Archive for the Connection to drugs and narcotics Category

CIA document details cover-up of drug trafficking by Contras [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, Nicaragua, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on November 1, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
2 October 2014

An analysis written for the CIA’s internal journal Studies in Intelligence, “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” attributed to Nicholas Dujmovic, reviews the efforts of the agency to contain a series of articles by journalist Gary Webb documenting relationships between the CIA and US-backed Contra rebels.

The article is part of a trove of CIA documents released on September 18 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As shock troops in a US-backed war against the Nicaraguan government, the Contras carried out a reign of terror against Nicaragua’s civilian population, killing tens of thousands. Support for the Contras by US intelligence was authorized by President Ronald Reagan, who instructed CIA head William Casey to “support and conduct … paramilitary operations” in Nicaragua in 1981.

The CIA began operations aimed at expanding the ranks of the Contra forces, which were recruited from elite military units of the Somoza regime and from layers of the peasantry. Arms shipments to the Contras were overseen by a secret cabal headed by Lt. Colonel Oliver North, despite a congressional prohibition.

Webb’s articles revealed that the US government continued to support Contra elements even with the knowledge that the latter were engaged in trafficking cocaine into major US cities and using the proceeds to finance their war against the Sandinista (FSLN) government of Nicaragua. Webb’s investigation showed that representatives of the US-backed right-wing militias worked with gangs in Los Angeles to sell tons of cocaine, leading to speculation from other commentators that the CIA directed the flow of drugs to target black neighborhoods.
Reagan with cabinet members in the White House, 1986

“Managing a Nightmare” makes clear that the CIA utilized its extensive network of relations with the US media to discredit Webb’s reporting by promoting the publication of stories in major news outlets attacking Webb’s research. The paper’s author, a CIA employee, concluded that the media relations campaign by the agency succeeded in containing the fallout from Webb’s revelations.

“A review of the CIA drug conspiracy story—from its inception in August 1996 with the San Jose Mercury-News stories—shows that a ground base of already productive relations with journalists and an effective response by the Director of Central Intelligence’s DCI Public Affairs Staff (PAS) helped prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster,” Dujmovic wrote.

“By the end of September, the number of observed stories in the print media that indicated skepticism of the Mercury News series surpassed that of the negative coverage, which had already peaked. In fact, for three weeks the number of skeptical or positive pieces observed in the media constantly exceeded the number of negative treatments of the CIA,” Dujmovic found.

In some cases it is even possible, he noted, “to change the mind of a reporter whose initial inclinations toward CIA were negative but who is willing to listen to the other side of the story.”

Describing the methods used by the agency, Dujmovic explained that it was possible to spread the agency’s carefully tailored perspective in the US media without even needing to directly plant stories in newspapers.

“Public Affairs cannot dictate stories to the media … What CIA media spokesmen can do, as this case demonstrates, is to work with journalists who are already disposed toward writing a balanced story … CIA Public Affairs can help the journalist with information he might not have or a perspective that might not have crossed his mind,” Dujmovic wrote.

Dujmovic went on to predict that the CIA would face an upsurge of public distrust in the coming decades, calling for greater moves to build the public relations capacities of the agency.

“There will be other public relations crises with which CIA will have to contend … If historians such as Samuel Huntington are correct …we can expect periodic displays of public distrust in government roughly every 20 to 30 years—and we are just beginning such as phase. In such times, even fantastic allegations about CIA … will resonate with, and even appeal to, much of American society. At those times, it is especially important to have a professional public affairs staff help limit the damage and facilitate more balanced coverage of CIA.”

Written under the heading “Societal Shortcomings,” one of Dujmovic’s concluding paragraphs revealed the intellectual degeneration and contempt for democratic principles that rules within the power centers of the US government.

“Ultimately the CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society on the eve of the millennium that [sic] it does about either the CIA or the media. We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times–when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community,” Dujmovic wrote.

In reality, the story revealed the US media as eager attack dogs on behalf of the CIA’s efforts to destroy Webb and bury the material he was bringing to light.

As the WSWS noted in its review of Webb’s 1998 book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion, “Dark Alliance is as much an exposure of the American media as of the American intelligence apparatus and the Nicaraguan Contras. It is no discredit to Webb’s enterprise and intelligence to say that any serious and competent reporter, given the leads he was given, could have produced a similar exposé. That no other reporter did what Webb did demonstrates the largely controlled character of the American media.”

In a number of pieces aimed at burying the story, the major US newspapers reproduced CIA-concocted distortions of Webb’s reporting, attributing to him more extreme claims made by talk radio hosts and others about the extent of direct CIA involvement, and dismissing his claims on this basis.

In its review of Webb’s book, the New York Times proclaimed, “It is laughable to suggest that today’s CIA has the imagination or the courage to manage a cover-up on the scale” suggested by Webb. In fact, as the newly released document clearly shows, the CIA mobilized a systematic public affairs campaign precisely to “manage” the “nightmare” caused by exposures of agency collaboration with drug traffickers to provide funds for an illegal dirty war

The Los Angeles Times responded to the Contra-cocaine story by forming a “get Gary Webb team” of some 17 journalists, who worked systematically to produce material discrediting Webb, according to comments made by Times reporter Jesse Katz during a 2013 radio interview.

Katz said that the Times reporters were instructed to search Webb’s findings with a “microscope.” He added, “It was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the LA Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.”

The Washington Post joined the media counterattack against Webb, with an article which, as the WSWS wrote in its review of Webb’s 1998 book , “parroted distortions of the series originally voiced by the US intelligence agencies (alleging, for instance, that Webb claimed the CIA had deliberately targeted black communities in promoting Contra cocaine trafficking).”

Reacting to the wave of attacks against Webb’s series, the editor at Webb’s employer, the Mercury News, published a repudiation of the articles, saying the paper had “fallen short” in its editorial responsibilities. Webb was never able to find employment again as a journalist, and died from an apparent suicide on December 9, 2004.

The practices described in the Dujmovic document were developed by the agency over decades. Operation MOCKINGBIRD, launched in the 1950s to disseminate CIA propaganda and overseen by Allen Dulles and later by Frank Wisner, cultivated a network of CIA-friendly journalists and developed cultural and student organizations to serve as fronts for the agency’s ideological warfare operations.

In a 1977 expose for Rolling Stone, Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein reported that numerous leading news outlets including CBS, Time, Life Magazine, the Washington Post, the Washington Star and the Christian Science Monitor published reports passed directly to them from the CIA.

The report of the 1976 Church Committee acknowledged the use of such methods by the agency overseas, stating, “The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”

Despite the CIA suppression of investigative reporting on the matter, many of the US government’s own reports have confirmed significant involvement of the CIA with cocaine trafficking during the war.

The 1985 National Intelligence Estimate reported that top Contra leader Eden Pastora had links to traffickers. The Reagan administration acknowledged the existence of connections between the US-backed Contras and cocaine smuggling between 1985 and 86.

A CIA internal investigation acknowledged that the agency had worked with Contra elements involved in drug smuggling and that CIA agents “looked the other way” in order to further the political aims of the war.

“During the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program,” CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz wrote in a report based on the internal investigation which he headed. “These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others. Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.”

A report issued from a Senate hearing co-sponsored by John Kerry and Christopher Dodd acknowledged that at least $800,000 in State Department funds went to known drug traffickers, supposedly as payment for their services in shipping aid to the Contras.

“There is no question in my mind that people affiliated with, or on the payroll of, the CIA were involved in drug trafficking,” said then Senator Kerry.

Circumstantial evidence abounds that the counter-revolutionary militias raised funds through drug sales inside the US. An investigation of the seizure of 430 pounds of cocaine in San Francisco led the San Francisco Examiner to report in 1986 that a “cocaine ring in the San Francisco Bay area helped finance Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.” The Examiner quoted convicted cocaine smuggler Carlos Cabezas saying that his drug money went to support “the Contra revolution” and that he “just wanted to get the Communists out of my country.”

Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Celerino Castillo stated that cocaine traffickers shipped drugs to the US with the knowledge of the CIA in planes departing from El Salvador’s Ilopango Airport. Oscar Danilo Blandon testified to a grand jury that he smuggled cocaine into the US while working for the Contras and sold the drugs to dealers in Los Angeles.

