Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘War On Some Drugs’ Category

Watch it

Posted by Charles II on October 21, 2014

Kill the Messenger is worth watching. Aside from the story itself, which is moving, it points to a broader feature of modern American life: we can no longer handle the truth. We have lost that sense of honor that demands that when we have made a mistake, we should acknowledge it and correct it. We imagine that we can become the image of ourselves that we create, independent of reality. And so we crash into reality, and are injured by that collision much more deeply than we ever would be by embracing the truth.

Gary Webb, we miss you.

Posted in abuse of power, CIA, colonial wars, media, Media machine, War On Some Drugs | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Like most wars, this one’s a failure. End it.

Posted by Charles II on May 19, 2013

Jamie Doward, The Guardian:

European governments and the Obama administration are this weekend studying a “gamechanging” report on global drugs policy that is being seen in some quarters as the beginning of the end for blanket prohibition.

Publication of the Organisation of American States (OAS) review, commissioned at last year’s Cartagena Summit of the Americas attended by Barack Obama, reflects growing dissatisfaction among Latin American countries with the current global policy on illicit drugs.

Posted in Latin America, War On Some Drugs | 2 Comments »

Must Read: To Die in Mexico by John Gibler

Posted by Charles II on August 24, 2012

There are few books that explain why US policy remains as consistently perverse as it is in the so-called wars on drugs and on terrorism, become permanent wars, with all the loss of freedom and national vitality that constant violence implies. John Gibler’s To Die in Mexico provides insight into not only what is going on in Mexico, but how it connects to US policy. It also shows how the citizenry, fragmented by ethnic and class divides, frenetically ignores the violence that it pretends it cannot stop. Some excerpts:

The bare facts are so terrifying they pass beyond the edge of anything credible. Who would believe, for example, that the warden of a state prison would let convicted killers out at night and loan them official vehicles, automatic rifles, and bulletproof vests, so that they could gun down scores of innocent people in a neighboring state and then quickly hop back over the state line and into prison, behind bars, a perfect alibi? Who would believe that a paramilitary drug-trafficking organization formed by ex-Special Forces of the Mexican Army would kidnap a local cop, torture him into confessing all of the above details about the prisoners’ death squad, videotape the confession, execute the cop on camera with a shot to the heart, and then post the video on YouTube?

The government, you see, sometimes acts as terrorist, and the drug traffickers sometimes as truthtellers.

THIS IS WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO SAY: The Mexican army and federal police have administered drug trafficking for decades. Drug money fills the vaults of Mexico’s banks, enters the national economy at every level, and, with traffickers’ annual profits estimated at between $30 billion and $60 billion a year, rivals oil as the largest single source of cash revenue in the country…..the most wanted narcos […include] generals in the Mexican army and commanders of the federal police. The federal police forces are the main recruitment centers for the enforcers, the paramilitary units in charge of assassinations, and the armed protection of drugs and mid- and high-level operators.

The corruption runs to the top of the civilian government.

Click for more
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Posted in corruption, Mexico, War On Some Drugs | 6 Comments »

Sheldon Adelson and the Mexican drug lord

Posted by Charles II on August 8, 2012

Is narcotrafficking money being laundered into US elections? It is alleged to have been done in Mexican elections… and not just the recent ones. As far back as 2007, we noted that Zhenli Ye Gon, who was accused of being a major importer of drugs used to make meth, had been accused of providing sewer money to install Felipe Calderon as president of Mexico.

Now Ye Gon has resurfaced, this time as a figure in a US investigation: “for a series of large money transfers in the mid-2000s.”

It seems Ye Gon was such a good customer of Sheldon Adelson that he lost $125M at his Sands casino. Adelson, in turn, has been linked to organized crime syndicates in rescuing his Macao casino.

And Adelson is a major Romney donor.

This is by no means proof of drug money being laundered into US elections. Heck, Ye Gon hasn’t been convicted yet, and should be considered innocent. But the question now has to be asked: is our political system so unresponsive to the will of the people because it is under the influence of narcotics, or the profits therefrom? There’s no explanation in my mind for why Ye Gon was held in the US for years on a charge so flimsy that it collapsed, and only now is the DA in Los Angeles looking into large money transfers by Ye Gon.

