Among the foreign presences we identified were Russian and other organized crime groups and, significantly, Islamic terrorists, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. We have identified Iran as one possible state-sponsor of the militarized training camps that the cartels are running, and have evidence that terrorists and guerrillas from Afghanistan and Iraq are also training cartel gunmen in camps near the US border.
We also have this nagging question: Why is our government telling us the weapons are mostly from the US?
To unravel all this, let us first examine where the cocaine (and other contraband?) from Latin America is going. Just as we are being told that the firearms used in Mexico's civil war are coming from the US (even though there is far more to the truth than that), so are we being told that Latin American cocaine is going to the United States.
But, there is far more to the truth than that.
With the dollar not so strong these days (perhaps due to successful economic warfare being waged against us, on top of American government stupidity and corruption?), drug cartels are finding strong markets for their products in the Eurozone. Consequently, Latin American cocaine is increasingly being shipped to European organized crime cartels for distribution in Europe.
From Mexican cartels unloading drugs to Italian mafia by Jason Trahan of The Dallas Morning News, April 20, 2009:
Mexican drug traffickers are funneling cocaine to Italian organized crime, and some shipments are moving through Dallas.
"We've got some of the major cartel members established here dealing their wares in Europe," said James Capra, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Dallas office.
Experts say warring cartels battered by unprecedented U.S. and Mexican government crackdowns are increasingly looking to Europe as an expansion market. Across the Atlantic, demand for cocaine is high and prices are up. A kilo sold for $20,000 in Dallas is worth up to three times as much overseas, experts say.
Mexican cartel operatives in North Texas "are dealing with Italy, Spain, you name it," he said. "They can operate their logistical center from here and coordinate between Mexico, Central America and Europe."
Italian capos are venturing to North Texas to get in on the action, says one mob expert.
"Places like Houston and Dallas are where these criminal organizations are most likely to invest their money," said Antonio Nicaso, an internationally recognized author and lecturer on Italian organized crime. "This is the right time, with the recession going on."
(See also Mexican cartels funneling shipments to Italian mafia through Texas.)
It is a question whether this shift in trafficking is due to economic concerns (such as a decreasing market in the US, as documented in the UN World Drug Report for 2009) or the pressure of increased law enforcement activities. Regardless, it is clear
The U.S. drug market is no longer satisfying the greed of Mexican drug lords and their cartels. Now they're looking to Europe and the stronger purchasing power of the higher-value euro, and they're using West Africa to get there.
West Africa, "particularly in the north, has become the transshipment point for cocaine into Europe and Russia. This shows the strategic risk not only for Mexico, Colombia and the United States, but for Africa, Europe and everywhere else," Braun said in a recent interview with El Universal. "There are groups equivalent to Mexican drug cartels in Colombia, including the FARC, who are establishing their presence in West Africa because they need logistical support from African organized crime groups to send tons of cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, then to Europe, Russia and elsewhere."
And it's not just a one-way street. According to the International Narcotics Control Board's 2008 report on drug precursors, U.S. authorities identified numerous suspicious drug shipments to Africa that were suspected of having Mexico as their final destination. In total, over 30 tons of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine—precursor chemicals for methamphetamine—were prevented from being diverted to or through Africa in 2008.
This same two-way street that allows for precursor chemicals to go to Mexico via Africa would also be adequate for smuggling the military-grade weapons that the Mexican cartels are using -- or, the Middle Eastern terrorists that serve as instructors in the cartel training camps, and that are infiltrating our border along with all the illegals.
Rossen Popov, chief of the board's precursors control section, said: "The remarkable thing is that ... we have gathered evidence that behind most of these cases involving African and Middle Eastern countries there were Mexican trafficking organizations."
So what does this geographic shift in Mexican drug trafficking mean?
First, it's probably a simple business decision. Like any successful franchise, Mexican cartels want to diversify and expand in order to increase their sources of income. If they have found successful ways to expand their trafficking operations into South America, Africa, and Europe—whether it's for additional drug or income sources—then they're likely to exploit them.
All of the places mentioned above have significant operational benefits for cartels. Many places in Italy have a strong organized crime presence, which is crucial for drug import and distribution. Both Guatemala and many countries in Africa have weak government controls and corrupt government and law enforcement agencies, which is beneficial for successful drug trafficking operations.
There is also the possibility that Mexican President Felipe Calderón's crackdown on the cartels, and both Mexican and U.S. enforcement efforts along the border, are actually making an impact on cartel profits. This would mean that the cartels are expanding their reach as a survival mechanism.
So, economic or enforcement issues? Maybe both.
Regardless, West Africa is growing in importance as a wayside for Latin American cocaine on the path to lucrative European markets.
Five years ago the amount of cocaine shipped to Europe via West Africa was negligible. Today 50 tonnes a year worth £1.4 billion pass through the region. Interpol estimates as much as two thirds of the cocaine sold in Europe this year will reach the Continent via West Africa.
"We are seeing multi-tonne shipments transiting West Africa. We have recorded arrests of Latin Americans all over West Africa," said Antonio Mazzitelli, at the regional office of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime in Dakar, Senegal. "They are using ships, speedboats, small and large aeroplanes, 4WDs ... There is really no limit to the imagination of traffickers."
The cartels work with local criminal gangs and officials. Some consignments are headed for corrupt armies, Customs and police forces.
Plastic-wrapped cartons, each containing up to 50 1kg bars of cocaine, are divided up and distributed by gangs who use speedboats, trans-Sahara lorries, aircraft or human "mules", who board commercial flights to traffic the drugs to Europe.
Spain is the usual entry point, according to Mr Mazzitelli, but he adds that there is evidence that Italy's Calabrian mafia, Irish gangsters and Balkan mobsters are also involved.
The sheer value of drugs transported through West Africa - one of the world's poorest regions - dwarfs entire economies and corrupts security forces and politicians. Guinea is just one of more than a dozen countries in the region in varying states of disarray and poverty, many only recently emerging from years of bloody civil war fought over control of "blood diamonds" and other resources.
Cocaine, experts warn, is another resource that the gangs consider worth fighting for. "What we're seeing is the criminalisation of the state as a result of drug trafficking," Corinne Dufka, a West Africa expert at Human Rights Watch, said. "The unlimited cash at the [gangs'] disposal risks toppling these desperately weak states."
Cocaine use is on the increase worldwide. In Europe the number of users has tripled over the past decade: four million Europeans regularly take it, paying up to £50 a gram. Europe's cocaine boom attracts the South American cartels that control the global trade.
In recent years effective patrolling of traditional trans-Caribbean and transatlantic smuggling routes has forced the cartels to seek out new paths, which is where West Africa comes in: the shortest line of latitude westwards from the ports and airstrips of South America reaches land in Guinea-Bissau.
(For some great photos of the current global war on drugs, see Boston.com's photo essay.)
So why are we being told by our elected officials that the guns in Mexico's civil war come from the US, when anyone can see that most of them do not, at least not directly? Even the weapons that are of US origin are shipped to foreign governments, then sent back via the same routes along which the drugs are used -- there is no need for a plane or ship to go empty in either direction. Criminals in Mexico get guns the same way criminals in Europe get cocaine or heroin -- they get them illegally. Why can't our government just say that?
Do the Obamanistas and their Neolib Clintonite retreads want to use this crisis as a pretext to disarm the American population? Perhaps so. I'm sure that's what they'll plead guilty to, when caught.
But, is there something more? If so, what?
We get a clue from the Sibel Edmonds case. From An Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Page Two by Chris Deliso, July 1, 2004:
CD: But what do think, within departments such as the Pentagon and the State Department. Do you suspect certain high officials may be profiting from terrorist-linked organized crime?
SE: I can't say anything specific with regards to these departments, because I didn't work for them. But as for the politicians, what I can say is that when you start talking about huge amounts of money, certain elected officials become automatically involved. And there are different kinds of campaign contributions -- legal and illegal, declared and undeclared.
And, from An Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Page Three by Chris Deliso, July 1, 2004:
CD: If your full testimony is heard by the public, who or what agencies are going to be in the biggest trouble?
SE: Well, as for agencies I guess the DOJ, FBI, State Department. But in a way these agencies get some kind of immunity when you charge them like this ... I hate to see how a lot of agents get stigmatized in this. Most of the field agents I met in the FBI were good, honest and hardworking individuals. They were trying to do their best, but up against this ingrown bureaucracy – this is where you have the problem, as well as with certain elected officials.
CD: What are they so afraid of?
SE: They're afraid of information, of the truth coming out, and accountability -- the whole accountability issue that will arise. But it's not as complicated as it might seem. If they were to allow the whole picture to emerge, it would just boil down to a whole lot of money and illegal activities.
CD: Hmm, well I know you can't name names, but can you tell me if any specific officials will suffer if your testimony comes out?
SE: Yes. Certain elected officials will stand trial and go to prison.
Sibel Edmonds has never testified in a criminal case, but she has given a deposition in at least one civil case, and, though it starts slow with many objections, it really packs a punch.
From Lost In Translation - FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Grants First Interview To Ed Bradley, a 60 Minutes story dated August 8, 2004:
[Sibel Edmonds] turned for help to the Justice Department's inspector general and to Sen. Charles Grassley, whose committee, the Judiciary Committee, has direct oversight of the FBI.