Thick as Thieves: the Drug Gangs, the Banks and the Major Parties

If you recall, back in 2002 the US government launched an expensive propaganda campaign in its failed “war on drugs” aimed at tying the recreational use of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine to terrorism.  The ads, one of which aired during the Super Bowl, equated the use of illegal drugs with the killing of civilians, police and judges on the basis of the claim that money earned through the illicit drug trade is used by terrorists to finance their organizations and operations.  The ad campaign was widely mocked at the time.  The Libertarian Party stepped up to fund an ad which pointed out that it is the “war on drugs,” beloved by the Republican and Democratic parties, that sustains the international drug cartels, and drew the implicit conclusion that, if you support Democrats and Republicans, you support terrorism.

Nearly ten years later, the banking and financial scandals that have rocked the global economy suggest a plethora of new possibilities for the government’s anti-drug propagandists.  For example: if you use illegal drugs, you support the multi-national banking cartels and the ruling financial oligarchy.  A lengthy article in the UK Guardian from this past Sunday provides a detailed look at “how a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs.”  The piece demonstrates the interdependency of the international drug cartels and the international banking cartels, both of which are dutifully supported by their representatives in the Republican and Democratic parties.  Some excerpts:

“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.

The conclusion to the case [against Wachovia] was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.

At the height of the 2008 banking crisis, Antonio Maria Costa, then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime, said he had evidence to suggest the proceeds from drugs and crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse. “Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade,” he said. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”  Wachovia was acquired by Wells Fargo during the 2008 crash, just as Wells Fargo became a beneficiary of $25bn in taxpayers’ money . . .

Mazur, whose firm Chase and Associates works closely with law enforcement agencies and trains officers for bank anti-money laundering, cast a keen eye over the case against Wachovia, and he says now that “the only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom”.  Mazur said that “a lot of the law enforcement people were disappointed to see a settlement” between the administration and Wachovia . . .

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the biggest money-laundering scandal of our time,” [said investigator Martin Woods].  “These are the proceeds of murder and misery in Mexico, and of drugs sold around the world,” he says. “All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail. “What does the settlement do to fight the cartels? Nothing – it doesn’t make the job of law enforcement easier and it encourages the cartels and anyone who wants to make money by laundering their blood dollars. Where’s the risk? There is none.”

[Woods asks, rhetorically:] “Is it in the interest of the American people to encourage both the drug cartels and the banks in this way? Is it in the interest of the Mexican people? It’s simple: if you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 30,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point.”  [Emphases added.]

Read the whole article for all the gory details.  Let’s sum up the situation here.  The war on drugs supported by the Democratic and Republican parties sustains the international drug cartels.  These international drug gangs sustain the global banking system.  The global banking cartels, in turn, support the Democratic and Republican parties with massive amounts of campaign contributions.  It’s a pretty tidy system the Republicans and Democrats have created for themselves.

Cross-posted from Poli-Tea.

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