking was a tool for conviviality. Nowadays a life of habitual opioid use evokes images of stupor and mindless oblivion, yet ironically Coleridge coined the word intensify to describe opium’s effects on consciousness.

A significant advance in opium-processing occurred in the sixteenth century. In freebase form, the alkaloids found in opium are significantly less soluble in water than in alcohol. Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1490-1541), better known as Paracelsus, claimed: “I possess a secret remedy which I call laudanum and which is superior to all other heroic remedies”. He concocted laudanum [literally: “something to be praised”] by extracting opium into brandy, thus producing, in effect, tincture of morphine. His original witches’ brew contained extra ingredients such as crushed pearls, henbane and frog-spawn. It was steeped in alchemical mumbo-jumbo: Paracelsus called opium itself “the stone of immortality”. Thomas Sydenham, however, went on to standardise laudanum in the now classic formulation: 2 ounces of opium; 1 ounce of saffron; a drachm of cinnamon and cloves – all dissolved in a pint of Canary wine.

&nbspLaudanum can be habit-forming. Yet the sometimes spectacular ill-effects noted by early modern writers when coming off laudanum probably owed more to its ethyl alcohol content than its opium. As their opioid tolerance increased, so did users’ consumption of tinctures: De Quincey’s florid withdrawal signs on abstaining suggest an alcoholic’s delirium tremens rather than a junky’s cold-turkey.

By the nineteenth century, vials of laudanum and raw opium were freely available at any English pharmacy or grocery store. One nineteenth-century author declared: [Laudanum] Drops, you are darling! If I love nothing else, I love you.” Another user, the English gentleman quoted in Jim Hogshire’s Opium for the Masses (1994), enthused that opium felt akin to a gentle and constant orgasm.

British opium imports rose from a brisk 91,000lb in 1830 to an astonishing 280,000lb in 1860. Despite British control of Indian production, most domestic imports came from Turkey. This was because of the superior morphine content – 10-13% – of Turkish opium; opium’s varying potency depends on its particular growing conditions. For obscure reasons, opium was most popular among the rural peasantry of the Fens. The British Medical Association estimated that sparsely populated Cambridgeshire and its environs consumed around half of Britain’s annual opium imports. This consumption was topped up by generous use of poppy-tea brewed from homegrown poppies.

Youngsters were introduced to the pleasures of opiates at their mothers’ breast. Harassed baby-minders – and overworked parents – found opium-based preparations were a dependable way to keep their kids happy and docile; this was an era before Ritalin. Sales of Godfrey’s Cordial, a soothing syrup of opium tincture effective against colic, were prodigious. But Godfrey’s Cordial had its competitors: Street’s Infants’ Quietness, Atkinson’s Infants’ Preservative, and Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup.

Opium was viewed as a medicine, not a drug of abuse. Contemporary medical theory didn’t allow that one could become addicted to a cure. However, the chemists and physicians most actively investigating the properties of opium were also its dedicated consumers; and this may conceivably have coloured their judgement.

Writers of distinction certainly consumed opium in copious quantities. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) wrote Kubla Khan in a dream-like trance while under its spell; opium promotes vivid dreams and rich visual imagery as well as gentle euphoria…

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Down to a sunless sea

I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome, those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.”

Fellow English author Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859) writes of “the marvellous agency of opium, whether for pleasure or for pain”. De Quincey seems to have treated opium as a mood-brightening smart-drug. The author of Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) draws invidious comparisons with alcohol. He attributes a heightening of his mental powers to opium use…

“Whereas wine disorders the mental faculties, opium introduces amongst them the most exquisite order, legislation and harmony. Wine robs a man of self-possession; opium greatly invigorates it….Wine constantly leads a man to the brink of absurdity and extravagance; and, beyond a certain point, it is sure to volatilize and disperse the intellectual energies; whereas opium seems to compose what has been agitated, and to concentrate what had been distracted. …A man who is inebriated…is often…brutal; but the opium eater…feels that the diviner part of his nature is paramount; that is, the moral affections are in a state of cloudless serenity; and over all is the great light of majestic intellect….”

