Kommentar

– NATO-soldater hjelper heroinprodusentene, er den sjokkerende overskriften i Aftenpostens topp-oppslag. Kilden er Storbritannias eks-ambassadør i Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, godt sekundert av NUPI-forsker Kristian Berg Harpviken som aldri lar en sjanse gå fra seg til å så tvil om det vestlige engasjementet i Afghanistan.

Journalist er tidligere Moskva-korrespondent Per Kristian Aale. Flink, men kanskje for flink? Ønsket om en story trumfer stemmen som sier: Er dette riktig? Har leserne fått hele historien?

I dette tilfelle har de bestemt ikke det. Artikkelen er grovt tendensiøs, både hva gjelder kildebruk og innhold. Kort sagt: Aftenposten/Aale begår en grov forsømmelse ved ikke å presentere Murray og informere om hvor omstridt han er. Dernest ved å legge skylden for den rekordartede opiumsproduksjonen utelukkende på ISAF og Karzai. Det er grov propaganda – for Taliban. Hva har skjedd med den kritiske sans i Aftenposten? Hvor befinner man seg mentalt hvis man tror dette kan passere ubemerket?

Craig Murray

Murray er en fargerik og omstridt person. Han kom i søkelyset, eller rettere han valgte søkelyset, da han ble ambassadør i Uzbekistan i 2002. Landet ble styrt på brutalt vis av Islam Karimov. Etter 9/11 var USA som kjent ute etter baser i Sentral-Asia, og Putin ga sitt samtykke. Karimov fikk støtte fra USA, til sikkerhetstjenesten og de militære. Det dukket opp bevis for mishandling og tortur. Murray viste seg nå som en høyst utradisjonell diplomat: Han sang ut. Først til Foreign Office, og da det ikke nyttet, til mediene.

Murray var oppriktig opprørt. Både av humanitære hensyn og fordi han mente informasjonen som kom fra uzbekerne var ubrukelig. Under en tale til Axis for Peace-konferansen i 2005 sa han at han uforvarende hadde dumpet opp i amerikanernes rendition-program, det var derfor britene reagerte så kraftig. Murrays anfektelser kunne skape diplomatiske forviklinger.

Men Murray ga seg ikke. Han fikk helseproblemer, og måtte ved to anledninger flys tilbake til London. Presset ovenfra gjorde sin virkning.

Det ble reist 18 anklagepunkter mot ham. Han ble tilbakekalt, mistet posten, ble til sist frikjent, men valgte å tre ut av utenrikstjenesten i 2005.

Det står en kritisk bio av ham på wikipedia: Craig Murray. Det var masse oppstyr rundt Murray da han etter hvert brente sine broer og sang ut som ambassadør. Aale har ikke ett ord om hans bakgrunn.

Murray har fortsatt arbeidet for menneskerettigheter med sin blogg www.craigmurray.co.uk. Han er belest og arbeidssom, men erfaringene ser ut til å ha gjort ham desillusjonert. Han tror myndighetene alltid lyver. En råtten terror-historie får ham til å tvile på alt myndighetene sier. Hva sitter vi da igjen med?

Murray er opprørt over politiets forsøk på å dekke over nedskytingen av brasilianske Jean Charles de Menezes 22. juli 2005. Men derfra til å så tvil om holdbarheten av saken mot Glasgow-bomberne er et drøyt stykke.

Given the catalogue of lies they told in the De Menezes case, I am not prepared to believe the police version of what happens in any «Terrorist» incident without other verification. That goes for the recent London alleged car bomb too. Just like Tony Blair and WMD, the same applies to Ian Blair and Andy Hayman:

– Never take the word of a proven lying bastard.

Å basere et oppslag på en person med en så bemerkelsesverdig bakgrunn uten å opplyse leserne om det, må sies å være en journalistisk standard man ikke forventer fra Aftenposten.

Substans

Murray dømmer ISAFs innsats nord og ned. De bidrar ikke med noe konstruktivt.

– Okkupasjonen gir ingen positive resultater, og påstanden om at vi bringer fred og demokrati til Afghanistan, er bare propaganda, påstår Craig Murray overfor Aftenposten.

Faktum er at USA og ISAF-styrken har lagt til rette for den største opiumsavlingen verden noen gang har sett. Resultatet av seks års okkupasjon er at Afghanistan er blitt et gigantisk narkoreir, påstår Murray.

Han sier grunnen er at fire av de største narkobaronene sitter i Karzais regjering. NUPI-forsker Kristian Berg Harpviken går enda ett skritt lenger: Han berømmer og frikjenner Taliban, for de forbød opiumsdyrking. Det er amerikanerne og Karzai som har brakt den tilbake og til et nå ukjent nivå. Dette er løgn.

Det stemmer at Karzai har inngått allianser med personer som er dypt innblandet i narkotrafikken. Andre er plassert i administrasjonen for å holde øye med dem. Sies det. Men det som totalt mangler i Aales artikkel, er Talibans rolle i opiumshandelen. Aale viser til en FN-rapport. Men FN har selv opplyst at grunnen til den eksplosive veksten i opiumsdyrkingen er Talibans comeback i de sørlige provinsene. Det er i disse provinsene at avlingene har økt mest, og det på direkte oppfordring fra Taliban.

Afghanistan’s opium harvest this year has reached the highest levels ever recorded, showing an increase of almost 50 percent from last year, the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said Saturday in Kabul.

He described the figures as «alarming» and «very bad news» for the Afghan government and international donors who have poured millions of dollars into programs to reduce the poppy crop since 2001.

