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

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was written by Dr.Michel Chossudovsky, an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Originally published at GlobalResearch.ca, this article exposes one of many reasons why war on this planet seems to be continuous. Soldiers don't seem to be fighting for our protection and freedom, but are made to believe they are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flash back to to 2000-2001.

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

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

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

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

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

Immediately following the invasion (October 7, 2001) and the occupation of Afghanistan by US-NATO troops, the production of opium regained its historical levels.

In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.” (see Michel Chossudovsky, op cit.)  

Since 2001, according to UNODC, the production of opium has increased 50 times, (compared to 185 ton in 2001) reaching 9000 metric tons in 2017. It has almost tripled in relation to its historical levels. (See Figure 1 below)

Heroin Addiction in the US

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey (released in May 2018) by UNODC confirms that the farm areas allocated to opium are of the order of 328,000 hectares with opium production in excess of 9,000 tons.  

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

It is worth noting that in 2010 UNODC modified the concepts and figures on opium sales and heroin production, as outlined by the  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

UNODC estimates that a large proportion of the Afghan opium harvest is not processed into heroin or morphine” (UNODC, 2010a). …EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis, EMCDDA, Lisbon, January 2013 emphasis added.

What this new methodology has done is to obfuscate the size and criminal nature of the Afghan drug trade, intimating –without evidence– that up to 20% of Afghan opium is no longer channeled towards the illegal heroin market.

More than Half a Trillion Dollars

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

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

Estimation

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

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

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

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

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

In December 2016, the heroin price per gram pure (PPG) was of the order of $902 in the US, according to DEA intelligence  ie. $902,000 a kilo.

Heroin Prices in the UK

In the UK which is the entry point of Afghan heroin into the EU market, the recorded retail price (according to a 2015 estimate quoted by the Guardian) is consistent with that estimated for the US market by the DEA:

“An imported kilo [of heroin] cut at 25% street purity provides enough raw material for 16,000 individual deals at £10 a hit – pushing the takings to £160,000 [a kilo] (The Guardian, December 20, 2015)

GBP160,000 (25% purity) converts into GBP 640,000 per kilo for pure heroin, ie. approximately  US$960,000 per kilo (December 2015 GBP USD exchange rate).

Rough Estimate of the  Monetary Value of  Afghanistan’s Global Heroin Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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16 Months of Hidden Camera Footage Shows What Happens At “Humane” Dairy Farms

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Hidden cameras were set u across dairy farms that market themselves as "humane," "free range," and "organic." These labels truly mean nothing when it comes to how the entire dairy industry treats these animals, as the hidden camera footage shows.

  • Reflect On:

    When we've been made to believe something for so long and we are confronted with the idea that it's not true, it can cause cognitive dissonance. In today's day in age, it's best to keep an open mind and question our actions. What are we doing?

The practice of drinking cow’s milk begs the question, for the mass consumption of human beings, can it really be done in any sort of humane or ethical way? It’s hard to think of a way it could be, given the simple fact that for one, a cow has to give birth in order to produce milk for their young. This means that if you are going to provide the masses with the milk of a cow, you’re going to have to forcefully impregnate a cow, which today on most farms is done by artificial insemination. Second of all, the milk needs to be preserved for humans, so the baby is prevented from taking the mothers milk and is usually separated from the mother and taken away to be used for beef. Male calves are of no use to the dairy industry and generally less suitable for beef production. This means that every year around 90,000 male dairy calves in the UK are shot soon after birth and discarded as a by-product. Dairy cows are sent to slaughter after around 4 – 6 years, or when they are too weak to continue producing milk. Their natural lifespan is around 25 years.

From the perspective of the animal, and hopefully the human, it’s heart-breaking, depressing and hard, and the animals are predominately kept in terrible conditions. These animals love, they fear, they think and contemplate. They are emotional just like us, and it’s our lack of ability to see ourselves in all other life that continues this pattern.

One of the latest examples comes from footage captured by hidden camera’s that were set up across dairy farms in the United Kingdom by Dismantle Dairy.

We’ve Been Brainwashed Into Thinking A Cow’s Milk Is Necessary.

Calcium has been the backbone of big food companies that have marketed cow’s milk to human beings. These are big corporations that, through lobbying, have basically dictated government policy when it comes to what’s distributed as ‘food education’ in many different countries. It’s ironic, because calcium is largely available in many plant forms. Furthermore, casein, the protein found in dairy, actually triggers something called metabolic acidosis. This happens when the body produces too much acid and becomes very acidic, which can be caused by multiple things, including the absorption of casein found in animal protein. In order to compensate for this condition, the body actually leeches calcium out of its bones, this helps neutralize the increased acidity.

Animal protein in general has been shown to be harmful to human health, while plant protein shows the opposite. You can read more about that here in this heavily sourced article.

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Perhaps this is why multiple studies show that drinking milk from a cow leads to an increased mortality rate and actually makes bones more prone to fracturing, not less. One example would be this giant study from researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden.

