Over 40 million women trapped in Prostitution

by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
Pravda.ru
January 18, 2012

The Fondation Scelles has released its latest report on sexual exploitation in which it links the oldest profession in the world directly to organised crime, generating huge profits for those who engage in human trafficking and in which it claims there are currently between 40 and 42 million people caught in prostitution, many of them children.

The Report drawn up by the Scelles Foundation (*) claims that today, prostitution is synonymous with sexual exploitation, human trafficking, dangerous organised crime,generating huge profits for those who use and abuse women and girls. It is “dominated by an unparalleled violence, physical, sexual, psychological, social …” and is nothing less than a “violation of the integrity of human beings and the exploitation of a scandalous state of our moral treatise”.

The report answers those who defend the right to prostitute themselves as being part of their freedom as human beings to do what they want with their own bodies, claiming that this position hides a darker and deeper reality, namely “the oppression of women, the trafficking of human beings”, and “sexual abuse, insecurity, drugs, social exclusion”. It has to do more with the destruction of a human being than with the openness and freedom of a person to do what (s)he wants.

In terms of facts and figures, the report states that there are between 40 and 42 million people working in prostitution worldwide, the vast majority of these being women; 75% of these are aged between 13 and 25 years of age, 90% of them controlled by agencies or pimps. In Europe, the report reveals that there are between one and two million prostitutes, most of these being immigrants, “the victims of human trafficking”. To give an idea of the dimension of the criminal activity surrounding prostitution, there are 30 criminal trafficking networks dismantled every year in France alone.

The report suggests that the glamourisation of prostitution is one of the main dangers, luring women and girls into what they imagine to be a life of luxury, apart attracting punters. The full report will be released towards the beginning of February.

As the world gears up for the next Olympic Games, in London, the report warns that football (soccer) and the Olympic Games are the two sports venues which are “the great planetary stages of sexual exploitation”.

(*)Fondation Scelles “Rapport mondial sur l’exploitation sexuelle : La prostitution au cœur du crime organisé” (World report on sexual exploitation : Prostitution at the heart of organised crime), Directed by Yves Charpenel.

As Society Breaks Down, People Beg for Tyranny

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
August 11, 2011

It’s been at least 15 years since I heard calls for people to wake up because the greatest crisis in humanity’s existence was rapidly approaching. Today, as I watch video and photos from London, and previously from Syria, Egypt, the United States and Lybia, I cannot help but think that those who sought to warn us were simply and plainly correct. Perhaps the most surprising fact is that those truth tellers, who were often identified as conspiracy theorists, told us how it would happen and as the break point got closer and closer, they were even able to predict different aspects of the fall with outstanding precision.

Who would have believed 15 years ago that the world would crumble to its knees and would beg for the implementation of tyrannical policies and regimes in order to bring back law and order? I certainly didn’t. Before I began studying history and current events, I thought society would be able to take care of itself and avoid disaster. But the latest video feeds from London and everywhere else clearly show that society is lost in the foggy alternative reality they were born into 50 or more years ago. The social engineers played their hand well and now have most of the population consuming itself in a web of self-degradation, death and perversion fed to us as the sexiest fad for almost half a century.

In England, polls show that upwards of 65 percent of people are now calling for the use of rubber bullets, water canyons, police abuse and other tyrannical practices because they are too afraid to organize with their neighbors and take care of the looters that are destroying decades-old family businesses, homes, cars, shoe and clothing stores and other property to get their hands on the latest electronics, jewelry and various valuable products by breaking windows, smashing store front doors and pulling citizens from the their cars to smash their heads on the streets. Instead, British people are now calling for a government sponsored Police State.

Notice that most of the places that are being affected by riots and unrest are sections of the society whose members are unarmed and who cannot defend themselves because their government, which cannot protect them 24/7, implemented regulations to ban the people’s right to be armed and to defend their properties and their families. London shows signs of the most recent confrontation between members of the government-dependent underclass and the hard-working middle class, just as the social engineers planned it. As governments cut spending in a failed attempt to fix deficits and reduce their debt, it is exactly the underclass that feels the pinch first. But instead of attacking government policies and the entities responsible for the financial collapse, this uneducated underclass takes it upon themselves to beat the daylights out of middle class folks who suffer from the bank-sponsored self-inflicted financial crisis.

