Only US/NATO success in Afghanistan: 40 fold opium increase – Rick Rozoff
Hello, this is John Robles, I am speaking with Mr. Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list.
Robles: Hello, Rick.
Rozoff: Hello, John.
Robles: End of another year, things seem to have gone kind of in the opposite direction as they seemed to have been going at the end of last year and the previous year. We of course would like to do a year end summary and get your views on where things are going. So, take it away.
Rozoff: You are correct. I mean, there has been, if you will, countercyclical or countervailing tendency dynamic over the past year and even though those who are superstitious about numbers might have thought 2013 would be an inauspicious one. I think that history will record even, you know, in the short term, that it has been momentous year in a number of ways.
And in particular what we have seen is (for the first time) a slowing up of, if not the beginning of a reversal of, what has been just an inexorable, unstoppable momentum by the West, the US primarily of course, in the entire post-Cold-War period (and we are now talking about 22 years) to assert global dominance economically, politically, culturally, but militarily in the first place.
More than in any other manner of course through the expansion of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, throughout the European continent but ultimately to transform it into a global military force. This is what we talked about a year ago if your listeners will recollect. And of course last year was the year of the NATO summit in Chicago here in May of 2012 and the US and its NATO allies set some fairly ambitious objectives, amongst which were the formal launching of the so called launching of the interceptor missiles system in Europe, the expansion of NATO….
Robles: I’m sorry, if I could interrupt you, just to remind our listeners: this was the first ever (in history) debate, an open debate with NATO, it was supposed to be with officials and you were one of the spokespeople there, speaking for the other side, right?
Rozoff: That is correct, John, thanks for reminding me as well as your listeners of that. That was in May of 2012, so roughly a year and a half ago. And there was a nationally and through Youtube, of course, internationally televised debate, the first of its kind.
Robles: And you did quite well. Anyway, please, go ahead.
Rozoff: Well, the fact was that we were looking at this a year ago, we saw, you know, signs that the uncontested role of the US as the “world’s sole military superpower” and pardon me again for quoting the president of the US Barack Obama whose term that is. He used it, well it will be now 4 years ago, when he received the Nobel Peace Prize and boasted of being the Commander in Chief of the world’s sole military superpower.
But what we’ve seen is that the military monolith has been having a bad time of it lately. And these past years signified, I think, on three or four different scores at least an indication there is a shift in the winds. And the most important by a long shot, the most strategically important is the fact that through Russian intervention, through many instances also, the heroic activities of a small group of individuals, I know you’ve interviewed the British Member of Parliament George Galloway recently, and in one of the segments of the interview you conducted with him which has been posted on voiceofrussia recently. The two of you discussed his role in NATO and maybe as few as three colleagues in the British House of Commons, in putting a spoke in the wheel of the Cameron Administration’s plans, to enter into war against Syria with the US and other NATO allies.
So, we saw that occur in the British Parliament, but we saw the intervention of Russia in the first instance around the question of dismantling the chemical weapons arsenal of the Syrian government as a way of really calling the US’ bluff (that of Secretary of State John Kerry in the first instance) and diffusing a situation were just few days earlier US president Obama had a press conference where he was openly laying the ground work for a Libyan style military intervention in Syria.
So, we saw that stopped. I know, amongst other people myself, drew the parallel between Syria this year and Spain in the 1930s in that, in both cases, in the case of Spain you had the emerging Axis Powers: Nazi’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy (Fascist Italy), supporting the armed insurrection of the Generalissimo Franco and his Moroccan mercenaries and others against the legally elected Republic the Government of Spain. And that battle in Spain in so many ways portended what was to happen in the entire European continent shortly thereafter, in other words, had the legitimate government of Spain unable to defend itself effectively and fend off an armed insurrection backed by foreign powers, WWII may not have occurred, and 50 million human lives that were lost may not have been lost.
And I think that Syria represented something comparable/analogues to that. But you had in these case Russia, Iran and China stepping in and saying that foreign military powers are not going to intervene and touch off either cataclysm strictly within Syria, but more likely a conflagration that would quickly pull into its vortex almost every country in the Middle East and perhaps even provoke an international crisis. So, we saw that occur.
Robles: I’d like to underline that point you just said about the possible (and people were saying) escalation of a Syrian war into a regional conflict and then into an actual world war. This all begun and caused by NATO, so what does that tell us about their role in the world as far as being an instrument for security and safety?
Rozoff: Your tone seems straightforward but I’m sure it is meant to imply irony and not only irony I think that almost demonical diabolical inversion of the truth, of course. But NATO itself is directly involved in sending batteries of interceptor missiles Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptor missiles to Turkey within the last year and a half which is something NATO has done twice in the past, which is to send the same sort (actually they were not quite as advanced a model of the Patriot the current one is even more long ranged and more sophisticated), but in 1991 and again in 2003 that is on the eves immediately of the wars against Iraq in those years 1991-2003 NATO also sent Patriot batteries as well as AWACS aircraft to Turkey for much the same purpose.
