Some thoughts for smokers (and other 'recreational' drug users)
Relatively recent years have seen the lowering of availability of 'grown-in-the-ground' marijuana and decent hashish, and a takeover of indoor-grown 'skunk'. On the surface of it this is because of some very obvious reasons such as the difficulty of transporting and importing marijuana, or military action in traditional import sources such as Lebanon and Afghanistan where marijuana production has been superseded by the more lucrative opium trade. Whatever the reason, if you're buying weed or growing your own the odds are that it's skunk.
Most of us are aware of the dangers to health from ingesting artificial fertilisers and pesticides. Studies have been done and time has elapsed which have confirmed this. To my knowledge no studies have been done into the long-term effects of ingesting the fertilisers, pesticides, etc, that go into skunk production. There are emerging concerns though within the toking community, especially in Holland, home of large-scale indoor growing. Cases of psychosis and depression aren't rare enough, but neither are they necessarily just caused by the higher levels of THC in skunk. For some time I've questioned the habit of ingesting what is effectively plant amphetamine through smoking skunk.
Properly grown skunk should have a period toward the end of its growth cycle where the nutrients are withdrawn and the plant flushed through with just water. The sad but usual push for maximum yield means that this often doesn't happen. Even if it does though, there may be less, but the chemicals are in the plant's cellular structure anyway.
Growing marijuana is illegal in Britain. The Government is 'tough on drugs'. Things are rarely as they seem though. Despite the government's 'tough on drugs' stance, grow shops can be easily found in towns and cities all over the country. Why? You can be sure that if the government didn't want it to happen, it wouldn't happen. Ask any 'raver' or peace/anti-road/anti-nuclear activist. So why are shops being allowed to trade in goods that are used in what are illegal activities?
A glance at history shows the British government's history of drug wars, the definition in this instance though being different to the usual sound byte. The Anglo-Chinese Opium Wars happened because the Chinese government banned the importing of opium into China from India. Their reason for this was because of the degrading and weakening effect it was having on the population, which was seen to be a political move on the part of the British who controlled India at the time. Opium from British concerns in China was confiscated and publicly disposed of. The British, who approved of the effect their opium export trade had on the Chinese population, not to mention the money made through the export by companies such as the British East India Trading Company, took this as the destruction of private property and the then much superior British Navy attacked China. The military action resulted in, among other Chinese losses, the annexing of Hong Kong.
Fast forward to recent history and modern day and one can see a pattern in circumstances where politically troublesome social groups have been nullified by drugs. Heroin has taken the political wind out of the sails of mining communities following the closure of mines after the 80's strike, the 'New Age' travelling community in Britain, other marginalised inner city groups, and in prisons, where the availability and tolerance of heroin demonstrates the point dramatically.
For detailed and eye-opening descriptions of the individuals and factions involved in the international heroin trade, and it's connections with international governments see former Canadian diplomat and Professor of English at UC Berkeley, Peter Dale Scott's article The Global Drug Meta-Group: Drugs, Managed Violence, and the Russian 9/11.
In another context Ecstasy (MDMA), originally prescribed by doctors and psychotherapists to promote empathy between couples experiencing relationship difficulties, fuelled what was labelled 'the rave scene' in the late 80's and 90's, where thousands of politically active people from all walks of life came together in a huge, creative political movement that linked a wide variety of what were previously seen as separate struggles such as civil rights (freedom of expression and movement, surveillance and privacy), the environmental issues of road building and nuclear weapon storage, housing, and animal rights issues like fox hunting and vivisection. Aggressive moves were made by the authorities that ultimately fragmented the movement, and its political impact. Nowadays Ecstasy, which contains a fraction of the empathy-producing MDMA, if any at all, can be bought for a fraction of its original cost, and no longer catalyses that empathic, social boundary-lowering, community-generating response. What long-term physiological changes it does catalyse is another question.
Returning to marijuana, my own opinions and thoughts have been affected recently by the discovery of ICI, with whom I presuppose product development and patent links with other plant nutrient companies, being associated with a company called IG Farben. IG Farben was the company that made Zyklon B, the chemical used by the Nazis in the gas chambers.
Chemical and biological warfare development means that effects can be predicted with pinpoint accuracy, even down to designer viruses that will target certain gene types and not others, for instance African or Chinese and not Eurasian. Looked at from a social engineering perspective pot smokers are criminals, or at least potential malcontents. Undesirables. Ripe targets for selective neurological or genetic manipulation.
The short and long-term effects of skunk because of its modified makeup and of the chemicals used in its production are not known well enough to make safe decisions. This is in direct contrast to 'natural' marijuana whose health benefits, long-term effects, etc, etc have been extensively researched and documented. And what of the overall 'vibe' of a plant that has lived without access to sky, open air, rain, and in many cases doesn't even have its roots in soil, and is forced through the addition of drugs to complete its lifecycle, and produce more in a couple of months than would naturally take double that time?
Is this another case of a drug with real, positive physiological and social potential being co-opted, and some possibly neurologically and/or genetically damaging chemicals introduced?
In these days of national anti-smoking legislation to hear of tobacco being used as a medicine might seem a bit odd. The fact is, however, that tobacco has been used in different cultures in healing and spiritually related activities for centuries.
The Amazonian Ashaninca word for 'healer' or 'shaman' sheripiriàri means 'the person who uses tobacco'. Despite being what could be termed technologically primitive, the Ashaninca have a phenomenal ecological knowledge that has made them the subject of several anthropological and botanical studies. The Ashaninca claim that their knowledge is communicated to them directly while under the influence of hallucinogens.
