Afghanistan’s opium crop at an all-time high

by Jerry Mazza

Global Research, December 9, 2006
Online Journal – 2006-12-07The question is why. Under Taliban rule, which began in the late 1990s, Afghanistan just about kicked the growing habit by 2001. After five years the Taliban is slipping back in, but poppy production has grown by leaps and bounds.

According to the Washington Post, “Opium production in Afghanistan, which provides more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin, broke all records in 2006, reaching a historic high despite ongoing U.S.-sponsored eradication efforts, the Bush administration reported yesterday.

“In addition to a 26 percent production increase over the past year — for a total of 5,644 metric tons — the amount of land under cultivation in opium poppies grew by 61 percent. Cultivation in the two main production provinces, Helmand in the southwest and Oruzgan in central Afghanistan, was up by 132 percent.”

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The Bush-Cheney Drug Empire

The Bush family’s involvement in drug-running is an open secret, but Dick Cheney’s direct link to a global drug pipeline through a US construction company is less well known.

FROM MEDELLIN TO MOSCOW WITH BROWN & ROOT

Halliburton Corporation’s Brown & Root is one of the major components of the Bush-Cheney Drug Empire. The success of Bush Vice-Presidential running mate Richard Cheney at leading Halliburton, Inc. to a five-year, US$3.8 billion “pig-out” on federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans is only a partial indicator of what may happen, now that the Bush ticket has won the US presidential election.

A closer look at available research, including an August 2, 2000 report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) (www.public-i.org), suggests that drug money has played a role in the successes achieved by Halliburton under Cheney’s tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000. This is especially true for Halliburton’s most famous subsidiary, heavy construction and oil giant Brown & Root. A deeper look into history reveals that Brown & Root’s past – as well as the past of Dick Cheney himself – connects to the international drug trade on more than one occasion and in more than one way.

Last June, the lead Washington, DC, attorney for a major Russian oil company connected in law enforcement reports to heroin smuggling, and also a beneficiary of US-backed loans to pay for Brown & Root contracts in Russia, held a $2.2 million fundraiser to fill the already bulging coffers of presidential candidate George W. Bush. This is not the first time that Brown & Root has been connected to illegal drugs, and the fact is that this “poster child” of American industry may also be a key player in Wall Street’s efforts to maintain domination of the half-trillion-dollar-a-year global drug trade and its profits. And Dick Cheney, who has also come closer to illegal drugs than most suspect and who is also Halliburton’s largest individual shareholder ($45.5 million), has a vested interest in seeing to it that Brown & Root’s successes continue.

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