Drug cartels and the US: ‘corruption is strangling the land’

Heroin mill. Credit: dea.gov
Heroin mill. Credit: dea.gov

HSBC laundered billions for drugs cartels, and merely had to pay fines. No one went to prison. The federal government is essentially running a protection racket. Dirty companies pay large fines (which are mostly trivial for them), promise to sin no more then use new methods to continue doing what they were doing. Sure, there are law enforcement officials in the trenches working hard to break the cartels. However, much of what they do gets undone at a very high level by the refusal of the federal government to put corrupt bankers in prison. This means the entire system has been compromised.

Cartel operatives would sometimes deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in a single day using boxes designed to fit the exact dimensions of the teller’s window at HSBC branches in Mexico.

The bank ignored basic anti-money laundering controls, as the investigation found. In 2007 and 2008, the bank’s personnel in Mexico wired $7 billion dollars to corresponding U.S. dollar accounts in New York. These were more dollars than even larger Mexican banks wired to U.S. accounts. ICE says some of it was drug proceeds.

California is now the primary conduit for meth into the US. A primary cause is huge cutbacks in the California Dept of Justice. Now, golly, why would there be huge cutbacks at an agency. Oh wait, because billions more dirty money can then flow into the US and into greedy corrupt banks and hedge funds?

Young Thai men emulating Mexican cholos


It’s a fashion thing, apparently. A subculture of Thai men think it’s empowering to dress up like Mexican gangsters. However, their version of a gang seems more like a fellowship club, as they stress they never do anything wrong. Do they have any clue just how violent drug cartels are?

A curious new trend has emerged in Bangkok, where young Thai men are dressing up as Mexican gangsters. Most of these men say they are motivated by their passion for the “gangster” lifestyle and clothes. Coconuts TV met up with three “gangs” – Balcony Pain, Fratez and D Sixty – for a photoshoot and to learn more about the phenomenon.

Ultra violence, societal collapse in Mexico has echoes in the US


Borderland Beat ponders the deranged violence in Mexico, fueled by drug cartels and corruption, and wonders how it ever got so crazy. What they say applies here in the States. No, we don’t have the same sickening levels of violence, with thousands of young teen torturers and killers. However, too many of our financial institutions benefit hugely from laundering drug cartel money. And that is one reason why Mexico went off the tracks. The elites in Mexico  initially profited from the drug trade and corruption (and still do) so they were willing to be complicit. Then their own children got addicted, tortured, and murdered – or became killers themselves – and suddenly they were in far too deep to get out.

Today, our outlook is dominated by poverty, inequality, social exclusion, lack of opportunity, corruption, impunity, weak institutions, and meager economic growth. Thanks to these variables, the violence associated with organized crime and drug trafficking found favorable footholds to flourish and obtain million-dollar earnings at the cost of the destruction of forward-looking perspectives and the development of the entire country.

Inequality, as we all know, is rising fast in the US too. A protected 1% elite has corrupted the government and remains mostly above and outside of) the law.

The family ceased to be the cornerstone of society, social ties became increasingly fragile, and our values—which once distinguished us in the world—were replaced by anti-values such as hatred, intolerance, and individualism.

This is happening here too. What used to bond and hold us together is disappearing.

The Polish philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Brauman states in his book Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age:

“When an electric circuit is overloaded the first part to burn is the fuse”¦ The effectiveness and the duration of the entire circuit—and as a consequence, the electricity that it is capable of absorbing and the work that it is capable of performing—cannot be greater than the resistance of the fuse. Once the fuse blows, the entire circuit fails.”

Are the circuits about to fail here too? We also need to ask, just why does the United States have such an insatiable demand for drugs?

CIA wanted to seize drug cartel money, White House blocked it


The US government despite blusterings to the contrary is intent on insuring the flow of drugs continues from Mexico, along with  billions of  dollars of dirty money. As for Rule of Law, well, I guess that’s just for the little people. All that drug cartel money flowing into our financial is just too juicy to ignore. And if thousands get tortured to death each year because of it. oh well.  Keeping the banksters happy is the most important goal.

“Anxious to counterattack, the CIA proposed electronically emptying the bank accounts of drug kingpins, but was turned down by the Treasury Department and the White House, which feared unleashing chaos in the banking system.”

This happened under Bush. Obama is no better. Geithner has pointblank said big banks will not be criminally prosecuted for the very same reason, because it would hurt and upset all the corrupt banks and hedge funds.

Scholars Stage comments on the above quote:

This one sentence betrays Washington’s distorted foreign policy priorities. The CIA proposal had several clear benefits: drug lords forced to pull their investments would have less incentive to stay in the game, cartels would be robbed of operating funds, and most importantly of all, the proposal could be implemented with minimal American involvement. [2] There would be no need for more boots on the ground. The drawbacks were also clear: folks on Wall Street would lose money. The White House took Wall Street’s side in the debate, and favored a policy designed to kill or capture the “high value targets” whose bank accounts were not to be touched.

There is only one word that explains this and that is “corruption.”

Drug cartels are in thousands of US cities. How can this be? Hmm

Drug cartel penetration in the US. Click to view larger
Drug cartel penetration in the US. Click to view larger

Follow the money. Major US banks have been caught laundering money from drug cartels and received slap on the wrist fines and no criminal prosecutions. If that happened in Mexico, we’d call it corruption, wouldn’t we? There are plenty of dedicated law enforcement officials working hard to stop the cartels but the fix is in at the highest level.

If the US government really wanted to stop drug cartels expanding into the US it would crack down hard on money laundering by big banks and file criminal charges against those responsible. Put a few dozen of them in prison after seizing their assets and I’m guessing the banks would clean up fast. But they know they have Get Out of Jail Free cards.

“While Chicago is 1,500 miles from Mexico, the Sinaloa drug cartel is so deeply embedded in the city that local and federal law enforcement are forced to operate as if they are on the border,” Jack Riley, the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office, told CNN.