This became known to me through the work of Dr. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University. Scholars like Campbell are vital to the world, because they are among the few who actually examine and study nutrition and health, something that our modern day medical industry completely ignores. You can watch a video of him explaining, here. Dr. Campbell also discovered that animal protein (casein) can accelerate and “turn on” cancer, while plant based protein has the opposite effect. You can read more about that and which him explain in this article.

If we look at all other animals who don’t consume the milk of another animal or after weaning, it is because they do not have the enzymes to break down the sugar found in milk. We are no different, and this explains why in some ethnic populations around the world, lactose intolerance is present in 90 percent of the population. A staggering 70 percent of the world’s population has some degree of lactose intolerance. Humans actually never had this enzyme, and to digest the sugar in cow’s milk, we had to develop the LTC gene, which was acquired by mutation. This is the lactase gene, which allows us to process lactose as adults. Clearly, we are not doing what is natural and in accordance with our bodies. I first came across this information from Katherine S. Pollard, a PhD at the University of California, San Francisco, in this lecture.

More doctors are waking up, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recently submitted a citizen petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change labeling on cheese to include a cancer warning.

The petition states:

High-fat dairy products, such as cheese, are associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Components in dairy such as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and other growth hormones may be among the reasons for the increased risk for cancer.

To ensure that Americans understand the potential significant risks, and resulting long-term costs, of consuming dairy cheese products, the FDA should ensure that the notice above is prominently placed on product packaging and labeling for all dairy cheese products.

The list goes on and on, what’s presented in this article is simply a tidbit with regards to why big milk is going out of business. People are waking up. It’s just not necessary.

Perhaps the biggest indication that people are waking up is the fact that Dean foods, the largest milk producer in the United States has filed for bankruptcy. You can read more about that here.

When it comes to health and cruelty, it’s not just dairy, it’s also meat-eating as well. It’s very in-humane, not all that healthy, and is also destroying our planet.

You can read this article for more information about that: Another Study Suggests That Human Beings Are Not Designed To Eat Meat

Let’s not forget about that animal agriculture is also destroying our planet. There is simply nothing good about dairy, period. It’s truly hard to make an argument in favour of it.

The Takeaway

Why are human beings forced into believing things that aren’t true, and that ruthlessly defend them so much? It’s because our consciousness is used against us, and with regards to various topics, we’ve been made to believe the opposite of truth for the purposes of control, profit, greed and ego. Many may have a hard time accepting that our federal health regulatory agencies, or big corporations for example can be so corrupt, but they are. The positive thing is that many truths are not surfacing, as truth cannot stay hidden for long. We live in a world with beautiful people, and there are many great things about our planet. Compassion and empathy are returning to our planet, and that’s the backbone as to why the dairy industry continues to struggle. Let’s keep the awareness going! How have we been made to believe that it’s ok to treat other lifeforms in the manner that we treat them?

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The US Tried To Detonate A Nuke On The Moon – USAF Colonel Says ‘Someone’ Intervened When We Did

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Documents as well as witness testimony from high ranking people with verified backgrounds point to the idea that extraterrestrials have tampered with and disarmed our nuclear weapons on more than one occasion.

  • Reflect On:

    With so much corroborating evidence, it's clear that something is going on which is why the mainstream has started to take this seriously. But why are stories like this never presented by the mainstream, are they trying to control the narrative?

Did the United States try and detonate a nuclear weapon on the Moon? Well, there is a slew of declassified documents that clearly show it was a deep desire for the United States to do so. These documents were heavily classified, and you can be assured that if the United States did, or at least did attempt what they were planning to do, it would remain highly classified and away from public knowledge. A declassified report by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center from June 1959 shows just how seriously they considered the plan. It was called Project A119, and it outlines the desire of the government to investigate the capability of weapons in space, as well as gain further insight into the space environment and the detonation of nuclear devices within it, hence why they wanted to detonate a nuke on the Moon.

Again, it’s s just one of multiple documents that show a high level of interest with regards to detonating weapons on the Moon. There are even strange documents with regards to supposed bases on the Moon. To complement the disclosed desire is the testimony of a very interesting person, Colonel Ross Dedrickson. Dedrickson was a real whistleblower, meaning his background can be verified, he actually was who he says he was. In the episode below we present multiple documents that show this, including a list from the Air Force registrar as well as a document from the atomic energy commission. He is one of hundreds of high ranking people to discuss and share his experiences with UFOs and what he knows and extraterrestrials. He is one of many who specially worked close with nuclear weapons.

He was assigned to the US Atomic Energy Commission and served with them from 1950-1958. His job dealt with the administration duties at Nevada test sites, Pacific Nuclear Test Areas west of Hawaii, nuclear weapon manufacturing and quality assurance in Albuquerque, and inspection of nuclear and non-nuclear facilities throughout the country.

In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, founder Joe Martino and I go in deeper into the discussion of the desire of the United States to test nuclear weapons on the Moon for scientific purposes, measurements and such. We also present the video testimony of Ross Dedrickson, which show his claims that yes, the US did attempt transporting nuclear weapons to the Moon, but extraterrestrials destroyed the weapon before it they got there, according to him. We go deep into the connection between nuclear weapons and UFOs and provide more evidence in the form of documentation and witness testimony from more high ranking military personnel , as well as dive deeper into the discussion about possible extraterrestrials and their interest in our nuclear weapons as it seems that, on more than one occasion, they’ve destroyed and or deactivated these weapons of ours.

The clip below is just the introduction, for the full episode and hundreds of other inspiring shows and interviews, you can start a free 7-day trial on CETV today and watch it. We created this platform in an attempt to stay alive and allow us to continue to do what we do as we are experiencing tremendous amounts of censorship from social media platforms

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Princeton Study: The U.S. Is Not ‘Losing’ Its Democracy, It’s Already Long Gone

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A Princeton University study found that the United States operates much more as an Oligarchy than as a Democracy.

  • Reflect On:

    Can the current system be fixed or do we need to walk away from it to get what we really want?

The notion that citizens of the United States don’t actually live in a democracy has been picking up steam for decades, with scars from economic, social and political decay inflicting themselves ever more deeply into our psyches as the years move on.

You would think that, with the rise of science and technology, we would have been able to build a far more prosperous nation. Instead, we have seen a vast reduction in our standard of living, and are being forced to work longer and harder in increasingly menial and unfulfilling jobs across the board. We are ever more being subjected to the control-hungry vicissitudes of mega-corporations that are swallowing up American entrepreneurship and prosperous self-employment.

The notion that we as individuals are failing ourselves as a nation, and somehow have earned the massive and growing national debt as a result of our own poor decisions and ineptitude, is only valid if you still believe that we are living in a democracy, where the majority of individuals directly make policy. If in fact the United States ever fully operated this way, the least we can say is that our democracy is currently broken.

Of course, if you are in the small coterie of economic elites at the top of the pyramid, you don’t feel that anything is broken. In fact, in the back rooms where all the important meetings take place, you likely spend part of the time congratulating each other because things are going exactly according to plan.

Princeton Study

A study by two political scientists at Princeton and Northwestern, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, analyzed 1,779 recent policy outcomes found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” while average citizens “have little or no independent influence.”

The research had two parts: First, they measured the amount of political influence various groups have in America. Then, they checked this against some technical definitions of democracy, oligarchy, and other forms of government.

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In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe Martino and I discuss this study and the broader notion of whether the system itself is simply broken and can be fixed, or if we should start thinking about how we can move away from it altogether. The opening clip is below, and for the full episode and hundreds of other inspiring shows and interviews, you can start a free 7-day trial on CETV today.

The Wealthy Have More Influence

The chart below shows how much political influence different groups have in America today. Not only do the wealthy have the most influence, ordinary voters have basically none.

To have “political influence” in this case means that Congress responds to you by passing the laws and policies you like. Low influence means you’re ignored — Congress passes laws that have no relationship to what you want.

Special interest groups also have sway over public policy. The researchers divided them into two types. “Mass” interest groups, which represent large groups of organized citizens, have a small amount of power. Business groups, like trade associations, have a moderate amount, likely because they can afford to spend more on lobbying and political donations.

None of this means that ordinary people never get what they want from Congress. Sometimes public opinion data matched up with things Congress actually did. However the vast majority were also outcomes favored by the wealthy and business interests. Statistically speaking, the government doesn’t care what 90% of Americans think.

America Is an Oligarchy

The authors defined four possible systems we might have: (1) democracy, (2) oligarchy, or semi-democratic systems dominated by (3) interest groups generally or (4) business groups especially. You can look at the chart below and judge for yourself: America in 2014 matches mostly with the oligarchy model — an oligarchy of wealthy individuals. In fact, the general public has even less influence than it does in a typical oligarchy model.

The problem here isn’t the existence of wealth, or that wealthy Americans have political opinions. It’s that the government is representing only 10% of the American people. Everyone else is living with something less than democracy.

The authors make the following observations: Organized groups regularly lobby and fraternize with public officials; move through revolving doors between public and private employment; provide self-serving information to officials; draft legislation; and spend a great deal of money on election campaigns.

At its heart, this is a problem of corruption – caused by money in our political system. Such corruption is fundamentally opposed to the ideals of our republic because “the public is likely to be a more certain guardian of its own interests than any feasible alternative.”

The Takeaway

While some might argue that introducing new campaign finance laws as well as anti-corruption legislation is the answer, we have to remember that the foxes remain in charge of the hen house, and there is always resistance from lawmakers to introduce, implement, and enforce legislation that will reduce their power and ultimately find them guilty of having obtained their power through corrupt means. More than likely this problem will only get solved when we amass the collective will to walk away from this system, and create one that is more aligned with our values and aspirations.

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