Monday, August 4, 2008

The Sword of Allah, Part 7

In previous posts in this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6), we saw how opiate production is not being effectively dealt with in Afghanistan, despite the fact that narcotics trafficking helps arm our enemies in the "War on Terror". The major reason for this given in this series is corruption in Afghanistan, although any frequent reader of my blog knows that corruption in Washington, D.C., is a major factor, as well.

In a companion series, Taking Care of Business, we also take a look at another aspect of corruption in government, as major players in the arms industry are in bed with those who are in bed with terrorists.

While the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other mujahideen are battling American, British, Afghan and other allied troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere, high enough up the ladder leaders on both sides are making a great deal of money dealing in narcotics, arms, nuclear secrets, sex slaves, and a variety of other commodities.

But, what does all this mean for people on the streets of infidel countries?

In a short article that was published on March 7, 2008, entitled Afghan heroin surging into Australia: Customs, we begin to get an idea of the impact of the narcotics trafficking on Australia (notice the new label).

Authorities are again concerned about a surge in the amount of pure, cheap heroin coming into Australia.

A confidential Customs report seen by ABC TV's Lateline program shows concerns by Australian agencies about heroin from Afghanistan.

Victorian Police Drug Squad head Detective Inspector Steve Smith says traditional criminal syndicates are still heavily involved in the importation of heroin.

"I'm also aware of data that indicates the purity of heroin that's available on the streets of Melbourne at the moment has increased, and that the price of heroin that is available has decreased, which may be indicative of the fact that there's more around," he said.

Melbourne's chief ambulance officer Alan Eade backs the concerns of police.

He says fatal heroin overdoses had decreased, but that is changing now.

"Of late, [heroin overdoses are] slowly starting to creep back up," he said.

"Whether that's availability, or just the swinging trend in drug use, I'm not sure why."

As the price comes down, more heroin can be bought; also, as the purity increases, the bang for each dose of smack increases. These two trends combine to have a great impact on the street, as more people can get more of a fix for the same amount of money.

But, an unexpected rise in heroin quality also tends to produce a rise in deaths due to overdoses, as heroin users taking the same amount they always take suddenly find themselves shooting up more potency. According to the article, Australia was just beginning to see this early this spring, although according to this next article, dated only several days later, it sounds like the increase in deaths was already more noticeable; Afghan brown heroin hits Sydney streets by John Kidman, March 16, 2008:

BROWN heroin from the opium fields of Afghanistan has made its way onto Sydney's streets for the first time.

The director of Sydney's Medically Supervised Injecting Centre Dr Ingrid van Beek said some use of brown heroin had been seen at the centre sporadically over the past nine months.

Inner-city heroin overdoses are also on the rise, with about one a day coming into the emergency department at St Vincent's Hospital. Experts are unclear why overdoses have increased.

Dr van Beek said there was sometimes confusion between acidic impure white heroin, which appeared brown in colour, and genuine Afghan heroin. But she said the limited demand for acidifiers to use with the drug indicated it was brown heroin.

Dr van Beek said the presence of Afghan heroin in Australia did not mean it was likely to "flood" the local market - the Australian market is simply too small and too far from the Middle East. And its arrival has not been linked to any surge in use, following a seven-year "drought" in which the common Asian strain of the deadly narcotic was superseded by ice.

The Medically Supervised Injecting Centre reports heroin use among its clients is generally at an all-time low. However, inner-city heroin overdoses are inexplicably on the rise, says Dr Gordian Fulde from St Vincent's Hospital's emergency department.

"Whereas we were seeing virtually none up until 18 months ago, we are now receiving about one overdose a day," Dr Fulde said. "It's not an 'Oh my God, it's the end of the world'-type thing at this stage. It's early days and the numbers are still small. I can't give you a trail of how or where or why but it's happening and it's not going away."

