Tag Archives: bush

George W. Bush Tells Jeb to ‘Run,’ Says Jeb vs. Hillary Would Make ‘Fantastic Photo’


George W. Bush Tells Jeb to ‘Run,’ Says Jeb vs. Hillary Would Make ‘Fantastic Photo’

Rick Klein

By Rick Klein

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Former President George W. Bush says he isn’t interested in playing on the national political stage any longer. But for family, he’s making an exception.

Asked in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer whether he thinks his brother former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush should run for president in 2016, the ex-president was unequivocal.

“He’d be a marvelous candidate if he chooses to do so. He doesn’t need my counsel ’cause he knows what it is, which is ‘run,’ ” the elder Bush brother said about Jeb’s possible candidacy, in an interview that first aired Wednesday on “World News with Diane Sawyer.” “But whether he does or not, it’s a very personal decision.”

The former president even allowed himself to picture the potential 2016 matchup: Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. It would be a family rematch of the 1992 election, when George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton.

“It’ll be a fantastic photo here. It would certainly eclipse the museum and the center,” Bush said on the eve of the formal opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University, just outside Dallas. “I’m interested in politics. I’m, you know, I’m fascinated by all the gossip and stuff that goes on. But the field won’t be become clear ’til after the midterms.”

Asked for a word of advice to the Republican Party, the former president struck an optimistic note amid rounds of GOP soul-searching: “You will exist in the future,” he said with a smile.

On several major issues, though, Bush made clear he’s staying away from day-to-day political battles.

With some Republicans calling for immigration reform to be slowed down in the wake of terrorist attack in Boston apparently carried out by two immigrants, the former president brought up his previous support for comprehensive reform but said he wouldn’t be commenting on specific legislation.

“I’m a strong advocate in reforming a broken system,” Bush said. “It’s a difficult issue for members of Congress to deal with. And they’re just gonna have to figure out how best to deal with a very complex issue. And I don’t know all the particulars of the bill. I do know the system is not working.”

Bush also took a pass on the issue of gun control and expanded background checks, which he voiced support for as president.

“There’s a lotta issues that people would like to get my opinion on, and I really decided to stay out of the public arena,” he said.

He took a similar tack on gay marriage, which Bush opposes — a position that puts him at odds with his former vice president, Dick Cheney; his 2004 campaign manager, Ken Mehlman; and his wife, Laura, and daughter Barbara.

“No, but thank you for trying,” Bush said when asked whether he’d like to explain his position in that fast-evolving debate. “I’m not weighing in on issues. … See, you’re either in or out.”
SOURCE

2016 Hillary-Michelle ‘Dream Ticket’

2016 Hillary-Michelle ‘Dream Ticket’ floated

Paul Bedard

Hillary Clinton hasn’t stepped into the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries yet and there’s already buzz growing for the ultimate grrl power ticket: Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama.

“All due respect for President Obama and Vice President Biden, but that would truly be a dream team for America,” said former Clinton spokeswoman Karen Finney. “Both women are proven effective leaders who’ve raise children, so dealing with Congress would be a snap!” added Finney, also a former Democratic Party spokeswoman.

“More than anything else, this reflects the growing awareness that it is time for the glass ceiling of the last old boys club to be firmly shattered,” added Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.

It’s not just talk. Bumper stickers reading “2016-Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama,” and “Hillary-Michelle 2016 First First Lady Ticket For President” are popping up. Cafe Press said sales of the Hillary-Michelle bumper sticker saw a 60% increase from December to March, with the largest uptick in March.
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“I look forward to the day when a woman can run for the presidency without so much parody and fanfare,” said former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile.

Democratic strategists say that Clinton is a lock to get into the race. Not only is she far ahead of Biden and others in polls, she still has a strong donor network from her 2008 campaign. Former advisor Terry McAuliffe recently told Secrets that she will make up her mind next year. President Obama has also talked Clinton up, choosing her as the only retiring Cabinet secretary to hold an outgoing “60 Minutes” interview with.

Recently, there has been some talk that Obama would be a good Illinois Senate candidate after the White House, much like Clinton, who ran for and won a Senate seat in New York. But teaming her with Clinton would create a political and fundraising force that would be impossible to beat on the Democratic side.

Pollster John Zogby, however, questions if the ticket would sell. “Hillary and Michelle are both very popular and accomplished, but this smacks of too much celebrity and is a tad too dynastic for American voters,” he said. “An interesting reality show, yes. A ticket, no.”

And if they did run and win, questions would turn to the husbands. Suggested Finney: “They could play golf and help support their wive’s agenda.”

CNN Reporter Candy Crowley: Related to ‘Satan’s Chief of Staff’ Aleister Crowley & Bush Family?

CNN Reporter Candy Crowley: Related to ‘Satan’s Chief of Staff’ Aleister Crowley & Bush Family?

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After learning that CNN reporter Candy Crowley was to moderate the upcoming Presidential debates October 16, 2012 I was compelled to share the visual comparison, between the CNN reporter and the most wicked, proponent of Satanism that has ever stalked the earth. Put a wig and makeup on Aleister Crowley http://www.freedumbnation.com/?p=2637 and you have CNN reporter Candy Crowley. Their faces are identical in shape, along with the nose. Both noses are bulbous, especially on the left side. There are a number of pictures out there that support this claim, but I hope you see our point. Couple this with the fact, that Candy Crowley, is the cousin of George Bush Jr and there is strong evidence, that supports the claim that Aleister Crowley is Barbara Bush’s biological father. You know the wife of George H.W. Bush, former CIA Director, the man who brought Agenda 21 http://www.freedumbnation.com/?p=1130 to the shores of the United States and finally the man who said American should swear allegiance to the United Nations under a ‘New World Order’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chm7vStGV5I Most people don’t know this but Barber Bush was the women who placed her dead baby in a mason jar and kept it on her bedroom dresser. Her son George Bush Jr. said that his mother would take the jar out and show it to him on a regular basis. That’s completely normal right?

