Inconsistencies in the Heroin Narrative

Poppy

If the major news channels are your only source for news, you would think that all bad things come from the southern United States border.  President Trump’s comments have created a frenzy of anti-Mexican sentiment among a constituency eager to place blame on immigrants, liberals and anyone with a differing opinion.

But is this sentiment accurate?  Is Mexico really responsible for the recently acknowledged Opium Epidemic?  Continue reading

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Benjamin Paddock – The Apples Didn’t Fall Far

The mainstream narrative, that alleged Las Vegas mass-shooter Stephen Paddock’s father Benjamin Paddock was a bank robber, isn’t wrong. It’s just incomplete. Other than both Paddocks being criminals in the end, there is really no link between robbing banks and mass shootings.  But do Stephen and his father Benjamin Paddock have more in common? Continue reading

Pakistan closes Durand Line, causes $90 mn trade loss for Afghanistan

When Afghan agriculture and industry are disrupted; when an entire season of a farmers work is wasted, the impoverished people take the quickest path to profitability: heroin. World leaders claim to be fighting terrorism, but they allow their ally in that fight, Pakistan, to block all Afghan produce and exports from international markets, essentially empowering heroin markets and those who profit from them.

Source:  First Post

The “unilateral” blocking of the Durand Line by Pakistan choked off trade and caused damages of up to $90 million, Kabul complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week.

“The measures taken by the government of Pakistan at the entry points at the Durand line, border with Afghanistan, were tantamount to a total ban of trade between the two countries,” Dr Suraya Dalil, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Afghanistan to the UN office at Geneva told the WTO Council for Trade in Goods on 6 April.

Representational images. Reuters

“…Afghan exporters were prevented from shipping any goods to Pakistan destined to be released for consumption in that country.”

“Similarly, they (Afghan exporters) could not export any goods to other countries which, in order to reach their destination, have to transit the territory of Pakistan,” Dalil said.

Imports to Afghanistan from Pakistan and other countries were also blocked.

Pakistan closed the border between the two countries from 17 February this year after a surge of terrorist attacks on its soil claiming that terrorists use Afghani soil against Pakistan. Though they had initially announced that the decision to close the entry points to the Durand Line was indefinite, the border re-opened on 21 March.

The Afghan diplomat described the consequences of closing the Durand Line as “huge”. Continue reading

Law Enforcement: Cocaine on Upward Trend

Source: Bowling Green Daily News

For the first time in more than 10 years cocaine appears to be making a comeback in the United States with local law enforcement agencies seeing an uptick in the drug here and bracing for its effects on their resources as well as the human toll the drug takes.

Opioids, methamphetamine and marijuana continue to consume a vast amount of manpower and financial resources for police and the justice system in this area, causing concern for already taxed narcotics officers as they see an increase locally in cocaine use and trafficking.

What is likely driving the upward trend is the substantial increase in the illegal coca crop cultivation in Colombia.

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DEA: Heroin Haul Largest Ever in Afghanistan, ‘if Not the World’

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Source: Yahoo

A joint U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, American Special Forces and Afghan counternarcotics operation in October resulted in an eye-popping seizure of 20 tons of drugs, which officials said was the “largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

The operation was kept under wraps until today, when a DEA official confirmed the contents of a field intelligence report obtained by ABC News but did not explain why a successful “superlab” takedown — which agency veterans agreed is an unprecedented narcotics haul — was not officially announced. [emphasis added – why was this not reported for two months?  It took a field report leaking for it to be acknowledged.] Continue reading

UN Recognizes Afghan Opium Supplying US Market; US Politicians Silent

2015-UNODC-Opiates-Map
After a decade of denial, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has finally shown Afghan narcotics trafficking into the United States on their yearly report, the World Drug Report.  As discussed previously on this site, preceding iterations of this report were used by the media to draw the conclusion that all illicit opioids consumed in the US were of Latin American origin. This was patently false. The UN’s own reports have clearly shown that Afghanistan was supplying 90-98% of the world’s opium since 2001 while countries like Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico combine to produce very little opium. Continue reading

London is now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

UK banks and financial services have ignored so-called “know your customer” rules designed to curb criminals’ abilities to launder the proceeds of crime, Roberto Saviano warned. Mr Saviano, author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, which exposed the workings of the Neapolitan crime organisation Camorra, said: “The British treat it as not their problem because there aren’t corpses on the street.”

