This is UNODC’s Antonio Maria Costa. He is the Director of the UNODC Office of Drugs and Crime.

He is the one who along with the US Govt. hatched the Drug War plans in Laos that resulted in the severe humanitarian disaster for the Akha of Laos. A “death plan” if you will. Architect of Death. He was helped by Amreicans like David J. Wise NAS. The goal was total poppy eradication. Regardless of the human cost.

Anyone with experience could have looked into the region and been aware that a rapid poppy eradication plan was going to bring severe problems and death to the Akha people. Currently you can still go there and witness the results in full swing.

“We know they are dying, we are helping to alleviate their poverty. We have started a new plan, called ‘The Plan To Stop Eating’. The Akha should be grateful.”

Credit must read: UNE 3118 UN/DPI Photo by Mark Garten

Credit must read: UNE 3112 UN/DPI Photo by Sophie Paris

UN Propaganda and data

UN Propaganda and non facts

Meanwhile in Afghanistan:

Breaking News:
*    2005 Opium Survey: latest cultivation, eradication, and production numbers for Afghan heroinin 2004, poppy cultivation grew by 64% to 131,000 hectaresalmost 500 tonnes left Afghanistan.


The UN now reports that opium poppy production in Afghanistan will increase in 2006. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported on Dec. 12, 2005 ( Press Briefing by Adrian Edwards, Spokesperson for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Afghanistan) that “The great question now is whether, for the year 2006, this 21 percent reduction can be sustained, held or even increased. What will happen in 2006? Is this percentage sustainable? Here the news is not very good. Currently UNODC receives informal information from many of the provinces saying there will be an increase in poppy cultivation in 2006.”

What Price Success?

 US/UN-Backed Anti-Opium Drive Displaces Tens Of Thousands, Creates Humanitarian Disaster

The United Nations praised Laos for its successful near-elimination of opium poppy production when it released its annual Laotian poppy survey June 22, 2005. According to the UN Information Service ( “New United Nations Survey Documents Dramatic Decline In Opium Poppy Cultivation In Laos”) “With the release today of the 2005 Laos Opium Survey, Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced that ‘Laos has taken one more step towards freedom from opium.’ The Survey shows a 73 per cent decline in opium poppy cultivation and a 67 per cent drop in opium production since 2004. This marks the first time in many years that the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) no longer qualifies as a major supplier of illegal opiates to the international drug market. Over the past seven years, the area of land under opium poppy cultivation in Lao PDR has decreased dramatically, from 26,800 hectares in 1998 to approximately 1,800 hectares at the beginning of 2005. According to Mr. Costa, ‘It now seems likely that the country will reach the goal its Government set for itself four years ago: freedom from opium by the end of 2005.’

The effort has been at a tremendous cost. (See ACF Death Stats) The UNIS release touches lightly on this when they note “While farming families who have abandoned illicit cultivation of opium poppy have worked hard to cope with their loss of income, more needs to be done to help them escape the poverty associated with opium production. UNODC also conducted a study on the coping strategies of Laotian farmers who gave up opium cultivation. While farmers who benefited from alternative livelihood programmes realized quicker recovery, even farmers who were not offered assistance coped by undertaking activities such as off-farm employment, establishing small-scale irrigation systems, developing livestock or collecting non-timber forest products.”

The UN Development Programme study mentioned in the paragraph above was more blunt. As the BBC News reported on July 15, 2005 ( “Lao Tribes Suffer From Drug Crackdown”), “The opium poppy that has long bloomed across the mountains of northern Laos has almost been wiped out by the government’s drastic eradication campaign. But what is being hailed as a victory by the international anti-narcotics agencies has also spawned a humanitarian crisis, due to the massive displacement of hill tribes and their loss of economic livelihood. The campaign was spearheaded by the US government, with support from the European Union.”

The BBC noted that “Such was its success that the authorities in Laos claim the country has achieved its 2005 deadline to become an opium-free country. The UNODC ( the UN Office for Drugs and Crime ) has confirmed that Laos had achieved a poppy reduction of 73% since 2000. But unlike the major opium producers such as Afghanistan and Burma, Laos was only ever a marginal player in the international drugs trade. And in order to eradicate production, an estimated 65,000 hill tribe people have been displaced from the mountains of northern Laos where the opium poppy thrives. A survey by UN development consultant Charles Alton found that ‘hill tribe people moving to new villages not only lack sufficient rice, but they face fresh diseases – malaria, gastro-intestinal problems and parasites’. Many are said to be dying of malaria and dysentery, and mortality rates as high as 4% have been recorded – rates normally found only in war zones and areas of refugee resettlement.”

According to the BBC, “In the words of one NGO leader, who prefers to remain anonymous, ‘they pushed for opium elimination before economic development was in place, so they put the cart before the horse’. The dangling of a $80m carrot in aid, promised by the UN drugs control agency, led to a capitulation. In 2001 the Lao authorities plunged headlong into a hardline Western agenda of all-out war on the opium poppy. Western embassies concede that their anti-drug policy may have been over-zealously implemented. Sandro Serrato, the EU’s chief of mission in Vientiane, admitted that ‘the implementation of opium eradication has probably been too rapid and [has] lacked resources’.”

The BBC continues:

“The EU is in favour of offering financial aid for future resettlement, as long as the government respects three points: there should be consultation, economic alternatives and the relocation must be voluntary.
“But the monitoring of government compliance with any of these criteria is regarded as highly problematic, given the authoritarian nature of this one-party state.
“Critics question both the sustainability and objectives of a policy that appears to have inflicted more harm than good.
“‘Resettlement has caused the disruption of the hill tribes’ way of life,’ one highly respected Lao academic, who wished to remain anonymous, explained. ‘Opium has many uses – as a major cash crop, for medicine and in traditional ceremonies and festive events.’
“Now, he warned, ‘it is the lack of opium that is far more dangerous’.”

The BBC noted that “The apparent success in wiping out opium has only contributed to far worse drug, social and economic problems, according to anthropologist David Feingold. He warned that ‘likely long-term consequences will be increasing heroin and amphetamine use, [and] greater vulnerability of highland girls and women to trafficking and unsafe migration. Both of these outcomes will contribute to exacerbating HIV/Aids’. Lao specialist Bruce Shoemaker also pointed out that opium produced a high value crop using a very small amount of land. The average opium farmer could earn about $200 a year, and Mr Shoemaker said that ‘no one alternative crop can come even close to matching this – it is just not sustainable’.”

Sadly, even some international aid organization representatives support harsh measures. According to BBC, “Whether opium is grown under legal control or illegally, many aid workers are convinced that only by ignoring human rights can they stop poor farmers from growing such a lucrative crop. William Dangers from Church World Service development agency in Laos said these farmers would ‘always go back to opium unless the government uses repression to stop them’.”

Editor’s Note:

Statistics on the numbers of infant and other deaths that can be attributed to fall out from the UNODC and US Govt. Drug War in Laos are yet to assembled in any comprehensive way in Laos.

These events occurred in locations where there is little to no medical care that the Akha can afford. We invite Mr. Costa to spend a few nights in one of these villages. Without a mosquito net of course.

Some of the people that Mr. Costa never met:

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