August 26, 2010

David Pratt: The role of heroin in sustaining the Afghan “war”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:19 am

I just got an e-mail from Scottish journalist David Pratt, asking me to please let people know about the insidious effects of heroin on Afghanistan — and on Scotland. Of course I will. The two articles that Pratt wrote on this subject offer huge new insights into why the Bush-Obama “war” in Afghanistan is still going on after nine long bloody years of both physical pain and financial disaster for both Afghanistan and the United States (not to mention Scotland).

I first met Pratt when we were both embedded in the Green Zone in Iraq in 2007, and it was love at first sight — I immediately fell in love with his writing style, his knowledge and his willingness to go WAY out on a limb in order to get an accurate story. He has spent the last 30 years as a war correspondent for Glasgow’s Sunday Herald, and his book “Intifada: The Long Day of Rage” is the ultimate eye-witness report on “The Troubles” in Palestine.

Pratt is a fabulous reporter and if he says that poppy cultivation and heroin sales are not only financing the Taliban’s weapon supply in Afghanistan right now but also has become its current favorite way of screwing up the U.S. occupation by destabilizing the government in Kabul, then I know that information is spot-on.

According to Pratt, one American drug-control adviser in Kabul stated categorically that, “Once the Taliban realized that narcotic control was a major goal of the international coalition and Afghan government, they OK’d it to the farmers to grow poppy because they know it destabilizes the government. That’s also the reason why we’re seeing even more opium and heroin production.”

These are the kind of insightful articles that make other journalists (including myself) drool with envy. I wish that I could have written that!

According to another Pratt source, Dr. Zemoray Amin of Doctors of the World, “cheapness and easy availability of drugs, joblessness, displacement and, above all, the effects of the war are the main reasons for heroin’s escalating impact in Afghanistan. But …there is another, even more worrying root cause. It stems from the widespread corruption among those within the top tier of the Afghan establishment, and complicity by the international community in ignoring that crookedness in exchange for political allegiance and strategical leverage in the fight against the Taliban.”

Gen. Petraeus might be better off spending his time fighting poppy growing rather than fighting small-time villagers who are caught between a rock and a hard place regarding the Taliban.

Here’s the rest of Pratt’s article, entitled “Trail of Destruction”:

Next, Pratt takes on the other end of the poppy chain — heroin in Scotland. Entitled “Made in Kabul — shot up in Glasgow,” This report is also grim. Drug addicts are now dying in Scotland in large numbers, thanks to Scottish soldiers who die in Afghanistan so that the drug trade there can continue to grow and prosper.

Here’s a quote: “Jawad was left for dead in a ditch. Stephen was found overdosed in a doorway. Though more than 3000 miles separate Kabul’s Karte Seh district and Glasgow’s Gorbals, the lives of these two men are inextricably linked by one thing: heroin. In the space of little over a month on opposite sides of the world, I listened to both tell of a hellish journey each had taken while trapped in the grip of a powerful and terrifying addiction.

“Jawad is no stranger to pain – in Kabul’s drug institutions, the methods used to detox heroin addicts come from the Middle Ages. Head shaved and stripped naked, on numerous occasions he has been locked in a cell and hosed down with freezing water. But it was the night when some policemen started beating Jawad that the agony became so great he found himself begging them to stop.”

Read the rest of this article at

If I don’t have the talent, insights, opportunity and/or knowledge to write important articles like these two, at least I’m glad to know that someone like Pratt is out there writing them for us — and it my pleasure to pass them on even though it makes me sad to know that the information they contain is verifiablely true.

August 17, 2010

Saving Afghan women: Just give them all M-16s!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:47 am

Did anyone see that horrible photo on the cover of Time magazine this week? The one of the young Afghan girl with her nose cut off by the Taliban? I saw it yesterday while standing in the check-out line at the Berkeley Bowl, and it gave me horrible nightmares last night. How could anyone do such a horrible thing to a young girl? What kind of monster could do such a thing?

Well, the message on the cover of Time magazine was perfectly clear — Islamic monsters could do that. And, therefore, “we” are justified in killing Muslims by the millions, right?


That kind of insane brutality in Afghanistan was not produced by Islam. It was produced by the mental instability and psychosis that has resulted from hundreds of years of colonial warfare against Afghans — just as the torture and bombing and killing of untold numbers of Afghan women by Americans is a result of America’s insane “war” priorities, not Christianity.

But I digress.

If Americans were truly worried about the status of women in Afghanistan, “we” wouldn’t have made that country our plaything and pawn in the CIA’s recent stupid and wasteful Great Game with the USSR. “We” wouldn’t have armed and created the Taliban. “We” would have supported RAWA, an Afghan women’s organization that promotes reading and self-respect, instead of wasting billions on arming and empowering brutal and corrupt Afghan drug lords and warlords. “We” would have provided schools and hospitals instead of bombs and more bombs after “our” brutal and unnecessary 2001 occupation of that country. And we would never have let our war-lobby-toady lawmakers pour billions of tax dollars into the coffers of weapons manufacturers, those slimy merchants of death, so that they could make insane profit margins on manufacturing the deaths of innocent Afghan women and children who had NOTHING to do with 9-11.

But. If weapons manufacturers are truly dead-set on making their greedy and outlandish profits on the spilled blood of innocents, then how about having THEM go to Afghanistan and personally cut off the noses of Afghan women instead of just doing it from a distance with their drones? Come on guys, quit just sitting around your posh mansions in Loudoun County and actually earn your money. Get some actual blood on your hands.

Or how about this idea? Let’s make the weapons manufacturers happy yet once again by developing a whole new weapons market for them. How about giving every woman in Afghanistan over the age of eight years old an M-16 of her very own? And the training and the bullets to use it too?

I’d like to see who would be willing to cut off any women’s noses when said women were holding one of those babies in their hands.


Here’s the URL for the nightmarish Time cover photo:

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