About Me

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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. Until recently, I was a contributing editor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

HAS THE WAR ON DRUGS BEEN LOST?

Despite the so-called war on drugs, the world is seeing a rapid rise in illegal drug production, drug trafficking and above all, an increase in the power and influence of the drug syndicates and cartels. Human mules are increasingly being used to slip through porous borders and even not-so-porous borders. Drug crops continue to expand and grow. Within the African markets, the popularity of cocaine is becoming, by far, the most popular and lucrative drug. Yet, everyone seems quite content to talk about it and do as little as possible or, do just enough to look as though they are actually doing something.

Latin America, Africa and the Far East are becoming increasingly active in the drug trade, these “products” making their way to the US and Europe. Just how much of the proceeds from this crime are being invested into terrorism is not officially known. But, it is known that the illegal weapons trade makes use of the same routes, possibly indicating a larger involvement of terrorist organisations.

Many African countries offer unmonitored coastlines, poorly paid officials, porous borders, inadequate training, and booming informal markets.

South Africa and West Africa in particular are becoming progressively more open to the illegal drugs trade and currently act as major transit routes. Senegal in particular has been targeted by Columbian drug lords due to its well-developed transport and telecommunications networks. Ironically, we know it, speak about it and yet do nothing.

At home, our Minister of Intelligence, Siyabonga Cwele’s wife has been implicated in an international drug trafficking scandal. Ironically, the Minister’s spokesman has said that the honourable member will make it a “priority” to investigate the allegations against his wife. But, these allegations most probably will quietly die away – as they usually do, despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence.

According to UN estimates, 50 tons of cocaine alone a year, worth almost $2-billion at European wholesale prices, passes through West Africa. This exceeds the national income of some countries. At present, the amount of illegal drugs being routed through South Africa is unknown – and if anyone does know, they are not talking.

The production of cocaine has surged across Latin America. The Andes “exports” more than 750 tons of cocaine a year. In the process, peasants are pushed off their lands, gang wars have become part of daily life, state officials and institutions seem powerless. This, in turn, has unleashed a wave of violence, terror, population displacements, corruption and above all, power to the cartels.

According to media reports, more than 6 000 people were killed as a result of drug-related violence in Mexico last year. Thus far, more than 1 000 have lost their lives this year. Large tracts of Mexico are, by all accounts, under siege as the cartels brazenly take on the government forces. This violence is steadily creeping towards the USA.

Astonishingly, the European Union and some Latin American countries are calling for a strategy that calls for “harm reduction” measures. This “strategy” will look at elements such as legalising marijuana and assistance with needle exchanges. Such “strategies” are further proof that the war on drugs is either being lost or is simply a fallacy.

The know-how and technology exist to locate and neutralise an enemy soldier. The technology to intercept phone calls, emails and such like is also available. The ability and skill to train and deploy agents and either infiltrate syndicates and cartels or penetrate them is there. The capability to monitor illegal aircraft flights is available. Covert or discretionary warfare strategies and tactics to attack the dealers, syndicates and cartels exist, yet none of this is used. Instead, governments faff around and act as though nothing is happening or express concern but worry about taking action lest it be construed as politically incorrect. Some governments sadly appear only too keen to appease the syndicates and cartels.

Western intelligence services have also happily supported – and in some instances even protected – drug lords and their cartels with the belief that this would lead to a reciprocal assistance in terms of intelligence. But, this has not been the case as the cartels have exploited the intelligence services and given very little, if anything, in return. Where they have played a role, it was in exposing their competition. An attitude of my enemy’s friend is also my friend does not always yield positive results.

In a world where even drug trafficking seems to have become politically correct at the expense of law abiding citizens, it is an astonishing phenomenon to witness. Of course, there are those that argue that people are growing, producing and trafficking drugs because of their economic circumstance. Such a strawman argument implies that anyone who is economically disadvantaged may commit crime, due to his or her circumstance.

The reach of this criminal activity is far and wide. Countries, communities and families are all targeted. Raking in billions of dollars annually, the ultimate aim of many cartels is that of power and control. They smilingly pose for photographs with heads of state – the gilt-framed photographs adorn their office walls for all to see. They count influential people as their friends and supporters. They have the money to buy whatever they wish – even the law. This gives them a sense of being untouchable and in a manner of speaking, they are.

Fighting the illegal drug trade requires a strong strategy – a strategy that governments will not be afraid to implement, regardless of the human rights of the dealers, syndicates and cartels. It, additionally, requires a genuine desire to eradicate the problem. If the drug wars are to be won, it requires determination from governments to do exactly that. This requires courage and national will – character traits few governments seem to have.

It is time for governments to either take the politically correct avenue and legalise drugs or do the correct thing and fight it in order to stop it. If the decision is made to destroy this trade, then strong action is called for. This action should call for an intensification of real intelligence gathering and hard action to attack and destroy the dealers, syndicates and cartels.

But, at present, it is obvious that the current war against the drug trade has failed dismally. If anything, it has made the syndicates and cartels stronger, more brazen and wealthier.

This is indeed a very strange way to fight a war.


My next posting will take a brief look at physical security.

Added on 19 March 2009: And so it continues - http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/269419

Added on 20 March 2009: It just gets worse…see http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2488987,00.html, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1163468/Spanish-police-seize-42-piece-dinner-set--entirely-cocaine.html, http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2488985,00.html and
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2488915,00.html One consolation is that at least some busts are being made.

Added on 23 March 2009: It just gets worse… http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2490222,00.html

94 comments:

Peet vdWalt said...

Eeben.
A very good article as always. Like most of the blog articles you have hit the nail on the head. The fight against drugs (in any form) has formed a pivotal role in my life for a long time. I joined the South African Narcotics Bureau in 1987 after serving with another section of the SAP for 6 years and later joined the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit where I headed up the biggest Anti-drug intelligence operation (at that stage) in the history of the SA Police Service.
We had PHENOMENAL successes. I say WE because like in any war, team effort is what brings success. Individuals merely execute tasks to the greater good. The “we” also includes various agencies and specialised units. None of these units would have been effective as a single entity but combine the resources and you end up with an above average ability to generate intelligence, take the necessary action against syndicate / cartel members up to final arrest and conviction in court. In the single operation that I refer to above we had the resources of local Intelligence Agencies, Specialised Criminal Investigators (Detectives of the Narcotics Bureau), International Intelligence Agencies, Agents, Sources and most of all FINANCIAL BACKING. The latter forms the core of any such operation as you well know.
Unfortunately professional jealousy also plays a role in most of these combined operations which even till today still boggels my mind. It is one of the big reasons why we have failed in the war against drugs. Political influence and the ability of Politicians to make bad decisions is another. Case in point is the dismantling of the Narcotics Bureau and Scorpions Units in South Africa. How on earth can you expect to win a war if you let go of your most valuable weapons? Another is the absolute inability of Intelligence Organisations to do their primary job... intelligence. That includes not only strategic political intelligence but strategic criminal intelligence as well. Why criminal intelligence? It has been proven over and over again, not only in South Africa but world-wide that the drug trade runs hand in hand with the illegal weapons trade. This eventually funds terrorist organisations and syndicates / cartels to the brink of private armies which in smaller third-world countries can and has lead to the overthrow of governments or at minimum illegal and bad influence on the government of the day.
Worldwide it has been proven that Political figures are more than often involved in drug syndicates, not only to enrich themselves but even to the extent of funding the political party that he / she is part off. How can you fight a war and expect to win if those that you need to trust to supply you with the “weapons and ammunition” are involved with the enemy?
During the late 80’s in South Africa we (as Narcotics Detectives) were extremely proud if we could arrest someone with and confiscate a single gram of cocaine. The latter happened few and far between because we were effective in what we did. Our biggest problem was Mandrax and Dagga (Cannabis). Today, 20 years later one can buy heroin, cocaine, LSD and other hard drugs freely on the streets of South Africa and ironically not even be scared of being arrested. It has become an everyday occurrence, not even performed behind locked doors but out in the open in broad daylight. Even Primary School children are now exposed to drugs... in their schools, not to mention High Schools.
In South Africa specifically we recently had three very bad examples of how South Africa “fights” the war against drugs. Our National Carrier (SAA) was implicated not once but twice in transporting drugs into the UK via SAA Employees (Crew Members on the flights). Unforgivable! The SA Government is the largest and only stakeholder in SAA... goes to show. And then the incident that you refer to in your article of the wife of our South African Minister of Intelligence. How much below rock bottom do you want to hit? Strangely enough, yesterday it was reported that one of the largest seizures of drugs ever were made at the OR Tambo International Airport. According to me, (although commended) this was an effort to direct attention away from the Intelligence Minister debakel.
Unfortunately I must admit that we have lost the war on drugs in South Africa. How can we win with these odds stacked against us? To legalise drugs and the trade therein is definitely NOT the answer. In South Africa we have a murder rate (Officially stated) of 50 PER DAY. Can you imagine what will happen if drugs and the drug trade is legalised. The murder rate will double. Even in countries like Belgium and Holland the “legal” use of certain drugs are only a means of combating the spread of diseases like aids.
More unfortunate is the fact that we have lost the war on drugs worldwide. Take a look at the heroin production in Afganistan – It has surpassed the production of cocaine and is now sold worldwide at the lowest ever prices per gram. This IS THE MOST ADDICTIVE DRUG on the market. Studies showed that if one uses Heroin once there is an 80%+ chance of re-using the drug. Who is behind this massive heroin production? Read “Drugs for guns: how the Afghan heroin trade is fuelling the Taliban insurgency” – link at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/drugs-for-guns-how-the-afghan-heroin-trade-is-fuelling-the-taliban-insurgency-817230.html
This is only one of hundreds of articles on the subject. Again we are getting back to the fact that the drug trade fuels illegal weapons trade, which are used by terrorists and drug syndicates / cartels alike.
The solution (For South Africa at least) is to recreate what we had during the late 80’s and early 90’s. A professional, well equipment intelligence outfit that is allowed to operate across international boundaries in order to obtain preemptive intelligence and act even before the drugs hit SA Borders. The cooperation of other intelligence agencies in generating crime intelligence is required, specifically in regard to the illegal drug trade. Hand in had with the fist is the recreation of a Specialised Drug Unit (the old Narcotics Bureau) to fight street level drug use, abuse and dealings. To try and eliminate the syndicates / cartels without addressing the usage problem and vice versa will not be effective. A twofold strategy is required to be successful.
I said my peace – for now.