It’s noteworthy to mention, that Aleister Crowley was a ‘man’ who referred to himself on a regular basis as ‘Satan’s Chief of Staff’… And it’s his unholy spawn, Candy Crowley, who will be on stage with Barack Hussein Obama October 16, 2012. Let’s not forget that Barack Hussein Obama, is an avowed Muslim who, on several occasions, has mocked Jesus Christ in public and who wears a ring on his finger that reads ‘Allah is the one and only true God’. Christians, do not refer to Jesus Christ or God as ‘Allah’. The truth of the matter is, our Nation is 80% Christian, and yet we have reached an unfathomable depth of depravity and immorality. How lost, we really are as a Nation, becomes quite clear, when you take an inventory of the types of ‘leaders’ we are electing, year after year. It’s this demonic infrastructure that’s misrepresenting the true nature of America. You know, the America that donates more than any other Nation, when/if there is a natural disaster, in fill-in-the-blank Country… The America, that rushes towards danger instead of away from danger. America must realize that we have an avowed Muslim, Christ mocking President, a ‘Catholic’ Vice President who is outspoken for his support of infanticide, abortion and the 1969 Planned Parenthood Gay agenda. Former President and CIA Director of the United States George H.W. Bush, was involved in the assassination of one of our greatest U.S. Presidents JFK. http://thedarklegacy.com And the man who brought the Constitution killing Agenda 21 and New World Order to the United States. In regards to JFK, it was JFK who made a speech shortly before his murder that targeted ‘secret societies’ and called for the dismantling of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was the intention of JFK, to put the American people, back in control of our currency. President Lincoln met with the same fate, because of his strong opposition to a ‘New World Order’ or privately held Central Banking Corporation. http://rense.com/general86/pres.htm Then we have one of the most celebrated Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, http://www.freedumbnation.com/?p=2224&doing_wp_cron=1350346402.4020030498504638671875 a ‘swinging’ demon with a well documented hatred for the American people and our U.S. Military. Much like George Soros, http://www.freedumbnation.com/?p=2715&doing_wp_cron=1350346513.8723049163818359375000 Henry Kissinger escaped death, at the hands of the Nazi’s, when he and his family were allowed to entire into the United States. Let’s not forget, how this demon Kissinger described our brave U.S. military men, when he said: “Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” Then we have the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, Council on Foreign Relations, Rhodes scholar, campaign foreign policy advisor to presidential candidates John Kerry and Michael Dukakis, member of Bill Clintons National Security Council and assistant secretary of state for Africa, member of the Brookings Institute (funded by the Ford Foundation, Rockefellers and Rothschilds), and member of the Aspen Strategy Group (teeming with Bilderberg insiders such as Richard Armitage, Brent Scowcroft, and Madeleine Albright). The list of representatives of Satan, in Washington are too many to list, but we hope you get the gist of our article. American children should be taught more about the Byzantine Empire, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_Empire and less about Carl Marx, Lennon, Mao, Stalin and Islam. SOURCE

FBI StagedTerror Plots – Convincing You the Threat is Real

Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.

By DAVID K. SHIPLER

War on Terror – Saving us from ourselves.

THE United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

When an Oregon college student, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel to make the van smell flammable. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust.

This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.

Carefully orchestrated sting operations usually hold up in court. Defendants invariably claim entrapment and almost always lose, because the law requires that they show no predisposition to commit the crime, even when induced by government agents. To underscore their predisposition, many suspects are “warned about the seriousness of their plots and given opportunities to back out,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman. But not always, recorded conversations show. Sometimes they are coaxed to continue.

Undercover operations, long practiced by the F.B.I., have become a mainstay of counterterrorism, and they have changed in response to the post-9/11 focus on prevention. “Prior to 9/11 it would be very unusual for the F.B.I. to present a crime opportunity that wasn’t in the scope of the activities that a person was already involved in,” said Mike German of the American Civil Liberties Union, a lawyer and former F.B.I. agent who infiltrated white supremacist groups. An alleged drug dealer would be set up to sell drugs to an undercover agent, an arms trafficker to sell weapons. That still happens routinely, but less so in counterterrorism, and for good reason.

“There isn’t a business of terrorism in the United States, thank God,” a former federal prosecutor, David Raskin, explained.

“You’re not going to be able to go to a street corner and find somebody who’s already blown something up,” he said. Therefore, the usual goal is not “to find somebody who’s already engaged in terrorism but find somebody who would jump at the opportunity if a real terrorist showed up in town.”

And that’s the gray area. Who is susceptible? Anyone who plays along with the agents, apparently. Once the snare is set, law enforcement sees no choice. “Ignoring such threats is not an option,” Mr. Boyd argued, “given the possibility that the suspect could act alone at any time or find someone else willing to help him.”

Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech — comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on Web sites, e-mails with radicals overseas — then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons working in exchange for leniency, or with F.B.I. agents posing as members of Al Qaeda or other groups.

Some targets have previous involvement in more than idle talk: for example, Waad Ramadan Alwan, an Iraqi in Kentucky, whose fingerprints were found on an unexploded roadside bomb near Bayji, Iraq, and Raja Khan of Chicago, who had sent funds to an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.

But others seem ambivalent, incompetent and adrift, like hapless wannabes looking for a cause that the informer or undercover agent skillfully helps them find. Take the Stinger missile defendant James Cromitie, a low-level drug dealer with a criminal record that included no violence or hate crime, despite his rants against Jews. “He was searching for answers within his Islamic faith,” said his lawyer, Clinton W. Calhoun III, who has appealed his conviction. “And this informant, I think, twisted that search in a really pretty awful way, sort of misdirected Cromitie in his search and turned him towards violence.”

THE informer, Shahed Hussain, had been charged with fraud, but avoided prison and deportation by working undercover in another investigation. He was being paid by the F.B.I. to pose as a wealthy Pakistani with ties to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group that Mr. Cromitie apparently had never heard of before they met by chance in the parking lot of a mosque.

“Brother, did you ever try to do anything for the cause of Islam?” Mr. Hussain asked at one point.

“O.K., brother,” Mr. Cromitie replied warily, “where you going with this, brother?”

Two days later, the informer told him, “Allah has more work for you to do,” and added, “Revelation is going to come in your dreams that you have to do this thing, O.K.?” About 15 minutes later, Mr. Hussain proposed the idea of using missiles, saying he could get them in a container from China. Mr. Cromitie laughed.

Reading hundreds of pages of transcripts of the recorded conversations is like looking at the inkblots of a Rorschach test. Patterns of willingness and hesitation overlap and merge. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Mr. Cromitie said, and then explained that he meant women and children. “I don’t care if it’s a whole synagogue of men.” It took 11 months of meandering discussion and a promise of $250,000 to lead him, with three co-conspirators he recruited, to plant fake bombs at two Riverdale synagogues.

“Only the government could have made a ‘terrorist’ out of Mr. Cromitie, whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in its scope,” said Judge Colleen McMahon, sentencing him to 25 years. She branded it a “fantasy terror operation” but called his attempt “beyond despicable” and rejected his claim of entrapment.

