Posts Tagged ‘War on Drugs’

Business Insider:

Since 2006, thousands of people have been killed in the ongoing drug war between Mexican cartels and government forces.

A new must-read article in the August issue of Bloomberg Markets smashes open the world of shadow banking between large banks in the United States and their role in the funding of Mexican drug operations.

Back in March, Wachovia struck a deal with Federal prosecutors under which the bank admitted it didn’t do enough to prevent money-laundering between criminal organizations, in which illicit funds transferred flew past the $300 billion mark. Now Wachovia faces charges from the Department of Justice over violating the Bank Secrecy Act – a first for the bulge bracket of large U.S. banks.

Similarly, traffickers used accounts at Bank of America to purchase three planes that ended up smuggling 10 tons of cocaine. “Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009,” says the article.

mexican drug gang infographic

Image: Bloomberg Markets

HSBC and Banco Santander are also involved.

The situation has spun out of control, with people like investigator Martin Woods quitting his job at Wachovia because no one would listen to his warnings. Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez now carries a .38 pistol with him for protection but even he acknowledges just how bad the violence has become.

I know this [gun] won’t stop the narcos when they come through that door with machine guns, but at least I’ll take one with me.”

And while cross-border smuggling of cash and drugs won’t be stopped effectively anytime soon, one place authorities can hit is the bank. Specifically, Wachovia is first in line for a slap on the wrist as the bank has repeatedly ignored warnings by regulators and authorities:

“By 2004, many U.S. banks had closed their accounts with these companies, which are known as casas de cambio. Wachovia ignored warnings by regulators and police, according to the deferred-prosecution agreement. ‘As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,’ the bank admitted in court. ‘Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business.”

Related:

NYTimes:

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The relationship between Mr. Karzai and the C.I.A. is wide ranging, several American officials said. He helps the C.I.A. operate a paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force, that is used for raids against suspected insurgents and terrorists. On at least one occasion, the strike force has been accused of mounting an unauthorized operation against an official of the Afghan government, the officials said.

Mr. Karzai is also paid for allowing the C.I.A. and American Special Operations troops to rent a large compound outside the city — the former home of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Taliban’s founder. The same compound is also the base of the Kandahar Strike Force. “He’s our landlord,” a senior American official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Bolivia’s first indeginous president, a former coca grower, halted DEA operations. I guess there’s room for debate here.

I find the ignorance of the BBC article striking: “Coca is widely used by Bolivian Indians”. “Indians”?

Anyways, here’s the claims of president Evo Morales:

“From today all the activities of the US DEA are suspended indefinitely,” the Bolivian leader said in the coca-growing region of Chimore, in the central province of Chapare.

“Personnel from the DEA supported activities of the unsuccessful coup d’etat in Bolivia,” he added, referring to the unrest in September which left 19 people dead.

“We have the obligation to defend the dignity and sovereignty of the Bolivian people.”

I’m sure there will more news about this ordeal to come…

I’m shocked to see the Establishment lapdogs at the NYTIMES put out such an explosive piece. Of course it falls short of further context into one of the major reasons or motivators for occupation in Afghanistan, and the so-called “War On Terror”. Check out the film War and Globalization – The Truth Behind September 11, my “Al Qaeda: The CI-A Team” article and my other local posts on War On Terror & 9/11.

NYTIMES:

WASHINGTON — When Afghan security forces found an enormous cache of heroin hidden beneath concrete blocks in a tractor-trailer outside Kandahar in 2004, the local Afghan commander quickly impounded the truck and notified his boss.

Before long, the commander, Habibullah Jan, received a telephone call from Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of President Hamid Karzai, asking him to release the vehicle and the drugs, Mr. Jan later told American investigators, according to notes from the debriefing obtained by The New York Times. He said he complied after getting a phone call from an aide to President Karzai directing him to release the truck.

Two years later, American and Afghan counternarcotics forces stopped another truck, this time near Kabul, finding more than 110 pounds of heroin. Soon after the seizure, United States investigators told other American officials that they had discovered links between the drug shipment and a bodyguard believed to be an intermediary for Ahmed Wali Karzai, according to a participant in the briefing.

The assertions about the involvement of the president’s brother in the incidents were never investigated, according to American and Afghan officials, even though allegations that he has benefited from narcotics trafficking have circulated widely in Afghanistan.

Both President Karzai and Ahmed Wali Karzai, now the chief of the Kandahar Provincial Council, the governing body for the region that includes Afghanistan’s second largest city, dismiss the allegations as politically motivated attacks by longtime foes.