Posted in Mexico, War On Some Drugs | 2 Comments »

Dana Frank on Honduras–and the rising crisis in America

Posted by Charles II on May 24, 2012

Adrienne posted an important article by Dana Frank which appeared in The Nation. This tells us the very most important thing to understand not just about Honduras, but much more broadly. The conflict is not between left and right. It is at root a conflict between the forces that make human societies stable and decent places to live and criminals whose only goal is to loot those societies for their personal gain:

Drug trafficking is now embedded in the state itself—from the cop in the neighborhood all the way up to the very top of the government, according to high-level sources. Prominent critics and even government officials, including Marlon Pascua, the defense minister, talk of “narco-judges” who block prosecutions and “narco-congressmen” who run cartels. Alfredo Landaverde, a former congressman and police commissioner in charge of drug investigations, declared that one out of every ten members of Congress is a drug trafficker and that he had evidence proving “major national and political figures” were involved in drug trafficking. He was assassinated on December 7.

Far more than criminal gangs in the streets and drug traffickers acting independently, it is the Honduran state itself that has made Honduras, according to the Associated Press, “among the most dangerous places on earth.”

And the Honduran state operates only by the grace of the US government.

I do not believe that the US government–from the Pentagon to DoJ to the State Department to the White House–has failed to understand that its policies are enabling the rise of criminal empires. Not when Wikileaked documents show the US embassy knew that Miguel Facusse was engaged in narcotrafficking.
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Posted in Honduras, Occupy movement, War On Some Drugs | Comments Off on Dana Frank on Honduras–and the rising crisis in America

Spy v. spy, General v. general, Clown v. clown: the drug war

Posted by Charles II on May 17, 2012

Reuters, via Grauniad:

Investigators are questioning Mexico’s former deputy defence minister and a top army general for suspected links to organised crime, in the highest level scandal to hit the military in the five-year-old drug war.

Mexican soldiers on Tuesday detained retired general Tomás Angeles Dauahare and general Roberto Dawe González and turned them over to the country’s organised crime unit, military and government officials said.

Angeles Dauahare was number 2 in the armed forces under President Felipe Calderón and helped lead the government’s crackdown on drug cartels…

Dawe González, still an active duty general, led an elite army unit in the western state of Colima ….

Supposedly the generals picked up drug trafficking as a post-retirement hobby. This is, to my mind, far-fetched. The reason the drug war is failing is because people at the top, in both Mexico and the US, want it to fail.

Posted in Mexico, War On Some Drugs | Comments Off on Spy v. spy, General v. general, Clown v. clown: the drug war

US military accused of killing two pregnant women, two children, and two men/updated

Posted by Charles II on May 15, 2012

Via Quotha, Defensores en Linea says that in Ahuás in the indigenous Miskito region of Honduras:

…the nighttime operation launched against supposed narcotrafficking targets in the dawn of the previous Friday was conducted by US military uniformed as DEA agents.

…a foreign military taking refuge in the new hegemonic notion of “the anti-drug war,” legalized in reforms to the Military Treaty of 1954, violates the national sovereignty and kills civilians as if they were in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria.

Two pregnant women, two children, and two adult men died by shots fired from helicopter gunships piloted by US military over a vessel which was returning from the (estuary?) of the Patuca river to its community. They were workers in the traditional industry of diving

..the failed state of Honduras gave way to the foreign military occupation in the guise of the so-called “war against d[r]rug cartels, as happened in the last eight years in Mexico, Colombia, and Guatemala.

The general point that the dead were not drug traffickers is confirmed (again via Adrienne) by Tiempo, although Tiempo says four dead, four wounded. Supposedly a boat containing drug traffickers was fleeing from a helicopter and passed the boat of native divers. The narcos had their lights out, the divers had their lights on, so the gunners went for the visible target.

It just isn’t very important to be sure who you’re shooting at, because either they’re bad guys or they’re people whose deaths won’t be noticed.
___________
Update, from Adrienne, hat tip to Brother John in comments. Martha Mendoza, AP:

U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because their statements had not been authorized, said Honduran law enforcement did not initiate the shooting, but rather returned fire after being attacked. The officials said the DEA agents did not fire

Because of course, pregnant women and children are so very dangerous. AP, via CBS News:

Angry inhabitants of the largely Indian Mosquito coast region burned down several government offices in the area in response to the attack and issued a statement saying they wanted DEA agents out of the area.

The official didn’t say how many helicopters were on the mission, but said the aircraft were piloted by Guatemalan military officers and outside contractor pilots.

Great. So Xe (aka Blackwater) is involved.

And WOLA is concerned about when the military “interfaces” with the civilian population. Most of us call it “shooting.” The people at WOLA are a parody of a human rights organization.