Tango said...

Extract from news report-( The Times 19/03/2009)
------------------------
"The consignment of drugs, which was discovered in the aircraft’s cargo hold after a tip-off to the police, had an estimated street value of R170-million, making this the biggest drugs bust at the airport in 10 years.

Golding said the police investigation was at a sensitive stage and would not comment on reports that the police believed the drugs were destined for a South African address.

“We have good leads, but we do not want to disclose information that will jeopardise the case.

“We are still investigating how the cargo got onto the plane,” she said.


The drugs were taken to a forensic laboratory in Tshwane and destroyed.

No arrests have been made."
----------------------------
"The war on Drugs has been lost"
After receiving a Tip off -no arrests were made.
The drugs (evidence) were taken to a forensic laboratory and destroyed.
Does that mean case closed ?

Regards
Tango

Aethyr said...

Dear Eeben,

I often wondered why the war against drugs seems to fail?! Just like you say, the resources to fight drugs are here, but it doesn't seem to be enough.

I remind an article I read weeks ago, arguing that the war on drugs is considered lost. But I don't think it's lack of will or political correctness. The US spent millions to fight the drug lords. I think there are even some PSCs involved - DynCorp isn't it?

In my opinion we are loosing the war because we didn't deal with this problem earlier. Now the drug cartells have become very powerful. They have their own armies and the equipment to counter surveillance.

But as always you make a very good point in pointing out the problems of the system. And so I find the influence of intelligence services quite interesting. But aren't some of these also directly involved in the production and distribution?

thank you for your time

regards
David

Lukeisaduke said...

Hey Eeben

You are totally correct. Mexico its just out of control.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Many thanks for a very good comment with a lot of insight, Peet.

As you well know, we find politicians and businessmen at the highest levels actively giving assistance to the syndicates and cartels. Are they really stopped? The short answer is only when they are seen as a threat to their fellow crooks.

Our national carrier has disgraced us all. And to think that those crews have not yet been acted against – at least not as far as I am aware of.

I recall the old narc bureau (I think you guys were called SANAB?) having major successes in the war against drugs. Too bad it, along with several other agencies, were closed down in 1994.

You are correct in a two-pronged strategy to fight this. My concern remains that this will never be done.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Those were exactly my thoughts, Tango. How on earth can a tip-off lead to a discovery (again aircraft being used) and not a single suspect or arrest? It boggles the mind but then Peet mentioned something about the owner of the carrier…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I do believe that it should have been attacked in a much more aggressive manner much earlier, David. But, I also believe, as was pointed out by Peet, that some politicians use the syndicates/cartels to help them fund their political ambitions.

As far as PSCs are concerned: again, a previous comment on this blog pointed to the PSC you mentions spectacular lack of success in training the police in Iraq and their subsequent response in the New York Times. But, PMCs/PSCs that are capable and professional can play a major role in this war as long as they are appointed on capability and not on origin.

Despite the cartels being powerful, they can still be stopped. It does require firm decisions and aggressive action.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Given the fact that Mexico is the US’s southern neighbour, the possibility of what will happen if this is not stopped is somewhat concerning, Luke.

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

Wow, very interesting topic, and certainly relevant. Here are a couple of thoughts. These cartels basically put together small armies to run their businesses. I was curious Eeben if you have ever heard of actual companies that operate on a purely criminal level, and openly provide services to these cartels?

The other question is for Peet and anyone else. What would be your recommendations for US/Mexico actions against the cartels?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas I am sure these “companies” exist, the most well-known is probably Los Zetas, Matt. But they are pretty covert. The fact of the matter remains that these assets exist and as long as noting is done, they get stronger and maintain the initiative – while we get weaker and lose the initiative.

Peet certainly gave a very good insight into some of the problems we here in SA face. But, as always, I believe it can be stopped.

A long time ago, I was asked to assist with a project for a government to help defeat the cartels. But, unfortunately I was never there when it was implemented as undue foreign pressure on that government forced them to cut me loose.

I am sure Peet will give us some deeper insights as he lived that world for some years.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Allow me to take the other side of this debate or rather the Libertarian view.The war on drugs like all other war's created to solve serious problems is nothing more than giving the state the right to seize stuff based on this those that fight this war will argue that the war on drugs has been very successful.

A little libertarian philosophy a truly free man should have the right to put anything into his body so long as it does violate the freedoms and rights of his neighbour

I strongly disagree with Peets statement on heroin "This IS THE MOST ADDICTIVE DRUG on the market.Then again I know where he is coming from I had many run in's with Basie Smit who I regarded as a Hitlers lost brother.

The most addictive drug without question is alcohol second is so called legal drugs which Americans consume with wild abandon.TV in America is saturated on a daily bases with adds for various prescription drugs... there are pills to help you sleep to get up give you more energy lose weight and the most popular viagra....American men and it seems men world wide have been so woosefied over the past few decades they can't get it up.

It is not only adults who are feed the benifits of prescription drugs in America while the system tries to tell kids about the evil's of drugs they force them to take a whole range of psychotropic drugs as a means to control a kid's natural behaviour.

The War on Drugs started in earnest in the early part on 1930's ironically soon after the end of prohibition which saw the birth of the US Mafia....make something illegal and crime syndicates are sure to follow seems to be a lesson lost.

Americas war on drugs was not done for moral reasons it was and is today done to protect big business lets look at the reason why pot was crimilized.

In the early days in America the hemp plant (a.k.a. cannabis) proved a valuable resource for hundreds of years, instrumental in the making of fabric, paper and other necessities. This changed during the Industrial Revolution, which rendered tree-pulp papermaking and synthetic fibers more cost-effective through the rise of assembly line manufacturing methods. A more efficient way of utilizing hemp was a bit slower in coming.It was not until the early 1930's that a new technique for using hemp pulp for papermaking was developed by the Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with the patenting of the hemp decorticator (a machine that revolutionized the harvesting of hemp). These innovations promised to reduce the cost of producing hemp-pulp paper to less than half the cost of tree-pulp paper. Since hemp is an annually renewable source, which requires minimal chemical treatment to process, the advent of hemp pulp paper would allegedly have been better for the environment than the sulfuric acid wood-pulping process. Hemp had many champions, who predicted that its abundance and versatility would soon revitalize the American economy.

William Randolph Hearst, media mogul, billionaire and real-life model for Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, had different ideas. His aggressive efforts to demonize cannabis were so effective, they continue to color popular opinion today.In the early 1930's, Hearst owned a good deal of timber acreage; one might say that he had the monopoly on this market. The threatened advent of mass hemp production proved a considerable threat to his massive paper-mill holdings -- he stood to lose many, many millions of dollars to the lowly hemp plant. Hearst cleverly utilized his immense national network of newspapers and magazines to spread wildly inaccurate and sensational stories of the evils of cannabis or "marihuana," a phrase brought into the common parlance, in part due to frequent mentions in his publications.

The sheer number of newspapers, tabloids, magazines and film reels that Hearst controlled enabled him to quickly and to effectively inundate American media with this propaganda. Hearst preyed on existing prejudices by associating cannabis with Mexican workers who threatened to steal American jobs

Bottom line the only way to win the war on drugs is to take the financial incentive away other than that we are just whistling past the graveyard

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You raise some interesting points, Robby. However, I don’t believe any Western government can claim that the drug wars are being won – and believe what they are saying. In SA we see young kids already wrecked by drugs – as they grow older, they will do whatever they need to buy these substances – even if it includes resorting to serious crime.

Whereas liberal views can be valid, I tend to disagree that what they do is always done in such a manner as not to antagonise and violate the rights of others. Whereas this is not what you said, the point I am making is that ALL views, be they liberal, conservative – whatever, will find fertile ground with some and not with others. Of course, it depends what that fertile ground is used for. However, regardless of the views, if they transgress the laws of the state, they are illegal.

