Column: Lots Of People Praying That War On Drugs

Column: Lots Of People Praying That War On Drugs
Posted by FoM on May 20, 2000 at 12:44:03 PT
By Dick Snider
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal 
In a column last week I said the War on Drugs generates so much money and so many jobs you wonder how many people want it to continue, just because they have a personal stake in it. The headline on the column, which is not my doing, aptly called it war profiteering. The column drew a quick response from Stephen Young, who has written a book on the War on Drugs, titled "Maximizing Harm," and he devotes a chapter to its profiteers. 
He e-mailed me to say my comment was a "massive understatement," and his book proves it. Who benefits most from the drug war? Young points first to law enforcement, where the war has created thousands of new jobs, and perhaps more importantly, it has given police the means to help fund themselves through asset forfeiture.Millions of dollars pour into law enforcement agencies annually as they seize money and property from drug dealers. The U.S. Department of Justice asset forfeiture fund has grown to hundreds of millions over the years, and the same thing, in lesser degrees, is happening in police agencies all over the country. It's working in Topeka, too, where officers drive cars "donated" by drug dealers. Research shows that in areas where police keep whatever they seize they focus more attention on drug crimes, because when they bust a trafficker they often net a lot more than just another crook. Drug crimes are popular with police, because high-profile seizures and arrests get great coverage and spark public interest. Since there always will be drug users, and drug traffic, it amounts to job security, and police have reason to hope it doesn't go away. The U.S. military has been involved, too, since 1989, when American forces struck Panama and arrested Panamanian president Manuel Noriega for allowing drug trafficking in his country. Our troops did a lot of damage, and Noriega is in prison, but drugs still flow through Panama. And there's the CIA. Young says the United States winked at drug-trafficking ties to the funding of the CIA-backed Contras fighting in Nicaragua. A government report said, "senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contra's funding problems." The global drug trade, Young says, has been valued at $180 billion to $1 trillion per year, making it one of the largest commercial enterprises in the world. And, as in other businesses, there is fierce competition and some dirty pool among the crooks. One favorite trick is to inform on a competitor.In some states, the informant can receive up to 25 percent of the property seized as a result of a tip he provided. This may be a clue as to how police can stop one vehicle among thousands on the highway and hit the jackpot with a big drug bust. Maybe they were told which vehicle to stop.Dealing with millions in cash presents some problems, such as what to do with it. The answer is laundering the money so it can be used the same way the average Joe uses his pay check. Laundering drug money is a huge business, and a leading New York bank proved it when it was caught laundering more than $90 million in two years for a Mexican drug lord.That's just one drug dealer and one bank. The loudest cheerleaders for, and biggest contributors to, organizations supporting the War on Drugs, are manufacturers of legal drugs, namely alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals. They want the war to go on, Young says, because they don't want drugs legalized into products that would compete with them.Young quotes writer Cynthia Cotts: "They (the legal drug companies) know that when school children learn that marijuana and crack are evil, they're also learning that alcohol, tobacco and pills are as American as apple pie."The list of those benefitting from the war goes on. The drug testing industry and the private prison business are booming, and so are rehab and treatment centers. All the while, Americans clamor for drug-free schools and work places, meaning more testing, more treatment and more prisons.Meanwhile, the thousands of workers in private industry, government and law enforcement who owe their livelihood to the drug trade, silently pray, "Thank God for the War on Drugs. May it never end." This puts a new slant on America's longest war, and one apparently as futile as Vietnam. There's no way legalizing drugs could produce as many jobs and as much loot as busting drug runners, seizing assets and putting these dastardly criminals in durance vile. MAP Posted-by: Derek Rea News Article Courtesy Of MapInc. May 19, 2000Copyright: 2000 The Topeka Capital-JournalContact: letters Maximizing Harm & Drug Policy Reform Information: MapInc. Archives: View Next 20 Articles:
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on May 21, 2000 at 00:22:02 PT
Wanna see some astounding stuff about FEMA?........
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Comment #2 posted by Mari on May 20, 2000 at 20:25:34 PT
$$ Laundering
 If you want to talk govt. $$ laundering; look into how FEMA was started and funded!!!Try looking under CIA( Cocaine Import Agency); refer also to Mena,Ark.
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Comment #1 posted by A_Student on May 20, 2000 at 18:44:01 PT
Economics 101
What a scam. Cops seize property and launder the property through local government on the state and local level.On the federal it is a little more complex. The trafficerslaunder the money by supporting politicans to make laws that ensure a profitable future at the expense of the American citizens. If the USA has lost its manufacturingcapacity and its global export dominance then where is all the money coming from to fuel the stock market? 
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