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25 December 2009

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Dick

You've cetainly entered dangerous territory this time; stirred up a real hornets nest, you have.
Well, I'm encouraged by the comments. Mainly the idea that this is a homegrown problem and not sourced outside the US, like the Jihads. Kill as many as you'd like (it's really just a "feelgood" thing from seeing such abhorrent violence), but that does absolutely nothing to stop the supply of drugs into this country - DEMAND will ensure that. Economic enticements have turned these people (Mexican drug businessmen) into the personifications of evilness that we see.
The solution can only be a combination of every tool we can come up with: education and illegal drug use interdiction in this country, concerted international law enforcement efforts, clandestine targeting and elimination of known executives only(i.e. drug lords), and working with the victimized foreign states on cooperative solutions via economic, social, and law enforcement aid.
We must be careful not to just look without, while not looking within. I live in H-town, and drugs are frigg'in everywhere. WHY?

F5F5F5

Colonel, I'm mereley pointing out the limitations of this approach. I don't like long winded posts be here ya go.

It has very little to do with morality.

Eliminating active international jihadist terrorists, and especially their leaders and financiers can be effective.

This is because non-territorial terrorist organizations are restricted in size, numbers, financial and recruitment base. Kill the head and the body will die, eventually.

Anarchist/revolutionary terrorism died out after their leaders got killed, imprisoned, or just because they realized terrorism will never bring about regime change in their favour.

Killing drug lords, even entire gangs, in a country like Mexico, will only create a vaccum and soon it will start all over again for as long as there's a buck to be made. In this context, death squad tactics are doomed to fail.

I agree however that mass killings and arrests would provide a degree of peace. For a while. Assassinations only wouldn't do much in a context of crime fighting, as nobody's really irreplaceable.

Merry Christmas to all, by the way.

The Twisted Genius

Colonel Lang's proposition has definitely elicited a visceral response from many SST readers... including myself. Mexican drug lords are definitely deserving of the the attention of the operators. I see two possible scenarios if we did this.

The first is that the drug lords are hit with sufficient widespread brutality that those remaining make the business calculation that they better get out of this particular line of business (no matter how lucrative) or end up dead. These killings must be done quickly, quietly and efficiently to leave the undeniable message that this is the only possible outcome available to a drug lord or prospective drug lord. Public posturing and boasting about winning the drug war would only paint the drug lords into a corner.

The second is that the drug lords make the business calculation that they can fight and win this war and end up with even more riches and power. Could they reach out to other criminal groups and convince them that an alliance is in their best interests? (In spite of what goes on in the world of comics, I can't see all the world's criminals uniting to take over the world.) If narco-money is now an important part of the world banking system, could they reach out to "allies' on Wall Street? I can see the approach, "You guys got a nice little financial system here, I hate to see anything happen to it." If drug lords chose to fight back, I could see killings of military families around Fayetteville, NC and Miami, FL fairly early in the conflict. At that point, the American people have to decide if they are willing to sacrifice enough to win this. This would not be a fight for national security. That's just empty think tank talk. This means we would be willing to kill in hot blood for the sake of our children's lives.

If the American people can be aroused to this state, I'm certain we would prevail. However, our leaders would have to play this right and the drug lords would have to make mistakes in order for the American people to reach this state. I think this scene from "The Untouchables" is applicable:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g0RLyxP13o

Clifford Kiracofe

Optimax, All

My view is that the various Latin American criminal mafias (narcos, gangs, etc) constitute a major national security challenge for the US. Particularly the ones in Mexico but not excluding any of the others. They are very powerful and they at war with the United States and have billions behind them.

I do not believe in "legalization" of hard drugs as a remedy. We need to reduce domestic demand, we need to have compassionate rehabilitation programs at home, and we need to go after the narcoterrorists on our soil and externally.

I believe these criminal mafias are terrorist organizations equally as violent and dangerous as AQ etc. They should IMO be treated as, and officially listed as, terrorist organizations. Thus we should handle them internally and externally as we would any terrorist organization now on our official lists. Another way of looking at these organizations is as if they were "pirates" as in olden days.

Thus JSOC and other elements of USG can be tasked. I am confident we have the capability we need to do the job if our leadership in Washington DC decides to prioritize it. It makes sense to me to consider the threat from AQ and the jihadis and the Latin American narcos/gangs etc. as complex and interrelated. This is not to mention Triads and Yakusa and whatever interfaces they may have into all of this. This is not about some guys wearing sombreros and riding mules...

I started working on this problem back in 1983 as part of an effort by the US Senate to conduct wide ranging investigations on the matter. The situation has gotten continually worse over the years as has the situation in Mexico, Colombia, and so on.

When Congress began to hammer the Mexican government in the late 1980s for corruption and all that, the Washington Post and others accused concerned Senators of "Mexico bashing." High Mexican officials being involved in the drug trade is certainly nothing new as billions of narcodollars buy a lot.