The financial and political apartheid taking place in the world -where governments steal the people’s pension funds to invest them in fictitious financial products, banks get bailed-out as they charge interest rates and / or fees for people to keep money in their accounts, the government cuts social security and medical care spending, people’s paychecks and pension buy less food- will continue to increase social volatility not only in London or Greece, but in the Americas, Asia, Africa and everywhere else. The Social Experiment failed horribly. But then again, it was meant to fail. The divisions meant to occur in order to monopolize, control and conquer arrived right on time.

The underclass as well as the dumbed down middle-class that for centuries sucked off the system through government established dependence programs only woke up after finding themselves with no jobs, no pension, no savings and no future. They woke up from their eternal state of slavery because the bribery scheme known as welfare that the government used to hook them up is suddenly crashing down, and they have not safety net to fall onto. What do I mean by bribery scheme? In 2007, the richest country in the planet had at least 52.6 percent of the people receiving government aid of some sort: pensions, social security and so on.. One in five Americans held a government job or a job that depended on government spending. Around 19 million used food stamps and 2 million got subsidized housing. If that is not government bribery, I don’t know what is it. The social engineers made sure from the start that only two classes existed: the productive class and the parasitical class. Both the government and the dependent classes are equally violent towards those who produce and who support them throughout their lives.

But perhaps one of the most abhorrent aspects of the current societal collapse is that the social engineers point to the underclass and the working class as those responsible for the crisis. That’s right. They accuse the so-called “useless eaters” for their greed and for living beyond their means and hold them responsible for the crisis we now experience. Both the underclass and a large part of the middle class are in part responsible for their greed and decadence. But weren’t they born and bathed into a system that promoted and facilitated their greed, decadence and dependence? Of course they were. Should the underclass and the middle class then be held responsible for the now developing crisis because they were greedy and dependent? Of course not. But that is what the bankers, the social engineers want the dumbed down majority to think, and that is why tonight racial divides grow bigger in London, the United States, Africa and Asia. The underclass believes that the middle class are the ones responsible for the crisis because they are successful business owners and were able to take care of themselves and their families. In the meantime, the bankers who are responsible for both classes’ misery run rampant ripping people off around the world.

The people are to blame, say the bankers, because they want more services but don’t want to pay more taxes. Due to the fact millions have not bought the propaganda, the government is now playing the collectivist card. “There is no need to look for anyone to blame because we must now come together to solve our problems”. Neither the government nor the banks want the taxpayers to fully understand that these two entities are solely responsible for the current state of affairs. Governments have bribed citizens openly for at least a century in order to control them, therefore it is insane to believe that someone will buy the government and bank sponsored propaganda.

While millions of people lose their jobs, homes and lives because they cannot afford them, a few decadent scum bags consume themselves in fake tribalism, racism, theft and violence while the cowardly ones wait for the state to do something and beg for Martial Law and a Police State. Those who accepted the American-created culture of death, sex, thuggery, drug use, suicide and gang oriented behaviours are now acting as what they always dreamed to be: a bunch of disaffected slaves with no jobs or future that look up at rappers, singers, sports figures, electronics, alcohol and drugs to fulfill their empty lives. The world went from praising explorers, scientists, fire fighters, inventors and community leaders to worship ‘bling’ and Madison Avenue-created delusion.

Those who took advantage of a corrupt debt-based system to get their holiday vacation, car and house loans were shocked after the banks that own their livelihoods cut off lines of credit three years ago to put an end to the fantasy reality they were accustomed to for so many years. Those who foolishly believed that paying into the public pension system would guarantee them some devalued change to live the rest of their lives, even though many had warned of its non-existence, were not only fools, but also irreparable willful ignorants. They trusted their government so much to give them everything, that no room was left to think that the same State could one day decided to take it all away; which is what is happening now. So now, the most dependent members of society are blaming other citizens and not the banks and the governments for their misery. Why? Because blame is the base of Statism and the State has shown people well to accept the blame game when it favours the State. They are now begging the social engineers to put an end to their misery. Events like the riots in London and the United States are just the beginning of what is turning out to be a long summer and a coming long winter. Street violence, crime and government opposition will be used by the controllers to take away more of our rights. Government will use armies and violence against peaceful protesters before bringing out austerity and a more visible Police State, to crush people’s right to speak and arm to themselves, track social media, email accounts, and any other sign of dissent.

Now, this is what a broken down society looks like in the developed world. Can you imagine what will it look like in socialist or inherently paternalistic poor countries when austerity, hunger and deep misery gets there?

Enough Government Control and Quackery? Not yet. Meet I-dosing

Kurt Nimmo

I don’t know about you, but I am not about to run out and experiment with the latest fad, known as “i-dosing,” a gimmick that supposedly uses binaural tones to create euphoria. “Simply put, i-dosing is the attempt to achieve a perceived drug ‘high’ from listening specially-engineered sounds and music,” reports Psychology Today. “Is it a real drug? Probably not.”

But don’t tell that to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The government agency has declared that i-dosing induces the same kind of mind-altering effects as marijuana, cocaine, peyote, and opium. “Kids are going to flock to [i-dose websites] just to see what it is about and it can lead them to other places. If you want to reach these kids and save these kids and keep these kids safe, parents have to be aware, and they’ve got to take action,” said Mark Woodward, the spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

So dire is the threat, Oklahoma’s Mustang High School recently sent home letters to parents warning them of the dangers of i-dosing.

State lawmakers and Congress have yet to catch on and propose draconian laws to prevent this scourge from spreading. But give them time.

Back in 2001 a link between heavy television watching and Alzheimer’s disease was discovered, but the government is not clamoring to outlaw the idiot box or pass laws limiting the number of hours spent before it.

Real honest pharmaceutical drugs — antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — are in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. In addition, illegal drugs like cocaine and LSD end up in water, as a studies in Europe reveal. Not only are public officials not doing anything about this involuntary form of drug dosing, they are refusing to disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings.

But never mind this involuntary dosing — so-called researchers are now advocating the government put lithium in the water in order to curb suicide. “We already know that lithium can act as a powerful mood stabilizer for people with bipolar disorder, and treating people with lithium is also associated with lower suicide rates,” said one researcher, who added that this outrageous prospect “certainly merits more investigation.”

Eventually the corporate media will hype the exaggerated threat posed by i-dosing to the point where the government will dream up and enforce – ultimately by way of SWAT team – myriad laws that will add thousands of individuals to the state’s prison-industrial complex.

Oxford Professor: Poison water to medicate population

Oxford professor Julian Savulescu says fluoridation demonstrates how populations of the future could be mass-medicated through pharmacological ‘cognitive enhancements’ added to the water supply.

Aaron Dykes

In a 2008 paper titled, “Fluoride and the Future: Population Level Cognitive Enhancement,” Oxford bioethics professor Julian Savulescu claims that water fluoridation may be key to the “future of humanity.” He argues that “fluoridation may not merely be about tooth decay… [but] the drive to be better.”

Drugging the population’s water supply, Savulescu claims, is a form of “enhancement” that can pave the way to a future where mental abilities and other functions could be improved with drugs. Savulescu writes:

“Fluoridation is the tip of the enhancement iceberg. Science is progressing fast to develop safe and effective cognitive enhancers, drugs which will improve our mental abilities. For years, people have used crude enhancers, usually to promote wakefulness, like nicotine, caffeine and amphetamines. A new generation of more effective enhancers is emerging modafenil, ritalin, Adderral and ampakines and the piracetam family of memory improvers.”

But once highly safe and effective cognitive enhancers are developed – as they almost surely will be – the question will arise whether they should be added to the water, like fluoride, or our cereals, like folate. It seems likely that widespread population level cognitive enhancement will be irresistible.

The dream Savulescu argues for is based upon the lie that fluoridation of the public water supply has been a tremendous human advancement. Supporting that lie is the boasted claim by the Center for Disease Control that water fluoridation ranks among the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th Century. Instead, fluoride has been linked with neurological effects, thyroid problems, bone cancer and even crippling-blindness. What’s more, much of it is not even the common-but-toxic sodium fluoride, but an industrial waste derivative known as hydrofluosilicic acid– in an estimated 2/3 of the fluoridated public water in the U.S. and known to be very deadly.