De Quincey states that not he himself, but opium, should be regarded as the true hero of his essay. Opium was his “Divine Poppy-juice, as indispensable as breathing”. By reputation, opium users have dull wits, idle lives and diminished sensibility. This was not de Quincey’s verdict. He made a habit of going to the opera under its influence – and found his experience of music delightfully enhanced…

“Now opium, by greatly increasing the activity of the mind, generally increases, of necessity, that particular mode of its activity by which we are able to construct out of the raw material of organic sound an elaborate intellectual pleasure…It is sufficient to say, that a chorus, etc of elaborate harmony displayed before me, as in a piece of arras work, the whole of my past life – not as if recalled by an act of memory, but as if present and incarnated in the music; no longer painful to dwell upon, but the detail of its incidents removed…and its passions exalted, spiritualized, and sublimed…”

Opium induces gentle, subtle, dream-like hallucinations very different from the fierce and unpredictable weirdness of LSD. Baudelaire (1821-67) likens opium to a woman friend, “…an old and terrible friend, and, alas! like them all, full of caresses and deceptions.” Across the Atlantic, in 1842, William Blair describes his experiences with opium in a New York magazine…

“While I was sitting at tea, I felt a strange sensation, totally unlike any thing I had ever felt before; a gradual creeping thrill, which in a few minutes occupied every part of my body, lulling to sleep the before-mentioned racking pain, producing a pleasing glow from head to foot, and inducing a sensation of dreamy exhilaration (if the phrase be intelligible to others as it is to me) similar in nature but not in degree to the drowsiness caused by wine, though not inclining me to sleep; in fact far from it, that I longed to engage in some active exercise; to sing, dance, or leap…so vividly did I feel my vitality – for in this state of delicious exhilaration even mere excitement seemed absolute elysium – that I could not resist the tendency to break out in the strangest vagaries, until my companions thought me deranged…After I had been seated [at the play I was attending] a few minutes, the nature of the excitement changed, and a ‘waking sleep’ succeeded. The actors on the stage vanished; the stage itself lost its reality; and before my entranced sight magnificent halls stretched out in endless succession with galley above gallery, while the roof was blazing with gems, like stars whose rays alone illumined the whole building, which was tinged with strange, gigantic figures, like the wild possessors of lost globe…I will not attempt farther to describe the magnificent vision which a little pill of ‘brown gum’ had conjured up from the realm of ideal being. No words that I can command would do justice to its Titanian splendour and immensity…”

Opium was also well known in Chinese antiquity. One 10th century poem celebrates how the opium poppy can be made into a drink “fit for Buddha”. Ancient peoples either ate parts of the flower or converted them into liquids to drink. But by the 7th century, the Turkish and Islamic cultures of western Asia had discovered that the most powerful medicinal effects could be obtained by igniting and smoking the poppy’s congealed juices; and the habit spread. The widespread use of opium in China dates to tobacco-smoking in pipes introduced by the Dutch from Java in the 17th century. Whereas Indians ordinarily ate opium, the Chinese smoked it. The Chinese mixed Indian opium with tobacco, two products traded by the Dutch. Pipe-smoking was adopted throughout the region. Predictably enough, this resulted in increased opium-smoking, both with and without tobacco. Old encrusted opium-pipes were still valuable because they contained a residue of charcoal and raw opium known as “dross”. Dross could be recycled with tobacco plus various adulterants and sold to the poor. Styles of opium pipe reflected the relative wealth or poverty of their owners. Pipes ranged from bejewelled, elaborately ornamented works of art to simple constructions of clay or bamboo.

By the late-1700s, the British East India Company controlled the prime Indian poppy-growing areas on the Ganges plain between Patna and Benares. The company dominated the Asian opium trade; but they did not create it. “Take your opium” was a standard greeting in some Indian cities even before the Europeans arrived. By 1800, however, the British East India Company had a virtual monopoly, controlling supply and setting prices. Dealers, merchants and users alike lovingly assessed the quality and potency of their merchandise with the ardour of a wine connoisseur. According to The Chinese Repository, discerning purchasers of the raw product looked for opium of…

“…moderately firm texture, capable of receiving an impression from the finger; of a dark yellow color when held in the light, but nearly black in the mass, with a strong smell, and free from grittiness…”

Opium was already heavily used in China as a recreational drug. The Imperial Chinese court had banned its use and importation, but large quantities were still being smuggled into the country. In 1839, the Qing Emperor, Tao Kwang, ordered his minister Lin Tse-hsu to take action. Lin petitioned Queen Victoria for help; but he was ignored. In reaction, the Emperor instructed the confiscation of 20,000 barrels of opium and detained some foreign traders. The British retaliated by attacking the port-city of Canton.

Thus began the First Opium War, launched by the biggest, richest and perhaps most aggressive drug cartel the world has ever known, the British Empire. The Chinese were defeated. They were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. The British required that the opium trade be allowed to continue; that the Chinese pay a large settlement and open five new ports to foreign trade; and that China cede Hong Kong to Britain.

