Collusion by the Banks, politicians, PPS, CIA, ATF, DEA, and Border Patrol

Tell me about the system,” Paul suggested.
Bernie poured some salt on the back of his hand, kicked back the shot of Tequila, and sucked on a piece of lime. Satisfied, he set the glass down and said, “For more than thirty years, the big banks have been key players in the drug trade. Official statistics report that last year, criminal proceeds amounted two point one trillion dollars being laundered. That’s three point nine percent of global GDP.
“Do you know the bank’s return on assets is?” Bernie asked.
“Point zero nine. Less than one percent.”
“Do you know what the banks make when the launder money?”
“A lot more,” Paul said.
“Six to ten percent.”
“Do you know how much more profit that is?” Bernie asked.
“No, I–.”
“Let’s take the middle figure. Nine times more.”
“Oh,” was all Paul could say.
“Yeah, oh. And when the banks get fined a few billion, do you know what that means?”
“It doesn’t mean dick. They made one hundred and sixty eight billion dollars laundering money last year…and it goes up every year. The fines are a drop in the bucket. And those fines cover three, four, five years worth of business.”
“I had no idea…”
“Yeah, you and a lot of people. And the head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said that drug dealers kept the U.S. banking system afloat during the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. You think the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department are going to shut down that mechanism? And that started a long time ago. Citibank was caught laundering drug money for Mexican cartels in the 1990s.”
The waiter came over with the bottle of Don Julio. “Otra?” he asked.
Bernie nodded and said, “Si.”
The man poured a shot, then looked at Paul. “Yi, usted?”
“No más. Pero gracias,” he said to the waiter, then turned back to Bernie. “What about the big companies?”
“Bankers and the big corporations: Monsanto, Halliburton, Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Koch industries, Cargil, and Chevron. Together they’re represented by hundreds of thousands of lobbies donating hundreds of millions of dollars to the campaigns of congressmen and senators. They run the legislators, the country, the military.
“The companies reach out for new resources and new markets. They run into an impediment…a government that won’t grant those companies access to local markets or to their natural resources. The CIA goes in and either convinces them to cooperate or overthrows the government.”
“Very neat and clean,” Paul replied.
“And where do you think the CIA gets the money to do that since they can’t ask the government to fund a covert, illegal, amoral operation?”
“Don’t know,” Paul said.
“They’re in the most profitable business in the world!”
“Drugs and money laundering. That surprise you?”
“I guess it shouldn’t.”
The waiter came back over. “The hombre there,” he said, chucking a thumb back over his shoulder, toward a big, greasy, unshaven, slothful, badly dressed Mexican, “would like to buy you a drink.”
Paul smiled, waved at the hombre but told the waiter, “Tell him thank you, but I’m not thirsty right now.”
“Señor, it is not a good thing to turn down such an invitation, especially for a gringo.”
“Well, I guess I’ll just have to roll the dice and take my chances.”
The waiter gave Paul a worried look and walked away shaking his head.
Paul turned back to Bernie and said, “Go on.”
“They supply information to the cartels: what the other agencies of the U.S. government are planning, what they learn about the Mexican government’s plans, what they learn about a rival cartel,” Bernie explained. “They get paid in cash, which they use to finance coups d’état or provide financial support to a friendly government against possible insurrection.
“They’re all dirty…every fuckin’ one of them. From the street vendor who makes a little extra selling joints along with tacos to the presidents of countries.”
“You have proof of that?” Paul asked. “I’ve heard of rumors, but never heard of proof.”
“Proof?” Bernie laughed. “You want proof? Raúl Salinas, the brother of former Mexican President Carlos Salinas, was arrested after his wife attempted to withdraw eighty-four million from a Swiss account controlled by Raúl under an alias. Swiss prosecutors concluded that the Salinas family played a central role in Mexico’s cocaine trade, raking in huge bribes to protect the flow of drugs into the United States.”
“You mentioned the role of the CIA in the drug business,” Paul said. “But sharing information with the cartels doesn’t make enough money to back coups de etads.”
“Very good, Decker. Remember BCCI?”
“The Bank of Credit and Commerce International.”
“No, the ‘CIA Bank of Credit and Commerce International.’”
“They laundered money for the cartels. They made hundreds of millions of dollars, enough to run their operations worldwide.”
The waiter came by. “Otra vez?” he asked.
“I’m hungry,” Bernie said to Paul. “Haven’t eaten in a couple days. Mind if I order something?”
“Be my guest.”
“Arroz con pollo, ensalada, pan y montequllia.”