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Savulescu is flawed to hope fluoride can pave the way to an alchemically-”improved” society, especially where forced-medication is involved. The vision is distinctly like that of Brave New World, wherein author Aldous Huxley predicts a future dictatorship where people “learn to love their servitude.” What Huxley terms in the novel “Soma” would most likely come in reality in the form of numerous drugs that would tackle individual happiness, and the larger complacency of the masses at large. Solidified by a Scientific Dictatorship, a pharmacologically-treated population would be rendered very unlikely to ever revolt against the regime in power.

There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”

A ‘scientific’ form of control doesn’t necessarily imply the rise of enlightenment or technological innovation, but rather the guaranteed control of its population through a tested understanding of human behavior– including breaking point, resistance, anger– and the the ability to systematically stay one-step or many more ahead of what anyone might do.

DRUGS AND CHEMICALS ALREADY IN OUR FOOD & WATER

So could “cognitive enhancers” like Ritalin, Prozac and other chemically-engineered drugs be added to the water supply in the future to make humans better, smarter or faster? Or could they make humans docile, complacent and dangerously subservient?

Such proposals are already underway, and what’s more, whether intentional or not, spiked water supplies are already affecting populations in the U.S. and across the globe.

Huxley stated:

Kurt Nimmo reported in December 2009 on a newspiece advocating adding lithium to the water supply as a mood stabilizer:

Japanese researchers, according to Georgiou, are “investigating whether trace amounts of lithium can just change the mood in a community enough — in a really positive way without having the bad effects of lithium — to really affect the mood and decrease the suicide rate.”

Moreover, the AP exposed in 2008 that pharmaceutical drugs were found in the majority of the United States’ water supply. According to the AP, at least 46 million people are affected by the issue.

The New York Times sums in ‘There are drugs in the drinking water. Now what?‘ that: “There are traces of sedatives in New York City’s water. Ibuprofen and naproxen in Washington, D.C. Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety drugs in southern California… But how bad is it, exactly?”

The U.S. Geological Survey lists the “emerging contaminants in the environment” and specifically notes what is affecting the water supply. Contaminating compounds range from herbicides to pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors and household chemicals.

New research has also uncovered the presence of chemicals known as Antiandrogens that are finding their way into the water supply. Paul Joseph Watson writes:

Antiandrogens used in pesticides sprayed on our food have also been identified as “endocrine disruptors” that have been “demonstrated to induce demasculinization in rats.”

More shockingly, population control advocates like White House Science Advisor John P. Holdren have advocated adding sterilants to the water supply. He wrote about it alongside Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich in their 1977 book Ecoscience.

“Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control.”

“It must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.”

Spreading disease, like “enhancements” or sterilization, could be the intention of food or water additives. In 2002, The Melbourne Age reported on Nobel Peace Prize winning microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet’s plan to help the Australian government develop biological weapons for use against Indonesia and other “overpopulated” countries of South-East Asia. From the article:

Sir Macfarlane recommended in a secret report in 1947 that biological and chemical weapons should be developed to target food crops and spread infectious diseases. His key advisory role on biological warfare was uncovered by Canberra historian Philip Dorling in the National Archives in 1998.

“Specifically to the Australian situation, the most effective counter-offensive to threatened invasion by overpopulated Asiatic countries would be directed towards the destruction by biological or chemical means of tropical food crops and the dissemination of infectious disease capable of spreading in tropical but not under Australian conditions,” Sir Macfarlane said.

Alex Jones recently exposed the fact that all the adulterated and dangerous chemical additives in our food and water are put there intentionally as put of a larger eugenics program.

The potential to use food and water as a weapon of mass-medication has long been used in times of war, under the principle of attrition and destabilization. Lord Bertrand Russell has underscored this concept rather bluntly in how it applies to societies living under the scientific age:

“Scientific societies are as yet in their infancy. . . It is to be expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – The Impact of Science on Society, 1953

“Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile, industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and biochemistry will be brought into play. – Education in a Scientific Society p.251

CHEMICAL LOBOTOMY: ENLIGHTENMENT IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD

It’s a brave new world indeed where Oxford professor Julian Savulescu argues for the “Ethics of Enhancement.” In his 2002 paper, “Genetic interventions and the ethics of enhancement of human beings,” Savulesco argues for using gene therapy and drug therapy to make “happier, healthier people.” It could mean adding both mental-boosting and mood-enhancing chemicals to the things everyone eats or drinks.