Peace didn’t last. The Second Opium War began and ended in 1856 over western demands that opium markets be expanded. The Chinese were again defeated. In 1858, by the Treaty of Tientsin, opium importation to China was formally legalised. God-fearing British traders claimed that the hard-working Chinese were entitled to “a harmless luxury”; the opium trade in less respectable hands would be taken over by “desperadoes, pirates and marauders”. Soon opium poured into China in unprecedented quantities. By the end of the nineteenth century, it has been estimated that over a quarter of the adult male Chinese population were addicted.

In North America, the initial history of Papaver somniferum was somewhat more peaceful. During the first few centuries of European settlement, opium poppies were widely cultivated. Early settlers dissolved the resin in whisky to relieve coughs, aches and pains.

The plant had further uses. Papaver somniferum produces lots of small black seeds. Poppy-seeds are an ingredient of typical bird-seed and a common garnish on rolls. Poppy-seeds can also be ground into flour; used in salad-dressings; added to sauces as flavouring or thickening-agents; and the oil can be expressed and used in cooking. Poppy-heads are infused to make a traditional sedative drink.

Many distinguished early Americans grew Papaver somniferum. Rightly or wrongly, they would today be treated as felons. Thomas Jefferson cultivated opium poppies at his garden in Monticello. The seeds from its plants, including the poppies, were sold at the gift-shop of Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants until 1991 – when a drug-bust at the nearby University of Virginia panicked the Board of Directors into ripping up the plants and burning the seeds. The cultivation of Papaver somniferum is banned in the USA under the Opium Poppy Control Act of 1942. Amateur horticulturists, however, continue to value the beautiful red, yellow and white flowers as adornments to their gardens.

Until the nineteenth century, the only opioids used medicinally or recreationally took the form of crude opium. Opium is a complex chemical cocktail containing sugars, proteins, fats, water, meconic acid, plant wax, latex, gums, ammonia, sulphuric and lactic acids, and numerous alkaloids, most notably morphine (10%-15%), codeine (1%-3%), noscapine (4%-8%), papaverine (1%-3%), and thebaine (1%-2%). All of the latter, apart from thebaine, are used medicinally as analgesics. The opioid analgesics are of inestimable value because they reduce or abolish pain without causing a loss of consciousness. They also relieve coughs, spasms, fevers and diarrhea.

Even thebaine, though without analgesic effect, is of immense pharmaceutical worth. This is because it can be used to produce semi-synthetic opioid morphine analogues such as oxycodone (Percodan), dihydromorphenone (Dilaudid), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and etorphine (Immobilon). Classes of morphine analogue include the diphenylpropylamines (e.g. methadone), the 4-phenylpiperidines (e.g. meperidine), the morphinans (e.g. levorphanol) and 6,7-benzomorphans (e.g. metazocine). Although seemingly structurally diverse, all these compounds either possess a piperidine ring or contain the critical part of its ring structure. Etorphine, for instance, is a very potent analogue of morphine. On one occasion a team of researchers, working in the 1960s under Professor Bentley of Macfarlan Smith and Co, drank mid-morning tea that had been stirred with a contaminated rod. They were soon laid out. The scientists had unwittingly drunk a drug later developed as etorphine. Etorphine is over 1000 times more powerful than morphine; it is used in dart-guns as Immobilon to subdue elephants and rhinos. Fortunately the scientists recovered.

Morphine was first isolated from opium in 1805 by a German pharmacist, Wilhelm Sertürner. Sertürner described it as the Principium Somniferum. He named it morphium – after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Today morphine is isolated from opium in substantially larger quantities – over 1000 tons per year – although most commercial opium is converted into codeine by methylation. On the illicit market, opium gum is filtered into morphine base and then synthesized into heroin.

Doctors had long hunted for effective ways to administer drugs without ingesting them. Taken orally, opium is liable to cause unpleasant gastric side-effects. The development of the hypodermic syringe in the mid-nineteenth century allowed the injection of pure morphine. Both in Europe and America, members of high society and middle-class professionals alike would jack up daily; poor folk couldn’t afford to inject drugs. Morphinism became rampant in the USA after its extensive use by injured soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. In late nineteenth-century America, opiates were cheap, legal and abundant. In the judgement of one historian, America became “a dope fiend’s paradise”. Moreover it was believed that injecting morphine wasn’t addictive. Quitting habitual opium use can cause malaise, flu-like symptoms, and depression; morphine seemed an excellent cure. In China, for instance, early twentieth century missionaries handed out anti-opium remedies in such profusion that the pills became known as “Jesus Opium”; their active ingredient was morphine.