Future trends may see chemical-pharmaceutical synthetic drugs displacing "old fashioned" cocaine and heroin. For the latter you have to have land, grow plants, do the processing, move it around and so forth. For synthetics, a good supply of precurser chemicals and little lab somewhere will do fine or networks of mobile labs or whatever.

Irrespective of the drugs involved, now we have giant criminal organizations with billions of dollars to launder and place into various "businesses." Dwarfs Al Capone and da boyz I would say.

The US Army Strategic Studies Institute has a good range of publications on threats from south of the border. Prof. Manwaring's work for example:
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/

Tyler

On one hand, I like the idea.

On the other hand, as a mere Border Patrol Agent, I don't like the idea of being on the front line of the repercussions this policy will bring about because of some "Operator" needing to keep busy. ESPECIALLY after seeing this administration's reaction to the murder of Agent Robert Rosas.

Right now, Colonel, we have a "Good Fence" with the various drug/human trafficking organizations. They don't fight for dope loads (we have seized over 40,000 pounds of MJ this fiscal year in my station alone!) that we seize when we run up on them in the dark.

You're speaking of totally upending the apple cart here for all involved by a third party with no real ties on the SW border.

You want to get hard on the DTO/HTO orgs? Build a REAL fence, like the one in San Diego, across the SW border. Man it with more Border Patrol Agents (there are more cops in NYC than there are agents in the Border Patrol) and you will put a serious kink in their plans.

The reason we don't do that is because of the vote pandering that goes on for "poor undocumented migrants" from down south and the communities that harbor these illegal aliens.

I like the idea at face value, I really do. But on the other hand I am faced with the reality that I am not part of a beloved law enforcement organization (on either side of the fence). When illegal aliens start getting caught in the crossfire between agents and drug traffickers, sure as shit you're going to see stories about "Nazis on the Border". You only need look at youtube for some of the freaks we have to deal with on a daily basis down here who think they're law scholars.


Patrick Lang

f5f5

No. Selling drugs is a business like any other. Tough law enforcement amd sentencing ruins the business.

In my town across the river from the big cess pool called Washington the price of crack cocaine is five time what it is in DC.

In my modest proposal the cost of being in the trafic is death. Do the math. pl

Anon_AF

Wouldn't successful "hits" on any one cartel simply improve the position of the remaining cartels? Wasn't this something of the epilogue of Mark Bowden's "Killing Pablo," which has some analogues to what you propose? How would one use JSOC in such a way that - presumably - all cartels are "injured" more or less "equally," so as to reduce the level of violence within Mexico?

May I query as to the Colonel's thoughts regarding legalization/decriminalization of narcotics?

Anon_AF

Anon_AF

On second thought, one need not, I think, impact all cartels equally to reduce the overall level of violence within Mexico; if my conjecture is correct - by no means a sure thing - one need only do so to reduce the amount of narcotics flowing through Mexico to the US.

optimax

Tyler,

I remember Clinton sending the National Guard to protect the border. One of the NG shot and killed a Hispanic-American 12 or 8 year-old hunting rabbits with a .22. Public condemnation made Clinton pull the Guard.

Tyler

Colonel,

I agree on the tough law enforcement and sentencing. Problem is that does not happen because when we do catch the dope runners, who are often repeat offenders, the US Attorney will refuse to take the case.

We are not talking small quantities of dope here. We are talking in the hundreds of pounds at least. Yet b/c they won't prosecute we are forced to simply send them back to Mexico where they do it again.

Anything that interferes with the flow of votes and workers from the south is not looked kindly upon by interests in washington.

curious

If drug cartel is a question of killing a handful of targets, I am pretty sure Mexico is more than capable finding few sharp shooters. Usually it's the massive political corruption combined with gigantic amount of money and criminal violence.

Imagine a situation like prohibition era except the product is few thousands times more profitable than moonshine and instead of two bits gangsters we have military trained guys who understands insurgency wars (Los Zetas)

Sending few unit of special forces without larger program and policy to go with will only add few guns in violence rivalries. It won't fundamentally change the situation. Maybe after one or two big fishes die, the scene will calm for a few months, then the whole cycle starts again with different players. This time pricing in the activity of special force (eg. using leak to inject false information to help kill rivals) The special force unit then turns into freebie assassin paid for by taxpayers. (remember the opening of afghanistan war? the taliband groups simply use US bombing powers to eleminate rivals) Except in case of mexico, the political instability from that size of violence will cause big financial jitter. (The cartel already attacking provincial level governors.)

don't get me wrong. I think mexico needs help. I for one think their police needs equipment like light armored vehicles and special police force capable of facing opponent trained in army special force. (on top of resistance to corruption and intimidation). On US side, weapons, money laundering, drug market need to be dealt with seriously. No country police force can face that much weapons and resources.

Whatever it is, drug cartel problem, IMO should be right there in top 3 in term of national threat along with large scale international terrorism.

