Somalia

Somalia overturns ban of khat imports

Posted on September 14th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

khatSomalia on Sept. 13 agreed to lift its recently imposed ban on imports of the mildly psychoactive leaf khat after an outcry of protest from angry cultivators in neighboring Kenya. The decision was announced at a summit of East African leaders in the Somali capital, Mogadishu—the first such gathering in 40 years in the war-torn region. While it is widely chewed in Somalia, khat (also called miraa) is grown in Kenya and Ethiopia, where large farming communities rely on exports for their livelihoods. Reversal of the ban is apparently effective immediately. Kenya's foreign minister Amina Mohamed said at the summit, "The leaders have discussed relations between the two countries and...the Miraa ban will be lifted by September 14th."

Hashish mega-hauls at sea

Posted on October 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

Middle EastYou think those international forces patroling the coast of Somalia are supposed to be protecting the sea lanes from pirates, right? Well, that's not all they're doing. In the latest operation completed on Oct. 6, an Australian frigate, the HMAS Toowoomba, backed up by a New Zealand search plane trailed a dhow—a type of sailboat traditionally used by Arab merchants— from the Arabian Sea to the Horn of Africa. After four days, the Australian crew was able to board the dhow, and a search turned up 5.59 metric tons of hashish. The operation was conducted under the command of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), officially established to fight piracy. CTF-150 is part of the Combined Maritime Forces, which are also policing the waters of the Persian Gulf—ostensibly against terrorist infiltration, but far more often against hashish smuggling. The recent haul was its first successful counter-narcotics operation since Pakistan's navy took command of CTF-150 in August. Task Force head Commodore Sajid Mahmood said he was "incredibly proud" of the sailors and airmen involved in the bust. "CTF-150 has a long history of disrupting narcotics trafficking in the region," he enthused. "Keep up the good work!" (APNZ, Oct. 6)

Khat-terrorism connection raises its dubious head —again

Posted on December 27th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

khatMuslim community leaders in Texas are protesting the latest outbreak of the perennial hype over the khat plant and its supposed links to terrorism. It began when a traffic stop near Houston last year turned up two men chewing the midly psychoactive but thoroughly illegal leaf. This sparked a year-long investigation involving local, state and federal agencies that has so far resulted in more than a half-dozen arrests. The Texas Department of Public Safety took the opportunity to link khat to terrorism in its statewide threat assessment. The statement referred to the "chewable narcotic plant grown in the Horn of Africa whose sale abroad is suspected to benefit Africa-based terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab." That assessment, the Austin American-Statesman reported last month, was based on Congressional testimony given more than a decade ago by Steven McCraw—then-FBI-assistant director, now DPS director—who said it is likely that khat proceeds "pass through the hands of suspected [Islamic militants] and other persons with possible ties to terrorist groups."

United Kingdom to ban khat

Posted on July 10th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

khatThe herbal stimulant khat is to be banned by the British government—against the advice of its own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. In January the ACMD said khat should remain a legal substance, finding "insufficient evidence" it caused health problems. But Home Secretary Theresa May announced her decision to ban it last week, saying the risks posed could have been underestimated. Khat will be treated as a class C drug, along with anabolic steroids and ketamine. The Home Office said the ban was intended to "protect vulnerable members of our communities." 

Seeing patterns, from Colombia to Cape Town

Africa and the War on DrugsFor those who have been wondering what the truth is behind the media sensationalism about global cartels establishing Africa as their new theater of operations, Africa and the War on Drugs  by Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig (Zed Books, London, 2012) clears the air in a welcome way.

The authors, a pair of British academics, portray a strategy by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to hype the threat and replicate the hardline policies pursued in Latin America and elsewhere on the African continent. Drug trafficking has definitely been growing in Africa in recent years—ironically, the authors argue, as a result of "successes" in Latin America. As the old cartels and their smuggling routes were broken up, new more fragmented networks have sought new routes and markets. This conveniently coincided with South Africa's reintegration to the world economy after the end of apartheid, and more generally with Africa's globalization.

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