Tag Archive | Australia

Indigenous Land Rights Could Halt Australia’s Largest Coal Mining Project*

Indigenous Land Rights Could Halt Australia’s Largest Coal Mining Project*

Environmental concerns over the Adani mining project stem from the threat to the survival of both sacred springs and to maintaining the tradition of songlines – ancestral lines connecting across the land to protect the Earth.

By Maxine Newlands

Indigenous elders from the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people have put mining company Adani – and Australia’s governments – on notice to quit the Carmichael mine project over native title claims.

Wangan and Jangalingou Traditional Owners this week took a step closer to filing federal court papers challenging a document Adani “is trying to pass off as an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with our people” but which is “illegitimate” according to W&J Traditional Owner Council, Mr. Adrian Burragubba. The claim is over access to land near the mining town of Clermont in Central Queensland, 600 miles north of Brisbane.

The move follows the landmark ‘McGlade’ court ruling in Western Australia, earlier this month. The “McGlade” ruling states that, unless all peoples named on any native title claim – a Registered Native Title Claimants (RNTC) document – agree to lease the land, then no mining can go ahead.

In the W & J case, 40% (five out of 12) of those named on the RNTC refuse to support the Indigenous Land Use Agreement over fears for the ecosystem and the loss of cultural heritage.

Environmental concerns over this project stem from the threat to the survival of sacred springs and to the tradition of maintaining songlines – ancestral lines connecting across the land to protect the Earth. With 12 billion litres of water, (the equivalent to 400 Olympic size pools) needed for the mine, there’s unease over the future security of the Carmichael River and sacred Doongmabulla Springs. The springs are both central to the indigenous belief of dreamtime and the creation story and are an important ecosystem to the region.

 What is native title?

Australia’s Native Title Act (1993) ensures that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to land taken from clans after the arrival of Europeans in the 18th Century.  Communities enter into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with mining companies over the use of traditional land rights.

ILUA is a voluntary agreement between a native title group and others over the suitable use of land and waters. ILUAs cover topics ranging from mining, future development, economic benefits including employment and compensation, preservation of cultural heritage and the safeguarding of native title rights, along with the rights of other people.

In 2004, Wangan and Jagalingou Peoples lodged a native title claim with the Registered Native Title Claimants (RNTC) for land they possess. The claim includes the right and interest to hunt, fish, camp, access natural resources, conduct traditional ceremonies, protect customs and traditions of the land, educate on the lands’ physical and spiritual attributes, and to be buried as native title holders on that land.

W&J youth leader and Council spokesperson, Murrawah Johnson, says: “We have maintained all along that Adani does not have the consent of the rightful Traditional Owners. Our Traditional Owners group have rejected an ILUA with Adani three times. We will defeat Adani’s fake ILUA and continue to fight for our land and culture until the company and Governments respect our rights and abandon this disastrous proposal”.

Adani reject claims over jobs and lack of indigenous support

Where green groups have failed in the courts, the indigenous peoples hope for success with a network of support and a different set of tools.

“Environmentalists and environmental campaigns have ways to take legal action to prevent the mines. I’m not saying for certain that we are going to win, but we’ve got a different set of tools we get to use” a W&J Council advisor told the Ecologist.

These tools include international support from other first nations and indigenous groups and the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz.  The Tauli-Corpuz report (2016) recommends that Australia – a supporter of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People’s  (UNDRIP, 2009) – upholds Article 32, granting traditional owners legal recourse to contest their land being used without their free, prior and informed consent.

W & J is also working with the Athabasca Chipewyan battling the tar sands in Alberta; the Achuar Indians fighting oil and gas in the Amazon and the Ogoni and Ijaw’s fight against Shell in the Niger Delta, and plan to take this campaign global – a W&J Council advisor says

“we already have international connections and support. Our intention is to widen this campaign, the cause and promote it globally”.

Adani’s Response

Adani in conjunction with the Bowen Basin Mining Company (BBMC) recently held a series of roadshows in the region for those seeking jobs and supply contracts. Nearly 1,300 regional business owners and suppliers met key project team members from both Adani and the mine construction and operations contractor, Downer Group. BBMC stated that “The supplier briefings were all extremely well-attended, with exceptional support from local industry associations, indigenous communities, councils and peak economic development bodies”, adding that “there was also a strong show of support for the Carmichael project from the Wangan & Jagalingou Traditional Owner groups, as well as other Indigenous groups and businesses in all locations”.

The roadshow events began with an indigenous supplier briefing, with Indigenous groups singled out as “a large focus of the mine, rail and port projects…the key to effective supplier proposals is indigenous involvement, as indigenous training and jobs, along with regional supply, are main priorities for project procurement”.

Some members of W&J are challenging the focus on indigenous jobs: “The jobs and benefits to indigenous peoples argument is a sham. It’s the usual package to clear the regulatory hurdles around native title” warned a W&J Council advisor.

 Whilst Adani continues to work with indigenous groups over native title claims, green groups have been accused of underhand illegal tactics that could prevent jobs for the community.

 Queensland Resource Council (QRC) has accused green groups of threatening behavior, saying: ” While we believe it is a democratic right to protest, using dishonest and underhanded tactics in a bid to cheat Queenslanders out of jobs, is going too far. We can only hope that no-one has been put in danger, or hurt, as a result of these desperate tactics, which had the potential to bring these groups into personal direct conflict with regional Queensland business people in attendance” said a company statement.

Undeterred, environmental activists groups are looking to work with the W & J and planning to hold the largest protest campaign the country has witnessed in the coming months. The Galilee Blockade  campaigns will wait and see if W & J request support, and will continue to plan large scale direct actions and blockades.

Australian Government’s response is to bypass the law

In a week where Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Minister for Energy and the Environment, Josh Frydenberg passed around the parliamentary chamber a large lump of coal in support of the fossil fuel industry, both the Federal and Queensland governments are looking at ways to push through the project as a matter of national critical infrastructure development.

Australia’s pro-mining Attorney General George Brandis wants to rush through new legislation allowing the Adani mine and the remaining 40 other mining projects in Queensland all affected by the McGlade ruling to go ahead.

Any new legislation would be a reversal of current policy to a 2010 ruling (Bygraves decision) that stated that as long as a majority decision was made by a native title claimant group then all deals can go ahead.

Leading Aboriginal rights advocate, a primary W&J Traditional Owner and Council, Adrian Burragubba, says: “Our fight is far from over. Anyone who wants to bankroll Adani, and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, is now on notice that we will not stand by if attempts are made, in response to the Noongar decision, to put our rights and interests, and our laws and customs, on the chopping block for the mining lobby,”.

Wangan and Jangalingou Traditional Owners are currently awaiting for Adani’s official response before deciding whether to go to court.


Related Topics:

Australia to Use Clean Renewable Energy to Source Mining*

Rothschild’s Rio Reap a $2mn Red Diamond While Aussie Miners Suffer Depression, Illness, and Exhaustion*

Australia Discontinues Services to the People Whose Land It Took*

Australia’s Aboriginal Artist’s Message Resonates in Palestine*

DNA study Proves Indigenous Australians Date Back 50,000 yrs*

Australia Still Stealing Indigenous Children*

The People of the Dreamtime

2,000 Australian Catholic Figures Accused of Child Abuse*

2,000 Australian Catholic Figures Accused of Child Abuse*


In some dioceses, up to 40% of priests were accused of abusing children.

Australia's Cardinal George Pell

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell

Australia’s Cardinal George Pell


A Royal Commission into child abuse by the Australian Catholic church has revealed a shocking picture of impunity and predation, with nearly 7% of priests accused of abusing children between Jan. 1980 and Feb. 2015.

According to the damning report released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Monday, 4,444 alleged victims suffered child abuse at the hands of the Catholic church.

But despite this, “Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (figures) were moved. The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past,” said Gail Furness, senior counsel assisting the commission.

The commission found an alleged 1,880 predators within the Catholic church. Of these 572 — over one in three — were Catholic priests. In some dioceses, up to 40% of priests were accused of abusing children.

In one case, the inquiry heard testimony from Peter Blenkiron who recounted how he was physically and sexually abused by his Christian teacher in class while the other students were told to look away.

In another case, Catholic priest Peter Searson was accused of sexually abusing a 9-year girl in his confessional booth.

The harrowing report accuses the Catholic church of fostering a perverse system of fear and shame where abuse victims were “ignored or worse, punished,” said Furness.

On average, the commission found it took 33 years for each instance of abuse to be reported.

What’s more, the Holy See refused to assist the commission, according to Furness.

She told the hearing, “The royal commission hoped to gain an understanding of the action taken in each case. The Holy See responded, on July 1, 2014, that it was ‘neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested.’”

In response to the shocking report, the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, which was set up to coordinate the response to the findings, has condemned the abuse as a “massive failure.”

“These numbers are shocking, they are tragic, they are indefensible,” said chief executive Francis Sullivan Monday, speaking on behalf of the council.

“As Catholics, we hang our heads in shame.”

The landmark royal commission was set up in 2013 to investigate allegations of sexual and physical abuse in religious, educational and sporting institutions in Australia.

The commission is now in its final stage, where the final three weeks are expected to investigate the cultural causes for the crisis and how the church can improve protections for children.


Related Topics:

Australian Principal Accused of 74 Child Sex Charges Walks free in Israel*

Child Abuse in Australian Detention Camp*

Australian Schools banned from using the terms ‘mum’ and ‘dad*

Boys Forced to Rape each other at Australian Military Schools*

Satanic Paedophilia Network Exposed in Australia*

She was a Sex Slave to Europe’s Elite at Age 6*

Alabama Lawmaker Introduces Mandatory Castration for Child Sexual Abuse*

A Global Paedophile Ring Busted from Australia*

Thunderstorm Asthma! What Is Really Going On?*

Thunderstorm Asthma! What Is Really Going On?*

By Stefan Stanford

Back in November 29th of 2013, France’s The Observers’ reported acid rain in Ahvaz, Iran had poisoned thousands of Iranians though the exact number was never found out because Iranian authorities imposed strict censorship upon hospitals there. One of the most polluted cities in the world, residents said “it’s like the city is cursed” after also suffering through 25 years of the horrors of war

Patients suffering from breathing problems had filled up emergency rooms for several weeks as more and more ‘acid rain’ fell on the city in western Iran. According to the local media there, more than 20,000 people were hospitalized over the month of November 2013 alone though the number could have been much higher.

While some said the town looked like some kind of nuclear wasteland, ANP finds it quite interesting that Ahvaz, Iran on November 2 of 2013 is listed by Wikipedia as being one of the very few locations across the world to have ever been struck by ‘thunderstorm asthma’, the ‘death hanging in the air’ that recently hospitalized nearly 10,000+ in Australia while killing at least 8.

With respiratory illnesses growing in Kyrgyzstan and across the world, ANP has been asked by several readers to take a new look at this mystery that has caught the world by surprise that JD Heyes over at Natural News recently called “Biological warfare-like ‘thunderstorm asthma’” along with several videos that ask what is really going on there? Interestingly, an outbreak of scurvy also recently hit Australia and may be moving on to New Zealand next. Much more on that in our next story.

According to Wikipedia, there have been 10 ‘significant events’ of thunderstorm asthma, however, they only date back to July 6th of 1983 in Birmingham, England. Australia has been struck 5 times while Naples, Italy and London, England were also hit. The most recent episode of thunderstorm asthma wasn’t even Australia, however, as on December 1st, the country of Kuwait was also hit leading to the deaths of 5, rounding out the 10 significant thunderstorm asthma events. Interestingly, Susan Duclos pointed out that 2016 is the only year that ‘thunderstorm asthma’ has hit twice.

Also according to Wikipedia, most of those affected by ‘thunderstorm asthma’ have NEVER had an asthma attack before. However, 95% of those that were affected by thunderstorm asthma had a history of hayfever, and 96% of those people had tested positive to grass pollen allergies, particularly rye grass.

According to this new story from Yahoo Australia, ‘thunderstorm asthma shows a worrying trend’. Struck by thunderstorm asthma back in 1987, 1989, 1997, and 2010 before the mass outbreak in November, authorities report there is a new thunderstorm asthma warning in effect for this weekend in certain parts of the country.

And while the recent thunderstorm asthma attack that struck Melbourne has been called the worst thunderstorm asthma attack to ever strike the world and Health Minister Jill Hennessy said it was like “having 150 bombs going off at once right across Melbourne”, the people we’ve communicated with from Australia as well as each of the videographers below aren’t buying the official explanation.

Going back to the 2013 story from France’s Observers, according to Iran’s Pulse news, Khuzestan’s environmental protection officer blamed ‘acid rain’ on high concentrations of nitrates in the air. Keep in mind the Wikipedia report that Ahvaz also suffered from one of the most significant cases of ‘thunderstorm asthma’ during this exact same time period.

The weather has always been awful in Ahvaz, for as long as I can remember. But it gets worse every year. This year, we had dust storms and, more recently, acid rain that has caused people to become sick. Last time it fell, I had to go to hospital because I had trouble breathing. The people that took care of me didn’t really know what to do. The nurses just gave me medication and put me on respiratory support. It cost me 100,000 tomans (about 30 euros). There were many people, mainly children and older people, and the medical personnel looked overwhelmed. After an hour or two, I was able to go home.

Last Wednesday, a new round of acid rain caused many people to get sick. According to what I heard, thousands went to the hospital. Those people who protested against the dam on the Karun River now intend to protest against the pollution and the unbearable living conditions that cause Ahvaz to resemble a ghost town. Indeed, it looks like some kind of nuclear wasteland.

In the videos below, our videographers ask what is ‘thunderstorm asthma’ and ask what really is going on in Australia as the death toll rose again and as our videographer asks in the final video below, is thunderstorm asthma really some kind of bio-warfare or attack? Were places like Ahvaz, Iran used as testing grounds for some kind of deadly chemical/biological weapons? And might all of this be some sick part of the globalists depopulation agenda?

And were chemtrails involved in the illnesses as has been suggested by some living in Australia who had reported being heavily chemtrailed in the days prior? As Steve Quayle warned us long ago in his book, ‘Weather Warfare and Other Un-Natural Disasters,’ weather warfare IS real…are we now witnessing some kind of it dating back to 1983?

For those concerned, an interesting website called ‘Flu Trackers’ uses data from journalists, citizens and other news sources from all around the world compiled in a forum form.


Related Topics:

NASA Confesses to Dosing Americans with Air-borne Lithium and Other Chemicals*

U.S. Plan to Spread Cholera across Syria and Turkey May be Failing*

Historic Chemtrails Lawsuit Filed in Canada*

A Renowned Nuclear Scientist Confirms that Humans are being Poisoned by Traces of Aluminium via Chemtrails*

Government Quietly Admits Weather Modification*

U.S. Dropped Insects Carrying Anthrax, Cholera, Encephalitis, and Bubonic Plague on North Korea*

Geopolitics and Chemtrails

Chemtrails and Depopulation*

Paris Climate Change Conference shows Road to NWO Weather Control*

Australian School-kids Recreate Martin Shkreli’s $750 Malaria Drug for $1.50.*

Australian School-kids Recreate Martin Shkreli’s $750 Malaria Drug for $1.50.*

Martin Shkreli


Pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli has posted a video response to Australian school-kids who recreated his company’s malaria pill for a tiny fraction of its price, as well as launching into a Twitter tirade over their project.

Shkreli shot to infamy last year when he jacked up the price of anti-parasitic drug Daraprim from US$13 to US$750.

Earlier this week he was back in the headlines after a group of Sydney high school students recreated the medicine in their school lab for only $1.50.

The 33 year old took to Youtube on Thursday to congratulate the budding scientists.


“We should congratulate these students for their interest in chemistry and all be excited about what is to come in the stem-focused 21st century,” he said.


He later went even further, inviting people to call him to discuss the issue while livestreaming the calls on Periscope.

“I especially want to hear from you if you hate me,” Shkreli said.

He also specifically addressed journalists, saying:

“You throw your potshots out but you don’t have the f***ing balls to go one-on-one with the great one.”


Related Topics:

How a Battle over Affordable Medicine Helped Kill the TPP*

Drug Firms’ Plan to Maximize Profits on Cancer, AIDS and Heart Drugs*

Potential Anti-Cancer Drug Used as Biofuel

How a Battle over Affordable Medicine Helped Kill the TPP*

How a Battle over Affordable Medicine Helped Kill the TPP*

The debate about an exotic new kind of drug delayed the trade deal for years, thanks in part to relentless advocates who stood up to big pharma.

Cancer patients Zahara Heckscher and Hannah Lyon engage in civil disobedience at the headquarters of the industry group PhRMA in Washington, D.C., on February 4. Photo courtesy of Public Citizen.


By James Trimarco

Amid the fallout from Donald Trump’s election is the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. After six years of negotiations, the controversial trade deal is dead.

Its proponents were caught off guard. Just a week before the election, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was telling CNBC that members of Congress were ready to pass TPP right after the election.

“If they bring it forward,” he said,

“I think we can get the votes there.”

But Trump had made withdrawal from TPP a cornerstone of his campaign. After his victory over Hillary Clinton, Republican leaders in Congress made it clear that the deal was going nowhere.

That’s a serious setback for President Barack Obama, who was its highest-profile advocate.

“This will end up being the most progressive trade bill in history,” Obama said last year.

“It will have the kinds of labor and environmental and human rights protections that have been absent in previous agreements.”

Yet, hardly any labor or environmental groups supported it. The AFL-CIO federation of unions and the Sierra Club, for example, were outspoken opponents.

Less well-known is the small, international group of affordable-medicine advocates who undermined its passage in a years-long drama that pitted consumer advocacy against corporate interests. By relentlessly pointing out how proposals by the United States Trade Representative would hike drug prices, says Brook Baker, a professor of law at Northeastern University who’s written widely about trade, those advocates helped delay the deal long enough to make it vulnerable to political attack.

“If this had been brought up two years ago, [Congress] probably would have passed it,” Baker says.

“One of the sticking points was intellectual property—and that was mainly over concerns about access to medicine.”

The health advocates Baker is talking about—groups like Doctors Without Borders, Public Citizen, and Oxfam—didn’t have a seat at the negotiating table. And they couldn’t see the deal’s secret text. But by allying themselves with other countries in the partnership, they were able to build trust among people who did have seats. Then, they provided information and did whatever they could to shore up resistance among negotiators.

“At each round, civil society went and found out what was on the table, and got negotiators who were thinking alike to talk to each other,” Baker says.

It was February 2011, and Peter Maybarduk was in Santiago, Chile, for round five of negotiations for the TPP. He works for Public Citizen, a D.C.-based advocacy organization, where he directs a group that focuses on fair access to medicines. By that time, he says, he’d pretty much given up on changing anyone’s mind on the U.S. side. But he was hoping he could help persuade the negotiators from other countries not to sign off on a deal he thought would increase the cost of health care for their people.

The negotiations were being held at a law school, but only trade ministry representatives and other government officials were allowed in. Representatives of civil society, like Maybarduk, had to wear special badges and stay out of the rooms where the deal’s secret text was being hammered out.

That left Maybarduk and other advocates wandering the halls, hoping to grab a Vietnamese or Peruvian negotiator and pull them aside for a chat. Trying to influence the process in this way could get dicey. Maybarduk remembers infiltrating a presentation given by officials in the Chilean government, when someone with the U.S. contingent said something like,

“I thought only trade representatives were allowed in here.” He pointed at Maybarduk and said, “He’s not.” Outed, Maybarduk got up and left the room.

Peter Maybarduk visits the office of the Network for Globalization with Equity (RedGE) in Lima, Peru. Photo courtesy Public Citizen


Days later, he had a breakthrough. Together with allies from other groups, he put together a lunch for the negotiators, most of whom showed up. There, he gave a presentation explaining how a provision in a leaked chapter of the deal was likely to encourage patent abuse and drive up the cost of medicines.

“At this point, the negotiators were not sure what their relationship with us should be like—if they should be talking to us, if we were going to antagonize them,” Maybarduk says.

“That presentation showed them there might be some information that would be really useful.”

Those relationships would come in handy in the years to come. By May 2012, Maybarduk’s team had helped to create an environment in which chief negotiators from Vietnam and Chile felt comfortable speaking publicly about the need for affordable medication in terms that went directly against the U.S. positions.

And the impact went beyond just talk.

Provisions the United States Trade Representative wanted in the deal started getting thrown out, according to observers’ accounts and leaked versions of the text. The U.S. had wanted rules saying that bioengineered varieties of plants and animals should be patented. It had wanted to allow companies to get new patents for slightly tweaked versions of existing medications—a process known as “evergreening.” And it had wanted to automatically block generic drug applications if a patent had been claimed, regardless of the validity of the patent.

One by one, the U.S. relented on those. But there was one demand it would not give up: the ability to guarantee intellectual property rights worth billions of dollars for the makers of a new and expensive class of drugs.

On September 22, Zahara Heckscher received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield. Its dense legalese made it hard to follow the details, but the gist was clear: Her doctor’s request on her behalf for two cancer medications had been denied.

Heckscher, who had been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer a few years earlier, says she was shocked by the rejection. She had been through all kinds of treatments. She knew the disease ran in her family; her mother and aunt had died from it when they were in their 40s. But her doctor kept trying.

Heckscher waited for 10 agonizing days, during which she says she could feel her lymph nodes swelling under her arms. She was terrified.

“Every time you forget a word, you think The cancer’s in my brain. My son’s 11, and I wonder, Am I going to be there for his 12th birthday?”

In the end, the insurance company reversed its decision and agreed to pay for the two drugs: Herceptin and Perjeta. Together, they cost about $115,000 for a year’s treatment.

Why were the drugs so pricey? The answer, it turns out, had to do with the intellectual property debates that were holding up the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The drugs are biologics, an important and growing class of medication. Although only 2% of the population in the U.S. uses them, they account for 40% of spending on prescription drugs.

Biologics are something relatively new in medicine. Most traditional treatments consist of relatively small molecules; you can draw the chemical structure for ibuprofen, for example, with just a hexagon and two small, branching lines. The complex molecules that make up biologics can be hundreds, even thousands, of times larger—and, unlike traditional drugs, they’re manufactured within living cells.

The most promising new treatments for cancer and arthritis are biologics.

“It feels like a miracle,” Heckscher says.

“The medicines go right where they are supposed to go in my body, without the side effects of chemo.”

But research and design for a single biologic medication can cost billions of dollars. The industry is concerned that companies won’t get a return on that investment if they’re undersold by lower-priced, generic versions of the drugs—known as “biosimilars” because biologics can’t be copied exactly. The industry’s preferred solution is so-called “exclusivities,” which effectively give the original manufacturer of the drug a legal monopoly for a certain period of time. That’s in addition to patents, which drug companies feel don’t sufficiently protect biologics. (The trade groups PhRMA and BIO declined to comment for this story.)

Exclusivities for biologics are already part of U.S. law. A little-known section of the Affordable Care Act gives them 12 years of protection. That means that patients like Heckscher might need to wait more than a decade to get access to cheaper biosimilars.

It is the longest such period enacted anywhere in the world. Japan, for example, has 10 years, while Australia and Mexico have five. Some countries offer no monopoly period at all.

If the United States Trade Representative could get 12 years of monopoly protections written into the trade deal, it would be a big win for the pharmaceutical industry—which is largely based in the U.S. A significant portion of the world would adopt its preferred rules on a class of drugs expected to be the future of medicine.

And it’s not just the other countries that would be bound by these rules. The deal would have made it harder to change U.S. law too.

“The real reason behind the strong lobbying effort for the adoption of the 12-year period in the TPP is not that it is the right thing for countries to do, but a clever strategic move to prevent the U.S. Congress from reducing the period of 12 years later on,” wrote Fabiana Jorge, who represented generic drug manufacturers during the negotiations.

Meanwhile, a number of countries were emerging as a bloc against the U.S. position on biologics, and no one was surprised to see Australia and New Zealand at its forefront. These countries have robust universal health care systems, and taxpayers would be footing the bill if generics were limited by the exclusivity provision. While it’s hard to know exactly how much money the 12-year provisions would have cost Australia, one report showed that the arrival of a biosimilar version of a single drug, Humira, would save the country more than $43 million a year.

“We have to be careful that we can control the costs of these drugs in the future,” says Deborah Gleeson, a professor of health in Australia who has argued against the U.S. provisions.

“We’re strongly committed to our [public health care system] in Australia and to the idea that everyone should have affordable access to medicines.”

Other countries may have been persuaded. Fifa Rahman, a lawyer and activist who works for the Malaysian AIDS Council, believes her group helped strengthen the resolve of the Malaysian negotiators. She brought AIDS patients to testify at meetings, wrote papers attacking the industry’s arguments, and generally raised the alarm about what the 12-year provision would mean for the country’s public health care system.

“Malaysia in the start was ready to let a lot of things go,” she said.

“Without the pressure we put on them, they wouldn’t have taken such a strong position, in terms of slowing things down.”

Throughout the fall of 2013, Obama spoke about the TPP as though it were almost finished. But the talks kept getting extended. And when the intellectual property chapter leaked in May 2014, the language on biologics said the drugs were protected “for a period of [0] / [5] / [8] / [12] years from the date of marketing approval.”

Every length of protection was still on the table.

“The range of proposals in that leak shows how toxic the subject was,” says Maybarduk, “and it signals the success of social movements in conveying the moral imperative around access to medicines.”

Mary, a source who’s asked that her identity be protected, was there for what happened next. She attended most of the final rounds of negotiations, representing her country’s ministry of health. At the final round, in Atlanta, the conversation on biologics centered on competing proposals from the United States and Australia, she says. When Mary saw the Australian proposal, she was upset. It contained complex language that basically called for eight years of protection, she says. That was better than the 12 years the U.S. wanted. But Mary says she was committed to getting a period of five to zero years because her goal was to have universal health care for the people of her country. The biologics provisions in Australia’s proposal would delay that, she says, because it would limit access to affordable medicine.

One group of officials drafted its own counterproposal, which allowed each country to define biologics in its own national law and specified zero years of exclusivity. They gave it to trade negotiators, but it was ignored.

Zahara Heckscher was there in Atlanta, too, demanding to be let in and to see the text. She stepped out of the elevator in the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, with a symbolic IV drip taped to her arm, wearing a T-Shirt printed with the words “I HAVE CANCER I CAN’T WAIT 8 YEARS.”

She was arrested before she could interrupt the negotiations. But media outlet Democracy Now! covered the incident, bringing it to hundreds of thousands of viewers.

Ultimately, it was Australia’s provision that made it into the final text of the deal, which was signed in February.

But it was too late. By then, the presidential campaign was heating up, with Donald Trump calling the TPP “the death blow for American manufacturing” and even Hillary Clinton speaking out against it. The TPP’s time had come and gone.

And while affordable-medicine advocates like Fifa Rahman, Peter Maybarduk, and Zahara Heckscher deserve some credit for taking down the TPP, not everyone agrees that this work actually changed minds. One former trade negotiator, who asked not to be identified, says that the people at the table simply take orders from the top.