Soldiers, missionaries and patent-medicine salesmen were not alone in eulogising its properties. A leading American medical textbook (1868) revealed that opiates…

“…cause a feeling of delicious ease and comfort, with an elevation of the whole moral and intellectual nature…There is not the same uncontrollable excitement as from alcohol, but an exaltation of our better mental qualities, a warmer glow of benevolence, a disposition to do great things, but nobly and beneficently, a higher devotional spirit, and withal a stronger self-reliance, and consciousness of power. Nor is this consciousness altogether mistaken. For the intellectual and imaginative faculties are raised to the highest point compatible with individual capacity…Opium seems to make the individual, for a time, a better and greater man….”

Early optimism about morphine’s non-addictive nature proved sadly misplaced. Women in particular came to be seen as especially vulnerable to opiate dependence. The most likely candidate for addiction, according to American doctor R Batholow, was…

“…a delicate female, having light blue eyes and flaxen hair, [who] possesses, according to my observations, the maximum susceptibility…”

Racist stereotypes, rampant xenophobia and lurid images of white slave-traders abounded too. In the 1850s and 1860s, tens of thousands of Chinese had emigrated to the USA to help build the western railroads and work the California mines. Opium-smoking was an integral part of Chinese culture; and its effects offered a merciful relief from dirty and backbreaking work. But the medical tide was turning. Dr Hamilton Wright, newly appointed US opium commissioner, blamed “the Chinese vice” for corrupting the nation’s youth….

“One of the most unfortunate phases of the habit of smoking opium in this country [was] the large number of women who have become involved and were living as common-law wives or cohabiting with Chinese in the Chinatowns of our various cities…”

Meanwhile Dr John Witherspoon, later President of the American Medical Association, exhorted the medical community to…

“…save our people from the clutches of this hydra-headed monster which stalks abroad through the civilized world, wrecking lives and happy homes, filling our jails and lunatic asylums, and taking from these unfortunates, the precious promise of eternal life…”

So the search began for a powerful non-addictive alternative to opium and morphine. In 1874, English pharmacist C.R. Alder Wright had boiled morphine and acetic acid to produce diacetylmorphine, C17H17NO (C2H3O2)2. Diacetylmorphine was synthesized and marketed commercially by the German pharmaceutical giant, Bayer. In 1898, Bayer launched the best-selling drug-brand of all time, Heroin.

Source: http://opioids.com/red.html

Deadly Short Cuts

heroin injection: shortcuts to paradise

“It’s so good. Don’t even try it once.”
intravenous heroin user

Heroin is named after the German word for powerful, heroic, heroisch. According to popular legend, its substitute, methadone, was initially christened Dolophine in honour of Adolf Hitler. In reality, the name comes from the Latin dolor, meaning “pain”, and fin, meaning “end”: hence “end of pain”.

The consumption of heroin is marked by a euphoric rush, a warm feeling of relaxation, a sense of security and protection, and a dissipation of pain, fear, hunger, tension and anxiety. When heroin is snorted or smoked, the rush is intense and orgasmic. Subjectively, time may slow down. Any sense of anger, frustration or aggression disappears. Users enjoy the feeling of “being wrapped in God’s warmest blanket”.

Heroin is the most fast-acting of all the opiates. When injected, it reaches the brain in 15-30 seconds; smoked heroin reaches the brain in around 7 seconds. The peak experience via this route lasts at most a few minutes. The surge of pleasure seems to start in the abdomen; a delicious warmth then spreads throughout the body, or at least the somatosensory cortex. After the intense euphoria, a period of tranquillity (“on the nod”) follows, lasting up to an hour. Experienced users will inject between 2-4 times per day. After taking heroin, some people feel cocooned and emotionally self-contained. Others feel stimulated and sociable. Either way, there is a profound sense of control and well-being. The euphoria gradually subsides into a dreamy and relaxed state of contentment. Higher doses of heroin normally make a person feel sleepy. At higher doses still, the user will nod off into a semi-conscious state. The effects usually wear off in 3-5 hours, depending on the dose. Heroin is not inherently toxic to the organ systems of the body. Whereas a 200-400mg dose of heroin could kill a novice, a chronic user may take 1800mg without ill-effects. But in prohibitionist society the mortality of street users is high.