“Si, señor,” the waiter said to Bernie, then turned to Paul. “Y usted?”
“No comida. Pero un otra cerveza.”
“Si. Immediamente.”
Just before the waiter turned to go, Bernie smacked his empty shot glass down on the table. “Una mas,” he ordered.
When the waiter left, Bernie continued. “The bank got a license to operate on American shores through Clark Clifford. He later became Secretary of Defense. John Foster Dulles designed the CIA for Clifford. Allen Dulles was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and looked after U.S. investments in Germany.”
“I knew it was dirty,” Paul replied, “but that dirty?”
“Oh, that’s not dirty,” Bernie assured. “This is dirty…the US wanted to supply the Mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan with stinger missiles and other military hardware. So the CIA let the Afghans produce and market their heroin. The CIA got a share of the profits, the Afghans got the missiles and Russia got fucked. And nothing has changed since then.
“The big banks are still laundering staggering sums of drug money,” Bernie went on.
“An HSBC employee blew the whistle on that bank’s money laundering for terrorists and drug cartels. He said America was losing the drug war because their banks were financing the cartels. The war on drugs is a total boondoggle.
“México is in the grip of a murderous drug war that has killed over one hundred and fifty thousand people since 2006,” Bernie continued. “It’s one of the most violent countries on earth. This drug war is a product of the transnational drug trade, which is worth up to five hundred billion a year and accounts for about four percent of all international trade.
“The American government maintains that there is no alternative but to vigorously prosecute their zero tolerance policy of arresting drug users and their dealers,” Bernie added. “That’s led to the incarceration of over five hundred thousand Americans for non-violent crimes. Meanwhile the flood of illegal drugs into America continues.
“One thing the American government hasn’t done is prosecute the largest banks in the world for supporting the drug cartels by washing billions of dollars of their blood stained money,” Bernie went on.
“According to court records, HSBC, Western Union, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wachovia amongst many others have failed to comply with American anti-money laundering laws.
“The Mexican drug cartels would find it much harder to profit from their murderous activity if they didn’t have ‘too big to fail banks’ willing to wash their dirty money.
“In March 2010 Wachovia cut a deal with the US government which involved the bank being given fines of one hundred and sixty million under a deferred prosecution agreement. This was due to Wachovia’s heavy involvement in money laundering moving a hundred billion dollars a year. Not one banker was prosecuted for illegal involvement in the drugs trade. Meanwhile small time drug dealers and users go to prison.
“If any member of the public is caught in possession of a few grams of coke or heroin you can bet your bottom dollar they will be going down to serve some hard time.
However, if you’re a bankster caught laundering billions of dollars for some of the most murderous people on the planet you get off with a slap on the wrist in the form of some puny fine and a deferred prosecution deal.”
The waiter came over with the bottle of Don Julio, poured Bernie a shot, and turned to go.
“Dejar la botella,” Bernie insisted without consulting Paul.
The man sat the bottle down and left.
Bernie kicked back the shot and immediately refilled his glass. He was about to knock back another when Paul put out a hand to slow him down.
“Hey, you’re getting a million dollars worth of information for the cost of a few drinks,” Bernie insisted. “I’d say you’re getting the best of the bargain.”
Paul thought about it, then let it go.
“They’ve got it so it’s a thing of beauty…a ballet. The CIA, DEA, and ATF arm the cartels and tell them when the Mexican government is planning a major strike against them. The cartels stay in business because the CIA needs silenced money to run their covert operations. So the CIA gets a cut of ten percent. The money goes into the U.S. banking system where it earns billions of dollars in profits for the big banks because it boosts the amount of money the banks can loan. The money is loaned to the private prison system that builds more for-profit jails.
“Drugs are flowing into the country across porous borders and there are plenty of young, innocent drug uses to keep the jails filled. The private prison system is making millions, which it then feeds to legislatures to passed stricter drug laws.
“When the state governments were considering decriminalizing certain drug offenses and taking away mandatory sentences, the private prison system had the balls to write a letter to the legislatures explaining that such action would hurt their bottom line and limit their ability to support their reelection campaigns. So, guess what?”
“Those measures died in committee,” Paul said.
“The lesson is, if you’re Mexican and become involved in the drug trade, you should expect to die within a few years. If you’re a poor American, you should expect to spend decades in prison. But if you’re a wealthy banker, you can expect to live a long life of luxury.
“Do you know the best way to rob a bank?” Bernie asked.
“It’d have to give that some thought.”