The judge’s statement was unusual, but Mr. Cromitie’s characteristics were not. His incompetence and ambivalence could be found among other aspiring terrorists whose grandiose plans were nurtured by law enforcement. They included men who wanted to attack fuel lines at Kennedy International Airport; destroy the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago; carry out a suicide bombing near Tampa Bay, Fla., and bomb subways in New York and Washington. Of the 22 most frightening plans for attacks since 9/11 on American soil, 14 were developed in sting operations.

Another New York City subway plot, which recently went to trial, needed no help from government. Nor did a bombing attempt in Times Square, the abortive underwear bombing in a jetliner over Detroit, a planned attack on Fort Dix, N.J., and several smaller efforts. Some threats are real, others less so. In terrorism, it’s not easy to tell the difference.

SOURCE

Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030

Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030 – US intelligence

The Mekong river. One of the predicted sources of international conflict and site for controversial dam.

Nations will cut off rivers to prevent their enemies having access to water downstream, terrorists will blow up dams, and states that cannot provide water for their citizens will collapse. This is the future – as painted by a top US security report.

­The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security.

And while the prospect of “water wars” has been touted for decades, it may start to become reality within a decade. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent.

­Impoverished volatile states will be worst off

Water shortages “will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth.” North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia will be hit the hardest, the report states.

And while the coming shortage is a manageable problem for richer countries, it is a deadly “destabilizing factor” in poorer ones. As a rule, economically disadvantaged countries are already prone to political, social and religious turmoil, and failure to provide water for farmers and city dwellers can be the spark for wider “state failure.”

Among those most vulnerable to this scenario are Sudan, Pakistan and Iraq, which are all locked in debilitating civil conflicts, and Somalia, which has effectively ceased to function as a state. ODNI envisages countries restricting water for its own citizens to “pressure populations and suppress separatist elements.” The report predicts many ordinary citizens will have to resort to the kind of purification tablets currently used by soldiers and hikers to obtain clean water.

Most dangerously, there are whole clusters of unstable countries fighting for the same waterways.

The report lists the Nile, which runs through Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the Jordan, which runs through Israel and several Arab countries, and the Indus, which is shared by Pakistan and India.

These areas are managed by special commissions, and the report states that “historically, water tensions have led to more water-sharing agreements than violent conflicts.” But once there is not enough water to go around, these fragile pacts may collapse, with “more powerful upstream nations impeding or cutting off downstream flow.”

Even without outright fighting, the ODNI says countries will use water as a tool of political leverage, similar to how gas and oil are used today.

Infrastructure projects will become increasingly politicized: “States will also use their inherent ability to construct and support major water projects to obtain regional influence or preserve their water interests,” the report claims.

Laos’ proposed $3.5 billion Mekong Dam has already been the subject of an international dispute with Cambodia and Vietnam, who say the dam will obliterate their fisheries and agriculture.

­Water terrorism threat

And even international compromise is not likely to be enough to ensure water safety.

“Physical infrastructure, including dams, has been used as a convenient and high-publicity target by extremists, terrorists, and rogue states, threatening substantial harm and this will become more likely beyond the next 10 years.”

The report states that an attack on a single point in a water supply, such as a canal or desalinization plant is sufficient to deprive hundreds of thousands of clean water. In return, governments will have to implement costly safety measures that are likely to be of limited use, due to the extensive length of rivers that have to be protected.

The ODNI says there is a decade to tackle the problems before they spiral out of control. It suggests revising international water treaties and investing in superior water purification technologies that will make the increasingly scarce resource plentiful again.

SOURCE

A Nuclear Armed Japan

Secret US-Israeli Nuke Transfers Led To Fukushima Blasts

By Yoichi Shimatsu

Sixteen tons and what you get is a nuclear catastrophe. The explosions that rocked the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant were more powerful than the combustion of hydrogen gas, as claimed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The actual cause of the blasts, according to intelligence sources in Washington, was nuclear fission of. warhead cores illegally taken from America’s sole nuclear-weapons assembly facility. Evaporation in the cooling pools used for spent fuel rods led to the detonation of stored weapons-grade plutonium and uranium.

The facts about clandestine American and Israeli support for Japan’s nuclear armament are being suppressed in the biggest official cover-up in recent history. The timeline of events indicates the theft from America’s strategic arsenal was authorized at the highest level under a three-way deal between the Bush-Cheney team, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Elhud Olmert’s government in Tel Aviv.

Tokyo’s Strangelove

In early 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney flew to Tokyo with his closest aides. Newspaper editorials noted the secrecy surrounding his visit – no press conferences, no handshakes with ordinary folks and, as diplomatic cables suggest, no briefing for U.S. Embassy staffers in Tokyo.

Cheney snubbed Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, who was shut out of confidential talks. The pretext was his criticism of President George Bush for claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The more immediate concern was that the defense minister might disclose bilateral secrets to the Pentagon. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were sure to oppose White House approval of Japan’s nuclear program.

An unannounced reason for Cheney’s visit was to promote a quadrilateral alliance in the Asia-Pacific region. The four cornerstones – the US, Japan, Australia and India – were being called on to contain and confront China and its allies North Korea and Russia.. From a Japanese perspective, this grand alliance was flawed by asymmetry: The three adversaries were nuclear powers, while the U.S. was the only one in the Quad group.

To further his own nuclear ambitions, Abe was playing the Russian card. As mentioned in a U.S. Embassy cable (dated 9/22), the Yomiuri Shimbun gave top play to this challenge to the White House : “It was learned yesterday that the government and domestic utility companies have entered final talks with Russia in order to relegate uranium enrichment for use at nuclear power facilities to Atomprom, the state-owned nuclear monopoly.” If Washington refused to accept a nuclear-armed Japan, Tokyo would turn to Moscow.

Since the Liberal Democratic Party selected him as prime minister in September 2006, the hawkish Abe repeatedly called for Japan to move beyond the postwar formula of a strictly defensive posture and non-nuclear principles. Advocacy of a nuclear-armed Japan arose from his family tradition. His grandfather Nobusuke Kishi nurtured the wartime atomic bomb project and, as postwar prime minister, enacted the civilian nuclear program. His father Shintaro Abe, a former foreign minister, had played the Russian card in the 1980s, sponsoring the Russo-Japan College, run by the Aum Shinrikyo sect (a front for foreign intelligence), to recruit weapons scientists from a collapsing Soviet Union.

The chief obstacle to American acceptance of a nuclear-armed Japan was the Pentagon, where Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima remain as iconic symbols justifying American military supremacy.The only feasible channel for bilateral transfers then was through the civilian-run Department of Energy (DoE), which supervises the production of nuclear weapons.

Camp David Go-Ahead

The deal was sealed on Abe’s subsequent visit to Washington. Wary of the eavesdropping that led to Richard Nixon’s fall from grace, Bush preferred the privacy afforded at Camp David. There, in a rustic lodge on April 27, Bush and Abe huddled for 45 minutes. What transpired has never been revealed, not even in vague outline.

As his Russian card suggested, Abe was shopping for enriched uranium. At 99.9 percent purity, American-made uranium and plutonium is the world’s finest nuclear material. The lack of mineral contaminants means that it cannot be traced back to its origin. In contrast, material from Chinese and Russian labs can be identified by impurities introduced during the enrichment process.

Abe has wide knowledge of esoteric technologies. His first job in the early 1980s was as a manager at Kobe Steel. One of the researchers there was astrophysicist Hideo Murai, who adapted Soviet electromagnetic technology to “cold mold” steel. Murai later became chief scientist for the Aum Shinrikyo sect, which recruited Soviet weapons technicians under the program initiated by Abe’s father. After entering government service, Abe was posted to the U.S. branch of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization). Its New York offices hosted computers used to crack databases at the Pentagon and major defense contractors to pilfer advanced technology. The hacker team was led by Tokyo University’s top gamer, who had been recruited into Aum.

After the Tokyo subway gassing in 1995, Abe distanced himself from his father’s Frankenstein cult with a publics-relations campaign. Fast forward a dozen years and Abe is at Camp David. After the successful talks with Bush, Abe flew to India to sell Cheney’s quadrilateral pact to a Delhi skeptical about a new Cold War. Presumably, Cheney fulfilled his end of the deal. Soon thereafter Hurricane Katrina struck, wiping away the Abe visit from the public memory.

The Texas Job

BWXT Pantex, America’s nuclear warhead facility, sprawls over 16,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle outside Amarillo. Run by the DoE and Babcock & Wilson, the site also serves as a storage facility for warheads past their expiration date. The 1989 shutdown of Rocky Flats, under community pressure in Colorado, forced the removal of those nuclear stockpiles to Pantex. Security clearances are required to enter since it is an obvious target for would-be nuclear thieves.

In June 2004, a server at the Albuquerque office of the National Nuclear Security System was hacked. Personal information and security-clearance data for 11 federal employees and 177 contractors at Pantex were lifted. NNSA did not inform Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman or his deputy Clay Sell until three months after the security breach, indicating investigators suspected an inside job.

While Bush and Abe met at Camp David, 500 unionized security guards at Pantex launched a 45-day strike. Scabs were hired, but many failed to pass the entry exam, according to the Inspector General’s office at DoE. The IG report cited witnesses who said: “BWXT officials gave passing grades to some replacement guards even though they actually flunked tests,” and “contractor officials gave correct answers to those that failed the tests.” Although the scene was nearly as comical as the heist in “Ocean’s Eleven”, Pantex is not some Vegas casino. At stake was nuclear Armageddon.

At an opportune moment during the two-month strike, trucks loaded with warhead cores rolled out of the gates. Some 16 metric tons of nuclear cores packed in caskets were hauled away in refrigerated containers to prevent fission. At the port of Houston, the dangerous cargo was loaded aboard vessels operated by an Israeli state-owned shipping line. The radioactive material was detected by port inspector Roland Carnaby, a private contractor working under the federal program to interdict weapons of mass destruction.

The intelligence community is still buzzing about his shooting death. On April 29, 2008, Houston police officers pursued Carnaby on a highway chase and gunned him down. His port monitoring contract was later awarded to the Israel-based security firm NICE (Neptune Intelligence Computer Engineering), owned by former Israeli Defense Force officers.

Throughout the Pantex caper, from the data theft to smuggling operation, Bush and Cheney’s point man for nuclear issues was DoE Deputy Director Clay Sell, a lawyer born in Amarillo and former aide to Panhandle district Congressman Mac Thornberry. Sell served on the Bush-Cheney transition team and became the top adviser to the President on nuclear issues. At DoE, Sell was directly in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, which includes 17 national laboratories and the Pantex plant. (Another alarm bell: Sell was also staff director for the Senate Energy subcommittee under the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, who died in a 2010 plane crash.)

An Israeli Double-Cross

The nuclear shipments to Japan required a third-party cutout for plausible deniability by the White House. Israel acted less like an agent and more like a broker in demanding additional payment from Tokyo, according to intelligence sources. Adding injury to insult, the Israelis skimmed off the newer warhead cores for their own arsenal and delivered older ones. Since deteriorated cores require enrichment, the Japanese were furious and demanded a refund, which the Israelis refused. Tokyo had no recourse since by late 2008 principals Abe had resigned the previous autumn and Bush was a lame duck.

The Japanese nuclear developers, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, had no choice but to enrich the uranium cores at Fukushima No.1, a location remote enough to evade detection by nonproliferation inspectors. Hitachi and GE had developed a laser extraction process for plutonium, which requires vast amounts of electrical power. This meant one reactor had to make unscheduled runs, as was the case when the March earthquake struck.

Tokyo dealt a slap on the wrist to Tel Aviv by backing Palestinian rights at the UN. Not to be bullied, the Israeli secret service launched the Stuxnet virus against Japan’s nuclear facilities.

Firewalls kept Stuxnet at bay until the Tohoku earthquake. The seismic activity felled an electricity tower behind Reactor 6. The power cut disrupted the control system, momentarily taking down the firewall. As the computer came online again, Stuxnet infiltrated to shut down the back-up generators. During the 20-minute interval between quake and tsunami, the pumps and valves at Fukushima No.1 were immobilized, exposing the turbine rooms to flood damage.

The flow of coolant water into the storage pools ceased, quickening evaporation. Fission of the overheated cores led to blasts and mushroom-clouds. Residents in mountaintop Iitate village overlooking the seaside plant saw plumes of smoke and could “taste the metal” in their throats.

Guilty as Charged

The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami were powerful enough to damage
Fukushima No.1. The natural disaster, however, was vastly amplified by two external factors: release of the Stuxnet virus, which shut down control systems in the critical 20 minutes prior to the tsunami; and presence of weapons-grade nuclear materials that devastated the nuclear facility and contaminated the entire region.

Of the three parties involved, which bears the greatest guilt? All three are guilty of mass murder, injury and destruction of property on a regional scale, and as such are liable for criminal prosecution and damages under international law and in each respective jurisdiction.

The White House, specifically Bush, Cheney and their co-conspirators in the DoE, hold responsibility for ordering the illegal removal and shipment of warheads without safeguards.

The state of Israel is implicated in theft from U.S. strategic stockpiles, fraud and extortion against the Japanese government, and a computer attack against critical infrastructure with deadly consequences, tantamount to an act of war.

Prime Minister Abe and his Economy Ministry sourced weapons-grade nuclear material in violation of constitutional law and in reckless disregard of the risks of unregulated storage, enrichment and extraction. Had Abe not requested enriched uranium and plutonium in the first place, the other parties would not now be implicated. Japan, thus, bears the onus of the crime.

The International Criminal Court has sufficient grounds for taking up a case that involves the health of millions of people in Japan, Canada, the United States, Russia, the Koreas, Mongolia, China and possibly the entire Northern Hemisphere. The Fukushima disaster is more than an human-rights charge against a petty dictator, it is a crime against humanity on par with the indictments at the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals. Failure to prosecute is complicity.

If there is a silver lining to every dark cloud, it’s that the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami saved the world from even greater folly by halting the drive to World War III.

SOURCE

Will the Senate Forget the Lessons from Japanese-American Internment?

Will the Senate Forget the Lessons from Japanese-American Internment?

The U.S. Senate is considering the unthinkable, changing detention laws to imprison people – including Americans – indefinitely and without charge. Before they proceed, they should review our own history by listening to the voices of the last people systematically targeted and detained by the U.S. government:
Japanese-Americans.

Today the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) sent an important letter to the Senate regarding two damaging sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – Sections 1031 and 1032. As we’ve talked to you about before, this would be the first time since 1950 that Congress authorized the American government to detain its citizens without charge or trial.

JACL raises this important history in their letter:

The JACL is particularly concerned with the issue of indefinite detention because of our own experiences related to the illegal Japanese American internment during World War II, an episode that has left an indelible scar on American history. The United States has rightly condemned its decision to forcibly relocate and indefinitely detain individuals of Japanese descent, including American citizens, without due process, and efforts to redress this extraordinary wrongdoing continue to this day.

Relating their history to the proposed legislation, the letter goes on to say:

The JACL also believes that section 1031, if enacted, would be the first time that Congress cuts back on the protections provided by the Non-Detention Act of 1971, which states that, “No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” The Non-Detention Act of 1971 expressed the will of Congress and the President that America would never repeat the Japanese American internment experience, and would never subject any other Americans to indefinite detention without charge or trial.

Given our country’s checkered past with this kind of military detention, we hope senators will remove these sections from the NDAA. The Senate has yet to move the bill to the floor but, considering that many view the NDAA as a “must-pass” bill, the fight is long from over.

SOURCE

Psalm 46: Obama Turns to Bible Passage for Comfort During 9/11 Memorial Speech

PSALMS 46
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. (Selah) 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Selah) 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Despite best efforts to keep the 9/11 Memorial Service free of religion, President Barack Obama chose to turn to the comfort of God’s word as he quoted Psalm 46 in its entirety during his speech at New York City’s commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Standing behind bulletproof glass, Obama read the Bible passage, which begins with “God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea,” to the hundreds of victim’s family members, city officials, and government leaders gathered at ground zero in honor of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks.

In a country where more than 3/4 of population “professes” to be Christian, Obama’s choice to read the Psalm caused a stir which was most prevalent on the web.

On Yahoo! Answers, one user questioned the president’s usage of scripture when they posted the following inquiry:

Was it inappropriate for Obama to read Psalm 46 at the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony this morning?”

While some argued that the speech ostracized non-believers, Josh Earnest, Obama’s principal deputy press secretary, said the president had a specific reason for choosing the passage.

“The President chose a scripture which he believed was most appropriate — he believed it was particularly appropriate to use — to read scripture this morning,” Earnest explained. “And he chose a passage that talks of persevering through very difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger.”

This is not Obama’s first time referring to Psalm 46 in the face of tragedy. After a Tuscan shooting that injured Gabrielle Giffords and killed others, Obama referred to the scripture.

Despite the varied responses the Psalm garnered throughout the web, the majority seemed to appreciate Obama’s choice of the passage – which Yahoo! News called “a sure defense in desperate times” – to commemorate the tragedy that struck the country.

“Our president is reading Psalm 46 over ground zero right now,”
one blogger wrote. “Perfect words.”

Watch Obama’s Psalm 46 9/11 Memorial speech in the video below:

SOURCE

64 Percent (and counting) of U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Happened on Obama’s Watch

64 Percent of U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Happened on Obama’s Watch

By Edwin Mora

(CNSNews.com) – At least 1,019 U.S. troops have died in and around Afghanistan since President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, according to CNSNews.com’s count, which runs through July 31, 2011.

Those 1,019 deaths represent about 64 percent of the total 1,588 deaths that have occurred since Oct. 7, 2001, when U.S. forces began fighting in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime that was harboring al Qaeda. At least 32 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan last month.

So far this year, from January through the end of July, there have been at least 230 U.S. military deaths, 35 fewer then the tally from the same period last year.

The 497 American soldiers who died in Afghanistan in 2010 make that year the deadliest since the war started in October 2001.

The majority of American fatalities in the Afghanistan war have been combat-related. Of the 1,019 deaths under President Obama’s watch, at least 932 (about 91 percent) have been combat-related. (See chart)

In the course of the Afghanistan war, there have been at least 1,381 combat-related deaths, which is about 87 percent of the total 1,588 U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in and around Afghanistan. The remaining non-combat deaths occurred as a result of accidents, illnesses, drowning, or some other non-combat cause.

Improvised explosive devices continue to be the number one killer of U.S forces in Afghanistan. Almost 60 percent of all combat-related deaths this year alone were caused by IEDs.

According to military officials, about 60 percent of all military deaths in the Afghanistan war have been caused by homemade bombs. According to experts and military officials, most of the material used to make IEDs is smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

The southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which borders Pakistan, continue to be the deadliest regions for U.S. forces. That is where the U.S.-led military efforts are concentrated. Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban.

Historically, the Afghan summer months of June to September tend to be the deadliest for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is gleaned from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense (DOD) and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan, augmented by information taken from media accounts.

The database includes all U.S. troops who died or were fatally injured in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts against terrorism under Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.

CNSNews.com’s total count of U.S. fatalities in and around Afghanistan includes 12 Americans who died in Pakistan and three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan. The total number of U.S. soldiers who had reportedly died as of the end of July at 1,588 could be greater given that U.S. military deaths are not always reported as they occur.

In December 2009, President Obama announced that he was increasing the U.S. presence in Afghanistan by 30,000 troops. Currently, the U.S. has a force of 100,000 in the country. The president announced on June 22 that 10,000 troops would be out by the end of this year and another 23,000 by September 2012. That will leave behind about 60,000 U.S. troops, which is still double the number of troops in that country under President George W. Bush.

U.S. military officials have indicated that despite the expected reduction in forces, the U.S. will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Gen. David Petraeus, former top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told lawmakers that he would be open to maintaining a jointly operated military base in Afghanistan.

SOURCE

Hedge Farm! The Doomsday Food Price Scenario Turning Hedgies into Survivalists

By Foster Kamer
May 17, 2011 | 8:16 p.m

Hedge Farm! The Doomsday Food Price Scenario Turning Hedgies into Survivalists

On the rare occasion that New Yorkers talk about farming, it’s usually something along the lines of what sort of organic kale to plant in the vanity garden at the second house in the Adirondacks. But on a recent afternoon, The Observer had a conversation of a different sort about agricultural pursuits with a hedge fund manager he’d met at one of the many dark-paneled private clubs in midtown a few weeks prior. “A friend of mine is actually the largest owner of agricultural land in Uruguay,” said the hedge fund manager. “He’s a year older than I am. We’re somewhere [around] the 15th-largest farmers in America right now.”

“We,” as in, his hedge fund.

It may seem a little odd that in 2011 anyone’s thinking of putting money into assets that would have seemed attractive in 1911, but there’s something in the air-namely, fear. The hedge fund manager and others like him envision a doomsday scenario catalyzed by a weak dollar, higher-than-you-think inflation and an uncertain political climate here and abroad.

The pattern began to emerge sometime in 2008. “The Hedge Fund Manager Who Bought a Farm,” read the headline on one February 2008 Times of London piece detailing a British hedge fund manager’s attempt to play off the rising prices of grains in order to usurp local farmland. A Financial Times piece two months later began: “Hedge funds and investment banks are swapping their Gucci for gumboots.” It detailed BlackRock‘s then-relatively new $420 million Agriculture Fund, which had already swept up 2,800 acres of land.

Even Michael Burry, the now-defunct Scion Capital founder and star protagonist of Michael Lewis’ The Big Short-who bet against the housing bubble in 2008 with credit default swaps to enormous profit-gave a rare interview on Bloomberg TV last year, explaining that he’s thrown his hat into “productive agriculture land with water on site” as it’s going to be “very valuable in the future.” (Like most of those asked to comment for this story to The Observer, Burry declined to discuss his investments in farmland.)

Three years later, the purchase of farmland both in America and abroad by outside investors has increased-so much so that in February, Thomas Hoenig, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, warned against the violent possibilities of a farmland bubble, telling the Senate Agriculture Committee that “distortions in financial markets” will catch the U.S. by surprise again. He would know, because he’s seeing it in his backyard: Kansas and Nebraska reported farmland prices 20 percent above the previous year’s levels and are on pace to double values in four years. A study commissioned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and released in January estimated the amount of private capital currently committed to farmland and agricultural infrastructure at $14 billion. It also estimated that future investments will “dwarf” what’s currently being thrown into land, by two to three times. Further down, the study makes a conservative projection that the amount of capital potentially entering the sector over the next decade will fly past $150 billion.

When asked if this is an end of the world scenario, the hedge-fund manager replied, “It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I’ve stopped telling her this, because it’s not the most pleasant thought.’

This is happening in part because investors see their play as a hedge against hyperinflation. While the rest of the world uses the current calculation of the Consumer Price Index as a proxy for the cost of goods, some farmland investors are using a different equation, one from 1980. These investors assert inflation should be calculated the way it was before the Boskin Commission’s 1996 reworking of the CPI formula-in which case, it would be much, much higher.

“The CPI supposedly today is something like 1.5 percent,” says the hedge fund manager. “We think the actual rate of inflation is something closer to 6 or 7 percent on an annual basis. It’s also not about what it’s been over the last 10 years; it’s about what it’s going to be over the next 10 years.”

Projections show both the value of food and water to grow dramatically in the future. Anyone rich in both will have the only wealth that matters. Remember, he who has the Gold makes the rules. Or, he that can feed his family survives.

So the logic is that not only is the dollar worth far less than we think it is, but everything is more expensive and will only move further in that direction. Especially food, the value of which may have risen due to population increases, especially in places like China, where a consumer-happy middle class has finally started to emerge.

The rising cost of food can be seen even in New York’s yuppiest enclaves, where prices are high to begin with. Bloomberg food critic Ryan Sutton has been running a blog called The Price Hike wherein he measures the shifting costs of food at the plate in Manhattan restaurants. Mario Batali’s Del Posto is charging 21 percent more per meal since October. Gordon Ramsay at The London? Sixty-nine percent more since last month. Michelin favorite Bouley? Forty percent. The Breslin, at the Ace Hotel? Thirty-three percent. And so on.

But farmland isn’t an option for most investors. Farming is still mostly made up of family-run businesses, in the U.S., at least. Much of the farmland being purchased in America is purchased at estate sales. Pure-play farming isn’t a readily available product.

You can invest in John Deere for equipment; you can invest in Monsanto for seeds and agricultural tech. You can even invest in Kraft, which puts the plants on the supermarket shelf. But for now, it’s difficult to invest in a one-stop-shop farm. Additionally, there isn’t much arable land out there, it’s not increasing, and the quality of the land varies from parcel to parcel. And to make money off a farmland investment, you can’t just sit on it. You have to know what to do with it. “If you farm it like we do, you can generate a yield,” says the hedge fund manager. “We think the farmland will be worth 5 to 10 percent more every year, and on top of that, you get the commodities yield.” In other words, hedge funds are growing, picking and selling corn.

Asked if the American public would eventually see a chance to invest in Old McHedgeFund’s farm one day, the manager replied in the affirmative: “Yes. Without a doubt.” He estimated it would be only a few years before this happened. Just two weeks ago, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that El Tejar SA, the world’s largest grain producer, is planning on selling $300 million of bonds this year before a planned IPO. The plans for the IPO will be fast-tracked pending the sale of the bonds. If farming IPOs begin to emerge en masse, then farming-already often a dicey proposition simply on the basis of its being difficult to do correctly, the volatility of the weather and the possibility of entire crops going bad-may be vulnerable to a bubble.

There is, of course, a slightly more sinister reason to develop a sudden interest in agriculture. Last year, Marc Faber recommended to anyone: “Stock up on a farm in northern Norway and learn to drive a tractor.” He sees a “dirty war” on the horizon, playing on fears of a biological attack poisoning food supplies. Those sort of fears drive capital into everything from gold (recently at an all-time high and a long-time safe haven for investors with currency concerns) to survivalist accoutrements. In this particular case, one might buy the farm in order to avoid buying the farm.

That may seem extreme, but even the lesser scenarios are frightening to some. When asked if this is an end-of-the-world situation, the hedge fund manager replied: “It really is. I tell my fiancée this from time to time, and I’ve stopped telling her this, because it’s not the most pleasant thought.” He pauses for a moment. “We just can’t keep living the way we’re living. It’ll end within our lifetime. We’re just going to run out of certain things. We’ll just have to learn how to adjust.”

[email protected]

SOURCE

Obama Successfully Demobilized the Anti-war Movement

Obama Successfully Demobilized the Anti-war Movement

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
April 8, 2011

It is more evidence the antiwar movement is largely a left-vs-right distraction. A new study by U-M’s Michael Heaney and colleague Fabio Rojas of Indiana University shows that the antiwar movement in the United States demobilized as Democrats took over Congress and the White House.

A small, dedicated core of people protest against Obama’s third war.

“As president, Obama has maintained the occupation of Iraq and escalated the war in Afghanistan,” said Heaney. “The antiwar movement should have been furious at Obama’s ‘betrayal’ and reinvigorated its protest activity.”

“Instead, attendance at antiwar rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement have dissipated. The election of Obama appeared to be a demobilizing force on the antiwar movement, even in the face of his pro-war decisions.”

“Since Democrats are more numerous in the population at large than are members of third parties, the withdrawal of Democrats from the movement in 2009 appears to be a significant explanation for the falling size of antiwar protests,
” Heaney said. “Thus, we have identified the kernel of the linkage between Democratic partisanship and the demobilization of the antiwar movement.”

Overall, our results convincingly demonstrate a strong relationship between partisanship and the dynamics of the antiwar movement. While Obama’s election was heralded as a victory for the antiwar movement, Obama’s election, in fact, thwarted the ability of the movement to achieve critical mass.”

Democrats and other liberal supporters of the establishment are not opposed to mass murder and wanton slaughter by the state – they merely oppose it when Republicans do it. Opposition is a partisan formality.

A corporate media poll conducted in late March on Obama’s handling of the unconstitutional attack on Libya shows that two-thirds of Democrat respondents support violating international law and pummeling the oil-rich north African country with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Congress Democrats often howled about “Bush’s Wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, but supported them – including the mass murder of 1.5 million Iraqis, a war criminal of immense proportion – by continuing to fund them. The number of anti-war Democrats in Congress who worked to defund the illegal occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq was miniscule.

Obama duped the so-called anti-war faction of his party during the election. He said he’d bring home the troops and close down Gitmo. During the primaries, he tried to make Hillary Clinton look like the war candidate.

Once elected as savior, Obama not only continued Bush’s war policies – in fact the war policies of the global elite – but expanded them. Troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Pentagon and the CIA stepped up the terror campaign in Pakistan. Gitmo remains open.

History repeats itself. In 1999, then president Clinton attacked Yugoslavia. Democrats and liberals cheered him on. Congress was silent. Only four Democrats objected. In the House, there was only one, Barbara Lee of California. In the Senate, just three – Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Fritz Hollings of South Carolina, and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Both Republicans and Democrats love mass murder and military conquest. War is the health of the state, declared Randolph Bourne as the First World War unfolded. The Great War extracted a great toll – 37 million casualties. London and Wall Street bankers cooked up that devastating war and every one since, including the one now expanding in Libya as a U.S. general hints the government will soon send in ground troops and thus initiate a third war in the Arab and Muslim Middle East.

Democrats are so enthusiastic about the murder campaign in Libya, they didn’t even bother to vote on it, not that Obama gave them a chance – like Bush before him, he used the unchecked power of a unitary presidency to attack the African country. “He has proceeded in a way that is cautions and thoughtful,” said a proud Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat. “He has put the ducks in a row before he decided the United States should take the lead for a short period of time to do what only we could do.”

Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich stands alone in the wilderness with Rep. Ron Paul. He said Obama’s unconstitutional attack “is an act of war” and an impeachable offense. “The president made statements which attempt to minimize U.S. action, but U.S. planes may drop U.S. bombs and U.S. missiles may be involved in striking another sovereign nation. War from the air is still war,” he said in a lengthy speech on the House floor, a speech mostly ignored by fellow Democrats.

“It is hard to imagine that Congress, during the current contentious debate over deficits and budget cutting, would agree to plunge America into still another war, especially since America will spend trillions in total for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and incursions into Pakistan,” he said.

Really, it is not hard to imagine at all. Democrats and Republicans do the bidding of the global elite and the global bankster elite not only want war in the Middle East, they want the enslaving debt that invariably comes with it.

In 2003, as he prepared to attack Iraq, Bush dismissed the antiwar movement as a focus group. Democrats are not so crude. Instead, they deem their war “humanitarian,” as a previous war criminal, Bill Clinton, did as he bombed the former Yugoslavia with depleted uranium, in effect launching a nuclear war against that small country.

http://www.infowars.com/obama-successfully-demobilized-the-anti-war-movement/

OPIUM AND AFGHANISTAN: REASSESSING U.s. COUNTERNARCOTICS STRATEGY

Opium is grown legally is some countries for medical purposes, but huge demand
in the illicit market, coupled with saturation of the licit market, is driving Afghanistan
to supply illegal opium. In 2004, approximately 523 tons of morphine were produced
worldwide from opium for medical purposes.12 Opium is also refined for use in legal
prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.13 However, Australia and France
currently produce about half the world’s opium used for medical purposes, with India,
Turkey, Spain, and Hungary producing a majority of the rest, leaving little flexibility for
Afghanistan to enter this market. Despite its legitimate uses, most of the world’s opium
is illegally grown and processed in countries with limited governmental control. Hence,
virtually none of Afghanistan’s opium poppy harvest is used for licit opiates. Instead,
almost all of it ends up on the international market as heroin.