Anthropologist Jeremy Narby lived in the Peruvian Amazon for two years studying the Ashaninca. The investigation is described in the fascinating book The Cosmic Serpent – DNA and the Origins of Knowledge. The evidence he collected, on subjects as diverse as molecular biology, shamanism, neurology and ancient mythology, showed that the Ashaninca's claims were true: to a consciousness prepared with drugs, (including the smoking of botanical varieties of tobacco that contain up to eighteen times more nicotine than the Virginia-type used in cigarettes), specific biochemical knowledge could be directly transmitted through DNA.
Nicotine is active in the brain. It seems curious then that brain cancer doesn't list among those caused by cigarettes. Those that are include the lungs, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, rectum, kidneys and bladder, the organs reached by the carcinogenic tars, which are also swallowed. Those tars potentially contain a staggering number of known addictive and/or carcinogenic chemicals. The study titled Tobacco Additives / Cigarette Engineering and Nicotine Addiction reveals tobacco production techniques and practises designed to get as many and keep as many people smoking as possible.
A classic example is Malboro cigarettes where sheet tobacco is put through ammonia technology. Ammonia speeds the delivery of 'free' or unbound nicotine to smokers by raising the pH (alkalinity) of tobacco smoke using additives. This causes the smoker to 'freebase' the drug, much as a crack-user takes cocaine. The free-based form of cocaine or the free-based form of nicotine is more rapidly absorbed, and has a more explosive effect on the nervous system. Ammonia is one of the ways to get free-based cocaine or free-based nicotine.
Incidentally, Philip Morris Inc the makers of Malboro, and Golden Virginia, for all you roll-up smokers, is a subsidiary of Halliburton, that war profiteer par excellence who are raking it in, to the tune of billions of dollars, with construction contracts in the Middle East. In his article In Case of Martial Law, Break Glass, Dale Allen Pfeiffer mentions another Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown and Root being awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security to construct internment camps, 'detention and processing facilities', in the U.S. to house detainees in the event of martial law being declared in the U.S. He also reveals other moves being made by the U.S. administration in preparation for it. See also the Alex Jones article regarding Gulags in the U.S.
Additive-free tobacco is obviously the better option if you are going to smoke. Originally produced by Native American groups there are now several brands on the market. American Spirit (tobaccos and cigarettes) and Pueblo tobacco are two available in the UK.
(Some Thoughts and Observations about Anti-Smoking Legislation covers the implications of current social and legal anti-smoking trends and developments.)
Recent tests in several countries have shown that cocaine is more than ever a drug of choice for a lot of people. In Spain 94% of Euro banknotes in circulation, in Ireland 100%, and in the UK 99.9% of £10 and £20 notes, all had traces of the drug on them. A 2003 German survey produced comparable results. Falling prices have made it more accessible, and reliably regular media-celebrity coke casualties ensures it still carries an air of chic. What too few are thinking or talking about is what that cheeky little line stretches back to.
The CIA is so inextricably linked to the South American cocaine industry that it's rightly known as the Cocaine Import Agency. William Blum lists the history of CIA drug involvement in the article The Real Drug Lords. Below is an extract:
1980s to early 1990s, AFGHANISTAN
ClA-supported Mujahedeen rebels [now, 2001, part of the "Northern Alliance"] engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported government and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. The Agency's principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and a 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. U.S. officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operation 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.
Note the destinations and the final sentence. Does anybody else see a pattern here?
The article CIA, Cocaine, and Death Squads by the Eco-Solidarity Working Group paints a grim picture of ecological devastation in one of the most biologically diverse, endangered ecosystems in the world. A combination of the volatile solvents used in the process being dumped into rivers and the regular spraying of herbicides (made by those champions of biodiversity, Monsanto) by those fighting the 'War on Drugs', is hastening the disappearance of, among other things, the manatee, tapir, and macaw.
Colombia is also a major exporter of oil to the US. The article (dated Winter 1999) pointed out that Colombia was the third largest recipient of military aid after Israel and Egypt. The country is being carved up by multinational oil companies, cocaine cartels and death squads, and right-wing militia 'government'.
At home another aspect to the problem is crack. Michael C. Ruppert, ex-LAPD narcotics investigator turned whistle-blower after witnessing a CIA involvement in a cocaine deal. He went on to be the editor of the investigative journal From The Wilderness. The article Blacks Were Targeted for CIA Cocaine details how the introduction into Black communities of crack cocaine was planned to achieve a desired effect, which it did, decimating communities from the 80's onward, and not just in the U.S.
The subject is covered in detail in the book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion by Gary Webb. Webb, an investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, died in what was officially described as a suicide following his persecution after the publication of the book. A collection of statements from his memorials, which include information about what went on before his death can be read in Peter Dale Scott's In Memoriam: Gary Webb. I would strongly recommended that you watch the interview with Gary Webb prior to his death in which Webb discusses the media battle that erupted in the aftermath of his groundbreaking 1996 investigation into the CIA's drug dealing operations during the 1980s to aid the Nicaraguan Contras.
I'm told by someone in a position to know, that nearly all cocaine coming into the UK comes into Liverpool from Ireland. Shannon and Dublin airports have U.S. border preclearance services, which enables passengers to have their paperwork dealt with before their flight, to save time on their arrival. They're just 'fast tracked' through. To my knowledge Dublin and Shannon are the only two European airports to have such facilities.
Some things that need thinking about.
(You may have noticed that a section on alcohol is absent, where in fact it that drug is the Public Enemy Number One in the legal recreational drug world. The missing section is pending, as is a section on Ketamine. Check back soonish.)