Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smuggler's Blues, Part 1

UN World Drug Report, 2007 page 10

At least in the short-term, conditions in the world's heroin markets will be determined by what happens in southern Afghanistan, as the country was responsible for 92 per cent of global opium production in 2006. For no other drug is production so concentrated in a single area. This concentration went hand in hand with a remarkable long-term progress in eliminating other sources of supply, principally in South-East Asia.

There's trouble on the streets tonight,
I can feel it in my bones.

UN World Drug Report, 2007 page 37

There are indications that a small but increasing proportion of opiates from Afghanistan are being trafficked to North America, either via eastern and western Africa, or via Europe.

I had a premonition,
That he should not go alone.

Top-quality heroin floods U.S. as Afghan poppy trade grows, 2006

Not only is more heroin being produced from Afghan poppies, it is also the purest in the world, according to the DEA's National Drug Intelligence Center which monitors heroin coming into the United States.

I knew the gun was loaded,
But I didn't think he'd kill.

Heroin Heroes, 2000

Law enforcement officials in Europe have suspected for years that ties existed between Kosovar rebels and Balkan drug smugglers. But in the six months since Washington enthroned the Kosovo Liberation Army in that Yugoslav province, KLA-associated drug traffickers have cemented their influence and used their new status to increase heroin trafficking and forge links with other nationalist rebel groups and drug cartels.

Everything exploded,
And the blood began to spill.

Fresh cheap heroin headed for New England, 2008

The booming poppy harvest in Afghanistan could soon become New England's heroin problem.

Boston drug enforcement agents are bracing for what could be a shift in the way heroin flows into New England.

If it happens, according to current and former Drug Enforcement Administration agents, prices on the street will drop and the potency of competing products will spike. Last summer, according to a DEA spokesman, changes in Northeast heroin potency caused a rash of overdose deaths.

So baby, here's your ticket,
Put the suitcase in your hand.

Fresh cheap heroin headed for New England, 2008

"The Afghan heroin is absolutely going to - if it hasn't started flooding the market yet - it's going to get here," Levine said. "It's going to get to New England."


Southwest Asian heroin is still a small player in the United States, according to the NDIC, but Levine said competition from Afghan heroin would be significant.

"Afghan heroin is huge, it's a huge market," he said. "The State Department is trying to downplay it and say it's not going to be a huge problem, and they've got a vested interest in that because ... heroin is supporting those allies of our war in Afghanistan."

Here's a little money now,
Do it just the way we planned.

Heroin Heroes, 2000

The benefits of the drug trade are evident around Pristina -- more so than Western aid. "The new buildings, the better roads, and the sophisticated weapons -- many of these have been bought by drugs," says Michel Koutouzis, the Balkans region expert for the Global Drugs Monitor (OGD), a Paris-based think tank. The repercussions of this drug connection are only now emerging, and many Kosovo observers fear that the province could be evolving into a virtual narco-state under the noses of 49,000 peacekeeping troops.

You be cool for twenty hours
And I'll pay you twenty grand.

John McCain armed Kosovo Islamic terrorists, 2008

Americans of Albanian heritage collected a million dollars in one evening for the presidential campaign of Republican Senator John McCain, said the Albanian American Civic League yesterday, the lobby group headed by former Congressman Joe DioGuardi. A reception for McCain was held January 22 at the Saint Regis Hotel in Manhatten, and the senator, who is now leading in the runoff for the Republican party candidacy in the November elections, cut his campaign in Florida by one day to attend this gathering.

"Even in 1998 when we had problems with Milosevic, McCain did everything that we asked of him to the benefit of the Albanian people, including arming the KLA", announced DioGuardi. "We are American Albanians and we need a leader who will strengthen this country... We must support John McCain because he did everything we asked of him for Kosovo, from supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army to supporting the independence of Kosovo."

I'm sorry it went down like this,
And someone had to lose,

More heroin from Afghanistan pouring into U.S. cities, 2007

But internal drug-enforcement reports indicate that U.S. authorities are seizing more Afghan heroin at U.S. ports and from low-level dealers in American cities.

The reports contradict the public statements of drug enforcement officials, who maintain that the amount of heroin reaching the United States from Afghanistan hasn't increased.

