Friday, August 31, 2012

The hole gets deeper . . .

AND THE D.E.A. JUST KEEPS ON DIGGING. The US Drug Enforcement Administration has grown from its creation by Nixon on July 1, 1973. According to Wiki,

DEA's headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia across from the Pentagon. It maintains its own DEA Academy located on the United States Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia along with the FBI Academy. It maintains 21 domestic field divisions with 227 field offices and 86 foreign offices in 62 countries. With a budget exceeding 2.415 billion dollars, DEA employs over 10,800 people, including over 5,500 Special Agents.

That's one hell of a bureaucratic empire, employing a lot of people who have a stake in keeping things the way they are.

And that's the problem, because the War on Drugs just isn't working. Not only is it a failure, but it is causing incalculable damage to America, but also to the supplier countries.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH follows these abuses, noting that the Mexican government is unconcerned with the violation of its citizens' civil rights:
Through in-depth research in five of Mexico’s most violent states, Human Rights Watch found evidence that strongly suggests the participation of security forces in more than 170 cases of torture, 39 “disappearances,” and 24 extrajudicial killings since Calderón took office in December 2006.

“Instead of reducing violence, Mexico’s ‘war on drugs’ has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and other appalling abuses by security forces, which only make the climate of lawlessness and fear worse in many parts of the country,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

No shit, Sherlock — it's getting really, really brutal, and there are no signs of the violence levelling-off, according to The New Statesman's article by Malcolm Beith, "Mexico's drug war: the battle without hope"

The horrors of Mexico’s drug war, which has raged since December 2006 and the start of President Felipe Calderón’s administration, know no bounds. More than 50,000 people have died in drug-related violence since, and there is no sign of the bloodshed diminishing. In 2006, shortly before Calderón deployed tens of thousands of soldiers to combat the violence, a group of armed thugs rolled five heads on to the dance floor of a nightclub in central Mexico as a warning; by 2007 and 2008, beheadings had become commonplace.

In 2009, a man nicknamed El Pozolero – “the stew-maker” – was arrested and confessed to dissolving the remains of more than 300 people in vats of caustic soda for a drug kingpin. Later that year, a man working for rivals of the powerful Sinaloa cartel was found; he had been beheaded and his face had been carved off and delicately stitched on to a football. Dozens of mass graves were discovered throughout the Latin American nation last year, many of them in Tamaulipas, a north-eastern state notorious for its hazy fug of lawlessness and for the terror tactics of Los Zetas, a group of former paramilitaries who now run their own drug trafficking syndicate.

Videos of some of the atrocities have been disseminated over the internet. In the most recent one, described above, members of the Sinaloa cartel are put to death.

El Pozolero — YIKES! Makes Jeffrey Dahmer look like an amateur. But the "stew-maker" is just one of a whole horde of monsters. You can find out more at El Blog del Narco, and the translation service of choice, if your Spanish is NFG.  The New Statesman opines that it pulls no punches: "Blog del Narco: madness, mutilation and murder in Mexico".

Twenty-eight thousand people have been killed since President Felipe Calderón launched his crackdown on the drug cartels in 2006. "Lost cities", such as Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, are practically run by the leading drug cartels.

Here's the scary part: the Mexican cartels may be too big to take down. They are now part of the US financial system.

The Sinaloa cartel – led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, son of an opium farmer from the mountains in the north-western state of Sinaloa – has expanded in recent years to become the most powerful drug trafficking organisation in the world. 

The Sinaloa cartel produces its own marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine; it imports chemical precursors used to make methamphetamine from Asian nations such as India, Thailand and China. The authorities have spotted Sinaloa cartel operatives and scouts (conejos, or rabbits, in Spanish) on every continent; the Australian authorities believe the cartel is responsible for delivering as much as 500 kilogrammes of cocaine a month on to their shores.

In the spirit of globalisation, it is thought, El Chapo has bought properties in eastern Europe and throughout Latin America in an effort to launder his dirty money. In 2010 the US-based Wachovia Bank admitted to having handled $378bn for Mexican currency-exchange houses between 2004 and 2007, roughly $13bn of which was confirmed to belong to the Sinaloa cartel. (The US department of justice slapped sanctions of $160m on the bank for “wilfully failing to maintain an anti-money laundering programme”.)

378 BILLION DOLLARS! You can buy a lot of American politicians with that kind of money.

No comments: