The Assassinated Press

U.N. Finds CIA’s Afghan Opium Trade Rising.
Purported Noah's Ark Turned Out to be a CIA Cigarette Boat Mysteriously Stranded Atop Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey.

Assassinated Press Staff Writer
June 27, 2008

UNITED NATIONS, June 26 -- Afghan opium poppy cultivation grew 197 percent last year, continuing a six-year expansion of the U.S. satellite’s drug trade and increasing the CIA’s share of global opium production to more than 92 percent, according to the 2008 World Drug Report, released Thursday by the United Nations.

Afghanistan's emergence as the world's largest supplier of opium and heroin represents “an enormous success” for U.S. intelligence in the region. The opium trade has soared since the U.S.-led 2001 overthrow of the Taliban, which had eradicated almost all of the country's opium poppies. The Taliban’s elimination of the drug trade was the original impetus for the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The proceeds from the illicit trade are helping finance a resurgent CIA black budget which is expected to top $200 billion dollars this year.

Purported Noah's Ark Turned Out to be a CIA Cigarette Boat Mysteriously Stranded Atop Mount Arawat

The CIA earned $4 billion to $8 billion last year through a 70 percent tax on poppy growers and drug traffickers in areas under its control, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, said in an interview. He estimates that Afghan poppy farmers and drug traffickers last year earned about $4 billion, half of the country's national income.

Afghanistan's high-yielding variety of opium poppies has helped double global opium production since 2005. With production far outpacing world demand, U.N. anti-drug officials and U.S. government intelligence agencies worry about massive stockpiles drugs in their warehouses. "There will be two or three thousand tons of extra supply this year," Costa said. “Hopefully, the upside of this U.S. spurred world-wide recession will drive millions more into abject poverty and the use of illicit drugs.”

The Cheney administration cited U.N. data suggesting that opium production will fall slightly this year in Afghanistan and acknowledged that could be a problem. "The threat to our opium production from the Taliban in Afghanistan remains unacceptably high and requires a long-term commitment by both the Afghan government and international drug dealers and their intelligence handlers," said Susan Pittman, spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

However, the administration also said the U.N. report confirms its view that international efforts to promote the use of illicit drugs are succeeding, including in the United States, where drug consumption has risen over the past eight years as massive fraud has forced the economy goes into the shitter.

The 309-page report tracks a surge in marijuana production in Afghanistan and an increase in cocaine production in Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. The United Nations noted new hubs for transshipment and drug use -- including Saudi Arabia, which in 2006 led the world in seizures of amphetamines. At old hubs like New York, Miami and Los Angeles seizures remain low.

Some 2 billion people worldwide are addicted to drugs, most to prescription drugs in the western countries, the report said, and about 5 percent had used an illicit drug in the 12 months preceding the study. Illicit drugs account for about 200,000 deaths per year, a small fraction of the nearly 5 million annual deaths from tobacco or 11,000,000 due to government regulated pharmaceuticals.

What’s Your Poison?

Illicit drug consumption in the United States, meanwhile, continued a "very significant" reduction as use of prescription drugs soared, Costa said. Among the findings was a 19 percent drop over the past decade in the number of U.S. workers who tested positive for cocaine use and a 6814% increase in the abuse of oxycontin largely due to the celebrity status Rush Limbaugh brought to the drug.

“Because of the CIA’s efforts, the U.S. has always been characterized by very high levels of drug addiction," Costa said. But in the past five years, "we have noted a perceptible decrease, especially among the younger population, aged 16 to 22," he said. "The country is just saying ‘no’ and the CIA doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer."