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Monday, September 20, 2010

Partners in Crime

by Tom Burghardt

For decades, investigative journalists, researchers and analysts have noted the symbiotic relationships forged amongst international drug syndicates, neofascists and U.S. intelligence agencies, documenting the long and bloody history of U.S. complicity in the global drugs trade.

While the United States has pumped billions of dollars into failed drug eradication schemes in target countries through ill-conceived programs such as Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative, in the bizarro world of the "War on Drugs," corporate interests and geopolitics always trump law enforcement efforts to fight organized crime, particularly when the criminals are partners in crimes perpetrated by the secret state.

Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderón turned the Army loose, allegedly to "dismantle" the drug cartels slowly transforming Mexico into a killing field some 28,000 people, primarily along Mexico's northern border with the U.S., have lost their lives. Countless others have been wounded, forced to flee or simply "disappeared."

Writing in The Guardian, journalist Simon Jenkins tells us that "cocaine supplies routed through Mexico have made that country the drugs equivalent of a Gulf oil state."

"Rather than try to stem its own voracious appetite for drugs," Jenkins writes, "rich America shifts guilt on to poor supplier countries. Never was the law of economics--demand always evokes supply--so traduced as in Washington's drugs policy. America spends $40bn a year on narcotics policy, imprisoning a staggering 1.5m of its citizens under it."

Judging the results, one might even think the drug war solely exists as the principle means through which wealthy elites organize crime.

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