In a strong indication of knowledge of the drug operations at the highest levels of the political and intelligence establishments, CIA director William Casey sought and Attorney General William French Smith signed a special exemption in February 1982 freeing the agency from legal requirements to report about the drug trafficking operations of its assets.

The Contra-cocaine story was only the latest in an extended pattern of collaboration between US covert operations and drug trafficking syndicates in South East Asia and Afghanistan. Writing about CIA involvement in the heroin trade in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, historian Alfred McCoy noted that “the CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection.”

“American involvement had gone far beyond coincidental complicity, McCoy wrote in his work The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia. “[E]mbassies had covered up involvement by client governments, CIA contract airlines had carried opium, and individual CIA agents had winked at the opium traffic. As an indirect consequence of American involvement in the Golden Triangle until 1972, opium production steadily increased.”

Relations between the US ruling elite and organized crime have flourished in the decades since the Contra war. In April 2006, the capture of a cocaine-laden DC9 owned by the Sinaloa cartel exposed money laundering operations by Wachovia bank on behalf of the massive cartel, which operates across more than 40 countries. The cartel, responsible for 25 percent of illegal drugs sold in the US, passed some $370 billion to Wachovia, investigators found.

Large infusions of drug money played a key role in stabilizing the finances of the big banks during the 2008 financial crisis, according to top UN official for drugs and crime Antonio Maria Costa. During a 2012 Al Jazeera interview, an official spokesman for the government of Mexico’s Chihuahua province accused the CIA of “managing the drug trade.”

CIA crimes against Nicaragua went far beyond collaboration with drug traffickers, of course. The agency was directly involved in organizing death squads, subversion, murder and intimidation against the population of Nicaragua and Honduras as part of its war against the Sandinistas. US intervention included the creation of Honduras’ “Battalion 3-16,” which carried out extra-judicial killings and torture to suppress opposition to the US-backed Honduran regime and Contras, while under the leadership of the US-trained General Luis Elvir.

Webb’s research was suppressed because it began to tear away the veil from this underworld of covert operations in which America’s government, media and major banks function as a permanent conspiracy against the working class in all countries.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/10/02/cont-o02.html

Cooking the Books: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the China Lobby and Cold War Propaganda, 1950-1962 [Asia-Pacific Journal / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, Afghanistan, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, CIA, Colombia, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Cuba, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Karzai puppet regime corruption, Korean War, Law enforcement, Media smear campaign, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama, PLA, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela on April 20, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 37, No. 1, September 14, 2013.

Jonathan Marshall

As influential contributors to national policy, intelligence professionals inevitably face strong political and bureaucratic pressures to shape their assessments to fit official or factional policy. In the modern era, such pressures have contributed to costly, even disastrous, escalations of the Vietnam War, the arms race, and, most notoriously, Washington’s conflict with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.2

Intelligence on the international narcotics menace has been particularly subject to such pressures ever since U.S. leaders vowed to wage “war” on the illicit drug trade more than a half century ago.3 In recent years, influential interest groups and policy makers have leveled epithets like “narco-terrorism” and “narco-communism” against targets such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Panama, Syria, the Taliban, and Venezuela to justify harsh policies ranging from economic sanctions to armed invasion, while ignoring or downplaying evidence implicating U.S. allies (the Nicaraguan Contras, the Afghan mujahedeen and Karzai administration, the Colombian military, and so forth).4 Given the stakes, critical scrutiny of such claims, and rigorous attention to de-politicizing intelligence on international narcotics matters, may be as vital to preventing foreign policy disasters as is ensuring sound intelligence on more traditional matters of national security.

To shed historical light on the dangers of turning international drug enforcement into a political weapon, this paper re-examines a classic case of alleged manipulation of narcotics intelligence: the vilification of Communist China by U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger at the height of the Cold War. His inflammatory rhetoric denouncing the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an evil purveyor of narcotics went largely unchallenged in the Western media during the 1950s and early 1960s, when Anslinger acted as America’s leading drug enforcement official and its official representative to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). As we shall see, his charges strongly reinforced Washington’s case for diplomatic isolation of China, including its exclusion from the United Nations.

In 1971, as relations between Washington and Beijing began to thaw, the official U.S. line on China’s responsibility for drug trafficking abruptly reversed. At about the same time, a young scholar named Alfred McCoy published an authoritative volume on the modern history of the international heroin trade, contesting Anslinger’s claims and pinning blame for much of the traffic on U.S. military allies in Southeast Asia.5 Since then a number of historians have endorsed McCoy’s conclusions and characterized Anslinger’s conduct as the work of a master bureaucrat (or ideologue) bent on augmenting his agency’s prestige and power by inflating Cold War stereotypes of the PRC.6

This paper reexamines and extends their work by asking the question made famous by Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker during the Watergate hearings: What did he know, and when did he know it? As Kevin F. Ryan has observed, “it is unclear how much the FBN actually knew about [China’s involvement in] the international narcotics trade (and how much was simply convenient rhetoric) . . .”7 McCoy and most subsequent historians have relied on ex post rejections of Anslinger’s claims by U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the opening to China. But can we be sure Anslinger had no evidence to support his charges? If so, did Anslinger simply invent his claims, or did other interested parties feed him misleading or false information? And, equally important, what did Anslinger know but choose to ignore about drug trafficking by American allies, including those covertly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency?

New evidence, including recently declassified files of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Central Intelligence Agency, along with overlooked public materials from that period, sheds important new light on the state of Anslinger’s knowledge and probable motives. The records, unavailable to or unused by previous historians, provide strong new confirmation of Anslinger’s manipulation of intelligence to serve both his agency’s bureaucratic interests and a militantly anti-Communist foreign policy agenda at the expense of genuine narcotics enforcement. They leave open the possibility that Chinese traffickers continued to smuggle opiates out of the mainland into the 1950s, but do not challenge what is widely accepted today about the communist government’s attempt to suppress cultivation and trafficking…

— Anslinger’s Questionable Sources: the SCAP Connection —

…In reassessing the credibility of Anslinger’s claims, one of the most striking facts to note is that Anslinger had no full-time agents stationed in the Far East until 1962.37 (The U.S. Customs service had jurisdiction over narcotics investigations in the region, with offices in Hong Kong and Japan.)38 He thus depended heavily on agents of friendly governments — and particularly on partisan intelligence sources connected with U.S. occupation forces in Japan (SCAP) and Nationalist China.

Anslinger acknowledged that SCAP intelligence provided among “the first reports we received about the Communist narcotic smuggling in the Far East.”39 He made a SCAP account of heroin trafficking in Japan the centerpiece of his first all-out assault against Communist China before the CND in May 1952.40 The report declared that “Investigations, arrests, and seizures in Japan during 1951 proved conclusively that communists are smuggling heroin from China to Japan, and are using the proceeds from the sale thereof to finance party activities and to obtain strategic materials for China.” In support of that strong claim, it [among other allegations] cited one seizure of heroin that carried the seals of a pharmaceutical laboratory in northern China. But more than a half dozen other cases cited in the document simply involved heroin smuggled into Japan from Hong Kong — typically by Chinese from Taiwan (“Formosans”). Evidently, for Anslinger, heroin carried from British-controlled Hong Kong by smugglers from Nationalist-controlled Taiwan was proof of a Communist conspiracy…

…neither SCAP intelligence nor its sources could ever be considered “reliable,” except politically…42

–Anslinger and the China Lobby–

Many of Anslinger’s detailed allegations about large opium-growing regions in China, heroin laboratories in Chinese cities, and smuggling directives by Chinese government agencies originated from Nationalist China, whose representative to the CND issued grandiose allegations against the mainland’s new Communist masters.55 In 1951 Nationalist China provided the CND laboratory with its only “authenticated” samples of opium from the mainland. These samples were in turn used to implicate the PRC whenever the lab found a chemical match with opium seized by a member nation, including the United States. This stunning conflict of interest — perhaps fraud is not too strong a word — was uncovered only in 1963 following an inquiry by the Polish representative to the CND.56

Anslinger’s uncritical reliance on intelligence from Nationalist China was all the more irresponsible because he knew all about that regime’s own sordid history of profiting from the drug trade. Throughout much of the 1930s, a senior Treasury agent based in China sent Anslinger voluminous, detailed reports implicating senior government officials in opium trafficking. Indeed, history Chiang Kai-shek rise to power was smoothed by the muscle and financial support of China’s most infamous criminal syndicate, the Green Gang.57

In the 1950s, Anslinger collaborated closely with the “China Lobby,” a network of Nationalist Chinese officials and American supporters who sought to maintain high levels of aid to Taiwan while denying diplomatic recognition to the PRC…

…Anslinger helped the China Lobby in another key respect — by delegitimizing serious charges that some of its own personnel were tainted by the illegal drug trade. In 1960, Anslinger helped the Taiwan regime suppress publication of the first scholarly study of the China Lobby, because it contained the sensational claim:

There is . . . considerable evidence that a number of [Nationalist] Chinese officials engaged in the illegal smuggling of narcotics into the United States with the full knowledge and connivance of the Nationalist Chinese Government. The evidence indicates that several prominent Americans have participated in and profited from these transactions. It indicates further that the narcotics business has been an important factor in the activities and permutations of the China Lobby…61

–The FBI, Customs and CIA v. Anslinger–

Most Americans were in no position to question Anslinger’s assertions about China. Out of public view, however, many official experts in the U.S. and allied governments rejected his claims—including some in his own bureau.

The British Foreign Office, for example, dismissed his sources, which included Nationalist Chinese press accounts and claims by arrested traffickers in Japan, as “very dubious.” British Home Office official John Henry Walker privately derided Anslinger’s “annual onslaughts on Red China” as largely unsubstantiated and speculated that Anslinger sought to grab headlines because he was “under pressure in Washington and having to fight to keep his job…”70

–What the FBN Knew about the CIA and the Golden Triangle Drug Trade–

[I’ve excerpted this particularly sensational section which is quite long, but highly recommend reading it in its entirely – Zuo Shou]

It is notable that the single biggest redaction from the 1956 CIA study, when it was quietly declassified several decades later, concerns Thailand. For it was the CIA’s assets in Thailand who bore more responsibility than any other group in the “Golden Triangle” for the resurgence of the opium trade after the Communist victory in China in 1949. It is thus critical to explore what Anslinger must have known but chose not to disclose about the CIA’s drug-trafficking allies in the region.

Several excellent studies of the Golden Triangle in the 1950s provide rich background — without necessarily answering the question of what Anslinger knew.79 In brief, by January 1950, the People’s Liberation Army had driven thousands of Chinese Nationalist soldiers from the Eighth and Twenty-Sixth armies out of Yunnan province into Burma and French Indochina. In northeast Burma, more than 10,000 men under the command of General Li Mi found sanctuary in the wild hill country settled by minority peoples, many of whom cultivated opium as a traditional cash crop. Having themselves profited from opium for many years in Yunnan, the KMT forces — named for the Kuomintang party that ruled Nationalist China — began trafficking once again from Burma, both to make ends meet and to finance their schemes to reconquer China.

Washington’s interest in using Li Mi’s forces to contain the Chinese Communists soared after the start of the Korean War. By direction from President Truman in December 1950, the CIA secretly began supplying the KMT by air and with ground caravans through Thailand.80 Security was provided by the CIA-backed Thai national police, who in turn were eager to market the KMT’s opium to the legal Thai national opium monopoly and to international traffickers.

After several hapless forays by the KMT into southern China in 1951 and early 1952, Washington gave up serious hope of using them to roll back Communism in China. Meanwhile, as the CIA’s “covert” mission became widely known, U.S. relations with Burma worsened and Washington grew alarmed at the possibility of a retaliatory invasion by Communist China.81 The United States tried in vain to persuade the KMT forces to decamp for Taiwan, but the Chinese insisted on staying put — and in the words of one U.S. ambassador, “continuing nefarious operations in Burma and Thailand including opium smuggling racket.”82 Tabling preparations for war, they focused instead on building a drug empire that helped boost the region’s opium exports from an estimated 40 tons before World War II to more than three hundred tons by 1962.

Washington’s role in this trade was much more than incidental.83 As U.S. officials understood early on,84 the Thai national police, under the ruthless and brutal General Phao Sriyanon, “had become the largest opium-trafficking syndicate in Thailand,” in McCoy’s words. He adds:

CIA support for Phao and the KMT seems to have sparked . . . a ‘takeoff’ in the Burma-Thailand opium trade during the 1950s: modern aircraft replaced mules, naval vessels replaced sampans, and well-trained military organizations expropriated the traffic from bands of illiterate mountain traders.

Never before had [Burma’s] Shan States encountered smugglers with the discipline, technology, and ruthlessness of the KMT. Under General Phao’s leadership Thailand had changed from an opium-consuming nation to the world’s most important opium distribution center. The Golden Triangle’s opium production approached its present scale . . .85

The Golden Triangle would remain the world’s largest exporter of opiates until supplanted in the 1980s by a new set of CIA allies in South Asia, the Afghan mujahedeen and Pakistani military intelligence.86

All of this was top secret—so much so that the very existence of the operation to support the KMT guerrillas was kept from the CIA’s deputy director for intelligence, most or all top State Department officials, and the U.S. ambassadors to Burma and Thailand.87 The CIA went to especially great lengths to hush up the drug-related murder of one agent and widespread opium trafficking under its auspices.88 So is it fair in retrospect to hold Anslinger responsible for ignoring or underplaying the U.S.-Thailand drug connection?

Washington’s lies fooled no one on the scene and could not have fooled Anslinger. A review of the often-overlooked public record shows that Anslinger must have known more than to sound the alarm about the emergence of the KMT and its U.S.-supported Thai allies as one of the world’s largest narcotics-trafficking syndicates. Ignorance was simply not a credible excuse.

As early as May 1950, the New York Times reported on the presence in Northeast Burma of “an aggregation of refugee Nationalist troops” who “operate pretty much as a law unto themselves” and “have been engaging extensively in opium dealing.” The story noted that the United States planned to open a consulate “at the little northern Thailand city of Chiangmai to watch American interests in an area of increasing importance in Southeast Asia,” a tip that U.S. authorities were in touch with the KMT.89

Less than two years later, the respected London Observer accused “certain Americans” of joining Thai officials and KMT officers in “making large profits” from the “guns for opium trade.” The story pointed to the large quantities of American-made weapons and ammunition flown to General Li Mi “from a certain trading company in Bangkok in which Americans have an interest.” (As we will see, that was a reference to the CIA’s Sea Supply Company.) Amazingly, the American embassy in Bangkok confirmed the allegation. “It cannot be denied that we are in the opium trade,” one U.S. diplomat told the reporter.90 In case Anslinger missed the story, the Washington Post made it the subject of an editorial: “It is somewhat startling to read the allegation that in supporting the Chinese Nationalist effort in northeastern Burma to harass the Chinese Communists, Americans have gone into the opium business!…”91

…Anslinger could hardly deny the obvious any more. The narcotics commissioner now acknowledged publicly that, “More opium moves to and around Chiengrai in northern Thailand than any other place in the world in illicit traffic.” But he still blamed Red China, choosing not to draw attention to the pro-American parties responsible for bringing the drugs to the world market.101 “By an accident of history,” wrote one journalist friendly with Anslinger who nonetheless appreciated the irony, “the middlemen between Yunnan and Thailand are anticommunist Chinese. . . . They grow opium and add it to the supplies they get from China and neighboring tribal villages of Laos and Burma…”102

–Conclusion–

Anslinger’s sweeping rhetoric against “Red China” today strikes most historians—rightly so—as an anachronistic product of the McCarthy era. But the long litany of arrests, interrogation reports and statistics that Anslinger cited to back up his claims sounded authoritative and proved persuasive to Westerners all through the 1950s and into the 1960s…

…Anslinger, however, went far beyond…limited claims [of PRC involvement in illegal narcotics trade] to condemn the Beijing regime as a uniquely grand and evil purveyor of narcotics. Such strong charges demanded equally strong evidence. Anslinger never provided it and almost certainly never had it. With the opening of FBN records, we now know that its Communist China files hold no credible reports implicating the Maoist regime in drug smuggling. Furthermore, other U.S. and British officials privately called Anslinger on the matter at the time, savaging the credibility of his sources. The CIA’s definitive study of the question in 1956 demonstrates that Anslinger pushed his incendiary charges at the United Nations and in the media despite clear intelligence to the contrary. At the same time, Anslinger ignored or downplayed readily available public and private evidence that America’s allies — and its own officials — were contributing far more than Communist China to the growth of the Far East drug trade and the expansion of the world heroin market.

Clearly, the FBN chief chose to put anti-communism, national security [sic], and bureaucratic self-interest ahead of his agency’s declared mission. These disparate values meshed seamlessly. By serving up a steady supply of lurid claims to feed the propaganda mills of professional Cold Warriors and China Lobbyists, Anslinger bought protection against budget cuts, premature retirement, loss of authority to rival agencies, and any weakening of the nation’s drug laws. Today one must agree with the British Home Office official who concluded disparagingly in 1954 that Anslinger had “strong motives for emphasizing the responsibilities of other countries for illicit traffic in the United States and for attributing this traffic to Communist sources.”129 Anslinger’s deplorable record should remind us today of the need for critical scrutiny of claims related to drug trafficking to avoid letting our own era’s propaganda warriors generate fear and revulsion to escalate international conflicts.

Excerpted; full article (with notes) link: http://japanfocus.org/-Jonathan-Marshall/3997?utm_source=September+16%2C+2013&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

Editorial: “Why not amnesty here?” – Putin’s amnesty vs. Obama’s US prison state [Workers World]

Posted in 9/11, Capitalist media double standard, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Obama, Police State, US imperialism, USA on January 3, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BREAKING NEWS – Radical attorney Lynne Stewart, mentioned in this article, just released from Federal Prison – Zuo Shou

January 1, 2014

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an amnesty for some 20,000 prisoners — including the Greenpeace protesters, the Pussy Riot punk band, who are considered dissidents, and his billionaire political opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin’s political enemies quickly denounced this amnesty as a cynical political maneuver, a comment repeated widely in the imperialist media.

Khodorkovsky is a favorite of the U.S. ruling class because he’s a newly superrich robber baron. No one, to our knowledge, refused the amnesty, regardless of what they called it.

We have a suggestion for President Barack Obama: Outdo Putin.

Obama has barely used his power of pardon. Even George W. Bush outpardoned him. A blanket amnesty could quickly reverse this.

U.S. imperialism is the world’s No. 1 jailer, with more than 2 million prisoners. With 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. locks up 25 percent of the world’s prison population. More than 3,000 prisoners still face ­execution.

Not only are 70 percent of prisoners people of color, but 90 percent are from families that cannot afford the high cost of legal representation. Many have been in prison 30 years or more. Many others got 15-year-minimum sentences for “crimes” like selling marijuana.

Some prisoners are known far and wide for the political nature of their incarceration and are the center of campaigns for their release. These international heroes and heroines should top the pardon list:

Mumia Abu-Jamal, in prison 32 years, 30 on death row.

Leonard Peltier, 36 years.

Oscar López Rivera, 33 years.

Lynne Stewart, a people’s attorney diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Four of the Cuban 5, still in prison after 15 years.

Maybe not as well known but equally facing unjust and/or frame-up sentences are:

The surviving eight of the Move 9 prisoners — Charles, Debbie, Delbert, Edward, Janet, Janine, Michael and William, all with the surname Africa — 34 years.

Sundiata Acoli, 40 years.

Ruchell Magee, 44 years.

Imam Jamil (formerly H. Rap Brown), 10 years.

Albert Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3, 30 years. Robert King was finally released after 29 years in solitary confinement and Herman Wallace died three days after he was released last October from the infamous Louisiana prison plantation after more than 41 years in solitary.

And there’s Assata Shakur, who has spent 40 years in prison or exile and has a $2 million bounty on her head. She escaped U.S. racist injustice for asylum in Cuba.

At the website of the Jericho Movement, you can see a list of more political prisoners, who belonged to organizations like the Black Panther Party, La Raza Unida, FALN, Los Macheteros, the North American Anti-Imperialist Movement, May 19th, AIM, the Black Liberation Army, etc. They are in prison because of their political beliefs and acts in support of and/or in defense of freedom for their people from imperialist rule.

There are the mostly Muslim prisoners framed up in the post-9/11 frenzy. There are the prisoners still held at Guantánamo. And there are undoubtedly others who missed making any lists.

A revolutionary workers’ movement in the U.S. should want to “tear down the walls” of the penitentiaries. In the meantime, we challenge Obama to pardon even a small part of the prison population, the hundreds who are heroes for their people and the hundreds of thousands who are only behind bars because of racist injustice and class exploitation.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/01/01/amnesty/

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

HSBC: Impunity of the Oligarchs [Antifascist Calling]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, Afghanistan, Bill Clinton, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, China, Colombia, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Hong Kong, Mexico, Obama, Saudi Arabia, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on January 15, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 30, 2012

In another shameful decision by the US Department of Justice, earlier this month federal prosecutors reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with UK banking giant HSBC, Europe’s largest bank.

Shameful perhaps, but entirely predictable. After all, in an era characterized by economic collapse owing to gross criminality by leading financial actors, policy decisions and the legal environment framing those decisions have been shaped by oligarchs who quite literally have “captured” the state.

Founded in 1865 by flush-with-cash opium merchants after the British Crown seized Hong Kong from China in the aftermath of the First Opium War, HSBC has been a permanent fixture on the radar of US law enforcement and regulatory agencies for more than a decade.

Not that anything so trifling as terrorist financing or global narcotrafficking mattered much to the Obama administration.

As I previously reported…when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued their mammoth 335-page report, “U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History,” we learned that amongst the “services” offered by HSBC subsidiaries and correspondent banks were sweet deals, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, with financial entities with ties to international terrorism and the grisly drug trade.

Charged with multiple violations of the Bank Secrecy Act for their role in laundering blood money for Mexican and Colombian drug cartels, as a sideline HSBC’s Canary Wharf masters conducted a highly profitable business with the financiers of the 9/11 attacks who washed funds through Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank into accounts controlled by whomever controlled the hijackers.

While the media breathlessly reported that the DPA will levy fines totaling some $1.92 billion (£1.2bn) which includes $655 million (£408m) in civil penalties, the largest penalty of its kind ever levied against a bank, under terms of the agreement not a single senior officer will be criminally charged. In fact, those fines will be paid by shareholders which include municipal investors, pension funds and the public at large.

With some 7,200 offices in more than 80 countries and 2011 profits topping $22 billion (£13.6bn), Senate investigators found that HSBC’s web of 1,200 correspondent banks provided drug traffickers, other organized crime groups and terrorists with “U.S. dollar services, including services to move funds, exchange currencies, cash monetary instruments, and carry out other financial transactions. Correspondent banking can become a major conduit for illicit money flows unless U.S. laws to prevent money laundering are followed.” They weren’t and as a result the bank’s balance sheets were inflated with illicit proceeds from terrorists and drug gangsters.

Revelations of widespread institutional criminality are hardly a recent phenomenon. More than a decade ago journalist Stephen Bender published a Z Magazine piece which found that “99.9 percent of the laundered criminal money that is presented for deposit in the United States gets comfortably into secure accounts.”

According to Bender: “The key institution in the enabling of money laundering is the ‘private bank,’ a subdivision of every major US financial institution. Private banks exclusively seek out a wealthy clientele, the threshold often being an annual income in excess of $1 million. With the prerogatives of wealth comes a certain regulatory deference.”

Such “regulatory deference” in the era of “too big to fail” and its corollary, “too big to prosecute,” is a signal characteristic as noted above, of state capture by criminal financial elites.

Indeed, HSBC’s private banking arm, HSBC Private Bank is the principal private banking business of the HSBC Group. A holding company wholly owned by HSBC Bank Plc, its subsidiaries include HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) SA, HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited, HSBC Private Bank (CI) Limited, HSBC Private Bank (Luxembourg) SA, HSBC Private Bank (Monaco) SA and HSBC Financial Services (Cayman) Limited. All of these entities featured prominently in money laundering and tax evasion schemes uncovered by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee in their report. Combined client assets have been estimated by regulators to top $352 billion (£217.68).

According to Senate investigators, HSBC Financial Services (Cayman) was the principle conduit through which drug money laundered through HSBC Mexico (HBMX) flowed. “This branch,” Senate staff averred, “is a shell operation with no physical presence in the Caymans, and is managed by HBMX personnel in Mexico City who allow Cayman accounts to be opened by any HBMX branch across Mexico.”

“Total assets in the Cayman accounts peaked at $2.1 billion in 2008. Internal documents show that the Cayman accounts had operated for years with deficient AML [anti-money laundering] and KYC [know your client] controls and information. An estimated 15% of the accounts had no KYC information at all, which meant that HBMX had no idea who was behind them, while other accounts were, in the words of one HBMX compliance officer, misused by ‘organized crime’.”

In fact, the “normal” business model employed by HSBC and other entities bailed out by Western governments fully conform to the “control fraud” model first described by financial crime expert William K. Black.

According to Black, a control fraud occurs when a CEO and other senior managers remove checks and balances that prevent criminal behaviors, thus subverting regulatory requirements that prevent things like money laundering, shortfalls due to bad investments or the sale of toxic financial instruments.

In The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, Black informed us: “A control fraud is a company run by a criminal who uses it as a weapon and shield to defraud others and makes it difficult to detect and punish the fraud.”

“Control frauds,” Black reported, “are financial superpredators that cause vastly larger losses than blue-collar thieves. They cause catastrophic business failures . Control frauds can occur in waves that imperil the general economy. The savings and loan (S&L) debacle was one such wave.”

Indeed, “control frauds” like HSBC “create a ‘fraud friendly’ corporate culture by hiring yes-men. They combine excessive pay, ego strokes (e.g., calling the employees ‘geniuses’) and terror to get employees who will not cross the CEO.” In such a “criminogenic” environment, the CEO (paging Lord Green!) “optimizes the firm as a fraud vehicle and can optimize the regulatory environment.”

In their press release, the Department of Justice announced that HSBC Group “have agreed to forfeit $1.256 billion and enter into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department for HSBC’s violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA).”

“According to court documents,” the DOJ’s Office of Public Affairs informed us, “HSBC Bank USA violated the BSA by failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and to conduct appropriate due diligence on its foreign correspondent account holders.”

The DOJ goes on to state, “A four-count felony criminal information was filed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging HSBC with willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) program, willfully failing to conduct due diligence on its foreign correspondent affiliates, violating IEEPA and violating TWEA.”

However, “HSBC has waived federal indictment, agreed to the filing of the information, and has accepted responsibility for its criminal conduct and that of its employees.”

In other words, because they accepted “responsibility” for acts that would land the average citizen in the slammer for decades, those guilty of “palling around with terrorists” or smoothing the way as billionaire drug traffickers hid their loot in the so-called “legitimate economy,” got a free pass. In fact, under terms of the agreement DOJ’s “deferred prosecution” will be “deferred” alright, like forever!

Why might that be the case?

The New York Times informed us that state and federal officials, eager beavers when it comes to protecting the integrity of a system lacking all integrity, “decided against indicting HSBC in a money-laundering case over concerns that criminal charges could jeopardize one of the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system.”

Keep in mind this is a “system” which former United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime director Antonio Maria Costa told The Observer thrives on illicit money flows. In 2009, Costa told the London broadsheet that “in many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor.” Costa said that “a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.”

Glossing over these facts, Times’ stenographers Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, cautioned that “four years after the failure of Lehman Brothers nearly toppled the financial system,” federal regulators “are still wary that a single institution could undermine the recovery of the industry and the economy.”

“Given the extent of the evidence against HSBC, some prosecutors saw the charge as a healthy compromise between a settlement and a harsher money-laundering indictment. While the charge would most likely tarnish the bank’s reputation, some officials argued that it would not set off a series of devastating consequences.”

Devastating to whom one might ask? The 100,000 Mexicans brutally murdered by drug gangsters, corrupt police and Mexican Army soldiers whose scorched-earth campaign kills off the competition on behalf of Mexico’s largest narcotics organization, the Sinaloa Cartel run by fugitive billionaire drug lord Chapo Guzmán?

“A money-laundering indictment, or a guilty plea over such charges,” the Times averred, “would essentially be a death sentence for the bank. Such actions could cut off the bank from certain investors like pension funds and ultimately cost it its charter to operate in the United States, officials said.”

Many of the same lame excuses for prosecutorial inaction were also prominent features in the British press.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the “largest banks have become too big to prosecute because of the impact criminal charges would have on confidence in them, Britain’s most senior bank regulator has admitted.”

“In a variant of the ‘too big to fail’ problem, Andrew Bailey, chief executive designate of the Prudential Regulation Authority, said bringing a legal action against a major financial institution raised ‘very difficult questions’.”

“‘Because of the confidence issue with banks, a major criminal indictment, which we haven’t seen and I’m not saying we are going to see… this is not an ordinary criminal indictment’,” Bailey told the Telegraph.

Echoing Bailey, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the decision not to prosecute HSBC was made because “in this day and age we have to evaluate that innocent people will face very big consequences if you make a decision.”

This from an administration that continues to prosecute–and jail–low-level drug offenders at record rates!

“Breuer’s argument is facially absurd,” according to William K. Black. In a piece published by New Economic Perspectives, Black argues:

Prosecuting HSBC’s fraudulent controlling managers would not harm anyone innocent other than their families–and virtually all prosecutions hurt some family members. Breuer claims that virtually all of HSBC’s senior officers have been removed, so his argument is doubly absurd. Mostly, however, Breuer ignores all of the innocents harmed by the control frauds. SDIs [systemically dangerous institutions] that are control frauds are weapons of mass economic destruction that drive global crises and are the greatest enemy of ‘free’ markets. They are also the greatest threat to democracy, for they create crony capitalism. We are all innocent victims of these control frauds–and the Obama and Cameron governments are allowing them to commit their frauds with impunity from criminal prosecutions. The controlling officers get wealthy without fear of prosecution. The SDIs controlled by fraudulent officers have to purchase an indulgence, but the price of the indulgence is capped by the ‘too big to prosecute’ doctrine at a level that will not cause it any real distress. Breuer’s and Bailey’s embrace of too big to prosecute should have led to their immediate dismissals. Obama and Cameron should either fire them or announce that they stand with the criminal enterprises and their fraudulent controlling officers against their citizens.

As Rowan Bosworth-Davies, a former financial crimes specialist with London’s Metropolitan Police observed on his web site, “When you get a bank which admits, like HSBC has just done, that it is nothing more than a low-life money launderer for Mexican drug kingpins, and when it serves powerful vested interests to get round internationally-ratified sanctions against rogue nations, what possible benefit is achieved by trying to pretend that they cannot be prosecuted and charged with criminal offences?”

“Oh, excuse me,” Bosworth-Davies wrote, “it might impact the confidence they enjoy? Whose confidence, their Mexican drug traffickers, their international sanctions breakers, their global tax evaders, or the ordinary, law-abiding clients who are entitled to assume that their bank will obey the laws imposed on them and will provide a safe place of deposit?”

“Confidence,” the former Met detective averred, “what bloody confidence can anyone have when they know their bank is an admitted criminal? When their money is deposited with a bank that breaks the criminal law at every possible opportunity, which cheats them at every turn, sells them fraudulent products, launders drug money, evades international sanctions, moves foreign oligarchs’ tax evasion, safeguards the deposit accounts of Third World dictators and their families, then what is that confidence worth?”

Instead, as with the 2010 deal with Wachovia Bank, federal prosecutors cobbled together a DPA that levied a “fine” of $160 million (£99.2m) on laundered drug profits that topped $378 billion (£234.5bn).

Although top Justice Department officials charged that HSBC laundered upwards of $881 million (£546.5m) on behalf of the Sinaloa and Colombia’s Norte del Valle drug cartels, federal prosecutors investigating the bank told Reuters in September that this was merely the “tip of the iceberg.”

In fact, as Senate investigators discovered during their probe, the bank failed to monitor more than $670 billion (£415.6bn) in wire transfers from HSBC Mexico (HBMX) between 2006 and 2009, and failed to adequately monitor over $9.4 billion (£5.83bn) in purchases of physical U.S. dollars from HBMX during the same period.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, said in prepared remarks announcing the DPA that “traffickers didn’t have to try very hard” when it came to laundering drug cash. “They would sometimes deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account,” Breuer said, “using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows in HSBC Mexico’s branches.”

While Breuer’s dramatic account of the money laundering process may have offered a gullible financial press corps a breathless moment or two, a closer look at Breuer’s CV offer hints as to why he chose not to criminally charge the bank.

A corporatist insider, after representing President Bill Clinton during ginned-up impeachment hearings, Breuer became a partner in the white shoe Washington, DC law firm Covington & Burling. From his perch, he represented Moody’s Investor Service in the wake of Enron’s ignominious collapse and Dick Cheney’s old firm Halliburton/KBR during Bush regime scandals. Talk about “safe hands”!

Appointed as the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division by Obama in 2009, Breuer presided over the prosecution/persecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas A. Drake on charges that he violated the Espionage Act of 1917 for disclosing massive contractor fraud at NSA to The Baltimore Sun.

More recently, along with 14 other officials Breuer was recommended for potential “disciplinary action” by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal which put some 2,000 firearms into the hands of cartel killers in Mexico.

“A Justice official said Breuer has been ‘admonished'” by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, “but will not be disciplined,” The Washington Post reported.

Breuer had the temerity to claim that deferred prosecution agreements “have the same punitive, deterrent, and rehabilitative effect as a guilty plea.”

“When a company enters into a deferred prosecution agreement with the government, or an non prosecution agreement for that matter,” Breuer asserted, “it almost always must acknowledge wrongdoing, agree to cooperate with the government’s investigation, pay a fine, agree to improve its compliance program, and agree to face prosecution if it fails to satisfy the terms of the agreement.”

As is evident from this brief synopsis, when it came to holding HSBC to account, the fix was already in even before a single signature was affixed to the DPA.

Without batting an eyelash, Breuer informed us that HSBC has “committed” to undertake “enhanced AML and other compliance obligations and structural changes within its entire global operations to prevent a repeat of the conduct that led to this prosecution.”

“HSBC has replaced almost all of its senior management, ‘clawed back’ deferred compensation bonuses given to its most senior AML and compliance officers, and has agreed to partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior executives–its group general managers and group managing directors–during the period of the five-year DPA.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite charges that would land the average citizen in a federal [prison] for decades, senior managers have “agreed” to “partially defer bonus compensation” for the length of the DPA!

As Rolling Stone financial journalist Matt Taibbi commented: “Wow. So the executives who spent a decade laundering billions of dollars will have to partially defer their bonuses during the five-year deferred prosecution agreement? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s the punishment? The government’s negotiators couldn’t hold firm on forcing HSBC officials to completely wait to receive their ill-gotten bonuses? They had to settle on making them ‘partially’ wait? Every honest prosecutor in America has to be puking his guts out at such bargaining tactics. What was the Justice Department’s opening offer — asking executives to restrict their Caribbean vacation time to nine weeks a year?”

“So you might ask,” Taibbi writes, “what’s the appropriate penalty for a bank in HSBC’s position? Exactly how much money should one extract from a firm that has been shamelessly profiting from business with criminals for years and years? Remember, we’re talking about a company that has admitted to a smorgasbord of serious banking crimes. If you’re the prosecutor, you’ve got this bank by the balls. So how much money should you take?”

“How about all of it? How about every last dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity? How about you dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they’ve ever earned? Then take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby’s auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don’t think twice. And then throw them in jail.”

But there’s the rub and the proverbial fly in the ointment. The government can’t and won’t take such measures. Far from being impartial arbiters sworn to defend us from financial predators, speculators, drug lords, terrorists, warmongers and out-of-control corporate vultures hiding trillions of taxable dollars offshore, officials of this criminalized state are hand picked servants of a thoroughly debauched ruling class.

Writing for the World Socialist Web Site, Barry Grey observed: HSBC “was allowed to pay a token fine–less than 10 percent of its profits for 2011 and a fraction of the money it made laundering the drug bosses’ blood money. Meanwhile, small-time drug dealers and users, often among the most impoverished and oppressed sections of the population, are routinely arrested and locked up for years in the American prison gulag.”

“The financial parasites who keep the global drug trade churning and make the lion’s share of money from the social devastation it wreaks are above the law,” Grey noted.

“Here, in a nutshell,” Grey wrote, “is the modern-day aristocratic principle that prevails behind the threadbare trappings of ‘democracy.’ The financial robber barons of today are a law unto themselves. They can steal, plunder, even murder at will, without fear of being called to account. They devote a portion of their fabulous wealth to bribing politicians, regulators, judges and police–from the heights of power in Washington down to the local police precinct–to make sure their wealth is protected and they remain immune from criminal prosecution.”

Regarding America’s fraudulent “War on Drugs,” researcher Oliver Villar, who with Drew Cottle coauthored the essential book, Cocaine, Death Squads, and the War on Terror: US Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia, told Asia Times Online, it is a “war” that the state and leading banks and financial institutions in the capitalist West have no interest whatsoever in “winning.”

When queried why he argued that the “war on drugs is no failure at all, but a success,” Villar noted: “I come to that conclusion because what do we know so far about the war on drugs? Well, the US has spent about US$1 trillion throughout the globe. Can we simply say it has failed? Has it failed the drug money-laundering banks? No. Has it failed the key Western financial centers? No. Has it failed the narco-bourgeoisie in Colombia–or in Afghanistan, where we can see similar patterns emerging? No. Is it a success in maintaining that political economy? Absolutely.”

Equally important, what does the impunity shamelessly enjoyed by such loathsome parasites say about us?

Have we become so indifferent to officially sanctioned crime and corruption, the myriad petty tyrannies and tyrants, from the boardroom to the security checkpoint to the job, not to mention murderous state policies that have transformed so-called “advanced” democracies into hated and loathed pariah states, who we really are?

As the late author J. G. Ballard pointed out in his masterful novel Kingdom Come, “Consumer fascism provides its own ideology, no one needs to sit down and dictate Mein Kampf. Evil and psychopathy have been reconfigured into lifestyle statements.”

Paranoid fantasy? Wake up and smell the corporatized police state.

Article link: http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/2012/12/hsbc-impunity-of-oligarchs.html

“Democrats press Obama over US complicity with Honduras’ dirty war” – censored by US corporate media [Guardian]

Posted in Colombia, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Guatemala, Hillary Clinton, Honduras, Obama, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on June 11, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

+ America’s backing…a regime that is murdering opponents and journalists… +

by Marc Weisbrot

22 March 2012

Hondurans are still suffering from the effects of the June 2009 military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. The coup has unleashed a wave of violence against political opposition, journalists, small farmers and others, with impunity for the security forces that have been implicated in these killings. This is exactly what those who opposed the coup regime – and its consolidation of power with marred “elections” in November 2009 – feared would happen.

On the wrong side of this fight was the Obama administration, which…went on do quite a bit to help the coup government succeed. Nearly three years and hundreds of political murders later, it seems that this administration is still on the side of repression and denial of Hondurans’ basic human rights.

Nothing has made this clearer than the attempts of Democratic members of the US Congress to pressure the administration to change course. On 9 March, 94 members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her “to suspend US assistance to the Honduran military and police given the credible allegations of widespread, serious violations of human rights attributed to the security forces”.

