Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Young Men and Women are Giving Their Lives For This?

When Maxime Bernier was foreign minister he told his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, that “the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with building democracy in that country but has to do with the global control of the opium trade. It’s a drug war.”

Now he may have just been trying to impress her, but it would certainly appear that oil is not our only interest in the area.

The U.S. State Department admitted that heroin was a problem but suggested that only the "terrorists" were profiting:
"Opium is a source of literally billions of dollars to extremist and criminal groups... Cutting down the opium supply is central to establishing a secure and stable democracy, as well as winning the global war on terrorism," (Statement of Assistant Secretary of State Robert Charles. Congressional Hearing, 1 April 2004)
In 2006, the Associated Press reported: Opium cultivation out of control, U.N. says Afghan crops total 92 percent of world’s supply, exceed global consumption
Afghanistan’s world-leading opium cultivation rose a “staggering” 60 percent this year, the U.N. anti-drugs chief announced Saturday in urging the government to crack down on big traffickers and remove corrupt officials and police. The record crop yielded 6,100 tons of opium, or enough to make 610 tons of heroin — outstripping the demand of the world’s heroin users by a third, according to U.N. figures.
In 2008, Arthur Kent, formerly with NBC but now a freelance journalist covering the War in Afghanistan, reported that the Canadian government was well aware of the rampant corruption and drug trade, but exerted enormous message control to keep it from the public:
... most other foreign governments were distancing themselves from Karzai’s teetering regime. Western diplomats, including Canadians, were advising their political masters to discipline Karzai and his ministers, or risk seeing the government's tenuous legitimacy collapse completely. But Arif Lalani [our ambassador] and his superiors in Canada’s Conservative government were staunch in their support for Karzai - and busy staunching unflattering facts about his ministries and security services ...

“Lalani’s secrecy and censorship led to misunderstandings and poor decisions,” one high-ranking Canadian diplomat has told Skyreporter. He has asked that his name be withheld out of concern that his words will provoke the same harsh denunciation meted out last week by Harper government officials over the prisoner abuse revelations. “Lalani and David Mulroney were able to enforce a very narrow agenda, with no links leading back to them. It created a culture of non-accountability. Canadians really have no idea why the overall Afghan mission is doing so poorly, or who’s responsible.
And our ambassador was briefed on the drug trade and corruption:
I told him about the heroin trafficking scandal at Kabul Airport, just down the road. And was he aware that the Pentagon was filling the pockets of Hamid Wardak, the son of the regime’s defence minister, with contracts for his father’s Afghan National Army?
Arthur Kent is the brother of Harper's junior minister, the devious Peter Kent.

And speaking of brothers (great segue, huh?), Hamid Karzai's brother Ahmed Wali, appears to be in the thick of the Canadian government sanctioned criminal activity. According to the New York Times:
Ahmed Wali Karzai is the younger bother of Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan. He is a prominent political figure in the southern region of the country and leads the provincial council of Kandahar Province, the governing body for the region that includes Afghanistan's second largest city. He is also a suspected player in the country's booming illegal opium trade.
And now with the latest WikiLeak documents, it seems that our government may have been giving this alleged criminal, security contracts, at a time when the rest of the world tried to distance themselves from the man.

Karzai’s brother lobbied for role in Canada’s major aid project
The brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai lobbied aggressively for the contract to provide private security for Canada’s major aid project to rebuild the Dahla Dam in the country’s south, despite his “reputation for shady dealings,” according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.
It's time to rethink Afghanistan and say NO to three more years.

The Harper government is involved in enough corruption at home. We don't need to export it.


  1. Judge Jim Gray
    on The Six Groups Who Benefit From Drug Prohibition


    In 1992, Jim Gray, a conservative judge in conservative Orange County, California, held a press conference during which he recommended that we rethink our drug laws. Back then, it took a great deal of courage to suggest the war on drugs was a failed policy.

    Today, more and more Americans are coming to the realization that prohibition's costs—whether measured in lives and liberties lost or dollars wasted—far exceed any possible or claimed benefits.

    A law enforcement group claims passage of Prop 19, the marijuana legalization initiative on California's November ballot, would decriminalize an estimated 60,000 drug arrests made in the Golden State each year.

    So, who is the face of the nonprofit Law Enforcement Against Prohibition? None other than former prosecutor and Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray.

    "I was a drug warrior until I saw what was happening in my own courtroom,'' Gray said at a news conference announcing his group's endorsement of Prop 19 (via the Los Angeles Times' Catherine Saillant.)

    As the sometime Libertarian or Republican candidate for political office has been saying for years, he discovered as a judge that the so-called "War on Drugs" was not working.

    Indeed, Gray maintains current laws make it easier for children to get pot, not more difficult. That would change if weed was taxed and regulated by the government as tobacco and alcohol are, according to the former jurist.

    He was joined by former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, who cited White House statistics that show 60% of drug cartel money stems from marijuana sales.

    Using history as a guide, the cartels would disappear if grass was legal, said McNamara, noting that the bootleggers vanished after Prohibition ended.

    While Massachusetts-based Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which was founded in 2002, endorses Prop 19, the California Police Chiefs Association has come out against it.

    According to Saillant's piece, Gray believes many in law enforcement support legalization but can't say so.

    "They have a political job, so they can't tell the truth," he reportedly said. "People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired."