Saturday, November 03, 2001

Some classic doublethink from the Commons Debate on international terrorism:

Paul Flynn (Newport, West): My question arises from an earlier intervention. Will my right hon. Friend now kill the myth that the conflict will have some effect on the flow of heroin to this country and confirm what the United Nations has just said--that the Taliban have reduced their poppy cultivation by 91 per cent, but the Northern Alliance has increased its poppy cultivation threefold? A great deal of the heroin coming to this country comes from Burma, Pakistan and other countries. Whatever the outcome of the conflict, it will have no effect whatsoever on the flow of heroin into this country.

Mr. Hoon: I am afraid that I do not agree with my hon. Friend, and I caution him against relying on the argument that, somehow, the Taliban regime had reduced the supply of heroin. In fact, the Taliban regime prohibited others from producing heroin so that they could exploit substantial stockpiles of heroin. Indeed, they were seeking to raise the price to derive further cash from that appalling trade. So I do not accept that there would not be a significant disruption of the heroin trade; it would certainly prevent the regime from trading in other people's lives to sustain its own appalling activities.

So, let's get this straight - the Taliban have stopped the vast majority of opium production because they want to drive up the price. Furthermore their stockpile was built up as a business assett, rather than from confiscating the stuff in a major crackdown funded by the United States. Sheer madness, and yet we are expected to believe this.

In my opinion the effectiveness of the drug eradication policy shows that the Taliban regime were far more susceptable to Western pressure than we are told.


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