Posted in Honduras, military, War On Some Drugs | 7 Comments »

Burnt sacrifices to the war on some drugs

Posted by Charles II on February 16, 2012

DemocracyNow:

JUAN GONZALEZ: We turn now to Honduras, where a fire swept through an overcrowded prison Tuesday night and killed more than 350 inmates. It’s the world’s deadliest prison fire in a century. According to the Associated Press, most of the inmates who died had never been charged, let alone convicted. More than half were either awaiting trial or being held as suspected gang members.

A local official says an inmate called her moments before the fire and told her he was going to set the facility on fire and kill everyone inside. Many of the prisoners burned to death in their cells.

AMY GOODMAN: Honduran prisons are plagued with overcrowding, due in part to drug trafficking arrests. The United Nations says Honduras also has the highest murder rate in the world. All this comes as the country recovers from a 2009 coup.

For more, we’re joined by Dana Frank, professor of history at University of California, Santa Cruz, and Honduras correspondent for The Nation magazine. Her most recent piece appears in the New York Times; it’s called “In Honduras, a Mess Made in the U.S.”

What happened here? What do you understand, Professor Frank?

DANA FRANK: Well, let’s be clear right off: this was not a natural disaster. There were two previous prison fires like this in 2003 and 2004, when people died because the police either deliberately set the fire to kill gang—alleged gang members or because they allowed it to happen because of overcrowding. There have been reports saying that this should have been cleaned up long ago, and it’s just gotten worse and worse.

The other thing to understand is, when the fire broke out, the prisoners were locked down. There are many, many, now, testimonies from prisoners who managed to survive, saying that the police—the police, they’re guards. And I want to understand that these—underscore that these are regular police that manage the prisons; they’re not prison guards in a separate system. The prisoners that escaped are saying—or that survived, are saying that the police threw away the keys, they laughed at them, they refused to open the cells. And one prisoner is saying that they shot at the prisoners. And when the prison—and so, these people died because they died in their cells screaming, trying to get out, locked down in their cells. And human rights advocates are underscoring that penitentiary officials have a sacred duty to protect the lives of those inside.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Dana Frank, there were some reports that firefighters were delayed in being able to get to the fire to put it out?

DANA FRANK: Absolutely. The police wouldn’t let the firefighters into the prison for 30 minutes. They also tear-gassed and fired at family members who were rushing to the prison to try to figure out what was happening. And there were also the firefighters 15 minutes away at the U.S. Air Force base, at Soto Cano, that were also not there.

AMY GOODMAN: Hundreds of prisoners killed. Can you talk about the relationship between the Honduran government and the United States and where you think that weighs in here?

DANA FRANK: Well, you know, but this is the ongoing coup regime. It’s really important to not act like the coup that happened on June 28th, 2009, is somehow over. The same people are controlling the Honduran government. Pepe Lobo has appointed, for example, Daniel Orellana, the head of the prisons, was one of the—the chief of the police at the time of the coup.

And all of this is being supported by the Obama government. You know, the Obama administration has, in fact, just in its budget two days ago, asked for a doubling of the U.S. military aid to Honduras. They’ve just spent $50 million to expand Soto Cano Air Force Base, as this—knowing full well about the total corruption of the ongoing Lobo government. And this is a really—a tremendously outrageous thing that the Obama administration is doing, and people need to be paying more attention to this.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And Dana Frank, the impact of the spreading U.S. war on drugs on—especially on Central America, as thousands of inmates from U.S. prisons are released from prison, deported down there, the growth of crime and drugs, and then the government crackdowns on drugs in those countries?

DANA FRANK: Well, you know, human rights defenders in Honduras will be the first to say that the drug problem is very serious, and it’s growing. They would also be the first to say that it’s mushroomed since the coup, in this context on complete impunity. There’s no functioning judicial system. And it’s important to understand that the Lobo government is completely in bed with the drug traffickers. So you can’t say here’s the government helping clean up the drug traffickers, and here’s the drug traffickers; it’s all corrupt from top to bottom. And the Honduran police and judicial systems are especially—are especially corrupt.

The problem is, there’s been a lot of spin saying, “Well, we have to spend even more money on the Honduran military and police in order to fight drugs.” And that’s just throwing money at the same problem, because you can’t make a distinction between the Lobo government and its police and the drug trafficking. And this is the issue all over Central America, this militarization in the name of fighting drugs, which is not what the Honduran human rights people, it’s not what the Honduran opposition is calling for. They are the first to suffer from the drug issues. But they say that this corrupt government, very highly backed and increasingly backed by the Lobo administration in the United—excuse me, the Obama administration in the United States, is the problem here. And so, it’s really important to not let this spin to the right to increase militarization of Central America in the name of fighting drugs or cleaning this up.(emphases added)

Update: KPFA take on it here. American University Professor Adrienne Pine is the interview.