The potential of Mexican drug cartels destabilizing mexico and then the problem spilling over into US is real.


Los Zetas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Zetas

F5F5F5

Colonel

Drugs trade is a multi-billion global business.

Profit alone, however petty, would encourage any street thug to risk it for a buiscuit regardless of penalties.

My modest proposal would be to shift the crosshairs of JSOC from the drug lords and gangs to their white-collar accomplices amongst officials and banking industry. These are the real high-value targets.

Paraphrasing Sun Ttzu, killing one these would certainly scare one thousand.

Doing the math, the profit per bullet ratio would surpass blanket death sentence.

Clifford Kiracofe

Tyler makes some good points. The national US newsmedia, it seems to me, suppresses coverage on the threat from "Hispanic" South American narcos, gangs, and etc. as part of media's political correctness. Politicians pander to all manner of lobbies whether Zionist, or Hispanic, or whatever....The LA Times does, however, have an excellent on going series and others should follow suit.

The illegal immigration issue does come into this as Tyler points out. Illegal aliens are illegal precisely because they have not followed the proper procedures for LEGAL immigration into the United States. They have no more "right" to be here illegally than American citizens have a right to be illegally in Mexico, or in any country for that matter.

Do notice the correct technical term is "illegal aliens." The newsmedia and the politically correct use the term "undocumented worker" or "undocumented migrant."

I worked on the illegal immigration issue while in the Senate during a major revision of the laws: Simpson-Mazzoli back in the mid-1980s. Those of us who opposed illegal immigration and sought to do something about it were essentially rolled by the majority. Out of 100 votes in the Senate, I recall a "no amnesty" amendment got about 20 votes. The politically correct of that day got what they wanted from Simpson-Mazzoli and we see the effects here in the US a quarter century later...as many of us predicted.

The US had no real illegal immigration problem with Mexico prior to the 1980s. There was a little but nothing really problematic. It was when the Mexican economy started to disintegrate under the effects of the socialist policies of Echevarria and the corruption of later governments that the flood started across the border. The US was an economic safety valve for the oligarchic (and plutocratic) Mexican elite. No jobs in Mexico? Well, then promote Mexicans moving out to the US which will take care of them...

I do not recall the annualized arrest rates of illegals at the border during the 1980s precisely but it was fast rising. For every arrest, several more got through some saying about 3 to 5 for 1 arrested. The issue of how many stayed or moved back and forth is another consideration.

Tyler, how many arrests of illegals on an annual basis have there been in recent years about across the entire southern border?

Like the jihadis who move through Muslim communities living in Europe intimidating them, the same happens here with the narcos/gangs and Hispanic populations (legal or illegal) in the US.

The narco issue came into its modern phase in the early 1980s as well. Pressure from the US Coast Guard and other counternarcotics operations in the Carribbean pushed the Colombian based cocaine traffickers further up our East Coast for drop zones. Also, the narcos began to use the land bridge to the US via Mexico. To do this, however, they had to cut the Mexican organized crime guys (and some politicians) in on the profits. Later, yet another line of attack was developed running up our West Coast by sea. Additionally, air drops were undertaken so small private aircraft were used and landed inside the border in Texas and etc.

Thus, the cocaine flood in the US in the 1980s. During this period, the cocaine mafias realized that they could also produce and then move heroin into the US market. Heroin is much more profitable by weight than cocaine and thus is more cost efficient to smuggle. The South American cocaleros brought in assistance from specialists from Pakistan and Afghanistan (yes this was reported) with respect to the creation of their heroin product from the standpoint of raising the plants to chemical processing. Then they used their cocaine distribution networks across the US to introduce the new product. Very logical business.

The American people are asleep on this issue owing in part to the newsmedia and to our politicians. But the threat has been increasing over the past quarter century. It seems that Americans living along the border have a sense of the situation but this does not permeate much north of the border/war zone...


Clifford Kiracofe

These were two of the key "Hispanic" lobbying orgs back in the 1980s during the immigration law debates over Simpson-Mazzoli. They were shoestring ops back then and now...:

LULAC
http://www.lulac.org/

MALDEF
http://www.maldef.org/

On the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli legislation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986

Redhand

If the U.S. really wants a failed state on its southern border using JSOC is certainly a way to achieve that. Fine with me as a European.

I mentioned this post to my daughter at dinner yesterday, because she spent time in Mexico last year doing volunteer work at a Mexican orphanage. (It's what you get when you send your kid to a Jesuit University, but I'm OK with it).

Anyway, I asked her, based on her experience in Mexico, whether she would consider the place a "failed state." The instant response was, "Absolutely."

Not too long ago there was a clip on the PBS Newshour about Mexican use of the army to fight the drug cartels, especially in the border towns. The reason was because the local police had been totally compromised by the drug lords. A commentator pointed out that troops were no substitute for people like police detectives, whose investigatory talents are essential in attacking this kind of criminality, but that the military was the only instrument available.

Given this kind of societal and governmental breakdown, perhaps treating the border as a war zone is the only real course open to us. There is a long tradition in international law of having the right to engage in cross border activities when a lack of control in a neighboring state threatens one's own security.

I think we're there, though there must be diplomatic window-dressing to pave the way for U.S. action. I regret this, but like Col. Lang I am really tired of the spill-over of this chaos into our country, even though I recognize that U.S. demand for illegal drugs is what fuels it.

Peter

Well-disciplined attention that the JSOC can bring to the fight would be one of the needed elements in the War On Drugs. What happens when CIA/DEA/ICE operatives start to get popped by JSOC shooters? Or during deep intel gathering the word comes back to stand down to the JSOC and let the plane fly, what then. I would hope that the JSOC, if allowed to start cutting off heads can do so with out political interference. Find, Fix, and Destroy. Turn the whole NSA apparatus loose to track them.

This drug war is convoluted and so intertwined, it’s hard to find the head and cut it off. We must start to cut off the heads for real. Demand side reduction is the only way in the end. We are being attacked on our own soil. We have to fight back, or allow these Cartels in the end to own and control the political and economic core.

What head will be the highest one cut off on the U.S. side?

Cold War Zoomie

It's always fun to read the comments here, broken into two basic camps: the idealists versus the pragmatists. Idealism makes America great - we wouldn't exist without it. We wouldn't have progressed without it. Sometimes, it is our greatest weakness, since idealism insists on long-term, almost perfect solutions.

These drug gangs are evil, plain and simple. They are posting their torture and murders on Youtube to show how ruthless they are. That is happening RIGHT NOW.

It's time for the pragmatists to deal with the situation as it is TODAY. I think the problem with the idealistic view now is that it allows the situation to deteriorate while some perfect, long-term solution is sought.

Guess what - there ain't going to be any legalization of any drugs in the USA any time soon. That is at least another 15-20 years down the road.

So, all we can accomplish right now is to apply whatever tools we have today to tamp down the violence on our borders. If that means bribing some Mexican officials to establish some legal framework to send in our "operators," then so be it.

I for one am not a violent man, but it would bring me great pleasure knowing that our operators who are willing to pull the trigger are smoking these drug lord assholes.

Tyler

Clifford,

I'd have to be on a work computer to access the information you requested, but I know from personal experience that we've processed numbers in the thousands at the sector level, and we're still waiting to hit our "busy" season.

And you nailed it on the head when you talked about Mexico and the undue influence that country exerts when it comes to our immigration policy. What's the number 2 source of income for Mexico? Remittances from up north. So don't buy the hype that illegal aliens feed back into local economies.

Our country is used as a safety valve for all the criminal/revolutionary/unwanted minority elements as well. I remember apprehending a family from Cancun, and asking why they'd want to leave for Chicago. The mother snapped at me "You try being dark skinned and living in Mexico. Its not so nice."

However, with all this going on, most Americans are still happy to believe the hype that these are just poor undocumented migrants that just want to work. I don't believe anything is going to change until someone gets a terrorist weapon through the SW border and takes out a city like San Diego, El Paso, or Phoenix.

Cold War Zoomie

Tyler and Peter bring up some good points - sorry I didn't read their comments before posting mine.

These are tactical issues that can be worked out.

Turn the whole NSA apparatus loose to track them.

Funny, when the Wall came down in the early 1990s and Cuba ran out of money, NSA looked at transitioning the SIGINT site in Honduras that we used to intercept Nicaraguan and El Salvadorian targets over to drug interdiction. They decided against it for some reason.

Clifford Kiracofe

Tyler, thanks for the comments and assist with the numbers.

I recall some of all this from my days in 1981 onwards working this issue from Capitol Hill, first illegal immigratation, then narcotics beginning in 1983. This work related to the emerging trends beginning at that time. Now it is 25 years later. A few us of who worked on this in the old days are still in touch, some colleagues have since died.

We worked with Border Patrol and all manner of law enforcement, intell, State Department, DEA, Customs, and so forth as we moved through our investigations. I myself spent considerable time south of the border on various issues: counternarcotics and counterterrorism. I also was down in Miami on a number of occasions ... that old Holiday Inn on Brickell usually, sometimes the Intercon, for those who may recall that day.

When we looked at border security we had to try to find some statistical indicators to get a feel for the situation and the dynamics. So one area I looked at was arrest rates by Border Patrol. As I said before, things really started to gain momentum in the early 80s as Mexico unravelled for various reasons. I seem to recall a border wide arrest rate of about 100,000 per month back in this time or about 1 million per year...I may be wrong in my recollection. But for every arrest a certain number naturally would get through thus adding illegals to our population then with their children and grandchildren now among us.

Of course no one wants to discuss the demographic issue which has arisen over the last quarter of a century owing to the failure of Simpson-Mazzoli of 1986 and illegal immigration. No one wants to discuss the costs to localities, counties, states owing to illegal immigration...we are looking at many billions of dollars of TAXPAYERS' money.

Here is a 2006 article by Simson and Mazzoli:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2006/09/14/AR2006091401179.html

Compare what they say to what the critics said back in 1981-1986 when this legislation was ongoing. I was in the middle of it at the staff level. We, the opponents, always felt Simpson and Mazzoli simply sold out to the pro-immigration lobbies which included "white" corporate America seeking cheap "brown" labor etc.

Personally, I like Mexico, the Mexican people, and Mexican culture. I speak Spanish (and Portuguese) among other languages. I have been over quite a bit of Mexico from north to south, east to west, and have friends there. In more recent years, I have met President Zedillo in his office there, have had dinner with Vicente Fox during his first presidential campaign, have met many folks on the right-left-center etc and so on. The narcotics issue came up naturally.

I feel sorry for the tens of millions of decent folks of all income and social levels in Mexico who are victims of the narco-crime violence and all the rest. But my job was to defend the US, and thus I took a very hard line and still do. The soft line has gotten us to where we are today. How much longer can we tolerate current and worsening conditions?

I noted the demise of a top Mexican narco in the last couple of weeks. It seems his replacement to be was born in Texas...

I would also remind folks that the narco war was linked to aspects of the Cold War. Our adversaries calculated narcotics addiction would weaken our population and polity. Just what was the role of Cuba, for example, with respect to the narco trade in this Hemisphere? And what about the Soviet hand lurking in the background, and the Soviet bloc services interlink to Cuba (try the Czech as a starter) in the narco war???

Take a look at Joe Douglass' book "Red Cocaine" for some background:
http://www.amazon.com/Red-Cocaine-Drugging-America-West/dp/1899798048

John Minnerath

Clifford,
It's a pleasure to read information written by someone who was there as it were.
Thank you, thought provoking stuff.

Charles I

Aside from my usual comment that "They" obviously like the current arrangement - that has resulted in a pressing blowback

close to home - I must concur with those concerned about drawing lines, legality, morality etc.

Not for those reasons on the face of them. Rather, because I'd see it as further indicia of a long blurry series of lines

your rulers have drawn around your Constitution,to constrain the rule of law in the United States while militarizing your

foreign policy on the grounds that your domestic way of life requires perpetual foreign wars as well as a war on human nature

in general and the selective criminalization of it at home and abroad.

Of course, the War on Drugs does have all those features that piss off lefties like me.

This allows for the most egregious civil rights outrages to be sold as as minor kerfluffles inflicted on scumbags and losers

suffered for your own good as well as that of the nation. It habituates the population to the concept that its quite alright

to enjoy ones's pecadillos in the comfort of one's own home while suffering your fellows to be prosecuted by paramilitary

style law enforcement against poverty-striken losers you will pay to jail for the same offences.

The war on drugs is perfectly suited to selectively cow segments of society that may be inclined to resist non governemental

culture wars, as well as another pressure point to control the privileged elite who themselves dabble in drugs or young boys

themselves should they publically stray from the nauseatingly hypocritical ideolgically or religiously enforced reservations,

or publically muse that perhaps the emperor indeed has no clothes.

It ensures a steady stream of feedstock to surveil, arrest, prosecute and jail, an important part of your economy given that

you have 2 million people locked up, a clear majority of them for drugs.

But much more insidiously, the war on drugs has expanded from Reefer Madness through the failure of Prohibition and

facilitaion of garden variety white gangsterism to the point where it now conveniently facilitates militarization of foreign

policy and affords cover for introducing armed forces turned narcs, as opposed to law enforcement, to host countries that are

the reputed source of the problem, and/or happen to be strategically located near some vector of interest. And while doing

so, our own polities are riven by hypocrisy and culture wars as our domestic police ecome ever more militarized and

expensive, ever less controllable or accountable.

The campaign you propose, whatever its efficacy in reducing the number of firearms discharges in Mexico attributable to our

insatiable appetites and predilection for diversion from our condition, I believe is just another stage of the military

industrial intelligence complex that china hand appears to be getting the boot for imputing a desire for its dictatorship to

our host.

Columbia is a case in point, while examining it below of course I'm mindful that its not the nightmare on your border Mexico

is.

I find no coincidence in reporting first that Columbia has granted the U.S. military access to deploy armed forces in seven

Columbian locations, followed by reporting that Columbia has recently moved heliecopter asault elements to the border with

Venuzuela, our favourite latin American charismatic threat to world order. These developments bookended multibillion dollar

Chinese investmet the Venuzuelan energy sector, while Plan Columbia also had an energy exploration security angle to it.

As well, it appears that these elements in the War On Drugs in Columbia are to be deployed independantly of Plan Columbia,

the multibillion dollar antidrug military & economic assistance that was and is subject to Congressional oversight.

The new basing agreements and de facto SOF's are hence not subject to particular Congressional scrutiny outside of the global

military budget, although their stated purpose is "filling the gaps left by the eventual cutting of [military] aid in Plan

Colombia," according to sources in Washington and Bogotá' and they involve the deployment of American forces to a foreign

country to prosecute the drug war, but apprently the DEA remit has it covered.

So as a comprehensive plan of military assistance under Congressional imprimitaur winds down due to, what else, budgets, it

appears to be replaced with direct insertion and stationing of US armed forces under US rather than Columbian jurisdiction as

opposed to the training/support formerly afforded.

And there are questions about the nature and scope of the proposed counter-narcotics strategy that was formerly subject to

congressional debate and funding.

"The proposed bases, replacements for the soon-to-closed U.S. base in Manta, Ecuador, would serve to expand the U.S.

military's counter-narcotic operations in the region, deepen involvement in Colombia's counterinsurgency war, and combat

"OTHER INTERNATIONAL CRIMES"(EMPH ADDED) according to Colombia's Foreign Minister.

Trite by now, but problematic for the locals is reporting that "U.S. military forces will be not be bound by Colombian law .

. . US negotiators have made it known that "even if they won't interfere in the exercise of command by Colombian officers on

the bases, they will ensure the autonomy of U.S. military forces when operations go beyond Colombia's borders."

The basing is politically problematic, perhaps unconstitutional for Columbia as well in that

" that such an agreement would bypass Article 173 of the Colombian Constitution, which prohibits the presence of

foreign troops except in transit, and then only after legislative approval. Multiple protests have been held in

downtown Bogota, and a national day of action is being planned for August 7 – the national holiday celebrating the

Colombian armed forces – as opposition to these military bases grows."

And yet,

"even the Colombian Congress has yet to receive detailed information from the Uribe administration, despite repeated

official requests. Nonetheless, on Tuesday Uribe began a South America tour to convince his regional counterparts of the

plan, despite not having briefed his own Congress."

Regional counterparts in Ecuador, Venuzueal and Brazil are not amused.


Analysis below goes on to cast further doubt about the nature of a deployment supposedly needed to make up for coverage of

Pacific Ocean smuggling routes that the Manta, Equador location afforded. John Lindsay Poland spent years studying U.S.

military bases around the world, wrote that

"the locations of the bases under negotiation raise further questions. None of them are on the coast of the Pacific

Ocean, where aircraft from the Manta base patrolled for drug traffic – supposedly with great success,reflecting how traffic

has increased in the Pacific. Three of the bases are clustered near each other on the Caribbean coast, not far from existing

U.S. military sites in Aruba and Curacao – and closer to Venezuela than to the Pacific Ocean. Why are U.S. negotiators

apparently forgoing Pacific sites, if counternarcotics is still part of theU.S. military mission? What missions 'beyond

Colombia's borders' are U.S. planners contemplating?"


Seven New US Military Bases in Colombia Is Hardly a Move to the Left


<http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/08/07-6>


My point is not that there isn't merit in killing off gangsters and thugs right next door, but that the war on drugs is like

an iceberg. We see the shootouts, the piles of dope, cash and guns on dispaly by preening narcs who must acknowledge that

their catch is a drop in the bucket even as they tout their particular success on the evening news with inflated seizure

values calculated to impress where barely a dent has been made. The War on Drugs is big business, and very profitable for all

sides, but its return on investment as pitched accrues soley to empires of criminals, narcs, spies and armies, and in no way

to the general betterment of society and governance.

Done bugger all to usage.

It is a handy law and order meme to propogate amongst those conservatively inclined folk who might not repond as well to the

truth about drug use and its costs(as oppsed to the international drug business, now the turf of international mafias,

governments and the finacial system) and support ideologues who couldn't care a whit about the human fodder of their forceful

fantasises of perfection. If I beleived that proponents and supporters were sincere AND INFORMED, I might at least credit

them their good faith along with their obtuseness. That simply cannot be the case when all the data, criminology, psycholgy,

medicine and history demonstrating its absolute bankruptcy as social or political policy have now been widely disseminated.

It is those people - the leaders and the led who are hysterical about this or that threat, who do not see any problem in

prohibition, hypocrisy, bankrupting wars and insane financial structures, the invidious corruption big cash and the vector of

dope, arms, diamonds, sex and The Great Game(s) ensure. The punishing legal regimes of drastic minimum sentences that put

some putz in jail for 25 to life for a weed or a bit of white powder never seem to be applied as rigourously against spies,

traitors, fraudlent contractors and criminals that seem to comprise international relations at the moment. Not to mention

their puppetmasters and paymasters.

Of course, the program Pat mooted above has not been tested here, so there's no data to review, my example of Columbia not

apt given the clear and present danger the mafias, cartels and their enablers present.

I'll take you at your professional word that a lot of us "have no real talent for violence on the scale that I am talking

about. You fear the drug gangs?"

