Saturday, July 17, 2010


posted by Armadillo Joe

I mentioned something a few posts back that may have seemed like a non-sequiter, about political instability in Mexico. It was just a passing comment, sure, but I think this, along with the clean-up of The Gulf, will be the major story of the next few years, maybe decades, because I think Mexico could be on the verge of socio-political collapse. The drug cartels basically run the show down there, and they're ramping up the violence (via HuffPost):

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The first successful car bombing by a drug cartel brings a new dimension of terror to a Mexican border region already shocked by random street battles, bodies dangling from bridges and highway checkpoints mounted by heavily armed criminals.


Mexican cartels – armed with billions of dollars and networks of informers among corrupt police forces – have long demonstrated their ability to target the highest-ranking security officials and government officials.

Last month, cartel gunmen killed 12 federal police in the western state of Michoacan. A jailed suspect later described the carefully planned ambush to police, making it clear the gang knew exactly where the police patrol was going to be and when.

And in another first, suspected cartel gunmen assassinated two candidates during campaigning last month for local and state elections, including the leading contender for governor of the northern border state of Tamaulipas. Never before had drug gangs killed such a high-ranking electoral candidate.
And you'll never guess where they're getting so much of the weaponry they use to be the de facto ruling party in Mexico:
Mexican drug cartels' newest weapon: Cold War-era grenades made in U.S.

MEXICO CITY -- Grenades made in the United States and sent to Central America during the Cold War have resurfaced as terrifying new weapons in almost weekly attacks by Mexican drug cartels.

Sent a generation ago to battle communist revolutionaries in the jungles of Central America, U.S. grenades are being diverted from dusty old armories and sold to criminal mafias, who are using them to destabilize the Mexican government and terrorize civilians, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.
The spirit of Saint Ronnie lives on! A generation after he launched his War on American civil liberties Drugs, at the same time he sent U.S. weapons and arms south to thwart pesky commies in Central America (remember Iran-Contra?), that very same War on American civil liberties Drugs has over the last 30 years driven demand so high in our bloated, self-indulgent country that the Mexican cartels making money running this stuff across our borders have become wealthy.

Very wealthy. As in, amounts of money usually bantered about when discussing things like sovereign wealth funds. But for that money to have any buying power in the real world, it must be clean.

American banks to the rescue. How much money are we talking about? A lot...
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.
Yes, Virginia, that is a lot of buying power. Enough buying power to maybe even pick up a whole government or two. Take a whole lot of drugs to make that kind of dough. And that's just through one bank in America. But don't you worry your pretty little head about it, right? The G-Men will swoop in and punish the wrong-doers... unless they are, you know, too big to fail...
No big U.S. bank -- Wells Fargo included -- has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

‘No Capacity to Regulate’

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.”

One of the definitions of government is the monopoly on violence and the threat of violence for coercive ends. The drug cartels are reaching a level of power and influence through their own use of extra-governmental violence that they appear likely to succeed in replacing the apparatus of the state of Mexico in all but name. And once the drug cartels neuter the Mexican government altogether and violence on our southern border spills across into our own country, to say nothing of the political refugees fleeing the ensuing anarchy, we'll have people like this to welcome them:
Arizona's controversial new immigration law has been hailed by many on the far right. But to some, like neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, the new bill is too weak. So he and some fascist buddies are roaming the desert looking for Mexicans!


37-year-old Jason "J.T." Ready, and his group America First, are full on National Socialists and are sick of Mexican "narco terrorists" crossing the border into their state.


what does J.T. Ready say he and his pals will do if they see Mexicans trying to cross illegally into Arizona? "We'll Kill Them."

And that's why we should all be very worried about what's happening right now in Mexico.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your enlightening and informative post. I am very concerned about the drug war in Juarez since I live 3 hrs from Juarez. Some of what you wrote I did know, but I've never seen anything about the big banks' laundering in the media. I don't know how I could have been so naive not to have considered their role, but what you wrote makes so much sense.

I hope you continue to follow this story. Thanks again.

Desert Crone