It's the nature of the business,
It's the smuggler's blues.

Top-quality heroin floods U.S. as Afghan poppy trade grows, 2006

The jump in deaths was especially prevalent among users older than 40, who lack the resilience to recover from an overdose of unexpectedly strong heroin, according to a study by the county's Office of Health Assessment and Epidemiology.

"The rise of heroin from Afghanistan is our biggest rising threat in the fight against narcotics," said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. "We are seeing more seizures and more overdoses."

Smuggler's Blues

Top-quality heroin floods U.S. as Afghan poppy trade grows, 2006

The Department of Homeland Security also has found evidence of increasing Afghan heroin in this country. The agency reported skyrocketing numbers of seizures of heroin arriving at U.S. airports and seaports from India, not a significant heroin-producing country but a major transshipment point for Afghan drugs. The seizure of heroin packages from India increased from zero in 2003 to 433 in 2005 -- more than 80 percent of total heroin mail seizures that year.

The sailors and pilots,
The soldiers and the law,

Embassy of Afghanistan quoting "Unlikely allies: U.S., Iran separately fighting a common foe -- the Afghan drug trade", 2006

Just a few days ago, the United States announced that 11,000 new coalition troops would attack insurgents in the drug-ridden provinces in the south. Three straight years of bumper crops have flooded Iran and Western Europe with Afghan heroin, a trail now leading to the United States as well, with Chicago the chief distribution center and nearby cities such as St. Louis affected.

Missouri and Illinois officials say the highly pure heroin is attracting younger, affluent users and causing a spike in overdoses.

The pay offs and the rip offs,
And the things nobody saw.

The Criminalization of the State: "Independent Kosovo", a Territory under US-NATO Military Rule, 1999

Moreover, barely a few two months before Rambouillet, the US State Department had acknowledged (based on reports from the US Observer Mission) the role of the KLA in terrorising and uprooting ethnic Albanians:

" ... the KLA harass or kidnap anyone who comes to the police, ... KLA representatives had threatened to kill villagers and burn their homes if they did not join the KLA [a process which has continued since the NATO bombings]... [T]he KLA harassment has reached such intensity that residents of six villages in the Stimlje region are 'ready to flee'."

No matter if it's heroin, cocaine, or hash,

And the Winner is . . . the Albanian Mafia, 1999

Smuggling is the Albanian mafia's core competency, and over the past decade the Albanians have steadily come to dominate smuggling to and within Europe, even overshadowing their erstwhile mentors, the Italian mafia. Smugglers are smugglers, and the commodity on any given day shifts with demand, whether it is narcotics, weapons, fuel, stolen goods—or people.

You've got to carry weapons
Cause you always carry cash.

Heroin Heroes, 2000

As the war in Kosovo heated up, the drug traffickers began supplying the KLA with weapons procured from Eastern European and Italian crime groups in exchange for heroin. The 15 Families also lent their private armies to fight alongside the KLA. Clad in new Swiss uniforms and equipped with modern weaponry, these troops stood out among the ragtag irregulars of the KLA. In all, this was a formidable aid package. It's therefore not surprising, say European law enforcement officials, that the faction that ultimately seized power in Kosovo -- the KLA under Hashim Thaci -- was the group that maintained the closest links to traffickers. "As the biggest contributors, the drug traffickers may have gotten the most influence in running the country," says Koutouzis.

There's lots of shady characters,
Lots of dirty deals.

An Interview with Sibel Edmonds (Page Two), 2004

SE: I can't say anything specific with regards to these departments, because I didn't work for them. But as for the politicians, what I can say is that when you start talking about huge amounts of money, certain elected officials become automatically involved. And there are different kinds of campaign contributions - legal and illegal, declared and undeclared.

Ev'ry name's an alias
In case somebody squeals.

More heroin from Afghanistan pouring into U.S. cities, 2007

However, U.S. officials have privately told their Afghan counterparts and some American lawmakers that they've detected an increase in the amount of heroin from Afghanistan.

"We have talked about these problems and this increase," said M. Ashraf Haidari, the first secretary of the Afghan Embassy in Washington. "It's logical that where there is demand there is a supply. Drugs from Afghanistan are making their way to the United States."

(Continued in Part 2)

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