Diacetylmorphine, or heroin, was first synthesized from morphine in 1874. It is formed simply by adding two acetyl groups. Heroin is around three times more potent than morphine. Its increased lipid solubility allows heroin to cross the blood-brain barrier more quickly. The drug is reconverted back to morphine before it binds to brain-tissue receptors. Pure heroin is a white, odourless powder with a bitter taste. Most illicit heroin, however, varies in color from white, pink/beige to dark brown. This is because of impurities left from the manufacturing process or the presence of additives.

In the late nineteenth century, it was fondly believed that if only one could filter out the “addictive” properties of opium, then one would capture its therapeutic essence. Heinrich Dreser, in charge of drug development at Bayer, tested the new semi-synthetic drug on animals, humans, and most notably himself. Dreser was impressed. He pronounced heroin an effective treatment for a variety of respiratory ailments, especially bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis.

Commercial production of heroin began in 1898. Heroin was advertised under its well-known trademark by German manufacturers Bayer as “the sedative for coughs”. The new wonder drug enjoyed widespread acceptance in the medical profession. This was because heroin induces a serene, un-manic euphoria with minimal interference with sensation, motor skills or intellect – though chronic opioid use typically diminishes the inclination to abstract thought.

Bayer was soon enthusiastically selling heroin to dozens of countries. Free samples were handed out to physicians. The medical profession remained largely unaware of the potential risk of addiction for years. Eventually news filtered out. Doctors noticed that some of their patients were consuming inordinate quantities of heroin-based cough remedies. It transpired that heroin was not the miracle-cure for morphinism that some of its early boosters had supposed. In 1913, Bayer halted production. They wrote the drug out of their official company history, and focused instead on marketing their second blockbuster drug, aspirin.

Comprehensive control of opiates in the United States was first established in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotic Act. In 1924, federal law made any use of heroin illegal. Within a decade, the Bureau of Narcotics had arrested some 50,000 users and 25,000 physicians. Most of the problems suffered by contemporary users derive, directly or indirectly, from the criminalisation of heroin use and the draconian penalties inflicted on those who take it. Likewise, most of the needless pain suffered by the physically ill today derives, directly or indirectly, from the demonisation of opioid drugs and from the reluctance of physicians to prescribe stigmatised remedies for pain that really work.

During World War One, newspaper editors, police forces, politicians and “patriots” whipped up a climate of hysteria against seditious “dope fiends” enslaved by “the German invention”. Heroin use was associated with anarchy, violence, foreigners and Bolshevism. Prohibition led inexorably to control of the heroin business by organised crime. Jewish gangsters such as Meyer Lansky dominated distribution in the 1920s. In the 1930s, they were superseded by the Mafia: this was the era of “Lucky” Luciano, the celebrated Sicilian mobster.

Drug law was widely flouted. In explaining the failure of decades of prohibitionist legislation, former chief of police of the USA, Joseph D McNamara, wrote in National Review

“It’s the money, stupid. After 33 years as a police officer in three of the country’s largest cities, that is my message to the righteous politicians who obstinately proclaim that a war on drugs will lead to a drug-free America. About $500 of heroin or cocaine in a source country will bring in as much as $100,000 on the streets of an American city. All the cops, armies, prisons and executions in the world cannot impede a market with that kind of tax-free profit-margin. It is the illegality that permits the obscene mark-up, enriching drug-traffickers, distributors, dealers, crooked cops, lawyers, judges, politicians, bankers, businessmen…”

Choking off the supply of narcotics at source isn’t a realistic prospect either. Myles Ambrose, one of President Nixon’s closest advisers in the War on Drugs, was scathing in his judgement of some of his fellow drug-warriors…

“…The basic fact that eluded these great geniuses was that it takes only ten square miles of poppy to feed the entire American heroin market, and they grow everywhere….”

Source: http://opioids.com/heroin.html


gentlemen smoking opium

“Narcotics have been systematically scapegoated and demonized. The idea that anyone can use drugs and escape a horrible fate is an anathema to these idiots. I predict that in the near future right-wingers will use drug hysteria as a pretext to set up an international police apparatus.”
William S. Burroughs
(1914 – 1997)

Underground Marijuana Farm Found at Short Mountain TN

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The “depths” some folks will go to.

Eliminating a bit of competition for the rogue U.S. government hard drug smuggling and perpetuating the fraudulent “war on drugs”, one grow operation at a time.


From the Cannon Courier – July 1, 2008