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Crossposted from Antemedius

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. His most recent books are Drugs, Oil, and War (2005), The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007), The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11 and the Deep Politics of War (2008) and Mosaic Orpheus (poetry, 2009).

This is part one of an interview in which Scott talks with Paul Jay of The Real News Network about the corrupted mindset in Washington that chooses who becomes president, and about the war machine that co-opted Obama into his escalation of a drug-corrupted war and is not just a bureaucratic cabal inside Washington, but rather is solidly grounded in and supported by a wide coalition of forces in society, and about the need for a new kind of American foreign policy.

SCOTT: I think I have talked about the deep state. I prefer now just to talk about deep politics, that there are things which we just don't face in our society, things we're not willing to talk about. With respect to Afghanistan, one of the things that we don't want to face and talk about is the presence of drug trafficking in the plans of the CIA for controlling remote areas of this world. And when you have a number of facts which are not being talked about, our politics becomes more and more like an iceberg, in which the visible part, the public politics, or, if you like, what goes on in the public state, is only a small percentage of the totality of what's going on, a lot of this is not subject to the restraints of the Constitution at all. And that's the part that I call deep politics. The phrase "deep state" is a bit dangerous, 'cause it might make people think that there's a secret Pentagon and a secret White House, it's nothing like that. It's more this matter of the mindset that I'm talking about.

JAY: When you described the war machine, you use the words "drug-corrupted war machine," and everyone knows that Afghanistan is now the manufacturer of the majority of the world's heroin, but it doesn't ever get talked about as a policy issue or as an underlying driving force in this struggle for all sides. So talk about this.

SCOTT: Well, I would say, actually, it has become talked about in the last year, with the beginning of Obama's campaign. You know, when Bush first went in in 2001, they had a list of the main refineries, and they were never touched, because America's coalition for developing local support in Afghanistan was made up very largely of warlords who were involved in the drug traffic. Our principal ally was going to be [Ahmad Shah] Massoud, and there was a big debate in Washington, before we went into Afghanistan, whether to make him an ally or not, because they knew he was involved in the drug traffic. Well, he was in fact assassinated, just a day or two before 9/11. But the Northern Alliance, which was the only faction in Afghanistan in that year that was growing poppy, they were our allies. And if you look at almost any newspaper story about drugs in Afghanistan, it's going to be talking about the Taliban. But the Taliban are getting at most about a tenth of the revenues that are being raised by opium and heroin in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of it is going to the big warlords who essentially make up, to this day, the coalition that are supporting [Hamid] Karzai in Kabul.


Real News Network - January 31, 2010
Full Transcript here

New mindset for US foreign policy?
Peter Dale Scott: The President does not choose the mindset, it chooses the people who become President

Originally posted to Edger on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:35 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here kid, (15+ / 0-)

    Have a little snort of freedom and democracy.

    The first one's free...

    Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:34:54 AM PST

  •  WTF (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, Winnie, bugscuffle, sherijr

    Our principal ally was going to be [Ahmad Shah] Massoud, and there was a big debate in Washington, before we went into Afghanistan, whether to make him an ally or not, because they knew he was involved in the drug traffic. Well, he was in fact assassinated, just a day or two before 9/11. But the Northern Alliance, which was the only faction in Afghanistan in that year that was growing poppy, they were our allies

    First; Ahmed Shah Massoud was going to be out ally in the war?  We were debating this after he was already assassinated?    What the heck?

    The Northern Alliance did not have control of southern Helmand province bordering Kandahar which is the hub of poppy growth.

    And that's exactly the kind of animal we had here with Setrak. Some kind of mole - SpringtimeforHitler

    by Setrak on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:42:12 AM PST

  •  very interesting. I like the metaphor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, Edger

    of public politics being like an iceberg.

  •  I frankly think he misses the mark, the US (0+ / 0-)

    interest is to keep the Taliban out of certain areas and if they think certain war lords will be able to commit to this, then they turn a blind eye these individuals involvement in the drug trade.  I think for the most part the US could care less of Karzai they know he is an incompetent buffoon but Afghanistan needs a ceremonial figure head.