What I am particularly concerned about is the use of illegal drugs. Alcohol, prescription drugs given legally, and so on can of course do a huge amount of damage. We see, daily, accidents caused by alcohol, people walking around so legally spaced out that they don’t know if it is Saturday or Settler’s Day and kids doped up because their parents never taught them manners or acceptable behaviour… even less so can their parents control them. But, those products are (mostly) legally purchased. However, I agree with you that men have become “woosefied” – one needs simply look around one to value that comment of yours.

I enjoyed your history lesson on the war on drugs as I don’t know where it really started. Thanks for that.

It would help immensely if the financial incentive could be taken away. But, as you also pointed out, big business will never allow that to happen as ultimately, it seems to me that many of these big companies dictate a lot of government policy.

My opinion is still that there should be a strong strategy in place and it should be enforced aggressively. If not, as you say, “we are just whistling past the graveyard”.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Eeben....Once again we go back to how we were raised in the old country the only reason that current generations have embraced the drug culture is based on how they were raised...I never had any desire to smoke pot growing up as matter of fact the only folks who did back then were so called "bikers" "low lifes" and the "dead beat locals' if you know what I mean....it had a very bad stigma ....it was only when then the Beatles came along that this stigma went from unacceptable to acceptable....so solving the problem is not so much a law enforcement solution as it is a moral one....for the record the first time I smoked pot was when I was in the good old SADF somewhere in bush with nothing to do and no beer :-)

John said...

Hi Eeben – interesting article!

Peet is very right in his explanation of the drug/narcotics problem especially in SA. Unfortunately the SA government has closed down all the specialist police units in SA after 1994, as you rightly mentioned.
I think a big reason for this, especially SANAB (narcotics unit) was because the spotlight was on government officials who’s old habit of drug dealing would have been discovered and investigated.
Its common knowledge that the drug trade was one of the ways of funding for the ANC then and why stop with such a lucrative business now?
It was common knowledge at the time that Winnie Mandela amongst others was involved in drug smuggling, connected with the illegal arms trade.
Jackie Selebe, the suspended Police Commissioner (and head of Interpol) had dealings with well known drug syndicates, who even murdered people in gaining control of drug areas etc.
Those murderers are actually still operating in the Johannesburg area and enjoy tremendous police protection.
There are so many high ranking police officers just in the Johannesburg area getting “protection” money each month that it’s scary to think what has happened to SA in only 15 years.
To be exact more than 50 of these high brass are on the take. Imagine what the number of normal ranking officers involved in this must be.
The irony is that it will be naïve to think these specialist units will ever be brought back to live again. First of all, the police training standard is in shambles and second of all, I think the police corruption is in such an advance state that it will take years to rectify this.
The only solution is to make use of the private security sector. All the knowledge is with these organizations now.
On the other hand, you need the willingness of a government to approve such operations for it to even start or to be successful.
I also agree that not only in SA but the rest of the world, most governments at some level are involved in the drug/narco trade.
This is clear in for example Afghanistan. Again, the great DynCorp, had/still have (im not sure) the contract to eradicate the poppy fields.
What they actually do is to only destroy certain fields, and leave certain fields out of the program. This means that they are protecting some drug lords and eradicating their opposition’s poppy fields!
Very noble of them indeed!
Is it really necessary for the US to have to donate $1.5 billion to fight the drug cartels in Mexico? (CNN news a few months ago)
I really think with a dedicated small team of professionals, NO HUMAN RIGHTS, and the willingness of the relevant government, these problems can surely disappear.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

We were raised differently in those days, Robby and we were taught to respect and value things that today seem “old-fashioned” – even the law. So many folks today have kids and don’t even care how those kids are brought up. Today some parents view parenting as simply putting their kids on Ritalin – and this of course, according to some research, does more brain damage to children than cocaine does to adults. So, it does sometimes start at home.

Whereas the problem is a moral one, it also remains a law enforcement problem. But again, good parenting is not always a guarantee that the kids will turn out anti-drug citizens.

Yes, many film and rock stars openly use drugs today and boast about it – and they are seldom punished harshly. But, they remain “icons” in the eyes of the youth who in turn try to emulate them. “If ‘Star X’ can take that drug, so can I” is an attitude that the youth seem to think makes them just like the “stars”.

Maybe I am wrong but I believe drugs pervert the youth and leads to great social and criminal problems.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Yes can I hear a "amen"....having a older brother who was a member of the BSAP helped to keep me on the straight and narrow.....that was up and until I became adult then it was down hill from there...I bought into the concept of "if it feels good do it"....on another topic...I have been spending far to much time on this website

http://www.homecomingrevolution.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=473&Itemid=399

TCO said...

Eeben,
Excellent piece and you've drawn out some interesting responses as well. As with most anything one needs only to simply follow the money trail.

Focusing on drug production is not the answer since demand for consumption is the root cause driving the increases in production.

If one looks at some Asian countries where drug violations carry heavy penalties/sentences, even death in some cases you can draw a clear line between strict laws with strict enforcement and a low consumption rate among the population. Parents raise their children to understand that there is no tolerance for crossing that line.

It only works if societies decide that drug use is socially unacceptable. In the U.S. casual drug use is practically lauded. Just look at recent Olympic champion Michael Phelps as an example. He's a hero to millions and yet his use of drugs is brushed aside sending a signal to millions that it's OK. Had he faced the threat of been tested for drugs, stripped of his medals, banned from the sport and put into a hard-labour camp for 50 years I doubt if he would have approached the decision so casually.

Think about how many government agencies and people are 'soldiers in the war on drugs'. If the drug problem were to magically disappear in the U.S. the unemployment rate would spike through the roof.

Drugs are good business for all concerned as long as they are kept at a manageable equilibrium. On one side of town the Cartels provide examples for how kids with no socio/economic options can get ahead. Yet, across town the middle-class kid dreams of growing up to be a policeman. The bigger the 'war' is the more 'soldiers' fighting it. Soldiers pay taxes too, so that's just more revenue for the state.

Jake

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Well, my concern remains that it is governments who need to develop strong strategies to fight the drug wars, John. As they are profiting on the side, why would they want to stop it?

Busts are, however, made but I suspect that they are done to ensure that their opposition are put out of business. Also, as you rightly point out, some political parties use the drug cartels to fund their campaigns. It would be interesting to know the exact pay-offs that are agreed to.

It is sad to read that so many senior police officers are involved. It does however make perfect sense given the lack of success we now enjoy here in SA with the fight against drugs.

I agree that a PSC/PMC would be able to do the job much more efficiently and effectively. However, again I ask how will such a company be selected – in terms of origin or in terms of effectiveness and efficiency?

The example you site is criminal to say the least. But then again, I suppose if Presidents “don’t inhale”, then why should drugs be seen as a problem?

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I suspect someone is getting homesick, Robby?

We all make mistakes – it is not the mistake that is important but the ability to recognise that a mistake has been made and the corrective action taken.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Jake. Yes, that money trail…

Point taken re demand vs production. However, if there was a reduced reduction – massively reduced - and the peddlers and mules are taken out of circulation, it will be more difficult to continue with this business. But, as you point out, drugs is good business…

One thing I love about going to Asia are the signs at the airports – “Drug dealers will be executed” or something to that effect. You are correct that the parents raise their kids to realise that there is no tolerance. But, in the West, if we reduce tolerance towards something, we become politically incorrect, and the cycle of human rights infringement starts all over again.

You make a very goods comment re drug use being socially acceptable. The peer group spill-over is additionally a factor – at least here in SA. The Phelps thing you cite is a perfect example of icons getting away with crime and still remaining icons. These icons know it and can therefore break laws as they wish. I think 20 lashes in public plus the 50 years would be most fitting.

Maybe soon we will face a world where all crimes are condoned and simply ignored. After all, that is what the elected politicians are doing.

But until that day comes, we should fight the war as best we can or else our kids will inherit a drug-crazed political environment. Stopping it all begins at home.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Homesick?....sure you have seen this web page...talk about being homesick or just nostalgic

http://www.thenewrbc.com/

Sonny Cox said...

Hi again Eeben

I have read much of this debate because Tango drew my attention to the subject.

Robbie and John both have valid points to make here.

I was a post war baby (1947). My father was in the SAP (detective) and did duty up North during WWII.

In the old days only dagga known to us. I tried "donkie drolle' and that's the closest I got to drugs.

I went through the college, bush, SB, riots and Murder and Robbery Unit without touching drugs.

Drugs were used by the CIA to fund their covert operations and it got out of hand.

SANAB from Basie Smit to Lobo DAS Neves did not make a dent in any tank.

The present government has taken over the industry as a "home grown pride!"

They don't allow any cop or intruder to get near solving the problems in the country which they have fought for. (but never won)

International drugs are financed by the "Elders of Zion" AND WHILE THEY ARE AROUND, nobody will make a dent in their tank.

Drugs will be used to fund the NEW WORLD ORDER. (possibly Chinese)

All the old players are still involved and drugs and organised crime is a fantastic industry for the MOBSTERS!

Yes, Johannesburg is a mecca for drugs.

I was involved with guys who were involved in a hit in Birmingham UK, who used to drive around with R500,000 plus in their boot plus dope. They were protected by PRETORIA.

I rest my case.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Maybe nostalgic is a better word, Robby. We can never recapture the past but the Hits of the Week certainly brought back fond memories.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The only drug we ever heard of as kids was dagga, Sonny, and as Robby pointed out, it was only ever used by or associated with the “bikers”, “gangs”, et al.

The CIA was particularly active in aiding the cartels as a “strategy” to gather intelligence. It not only got out of hand but made many people very rich. But again, they weren’t the only ones – they are probably just the best known.

As you point out, in SA, it is very sadly seen as “home grown pride” with very people involved in the trade or the industry at large. As you well know, during the years of the so-called “liberation struggle” there were foreign intelligence services (read Western Intel Services) actively assisting the opposition to grow and develop the drugs trade. Behind these services, stood their governments, applauding them and encouraging them.

What we see is a closer cooperation and support between cartels and governments/intelligence services/law enforcement agencies and as long as this is construed as being beneficial to all parties, it will be a protected industry – as is the current case. It is therefore ironic to even think that there is a “war on terror” as a lot of the funding comes from the drugs trade. And these, along with gun-running, human trafficking and so on are all aimed at ensuring a collapse of law and order.

When the application of law and order is done on a purely selective basis, the end result is bound to be pretty bad. From where I am sitting, that is the case.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Here is a major part of the problem I could go on but what's the point?

First Ritalin, then cocaine - CCHR

By Fiona Gounden

Thousands of South African children who may have been wrongly diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and are using a popular Schedule 7 medication could grow up to be cocaine junkies.

This is according to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an organisation dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric violations of human rights. It comprises a panel of doctors, psychiatrists, paediatricians and other medical experts and it is staging an exhibition in Durban.

CCHR spokesman Solly Kgasoane said the group wanted to warn people about the dangers of psychiatric drugs as well as the industry practice of creating "mental disorders to expand the market for these potentially dangerous drugs"

Many health professionals say Ritalin is an effective drug for genuine cases of ADHD, however they are concerned about the consequences if children are not diagnosed properly.

Childline South Africa is worried that parents may be resorting to "quick fixes" and has urged them to rather focus on having their children assessed properly and finding alternative ways to manage their behaviour.

http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=31&art_id=vn20090321070020605C383855

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Just proves the point I made, Robby. Parents top-up their kids with Ritalin because they can’t be bothered to discipline them and them blame it on conditions that give them an excuse to give their kids drugs.

But, uncontrolled prescription drugs bring in a lot of money for the pharmaceutical companies. As far as many of us are concerned, part of the problem – as you rightly point out – starts here. Sad indeed.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Not sure if the problem is the same there as here but parents in America are too afraid to discipline their children... if a kid reports that his parents administered any form of punishment they can expect a visit from someone at social service and the real prospect of arrest for child abuse..even a tongue lashing is a form of child abuse here....it's nuts!

Sonny Cox said...

Hi Eeben ...In passing

Ritalin has got out of hand in the
US of A and parents, especially mothers are hooked on it.

They are so spaced out they cannot function in the family, social or employment environment.

Keep up the fight for Justice.

http://www.citizenalertza.blogspot.com

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have read that the situation is out of hand Robby. Preventing child-abuse is a noble thing as that action needs to be stopped as well. But to equate discipline to child abuse is pushing the envelope a bit far.

A lack of discipline has led to many/most of the social problems we see amongst the youth. And it is going to get worse.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Ritalin is something that even teachers “prescribe” to kids, Sonny – telling parents that they ought to give it to their kids in order to “focus” them. I have read that in the US it is another “Mother’s little helper” but I fear it is growing in popularity in SA as well. It makes one wonder where it will all end.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

It strikes me that this debate (discipline or lack thereof) also explains and closes the loop on your other article

IS OUR MILITARY LEADERSHIP IN CRISIS?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

So many of these things are interlinked, Robby. When we grow up without self-discipline, or respect for others, we believe that anything is our “right”. Within military units, this attitude breeds contempt for authority and leads to a break-down of discipline and thus a break-down in our fighting ability and also our will to withstand harsh combat conditions.

Because so many people today are living a spaced-out life, they reach for the tablet or whatever else it is they are using, in the misguided belief that it will make everything right.

Whether we like it or not, the leadership in the military is slowly breaking down – and in some instances not so slowly. The end result is an inability to do what must be done. But the end result is also that we are losing the drug wars – because of the lack of will to fight and destroy it.

Rgds,

Eeben

eet kreef said...

In the early 90's I was working for an SA mining house. We were kicked off our exploration licence areas in Madagascar with about 2 hours notice. A Columbian drug lord had been given all the mineral rights. In exchange, he would launder all his money through the Madagascar government.... the fight is not lost, but it's pretty damn close

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Ah, the hypocrisy of governments, Eet Kreef. We have a Global War on Terror, a Global War on Drugs, a Global War on anyone who dares to question, a Global War on this, and a Global War on that. But, many governments simply use these so-called Global Wars as a screen behind which they can do exactly as they please without any accountability. This can include getting into bed with drug lords.

The irony of all of this, as far as Madagascar is concerned, I warned Pres Ravalomanana a few years ago that the situation would lead to him being overthrown. Maybe some French officials will tell us how one of their men was advising the new Pres of Madagascar long before the troubles started – and how this advice lead to the coup we recently witnessed?

Rgds,

Eeben

bulletbunny said...

perhaps a philantropist somewhere will put his money where it is going to make a difference and hire barlows boys to stop drugs leaving west africa for europe. a private army that cannot be bought or intimidated by the cartels is the only answer.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A dedicated PMC that operates independently and professionally is the answer, Bulletbunny. Whereas I do not have a unit on stand-by, I could quickly get them together if the funding was there. Any such operation would however require a host government that has COURAGE and WILL – we will do the rest.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

we will do the rest.

I love you man :-)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Robby, but it is true. If ever approached by a government who is serious and has some courage, we WILL do the rest.

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

This was a very interesting post. Especially the comments, and I even dedicated a post to Los Zetas because of this discussion.
The interesting thing with those folks, is that they started like a PMC, but then Los Zetas morphed into something else. But the most intriguing thing about all of this, is the concept of what is the best tool for stopping a PMC that has gone bad? If no one else will offer up the manpower for this, then why not send in a PMC to take them on? The money spent to contract Executive Outcomes to take on Los Zetas back in 2003 and 2004, would have been money well spent. Even now, it would be interesting to see what a PMC could do, when contracted with the task of taking on a Cartel or stemming the drug trade.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your posting on Los Zetas was very interesting, Matt – especially important was your challenge to the media/writers to write about a really out-of-control group. But I can assure you they do not have the courage or desire to do such a thing.

You raise an intriguing point - I believe that a PMC will be able to go in and make a huge dent in Los Zetas. But, that does require funding and also some courage from the government. Without that, Los Zetas will continue to grow and cause the terror they are causing. As far as the PMCs are concerned, it will separate the real ones from the wanna-be’s.

Rgds,

Eeben

simon said...

Los Zetas is like a bad hollywood movie. Only its REAL ! I get to be inundated daily with policy on immigration and see how the trends go. This whole issue with Mexico isnt being looked at properly, suprise suprise. Rather than a security issue, immigration is being looked at as a civil rights issue. The time for ignoring the violence and pretending every juan pedro and raul that are here are just apple pickers trying to have a better life is over.

I must say that the agency I work for does its best to screen for certain thing but the real bad guys are off the grid.

I cannot see this administration letting either itself OR mexico employ an PMC due to the political insinuations it would cause. However, if they had any sense what soever, they would employ or outsource some of the intelligence and get things done pronto. There is also the added value of plausible deniability which is kind of cowardly but thats the only way I see this administration trying anything remotely close to PMC in this instance.

My fear is that Mexico is so corrupt that the violence will get so bad that we will have mass migration and a new group of asylum seekers and refugees and I wont be able to post on here for months !!!

Robby said...

FYI.....Clinton: U.S. Drug Policies Failed, Fueled Mexico's Drug War

MEXICO CITY, March 25 -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Mexico on Wednesday with a stark mea culpa, saying that decades of U.S. anti-narcotics policies had been a failure and contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border.

"Clearly what we've been doing has not worked," Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip. "It is unfair for our incapacity to have effective policies" on curbing drug use, narcotics shipments and the flow of guns "to be creating a situation where people are holding the Mexican government and people responsible. That's not right."

Clinton's comments appeared to be the most sweeping yet by a top Obama administration official accepting a U.S. role in the drug havoc in Mexico. More than 7,000 Mexicans have been killed since January 2008, as cartels have warred over trafficking routes and lashed out at the government for deploying the military against them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/25/AR2009032501034.html?nav=rss_email/components

matt said...

The curious thing about Los Zetas, is watching how far they are willing to go? They cut off heads, torture folks, kidnap, murder, use children as hitmen, use prostitutes for intelligence gathering, etc. They have no moral or ethical limitations, and their ruthless imaginations are the only limit. That is scary, especially when the founders all came from anti-drug/cartel task forces that were all trained by and worked for the Mexican Army and even trained by the US.

So with a PMC that has no limitations, how do you fight that? What is their weak point? I would like to think that if you could protect the people from these guys, that could be counted as a weak point, because I don't think they have any moral authority.

I just don't think the people would have the courage to reject these guys, until a force was able to show it could protect the people. So from a insurgency point of view, the Los Zetas only command the people through fear and intimidation, and not through any kind of governance or respect. Or maybe not. I know some cartels try to butter up the people to win them over, and maybe these guys have mastered that already. I did post a new article about a small town that is trying to battle these guys.

