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Thread: Drugs & US Law Enforcement (2006-2017)

  1. #181
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    Default Jmm

    Mike good info on all counts. Still, we need to remember that the definition of 'middle class' is going to vary significantly depending on what we choose to measure. Clearly, the middle class in CENTAM was very small in 1980 and a good bit larger in 2009 by any measure. But even taking the 8% figure that was about 640,000 folk in the pool - cut it in half for the women = 320,000 and you stiil have a rather good sized pool of potential Warrant Officers. Since my criteria for the Warants was a high school diploma and I believe that there were more of those than the 8% MC, then the pool was probably bigger still. Incidentally, a HS diploma is probably a pretty good indicator of MC status in CENTAM.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  2. #182
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    Default Hi John,

    Methinks, you are wanting a response from me on your warrant officer proposal.

    OK, an armchair civilian view, heavily influenced by the SNCOs who post here. A military needs folks who are long term, experienced, smart; and with status to supervise, educate and train those folks below them in rank - without looking down on them as "enlisted swine". Junior officers flunk that test at least in the "long term, experienced" part.

    In large law firms, it's necessary to have lawyer or paralegal office managers - and, in litigation, that most important functionary, the litigation manager (a lawyer). They fit between the lawyers and the clerical staff (as to which, at least in the 60s, there was a definite gap - call it institutional culture or whatever). Those folks were not partners in the firm - and didn't expect to be. So, if effect, they were warrant officers, who had seen many young associates come and go - and not a few partners.

    A smart young lawyer makes sure that he gets along with those folks - and that the "get along" is genuine on his part because they are experts at spotting phonies. They can, of course, screw you in a minute if they want to; but more important, they are a source of institutional memory and tips on the practical side of law.

    I suppose analogous reasoning caused SF to go to WOs as more permanent team members and above, since Os and Team Sergeants tend to be rotated out and about.

    So, yeah, your proposal has merit based on what little I know.

  3. #183
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    Default Hi Mike

    Thanks - I personally think it was brilliant!!!!!!! But it also had little or no chance of being adopted because it ran afoul of the US military perception/culture at the time and of the ESAF military culture. What made it doable with the ESAF, IMO, is that it could have been bent to meet their cultural perceptions. Unfortunately, I was never in a position to find a champion I could convince to take it up. My bosses in the ESAF Assessment team would have felt (my belief or perhaps excuse) that it was too radical and/or they were not willling to expend the political capital to make it happen after Wag's try at using junior officers and an OCS.

    Cheers

    JohnT

    PS I like your lawfirm analogy. Works for a large element of the university as well.

  4. #184
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default

    Or you could do it like a police department and just abolish the difference. Everybody starts as an officer. Everybody should start as a soldier and as you gain experience your training and education is based upon what you are going to do for the organization. Not some idea that you are an officer and a gentleman and everybody else is some how a lesser being Thats bad for the system, it causes Bifurcation right from the start.....you want Unification right from the start. Of course John T. is right... this ain't gonna happen.

  5. #185
    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Tijuana Drug Lords: National Geographic Channel

    This documentary is airring again Wed Dec 23rd at 3PM EST again. A very well put together documentary. Period covered from early 1980s up through the 2008 cartel wars. A few narratives by current AFO Task Force members.

    In the late 1980s the Arellano-Felix brothers take over the Tijuana Cartel. Using a network of tunnels, modified cars, boats and planes they flood the US with billions of dollars worth of drugs; quickly establishing themselves as the worlds largest smugglers of cocaine. To protect this business the brothers recruit and train an army of American gang bangers. When rival cartels attempt to muscle in on their business the result is a war that claims thousands of lives. Mexican and US law enforcement join forces to take the Brothers down but they're powerless to stop a wave of violence engulfing Tijuana.

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.co...w#tab-Overview

  6. #186
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    Default Good article by Bob Haddick

    on successes in Colombia, What Afghanistan Can Learn from Colombia (linked from SWJBlog).