Fifa Rahman of the Malaysian AIDS Council talks to BFMradio about transgender rights and HIV. Photo courtesy Fifa Rahman.


“Negotiators aren’t going to ignore directives from their government because they’ve spoken to someone in civil society,” she says. They “might have the interests and opinions of civil society in the back of their minds, but, ultimately, they have to do what they’re told.”

It’s difficult to know exactly how much influence the affordable-medicine advocates had. But in the end, the delay over biologics helped push the TPP into a turbulent election cycle, where it came to symbolize much of what frustrated American voters.

Brook Baker warns: “None of the bad ideas in the initial proposals are dead forever. Big Pharma will do everything in its power to see that the pro-monopoly ideas in the initial TPP proposal and in the ultimate text are pursued in future ways.

Baker calls the USTR a “captured agency,” explaining that “instead of regulating the industry, it becomes a pawn of that industry.”

“There really needs to be fundamental change,” Baker says, pointing to the trade advisory committees that are overwhelmingly composed of business representatives.

“You need to take industry’s unilateral oversight off the table and open it to democratic participation.”


Related Topics:

Maori Elder Sends TPPA Partners, Queen A Formal Notice of Veto of Trade Agreement*

European Parliament Demands Legal Scrutiny of CETA’s ‘Corporate Court’ System*

E.U. Council Decides to Sign CETA Trade Agreement and Celebrate with Canada*

How the U.S. Blocked the E.U. Ban on Animal Testing in Cosmetics*

U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe over Monsanto GM Crops

E.U. Bullies its Way through an Reciprocal Trade Access in Africa*

Bio-Pirates Big Pharma Co-Opts Ancient Flower that Heals 96% of All Diabetics*

Drug Firms’ Plan to Maximize Profits on Cancer, AIDS and Heart Drugs*

Australia’s Aboriginal Artist’s Message Resonates in Palestine*

Australia’s Aboriginal Artist’s Message Resonates in Palestine*

By Joharah Baker

Richard Bell’s Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Aline Khoury

“Survival is a very strong instinct.”

Such words resonate with Palestinians, even when spoken in a different language by a man who embraces a different struggle and lives halfway around the world.

Indeed, much of what Richard Bell, the indigenous Australian artist, had to say in Jerusalem on 14 October could have come from any Palestinian in the city, Gaza or in the diaspora.

And in the sense of showing there is a shared language among the oppressed of this world, Qalandiya International, the biennial contemporary art event, which this year is entitled This Sea is Mine, was a success.

How many Palestinians were there to reap the benefit of this wisdom, however, is less clear.

Bell was talking at an evening of “art and dialogue” in Jerusalem, where his Aboriginal Tent Embassy – an homage to the original Tent Embassy set up outside the Australian parliament some 40 years ago – formed part of Qalandiya International’s Jerusalem Show VIII: Before and After Origins.

Sitting inside the plain-looking tent, its sides raised to allow an audience to look in, and with a sign in Arabic at its front, Bell, a striking figure, spoke passionately about how his people have been oppressed, displaced, uprooted, impoverished and alienated in their own homeland.

“Colonial forces create divisions whenever and wherever they can,” Bell said on the rooftop of Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in the Old City of Jerusalem where his tent had been erected.

“We must find every way possible to get our message across.”

“Return to the land” is the common thread running through Qalandiya International this year. Spanning countries and borders, the biennal’s events – from photography exhibitions and solo shows to film screenings and talks like Bell’s – are held throughout historic Palestine, the occupied Golan Heights, Amman, London and Beirut. The event runs until the end of October.

According to Vivian Ziherl, the curator for the Jerusalem events, the goal of Qalandiya International is to maintain a connection among those who endure colonialism and occupation; i.e., the oppressed peoples of the world.

“Personally, I look at the concept of return from the perspective of the settler-colony,” Ziherl said, referring to her own “Anglo-Australian origins,” conceding she had only recently become familiar with the Palestinian question of return.

Return as cultural exchange

In Jerusalem, the concept of return was presented in the form of cultural exchange and expression in different localities.

On the roof of Al-Ma’mal, Richard Bell tied in the Aboriginal struggle for recognition of their rights and mere existence, with that of the Palestinians’ struggle to regain their rights and land. For both the Aborigines and the Palestinians, he said, the loss of land is an integral part of the struggle.

Next to the Tent Embassy was a sign in Arabic which read:

“White invaders, you are living on stolen land.”

The local relevance was not lost on visitors.

“Just replace the word ‘white’ with ‘Zionist,’” said Nuri al-Uqbi, a Palestinian-Bedouin resident of the Naqab (Negev in Hebrew), during an informal question and answer session after Bell’s talk, “and this is our situation.”

Al-Uqbi went on to recall the manner of his community’s dispossession. He could, he said, remember the day Israel occupied Bir al-Saba (the original Arabic name for Beersheva).


Members of the Karrabing Film Collective in conversation with Richard Bell (second from right) inside the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Isa Freij

Members of the Karrabing Film Collective in conversation with Richard Bell (second from right) inside the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Isa Freij

He recalled how, in spite of an agreement between the local sheikhs of the Naqab’s Bedouin tribes (including al-Uqbi’s father), Israel’s military governor handed them an order in 1951 expelling them from their land in al-Araqib village and transferring them to another even more remote location, with no schools or potable water.

There are 200,000 Arabs in the Naqab and not one owns a single piece of land,” al-Uqbi said.

The same sense of dispossession, oppression and loss of land was reflected in the words of Yasser Khanjar, a pensive, articulate poet from the Golan Heights.