Posted in abuse of power, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Honduras, impunity, State Department, The Plunderbund, War On Some Drugs | 5 Comments »

Better living through chemistry

Posted by Charles II on January 24, 2012

Nina Lakhani, London Independent:

Magic mushrooms could one day be prescribed for depression after Professor David Nutt, the controversial sacked government drugs advisor, claimed research on healthy volunteers proved what a mistake it was to abandon therapeutic psychedelic drugs more than 50 years ago.

The first clinical trial into magic mushroom therapy could start by the end of the year after two small studies suggested the active chemical, psilocybin, had a profound affect on key regions of the brain.

Professor Nutt’s team, at Imperial College London, hope to test the hallucinogen on depressed patients who have not benefited from antidepressants or behavioural therapy.

Posted in War On Some Drugs | 7 Comments »

We need a post on Ron Paul’s connections to the John Birch Society

Posted by Charles II on January 4, 2012

Just sayin’.

Figuring out what politicians will do in office is very difficult. Most of them are masters of disguise and deception. Tens of millions of people imagined that Bush would be a compassionate conservative (despite the fact that he was well known to be personally sadistic). Tens of millions imagined that Obama would not get involved in all sorts of optional wars, even though he told people ahead of time he would have American troops cross Pakistani borders whether they gave permission or not.

A very important part of anticipating what politicians will do is understanding where they get their ideas. Obama’s close ties with guys like Austan Goolsbee was a warning sign that he wasn’t an economic liberal. An economic liberal would have aligned himself with guys like Joe Stiglitz (for the record, there were some liberal economists like Jamie Galbraith and Bob Reich among his advisors. They just were not in any clear majority or among his personal associates). Understanding which wells or sewers a candidate drinks from in forming his ideas is a much better predictor of what he’ll do than what he says.

So, Ron Paul’s links to the John Birch Society, which are much more recent than his survivalist newsletter should be a focus for those who want to understand what Ron Paul would actually do. American Opinion, the JBS newsletter, gives Paul a 100% rating on 20 recent votes. Now, the JBS is a very strict grader. In the House, I count only 4 South Carolina Republicans, 1 North Carolina Republican, and Ron Paul who meet their exacting standards. In the Senate, there are none. The JBS is remarkably mainstream in Republican circles, considering they were once drummed out of the Republican Party. They sponsored a recent CPAC meeting.

Since there is no clear distinction between the John Birch Society and the conservative movement, one may wonder what the special interest in them should be. The answer is that the JBS is, in effect, the Bolshevik Party of the right. They are intensely conspiratorial, use deception routinely, and–because they have pre-determined that the world governments are all in the hands of the communists–have completed the process of dehumanization that is necessary for the use of ruthless means. For the latter, see for example this article, which includes such interesting lines as:

But now there appears to be another secret cabal, known as the Shadow Party, controlled by radical billionaire George Soros who operates secretly to influence the direction our government is going in. He has boldly proclaimed his intentions, so they are not secret. But how he controls events in Washington is another story. We suspect that he is behind Barack Obama’s presidency…
John Dewey and his colleagues were all socialists and made no secret of their intent to take over the public schools and use them as the means of converting America from an individualist society to a socialist one….Most readers of The New American are familiar with the Illuminati conspiracy that was launched by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776, at Ingolstadt, Germany….The earliest conspiracy I know of in the United States was created by the Owenite socialists who wanted to convert America into an anti-Christian communist society.

So, let me speculate on what a couple of Ron Paul’s positions which are so attractive to the left might actually mean:
* does withdrawal of American forces from wars mean that we will use nuclear weapons when our interests are threatened?
* would legalization of drugs without any compensating effort to help people get off and stay off drugs mean that drugs would effectively become a means of medicating and controlling the population?

What does the John Birch Society say about these things? I’d really like to know. There’s been a lot of talk about how the Republican Party will never let Paul gain the nomination. I don’t see why not, not when some of the biggest money in the GOP comes from corporate libertarian/John Birchers like the Koch brothers.

Posted in 2012, anti-truth, antiwar movement, capitalism as cancer, corporatists, eedjits, evil, fascism, unintended consequences, War On Some Drugs | 20 Comments »

 
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