American drug war, Thailand and Burma (dissertation)
Daniel Weimer, “Seeing Drugs: The American Drug War, Thailand, and Burma, 1970-1975” (Ph.D. dissertation, Kent State University, 2005).
Tobacco firm has secret North Korea plant
British American Tobacco, the world's second largest cigarette company, has secretly been operating a factory in North Korea for the past four years, the Guardian has learned. The company opened the plant in a joint venture with a state owned corporation shortly before the regime was denounced by George Bush as a member of the "axis of evil", and despite widespread concern over the country's human rights record.
BAT has never mentioned the factory in its annual accounts, and it is thought that many shareholders are unaware of its links with the country.
The discovery of the secret factory comes two years after BAT was forced to pull out of Myanmar, formerly Burma, under pressure from the UK government and human rights campaigners. The human rights record of the communist regime in North Korea is widely regarded as even worse than that of the brutal military dictatorship in Burma. Find the full story at the Guardian (17 October 2005).
Opium in South-East Asia (article)
Foster, Anne L. “Prohibition as Superiority: Policing Opium in South-East Asia, 1898-1925.” The International History Review 22:2 (2000), 253-273.
Track marks to death
The Australian reports (3 March 2005) that what began as a journey designed to end in the back alleys of inner-city Sydney - high-grade heroin cut down and shelled out to hollowed-eyed men and women for $50 a cap - finished instead in a blaze of publicity at Denpasar International Airport in the tourist centre of Bali, with nine young Australians facing the prospect of the firing squad.
But while the "Bali Nine" never got off the ground for the final leg to Sydney, the 8.3kg of heroin strapped to the stomachs and thighs of four couriers had already travelled thousands of kilometres and passed through hundreds of hands.
Like most heroin trafficking that originates in poppy fields in the fertile mountains of Southeast Asia, the journey that finished on the body of a mule began on the back of a donkey. Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty named Burma, part of the infamous Golden Triangle encompassing Laos and northern Thailand, as the origin of the Bali Nine's haul. The University of NSW's National Alcohol and Drug Research Centre's senior lecturer, Louisa Degenhardt, estimates 95 per cent of Australia's heroin is produced in the Golden Triangle - and the "vast majority" of that is from Burma.
With Australians unable to cultivate opium poppies at home, but consuming three to eight tonnes of heroin annually, this has been the case for many years, Dr Degenhardt says.
Find the full story here.
Burma plans to end poppy's reign
The Sunday Morning Herald reports (21 April 2005) that Burma has suspended the opium crop eradication project overseen by the United Nations and told its workers to leave, opening the door to increased opium production in the Golden Triangle, the UN office of Drugs and Crime says. The suspension appears to be connected with internal political manoeuvring in the wake of last year's dismissal of the then prime minister, Khin Nyunt, who approved the opium projects. Find the full story here.