Dark Alliances Redux: The Globalization of the Narcotics Trade a.k.a. the “War on Drugs”

by Scott Creighton

In memory of Gary Webb. The courage he possessed is far too rare in this country.

At the North American Leaders’ Summit which just took place last week President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto met in Ottawa to discuss the future of economic prosperity (for a few) in this North American Union of ours. It’s being called the Three Amigos summit.

In the press conference, President Obama addressed what he called “serious concerns” being held by a number of citizens across the world about the impact of globalization and how unfair it is to so many people. He said folks have “legitimate” grievances because, in the past, free trade agreements, like the one they were there to discuss, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), haven’t always worked out so well for the workers, small business people and the quickly dwindling middle class in Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

Of course, his response to how to “fix” it involved signing bigger and better “free trade” agreements, that way they can dictate conditions on more countries across the world. He’s speaking of the TPP and TTIP of course.

Fix the problems created by unfair “free trade” agreements by signing bigger and more oppressive “free trade” agreements. That’s the solution from our glorious leader. Not “end NAFTA” and negotiate new unilateral “fair trade” agreements that put U.S. workers and businesses first. No, fix NAFTA by signing the TPP and the TTIP. Bigger, more oppressive NAFTA.

Around the same time, a couple barely noticed articles popped up over at Telesur which I thought needed a little more attention.

The first deals with the fact that very quietly, Mexico has become the world’s third largest provider of heroin since signing on with our War on Drugs. The second brings to light the fact that since they joined the War on Drugs, something like 28,000 Mexican citizens have simply disappeared off the face of the earth.

When I read those, it reminded me of something I wrote last year about this time:

Dark Alliances: How the DEA, Big Banking and Death Squads Made Sinaloa the Last Cartel Standing in Mexico

The idea rattling around in the dark hallways of the DEA was simple: use US taxpayer’s money to pick a winner in the drug wars taking place in Mexico and then we can control them and subsequently, control the flow of narcotics in America. Not to reduce the flow of the dangerous life-sucking narcotics to the addicted people of our nation but rather, to increase them and then share in the profits. We have done it before in places like Colombia, Cambodia, Thailand and Afghanistan so why not right here in the North American Union?

Do not forget that Sinaloa, once they were picked as the chosen cartel of Mexico, were given all sorts of aid from our elected leaders who were pretending to fight a war on drugs. This aid included but was not limited to:

Let’s recap a little of the recently forgotten history of globalization’s s0-called “War on Drugs”:

The U.S. government allowed the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel to carry out its business unimpeded between 2000 and 2012 in exchange for information on rival cartels, an investigation by El Universal claims

The period when the relationship between the DEA and Sinaloa was supposed to have been the closest, between 2006 and 2012, saw a major surge of violence in Mexico, and was the time when the Sinaloa cartel rose significantly in prominence. TIME

The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller’s cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank’s $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement. Guardian

A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.

It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.

The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges. James Howerton

Drug trafficking, money laundering and illicit weapons transfers at levels never before seen in the history of mankind. That’s the proud results of the current “War on Drugs” being waged across the world by our glorious leaders in D.C.

Thanks to U.S. soldiers being forced to defend Afghani poppy fields and the DEA/CIA running Sinaloa down in Mexico, heroin addiction and usage is off the charts here in the states. Let’s not forget, the Taliban in the one year they were in power in Afghanistan, ended the poppy cultivation of the country and reduced their global heroin output to zero. We “fixed” that after 9/11 and jacked the country right back up to the #1 producer of heroin in the world.

“The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement’s ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world’s largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.” New York Times, May 20, 2001

Well, it’s not really fair too say it’s never been seen before. The Opium Wars run by Britain and the East India Trading Company against China from 1839 to 1860 were comparable I guess. Those were also designed to destabilize a nation by turning it’s population into addicts and turning a nifty little profit in the mean time.

This brings us back to the discussion of the latest articles from Telesur relating to the relative “success” of the War on Drugs in Mexico.

“Mexico ranks as the world’s third largest grower of opium poppy and the main production comes from the territory known as the “Golden Triangle” in the northwest, an area controlled by El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel.  ” Telesur

So here again, the DEA/CIA’s very  own drug cartel has made massive headway into the heroin trade, moving well beyond their previous work trafficking industrial quality meth, pot and cocaine. It’s quite an accomplishment in terms of outreach don’t you think? And one way they did it was by incorporating some of the more profitable aspects of neoliberal globalization:

“The clandestine poppy plots are usually tended by small-scale poppy farmers. According to local press in Mexico, most of the workers extracting opium from poppies—which is usually refined into heroin—are children. ” Telesur

Uninhibited cheap child labor. The wet dream of the neoliberal “free market” worshiping technocrat. Apparently there’s not enough profit in the drug trafficking business even when the DEA/CIA taps you on the shoulder and makes you their bitch. No, they decide to go with child labor to jack up the profit margins even more.

