No tinfoil hat required

Pointed out by @MrCivLib on twatter.



By Diplomatic correspondent James Robbins

The UK and the US are funding research on a new biological weapon in an effort to destroy the heroin trade.

The research, by former Soviet scientists in Uzbekistan, is being supervised by the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP).

But there are doubts about the safety of the killer fungus they have developed, and the legality of any plan to spray the spores over Afghanistan – the source of most of Europe’s poppy opium for heroin.

The BBC has obtained unique access to the laboratory across the border from Afghanistan, in Uzbekistan, where the fungus is now being tested.



A serious disease is affecting opium poppies in Afghanistan, Antonio Maria Costa, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said.

Mr Costa told the BBC that this year’s opium production could be reduced by a quarter, compared with last year.

He said the disease – a fungus – is thought to have infected about half of the country’s poppy crop. Afghanistan produces 92% of the world’s opium.

Nato ‘blamed’

But farmers in Afghanistan are unsure about what is damaging their crops.

Some believe Nato troops are responsible for the outbreak, but Mr Costa denied that this was the case.

"I don’t see any reasons to believe something of that sort," he said. "Opium plants have been affected in Afghanistan on a periodic basis."

Farmer Haji Mohammad in Nawzad told the BBC that he had seen a dramatic reduction in the amount of opium he was able to harvest.

He said that last year he harvested 450 kg of opium – but this year he had so far only been able to harvest 4kg.

Farmers in southern Afghanistan told the BBC they observed a white substance on their crops. Many reported extensive crop damage and also said that livestock had been affected.


2 thoughts on “No tinfoil hat required

  1. Sounds like a win (if true)…..but things are never quite what they seem.

    The problem is the law of supply and demand. Due to the shortage Afghan farmers will be able to drive the price up to be able generate as much income as last year. Taliban will rob them as usual so they still get their cut, money to buy arms won’t stop so terrorism will carry on. In addition addicts in the UK will need more cash to fund their habit as street prices rise, drug related crime in the UK will continue to increase.

    Alternative scenario. Legalise heroin, buy enough opium from the farmers to be able to deliver a licensed, certified, quality controlled supply in the UK. License manufactures to produce legal products. License shops to sell it. Raise taxes from the legal sales. Treat addicts as a medical not a criminal problem. Save police time trying to stop the unstoppable. Take the drug lords out of the picture. Reduce drug related crime. lower insurance rates for all. Higher property prices in “bad” areas. Cut down on overdoses/deaths through controlled purity and strength.

    Checkout Portugal’s success against drugs by doing just this a couple of years ago. Number of addicts is now falling. Crime is down. New addicts are falling, kids arent trying it so much. etc etc

    What’s not to like?

  2. I’d guess it’s a coincidence. If not great, lets infect the other 75% and eradicate the supply. Crime could easily be solved in this country with the application of some seriously draconian penalties and proper law enforcement. We have become too fluffy.

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