By Daniel Hopsicker
In the Presidential Election of 2016, Republican and Democratic insiders are wrestling like two dogs over a bone over who controls the illegal drug trade.
To the victor go the spoils. Who wins the election wins control of America’s vast drug bazaar, largest in the world, whose proceeds prop up lucky bankers and politicians lapping at the trough of the biggest richest slush fund in the history of the world.
It’s the smart play
It’s the biggest business in the world, and the No. 1 industry on the face of the planet, in terms of foreign trade. And if you didn’t know that about the illegal drug trade, then the vast amounts spent on propaganda and disinformation every year in the so-called “War on Drugs” is working.
The first industry to globalize vertically was the illegal drug business. It’s an open question whether drug trafficking drove globalization, or the other way around.
Negotiated by Bill Clinton, the chief beneficiary of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)—by dollar volume and impact on the economy—was the drug trade.
The Democrats, committed to globalization, will continue to farm out transportation and money laundering to, among others, minions of Mexico’s President Enrique Nieto Pena, cronies of retired Colombian strongman Alvaro Uribe, and a host of eager bankers from the world’s largest banks.
Will a Republican victory will bring back Oliver North? No, it’ll be a Trump Administration appointee with a certain erect posture and short-but-stylishly-cut hair, chosen to occupy the Oliver North seat on the National Security Council.
The Enterprise Lives. And prospers.
Why there’s no Global War on Johnnie Walker Red
Although America’s sun is slowly sinking below the horizon, the country still boasts the biggest and the best illegal drug delivery pipeline on the planet, so efficient it’s sick, the and envy of the world. The UK and Europe may be nipping at our heels, growing bigger vis a vis the U.S. as drug consumers, but the U.S. remains the biggest market.
This market is what we sell to the world; one of a few businesses where we’re still No. 1, along with financial services, which basically means meaning laundering drug money, and movies based on comic books.
Here’s a statistic from the UN’s World Drug Report for 2016:
207,000 drug-related deaths globally.
Compare that with this fact from the UN’s World Health Organization:
“In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths, were due to alcohol consumption.”
If the U.S. cares about the health of its citizens we’ll soon have a Liquor Enforcement Administration(an LEA), with approximately sixteen times the funding that the War on Drugs receives every year, which is 40 billion dollars.
That’s within reach of the Pentagon budget; its safe to say it ain’t gonna happen.
It doesn’t happen, becauses of the banks, and also because, as the UN World Drug Report also states, and flatly, worldwide people spend more money on drugs every day than on food.
Yup. You can look it up.
An even bigger reason: Global Too Big to Jail Banks.
London’s Financial Times has warning for global elite
Even when you think you’re talking about something else, you’re talking about drugs, even if you don’t know it. London’s Financial Times briefly surfaced from the 19th Century with a headline reading “Global elites must heed the warning of populist rage’
“The explanation for the prolonged stagnation in real incomes are repeated financial crises and subsequent weak recoveries, which have destroyed popular confidence in the competence and moral principles, honesty, and decency of the elite.”
The greedy parasitic elite that betrayed the middle class, and the country.
The Times continues, “The role of finance is excessive. The financial system remains riddled with perverse incentives.”
Without drug money there is no financialization. Because the banks by themselves don’t have the capital. Some say that sounds like a good thing.
“Air America meets Traffic meets Pineapple Express”
A steady diet of movies like the upcoming ‘Mena’ starring Tom Cruise playing the supposedly-swashbuckling former Air America pilot Barry Seal, has given the movie-going public the idea that the real action in the illegal drug trade is in drug trafficking.
That’s not the case. The real action is in money laundering. Because if you can’t wash clean the money you end up with, it quickly becomes useless to anyone with more long-term goals than throwing the biggest party or longest orgy the world has ever seen. And because money weighs more than drugs—and is way more bulky unless you’re smuggling marijuana which is today considered more out of the stone age than old school.
So there’s a problem. Providing a solution are casinos, bodegas, cambios, Western Union, grocery stores, restaurants, even dry cleaners, and banks. Especially banks. In fact it they weren’t for laundering drug money, HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays and Bank of America would have already gone the way of Mario Brothers or YAHOO, which only makes news anymore when pieces are sold off in foreclosure.
Three brief moments in time in the drug trade
A Turkish boat carrying a massive 3.2 tonnes of high purity cocaine hidden in a ballast tank at the front of the MV Hamal was busted 100 miles east of the Aberdeenshire coast.
It was a record $673 million (£512 million) cocaine haul.The captain and second in command—Mumin Sahin and Emin Ozmen—were convicted, and sent to prison.
“The Captain and the second in command” are the drug trade’s equivalent of David Letterman Show favorites Mujibur and Sirajul, who ran a t-shirt shop in a tiny frontage near the Ed Sullivan Theater. They were ordinary people who Letterman found exceptional just because there were so ordinary.
Is there a shortage of people ready to take a chance smuggling a half-billion cargo? Is that the plan?
“Operation SCREENPLAY” gets a tentative green light
“OPERATION Screenplay will go down as one of the all-time great UK drug busts,” enthused John McGowan, head of border investigations.
“To put it in perspective, the total seizure of cocaine by all police forces in England and Wales in 2014-15 was 3.4 tons. That was for everything. This single seizure was 3.2 tons.”
In a blatant pitch for more government funding—so that he could presumably really go to town, he added, “And all we had was intelligence from the French that there was a considerable quantity of cocaine on board.”
The paper seemed not so sure. The report ended, “Despite the size of the seizure, anecdotal evidence suggests police did not record a dip in the amount of cocaine on our streets.”
Playing whack-a–mole around the world
An expert who testified at their trial about “recognised trade routes” for shipping cocaine was perhaps a little too candid. He told the jury:
“It is now south of Venezuela and Guyana because of a lot of enforcement activity by the USA patrolling the coast. It’s massive importation – unprecedented in my experience.”
Those sneaky traffickers. Always playing whack-a-mole.
Cocaine production in Colombia increased dramatically—shooting up a staggering 46 percent—last year. The country now has the resources to produce 712 tons of cocaine annually. Growth exploded in lawless areas in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the north and in the Amazon region, on the Venezuelan and Ecuadorean borders and along the Pacific coast.
But cultivation dropped in central Colombia, where the people running both Colombia’s government and drug trade of Colombia.
Huh. Imagine that.
The Mexican Navy left with many barrels of zesty condiments
The Mexican navy found 13 tons of cocaine inside barrels of hot sauce in Manzanillo, 500 miles west of Mexico City. The barrels full of zesty condiment and cocaine were believed to belong to the Sinaloa Cartel.
A week earlier, busy Mexican sailors discovered almost a ton of cocaine—more than 900 keys—floating in the open sea off the coast of Chiapas.
A ton of cocaine. Just… floating…100 miles from shore.
The world’s richest industries
How much money an industry makes is the best rule of thumb for how much clout that industry exerts on the countries in which it operates. The illegal drug trade has yearly revenues exceeding the 946 billion in annual revenue of Walmart, Microsoft, Google, Ebay, and British Petroleum, combined.
In the U.S., and almost everywhere else, it’s a cash cow of almost unimaginable proportions.
The richest industries are all based on at assets we use in our lives every day, from computers to entertainment, to oil, to shopping, to drugs. According to therichest.com, “They are industries we give our hard-earned money to out of necessity, desire, or a mix of the two. And they also tend to be the most valuable, and not just from a monetary standpoint. Their value lies in the fact that they’re needed to help society advance and function smoothly.”
Imagine several hundred million people trying to get through Monday morning with coffee. Luckily, that won’t ever happen.
About Daniel Hopsicker
Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist dubious about the self-serving assertion of U.S. officials that there are no American Drug Lords.