by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced. - Albert Einstein
May 4, 2012: Nine bodies were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just across the border from Laredo, Texas. Police could not confirm who was responsible for the murders but a message seen with the bodies indicated it may have been an attack by the Zetas cartel against the rival Gulf cartel.
The Houston Chronicle is carrying a story with startling revelations of drug gang brutality in Mexico. Among other things, it reports of kidnapping young men and forcing them to engage in contests to the death in order to find and recruit killers. This made me wonder what kinds of things deter people from behaving like this, and what kinds of conditions produce this kind of behavior.
1. The state forbids something, like drugs.
2. Production MUST therefore be illegal, and production will occur because the demand doesn’t disappear when the drug is made illegal.
3. Going illegal is a necessary condition for all those who are willing to produce and supply the drug. The profit motive remains, even heightens, and so there will always be people who will go illegal.
4. The people attracted into the illegal business are going to be the people who already have the least inhibitions about doing anything immoral and illegal. They are the ones most willing to take risks.
5. Competition is all within illegality. This means that moral rules that govern peaceful competition do not prevail among the suppliers. They therefore select among any actions and rules that bring them survival, profits, and growth. The most effective means of gaining market share and preventing the incursion of rivals within a situation of illegal rivalry will include a reputation and readiness to kill and maim so as to enforce one’s will.
6. The means include corrupting law enforcement. This is virtually a necessity and always occurs in these conditions. The results include gang warfare. It also includes uneasy peace among gangs and division into territories and fiefdoms.
7. The competition need not lead to the practices mentioned in this article whose aim is to find and groom the most merciless killers. Yet it probably happened in the 1920s gangs that this mode of competition also prevailed as the many stories of Capone suggest. Most gangster movies also depict that the more brutal gangsters rise to the top.
I don’t claim that this is a complete explanation of what’s going on, but I did want to make the point that what’s going on in Mexico is not a random thing and not a peculiarly Mexican thing. These things often have rational explanations. It’s akin to terrorism and assassination and other forms of violence in that respect. There are often reasons that we can find that explain it even if the behavior is awful.
The U.S. government didn’t offer a reward for the capture of Houston grandmother Elisa Castillo, nor did it accuse her of touching drugs, ordering killings, or getting rich off crime.
But three years after a jury convicted her in a conspiracy to smuggle at least a ton of cocaine on tour buses from Mexico to Houston, the 56-year-old first-time offender is locked up for life - without parole.
Convicted of being a manager in the conspiracy, she is serving a longer sentence than some of the hemisphere’s most notorious crime bosses - men who had multimillion-dollar prices on their heads before their capture.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents working with members of the Honduran military were involved in the killing of two pregnant women and two men, all of them innocent, last Friday [May 11].
The deceased victims included two young men, Emerson Martínez and Chalo Brock Wood, and two women, Candelaria Tratt Nelson and Juana Banegas — both of whom were pregnant. According to Congressman Wood Grawell Maylo of the department of Gracias a Dios and the Mayor of Ahuas, Lucio Baquedano, the attack was carried out in the early morning by a helicopter unit consisting of Honduran police and members of the United Stated Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They said that the unit mistook the targeted boat for another boat that was being used by drug traffickers.
El Tiempo reported that the two boats had passed each other in the early morning at about the time that the motorboat with the drug traffickers was being pursued by the helicopter. Mr. Baquedano said, “The boat with the narcos did not have a light, while the one with the passengers did have a light… which made it a visible target for the agents who were firing from the helicopter.” He said that the drug traffickers abandoned their boat and escaped up the coast in the direction of El Patuca.
Villagers rioted in protest, burning down government buildings and demanding that agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who participated in the operation as part of a commando-style Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), leave the area and stay out.
spreading ‘good will’ around the world: the dea’s presence in central america is expanding:
Honduras is a growing focus of American counternarcotics efforts aimed at the drug cartels that have increasingly sought to use its ungoverned spaces as a way point in shipping cocaine from South America to the United States.
In November 2011, The New York Times reported that the DEA has deployed five “commando-style squads” in Central America and the Caribbean, including Honduras, to combat drug cartels. Each team consists of 10 specially-trained agents with military experience. The operation is part of the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST) program established under President George. W. Bush in response to drug trafficking associated with the Taliban in Afghanistan. The program is reportedly overseen by former Navy SEAL Richard Dobrich. The Pentagon provides most of the training, equipment, and transport for the DEA squads.
This is a still from an LSD experiment in the Fifties. Watch the video
It wasn’t really until the early 1960s that psychedelics, specifically psilocybin and LSD, began to be demonized en masse. Timothy Leary’s initially admirable attempt to spread information about psychedelics devolved into cult-of-personality-based recreational drug use. The Leary contingent’s rabble-rousing from their Millbrook, NY estate, coupled with Leary’s egotistical quest to become a countercultural icon (remember “turn on, tune in, drop out”?), ultimately helped to contribute to the poor perception psychedelics have faced historically by providing reference material for the Drug War propaganda machine.
Prior to the Leary Hour in psychedelic history, scientists enjoyed years of unfettered study and experimentation with drugs like LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. With the discovery of LSD in 1938 by chemist Albert Hoffman and its subsequent mass production by Sandoz Laboratories in 1947 as a psychiatric drug, the psychedelic study floodgates opened. Scientists examined psychedelics as treatments for everything from alcoholism and addiction to anxiety and depression. So popular was the study of hallucinogens that throughout the ’50s and ’60s, scientists administered psychedelics to some 40,000 patients across 1,000 clinical studies.
Firefighters remove the body of a man hanging from a bridge in Ciudad Juarez, on March 3, 2012. The body was found hanging from its neck on a bridge late Saturday, local media reported. The body showed signs of torture and the head was covered with duct tape. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)
Locals look at the screening of names of 10,000 victims of violence in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, on the facade of Annunciation House, a shelter for immigrants and indigent people in the US city of El Paso on April 23, 2012. Annunciation House organized a mournful tribute called Voice of the Voiceless in which more than 10,000 names were screened on the facade of the building.
A message from Willie Nelson
“I smoke pot and it’s none of the government’s business.”
A decorated former state University at Albany campus police officer was spared prison time Monday for her role in the growing of more than 100 marijuana plants on her Duanesburg property.
Wendy Knoebel, 49, received five months of home confinement and three years probation at her sentencing before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Scullin. She also must perform 50 hours of community service for her Dec. 9 guilty plea to conspiring to manufacture marijuana.
The judge dipped below a potential sentence that would have sent Knoebel to prison for one year and four months. If convicted at trial, she faced five years behind bars.