It is interesting that Savulescu mentions fluoride alongside “cognitive enhancements,” as many critics have pointed towards the use of fluoride in Nazi concentration camps to keep the inmates passive, and questioned whether a docile population is a hidden purpose of the water fluoridation campaigns in the United States and post-war Western world. Further, fluoride is a basic ingredient in both Prozac, which is the leading brand-name for Fluoxetine (FLUoxetene Hydrochloride) as well as Sarin nerve gas (Isopropyl-Methyl-Phosphoryl FLUoride), which are fundamentally mind-altering substances.

Fluoride isn’t the only controversial substance Savulescu terms as an advance in human civilization. He touts the widespread use of Prozac and points to the use of Modafenil, an amphetamine, to keep Air Force pilots alert during missions in Iraq. Savulescu is also a proponent of most types of genetic-enhancement that have been proposed. He sees experiments like the genetically-engineered “supermouse” as a model for the potential supermen of the future.

However, all of these “enhancements” come with risks. Genetically-engineered foods have proved deadly and dangerous; gene-splicing has proved to have unforeseeable consequences; fluorides and pharmaceutical chemicals pose dangers of addiction, brain damage, cancer or other problems.

Savulescu poses the potential to “enhance” a.k.a. “control” behavior: “If the results of recent animal studies into hard work and monogamy apply to humans, it may be possible in the future to genetically change how we are predisposed to behave. This raises a new question: should we try to engineer better, happier people?” p. 7-8

NOT UTILIZING ENHANCEMENTS COULD BE ‘WRONG’

He goes on to argue that while many have raised questions about the moral and ethical dilemmas of biological enhancement, NOT enhancing could be most wrong. In this scenario, not feeding offspring “enhanced” food additives could be considered as an offense:

First Argument for Enhancement: Choosing Not to Enhance Is Wrong – Consider the case of the Neglectful Parents. The Neglectful parents give birth to a child with a special condition. The child has a stunning intellect but requires a simple, readily available, cheap dietary supplement to sustain his intellect. But they neglect the diet of this child and this results in a child with a stunning intellect becoming normal. This is clearly wrong.”

“But now consider the case of the Lazy Parents. They have a child who has a normal intellect but if they introduced the same dietary supplement, the child’s intellect would rise to the same level as the child of the Neglectful Parent. They can’t be bothered with improving the child’s diet so the child remains with a normal intellect. Failure to institute dietary supplementation means a normal child fails to achieve a stunning intellect. The inaction of the Lazy Parents is as wrong as the inaction of the Neglectful parents. It has exactly the same consequence: a child exists who could have had a stunning intellect but is instead normal. Some argue that it is not wrong to fail to bring about” p. 10

Savulescu’s vision is distinctly “transhumanist” a branch of the eugenics movement which seeks to improve the human species to the point that highly-gifted individuals would transcend into a new & improved proto-human species– becoming godlike creatures with unique creative potential and abilities. Transhumanism was first termed by UNESCO founder Julian Huxley in 1952, the grandson of Charles Darwin’s partner at the Royal Society of Science, T.H. Huxley.

“I believe in transhumanism”: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Pekin man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny.
-Julian Huxley, 1957

LIBERAL EUGENICS: “VOLUNTARY” ENHANCEMENTS THROUGH MASS-MEDICATED WATER

That philosophy of Transhumanism, moreover, is necessarily rooted in the Eugenics movement of the early 20th Century that was led by the scientific elite of the Royal Society, which included Charles Darwin, his cousin Francis Galton and Thomas H. Huxley. This circle and their allies floated Utopian visions for a scientifically- and eugenically- engineered society that would be progressive and even transformative, theoretically producing a ‘better’, albeit tightly-authoritarian society (science demands control, in that sense).