    He cites as a resource on Colombia the CSIS report, Countering Threats to Security and Stability in a Failing State: Lessons from Colombia (Sep 2009).

    What I glean from this:

    1. A bi-lateral financial effort (vs the multi-lateral effort in Astan), with the HN supplying a much greater part of the effort (e.g., US funding over 2000-2008 was $4.8B, Colombia spent that much in 2003 alone - CSIS p.45 pdf).

    2. A small-footprint FID effort (measured in the 100s of US advisors, who did just that) by the AN.

    3. The HN took the lead in developing the political effort and providing for local governance and security (e.g., formation of some 600 platoons of home guard units - folks who would have been drafted into the army, but who were allowed to serve in their home towns).

    As to application of Colombia to Astan (particularly with respect to the political side of the ledger) - ???

    Regards

    Mike

  7. #187
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default US waves white flag in disastrous 'war on drugs'

    Not caught any report like this before; with this sub-title: After 40 years, Washington is quietly giving up on a futile battle that has spread corruption and destroyed thousands of lives.

    Link:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-1870218.html

    Starts with:
    After 40 years of defeat and failure, America's "war on drugs" is being buried in the same fashion as it was born – amid bloodshed, confusion, corruption and scandal.
    Ends with:
    This year should be the year that common sense vanquishes the mailed fist in an unwinnable war against an invisible enemy.
    Is this reporting echoed in the USA?
    davidbfpo

  8. #188
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    Default Article is inaccurate, but

    http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/fs/index.htm

    Found the article to be excessively bias and inaccurate. Whether we continue to call our efforts against the cartels a war or not is up for debate, but we will and are continuing to disrupt their activities. All this reporter had to do is investigate numerous official open source sites to see where the U.S. was providing assistance. A set back in one one or two countries (assuming this reporting was accurate) hardly represents a retreat.

    Within the U.S. there is a growing movement to transform our criminalization approach for users to managing it as a health problem. In turn that should lessen the pressure on our over crowded prisons and court systems, and who knows it may actually work better. However, overseas I don't see any sign of substantial policy change. Nor do I see how we could with the now clear linkages between terrorism and the drug trade. Seems we have an intractable problem where we're darned if we do and darned if we don't attack it.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 01-17-2010 at 09:35 PM.

  9. #189
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    Default Agree with Bill

    No tears at dumping the word "war" and calling it something else. The two aspects of it are obvious, Supply and Demand. Even if the US governments (Federal and States) took over the Demand side (as they have in the area of booze), efforts to interdict illegal Supply side activities would still have to exist.

    Regards

    Mike

  10. #190
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Is this reporting echoed in the USA?
    The closest that I have seen recently is this:

    Saving Mexico, by David Luhnow. The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009.
    To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade

  11. #191
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    From the article:
    "Prepare to shed a tear over the loss of revenue that eventual decriminalisation of narcotics could bring to the traffickers, large and small, and to the contractors who have been making good money building and running the new prisons.."
    ...and the loss of liquidity drug trafficking brings to the global economy; or the significant contribution to GDP narcotics production and trafficking brings to developing countries which far eclipses foreign aid received.

    All of which is in part, and I hope I am wrong here, why we are not likely to see legalization anytime soon.

    The following anecdote is a passage from the epilogue to retired Customs and DEA agent Robert Mazur’s book The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009). The book tells of Mazur’s undercover role as a money launderer in what would become Operation C-Chase, an incredibly successful undercover law enforcement operation in the late 1980’s.
    The conversation is with an officer of the Latin American division to the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International which Mazur had successfully penetrated:
    Regine’s nightclub, Miami
    2:00 A.M., September 3, 1988


    As our night on the town was coming to a close and Scotch had loosened Bilgrami’s tongue, he said, “Bob, do you know who the biggest money launderer is in the U.S.?”

    “Who?” I shrugged, smiling.

    “The Federal Reserve Bank. They are such hypocrites! They know that the Bank of the Republic in Bogota has a teller window known as the ‘the sinister window.’ Under Colombian rule, any citizen who has huge piles of cash can come to that window and anonymously exchange their U.S. dollars for Colombian pesos – no questions asked. This causes the central bank to accumulate palletloads of U.S. dollars that are shipped to the Federal Reserve and credited to the account of the Bank of the Republic—again, no questions asked. The people at the Federal Reserve aren’t idiots. They see this river of hundreds of millions in U.S. dollars being shipped to them from Colombia. They know what generates that cash. That’s drug money that has been smuggled from the U.S. and Europe to Colombia. The Federal Reserve takes that because its good economics for this country’s banking system. The Americans’ so-called War on Drugs is a sham.”

    I was floored. If this was true, why were risking our lives?

    Later research confirmed Bilgrami’s claim, and I had never felt more betrayed. For the first time, I questioned whether we’d been naďve to think we could make a difference.

    - Mazur, pp. 339-340
    Now, I must say that this is the only part in this book where Mazur offers an opinion on the war on drugs; and it cannot speak for his overall assessment of it. Rather, I believe this passage illustrates the economic complexity, if not underlying hypocrisy of the war on drugs (at least in the 1980’s). I do not know if this loophole with the Federal Reserve still exists today.

  12. #192
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    Default Uribe is out

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...022700523.html

    So can Santos keep Colombia on track? Has Colombia achieved irreversibility and institutionalization?

    Chao

    Mike

  13. #193
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    Default Good news for Colombia, democracy, and the US

    Mike, this is indeed good news. consider the contrast between Uribe's reaction and Zelaya's or Chavez' and Morales. The point is that when faced with a Supreme Court decision Uribe agreed to step aside. Now, the test is whether his initiatives like CCAI have been/will be institutionalized by law. Colombia has plenty of talented and relatively honest politicians as well as the longest tradition of democratic transition in Latin America.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  14. #194
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Colombia under Uribe: election commentary

    Our new columnist (Maria Carolina Latorre) charts the run-up to the Colmbian presidential election this year and where this may take the sometimes turbulent south American country.
    Maybe of interest and glanced through - the comments made by readers are a serious "demolition job" on the author.

    Link:http://www.progressonline.org.uk/col...lumn.asp?c=381
    davidbfpo

  15. #195
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    Default The author may be wrong but

    she, at least, did some serious research on the topic. Of the comments, only Juan Cabrera gives any indication that he actually knows what is going on in Colombia. His comes from personal experience. That said, recent academic research by Dr. Jennifer Holmes of the U of Texas at Dallas, indicates that with the increase of government presence there is a reduction of violence, Her research is focused on quantitative indicators disaggregated to the departmental level (tempered by in-country interviews).

    Cheers

    JohnT

  16. #196
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default A monster of an article:

    Banks Financing Mexico Drug Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal, Bloomberg News, 28 June 2010.
    Wachovia admitted it didn't do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That's the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico's current gross domestic product.

    "Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.
    Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

    Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

    The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

    "There's no capacity to regulate or punish them because they're too big to be threatened with failure," Blum says. "They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they're caught."

  17. #197
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default

    Not sure why the institutions themselves should be indicted. My local BoA teller didn't sign off on a drug lord's transactions.

    Criminal indictments against select account executives, OTOH, would do absolute wonders.

  18. #198
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default Narcosubs Now Submersible

    Ecuador police seize 100-foot narco-submarine being built secretly, by Chris Kraul. Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2010.
    Police in Ecuador seized a 100-foot submarine being built by suspected drug traffickers capable of carrying a crew of six and 10 tons of cocaine on underwater voyages lasting up to 10 days — a "game changer" for U.S. anti-drug and border security efforts, officials said Monday.
    .......
    The craft was outfitted with a conning tower, a periscope, air conditioning and "scrubbers" to purify the air, and bunks for a maximum crew of six. But what set the craft apart from semi-submersible craft that drug traffickers have used for years was a complex ballast system that would have enabled it to dive as deep as 65 feet before surfacing.
    An excellent 27min documentary on narcosubs was made by vbs.tv last summer; includes extensive interview with a Colombian Coast Guard officer and a former trafficker, and tours the Colombian Coast Guard's collection of captured semisubmersible's illustrating the evolution of these craft. In Spanish with English subtitles.