At last count, the body count in Mexico related to the War on Drugs was somewhere around 100k. That’s a lot of dead folks people.

But that doesn’t include the missing, which is another story altogether.

All kinds of people are vanishing in our model of free market success stories in the Americas. Happens all the time when the economic brick is slammed on a nation against their will. Especially in countries mainly inhabited by brown people. Mexico is not unique in that regard.

Our happy little “pro-business” dictators often have to resort to bringing in School of the Americas trained death squads in order to remove the opposition that makes democratic nations so unstable in the eyes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. To them, stability means “freedom” and the price of that freedom is often paid by the nameless, faceless folks who simply go away in order to make a country more stable.

“Today, people without social or political activism are victims of enforced disappearance,” the commission said in a statement. “The causes and reasons are not clear, and no authority has been able to explain beyond speeches denying it or stigmatizing the victims.”Telesur

Though Telesur’s article is informative and brings up an important issue, it falls way short in covering the truth behind the missing.

“The most infamous disappearance over that period is the 2014 disappearance of 43 undergraduate students at a teachers college from the city of Iguala in southwestern Mexico. According to a 608-page report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the students were headed to a ceremony in Mexico City to commemorate the 1968 massacre of as many as 300 students when they were intercepted by municipal police officers. With military intelligence, and federal law-enforcement officers nearby, the report said, the students were forced at gunpoint into a convoy of police cars and never seen again.” Telesur

They weren’t on their way to a “ceremony”, they were on their way to a protest. A large one. And local politicians didn’t want them to arrive. Their tragic fates are also well known.

“Those 43 students were attacked by police officers and reportedly handed over to a drug gang who have admitted to killing the students. A mass grave of 38 burned corpses was discovered. Just this week, it was confirmed that at least one of those bodies was confirmed to be that of Alexander Mora, one of the missing students (6)…

It is reported that the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife gave orders for the police to intervene the 43 students and for the drug gang to kill them (3). Abarca and his wife have now been arrested over the incident along with over 50 other people, including local police officers (4).” Jenny Lewis, Dec. 2014

In that article, the writer explains how some dissapeared come back after escaping. Turns out, the majority of them were held by various drug cartels and forced to work as slave labor if they wanted to live.

Slave labor. Yet another neoliberal “free market” technocrat’s wet dream.

The reality is, Mexico is a stunningly corrupt country where brutality and murder are used to keep our free market free market system thriving in spite of the wishes of the Mexican people.

Isn’t it funny how Hillary Clinton can lie about Muammar Gaddafi killing his own citizens to remain in power as justification for bombing the country back into the stone ages and then lie about Bashar al-Assad doing the same in order to justify sending thousands of mercenary terrorists into the country to destabilize it in pursuit of regime change, while Barack Obama poses for photo-ops with the leader of a nation which is clearly waging all out war against it’s own population in support of a narcotics trafficking empire and the global empire that built it?

This is the nature of neoliberal globalization and it’s no fluke that springing up all around it are incredibly powerful narcotics empires run like international corporations or Wall Street financial institutions.

As the Three Amigos stood there trying to shake hands in their awkward little way, it makes me wonder just what kind of global narcotics cartel will be born from the TPP and the TTIP.

If NAFTA gave us Sinaloa, what the hell will they give rise to?

And when do the disappearances start here?

Much respect for Gary Webb. A journalist of the highest caliber.

5 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on deinvestiture.

  2. Another good post Scott. I’ve also written about Gary Webb on my blog…he’s one of my inspirations. It is important to consider the ramifications of the big trade deals on the drug trade. Who said that if it were really “free” trade…there would be no need for agreements?!

  3. […] via Dark Alliances Redux: The Globalization of the Narcotics Trade a.k.a. the “War on Drugs” — Am… […]

  4. Actually, the body count in Mexico’s criminal insurgency, commonly called the ‘drug war’ by the media, is well over 250,000. Leon Panetta used the figure of 150,000 some 3 years ago, and it certainly has not gotten any less violent down there.

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