One million dead from US-backed Afghan opiates
The UN-decreed International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated on 26 June, this date commemorating Chinese hero Lin Zexu’s dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, an event that was a catalyst for the First Opium War of Britain versus China.Today Britain is complicit in the US Alliance restoration of Afghan opium industry that now kills 100,000 people annually around the world.
In 2003 the Australian National Drug Research Institute estimated that about 7 million people die annually due to drugs, the breakdown being 5 million (tobacco), 1.8 million (alcohol) and 0.2 million due to illicit drugs (with opiates being involved in about 60% of such illicit drug deaths) (see National Drug Research Institute, “Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs responsible for seven million preventable deaths world-wide”).
The Anglo-American domination of the world drug trade began in the 17th century with exploitation of American tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) that now kills about 6 million people annually (for the biochemistry see my huge pharmacological book “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds”. Europeans dominate the world alcohol trade (about 2 million deaths annually). The British conquest of Bengal and thence of the Indian sub-continent as a whole converted a highly sophisticated economy to a slave economy with a deadly partial transition from food for human life to opium for export that is mirrored in the current Western food for biofuel perversion. Indian opium was exported to China in exchange for silver and tea. Chinese opposition to the opium trade led to the 19th century Opium Wars and the Tai Ping rebellion that cost 20-100 million lives. An estimated 1.8 billion Indians died avoidably under 2 centuries of brutal British rule that were characterized by repeated, devastating famines from the1769-1770 Bengali Famine (10 million killed) to the1942-1945 WW2 Bengali Holocaust (6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British under Churchill in 1943-1945) (see “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” by Gideon Polya: ; Paul Greenough's “Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal: the Famine of 1943-1944”; “Churchill’s Secret War” by Madhusree Mukerjee; “Three Famines” by Tom Keneally; and “A Short History of Asia” by Colin Mason).
The post-war collapse of the Western colonial empires permitted the American domination of the former colonial world. The US invaded over 30 countries after WW2 and the drug trade was an important adjunct to US Cold War strategy from Latin America to South East Asia (see “Rogue State” by William Blum). The US-backed opiate trade in Indo-China was exported back to the US where the drug trade has devastated Black America in particular, thereby blocking a major political king-maker role for African-Americans. The Afghan opium industry was only about 20% of the limited world opiate trade back in 1980, shortly after the US-backed ousting of a pro-woman socialist government of Afghanistan and US success in getting a Russian invasion. However the opium industry grew to 35% of world share by 1989 when the defeated Russians left and escalated further in the subsequent civil war. When the Taliban decided to ban opium production in 2000 the Afghan opium production was about 69% of the world production.
According to the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) “Afghanistan. Annual opium poppy survey 2001” (piii): “An estimated 185 metric tones (MT) of raw opium was produced in Afghanistan in 2001. This would suggest a large reduction in opium production of 94% from the 2000 total of 3,276 MT and a reduction of 96% from the record high of 4,582 MT reported by the 1999 survey.” The 2000 Taliban ban on Afghan opium production caused a 94% drop in output. However by 2002 US occupation had restored Afghan opium production to more than the 2000 level and to 76% of world market share in 2002 and to 92% of world market share by 2006 (see UNODC, Executive summary, UNODC World Drug Report 2010; see also p34, UNODC World Drug Report 2009).
For the world and Afghan opium production statistics from 1980 to 2009 see UNODC, “Addiction, crime and insurgency”.
The US-backed Afghan opium industry has had a devastating effect on Russia, Iran and Pakistan but what is a huge human tragedy for these US-threatened and US-defamed countries is, one supposes, secretly regarded as a great policy success by the murderous, racist, neocon Americans. In relation to global attempts to interdict opiate drugs, according to UNODC World Drug Report 2010 (p12): “The largest [opiate] seizures continue to be reported from the countries neighboring Afghanistan, notably the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan” According to the 2009 UNODC World Drug Report (p49) in descending order off effectiveness the world’s leading countries for interdiction of opium in 2007 were Iran (84% of interdictions), Afghanistan (10%), Pakistan (3%), Tajikistan (0.5%), Turkmenistan (0.4%), India (0.3%).
It is notable that (a) the leading countries in interdicting US-protected Afghan opiate exports are countries with major Muslim populations and (b) for the last 2 decades a stridently anti-Muslim and Islamophobic US has been conducting a brutal global war against Muslim countries. War-related deaths total 4.6 million (Iraq, 1990-2011), 2.1 million (Somalia, 1992-2011) and 5.0 million (Afghanistan, 2001-2011), these estimates being consonant with under-5 infant deaths totaling 2.0 million, 1.3 million and 2.7 million, respectively, in the same periods, and refugees totaling 5-6 million, 2.0 million and 3-4 million, respectively.