He said the increase in cultivation was fueled by the resurgence of Taliban rebels in the south, the country’s prime opium growing region. As the insurgents have stepped up their attacks, they have also encouraged and profited from the drug trade, promising protection to growers if they worked to expand their opium operations.

«This year’s harvest will be around 6,100 metric tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent,» Mr. Costa said at a news briefing.

The increase in cultivation was mainly because of the strength of the insurgency in southern Afghanistan, which has left whole districts outside of government control, and the continuing impunity of everyone involved, from the farmers and traffickers to corrupt police and government officials, he said.

Afghanistan is already the world’s largest producer of opium, and 35 percent of its gross domestic product is estimated to come from the narcotics trade.

Most of the increase in poppy cultivation has occurred in five provinces in southern Afghanistan, in particular Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan, where security has sharply deteriorated this year because of Taliban attacks, Mr. Costa said.

«The southern part of Afghanistan was displaying the ominous hallmarks of incipient collapse, with large-scale drug cultivation and trafficking, insurgency and terrorism, crime and corruption,» he said in a statement released by his office.

«We are seeing a very strong connection between the increase in the insurgency on the one hand and the increase in cultivation on the other hand,» he explained in the interview.

The Taliban had distributed leaflets at night, inviting farmers to increase their poppy cultivation in exchange for protection, Mr. Costa said. The rebels also profit from levies in return for protection of drug convoys passing through the border areas they controlled. There were also signs of a pernicious strategy to encourage farmers to increase their poppy cultivation in an effort to force a government reaction, which would then turn the population further against the government, Mr. Costa said.

OPIUM HARVEST AT RECORD LEVEL IN AFGHANISTAN

Per Kristian Aales artikkel er et høyst tvilsomt stykke journalistikk. Norge deltar i en krig i Afghanistan, på regjeringens side. Aale velger å skrive en artikkel som fremstiller Karzai-regjeringen som totalt korrupt og ISAF-styrken i rollen som tilrettelegger og beskytter av opiumshandelen. Det er rett og slett å undergrave norske soldaters innsats og å gi Taliban en tilsvarende moralsk boost. Er journalister/aviser unntatt for ansvar?

– NATO-soldater hjelper heroinprodusentene

Her er en interessant artikkel fra LA Times i 2005, med hovedvekt på krigsherrer og narkohandlere som sørger for å befinne seg under Karzais vinger, men også her nevnes det at Taliban deltar i narkohandelen.

Three and a half years after the United States led an invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime, the United Nations and the U.S. government warn that the country is in danger of becoming a narco-state controlled by traffickers. The State Department recently called the Afghan drug trade «an enormous threat to world stability.» The United Nations estimates that Afghanistan produces 87% of the world’s opium.

For decades, poor farmers trying to make a living in Afghanistan’s mountain valleys have harvested the opium poppies that feed the world’s drug pipeline. Now the trade is booming, partly the result of the U.S. strategy for overthrowing the Taliban and stabilizing the country after two decades of war.

U.S. troops forged alliances with warlords, who provided ground forces in the battle against the Taliban. Some of those allies are suspected of being among Afghanistan’s biggest drug traffickers, controlling networks that include producers, criminal gangs and even members of the counter-narcotics police force. They are willing to make deals with remnants of the Taliban if the price is right.

The U.S.-backed Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has brought some of those warlords into his popularly elected government, a recognition of their political clout and a calculated risk that keeping them close might make it easier to control them.

«Drug money is absolutely supporting terrorist groups,» said Alexandre Schmidt, deputy head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan. And regardless of their allegiance, Schmidt said, most suspects are released within 48 hours because of intervention by higher authorities.

U.S. allies are not the only ones reaping the drug bonanza. Taliban guerrillas also have a share in the opium and heroin trade, which the United Nations estimates is worth $3 billion a year. Warlords who once fought them collect a tax on drug shipments heading to Iran, Pakistan or Tajikistan. As long as the Taliban pay cash, they are pleased to let bygones be bygones, said police and two drug traffickers who claimed to have done business with the militants.

Some drug barons have changed their ways because they have already made millions of dollars and now see their self-interest in reform and politics, said a senior Western official involved in the anti-drug effort.

«Others are still involved in drug trafficking and today are part — at the highest level — of government,» said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. «The idea is not to leave them in the provinces anymore, but to bring them on board in official positions in order to better control them.»

Before the attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, State Department officials had often cited Northern Alliance drug trafficking as one reason the U.S. should not publicly support the anti-Taliban militia.

But police and traffickers interviewed in Kunduz said Daoud did more than use narcotics to help fund the fight against the Taliban: He made drug smuggling a family business. They said he continued to profit from the opium and heroin trade even after Karzai brought him into the central government last August.

Until last year, Afghanistan was known as an opium exporter, not a major heroin producer. But with the poppy boom, and post-Taliban instability, small heroin labs sprang up in hundreds of villages. Even if police find them, they are easily replaced.

One Kunduz trafficker, a man in his late 20s with a wool hat resting high on his head, said an average lab had 10 barrels, a pressing machine, cotton filters and acetic anhydride, an acid, to refine opium paste into heroin powder.

The trafficker estimated that there was enough opium stashed in village wells and other hiding places to keep labs and smugglers working for 10 to 15 years, even if poppy cultivation stopped entirely. Schmidt said that was probably an underestimation.

The Lure of Opium Wealth Is a Potent Force in Afghanistan Western officials warn of a nascent narco state as drug traffickers act with impunity, some allegedly with the support of top officials

By Paul Watson,
Source: L A Times
Date: 28 May 2005