|Asia News Digest
Afghan MP: British Troops Trained Opium Experts in Helmand
April 20 (EIRNS)It was an open secret. Nonetheless, cited by an Afghan Member of Parliament, Nasimeh Niazi, the news will bend many ears inside, and outside of, Afghanistan. Niazi told Iran's Fars News Agency (FNA) on April 20 that the foreign forces deployed in Afghanistan were involved in the production and trafficking of illicit drugs in the country, adding that the British troops have even trained opium experts. Britain began to deploy troops, which grew 9,500-strong over the next two years, in Helmand province beginning in 2006. Helmand province, where almost 50% of Afghanistan's opium is produced, began to register huge growth in opium production that year. In 2007, it reached a level of 4,400 tons, which is almost the amount entire world consumes annually. Productivity of opium per hectare, aided by British research, has grown enormously.
Niazi also pointed out that Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan has been transformed into a profitable center for foreign states to earn an expense fund for their deployment in the country. Heroin production labs in Helmand, which did not exist before the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, are now plentiful and work overtly, Niazi added. It is also important to note that with the "foreign" (read: British) experts' help, the conversion of opium into heroin has shown an almost 30% rise in Afghanistan.
Pointing to her recent trip to Helmand, she said that during the trip, foreign forces pretended that they were destroying opium poppy farms, but it was only a token effort.
Opium Is Destroying the Children in Afghanistan
April 21 (EIRNS)Allowing the City of London and Wall Street to sustain themselves from ever-growing opium production in Afghanistan, the Bush and Obama administrations have now successfully presided over the destruction of the next generation of the Afghan population. A team of researchers hired by the U.S. State Department has found staggering levels of opium and heroin use among Afghan children as young as 14 months. This was totally unexpected. No one has ever seen this type of exposure in young children. And it's laying a foundation for drug abuse for a whole generation, said Bruce Goldberger, one of the University of Florida scientists heading up the study.
"This is a doomed generation of children," Goldberger said. "These children are classic opium or heroin addicts. They crave the drug. If the drug is withdrawn, they go through withdrawal."
The picture precisely mirrors the destruction which the British wrought in China through their 19th-20th Century Opium War.
A fact sheet prepared by the State Department has some of the raw numbers: In 31 of 42 homes where adult addicts lived, children tested showed signs of significant drug exposure.
Their field testing of homes of known drug users found that small children, even infants, have been passively exposed to heroin and opiates by the adult users in their homes. Both American and Afghan counter-narcotics officials said this is a new problem for the country. Only in recent years, as refugees from war fled to Pakistan and Iran, did a significant number of Afghans start using the drugs themselves. When they returned home, they brought both drug use and its noxious byproducts back with them. Compounding the problem is that the drug traffic originating in Afghanistan has changed, with more opium being converted into heroin before it leaves the country's borders.
Senator Webb: Move Funds from AFPAC to East Asia
April 24 (EIRNS)U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who has taken a leading role in the Congress in support of Secretary of State Clinton's policy of shifting U.S. foreign policy toward the Pacific, and also criticizing U.S. policy in Afghanistan, issued a call to increase the State Department's East Asia budget by $100 million, while cutting the same amount from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Webb has been arguing since May 2009 that Afghanistan and Pakistan "would not be able to absorb the massive amounts of funding provided to them, exacerbating corruption, misallocation, and overall ineffective assistance." He said that of the $700 million appropriated to Pakistan counterinsurgency in 2009 "nearly $500 million remains and the State Department has requested an additional $1.2 million this year." State is requesting a total of $6.98 billion for AFPAC this year.
East Asia, on the other hand, is severely underfunded, Webb says. Despite the official policy of "re-engaging" in Asia in the Obama Administration, the FY11 budget request for East Asia and Pacific is the smallest of all the regional bureaus. "The U.S. is a Pacific nation and has a vital long-term economic and strategic interests throughout Asia," said Webb. "This region is the only place in the world where the direct interests of the U.S., China, Russia and Japan directly intersect."
Blair Confronted in Malaysia as War Criminal
April 24 (EIRNS)EIR received a report from Matthias Chang, an advisor to former Prime Minister Mahathir, who participated in a protest of the appearance of war criminal Tony Blair today, getting close enough to denounce him for his crimes, but failing to deliver an indictment prepared by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission, set up by Dr. Mahathir and his allies.
Chang wrote: "War criminal Blair, the keynote speaker at the National Achievers Conference organised by Success Resources, a sycophant Singapore outfit ... hid in fear at the threat that members of the Malaysian anti-war NGOs would throw slippers at him and that members of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission would serve an indictment for war crimes. Extensive security measures were put in place before his arrival for the three-day event. For the first time, delegates to the conference had no itinerary of the speakers invited to speak at the convention.... Delegates have to wear a special wrist band for the entire duration of the convention for identification purposes."
Chang and another leader of the War Crimes Commission, two representatives of Mahathir's Perdana Global Peace Organisation, together with representatives of the Iraq Community in Malaysia, confronted Blair as he entered the hall, with the Iraqis shouting "mass murderer, war criminal, shame on you," repeatedly. Blair was obviously unsettled and put on an embarrassed smile, according to Chang.
Mahathir and others issued strong denunciations of the sponsors of the conference and the government for allowing admitted war criminal Blair to set foot in Malaysia, let alone to address youth on the subject of "Achievements," where he repeated his bragging about his crimes to the Chilcot Commission while calling for another illegal war on Iran.
China Daily Starts to Question Global Warming Myth
April 21 (EIRNS)An article in the official China Daily, and a new book making the rounds in China, have rejected the usual Chinese policy of paying lip service to global warming and the need to reduce carbon emissions (even while rejecting policies which would undermine growth). Zhu Yuan, writing in today's China Daily, notes that Chinese nationalists "tend to interpret what the United States or West is doing as a conspiracy to maintain their supremacy over developing countries. The financial crisis was described as a conspiracy in a series of books titled War of Currency. The latest book, Carbon Empire (tanke diguo) by Bai Haijun, claims that global warming is a lie, and the low-carbon economy a conspiracy by the US to maintain its position as the world's leading power."
Zhu then asserts that by "cutting the emissions of carbon dioxide by a large margin, our economic growth will undoubtedly drop and as a result, we will not be able to create enough jobs. That will have a negative impact on a populous nation like China at least in the short term. So it is reasonable for China and other developing countries to maintain a differentiated policy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."
Real pollution, on the other hand, is a real problem for China, and thus Zhu adds: "Yet, that does not mean we have enough reason to slacken our efforts in raising energy efficiency and reducing the pollutants our industries discharge."