Heroin addiction is a global problem, and worldwide demand for heroin is increasingly
being met by Afghanistan’s farmers and drug traffickers. Heroin is a highly addictive drug,
and prolonged use can result in a variety of social and health-related problems. Sharing
of contaminated heroin needles is a major contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS and
other infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C. According to the U.N. World Drug Report,
there are approximately 16 million illicit opiate users worldwide, including 11 million
heroin users. The primary opiate-using countries in the world include India (3 million
users), Russia and Eastern Europe (2.3 million), China (1.7 million), Western Europe (1.6
million), Iran (1.2 million), the United States (1.2 million), and Pakistan (0.7 million).14
Afghanistan has approximately 150,000 opium and 50,000 heroin users, but consumes
just 3.3 percent of its own harvest.15 Afghanistan is the source of nearly 90 percent of
heroin in Europe and Russia,16 while approximately 14 percent of heroin in the United
States comes from Afghanistan, up from 7 percent in 2001.17 According to the UNODC, as
many as 100,000 people die annually directly or indirectly from abuse of Afghan heroin.18
Furthermore, the UNODC predicts that increasing opium production in Afghanistan will
result in an increase in heroin overdoses worldwide because greater supply traditionally
leads to a higher level of heroin purity on the international market.19


AFGHANISTAN’S OPIUM ECONOMY
Cultivation and production of opium have significantly increased in Afghanistan
since 2001. Afghan farmers have grown opium poppy for generations; however, not until
the 1970s did they grow it in significant amounts for export. With the exception of 2001,
when the Taliban strictly enforced a moratorium on poppy cultivation with such harsh
tactics as beheadings, opium poppy cultivation has been steadily increasing for over the
past 2 decades as is shown in Figure 2.20 Today, poppy cultivation and opium production
are at all-time highs. According to the UNODC, opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan
covered an estimated 165,000 hectares during the 2005-06 growing season, a 59 percent
increase from the previous year. The UNODC also estimated that opium production in
2006 was 6,100 metric tons, up from 4,100 metric tons in 2005, which makes Afghanistan
by far the world’s largest producer.

Cultivating opium poppy makes powerful economic sense to the impoverished
farmers of Afghanistan. It is the easiest crop to grow and the most profitable. Even though
the Karzai government made opium poppy cultivation and trafficking illegal in 2002,
many farmers, driven by poverty, continue to cultivate opium poppy to provide for their
families. Indeed, poverty is the primary reason given by Afghan farmers for choosing to
cultivate opium poppy.22 With a farm gate price of approximately $125 per kilogram for
dry opium,23 an Afghan farmer can make 17 times more profit growing opium poppy—
$4,622 per hectare, compared to only $266 per hectare for wheat.24 Opium poppy is
also drought resistant, easy to transport and store, and, unlike many crops, requires no
refrigeration and does not spoil. With Afghanistan’s limited irrigation, electricity, roads,
and other infrastructure, growing traditional crops can be extremely difficult. In many
cases, farmers are simply unable to support their families growing traditional crops; and
because most rural farmers are uneducated and illiterate, they have few economically
viable alternatives to growing opium poppy.

Afghanistan’s economy has thus evolved to the point where it is now highly
dependent on opium. Although less than 4 percent of arable land in Afghanistan was
used for opium poppy cultivation in 2006, revenue from the harvest brought in over
$3 billion—more than 35 percent of the country’s total gross national product (GNP).25
According to Antonio Costa, “Opium poppy cultivation, processing, and transport have
become Afghanistan’s top employers, its main source of capital, and the principal base of
its economy.”26 Today, a record 2.9 million Afghanis from 28 of 34 provinces are involved
in opium cultivation in some way, which represents nearly 10 percent of the population.27
Although Afghanistan’s overall economy is being boosted by opium profits, less than 20
percent of the $3 billion in opium profits actually goes to impoverished farmers, while
more than 80 percent goes into the pockets of Afghan’s opium traffickers and kingpins
and their political connections.28 Even heftier profits are generated outside of Afghanistan
by international drug traffickers and dealers.

Traditionally, processing of Afghan’s opium into heroin has taken place outside of
Afghanistan; however, in an effort to reap more profits internally, Afghan drug kingpins
have stepped up heroin processing within their borders. Heroin processing labs have
proliferated in Afghanistan since the late 1990s, particularly in the unstable southern
region, further complicating stabilization efforts. With the reemergence of the Taliban and
the virtual absence of the rule of law in the countryside, opium production and heroin
processing have dramatically increased, especially in the southern province of Helmand.
In 2006, opium production in the province increased over 162 percent and now accounts
for 42 percent of Afghan’s total opium output.29 According to the UNODC, the opium
situation in the southern provinces is “out of control.”30
PROBLEMS WITH AFGHANISTAN’S OPIUM ECONOMY
While revenues from the opium trade are stimulating the economy, there are significant
negative consequences. Two major problems associated with the opium economy are
widespread corruption, which is eroding the rule of law; and the link between the opium
trade and the recoupment of the Taliban and the insurgency.
Corruption and the Erosion of the Rule of Law.
Corruption associated with the opium economy has spread to all levels of the Afghan
government from the police to the parliament, and is eroding the rule of law. Farmers
routinely bribe police and counternarcotics eradication personnel to turn a blind eye. Law
enforcement personnel are also paid off by drug traffickers to ignore or, in some cases,
protect their movements. Afghan government officials are now believed to be involved
in at least 70 percent of opium trafficking, and experts estimate that at least 13 former
or present provincial governors are directly involved in the drug trade.31 Furthermore,
up to 25 percent of the 249 elected members of parliament are also suspected of being
involved in the drug trade.32 When referring to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior, Syed
Ikramuddin, Afghan’s Minister of Labor, said: “Except for the Minister of Interior himself,
all the lower people from the heads of department down are involved in supporting
drug smuggling.”33 For example, in a single raid, nine tons of opium were recovered
from the offices of the Governor of Afghan’s Helmand Province. While the governor
was eventually replaced, no punitive action was taken against him, and he moved on
to a high-level position in parliament. 34 This case is not unusual, with corrupt officials
routinely being simply reassigned rather than removed from office.
For many of Afghanistan’s warlords, the opium trade brings money and power.
Therefore, several of Afghanistan’s powerful warlords are also top drug-lords. In some
cases, these warlords are the same individuals who cooperated with the United States
in ousting the Taliban in 2001. In some provinces, the warlords are now promoting the
opium industry by bribing government officials and providing protection to farmers
and traffickers. In sum, political corruption is so widespread in Afghanistan that it is
undermining public institutions, eroding the rule of law, and creating widespread
unstability and volatility. President Karzai himself has complained that “drugs in
Afghanistan are threatening the very existence of the Afghan State.”35

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub804.pdf