His warning follows a National Crime Agency (NCA) threat assessment which stated: “We assess that hundreds of billions of US dollars of criminal money almost certainly continue to be laundered through UK banks, including their subsidiaries, each year.”

Last month, the NCA warned that despite the UK’s role in developing international standards to tackle money laundering, the continued extent of it amounts to a “strategic threat to the UK’s economy and reputation”. It added that the same money-laundering networks used by organised crime were being used by terrorists as well.

Roberto Saviano's 'Gomorrah' has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)Roberto Saviano’s ‘Gomorrah’ has sold 10 million copies around the world (Teri Pengilley)

Interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Mr Saviano said of the international drugs trade that “Mexico is its heart and London is its head”. He said the cheapness and the ease of laundering dirty money through UK-based banks gave London a key role in drugs trade. “Antonio Maria Costa of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that drug trafficking organisations were blatantly recycling dirty money through European and American banks, but no one takes any notice,” he said. “He found that banks were welcoming dirty money because they need cash, liquidity during the financial crisis. The figures are too big to be rejected …. Yet there was no reaction.”

Referring to HSBC’s record $1.9bn (£1.2bn) US fine for money laundering for the Mexican Sinaloa drugs cartel in 2012, Mr Saviano said: “The biggest UK bank! Yet it has scarcely been written about. The British treat it as not their problem, because there aren’t corpses on the streets.

“They think it’s all happening ‘over there somewhere’, so they needn’t worry about it. Sure, HSBC has been reported but there has been no debate. You need to fill the papers. The intellectuals have said nothing. [David] Cameron has said nothing. It’s his country. How can he say nothing on such a piece of news?”

US justice officials concluded HSBC was guilty of “stunning failures of oversight – and worse, that led the bank to permit narcotics traffickers and others to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through HSBC subsidiaries and facilitate hundreds of millions more in transactions with sanctioned countries”, including money banked for Middle East terror groups.

He accused the British Government, together with Austria, of consistently blocking anti-money-laundering moves by the European Union. “They will carry on like that until someone gets killed here by the Russians or the Italians. ” he said. Mr Saviano said he feared one reason was because banks are a key source of political funding.

“Every time there’s an election campaign, I wonder if someone will come forward and start a campaign on money laundering … but it never happens. The reason, I am convinced but I don’t have the proof, is that a good part of the money that comes from money laundering goes into the election campaign. Not illegally, legally, because it can come in because of a lack of regulation.”

Labour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty moneyLabour MP David Lammy is worried about London’s dirty money (Getty)

Twenty years ago, drug money was laundered offshore because the top international banks “were afraid of opening their doors to dirty money, they were afraid of losing control”, he said. “The more criminal capital comes in, the more criminals there are on the boards. The Mafia set up its own bank, Michele Sindona’s Banca Privata Finanziaria, and the other banks would have nothing to do with them,” he said. “Not any more. Now, because of the problem of cash, they can’t wait to get the Mafia organisations in.”

Labour MP David Lammy, who met Mr Saviano last week, said the UK needed to take “very seriously” his claims about its financial services’ role in the international drugs trade. Mr Lammy, who is seeking to become Mayor of London in 2016, said: “We are rightly proud of our financial services industry in this country, but we cannot afford to be complacent.

“I am particularly concerned that London’s inflated property prices are fuelled by dirty money and I will do everything in my power as mayor to ensure that money laundering and tax evasion are rooted out by the authorities.”

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