    However, this who using ugly avenues to ensure cooperation is nothing new and has been a staple of American foreign policy for decades.

    "A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer" V. Lenin

    by HGM MA on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:46:32 AM PST

    •  Keep going with that train of thought (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dancewater

      Where is the biggest world market for heroin? Look out your window.

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:50:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What I am saying is that no one who makes these (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dancewater, Edger

        policies gives a fuck about what's happening outside my window.

        "A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, it is also a collective organizer" V. Lenin

        by HGM MA on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:01:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dancewater

          Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

          by Edger on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 10:08:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There was an interesting article from CNN (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dancewater, banger, ohmyheck

          about the destination of Afghanistan's opium/heroin:

          Europe and Russia together consume just under half of the heroin coming out of Afghanistan, the United Nations concluded, and Iran is by far the single largest consumer of Afghan opium.

          Afghanistan is also probably supplying an increasing share of the heroin in China -- perhaps as much as a quarter, the report said.

          Afghanistan is by far the world's largest producer of opium, although Laos, Myanmar and Latin America produce small quantities, it said.

          The United Nations found that Afghanistan may be supplying more heroin to the United States and Canada than had been suspected.

          The two North American countries consume more than twice as much heroin as Latin America produces. That means either that more Afghan heroin is making its way to North America than had been known or that Mexico and Columbia are producing more than was realized, the United Nations said.
          http://www.cnn.com/...

          I've seen similar information in other writings about this too and the information was surprising to me.  My particular interest was in the arms and drug trade involving Turkey, and in reading about this as it relates to Afghanistan, I learned that a lot of the product does not go to the West (or at least more of it than I had suspected).

  •  It's interesting the lack of discussion about it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, Edger

    when we know the CIA history with using drugs for their regime changing efforts.  It was pretty obvious what has happened, from the ramping up of poppy production after the US invasion, to the Prez's brother handling the Afghan govt's role.  

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 09:54:28 AM PST

  •  I contend: (5+ / 0-)

    The illegal US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is one of the most immoral acts in the history of American foreign policy.

    In addition, there can be no US victory in Afghanistan. Washington can't even define victory in this pointless war. American ambassador to Kabul, former general Karl Eikenberry, has spoken of the failure of our policy there, and he's making sense.
    But ultimately I wouldn't even follow his advice. It's time to finally start listening to the people of Afghanistan themselves, especially women's organizations like RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) and people like Malalai Joya, former member of parliament representing Farah province. Her words, from her 2009 book "Among the Warlords":

    Malalai Joya:

    "The people of Afghanistan are fed up with the occupation of their country and with the corrupt, Mafia-state of Hamid Karzai and the warlords and drug lords backed by NATO.... It is clear now that the real motive of the U.S. and its allies, hidden behind the so-called "war on terror," was to convert Afghanistan into a military base in Central Asia and the capital of the world’s opium drug trade. Ordinary Afghan people are being used in this chess game, and western taxpayers’ money and the blood of soldiers is being wasted on this agenda that will only further destabilize the region....Afghan and American lives are being needlessly lost."

    "While the United States bombed from the sky, the CIA and special forces had already arrived in the northern provinces of Afghanistan to hand out millions of dollars in cash and weapons to Northern Alliance commanders. They were the same extremists whose militias had pillaged Afghanistan during the civil war: Dostum, Sayyaf, Khalili, Rhabbani, General Arif, Dr. Abdullah, Haji Qadir, Ustad Atta, Mohammad, Daoud, and Hazrat Ali among others....Fahim, another ruthless man with a dark past. The western media tried at the time to portray these warlords as "anti-Taliban resistance forces and liberators of Afghanistan," but in fact Afghan people believed they were no better than the Taliban

    It's time to turn our backs on the advocates of torture, assassination, and mass murder. It's time to demand an end to this criminal war.

    "They who have put out the people's eyes, now reproach them for their blindness"--John Milton

    by mojada on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 11:44:39 AM PST

    •  Well we have to be at war with someone don't we? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      Might as well be in an area with lots of interesting crossroads. Afghanistan is perfect. It is and has been an intense battleground for militaries and intelligence services and criminal networks which, imho, are pretty much the same thing.

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