Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What Do You Expect When Your Drug Czar For The Drug War Is A General?

The drug-connected crime problem isn't all about the junkies - it's about the dealers. Especially the violent crime problem. The key to dealing with drug crime is drying up the profits of the illegal market. Reliance on incarceration has only made the power of organized criminal gangs stronger. It hasn't broken a single gang. A lawless marketplace staffed entirely by criminals who protect their inventory and personal safety with arsenals of weaponry and enforce and regulate business disputes with gunfire is a pretty unique business model. A global business that ranks third in revenues after arms and oil and hides its profits with sophisticated money laundering techniques that allow the top players access into corridors of political power while providing unparalleled liquidity advantages in business competition is a pretty unique business model.

Nixon's early 1970s globalization of the War on Drugs was ostensibly aimed at enlisting all UN members in a united effort to shut down drug supplies at their source. What resulted instead was much closer to a U.S. imperial protection racket for drug kingpins, with the US holding the power to confer a status of impunity on politically favored players overseas. In return, those who benefited were able to target internal law enforcement efforts at culling their business competition, which typically worked to produce results sufficient to bolster their anti-drug credibility.

In Dark Alliance the late investigative journalist Gary Webb documented connections that led through multiple Latin American countries- El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Mexico- to drug rings operating in several regions in the US. He wasn't alone in his investigations, either.

The big picture that results when that research is reviewed is that the political and military leaders of a great many Central American and Caribbean nations during the Cold War era were provided with protected status in the transshipment of cocaine in return for maintaining pro-US policies in their countries.

General Bueso Rosa in Honduras; Hugo Banzer in Bolivia; the Salinas brothers in Mexico, and other Mexican governments before and since; Sandoval Alarcon in Guatemala; Trujillo and Noriega in Panama; the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, in the 1970s; Uribe in Colombia, Cedras/Emmanuel Constant FRAPH junta in Haiti; the JLP in Jamaica - this US policy is blatantly in effect right now in Afghanistan, the top source nation for opium and heroin in the world. It has been in effect from the outset of US intervention in Central Asia. It has become standard U.S. necropolitical operating procedure.

But back to Dark Alliance, Danilo Blandon, the Contra-connected supplier who furnished most of Rick Ross's cocaine, offered him an unprecedented deal soon after establishing that he could move large retail quantities on the street: consignment, no money down, at a kilo price that worked out to less than $20/gram.

Ross was able to move 200 kilos a month. That's over 2 tons a year, at a time when the DEA was estimating the annual US supply at 70 tons. Blandon was a true drug kingpin. Up until the Blandon-Ross connection was dismantled, with the help of Danilo Blandon, who received immunity from prosecution and earned around $200,000 as a paid FBI informant for providing testimony to take down a huge LA cocaine ring that he.was instrumental in enabling to boom to an unprecedented level.

Danilo Blandon's supplier was Norwin Meneses, who had been identified as an even bigger kingpin by US Federal law enforcement since the 1970s. Meneses was the brother of the Somoza-era chief of police, and at least one other general in Somoza's Guardia Nacionale, which eventually became the largest Contra faction, the FDN, under military commander Enrique Bermudez. Meneses also benefited from some sort of arrangement with US authorities, remaining free of prosecution, residing in the US and traveling back and forth between there and Central America without interference.

Blandon was not Meneses' only wholesaler and Meneses was not the only person involved with Contra resupply who had a long history as a major drug supplier and transporter into the USA. The Contra effort made use of a network of long-time Cold War era US intelligence/covert operations agents including a nucleus of Cuban exiles drawn from the ranks of Bay of Pigs battle veterans.

Some 8% of the 1500 Bay of Pigs veterans, about 120 of them, had been identified as kingpins as early on as the late 1960s. Mostly heroin, at that point- supplying the NYC market out of Union City, NJ. They later showed up everywhere from Southeast Asia to the Argentine Dirty War, and eventually as field operators in the Contra effort.

Speaking of the neofascist junta-era Argentine military, they became the first overseas liason to the formation of the Contras in the Reagan era, offering them a safe haven and working to train and equip the Somocista Guardia Nacionale in exile in 1981.

In the previous year, the Argentines had provided the principal base of support for the military coup in Bolivia that put the Cocaine Junta into power, in July 1980. DEA agent Michael Levine, the top field agent in the Southern Cone of Latin America at the time, contends that this was done in collaboration with the local CIA faction down there, who were bitterly opposed to Jimmy Carter's "human rights" foreign policy, which had brought pressure to bear on right-wing President Col. Hugo Banzer Suarez to relinquish his martial law "autogolpe" rule and hold elections. The Cocaine Coup successfully derailed the ascension of a civilian government to power.

Banzer had long-standing connections to the US, having been trained at the School of the Americas, Ft. Hood's armored cavalry school, and as a US diplomatic liason in DC. He was also affiliated with the Falange Socialista Boliviana, and the Latin American Anti-Communist League affiliated with WACL; with the international right-wing assassination program known as Operation Condor, along with his ideological allies in Pinochet's Chile and the Argentina junta. Banzer's family relations and associates were also busted repeatedly in the US and Canada for smuggling cocaine; one case involved his son-in-law and another his chauffeur, iirc. And one of Banzer's cousins was Luis Arce Gomez, one of the chief plotters of the Cocaine Coup.


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