“Let me help you. The best way to rob a bank is to own one. A control fraud is a company run by a criminal who uses it as a weapon and shield to defraud others and makes it difficult to detect and punish the fraud.”
Bernie stopped to pour himself a shot, then thought better of it, set the glass down and continued his tale. “Control frauds are financial super predators that cause vastly larger losses than blue-collar thieves. They cause catastrophic business failures. Control frauds can occur in waves that imperil the general economy. No matter what these banks do, the Feds don’t bring criminal charges because that could jeopardize the world’s largest banks and ultimately destabilize the global financial system. Control frauds are weapons of mass economic destruction that drive global crises and are the greatest enemy of free markets. They are also the greatest threat to democracy, and the American and British governments are allowing them to commit their frauds with impunity from criminal prosecutions.
“Those two governments say they can’t shut those banks down or criminally indict their bosses because the public will lose confidence in those institutions and undermine the whole financial system. Impact whose confidence? The Mexican drug traffickers, their international sanctions breakers, their global tax evaders, or the ordinary, law-abiding clients who are entitled to assume that their bank will obey the laws imposed on them and will provide a safe place of deposit?”
Bernie grabbed the bottle again. This time he knocked back the shot, coughed several times and began speaking again. “Confidence? What bloody confidence can anyone have when they know their bank is an admitted criminal? When their money is deposited with a bank that breaks the criminal law at every possible opportunity, which cheats them at every turn, sells them fraudulent products, launders drug money, evades international sanctions, assists foreign oligarchs’ tax evasion, safeguards the deposit accounts of Third World dictators and their families, then what is that confidence worth?
“The traffickers didn’t even have to try very hard when it comes to laundering drug money. They deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows. Every honest person in America had to be puking his guts out at such an abomination of justice.
“So you might ask, what’s the appropriate penalty for banks who launders drug money? Exactly how much money should one extract from a firm that has been profiting from business with criminals for years and years? Remember, we’re talking about companies that have admitted to a smorgasbord of serious banking crimes. If you’re the prosecutor, you’ve got this bank by the balls. So how much money should you take?”
Seeing Bernie drinking and telling a tale of horror spurred Paul to drink more than he planned. Somehow, without him noticing, every time he finished a beer, another one miraculously appeared taking the place of an empty.
“I don’t know,” Paul said, “but I think you’re about to tell me.”
“How about all of it? How about every last fuckin’ dollar the bank has made since it started its illegal activity? How about you dive into every bank account of every single executive involved in this mess and take every last bonus dollar they’ve ever earned? Then take their houses, their cars, the paintings they bought at Sotheby’s auctions, the clothes in their closets, the loose change in the jars on their kitchen counters, every last freaking thing. Take it all and don’t think twice. And then throw them in jail.”
“But it’ll never happen,” Paul decided.
“There’s the rub, and the proverbial fly in the ointment. The government can’t and won’t take such measures. Far from being impartial arbiters sworn to defend us from financial predators, speculators, drug lords, terrorists, warmongers and out-of-control corporate vultures hiding trillions of taxable dollars offshore, officials of this criminalized state are hand picked servants of a thoroughly debauched ruling class.
“Small-time drug dealers and users, often among the most impoverished and oppressed sections of the population, are routinely arrested and locked up for years in the American prison gulag. The financial parasites who keep the global drug trade churning – and make the lion’s share of money from the social devastation it wreaks – are above the law. Here, in a nutshell, is the modern-day aristocratic principle that prevails behind the threadbare trappings of ‘democracy.’ The financial robber barons of today are a law unto themselves. They can steal, plunder, even murder at will, without fear of being called to account. They devote a portion of their fabulous wealth to bribing politicians, regulators, judges and police – from the heights of power in Washington down to the local police precinct – to make sure their wealth is protected and they remain immune from criminal prosecution.
“The war on drugs is no failure at all, but a success. The US has spent about one trillion dollars throughout the globe. Can we simply say it has failed? Has it failed the drug money-laundering banks? No. Has it failed the key Western financial centers? No. Has it failed the narco-bourgeoisie in Colombia – or in Afghanistan, where we can see similar patterns emerging? No. Is it a success in maintaining that political economy? Absolutely.”

My political commentary is meant to bring a heightened consciousness and real discussion to people intent on changing social, political, and economic conditions. Politics as usual is destroying our Democracy. Government corruption demands real political change, not just a new candidate in the old system. Political leadership only leads to self-serving agendas and self aggrandizement. Politicians eschew social causes for personal enrichment. Political power corrupt morality and rationality. The result is criminal behavior and Constitutional crimes.

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