“I am not a drug dealer, I never was and I never will be,” the president’s brother said in a recent phone interview. “I am a victim of vicious politics.”

But the assertions about him have deeply worried top American officials in Kabul and in Washington. The United States officials fear that perceptions that the Afghan president might be protecting his brother are damaging his credibility and undermining efforts by the United States to buttress his government, which has been under siege from rivals and a Taliban insurgency fueled by drug money, several senior Bush administration officials said. Their concerns have intensified as American troops have been deployed to the country in growing numbers.

“What appears to be a fairly common Afghan public perception of corruption inside their government is a tremendously corrosive element working against establishing long-term confidence in that government — a very serious matter,” said Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, who was commander of coalition military forces in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005 and is now retired. “That could be problematic strategically for the United States.”

The White House says it believes that Ahmed Wali Karzai is involved in drug trafficking, and American officials have repeatedly warned President Karzai that his brother is a political liability, two senior Bush administration officials said in interviews last week.

Numerous reports link Ahmed Wali Karzai to the drug trade, according to current and former officials from the White House, the State Department and the United States Embassy in Afghanistan, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity. In meetings with President Karzai, including a 2006 session with the United States ambassador, the Central Intelligence Agency’s station chief and their British counterparts, American officials have talked about the allegations in hopes that the president might move his brother out of the country, said several people who took part in or were briefed on the talks.

“We thought the concern expressed to Karzai might be enough to get him out of there,” one official said. But President Karzai has resisted, demanding clear-cut evidence of wrongdoing, several officials said. “We don’t have the kind of hard, direct evidence that you could take to get a criminal indictment,” a White House official said. “That allows Karzai to say, ‘where’s your proof?’ ”

Neither the Drug Enforcement Administration, which conducts counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan, nor the fledgling Afghan anti-drug agency has pursued investigations into the accusations against the president’s brother.

Several American investigators said senior officials at the D.E.A. and the office of the Director of National Intelligence complained to them that the White House favored a hands-off approach toward Ahmed Wali Karzai because of the political delicacy of the matter. But White House officials dispute that, instead citing limited D.E.A. resources in Kandahar and southern Afghanistan and the absence of political will in the Afghan government to go after major drug suspects as the reasons for the lack of an inquiry.

“We invested considerable resources into building Afghan capability to conduct such investigations and consistently encouraged Karzai to take on the big fish and address widespread Afghan suspicions about the link between his brother and narcotics,” said Meghan O’Sullivan, who was the coordinator for Afghanistan and Iraq at the National Security Council until last year.

It was not clear whether President Bush had been briefed on the matter.Humayun Hamidzada, press secretary for President Karzai, denied that the president’s brother was involved in drug trafficking or that the president had intervened to help him. “People have made allegations without proof,” Mr. Hamidzada said.

Spokesmen for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.

An Informant’s Tip

The concerns about Ahmed Wali Karzai have surfaced recently because of the imprisonment of an informant who tipped off American and Afghan investigators to the drug-filled truck outside Kabul in 2006.

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Counterpunch (snippets):

“Corporate government and militarism are the major issues,” said Zeese when asked for his take on the vice-presidential nominee, “and Biden is terrible on both.”

As for the war on Drugs, Zeese says, “Pick a drug law you don’t like from the last 25 years and thank Sen. Joe Biden. He deserves a lot of the credit for the U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, having 25% of the world’s prisoners —-and the racially disproportionate impact of the drug laws.”

Biden was also instrumental in creating the Office of National Office of Drug Control Policy and takes credit for coining the phrase “Drug Czar” to describe its director. He introduced the “Reducing Americans Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) Act of 2002,” which, Zeese called “an election-year bill, sloppily written and overbroad, based on exaggerated fears.” Zeese says, “Biden also beat the drug-war drum for escalating penalties for methamphetamine. He never sees drug absuse as a medical problem, only a law enforcement problem. His heart is always with the cops and prosecutors.”

Zeese also sees Biden pressuring Obama on behalf of his longtime corporate sponsors. “It’s fitting that the Senator from Delaware, the foundation of corporate government, was the biggest cheerleader for a bankruptcy bill that protects the credit-card issuers instead of consumers. He was always a spokesman for MBNA [Maryland Bank North America] in the Senate and now his son is a lobbyist for them… He wants to give the internet over to the telecom industry –the same industry he protected with immunity for illegal wiretapping of Americans. This is consistent with his views on civil liberties. He has voted for every version of the Patriot Act.”