Savulescu identifies with much of this “liberal Eugenics,” defensibly separate from Nazi eugenics because there is ‘no belief in only one gene-type’ and because its measures remain “voluntary.”

“What was objectionable about the eugenics movement, besides its shoddy scientific basis, was that it involved the imposition of a State vision for a healthy population and aimed to achieve this through coercion.” p. 21

However, proposals to add medication to the population’s water supply are involuntary, and would violate individual rights. It would be mass-medication, and avoiding the substances treated with it would be costly, burdensome and difficult to do with any finality. Savulescu apparently views compulsory water treatment in the same vein as compulsory vaccinations, and anything else that can be justified on a public health care basis, even when such treatments prove not to be healthy at all.

“Some interventions, however, may still be clearly enhancements for our children and so just like vaccinations or other preventative health care.” p. 27

Additionally, while the figures of “liberal eugenics” which Savulescu looked up to often espoused semi-tolerant “voluntary” proposals, it was always clear that the long-term vision encompassed measures of control ‘for the betterment of all’ that could not function under voluntary or ‘democratic’ conditions. What’s more, eugenical laws passed in the 1920s and 1930s in the United States and Britain– some of which weren’t repealed until the late 1970s– gave the State authority over forcible sterilization and beyond. Thus, these “voluntary” enhancement-visionaries have already crossed the line of trust and betrayed the fact that they mean to control with force.

Advancements and innovations in science, technology and health have obvious potential benefits, but with kind of dangerous ideology driving the science policy, public health is at a serious risk. Worse still, driving the population into that system has been an intentional scheme by certain ideologues. We cannot flirt with ushering a Brave New World knowing its sweet poison is certain despotism.

HSBC, Wachovia, Bank of America Launder Mexican Drug Money

Bloomberg

Just before sunset on April 10, 2006, a DC-9 jet landed at the international airport in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, 500 mileseast of Mexico City. As soldiers on the ground approached the plane, the crew tried to shoo them away, saying there was a dangerous oil leak. So the troops grew suspicious and searched the jet.

They found 128 black suitcases, packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100 million. The stash was supposed to have been delivered from Caracas to drug traffickers in Toluca, near Mexico City, Mexican prosecutors later found. Law enforcement officials also discovered something else.

The smugglers had bought the DC-9 with laundered funds they transferred through two of the biggest banks in the U.S.: Wachovia Corp. and Bank of America Corp., Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August 2010 issue.

This was no isolated incident. Wachovia, it turns out, had made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers — including the cash used to buy four planes that shipped a total of 22 tons of cocaine.

The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March, and it sheds light on the largely undocumented role of U.S. banks in contributing to the violent drug trade that has convulsed Mexico for the past four years.

‘Blatant Disregard’

Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history — a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.

“Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations,” says Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor who handled the case.

Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S. In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid- June. Six Juarez police officers were slaughtered by automatic weapons fire in a midday ambush in April.

Rondolfo Torre, the leading candidate for governor in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas, was gunned down yesterday, less than a week before elections in which violence related to drug trafficking was a central issue.

45,000 Troops

Mexican President Felipe Calderon vowed to crush the drug cartels when he took office in December 2006, and he’s since deployed 45,000 troops to fight the cartels. They’ve had little success.

Among the dead are police, soldiers, journalists and ordinary citizens. The U.S. has pledged Mexico $1.1 billion in the past two years to aid in the fight against narcotics cartels.

In May, President Barack Obama said he’d send 1,200 National Guard troops, adding to the 17,400 agents on the U.S. side of the border to help stem drug traffic and illegal immigration.

Behind the carnage in Mexico is an industry that supplies hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines to Americans. The cartels have built a network of dealers in 231 U.S. cities from coast to coast, taking in about $39 billion in sales annually, according to the Justice Department.

‘You’re Missing the Point’

Twenty million people in the U.S. regularly use illegal drugs, spurring street crime and wrecking families. Narcotics cost the U.S. economy $215 billion a year — enough to cover health care for 30.9 million Americans — in overburdened courts, prisons and hospitals and lost productivity, the department says.

“It’s the banks laundering money for the cartels that finances the tragedy,” says Martin Woods, director of Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London from 2006 to 2009. Woods says he quit the bank in disgust after executives ignored his documentation that drug dealers were funneling money through Wachovia’s branch network.