You guys also mentioned the money trail as well, and cutting off the flow. I agree that it must be a multi-attack effort.

I was curious Eeben, what do you think is the weak point(s) of Los Zetas and how would you attack and disable their network? Or at least bring them back down a few notches?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the article/link, Robby.

It certainly didn’t need a rocket scientist to figure that all out. Matt had a very good posting on www.Feraljundi.com on how people are trying to protect themselves in Mexico by digging ditches around their villages.

Instead of donating funds – that get spent on very questionable “solutions” to these problems – a heck of a lot of MUCH more aggressive action needs to be put in place. But, the politicians keep on faffing around, talking, posturing and achieving nothing. Instead, it is the normal folk who bear the brunt of these actions.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your posting on this issue on your site was fascinating, Matt. Los Zetas are following a classic pattern of terrorism against anyone in their path and are trying to dominate through fear and terror. In that sense, they are no better than the RUF of Sierra Leone. As you rightly mention, they have been trained and can use this training to good effect to achieve their goals.

Also, I don’t really regard Los Zetas as a PMC. To me, they are simply a well-armed criminal organisation that needs to be taken on aggressively and destroyed. But, with each day that nothing is done, they become stronger and are able to exert more influence through their terror campaign.

Again, to defeat them, a very strong multi-dimensional strategy with the will to see it through is called for. This will require an intensive intelligence gathering operation, covert actions, hard and aggressive actions against their “bases” and so forth. They need to become so scared of the forces fighting them that they will think twice before doing anything. I know that words come easier than action but it can be done.

There are, however, some chinks in their “armour” but I would be loath to comment on them as it may afford them an opportunity to reassess and rectify those chinks. More importantly though, the government needs to reassess and rectify the chinks in its armour if it is to win this war.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas I am no specialist on the immigration policy of the US, Simon, I agree with your comments, simply on the basis of what I have read about it. When civil rights/human rights over-ride the fundamental principles of safety and security, things are very wrong.

I can just imagine how difficult it must be to operate in the environment you do as the bad guys will continue to keep to the shadows. Screening therefore must be a tool that can only achieve limited success and create mass frustration for all involved.

Ironically, a PMC will be considered politically incorrect in this war, yet it seems to be perfectly acceptable in Iraq/Afghanistan/South Sudan/Somalia/Ivory Coast etc. So, one needs to question what is more import – being politically correct or winning the war. As far as I am concerned, winning it is more important than political ramifications or insinuations.

Rgds,

Eeben

PS: It would be very sad if you were unable to comment due to mass immigration.

Gatvol said...

This topic certainly garners a lot of postings with a variety of opinions. Having been in this battle for many years, I can say its all about the Dollar. On the Law Enforcement side it could be considered pissing in the wind, better yet a gale force wind.

The methods used are rarley successful, or lets say they are noteworthy and newsworthy at the time, but there is always a bigger story that you will never hear as the smaller one detracted from the bigger one actually happening.

My first trip to South Africa in the nineties was to "assist" some who were working on a project similar to mine. To put in in perspective I was shown the overall situation there and what priorities were at the time. I then understood why South Africa had drug problems that would continue to escalate, which they did. Now that the Police in South Africa have changed, there is no way one could even think of stopping the Drug Trade. All it seems now is another source of revenue for those who carry the badge. And Seriously big revenue.

In the states, Narcotics Law Enforcement is a "Profession" thats to say one goes to work, does a job and goes home without any hope of doing anything other than sticking a thumb in the dike for a few hours.

In Columbia for instance. We have folks who have been there for years, we have spent tons of money and what do we get. An increased amount of Cocaine and Dagga coming North and those in Law Enforcement who are working there are still punching the clock with nothing other than some cases solved.

Drugs have been around since it all began, I certainly have no answer. I have a few opinions, but most would think they are pretty far out there.

I notice Peet take credit for some "Phenomenal Success". I applaud that but only equate it to the old addage. Stick your hand in a bucket of water. Now remove the hand and the hole that remains is your success. I have seen too many folks risk their lives in attempting to curb street size quantities and have always been an advocate for cutting off the snakes head if you really want to curb things. As we can all see today there are so many heads, its impossible. I have the photos of the bust in Mexico where $100Million U.S. cash was discovered. For those who have not seen it,the amount covered one room about three feet thick neatly bundled. Now where do you think that money went. Obviously into Police custody which is fairly similar to a couple of recent cases in SA. A "Black Hole" pun intended. $100M is not peanuts, but only a drop in the bucket in this game.

We can go on with this until the cows come home and still not have an answer. Im also sure Peet and I have some mutual friends........

This is a subject that has made me "Gatvol" for a long time.

Tango said...

"Has the war on drugs been lost "

A news article of today-sounds like "YES " again !
Not only on drugs,but lack border control which includes South Africa as well


Hezbollah Working With Drug Cartels and Sharing Routes into U.S.
By Michael Krebs.


The former DEA chief says that Hezbollah is using Mexican drug routes to smuggle people and contraband into the United States. It is a troublesome partnership.
Troubles in the Middle East just became considerably more local, as comments from Michael Braun, former chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, confirmed that Hezbollah is in partnership with Mexican drug cartels and using the cartel's routes to smuggle people and contraband into the United States.

"They work together," Mr. Braun told Washington Times. "They rely on the same shadow facilitators. One way or another, they are all connected."

He confirmed in the Washington Times report that Hezbollah is already actively using the routes.

"They''ll leverage those relationships to their benefit, to smuggle contraband and humans into the U.S.; in fact, they already are [smuggling]," he said.

Hezbollah has a history of involvement in international drug traffic, working for years in South America.

The Iranian-backed Lebanese organization was formed in 1982 to repel Israel's invasion of Lebanon. It has since become a large-scale operation, with considerable influence militarily, politically, and socially throughout Lebanon.

The Washington Times report notes that no cases of Hezbollah-assisted terrorists entering the U.S. have been confirmed - but, "Hezbollah members and supporters have entered the country this way."

"The Mexican cartels have no loyalty to anyone," a U.S. security official working in Latin America told The Washington Times. "They will willingly or unknowingly aid other nefarious groups into the U.S. through the routes they control. It has already happened. That's why the border is such a serious national security issue."

A senior U.S. official, who chose anonymity for the Washington Times story, expressed concern about al Qaeda's potential to utilize similar routes.

Two weeks ago, a report surfaced on Voice of America that warned of Hezbollah involvement in Columbian drug traffic.

"That is of concern principally because of the connections between the government of Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism, and Hezbollah," Admiral Stavridis, commander of U.S. forces in Latin America said in the VOA report. "We see a great deal of Hezbollah activity throughout South America, in particular. [The] tri-border of Brazil is a particular concern, as in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, as well as [other] parts of Brazil and in the Caribbean Basin."

The U.S. recently question Brittain's outreach to Hezbollah, and the surfacing of these reports could be timed to the British-Hezbollah question. But whatever the motivation, the access is certainly dangerous.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Long time, no hear, Gatvol. Sadly, your comment on the SAPS is very true. The policemen who are trying to do something positive to stem the tide are few and far between. Peet actually mentioned to me his concern at how the success was immediately cancelled due to the activities of the syndicates – ie your “hand in the bucket comment”.

The many strategies and plans that are implemented do not seem, to me, to be making any impression on stemming the tide. Whereas I cannot comment on the US experience, I know that in South Africa it is getting worse. Recently, several secondary schools have been targeted to identify who in those schools are involved in drugs. Several pupils have been arrested – but they too are not even a drop in the bucket. Besides, they will most probably get a warning and that will be that.

I am sure you and Peet have several mutual friends as you both spent a lot of time fighting the same problems.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As you may recall Tango, this problem of drugs, weapons, terrorism and money laundering was identified pre-1994 in SA. IN trying to stop in, we came under massive attack by the West in particular. Nowadays, the flow of this contraband continues unabated and as far I am concerned, is getting worse by the day.

Thanks for the article, it was certainly enlightening as it appears as though concern is actually growing, but what successful actions will be launched remain to be seen.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Here's a bigger problem in America the War On Drugs has now turned into in the War On Guns.

CNN has been running a week long series about the Mexican Drug wars on the US borders,every politician that is interviewed sites lax "gun control" in the US as the main reason for the cartels superior fire power I have no doubt that Americans will once again see a strong move to ban so called "ugly guns" in the not to distant future.

I guess the bottom line is it is easier to blame a hunk of steel than deal with the tougher issue of a break down of morality within society

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I do believe that the War on drugs is being lost for numerous reasons, Robby. Yes, weapons play a massive role as they allow the intimidation, murder and mayhem to continue. But, as you point out, it is easier to blame it all on guns and not on the source of funding used to purchase the guns. Until governments realise that the cause of this problem lies with the beginning of the drug cycle (crops) and the intermediaries (laboratories, cartels, syndicates, dealers, mules, etc) – and that a strong strategy needs to be developed and implemented – it will simply continue and get worse.

Gun control of the law abiding citizens will only make it easier for the cartels and their henchmen.

Rgds,

Eeben

L said...