So, when US, German and Dutch Patriot batteries were sent to Turkey under NATO command a sensible person would have seen the analogy and reckoned that a war was imminent against Syria and it would include, because Turkey borders Syria and Turkey is a member of NATO, that NATO would have been involved its article 5, mutual military assistance clause, and the full force of a military alliance comprised of 28 countries accounting for some 70% of world military spending ($1 trillion a year collectively in military spending) arraigned against a very weak and isolated Syrian government.
This is what was in the offing just a few months ago we do have to remember. And that but for heroic efforts in the British Parliament as I mentioned but much more; the direct role of the Russian Government in a fairly sophisticated manner intervening diplomatically… This is what diplomacy is about: it is to prevent wars, not to give cover for wars, not to create the pretense for wars but to stop them.
And I believe history will record the Russian diplomatic intervention around Syria, defusing that crisis is both something likely (as Mr. Galloway, Parliamentarian Galloway, said on your show) something that really ought to get somebody in the Russian government for Nobel Peace Prize. As opposed to the person who got it 4 years ago and then immediately went to work waging military aggression around the globe.
So that we had that occur. We had the Edward Snowden affair which is also something that cannot be...
Robles: I’m sorry, as a force for stability, peace and security, you as one of the eminent (I would say) NATO experts in the world, did NATO do anything in the past year that lent to any sort of peace or stability or security for any of the people in the world?
Rozoff: No, of course it didn’t, nor has it ever been designed to do that. So it shouldn’t be surprising.
Another factor though which is not quite as salient or clear-cut, but I think just as important, is the fact that NATO is licking its wounds in Afghanistan, is getting ready to continue the metaphor I suppose, to slink away with its tail between its legs. And this into the 13th year, of not only the longest war in the history of the US, but the first ground war ever waged by NATO, the first military campaign launched and conducted by NATO in Asia, that is outside of Europe. It was followed of course by a war in Africa, the war against Libya two years ago.
Robles: To call that a war, I don’t know if you could call an onslaught of airstrikes and missile shot from hundreds of miles away a war, but basically just shooting fish in barrel, if I could use that expression.
Rozoff: You are correct about that, I should retract the use of the term “war” and just call it unilateral military aggression, overwhelming unilateral military aggression, the difference is (to use a historical analogy I suppose) between the Battle of Okinawa and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
So we do see the debacle, I think at this point it is irrefutable no matter how much Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen or any of his underlings, or his deputy –Alexander Vershbow former US ambassador to Russia (who is Deputy Secretary General of NATO), no matter how much these people try to put the best face on it, try to save face in fact, by claiming they have achieved anything in Afghanistan, as we know from the head of the Anti-Drug Agency in Russia, the only unarguable accomplishment if you want to call it that of NATO’s military assault in Afghanistan, is the fact that opium production has increased by a factor of 40.
Robles: I just want to underline, he is not just the head of the Anti-Drug establishment here in Russia – YuriyFedotov he is also the head of the United Nations Agency on Drugs and Crime that issued the 2013 opium report. And he himself was quite shocked at the level of heroine production. And Global Research published an expose of photographs of US soldiers guarding and protecting opium fields in Afghanistan. I mean, if you could comment on that, I’d really love to hear what you have to say about what NATO and the US were “really” doing in Afghanistan for 13 years.
Rozoff: On the question of the explosion of opium cultivation and the expansion of heroine abuse and the human tragedy thereof about which I hope I can speak in a second, being the only provable accomplishment or achievement of NATO in Afghanistan, that is simple beyond questioning, that is it, Nothing else has been accomplished.
Taliban is still active, other groups, which by the way, like the Haqqani network or Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin which are led by people the US supported. Supported primarily in the Mujahedeen war in the 1980s, these forces are still active both in Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan.
There has been no consolidation of a viable representative or even reputable government in Kabul. So this has been an unequivocal debacle first of all for the Afghan people who have suffered immeasurably by 12 more years of dislocation, of night raids, of bombing raids, of other catastrophes, destruction effectively of their infrastructure and their agricultural economy.
And in its place we get again as we talked about a second ago, a 40 fold increase in the opium cultivation. This means, and we have to look at this in human terms, this means hundreds of thousands if not millions of Afghans themselves have become addicted to heroin.
This means that millions in Russia, in Iran, in Central Asia and elsewhere in the general region have become dependent on heroine.
This means tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of deaths through overdose, through HIV, through criminal activity, as a result of this epidemic of heroine.
And this is done under the watch of, at peak strength, 150,000 troops serving under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
Certainly the least that the world community could have asked for a military occupation force, which legally incidentally the US and NATO are in Afghanistan, is they would have provided some modicum of a civilian infrastructure, of extermination of the opium cultivation in the country and such like, but clearly evidences the fact that the West had no intention whatsoever in doing anything of the sort.
I don’t have the exact figures at my fingertips, John, but something in the neighborhood of 80% to 90% of total funds that have gone into Afghanistan since the US/British invasion of October 2001 have gone for military and security purposes, that money has not gone into civilian infrastructure, has not gone into building a viable economy and so forth, notwithstanding comments by certain western foreign ministers that they’ve gone in there for alleged humanitarian reasons.
That was the end of part 1 of an interview with Rick Rozoff, the Owner and Manager of the Stop NATO website and international mailing list. You can find the rest of this interview on our website at Voiceofrussia.com. Thank you very much for listening and as always I wish you the best wherever you may be.