The spike is not matched in Sydney's south-west, where overdoses in and around Cabramatta were once common but are now "virtually unseen", said Liverpool Hospital's emergency director, Dr Richard Cracknell.

Australia-wide, the price of heroin is reportedly falling while customs and police seizures rose 30 per cent between 2006 and last year.

Perhaps not "flood" the market, but perhaps take market share from competitors, while encouraging new users through low prices?

In an article from February 8, 2008, AFGHANISTAN: Booming heroin crop finding its way to Australian streets, we get more information:

A big increase in Afghanistan's heroin crop is finding its way onto Australian streets. Afghan Brown heroin used to be rare in Australia, and local heroin users preferred the more highly refined product from south-east Asia. But a boom in opium production has made Afghanistan a major exporter and Australia a prime target.

Presenter: Michael Edwards

Speakers: Clive Williams, Terrorism and security analyst from the Australian National University; Gideon Warhaft from the New South Wales Users and AIDS Association; Annie Madden from the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: According to figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghan opium production is booming. It now accounts for 90 per cent of the world's supply. And much of this is produced in areas controlled by the Taliban.

Terrorism expert Clive Williams from Macquarie University says Afghanistan, opium and its eventual product heroin, are almost a natural fit.

CLIVE WILLIAMS: I think it's probably a lot to do with the difficulty of the environment there and there is no other crop that pays as well as growing opium.

And of course, there's always been a ready market both for exporting through Pakistan, and north through central Asia, which finds its way to Europe and Russia.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: And it appears some of this so-called Afghan Brown heroin is reaching Australia.

Traditionally, Australian heroin users preferred so-called China White heroin which is imported from south-east Asia. But now drug users' groups say there is an unprecedented shift towards Afghan Brown heroin in some parts of the country.

Annie Madden is from the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League.

ANNIE MADDEN: The reports we have been getting have been coming out of western Sydney and some parts of Adelaide. One of the factors that has changed recently, if you like, is that there is certainly evidence that the production of Afghan heroin has hugely increased over the last 12 months, 18 months.

And obviously that massive increase in production of brown heroin is going to be finding its way, has been finding its way and will continue to find its way into the world markets. And Australia could well be a new market for that form of heroin.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Gideon Warhaft is from the New South Wales Users and Aids Association.

He says presently on the streets of Sydney, users are finding it easier to get brown heroin rather than China White.

GIDEON WARHAFT: It is certainly possible, given you know, the huge yields of opium and heroin in Afghanistan over the last couple of years that people have decided to take advantage of that and have started importing Afghan heroin.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: And there are more differences to Afghan Brown than just its country of origin. Compared to south-east Asian China White heroin, Afghan Brown is unrefined and in many parts of the world it is smoked rather than injected.

But Annie Madden says some users do inject it and this can lead to health problems.

ANNIE MADDEN: If you do inject, it does tend to lead to more vein damage and abscesses and those sorts of things, because it is a more complex process to mix it into a solution suitable for injecting.

A key point is made in the above passage, that perhaps the market is beginning to favor Afghan heroin over other varieties. Recall what we learned in The Heroin Lobby, Part 3:

Just to get an idea of what we are talking about, the following is from the UN World Drug Report 2007. Heroin seizures worldwide are going way up,

and the price of heroin has come way down!

How come that happens with heroin, and not with gasoline?

This is not just an adult problem; as this graph shows, there has been an increase in heroin use in American high schools, including a spike in 2000:

On average, heroin use in American high schools has roughly doubled since American foreign policy has become subservient to the heroin lobby.

And, as I document in Smuggler's Blues, Part 1 and Smuggler's Blues, Part 2, this heroin is unusually pure and high quality; its purity and quality are catching drug users off-guard, causing a rise in overdoses and deaths.

As this last quoted passage alludes to, it isn't just in Australia that this increased flow of high quality heroin is washing ashore; it's getting very popular among middle class American teenagers, too.

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as The Sword of Allah continues!

No comments: