Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet

God = Gold, Oil, Drugs.  
Opium fields spread across Iraq as farmers try to make ends meet Click here for full-size version

The cultivation of opium poppies whose product is turned into heroin is spreading rapidly across Iraq as farmers find they can no longer make a living through growing traditional crops.

Afghan with experience in planting poppies have been helping farmers switch to producing opium in fertile parts of Diyala province, once famous for its oranges and pomegranates, north- east of Baghdad.

At a heavily guarded farm near the town of Buhriz, south of the provincial capital Baquba, poppies are grown between the orange trees in order to hide them, according to a local source.

The shift by Iraqi farmers to producing opium was first revealed by The Independent last May and is a very recent development. The first poppy fields, funded by drug smugglers who previously supplied Saudi Arabia and the Gulf with heroin from Afghanistan, were close to the city of Diwaniyah in southern Iraq. The growing of poppies has now spread to Diyala, which is one of the places in Iraq where al-Qa’ida is still resisting US and Iraqi government forces. It is also deeply divided between Sunni, Shia and Kurd and the extreme violence means that local security men have little time to deal with the drugs trade. The speed with which farmers are turning to poppies is confirmed by the Iraqi news agency al-Malaf Press, which says that opium is now being produced around the towns of Khalis, Sa’adiya, Dain’ya and south of Baladruz, pointing out that these are all areas where al-Qa’ida is strong.

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Defense stocks hit new highs

Sep. 26, 2007 (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) –

WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense stocks on Wednesday hit new highs as Defense Secretary Robert Gates requested an extra $42 billion in funding from Congress to cover military costs in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008.

The AMEX Defense Index, which tracks 14 major defense company stocks, rose 14.25 to a high of 1,686.72 in afternoon trading. Since last year, the index has risen roughly 47 percent, outperforming the broader S&P 500 index, which has climbed nearly 15 percent over the same period.

Although the anticipated request for more funding does not come as a surprise to Wall Street, the Pentagon’s message nevertheless reinforces the idea that defense spending will remain high in the near-term, said Myles Walton, a CIBC World Market Corp. analyst.

Gates and Peter Pace, the soon-to-retire chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in prepared testimony before the Senate’s appropriations committee that additional funding will include $11 billion to buy another 7,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles on top of the 8,000 vehicles already on order, and $9 billion to provide new equipment and technology.

Among the defense companies likely to benefit from additional wartime spending are: Force Protection Industries Inc., General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE:GD) , Ceradyne Inc. (NASDAQ:CRDN) and Oshkosh Truck Corp. (NYSE:OSK)

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Krugman: Bush backer banks on Iraq’s failure

A Texas oil company whose CEO is a longtime confidant of President Bush with access to the most closely held US intelligence has entered into an agreement to explore for oil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The agreement shows that Dallas-based Hunt Oil Co. and its chief executive Ray L. Hunt are “effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation,” argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Hunt raised about $100,000 for Bush during the president’s 2000 campaign, and he serves on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which gives him access to some of the most exclusive data collected by US spy agencies.

“What’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be,” Krugman observers. “By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Bush laid out in January — won’t get it’s act together.”

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Sibel Edmonds case: The real culprits of 911

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has made a number of disturbing claims about the 911 attacks, but perhaps the most disconcerting is her oft-repeated statement that the US authorities have covered up an entire organizational layer within al-Qaeda.In the documentary, Kill The Messenger, Sibel says:
“They haven’t mentioned anybody who actually is connected to Al Qaida, in mid or higher level.”
Similarly, Sibel often says:
“And I would like to give an analogy – if you take the War on Drugs, imagine if they only went after street dealers and they refused to investigate the mid-level dealers or the drug lords. This is very similar.”
As we approach another 911 anniversary, it’s time we learnt:
1) Who are these mid and high-level al-Qaida operatives?
2) What role did they play in planning 911?
3) What operational support did they provide?
4) Why they are still roaming free today?
5) Why did the US authorities continually exclude key participants from the official narrative?

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Cholera Epidemic Infects 7,000 People in Iraq

Yep, the surge is working, add genocide through sickness to the list of war crimes.

BAGHDAD, Sept. 11 — A cholera epidemic in northern Iraq has infected approximately 7,000 people and could reach Baghdad within weeks as the disease spreads through the country’s decrepit and unsanitary water system, Iraqi health officials said Tuesday.

The World Health Organization reported that the epidemic is concentrated in the northern regions of Kirkuk and Sulaimaniya and that 10 people are known to have died. But Dr. Said Hakki, president of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, a relief organization that has responded to the epidemic, said that new cases had turned up in the neighboring provinces, Erbil and Nineveh, indicating that the disease had spread.

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Most significant, Dr. Hakki said, were two cases in a village on the border between Kirkuk and Diyala Provinces, one involving a young girl. Baghdad is next to Diyala.

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Iraq to Privatize Electricity

Now we know why the Iraqi national power grid had to be destroyed, the population will give up anything just to have electricity again.

By Ben Lando, UPI. Posted September 10, 2007.

An Iraqi electricity law hasn’t been made public.
Two of Iraq’s many needs right now are more electricity and more investment. A law being drafted could satisfy both, paving the way for foreign and domestic private companies to build power plants, a step toward fully privatizing the electricity sector.

“It should be short coming,” a senior U.S. official working in Baghdad on Iraq’s electricity sector told United Press International on condition of anonymity on the sidelines of an Iraq energy conference.

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Envoy’s Letter Counters Bush on Iraq Army

Published: September 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

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