Posts tagged cartels
While first running for the White House, Barack Obama campaigned on ending America’s war. Not it seems though that the focus now shifting away from the war on terror and toward the war on drugs. And that war is expanding from Latin America to Africa, two locales emerging as powerful hubs for drug cartels. RT’s Liz Wahl gives insight on what’s going on there.
“Steal a little,” wrote Bob Dylan, “they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you a king.” These days, he might recraft the line to read: deal a little dope, they throw you in jail; launder the narco billions, they’ll make you apologise to the US Senate.
Two months ago in Washington DC, a poor black man called Edward Dorsey Sr was convicted of peddling 5.5 grams of crack cocaine. Because he was charged before a recent relative amelioration in sentencing, he was given a mandatory 10 years in jail.
Last week, managers from Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, lined up before the Senate’s permanent sub-committee on investigations – just across the Potomac river from the scene of Dorsey’s crime – to be asked questions such as: “It took three or four years to close a suspicious account. Is there any way that should be allowed to happen?”
The “suspicious account” was that of a “casa de cambio”, a currency exchange house operated in Mexico on behalf of the largest criminal syndicate in the world and one of the most savage, the Sinaloa drug-trafficking cartel. The dealings had been flagged up to HSBC bosses by an anti-money laundering officer, but to no avail – the dirty business continued. “No, senator,” came the reply from a bespectacled Brit called Paul Thurston, chief executive, retail banking and wealth management, HSBC Holdings plc.
The same casa de cambio, called Puebla, was known to be under investigation in another case involving the Wachovia bank during the time HSBC was entertaining its money. US authorities had seized $11m from Wachovia’s Miami office, on the way to securing the biggest settlement in banking history with Wachovia in March 2010, detailed in this newspaper last year.
By Susanne Posel
Last week, the delegates who attended the Arms Trade Treaty Conference (ATT) reportedly did not come to a consensus to ratify the ATT, but rather will come back to the issue later this year.
Further talks will likely take place at a UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting wherein 192 nations could achieve the 2/3rd majority vote for ratification of the ATT.
According to the British delegation: “We feel that we could have agreed (a treaty). It is disappointing that more time is needed. But an arms-trade treaty is coming – not today – but soon. We’ve taken a big step forward.”
Although activists in support of a convention for global gun control advocated the need to prevent illicit trade of guns into conflicted zones, such as in Syria, those same activists blamed the US and Russia for causing a stalemate during the negotiations process.
Victoria Nuland, US Ambassador to the UN released a statement on the US State Department website wherein it was admitted that “the illicit trafficking of conventional arms is an important national security concern for the United States.”
By Stephen C. Webster
The Constitutional Court of Colombia approved a plan that will drop all criminal penalties for individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine, according to Spanish-language media reports.
That means anyone caught with less than 22 grams of marijuana, or one gram of cocaine, will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution. People who are caught intoxicated in public can only be sent to receive medical or psychological treatment for their impairment.
The proposal, first introduced last year by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, is intended to refocus law enforcement resources on drug-runners and cartels and away from individual users.
“Today’s judicial ruling in Colombia represents yet another important step in the growing political and judicial movement in Latin America and Europe to stop treating people who consume drugs as criminals worthy of incarceration,” Ethan Nadalmann, who heads the U.S.-based Drug Policy Alliance, said in prepared text.
Posted by Corbett
As US troops deploy to the Mexican border to deal with the fallout of Fast and Furious, details continue to emerge about this flagrantly illegal operation to arm Mexican drug lords in a supposed sting operation. But as veteran investigative journalist Bill Conroy points out, operations like this were going on years prior to Fast and Furious and this latest scandal is just another example of a drug war that is not what it is believed to be. This is the GRTV Feature interview with your host James Corbett and our special guest, Bill Conroy.
If you want honest reporting I would highly recommend The Corbett Report!
By: John Ransom
As if Congress didn’t have enough evidence that the Department of Justice has completely lost its mind, the New York Times is reporting that the Drug Enforcement Agency has helped launder “millions of dollars in drug proceeds” on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, a figure much higher than previously estimated.
The Department of Justice has been under investigation by Congress for facilitating gun smuggling during Operation Fast and Furious. Fast and Furious was a gun running scheme on the US-Mexican border that’s resulted in violence and death on both sides of the border including the deaths of federal agents in the line of duty. The operation used illegal weapons purchases with reluctant gun dealers who cooperated with the ATF on the so-called stings.
The problem however is that there has never been a sting, an arrest or results that would justify breaking the law- there were just illegal arms pouring over the border and escalating violence all facilitated by the Department of Justice in an effort, in part to make a case for stricter gun control laws.
One source who was quoted anonymously in the money-laundering story in the Times was concerned about similar negative results saying that the “D.E.A. could wind up being the largest money launderer in the business, and that money results in violence and deaths.”
Consequently, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif, chair of the oversight committee already investigating Fast and Furious has done some fast and furious of his own. Issa has opened a probe into the money-laundering program according to the Houston Chronicle.
He sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder informing him of the probe, drawing “a parallel between the reported money-laundering operation’s tactics and those in Fast and Furious,” according to the Chronicle.
“The existence of such a program again calls your leadership into question,” Issa wrote in a letter to Holder, says the Texas newspaper. “The managerial structure you have implemented lacks appropriate operational safeguards to prevent the implementation of such dangerous schemes. The consequences have been disastrous.”
The DEA denies the charge saying that they have been running money-laundering stings since 1984. “The Drug Enforcement Administration has been working collaboratively with the Mexican government to fight money laundering for years. As a result of this cooperation, DEA has seized illicit transnational criminal organization money all around the world.”
Obviously whoever wrote the press release for the DEA flunked the “irony” portion of their English exam.
The DEA has become the leading money-laundering crime fighter by becoming one of the leading money-launders?
Man, this has become a government that can justify anything it does by whatever tortured logic it chooses.
And that’s what you get when you’re governed by people who think that, as our own Guy Benson pointed out, lying is a complicated concept that revolves around a state of mind as does Mr. Attorney General Holder.
Issa is having none of it, though, since he’s been given the run around on Fast and Furious from the beginning.
He knows what he has to deal with at Justice.
Issa indicated he’s skeptical, particularly after the Justice Department on Friday gave Congress hundreds of pages of documents showing how Justice officials initially provided inaccurate information about Fast and Furious.
“The first answer you get from this Justice Department doesn’t have a high credibility,” Issa said.
And no answer ever will have credibility in the Department of Justice as long as Holder remains at the helm.
[CIM Comment: Eric Holder photo added to the original story.]