While US-occupied Afghanistan is responsible for about 90% of world opium production, substantial opium production occurs in Myanmar (as a leftover from the Indo-China war era, US-dominated South East Asian opiate trade ) and in US-suborned Latin America. Thus the UNODC’s 2010 World Drug Report states (p20) that “Although Afghanistan is the source of most of the world’s illicit opiates (6,300 mt [million tones] of opium or 89% of the world total in 2009), significant quantities are also produced in Myanmar (330 mt) and Latin America (notably in Mexico and Colombia). Since 2003, Mexico has been the world’s third largest source of opium, and the quantities produced in 2008 (325 mt) came close to the quantities produced Myanmar in 2009”.
The disastrous global health consequences of the US-backed opium trade are summarized by the UNODC World Drug Report 2011 (Executive Summary p14): “In terms of health consequences of drug use, the global average prevalence of HIV among injecting drug users is estimated at 17.9%, or equivalently, 2.8 million people who inject drugs are HIV positive. This means that nearly one in five injecting drug users is living with HIV. The prevalence of Hepatitis C among injecting drug users at the global level is estimated at 50% (range 545.2%-5.3%), suggesting that there are 8.0 million (range: 7.2-8.8 million) injecting drug users world-wide who are also infected with HCV. Deaths related to or associated with the use of illicit drugs are estimated between 104,000 and 265,000 deaths each year, equivalent to a range of 23.1 to 58.7 deaths per one million inhabitants aged 15-64. Over half of the deaths are estimated to be fatal overdoes cases.”
The UNODC report “Addiction, crime and insurgency” estimates that the Afghan opiate trade kills 100,000 people each year including 30,000-40,000 Russians; has generated 1 million Iranian opiate addicts; and has caused an HIV epidemic in Central Asia. This UNODC report comments; “These numbers suggest that the Afghan opium trade is a well-funded threat to nations”.
Nevertheless media, academics and politicians in the Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist (NAZI)-beholden Western Murdochracy and Lobbyocracies simply look the other way, even when huge numbers of their own countrymen fall victim to the US Alliance-protected Afghan opiate drug trade.
Thus the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) provides the following information about annual drug -related deaths for various EU countries, specifically 1,284 (Germany, 2007), 333 (France, 2007), 129 (Netherlands, 2008), 530 (Italy, 2002), and 2,231 (UK, 2008). The UK estimate of 2,231 drug deaths per year in 2008 is corroborated by the UNODC estimate of 2,278 (UNODC World Drug Report 2008). According to the EMCDDA, at least about 60% of drug deaths involve opiates for most EU countries (excepting France where it is evidently only about 50%).
Accordingly, we can estimate that annual UK drug deaths associated with the US-backed Afghan opium industry total about 0.9 x 0.6 x 2,278 = 1,230 and in the last 9.7 years since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 have totaled 11,900. The corresponding figures are 150 pa and 1,450 (France), 693 pa and 6,720 (Germany), 290 pa and 2,780 (Italy), and 70 pa and 680 (Netherlands).
It is estimated that about 350 Australians die each year from US Alliance restoration of the Afghan opium industry and a total of 3,400 such deaths have occurred since the invasion of Afghanistan. The corresponding figures for Canada are about 780 pa and 7,600 since October 2001.
According to the UNODC (2009) “The United States saw 38,400 deaths from illicit drug use in 2006”. This corresponds to 0.6 x 0.9 x 38,400 = 20,740 pa and 201,000 US opiate drug deaths since October 2001 due to US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry. Global deaths from US Alliance restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry now total about 1 million.
In contrast, US Alliance military deaths in Afghanistan now total 27 (Australia), 156 (Canada), 1,637 (the US), 374 (the UK), 62 (France), 53 (Germany), 36 (Italy) and 25 (the Netherlands).
The Anglo-American opiate drug trade started in a big way in the 18th century (indeed Harvard and Yale were generously supported by the activities of the opium-trading East India Company). In the last 2 decades the US Alliance War on Muslims (in horrible reality mostly a cowardly and genocidal war on Arab, Asian, African, and non-European Muslim women and children) has actively or passively killed about 12 million people in the US and US surrogate war zones of Occupied Iraq, Occupied Somalia and Occupied Afghanistan, with war-related deaths totaling 4.6 million, 2.1 million and 5.0 million, respectively, under-5 infant deaths totaling 2.0 million, 1.3 million and 2.7 million, respectively, and refugees totaling 5-6 million, 2.0 million and 3-4 million, respectively.
However global opiate drug-related deaths from US restoration of the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry now total about 1 million with 200,000 such deaths in the US, 11,900 in the UK, 7,600 in Canada, 3,400 in Australia, 6,700 (Germany), 1,450 (France), 2,800 (Italy) and 680 (the Netherlands). In contrast, US Alliance military deaths in Afghanistan now total 27 (Australia), 156 (Canada), 1,637 (the US), 374 (the UK), 62 (France), 53 (Germany), 36 (Italy) and 25 (the Netherlands).
Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Decent people must (a) inform everyone they can about this US Alliance-imposed carnage and (b) both urge and take sensible action through Sanctions and Boycotts against all people and politicians, corporations and countries complicit in this US Alliance War on Humanity.
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|William John Cox|
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