Based on media reports I expected to find rather incoherent extremist ramblings here. I have to say your reputation is ill-founded Mr. Barlow and there's quite a bit of insight here.

I can't argue about the situation in Africa, but I do know that in Mexico the idea behind legalizing soft drugs wasn't about being PC (public opinion was actually against the measure which is why the previous president veto'd it when it came up), it was about depriving the cartels of a source of income, improving the security situation and reduce the prison problem (namely that legislation, overcrowding and budget problems mean they are training facilities for hardened criminals rather than serving rehabilitation or isolation purposes), refocusing resources and (probably they won't admit this) to have an extra source of tax income.

You make it sound as if it's just a problem of political will, at least here the situation's way more complex than that, and I present the failure of the current administration's policies as evidence of that. The political will is certainly there now, to the point where army units patrolling cities and towns and setting up checkpoints is part of daily life, and it hasn't made a dent on either drugs or cash flow.

And guns keep flowing from the U.S. to the cartels and their enforcers. Most of the weapons used in the drug war, by both sides, come from the U.S. (70% of all illegal weapons come from the U.S. according to Mexico's defense secretariat) and it's not uncommon to see both cartels and special police units using M4 carbines, 9mm handguns and in some cases light antitank weapons and grenades, so where is all that military grade weaponry coming from? gun shows? stores? I doubt it. Meanwhile the people who are trying to defend themselves are legally restricted to .38 revolvers and hunting rifles, and even those are in practice "May issue" but I digress.

My point was legalizing soft drugs and pursuing damage reduction strategies doesn't mean letting up pressure in other areas and isn't tantamount to admiting defeat and giving up, it's merely a long overdue reorganization in priorities.

Robby said...

One can make a good argument for taking the huge profit out of the drug trade to solve the problem but that is not PC. The only reason Afgans still grow poppies is because it's the only crop that generates any income. Like many things all roads lead to "follow the money"

On a different topic were you going to write a article about personal security and if so would you care to comment on daily life in SA being across the pond reading many stories one is left with the impression that living in SA is akin to days of the "wild west"....I'm sure you understand my reason for asking!

Gatvol said...

On at Tangent and adding to Robby, We here in the states had an idea that the new Socialists would come after Guns. They are a threat to their existence, same as in SA.

Today Gun and Ammunition sales here have gone through the roof, with many large stores holding bare shelves. Im pleased to say, Im not hurting.

So far they have attempted to go through the back door with some Draconian legislation towards ammunition. Thankfully that Dog didnt hunt.

Since listening to the Drivel from Billary on her trip to Mexico, it just confirmed the ulterior plan. Another go after Guns in the states. Her reasoning is that there are too many guns getting into Mexico, therefore Americans should be deprived of ownership.
Of course not saying anything about the fact they do not control the borders and that its Illegals for the most part who are supplying the hardware.

It may seem a bit harsh or in this world not "sensitive" but let Mexico handle things in Mexico. Its about time those crooks stood in their own Mud. They want to stop things coming into Mexico, they can certainly do it..

You can say things are bad in Africa and I think maybe I can top it with some Political garbage from here in the States.

There is one person, a motivational speaker who made a big hit on you tube. I hope some listen to the message.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbupWjKLcHw

He of difficult days said...

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iKFkzkduvhsd_5G35KmHBNy4M4Xw

I thought you said that the Europeans were too PC to go for the pirates. :-)

simon said...

totally off subject but my adopted little brother is now 2nd LT..Davie
#$%&#&#, USMC. !! Proud as heck. Now his real work starts learning his trade. Rifleman.

Monkey Spawn said...

The blog and comments thus far have approached this from the supply side. There are few things I would like to see more than Eeben assembling a task force to annihilate the drug cartels as well as the politicians and corrupt policemen who support them, but destroying crops, labs, dealers and mules is, in itself, ineffective. This is a medusa-like problem; new supply streams will come online immediately. Dealing with the demand will be much more effective. I acknowledge this is an extremely trite comment for such a huge multi-faceted problem.

Implementation of a solution is an ultra long-term task, as its basis is social and moral. I use the indefinite article because the causes are evident, but there is no single solution.

History has been catalysed by a commonly-understood sense of right and wrong. As a consequence, people, nations and alliances were fairly easily united to counter wrong. The moral compass determining that right and wrong was firm and well established on the anvil of time and the bedrock of Judeo-Christian common belief. Families raised children, who were made to understand the value of a hard day’s work. A disciplined, productive life resulted in health, wealth and, hopefully, happiness. It also resulted in progress – personal, family, employer, social group and society. By the time we were ready to question the frameworks of society, we generally understood their reasons for existence and vaguely understood why their perpetuation benefited mankind.

Over the last few decades, those societal frameworks have been breaking down (for reasons beyond the scope of this diatribe). Families are no longer whole. There is no such thing as right or wrong, just different ways of looking at things. It’s OK to have sex at 13, so long as you use a condom. It’s OK to experiment with drugs, so long as you don’t inhale, or you use a clean needle. It’s OK to steal someone’s car, because they have insurance and you’ve had a hard, miserable life. The list goes on. Instead of grey areas between black and white, we no longer accept that it’s OK to see black and white. Too judgemental! As the morals of the individual go, so go the frameworks of society.

In the last century, national socialism and fascism grew out of societies in turmoil. For right or wrong, they put in place societal frameworks which marshalled social unity. It should surprise no one that a map of rising Muslim fanaticism superimposes congruently upon nations in the turmoil of societal change. For whatever reasons, these societies cannot cope with the pace of change and are crying out for any form of social order to bridge the transformation. The Russian mafia brings order (provided you pay your dues) to a country in chaos after the collapse of the USSR. South Americans seek alternative forms of belonging in gangs and drug cartels as the Church weakens and moral compasses no longer exist. We used to “fear nought but God”, now we fear nought and question the existence of God.

Across the globe, we no longer appreciate and value the work-reward equation; we seek ease: easy money, easy success, easy living, easy answers. Drugs address all. As a user they provide oblivion to the hopeless and stimulation to the hopeful. As a supplier they provide quick money at high (no pun intended) margins with a viable risk-return proposition. Legislation grows ever weaker, prisons are too full and law enforcement is on the take (as are the wives of intelligence agency heads … allegedly, of course).

Creating a solution means addressing the demand, and that means addressing a vast plethora of broader societal problems – different in each society.

Botswana Beware said...

Off topic,
Sir, am looking for a private e-mail address for Mr. Barlow, can i use info@sandline.com and have it forwarded to you? i asked a friend in Erbil, he thought that would work.

Many thanks

Andrew

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A very interesting comment, L. Whereas the approach of legalising “soft” drugs may be well and good on paper, I have my doubts as to how effective it will be. But, as you also state, it may be due to prison overcrowding, income tax and the fact that prisons are not there for rehabilitation but to school hardened criminals of the future.

I do however believe that the fumbling around is due to a lack of strategy and the will to execute it. It is however not simply a lack of will (I think you interpret me incorrectly) but the roots cause – especially here in South Africa – is definitely the lack of a coherent strategy. But, your point on reorganisation of priorities is well taken.

Rgds,

Eeben

Peet vdWalt said...

