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June 13th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 14 Comments »

Presumably, when a story involves both drugs and terrorism, some kind of fuse blows in the collective Mail brane and the hysteria overpowers them. This time they’ve got the Taleban turning cannabis into heroin.

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RAF Harrier jump jets have blown up the world’s biggest drug haul in Afghanistan by dropping three 1,000lb bombs on a 237-ton stash of cannabis.

Officials believe the area – near to the Taliban stronghold of Quetta in Pakistan – was turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin.

The story is illustrated with images of a concerned mother who is helpfully described as a blazing trench of drugs.

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Viva.


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14 Responses



  1. richardaholden said,

    June 13, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Brilliant nonsense from the Mail, there.

    That photo of the woman & children now seems be illustrating a story about breast feeding. Unless she’s breast feeding them heroin, I think the Mail may have made a mistake using it to illustrate that story.

    You also have to admire how they’ve got not one but two stories about women having breasts:

    Sexy but skinny Kate Moss gives her cleavage a rare public outing A revealing split drew unusual attention to the model’s modest bust in Berlin today.

    Forgotten something, Mel B? Lingerie model wears revealing dress… but no bra The Spice Girl had to make concession as she dropped in on the Monte Carlo TV festival.

    Quality stuff.

  2. Gypsum Fantastic said,

    June 13, 2008 at 7:24 am

    It’s like they’ve got the Twat-O-Tron in as guest editor.

    BTW, before the war, the received wisdom was that the Taleban had more or less obliterated the Afghan drug trade. Now we’re told they’re responsible for it, the evil raghead terrorist drug pushers!!

  3. Michael Power said,

    June 13, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin is good economics not bad science.

  4. Teek said,

    June 13, 2008 at 8:34 am

    @ Gpysum: not only is the Twat-O-Tron the guest editor, the sub-editor appears to be the Meaningless Units-O-Tron:

    “The haul, worth £225million and weighing more than 30 double-decker buses…

    Also, does Guinness know about the bombning campaign…?

    “‘This is a new world record in the global war on drugs.’

  5. outeast said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:50 am

    They’ve corrected the picture – but the cannabis is still being turned into heroin. Damnned clever chaps those sand-niggers.

  6. Squander Two said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:01 am

    One of the captions now mentions “236 tons of hash and 2.5 tons of opium”. So some official probably did mention cannabis and making heroin in the same sentence and confused the poor reporter. Which I doubt was difficult.

    I have to wonder about the economics of destroying the drugs with Harriers. Apparently, they doused the remains with petrol afterwards and burned them. Why not just do that in the first place?

  7. Squander Two said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Oh, hang on.

    “Officials believe the area – near to the Taliban stronghold of Quetta in Pakistan – was turning dried cannabis leaves into heroin.”

    It wasn’t people turning the cannabis into heroin — it was the area. Like, some weird geographic phenomenon. Well, that might be possible.

  8. used to be jdc said,

    June 13, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Brilliant. They are clearly publishing stories without reading them. I love that someone eventually spots that the woman and two kids are not, in fact, a cache of drugs – but still fails to spot that an area is turning cannabis into heroin.

  9. muscleman said,

    June 13, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Has anyone else tried to comment on it? I have and it hasn’t passed the moderators. They obviously cannot stand any sort of criticism.

  10. Robert Carnegie said,

    June 15, 2008 at 3:14 am

    It isn’t contradictory (but may not be true) that the Taleban in the old days closed down drug farming, but now uses it to raise funds. In the old days they were funded by the U.S., or maybe armed…

    Incidentally, what was or is the IRA position on drugs, really? They too needed funds but could get them as U.S. donations – which -might- dry up if the same group was also in the drugs trade.

  11. NuttyBat said,

    June 16, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    There’ll probably be a follow-up piece on the dangers of GM plants to explain how cannabis can be turned into heroin.

    Does anyone know the volume of 80 tonnes of coccaine? Would it fit into a space shuttle?

  12. mikewhit said,

    June 19, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    I do wish, when the press goes on about “… xxx drugs, worth £yM …” they would go on to say, “… to a junkie. ”

    Because it’s not worth that to anyone else.

  13. Robert Carnegie said,

    June 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Morphine is worth a bit to hospitals. A proposal to legalise Afghanistan’s produce and reserve it for clinical use seems to have fallen on stony ground, and probably right.

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