The members of Congress note a “pattern of human rights violations in which human rights defenders, journalists, community leaders and opposition activists are the subject of death threats, attacks, and extrajudicial executions”. They call particular attention to the situation in the Bajo Aguan region, about 350 miles north-east of the capital, where “45 people associated with peasant organizations have been killed.” This violence, which is committed by landowners’ gunmen and security forces against peasants struggling for land rights, is a direct result of the coup…

The letter from members of Congress is politically striking because it is signed by close to half of all the Democrats in the House, including some in leadership positions. This is an election year, and these people are not eager to fight with their president over an issue that is not likely to be a key concern in their districts. So they must have been quite convinced that these are outrageous violations of human rights – on which our government has a responsibility to act.

But the major media in the US did not seem to notice this letter or its political significance. And there were no reports at all on a similar letter to Secretary Clinton four days earlier, from a number of US senators who expressed their concern over “credible reports of killings and violent attacks that allegedly involve police and military agents”, and “the failure of [Honduran] state authorities to prosecute violators and protect the rights of victims and their families”.

These omissions are even more striking as Vice-President Biden travelled to Honduras on 6 March, putting the country in the news cycle. The major media serve as enabler in this circumstance by not reporting this congressional action by so many members of President Obama’s own party….

…Worse, in fact, the Obama administration has increased requested military aid for Honduras for fiscal year 2012 – one of only two increases in the region (the other being Mexico). The excuse, of course, is the infamous “war on drugs”. One has to wonder what the US government would do if the violence associated with drug-trafficking were ever to subside. It has been so convenient to the US in building up its military and security presence in the region – and the political influence that goes with it. Perhaps that is part of the reason why the Obama administration has been so cold to talk of legalization of some drugs, which we’ve heard even from US-supported presidents such as Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Juan Manuel Santos in Colombia, as well as a number of prominent former presidents and leaders.

In the past decade-and-a-half, South America has liberated itself from Washington, winning a historic “second independence” that makes it almost impervious to the kind of US-supported coups that threw Honduras into this wave of violence and repression. These governments unanimously distanced themselves from Washington by demanding the unconditional return of President Zelaya in 2009 and opposing the “elections” held that year to consolidate the coup government.

But the nations of South America need to do much more, and begin to see Central America and the Caribbean as part of their region, and not, as Washington sees it, “our little region over here, which never has bothered anybody”. The Cartagena agreement that allowed for Zelaya’s return contains human rights guarantees, and authorises other South American countries (besides Colombia and Venezuela, which brokered the agreement) to participate in ensuring compliance.

Hondurans are fighting courageously for their human rights and national sovereignty. With help from South America, and from all the organizations and activists who succeeded in getting 94 members of the US Congress to challenge the Obama administration over their complicity, they will put an end to this violent repression.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/mar/22/democrats-press-obama-us-complicity-honduras

How to Start a War: The American Use of War Pretext Incidents [Globalresearch.ca / Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Anti-communism, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, Corporate Media Critique, DPR Korea, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, Korean War, Libya, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Red Scare, Somalia, south Korea, south Korean human rights hypocrisy, Spain, Syria, US "War on Terror", US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Vietnam, World War II, Yugoslavia - former FRY on January 17, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Richard Sanders

January 5, 2012

The following article by Richard Sanders published in May 2002, prior to the onslaught of the Iraq war, carefully documents the History of War Pretext Incidents.

This historical review raises an important issue: Is the Pentagon seeking to trigger military confrontation in the Persian Gulf with a view to providing a pretext and a justification to waging an all out war on the Islamic Republic of Iran?

As documented by Richard Sanders, this strategy has been used throughout American military history.

With regard to the confrontation in the Persian Gulf, is the Obama administration prepared to sacrifice the Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain with a view to triggering public support for a war on Iran on the grounds of self-defense.

Those opposed to war must address the issue of the “pretext”and “justification” to wage war.

Of relevance, the “Responsibility to Protect under a NATO “humanitarian” mandate has also been used as a thematic pretext to wage war (Yugoslavia, Libya, Syria),

The 911 Attacks and the “Global War on Terrorism” (Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan,…) not to mention the alleged “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (Iraq) have also been used to justify military intervention. Both 9/11 and WMD are being heralded as a justification for waging war on Iran, based on allegation that Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks and that Iran possesses nuclear weapons.

In the words of Richard Sanders [2002]:

“It is vitally important to expose this latest attempt [9/11] to fraudulently conceal the largely economic and geostrategic purposes of war. By asking who benefits from war, we can unmask its pretense and expose the true grounds for instigating it. By throwing light on repeated historical patterns of deception, we can promote skepticism about the government and media yarns that have been spun to encourage this war.

The historical knowledge of how war planners have tricked people into supporting past wars, is like a vaccine. We can use this understanding of history to inoculate the public with healthy doses of distrust for official war pretext narratives and other deceptive stratagems. Through such immunization programs we may help to counter our society’s susceptibility to “war fever.” ”

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, January 9, 2012

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” Sir Walter Scott, Marmion. Canto vi. Stanza 17

Pretext n. [Latin praetextum, pp. of praetextere, to weave before, pretend, disguise; prae-, before + texere, to weave], a false reason or motive put forth to hide the real one; excuse.

Stratagem [Gr. Strategema, device or act of a general; stratos, army + agein, to lead], a trick, scheme or device used for deceiving an enemy in war.

Throughout history, war planners have used various forms of deception to trick their enemies. Because public support is so crucial to the process of initiating and waging war, the home population is also subject to deceitful stratagems. The creation of false excuses to justify going to war is a major first step in constructing public support for such deadly ventures. Perhaps the most common pretext for war is an apparently unprovoked enemy attack. Such attacks, however, are often fabricated, incited or deliberately allowed to occur. They are then exploited to arouse widespread public sympathy for the victims, demonize the attackers and build mass support for military “retaliation.”

Like schoolyard bullies who shout ‘He hit me first!’, war planners know that it is irrelevant whether the opponent really did ‘throw the first punch.’ As long as it can be made to appear that the attack was unprovoked, the bully receives license to ‘respond’ with force. Bullies and war planners are experts at taunting, teasing and threatening their opponents. If the enemy cannot be goaded into ‘firing the first shot,’ it is easy enough to lie about what happened. Sometimes, that is sufficient to rationalize a schoolyard beating or a genocidal war.

Such trickery has probably been employed by every military power throughout history. During the Roman empire, the causes of war — cassus belli — were often invented to conceal the real reasons for war. Over the millennia, although weapons and battle strategies have changed greatly, the deceitful strategem of using pretext incidents to ignite war has remained remarkably consistent.

Pretext incidents, in themselves, are not sufficient to spark wars. Rumors and allegations about the tragic events must first spread throughout the target population. Constant repetition of the official version of what happened, spawns dramatic narratives that are lodged into public consciousness. The stories become accepted without question and legends are fostered. The corporate media is central to the success of such ‘psychological operations.’ Politicians rally people around the flag, lending their special oratory skills to the call for a military “response.” Demands for “retaliation” then ring out across the land, war hysteria mounts and, finally, a war is born.

Every time the US has gone to war, pretext incidents have been used . Upon later examination, the conventional perception of these events is always challenged and eventually exposed as untrue. Historians, investigative journalists and many others, have cited eyewitness accounts, declassified documents and statements made by the perpetrators themselves to demonstrate that the provocative incidents were used as stratagems to stage-manage the march to war.

Here are a few particularly blatant examples of this phenomenon.

[Every war in the following list is thoroughly analyzed by CONTEXT, PRETEXT, RESPONSE, and REAL REASONS; and can be referenced at the original article (see bottom of post for link) – Zuo Shou]

1846: The Mexican-American War…

1898: The Spanish-American War…

1915: World War I…

1941: World War II…

1950: The Korean War…

1964: The Vietnam War…

1983: The Invasion of Grenada…

1989: The Invasion of Panama…

…CONCLUSIONS

There are dozens of other examples from US history besides those summarized here. The “Cold War” was characterized by dozens of covert and overt wars throughout the Third World. Although each had its specific pretexts, the eradication of communism was the generally-used backdrop for all rationales.100

Since the Soviet Union’s demise, US war planners have continued to use spectacular pretext incidents to spawn wars. Examples include Iraq (1991), Somalia (1992), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995) and Yugoslavia (1999).

