From: (Workers World Service)

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

Which banks laundered the money?

By Deirdre Griswold

No element of the state apparatus is more shielded from public
scrutiny than the Central Intelligence Agency--the U.S. secret
police whose operations span the globe.

What do they really do? How much of the public treasury is
diverted into their coffers? How many of the vicious wars now
tearing apart poor countries were hatched in their inner

It seems that one thing they do is ship millions of dollars' worth
of cocaine into the United States.

That's according to an official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Agency, Annabelle Grimm, who was interviewed by the program "60
Minutes." The New York Times of Nov. 20 first broke the story.

"I really take great exception to the fact that 1,000 kilos came
in, funded by U.S. taxpayer money," said Grimm. A thousand kilos
is over a ton of pure cocaine.


The 1990 shipment was arranged by Mark McFarlin of the CIA and
Gen. Ram"n Guilln Davis of the Venezuelan National Guard, said
the Times story. What possible reason could the CIA give for
arranging to ship a ton of cocaine into the U.S., where it was
then sold on the streets? It was done to "gain the confidence" of
Colombian drug traffickers, explained the agency.

McFarlin's history includes a stint in El Salvador, where he
worked with "anti-guerrilla forces" in the early 1980s. This is a
euphemism for the government death squads that, together with the
Salvadoran army, were responsible for the deaths of 70,000 people
in the dirty war there. The guerrilla movement represented the
workers and peasants. The U.S.-funded killers did the bidding of
the landed oligarchy and the multinational corporations that have
sucked El Salvador dry.

What is the connection between drug trafficking and a rightwing
political police agency like the CIA? Plenty.

Recently, the CIA was implicated in covert support for the
right-wing military in Haiti, which has deposed the popularly
elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At the same time, the
State Department was grabbing headlines with its loud but
ineffectual negotiations supposedly meant to return Aristide to
his country.

The Haitian military are known to be deeply involved in the
highly lucrative drug trade--a compelling reason why they refuse
to relinquish direct control over the government.

During the Vietnam war, the CIA used its fleet of secret planes
to ferry opium and heroin out of Southeast Asia--at the same time
that its agents were assassinating Vietnamese villagers in the
notorious Phoenix program. Drugs became a major social problem in
the U.S. at this time. (See "The Politics of Heroin in Southeast
Asia," Alfred W. McCoy, Harper & Row, 1972)


The biggest question, however, is the tie between covert
government agencies like the CIA and the giant banks that launder
hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money.

It is public knowledge that the CIA deposits large amounts of
money in the name of dummy companies. At the highest levels, bank
officials obstruct public scrutiny of dubious transactions,
including those involving large amounts of cash. When they are
working with the CIA, all this can be passed off as necessary in
the interests of "national security."

In January 1985, Bank of America was fined $4.75 million in a
civil penalty for failing to report more than 17,000 large cash
transactions. Other huge banks paid lesser fines in this mild
crackdown on widespread money laundering. No criminal charges
were pursued.

In 1989, after Treasury officials estimated that as much as $110
billion was being laundered by U.S. banks each year, the Bush
administration announced it would regulate international money
transfers by U.S. banks, and would set up a large computer center
in Arlington, Va., to monitor information on money laundering.

And there it has sat. No big indictments, or even civil fines,
have been forthcoming against the big capitalist bankers.

Repression and police corruption

Instead, all the muscle has gone into sending U.S. paramilitary
units into impoverished South American nations like Bolivia and
Peru to interdict cocaine supplies--with no results--and
beefed-up SWAT teams into oppressed communities in the U.S.,
where their racism and brutality are notorious.

Repression against drug dealers on the street level is worse than
futile. As the recent Mollen Commission hearings in New York
showed, it is often linked to massive corruption among the police

This latest revelation about the CIA and cocaine shows once again
that drug trafficking can only be rooted out through a mass
struggle aimed at the vital institutions of capitalist society.
They are in it up to their eyeballs.


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