Khanjar described his national identity as a Syrian whose daily life under Israeli occupation had transformed him into a Palestinian for all practical purposes. He spoke of how Israel has tried over the years to force his community to assimilate with Israeli society by preserving the Druze villages of the Golan and destroying hundreds of others during the 1967 occupation.

“They wanted us to merge with the Druze of the Galilee,” he explained, referring to the religious minority community whose leadership sought assimilation after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948.

“They wanted to make us Israeli.”

But just like Bell, who has protested for 40 years through his Tent Embassy project, Khanjar maintains his Syrian-Palestinian identity against all attempts to quell it.

“There is an Israeli settlement, Kiryat Shmona, which is only about 23 kilometers east of Majdal Shams,” he quipped, referring to his hometown. “But I would rather travel the three or so hours to Jerusalem than pass through there.”

Little local purchase

Tying displaced and oppressed peoples together through art and culture is a noble endeavor, but it must be embraced by the local population. This did not seem to be the case with Qalandiya International this year, at least if judging by the two events in Jerusalem on 14 October.

The rooftop of Al-Ma’mal – like the huge hall of the African Community Society where the Karrabing Film Collective, a group of indigenous Australian filmmakers, screened their Salt project – was well attended, but not by locals.

Introductions were made by Jerusalemites and the odd Palestinian artist or spectator could be identified in the audience, but the overwhelming majority of attendees were foreigners. Vivian Ziherl said part of the problem lies in the fact that Jerusalem poses such a challenge in terms of mobility – checkpoints and Israel’s military rule over the city.

But others believe the issue goes deeper.

Bisan Abu Eisheh, an artist who lives between Jerusalem and Glasgow, Scotland, and who is part of the Qalandiya International collaboration, said the problem is multi-layered.

“Art in Palestine has become a luxury of the elite,” he said. “My suggestion would be for institutions in Palestine to better engage locals through educational and cultural projects in order to further involve them.”

He cited the post-Oslo accords era as the starting point of this down-spiral in interest, partly due to Israel’s oppressive system of isolation and division imposed on the Palestinian territories, Jerusalem in particular.

“People were far more involved in art, dance and music before. Now the level of disinterest has risen considerably.”

A perfect case in point of this disconnect is the fact that the Tent Embassy was planned for the Shuafat refugee camp, the only camp that lies within Israel’s self-proclaimed Jerusalem municipal boundary. But organizers were forced to change venue, with Ziherl simply saying it had been “extremely hard to connect with the local population.”

She said this was not the case earlier in the week, when the Jerusalem portion of this year’s Qalandiya International had opened with “hundreds” of Palestinians in attendance.

Perhaps. Under Israel’s regime of movement restrictions, Palestinians cannot easily travel to Jerusalem (or the Golan or Haifa) if they hold West Bank identity cards – in addition to the total isolation of Gaza. Hence, the powerful messages of Richard Bell and other participating artists in the city will reach only a fraction of Palestinians.

Still, there is no denying the ties that bind the oppressed. In response to a question of what the ultimate goal is for the indigenous population of Australia, Bell voiced a sentiment all too familiar to Palestinians.

“Me? I want it all.”


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Native Tribes in U.S. and Canada Sign Treaty Again Opposing Oil Pipelines*

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Palestinians back Standing Rock Sioux in “struggle for all humanity”*

#Arabs4BlackPower Releases Movement for Black Lives Solidarity Statement*

Black Lives Matter Fighting Alongside Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters*

Sunni Volunteers to ‘protect’ Shia Mourners in N. Pakistan*

As Rothschilds Did to China, the CIA is Drug Running in the Philippines*

As Rothschilds Did to China, the CIA is Drug Running in the Philippines*


Historically, illegal drugs were being used to destroy sovereign countries, and by now the Philippines’ war on drugs is a regular headline by CIA funded journalists and media networks, and a constant object for criticism of the Soros’ Open Society Foundation funded pseudo-non-government organizations, for being brutal and violative of human rights.

Those same critics, however, failed to put their money where their mouth is, especially when it comes to helping the Duterte government rehabilitate close to a million drug surrendered. They would rather focus our attention into the 3,700 deaths, some of which are the direct result of the decisive police action, and the rest were victims of the drug syndicates who are now cleaning their own ranks from squealers, i.e. those who have surrendered and subsequently named their suppliers.


The same bleeding hearts who chose to ignore the fact that the statistics related to crime are just the same as in past administrations, only this time it is the criminals who are dying, because once a poor brat is hooked into meth, he must do whatever he can get his fix for the day, which include cell phone snatching, daylight robbery, etc.

Other sordid crimes relating to meth addiction were also brought to light including cannibalism, and in the realm of politics, it has sent a former justice secretary to the present senate, on top of congressmen and mayors who are already funded with drug money for years.

In short, the Philippines’ war on drugs is a necessary measure that must be taken before the country plunges completely into another failed state.

Still at 100th day in office, the Duterte government is able to reduce the crime rate to 50% nationwide using only the national budget crafted by his predecessor. The same budget, which does not include the establishment of rehabilitation centres necessary to help the projected 4 million drug dependents, and for whom the U.S., E.U. and U.N. “human rights advocates” could help more than just paying lip service to the 3,750 so called victims of extrajudicial killings.


To those who would rather criticize the sensible actions of the Philippine government that is enjoying 97% trust rating, are you really raising concerns over human rights violations, or just in it to protect the illegal drug industry?


The Real Drug Lords: A brief history of CIA involvement in the Drug Trade

By William Blum

This article was first published on August 31, 2008.

1947 to 1951, FRANCE

According to Alfred W. McCoy in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks — ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille’s first heroin laboratones were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.


The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the world’s largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the ClA’s principal airline proprietary, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia. (See Christopher Robbins, Air America, Avon Books, 1985, chapter 9)

1950s to early 1970s, INDOCHINA During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many Gl’s in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world’s illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America’s booming heroin market.

1973-80, AUSTRALIA

The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of U.S. generals, admirals and CIA men, including fommer CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealings. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt. (See Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA, W.W. Norton & Co., 1 987.)

1970s and 1980s, PANAMA

For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated ”guns-for-drugs” flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel otficials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-ClA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellin Cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically drug trafficking through Panama increased after the US invasion. (John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, Random House, 1991; National Security Archive Documentation Packet The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations.)



he San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating:

“There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots mercenaries who worked with the Contras, and Contra supporters throughout the region…. U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua…. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. govemment had intormation regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter…. Senior U S policy makers were nit immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.” (Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and Intemational Operations, 1989)

In Costa Rica, which served as the “Southern Front” for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several different ClA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation detailed by the Mercury News, and Noriega’s operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other ClA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The US repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull back to Costa Rica to stand trial. Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Amencans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shnmp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to move cocaine to the U.S. Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service — closely associated with the CIA — harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.

Additionally, the Medellin Cartel’s Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies and banks) to these ClA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US govemment contracts to carry non-lethal supplies to the contras. Southern Air Transport, “formerly” ClA-owned, and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well. Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other locations, including several militarv bases Designated as ‘Contra Craft,” these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn’t clued in and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled on behalf of dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.

1980s to early 1990s, AFGHANISTAN

ClA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported govemment and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. The Agency’s principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and leading heroin refiner. CIA supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. US officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operabon because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies. In 1993, an official of the DEA called Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.

MlD-1980s to early 199Os, HAITI

While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients’ drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN was purportedly created to fight the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in the trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some of the Haitian military and political leaders.

William Blum is author of Killing Hope: U.S Military and CIA Interventions Since World War ll available from Common Courage Press, P.O. Box 702, Monroe, Maine, 04951


Washington’s Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, October 01, 2016

In 2014 the Afghan opium cultivation has once again hit a record high, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 Afghan Opium Survey.

In the course of the last four years, there has been a surge in Afghan opium production. The Vienna based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reveals that poppy cultivation in 2012 extended over an area of more than 154,000 hectares, an increase of 18% over 2011. A UNODC spokesperson confirmed in 2013 that opium production is heading towards record levels.

Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2014 Afghan Opium Survey.

According to the 2012 Afghanistan Opium Survey released in November 2012 by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). potential opium production in 2012 was of the order of 3,700 tons, a decline of 18 percent in relation to 2001, according to UNODC data.

There is reason to believe that this figure of 3700 tons is grossly underestimated. Moreover, it contradicts the UNOCD’s own predictions of record harvests over an extended area of cultivation.

While bad weather and damaged crops may have played a role as suggested by the UNODC, based on historical trends, the potential production for an area of cultivation of 154,000 hectares, should be well in excess of 6000 tons. With 80,000 hectares in cultivation in 2003, production was already of the order of 3600 tons.

It is worth noting that UNODC has modified the concepts and figures on opium sales and heroin production, as outlined by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

A change in U.N. methodology in 2010 resulted in a sharp downward revision of Afghan heroin production estimates for 2004 to 2011. UNODC used to estimate that the entire global opium crop was processed into heroin, and provided global heroin production estimates on that basis. Before 2010, a global conversion rate of about 10 kg of opium to 1 kg of heroin was used to estimate world heroin production (17). For instance, the estimated 4 620 tonnes of opium harvested worldwide in 2005 was thought to make it possible to manufacture 472 tonnes of heroin (UNODC, 2009a). However, UNODC now estimates that a large proportion of the Afghan opium harvest is not processed into heroin or morphine but remains ‘available on the drug market as opium’ (UNODC, 2010a). …EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis, EMCDDA, Lisbon, January 2013 emphasis added


There is no evidence that a large percentage of opium production is no longer processed into heroin as claimed by the U.N. This revised UNODC methodology has served, –through the outright manipulation of statistical concepts– to artificially reduce the size of of the global trade in heroin.

According to the UNODC, quoted in the EMCDDA report:

“an estimated 3 400 tonnes of Afghan opium was not transformed into heroin or morphine in 2011. Compared with previous years, this is an exceptionally high proportion of the total crop, representing nearly 60 % of the Afghan opium harvest and close to 50 % of the global harvest in 2011.

What the UNODC, –whose mandate is to support the prevention of organized criminal activity– has done is to obfuscate the size and criminal nature of the Afghan drug trade, intimating –without evidence– that a large part of the opium is no longer channeled towards the illegal heroin market.

In 2012 according to the UNODC, farmgate prices for opium were of the order of 196 per kg.

Each kg. of opium produces 100 grams of pure heroin. The U.S. retail prices for heroin (with a low level of purity) is, according to UNODC of the order of $172 a gram. The price per gram of pure heroin is substantially higher.

The profits are largely reaped at the level of the international wholesale and retail markets of heroin as well as in the process of money laundering in Western banking institutions.

The revenues derived from the global trade in heroin constitute a multi-billion dollar bonanza for financial institutions and organized crime.

The following article first published in May 2005 provides a background on the history of the Afghan opium trade which continues to this date to be protected by U.S.-NATO occupation forces on behalf of powerful financial interests.


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