Throughout this time, the US “War on Drugs” has been fought on many fronts. Lurking behind the excuse to squash illicit drug trafficking, are the actual reasons for financing, training and arming right-wing, US-backed regimes, whose officials have so often profited from this illegal trade. The CIA has used this trade to finance many of its covert wars.101 The “War on Drugs” has targeted numerous countries to strengthen counter-insurgency operations aimed at destroying opposition groups that oppose US corporate rule.

Military plotters know that the majority would never support their wars, if it were generally known why they were really being fought. Over the millennia, a special martial art has been deliberately developed to weave elaborate webs of deceit to create the appearance that wars are fought for “just” or “humanitarian” reasons.

If asked to support a war so a small, wealthy elite could shamelessly profit by ruthlessly exploiting and plundering the natural and human resources in far away lands, people would ‘just say no.’

We now face another broad thematic pretext for war, the so-called “War Against Terrorism.” We are told it will be waged in many countries and may continue for generations. It is vitally important to expose this latest attempt to fraudulently conceal the largely economic and geostrategic purposes of war. By asking who benefits from war, we can unmask its pretense and expose the true grounds for instigating it. By throwing light on repeated historical patterns of deception, we can promote skepticism about the government and media yarns that have been spun to encourage this war.

The historical knowledge of how war planners have tricked people into supporting past wars, is like a vaccine. We can use this understanding of history to inoculate the public with healthy doses of distrust for official war pretext narratives and other deceptive stratagems. Through such immunization programs we may help to counter our society’s susceptibility to “war fever.”

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28554

“Imperial occupation of Mexico and 2012 elections” by Nil Nikandrov [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in "War on Drugs" pretext, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, CIA, Connection to drugs and narcotics, DEA, FBI, George W. Bush, Obama, Pentagon, State Department, US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA on September 25, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 24, 2011

All the security services of the US are busy with the creation on anti-drug and anti-terror “defense line” in Mexico. They were especially successful during the presidency of G. Bush Jr. when they raised to power the most “manageable” president in the history of the Aztec country: first Vicente Fox and than Felipe Calderon. These politicians, who hid under patriotic statements their affiliation to “neo-liberal internationalism”, have been sticking to the pro-Empire course almost on all main issues of domestic and foreign policy. This led to Mexico’s comedown on the international arena especially in Latin America. One can hear more and more often people talking about the imperial occupation of Mexico as if it is an accomplished fact. The analogy, which comes to mind, is the US’ occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan simply without bombing and missile attacks. Calderon handed his country to the US by stealth under the pretext of “inevitable expansion of drug cartels and the threat that they can seize power in Mexico”. Militarization of the fight against drug cartels has not given any promising results. The death toll of this “quiet war” reaches tens of thousands of people. Drones the US armed forces are using “to detect channels of drug smuggling from Mexico to the US” are a fearful symbol of the escalation of this war.

Washingtonis doing its best to prolong the occupation regime. In July 2012, the presidential elections will be held in Mexico. Political analysts forecast that after 12 years of staying in the opposition the Institutional revolutionary party (PRI), which used to dominate at the Mexican political arena for decades, may return to power. Governor EnriquePeña is regarded as the most probable presidential candidate from PRI. This is a 45 year old party leader with [a] good reputation and the looks of a hero of Mexican soap operas.

The claims laid by his competitors against him – doubtful source of the funds spent on his image and election campaign. Millions of dollars are being spent on a respectable car, costumes and Cartier watch. How can the politician afford such a luxurious life style if he does not have his own business? But this is not a big deal when someone wants to appoint his inside man. That is why Washington prefers Pena Nieto. A preliminary “bride show” of Pena Nieto in the US began with his visit to the US Congress where the Mexican politician made a good impression on the congressmen. A number of “private” meetings with the representatives of influential agencies were held. Pena Nieto, “ future Mexican president”, as he was presented to the governmental officials, promised his conversation partners to strengthen the fight against drug cartels and terrorist groups, which pose threat to the US as well as to support Washington’s activities aimed at the limitation of the influence of the “populist” countries” and their return to “democratic values” within “non-confrontational” regional organizations. Pena Nieto made it clear to the US politicians that he is a “reliable alternative” to the threat of the revival of “the Mexican populism” represented by Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador, the head of the national Revival Movement (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional – MRN).

The problem of Obrador is a serious concern for Washington. In 2006, this problem was resolved by means of the large-scale frame-up of the election results in favor of Calderon. In 2012, it will be much more difficult for Washington and Mexican oligarchs to “appoint their president”. That is why one year before the election an intensive promotion of Pena Nieto in mass media has already begun . He is being positioned as the all-national leader while Obrador is depicted as “secret supporter of Chavez”, a marginal politician, who is far from the needs of the Mexican people and is bound to fail. Meanwhile, it was Obrador who in the situation of the informational blockade was traveling across the country all these years after his “defeat”. He was meeting with his electorate and creating the MRN system and his political program as an alternative to the neo-liberal model aimed at helping Mexico to find the way out the permanent social and economic crisis.

“We reject any forms of the US’ interference, – repeats Obrador constantly – We do not want to be a foreign protectorate, a colony ruled by an alien government”. The politician opposes the course of the modern Mexican liberals on the military cooperation with the US and advocates for the priority of the trade and economic relations. “Instead of the Mérida initiative and the handover of weapons and helicopters to us, – Obrador says, – we offer the US government, if it really wants to help Mexico, to provide us loans without humiliating usurious interests. These funds will help us to live up the national economy to create working places and to form conditions for the reduction of immigration of our citizens to the US”.

Obrador rejects the current strategy of the “war against drug cartels”, used by Washington and Calderon’s government to justify the use of the Mexican and US troops on the territory of Mexico. This is the task of police and security agencies to fight drug mafia. That is why Obrador (if he wins the elections) promises to declare Calderon’s’ agreements with the US, which are humiliating for the national sovereignty and which establish de-facto Pentagon’s occupational regime, as invalid.

Many agreements of that kind were signed. Washington used political incapability of Calderon to achieve its geopolitical goals in Mexico, which is alongside with Columbia is regarded as a “bridgehead” to fight “populist” regimes of ALBA member-states. In fact Mexico now has parallel governing agencies headed by the US diplomats. They control thousands of “non-governmental organizations”, “volunteers” of the Peace Corps, contractors under different covers, the “fifth column” structures etc.

The Mérida initiative’s headquarters, which coordinates the war on drug trafficking and criminal groups, is located on Paseo de la Reforma 225 – not far from the US embassy. The representatives of US special services – DEA, CIA, FBI, the Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives (ATF), immigration and customs control services are the bosses there. They carefully check their Mexican “partners” in order not to let the allies of Mexican drug lords and criminal gangs in the center of planning of joint operations. Of course, Americans do not inform their Mexican partners about all their operations. For example, one of them was carried out through ATF in the US. The “controlled supply” to Mexico of 2,000 АК-47 machine guns and sniper riffles for the purposes of fighting drug mafia failed. The responsible workers lost control over the biggest part of the supply. Observers note that arms are supplied to Mexico via different “controlled and uncontrolled” channels without meeting any special resistance from the US border guards and special agencies. Daily, Mexican clients receive up to 1,500-2,000 guns. The numbers of confiscated guns is much smaller but they have to produce something to report on their work …

US President Barack Obama is sending Earl Anthony Wayne as the new ambassador to Mexico. His mission is to ensure the victory of “the US candidate” at the coming presidential elections. Like many US diplomats Wayne has a serious military background. All this confirms the version that the US embassy is getting ready for working in critical circumstances. It should be noted that on the initiative of the Institutional revolutionary party (PRI) the agenda of the legislative and executive power includes the reform of the law on national security. The draft law envisages entrusting the president with additional authorities to stop constitutional guarantees and to use the army to suppress “street violence” (social protests).

Some political analysts think that the adoption of the law will be timed with Pena Nieto’s presidency. He will have to “push forward” numerous unpopular measures he promised to Washington, including the permission for the US armed forces to use the Mexican territory, waters and air space in their fights against potential enemies in the region. Is it necessary to name these enemies again?

Article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/08/24/imperial-occupation-of-mexico-and-2012-elections.html