Well, I don't fear the drug gangs as much as I fear my fellow drivers here in the ant hill that goes by the moniker "Greater

Toronto Area". Before it was completely paved it used to be called The Golden Horsehoe, but I digress. Pathetically for a

bleeding heart like me, its no skin off my nose if drug dealers want to kill each other, which they do here with some

regularity, and to date the collaterall damage is surely less rush hour.

Bloody right I have no talent for large scale blooshed and my thanks to those of you that have on our behalf, but I'm agin it

in this context because I don't think it will be effective and I think it will follow a trend that potentiates

executive/authoritarian blurring of law emforcement and war and the issue of loosening the reins on state monopolies of

violence in and ACROSS those domains at a time when private mercenaries are being well paid to play sub rosa roles in both.

Its just not a good thing given human nature, and the patent herdability of Americans by means of the FOX/GOP shreikoramas

when fear, insecurity, ignorance and greed abound.

And morally, well, I only smoke pot, pot that I grow, a threat to nobody except people that would rather I buy a bloody weed

for literally criminal prices from them - who do get it from organized crime, here in Ontario seems to be Vietnamese running

the grow op logistics while the bikers control distribution.

And a robust programme of extra-judicial prosecution will solve NOTHING. If you could conduct the perfect campaign of terror

including against the ranks of finacial and government collaborators maybe so. But some where this hydra is connected to

American things that go bump in the night. Governments and narcs always protect and indeed enable their own pet dealers,

thugs and criminals, and the latter often manipulate the former to the detriment of competitors, enemies, or just because

there's a buck in it. The Iran-Contra affair, and Nicaragua as a THREAT TO THE HEMISPHERE mandating heroic defiance of

Congress to circumvent the rule of law at once revealed that governmental elements will do as they like, and have no

compunction about resorting to the drug and arms trades and other criminality that may be required to effect the saving of

mankind from leftist Latin America or the next threat.

Many governments, or elements of them, by corruption or conviction are now deeply engaged in international criminality of

many kinds as a means to a greater political end, and the drug trade plays an important role in the global economy both licit

and illicitl, direct and indirectly, that these parties utilize to avoid oversight or legal restrictions. We took out Panama,

supposedly for dope, but the tinfoil hat crowd sees CIA, Bush the Elder, Panama Canal, and the dirty wars of the 70's and

80's that somehow combinewd to put an End to the good General's utility more than the threat from the drug criminality

itself.

All the action just moves elsewhere while the chumps change chairs or cells and in the next theatre a curtain is raised on

some other pressing scene in the drama that brings us here together.


Since "National Security" often trumps criminal law these days without a word revealed except to say that this one can't go

to trial because it would reveal how in bed we are with them, er, endanger intelligence collection and compromise

relationships with governments and agencies that are more important than the rule of law, I predict the same kind of target

vetting may derail a strike or two, as we want our own dealers to be the last man standing.

The human desire bone is ultimately connected through some of this mess to the various and fanciful deires of our own

powerful foreign policy, miltary and intelligence elites, and they swim there enabled by the global cancer to effect some

particular end they or their masters cannot effect by overt means.

I do understand the difference between debating the War on Drugs and and the manifest security problem of Mexico's cartels

and their civil wars, as well as the globalization of the whole dope/gun/s diamonds/sex slaves networks, present the US. And

surely by now they have established connections with the Chinese, venerable dealers who never seem to make the news. But its

all of piece now. And governments partake, willingly, and via corrupted enforcement, and via international relations by

diplomacy or force that inevitably bump up against some bit of the underworld that is given a pass by the authorities so as

to be used for passage into their domains for other purposes, other deals, other wars.

I believe based on research and experience - I'm a former jailed drug trafficker who smuggled soft drugs between four

countries on a very small scale, and subsequently a lawyer - that the war on drugs and current prohibition regime are

configured exactly as the people with the power to say a drug case can't go to trial becasue of National Security concerns

wish them to be, even if they rely upon indirect means to their ends. A lot of the metatasizing international gangs that now

pose real security threats are just somebody else's collateral chaff to winnow out of the bigger picture that matters from a

different angle to somebody more powerful, if not lawful, moral or beneficial.

And of course as a complete chronic and bleeding heart, that kind of state slaughter is a johny-come-lately response to

partly self inflicted wounds, wholly disproportionate to your ruthless Mexican gangster's global culpability in the whole

mess. The Afghan poppy warlords were once far away and needed, now Nato says its gonna fight them, although a cohort was

prominent in the front row at Karzai's recent swearing in.The ultimate players are perforce in cahoots with various

neer-do-wells in Iran, Russia and Pakistan and, I dare say, Washington, Wall Street, the IMF and the Chinese.

Ruthless crazed drug dealers who expose themselves to public sanction are a dime a dozen,and as long as there is povery and

prohibition, they always will be. By all means, let the Federales kill all the Mexican cartelitos they can, but the best we

could hope for will be a monopoly situation that ends violent market share competion and consolidation once the smoke clears.

Unless the Mexican drugs = Nat security threat can trump those enabling/protecting their bits of the trade, its a bit of

whack-a mole.

The gangster violence is dangerous, but I imagine more, I hate to say, "innocent" Americans die as a result of far less

intractable conditons that could be readily addressed with no foreign bloodshed.

Similarly, if you retired all those marijuana narcs and jailers you could put 'em to work at the NSA where I am certain for

no reason other than informed cynicism, that clues to the machinations of the government, corporate and financial entities

that are directly enabling, benefitting from and sometimes sheilding the drug cartels could be found that would allow for

international financial interdiciton, prosecution and seizure. Except whole countries would be shut down overnight, with a

lot of powerful people exposed as blithe abettors of international gangsterism for their own pecuniary, political or

psychological reward. They engender corruption, terrorism and militarization of policy in that order and they are often

fervent proponents the long war, continuous transfers of taxpayor's income to private corporate capital, contraction of civil

liberties balanced by unfettered corporate ones.

Turn off the money, they'll go elsewhere. Shoot at them, they'll just move to Belize. Which I would prefer remain the poor

beautiful little backwater it is.

But really, after all that blather, it just makes my little bleeding heart reaction protester(who boots up with the

disputatious lawyer macro) want to jump and shout that we are in fact part of the problem, the people we should now shoot are

simply making the most of opportunities that prohibiton in wealthy otherwise free countries provide. And that the fact that

its gotten so mixed up with state-threatening criminality and international sub rosa competiton and the GWOT that the

flatheads I despise use and shaped for their own very anti-democratic, anti-human puposes makes me want to oppose more

extra-territorial firepower to deal with a problem I am insulated from.

No talent indeeed.

I admit it. I believe everything I wrote. Nonetheless the US has no alternative but to take those steps it sees fit to

secure itself, and targeting violent criminals is a rational response. But its no solution. Thanks heavens I don't have to

figure it out.

I'll just say this. If pot had been legalized long ago, we would be far far ahead of this curve because the hypocrisy and

vindictiveness of marijauna prosecutions coupled with the profit from the market of millions criminalized users undercut the

credibility of the government that criminalized them while establishing the conditons for the whole criminal apparatus from

farmer to suborned offical to user to banker to expand exponentially to the usual level of soft intoxicant use and abuse in

western populations, whreupon instead of the profits being socially allocated by government to citizens the loot went to foreign criminals with their own antisocial uses for the dough.

And here we are.

Patrick Lang

Charles I

Oh, come on, do you really think that I care what drug you or anyone else wants?

It is the MONEY, the everlastingly corrupting money that I want to stop.

If legalization would not result in massive addiction, then I would be for it. Unfortunately, the poorest groups in our society would be the most likely to be destroyed by government subsidization of their addiction.

These scum bag drug lords? You don't want them dead? That I could not understand. The units I write of have suffered enormous losses in the last seven years and still there is no lack of volunteers.

pl

Clifford Kiracofe

John Minnerath,

Thanks for the kind words. I am semi-retired now and look back on a lot of things when considering the present and speculating about the future. I wish I could say more publicly, as I guess many SST readers in federal service, past and present also wish they could.

The border war I have been talking about really runs across the entire United States -- urban and rural -- all 50 states and its deep.

The way I look at it, we as a people have plenty of capability to deal with the issue. So I am an optimist in this sense. I am, however, concerned about the inexcusable and massive waste of blood and treasure on unnecessary wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these billions should have been going into Homeland Security, state and local police-fire-rescue, and national intelligence.

On the plus side, in addition to our state, local, and federal government officials -- civilian, police, military etc. -- we also have a very well armed citizenry.

Thus, our fellow citizens can come into public service as what one might call "citizen-soldiers" when needed and be duly legally deputized as auxiliary forces to assist our local and state police, for example, in times of national emergency here at home. There would be more than enough volunteers immediately I am certain. We can step up pressure on the bad guys on our soil through expanding opportunities for bounty hunters. And of course we are going to have a lot of returning service men and women with wartime and combat experience. Their skills and experience can be brought into play against the narcos and foreign gangs and all that operating on our soil.

I think the situation in Mexico and further south is going to drive a noticeably increasing level of violence here at home in the near term. Combining this with increased Islamist jihadi ops against us here at home a challenging picture emerges. What would the situation look like with several 911s spread out around the country simultaneously??? These ops being "joint" between AQ types and the narcos....ah yes, jointness.

Our adversaries should reflect on the levels of violence we have used in the past which have included nuclear weapons. We are not a non-violent people or nation...thankfully.

KHarbaugh

Colonel,
My fear is the spread of corruption.
Those drug cartels have so much money to spend
corrupting whoever gets in their way.
You know how much the U.S. military gets paid.
There is no way that some, perhaps many,
of our forces will not succumb to the temptation.
How can that be contained?

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