Two important articles on Afghanistan and the Opium Wars

(both from – an excellent source of otherwise hard to get research)

The Opium Wars in Afghanistan
Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State?

by Alfred W. McCoy

In ways that have escaped most observers, the Obama administration is now trapped in an endless cycle of drugs and death in Afghanistan from which there is neither an easy end nor an obvious exit. ..

Opium and the CIA: Can the US Triumph in the Drug-Addicted War in Afghanistan?

by Prof Peter Dale Scott
Alfred McCoy’s important new article deserves to mobilize Congress for a serious revaluation of America’s ill-considered military venture in Afghanistan. The answer to the question he poses in his title – “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State?”– is amply shown by his impressive essay to be a resounding “No!” . . . not until there is fundamental change in the goals and strategies both of Washington and of Kabul. He amply documents that

  • the Afghan state of Hamid Karzai is a corrupt narco-state, to which Afghans are forced to pay bribes each year $2.5 billion, a quarter of the nation’s economy;
  • the Afghan economy is a narco-economy: in 2007 Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country’s GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.

Cool Thinking and Common Sense on Climate Change

Climate change is an area of conflicting and confusing announcements from scientific experts as well as obviously self-serving and cowardly pronouncements from politicians and their multinational corporate sponsors/owners.

My vote for the most cautiously optimistic overview of issues and strategic solutions is Lester R. Brown’s work, in his continuously updated books – the latest of which is Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. It’s available online at

Sample quote: “Grids and appliances need to become smarter… in the simplest terms, a smart grid is one that takes advantage of advances in information technology, integrating this technology into the electrical generating, delivery and user system, enabling utilities to communicate directly with customers.”

My vote for the most practical, brief guidelines for activists and those who want to become more active are the materials prepared by Starhawk for her permaculture courses ( I totally agree with those who say that permaculture is the integrated design science which is the minimum necessary basis for sustainable, locally grounded civilizations. They have a (downloadable) Climate Change Primer, which gives a quick overview of the terms being used and the real scope of the solutions available. An even simpler and basic educational tool is a two-page flyer of No’s and Yes’es, also downloadable from their website.

Some of the No’s:

No coal.

No oil.

No nukes.

No global energy casino (cap and trade, offsets, etc).

Some of the Yes’es:

Conservation and energy efficiency.

Safe and renewable energy sources (solar, geothermal, wind, microhydro, etc.)

Social justice.


Building soil.

Safeguarding water.

Starhawk says:

So don’t throw that plate at the TV, or smash your computer in frustration. We are all part of Gaia’s transition team, and if we continue to work together, we can make the shift from the bottom up instead of the top down. Who knows—it may even be more firmly grounded that way!

What is it like to have a face-to-face encounter with an alien?

In a recent article in the Australian Nexus New Times magazine (March-April 2010), Linda Moulton Howe, an Italian journalist who has written a couple of books on her interviews with a variety of ET contactees, describes a hitherto unpublished encounter story related to her by a retired member of the AFOSI (US Air Force Office of Special Investigations). This man she calls “John Smith” was assigned to a unit that was investigating downed UFOs. His encounter with one of the Greys took place in Arizona, in 1978.

Based on his participation in several  such recovery missions, John Smith relates that there were two alien species that he became aware of: one he calls Blonds, six to seven feet tall, but human enough to walk around undetected, but on close-up their irises are bigger than human, and may be blue or gold. The other type are  the Greys, and he said “my unit, working through NSA’s Project Sigma..had learned some frequencies and mathematical communications that would usually connect with the Greys. At least we could send signals to them to try to communicate.”

John Smith said that when they were investigating a Grey craft that had landed, his boss told him that it “was time he understood what a telepathic download is like from one of those Greys.”  He was further told that the contact would probably scare him and he would faint, but that his boss and assistants would be nearby and he would be safe. The alien would be only four feet tall and had agreed to walk on the ground, which made him look like Donald Duck waddling, though they’d normally prefer to float a few feet off the ground.  He was further told that when the alien raised his eyes to look at him, “every cell in your body is going to be screaming to run, but you can’t…that’s when you lose all control of yourself and your and you just need to let it happen.” John Smith said he felt cocky and unafraid and that his boss was just being dramatic.”

John Smith then related how when the grey-colored being waddled (“just like Donald Duck)  out of the tent where the meeting was set up, with its eyes down, coming towards him – his whole body started to shake, he thought he would faint and wanted to run, but forced himself to stay,  as he knew his boss was nearby watching.  What happened next completely overwhelmed the young soldier. While he was trying to get his body to stop shaking, the Grey alien slowly started to raise his head, so he could see “the large, black, shiny eyes with narrow points near the center of the Grey’s flat face that ballooned out as the eyes slanted up and outward.”

“At the moment of eye contact with that Grey, it was like seven different feature films started rapidly running through my mind all at the same time with sound, temperature, touch and three-dimensional gold symbols superimposed over the films. I knew my mind was trying to ask questions, but that seemd to create all the branching pieces of film in my mind – like visual answers to whatever my brain was thinking. But while those films seemed to have something to do with where they Greys came from and why they are here, I also felt like my entire mind was being transferred to the Grey’s mind.  If God himself asked me what was communicated by that Grey, I don’t have a clue!”

He said that when the Grey lowered his eyes, he did start to faint, was caught by his boss and associates and passed out, to wake up some time later. He said his boss told him “now you understand why humans aren’t going to be sitting down with these guys over coffee and talking about the Universe any time soon.”

Three excellent and important 5 minute videos

Astounding images of apparently empty space filled with thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away. A four-minute 3-D movie released by NASA,  of images from the far edges of the universe.  It took 10 days of exposure for the images to appear on the photographic plate – photons that had travelling for 13 billion years.

The activist group Just Foreign Policy has made a short video to help publicize the McGovern bill and the importance of a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Watch it and spread it.

These arial images of the spreading oil slick will sicken and dismay you – but I think you’ll agree it’s important for as many people as possible to see it – to galvanize them to action. Bill McKibben has said that this could be Obama’s opportunity to turn the tables on the powerful oil industry and support a radical change of course away from fossil fuels.