  19. #199
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    Default

    I did not see the show so I am unable to comment specifically on the show, but I can say that in my 18 years with DEA I have spent my time on the sources of supply and not the street junkies. But, that's our mission. Well, the mission sometimes changes from administrator - administrator. MET teams, RET teams, gangs, follow the money, priority targets, OCDETF, assets, SWBI, interdiction - WTF! So, you do it all.

    I would assume that when one supports leglization they are talking personal use amounts and not care givers or distribution centers for any and everything. Meth especially is so distructive at whatever amounts, but I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on that one.

    I did a foreign stint from 2000 -2002 in Pakistan - ran a Pakistani vetted unit of 50+ military officers and police officials - like herding cats. I'm sure someone in there was ISI. IMO big waste of money. What the U.S. is experiencing with akistan right now and the GWOT is no big suprise to me.

    Things have changed over the years, no doubt about it. I use to take things personally - aphathetic public, knob supervisors, lazy prosecutors, but learned that I all I can do is continue to be a good public servant, earn my paycheck, make it a job and not a crusade, and control only what I can control. Maybe that's referred to as growing up.

    War on Drugs? Maybe when I first came on. I'm looking forward to the day when I don't do this anymore - that gives ya a pretty good idea what I think about the War on Drugs.

    I'm done whining.

  20. #200
    Council Member gute's Avatar
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    Default

    In my earlier post I did not address how we lost the war on drugs, well in my opinion it was changing stategies, political correctness, too many different federal agencies working dope, in fighting between federal agencies, and the fact we have a free society (freedom is good). There are many countries who deal with drug crimes much more harshly then we do and they do not have the problem we have.

    Another thing I never quite understood is why the Drug Czar was not the DEA Administrator. Then again, I'm biased.

    Not that I have all the answers, but if I ran the show and could get people on the same sheet of music (good luck) I would combine drug enforcement efforts at the federal level under the DEA. That would mean the ICE, ATF, FBI, etc working dope would work with the DEA everywhere. Again, I'm biased. Never happen. We tried in the 1990's with the Southwest Border Initiative - Customs, DEA, FBI, and USBP. DEA and Customs constantly argued over Title 21 authority and Bureau does not like to have their people answer to others.

    At the local/state level I would deputize more officers so they can work across state borders and have the protections that I have as a federal agent. I have found over the years that state laws tend to be more restrictive when it comes to drug investigations i.e. use if search warrants, consenual recordings, use of tracking devices. One area the states seem to get it right is with wire taps - the title III law or maybe it's DOJ's policies need to change. Exhausting all avenues before getting a wire tap is time consuming and costly. Obviously so much can be gleaned from taps and the tap is quite effective at dismantling an organization. But, with the frequent use of the cell phone to C2 drug organizations it should be something that we do sooner then later. Of course the use of taps depends on federal district -federal district. It seems to be much easier to get one in New York then one in Oregon.

    Going back to deputizing more locals - you have to have C2 or everyone is running around doin their own thing - kind of like now. Drug cops and their egos! Not that DEA is any better at then anyone else, but DEA should have oversight or C2. Remember I'm biased.

    I've learned a lot over the years. I started off in Honolulu assigned to a plain clothes patrol unit patroling the China District because my DEA boss said I needed to learn from cops because they know how to talk to people. Well, I learned and had a blast. That's the perfect fit for a 23 year-old with a blue flame shooting out of his ass. I've seen it all until I go to work Monday.

    If I'm coming off as an expert that was not my intention - I am far from it because if I were I would have solved this a long time ago. This is all my humble opinion.

    Night gents.

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