After more than a week I can eventually sit down and write a reply. I did reply earlier to some of the comments but a digital bug plagued my PC and the reply did not get posted. I must admit that I am fascinated with the response on Eeben’s article. This shows one thing clearly…a lot of us still care.
Tango… I also cannot understand the comment about the drugs being destroyed. If that is the case then surely there are no suspects because you cannot destroy drugs on any other evidence for that matter before a case is finalised in court or by other means. Be that as it may, I personally think the comment was made by the same spokesperson who told the press that “the American and Brazilian Authorities are so pleased with the resent confiscations that they want to send some of their Agents to SA for TRAINING”. Come on… I really have respect for the current efforts being made but to claim that SA are so good in curbing drug trafficking (after only two big consignments of CHEMICALS were confiscated) that we are now in a position to train other Agencies is a bit farfetched. My suspicion still stand that the last two confiscations were STAGED to at least gain some credibility with International Agencies and show that SA has the capability. This was done more so to draw attentions away from the SAA debakel.
Matt… I am definitely not an expert in ongoing US/Mexico actions against cartels. What I can say is this. The US has most probably the best technology in the world available at their beck and call. They must utilise these technologies against the cartels. They are concentrating on the war against terror. The problem is that terror hides with these cartels in many forms… i.e. the comment from Tango re Hezbollah and the Drug Cartels sharing routs into the US. During the 80’s SA faced the same problem. So called Freedom Fighters and drug syndicates alike used the same routes to smuggle weapons, drugs and personnel into SA. I have been saying this for years… where you have a drug syndicate you have illegal arms being smuggled. Not only for the protection of the syndicate / cartel but for terrorism as well. The article that Tango refers to states it very well - these cartels have no loyalty to anyone.
I actually saw a Fox News interview with one of the senior Mexican Anti Drug Officials a few days ago. The interview centered around technologies within the CCTV field that I am very interested in but ended while showing a memorial of those police officials who has died in the fight against drugs in Mexico. One official (a woman) was killed by the cartel a few days after she has lead the raid on one of the largest drug finds in history. She was shot with an AK47 and received more than a 100 bullets to her face. She was unrecognizable. Her collogue was also shot but fortunately did not die in the attack. This is what the cartels think of the fight against drugs. They have no respect for life and WILL go to any means in protecting their trade. Where do the firearms come from? … Easy one to answer – terrorism. The US need to change their focus to these cartels because THAT is where the biggest threat lies.
Robby… You are quite right in your comment about alcohol. But then, we are not talking about alcohol here are we? We can argue the same about cigarettes. I have had the privilege of giving numerous lectures on drugs to civilians. My favorite way of enticing huge debate was by displaying Cal-C-Vita (Vitamins for those who do not know the brand name) together with hard drugs. The point that I wanted to make was that anyone can get addicted to anything. You can get addicted to cough syrup, the majority of which has a very large alcohol and caffeine content. It all depends on you as the individual and your physiology to become addicted. I am 100% convinced that no parent in his / her right mind will promote alcohol to their children. I always concluded my lectures by saying to parents that you can teach your child to behave morally correct, threaten your child with death if he/she ever touch drugs etc. It eventually boils down to only one thing and that is the individual’s decision to say yes or no when confronted with the opportunity to use drugs.
TCO… Your statement regarding drug production and demands for consumption is correct, in a way. As I stated earlier, a twofold approach is required, always. You cannot eliminate the one without attending to the other. It needs to be a coordinated effort to kill the whole snake, not just hurt the head or tail. We had another incident in Pretoria two weeks ago when the daughter of the Mayor of Pretoria was arrested at school for the possession of dagga. She is attending school at one of the more “elite” schools in Pretoria. More recent drug searches at two high schools in Pretoria saw additional arrests being made for possession of dagga. Morals, as Eeben said begin at home.
Gatvol…I share your view but we need to keep trying though. I have been Gatvol for a very long time about this. In SA we HAVE the Intelligence Capabilities to really do something about the situation but those capabilities are destroyed by the lack of vision from Government to the absolute inadequacy of the Intelligence Agencies and Police. Intelligence Agencies in SA worry more about who the next President will be and how each individual can position himself as not to get FIRED. NO WORK IS BEING DONE while syndicates roam free. I am sure we have “mutual friends” out there.
Tango… need I say more. Hezbollah, Taliban, call them what you want. They are using cartels to smuggle weapons into their various Target Countries. Why reinvent the wheel ? The routs have been in existence for a long time and moreover, the success rate of using those routs is phenomenal. Your comment and referring article reconfirms my argument of the last 15+ years.
Regards to all and thank you for very interesting and insightful points of view.
Peet

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your comment “follow the money” is true, Robby. But I suppose there needs to be a balance. If we look at the massive financial crimes that have recently been committed, one must wonder just how much money one person is content with.

I have refrained from political comments on my blog for a host of reasons but mainly because I am not a politician. Yes, we do have a lot of crime and a site which will give you an idea of what is happening is www.africancrisis.co.za .

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link to YouTube, Gatvol. An interesting message.

Having spent more than 14 hours in a queue under the blazing sun to renew my gun licence (of course I am also to blame as I did not renew my licence when I had to) I was struck by how important it COULD be to control arms, but, when illegal firearms abound, the entire law becomes somewhat counterproductive.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Having been unable to access my blog the past couple of days due to unforeseen circumstances, I could not open the link you sent HoDD. I shall keep trying but cannot comment until I have read it.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Please give him our best wishes and congratulations, Simon. Thanks for letting us know. I am sure you are all very proud of him.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A very good comment, Monkey Spawn. Thanks for that.

Yes, you are quite correct – essentially it is all about losing our moral compass. We now live in a world where wrong is right and visa versa. As kids growing up, and later as soldiers, we were taught the value of discipline and adhering to law and order. This sadly no longer seems to be the case. Basic values such as respect, self-discipline, acceptance of authority and such all seem to be “old fashioned” and no longer relevant.

It is a Medusa-like problem – I concede that. But, a WELL-PLANNED strategy – and not a knee-jerk reaction – is called for. For it to be well planned, it will need to address a host of factors, not merely supply. We can come up with the best plans but if we do not have the will to see it through (because we may lose votes or something like that) then NO plan will ever succeed.

It is however the supply that continues unabated.

This “flooding” of the market makes it more accessible to kids at schools and the market simply expands. This in SA increases the demand all the time. I do not, for one minute, believe that we cannot locate and destroy crops, labs, apprehend mules, etc but the social and moral fall-out will still need to be attended to.

I do agree with your comment that “a solution means addressing the demand, and that means addressing a vast plethora of broader societal problems – different in each society”. But, we need to start somewhere and sooner than later.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I have never been a part of Sandline, Andrew, and I doubt if they would want me to be part of them – if they still exist.

If you wish, you can mail me at the blog with your email address. If you let me know what it is about, I will respond to you via email.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A very comprehensive comment, Peet. Thanks.

Rgds,

Eeben

TCO said...

Ever the gentlemen Eeben, ever the gentlemen. A very polite and diplomatic response to Andrew there. Kind of like asking Steve Jobs if he could help get a message to Bill Gates.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is always difficult for me, Jake. Some folks write to the blog and ask me to write a 10-page synopsis on EO for their studies/thesis. I don’t publish those comments. Whereas I would like to help them, I cannot do some of these things as I will run out of time…

Rgds,

Eeben

matt said...

Boy, an entire article could be written about this entire post and comments thread. Bravo Eeben.

So let me throw in something a little out there, just for the sake of conversation. I apologize if anyone is offended by this comment, both politically or whatever. My intent is to throw out ideas, and see if anything sticks. And like Eeben, I try to keep things very apolitical, and I am more interested in the ideas.

One of the things I was exploring on my blog, was the concept of how to turn the anti-drug mission into more of a business model.

During my country's revolutionary war, we issued letters of marque to privateers, so they could go after British sea vessels. We issued something like 1700 letters at the time, and it was very successful.

I brought up the idea of using the letter of marque for today's drug war. The reason I say this, is the letter of marque still exists in the US constitution, and Mexico did not sign the Declaration of Paris. So technically speaking, the law still exists for the US(or even Mexico) to use.

A Congressman in my country even brought up the concept with a bill in 2007 for the war in Afghanistan. Here it is:
____________
Ron Paul, calling the September 11, 2001, attacks an act of “air piracy,” introduced the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. Letters of marque and reprisal, authorized by article I, section 8 of the Constitution, would have targeted specific terrorist suspects, instead of invoking war against a foreign state. Paul reproposed this legislation as the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2007. He voted with the majority for the original Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists in Afghanistan.

Historically, the United States issued Letters of Marque against the Barbary pirates, and commissioned privateers to attack the shipping of countries with whom the United States was at war. These letters of Marque were typically issued on a per-voyage basis, and some 1700 of them were granted by the congress during the American Revolution.
___________

I believe this system could be used again, with some slight modification. The best part of such a concept, is that the issuing country could set the terms of the letter, and the company that gets such a letter must follow those terms, or lose the prize. The Prize Courts are what determined if the capture or take was legal and straight with the letter, and then that company was allowed to divvy up what they captured.

Now these Cartels are worth some bucks. Planes, Cars, Mansions, Bank Accounts, Weapons, Businesses, etc. All sorts of assets that could be liquidated by a PMC, and turned into a prize. I guess the goal would be, is to turn destroying Cartels into a lucrative business. Hell, a market would grow out of such a thing, much like a market grew out of the privateer war during the US Revolutionary War.

I even think the idea could work in places like Afghanistan or Pakistan. There you have enemies that respect no boundaries, and are stateless. A letter of marque could be issued by those countries as well, if they wanted to turn the destruction of this enemy into a business.

Not to mention all the bounties that the Mexican and US Governments are issuing for these Cartels. There are also bounties for Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We might as well go to the letter of marque, if we are going to start putting bounties on the heads of our enemies? And how are we to destroy Al Qaeda, if we cannot put troops on the ground in Pakistan? I am still scratching my head on that one.

The money is there, but if there was just a few more tools to allow companies to do their thing, I say it could become very lucrative. Or the governments could continue to throw their dwindling treasures at the thing, and hope it all goes away.

Sardonicus said...

Dear Eeben,

An interesting topic indeed. My personal view is that the war on drugs has been and always will be an illegal one and doomed to failure. This particular road to hell is paved with good intentions but is a road to hell nonetheless. What right does anyone have to tell someone else what they can or cannot put into their own bodies? Does my body belong to the state or myself? We are talking a basic liberty here. How can we take away an individuals freedoms and rights pertaining to their own body?

We have alcohol being legal and causing thousands of deaths, abused families, bloody battles between best friends for reasons unknown even to the perpetrators and we accept this willingly and even encourage it as a social norm, a social norm that is far more destructive then the relatively small amount of damage caused by drugs.

Drug takers will always be a part of society, the war on drugs only serves to bring a vicious and powerful but very small group (Cartel drug lords) a disproportionate amount of power and cash. After all, if it is illegal only tough people with no respect for the law will get involved in this sort of business. The people are the types that wont take interference lying down and no matter how much cash is pumped into fighting them, the financial rewards are too great for them to ever stop evolving new tactics to cope with state interventions.

I strongly believe that this planet is overpopulated as it is, people dying from taking drugs is part and parcel of life, it’s a lifestyle choice and a choice the individual makes. It is also a choice that one should be able to make for oneself as no one has any right to make choices about other people bodies and health. A parallel example would be abortion where pro-choice campaigners say that no one should be able to tell a woman what happens in her own body and as such she can choose to have an abortion and murder an unborn baby.

We are in a global financial crisis and yet worldwide, billions of dollars are spent monthly in oppressing individual rights to their own lives, lifestyles and body’s. In the end, human nature will prevail no matter how much money and resources are thrown at the issue.

It is up to us, especially the parents in the world to teach our children correctly, inform them of the issues etc. so that they can make educated and responsible decisions regarding what they put in their bodies. But in the end it has nothing to do with anyone else besides the drug users themselves.

By the same token, people who have made the lifestyle choice of being a drug addict should not be able to call on any state resources to cope with their addiction or to support themselves financially through state coffers whilst being actively involved in this lifestyle. They should be quietly allowed to remove themselves from the gene pool with as little fuss and bother and 0 cost to the rest of society, pretty much like someone drinking themselves to death with alcohol.

The war on drugs has been and always will be a war on individual freedoms waged by the state. Since the war on drugs began, started in earnest by the Ronald Reagan regime (correct me if I am wrong here) we have seen a lot of our other freedoms disappear. We can no longer smoke cigarettes in public or on aircraft as a result of this because we no longer even have ownership of our body’s . Another result of this is that we have lost our children, they are now property of the state too, we cannot even discipline them with a spanking as we will end up being thrown into jail for “abusing” them. As such we cannot give them the guidance they need to make lifestyle choices successfully, they grow up wild and perpetuate the drug problems.

Certain rights in life are golden, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If some of these rights lead to individuals taking drugs, so be it, its none of my business and I will not interfere. Any attack on these junkie’s liberties is also an attack on my liberty. Attacks on these basic liberties make the honest, hardworking police men and women involved into the Nazi style bad guys and it makes heroes and freedom fighters and liberators out of the scumbag drug lords. Enough is enough!

Instead of a war on drugs we would do better with a war on those who infringe on personal freedom and those who try dictate what we do with our lives through the barrel of a gun or the threat of incarceration.

Sigurdur said...

Switzerland provides heroin junkies with quality heroin, in sterile facilities, injected by nurses. The heroin problem in Switzerland is going away, and junkies are quitting altogether.

When you make a commodity hideously illegal, and there remains a demand for it, people will fill that demand.

When people are engaged in illegal business, they need to protect their property rights, and typically either develop their own structures, or hire other illicit structures.

When something is so illegal (drug trafficking) that it is impossible for someone engaged in it to be a member of society in general, they will live entirely outside of society, as terrorists.

The 'drugs' problem needs to be integrated with society as a whole, not necessarily through outright legalization, but somehow.

In SA, it's just another aspect of the crime problem, in the US, the drug war destroys lives on all sides; many more lives than one man shooting up ever would on his own.

He of difficult days said...

Regarding Somali pirates vs Governments. I will try hyperlinks...

There is an anti piracy unit in Europe.

Nice pic of suspected pirates

Greek Spanish American units arrest pirates

International anti piracy unit


Alternatively Google "European troops arrest 7 Somali pirates: Greece "

He of difficult days said...

"It is always difficult for me, Jake. Some folks write to the blog and ask me to write a 10-page synopsis on EO for their studies/thesis."

Yegads! People ought to pay for such services...

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I read your posting (www.feraljundi.com) on the letters of marque, Matt, and found then of great interest. Applying them as a business model could definitely reap some benefits in the fight against organised crime in general. Whereas many may find such an approach somewhat offensive, it is, in my opinion, something others would welcome.

I have always believed that terrorism is simply an extension of organised crime. All of these acts slot together with an aim of gaining control of people and making huge sums of money. Perhaps the war on terror ought to be redefined as a war on crime?

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Your argument certainly holds water, Sardonicus. Whereas I agree entirely with you that people can do to their bodies whatever they want – it is after all as you point out their choice – my problem with it is when young kids are influenced/forced to follow the route of drugs. Alcohol as you rightly point out is one substance which causes massive problems, deaths and bloody battles – yet it remains legal. But, at the end of the day, it remains choices as to what to use and what to reject.

I also agree with you that parents need to take a greater role in their kids’ upbringing and that drug users should be denied all assistance from the State. If parents fail to take responsibility for their kids’ behaviour and upbringing – and the kids resort to drugs – then the parents also have some blame in all of this. Again, it is the illegal things that bring in the cash and the more we try to prevent it, the harder the syndicates work at ensuring their success. Which makes me want to ask why have we allowed it to get this far?

Governments have interfered with the upbringing of kids in an effort to stamp out child abuse. But there is a massive difference between abuse and discipline – and with the collapse in disciplining our children, we have actually opened them up to abuse by others in a different form.

Thanks for a very well-argued comment.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It can get tricky, HoDD. Obviously, they don’t think just how much time I must take to write these things for them. Payment has never been mentioned by any of them…and some have been quite nasty when I have declined the offer to write their synopsis or thesis for them.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Like Sardonicus, you raise a very interesting point, Sigurdur.

By making anything illegal, members of society who disregard laws will follow that trail. To them, the financial rewards always outweigh the risks. When there are members of the law enforcement agencies helping them, their risks become lower and their profits higher.

So, where do we start and where do we end? Perhaps you and Sardonicus could add to our ideas/thoughts?

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the links, HoDD. Although it is a step in the right direction, their success is certainly not (yet) overwhelming.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Robby. You know what it is for.

Rgds,

Eeben

fabius.maximus.cunctator said...

Sardonicus

The supposed right of a person to do with his body what he wants may do well as an argument as far as it goes, but it does not go all the way.

Example: One user of Angel dust once hacked off his leg with an axe (via Der Spiegel, many years ago). Now you cd not let the man die as this wd be quite illegal in any civilized jurisdiction I know of. So who pays for the treatment and what if the medical attention given to the man wd also have been required for a child run down by a car ?

2nd example: a long-time user of dagga got stoned out of his mind in Germany and beat and trampled a gardener in a publich park to death. Of course the man then pleaded temporary insanity due to drug use and got off with a relatively light penalty (via court session, Munich, Germany when I was in my 1st year at university).

Now, while these might sound like extreme cases anyone with a law enforcement background cd provide you with examples that are just as bad.

What is more, there is no way we can keep "legal" stuff away from our children in the longer run. Again, when this leads to treatment needs for psychotic youngsters, who will bear the cost?

Do we just take the risk and see what happens?
Interestingly, there are lawsuits against McDonalds for obesity-inducing food. Will people sue their local, "legal" dealer later on?

EB,

Highly interesting quality blog, this. Been here before but as much of what you write is outside my area of expertise I didn t comment.

One interesting point - what happens if drug sydicates start a semi-legal PMC in the way the RU mafia used to start security companies?

Robby said...

Yes I do... have you heard about this documentary coming out soon

Mugabe and the White African is an intimate and moving feature-length documentary, charting one family's extraordinary courage in the face of a relentless campaign of state-sanctioned terror.

http://www.mugabeandthewhiteafrican.com/13.html

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for your response to the comment/argument of Sardonicus, fabis.maximus.cunctator.

I believe that if a drug cartel starts a PMC and it is used to either support them or to be a conduit for laundering financial gains it will fall within the scope of an organised crime outfit, thus negating the argument that they are a PMC. They will then simply be armed criminals.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. Certainly seems as though it could be very interesting but the question remains - who really cares?

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

who really cares?......no one but us sad to say ...Rhodesia only lives in the mind of those who were lucky enough to experience it

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Too true, Robby. But we can never turn back the clock. Lest we forget, Rhodesia, like so many other African countries, was just another example of Western betrayal and hypocrisy.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

just another example of Western betrayal and hypocrisy.

This is my problem and conflict with living in America by and large we lost a country for not being PC and the victim of covert CIA operations designed to garner political support for various US administrations solely based on achieving some sort of domestic US policy.It's the demon so called Christian Jimmy Carter is going to take to his grave.I'll stop here I could go on but I understand your distaste for politics and politicians

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

My distaste for what was done to Africa as a whole knows no equal, Robby. Whereas this is the richest continent, it suits their aims to keep it in a state of conflict and instability. How else would they be able to get cheap resources? The aim is to continually play off African nations and philosophies against one another, ferment conflict, cause chaos, dispose of governments that are trying to improve the quality of life of their citizens, install others that pander to their whims – that is the name of the game.

My hope is that African governments will soon realise how they have been played off against one another and made the fool. Only then will Africa be what it ought to be.

Rgds,

Eeben

Censorbugbear said...

I have written a news report about Peet van der Walt's comment on this blog with his interview on the following Canadian news outlet:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/270542

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks Adriana. I just had a look at your report and it is very interesting indeed. Peet is one of those who cares deeply about the deteriorating situation. Well done!

Rgds,

Eeben

Censorbugbear said...

Thanks for your compliment, Eeben. High praise indeed. I appreciate it.

Monkey Spawn said...

For further reading, Reuters has just put up this this "special coverage" on their website.

http://www.reuters.com/news/globalcoverage/drugTrafficking

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thank you for the link, Monkey Spawn. It is certainly interesting reading and I believe of some concern.

Rgds,

Eeben