“If you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and the 22,000 people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods says.

Cleansing Dirty Cash

Wachovia is just one of the U.S. and European banks that have been used for drug money laundering. For the past two decades, Latin American drug traffickers have gone to U.S. banks to cleanse their dirty cash, says Paul Campo, head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s financial crimes unit.

Miami-based American Express Bank International paid fines in both 1994 and 2007 after admitting it had failed to spot and report drug dealers laundering money through its accounts. Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine, according to Mexican court filings.

Federal agents caught people who work for Mexican cartels depositing illicit funds in Bank of America accounts in Atlanta, Chicago and Brownsville, Texas, from 2002 to 2009. Mexican drug dealers used shell companies to open accounts at London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest bank by assets, an investigation by the Mexican Finance Ministry found.

Following Rules

Those two banks weren’t accused of wrongdoing. Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton and HSBC spokesman Roy Caple say laws bar them from discussing specific clients. They say their banks strictly follow the government rules.

“Bank of America takes its anti-money-laundering responsibilities very seriously,” Norton says.

A Mexican judge on Jan. 22 accused the owners of six centros cambiarios, or money changers, in Culiacan and Tijuana of laundering drug funds through their accounts at the Mexican units of Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc. and HSBC, according to court documents filed in the case.

The money changers are in jail while being tried. Citigroup, HSBC and Santander, which is the largest Spanish bank by assets, weren’t accused of any wrongdoing. The three banks say Mexican law bars them from commenting on the case, adding that they each carefully enforce anti-money-laundering programs.

HSBC has stopped accepting dollar deposits in Mexico, and Citigroup no longer allows noncustomers to change dollars there. Citigroup detected suspicious activity in the Tijuana accounts, reported it to regulators and closed the accounts, Citigroup spokesman Paulo Carreno says.

Criminal Empires

On June 15, the Mexican Finance Ministry announced it would set limits for banks on cash deposits in dollars.

Mexico’s drug cartels have become multinational criminal enterprises.

Some of the gangs have delved into other illegal activities such as gunrunning, kidnapping and smuggling people across the border, as well as into seemingly legitimate areas such as trucking, travel services and air cargo transport, according to the Justice Department’s National Drug Intelligence Center.

These criminal empires have no choice but to use the global banking system to finance their businesses, Mexican Senator Felipe Gonzalez says.

“With so much cash, the only way to move this money is through the banks,” says Gonzalez, who represents a central Mexican state and chairs the senate public safety committee.

Gonzalez, a member of Calderon’s National Action Party, carries a .38 revolver for personal protection.

“I know this won’t stop the narcos when they come through that door with machine guns,” he says, pointing to the entrance to his office. “But at least I’ll take one with me.”

Subprime Losses

No bank has been more closely connected with Mexican money laundering than Wachovia. Founded in 1879, Wachovia became the largest bank by assets in the southeastern U.S. by 1900. After the Great Depression, some people in North Carolina called the bank “Walk-Over-Ya” because it had foreclosed on farms in the region.

By 2008, Wachovia was the sixth-largest U.S. lender, and it faced $26 billion in losses from subprime mortgage loans. That cost Wachovia Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Thompson his job in June 2008.

Six months later, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, which dates from 1852, bought Wachovia for $12.7 billion, creating the largest network of bank branches in the U.S. Thompson, who now works for private-equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners LLC in New York, declined to comment.

As Wachovia’s balance sheet was bleeding, its legal woes were mounting. In the three years leading up to Wachovia’s agreement with the Justice Department, grand juries served the bank with 6,700 subpoenas requesting information.

Not Quick Enough

The bank didn’t react quickly enough to the prosecutors’ requests and failed to hire enough investigators, the U.S. Treasury Department said in March. After a 22-month investigation, the Justice Department on March 12 charged Wachovia with violating the Bank Secrecy Act by failing to run an effective anti-money-laundering program.

Five days later, Wells Fargo promised in a Miami federal courtroom to revamp its detection systems. Wachovia’s new owner paid $160 million in fines and penalties, less than 2 percent of its $12.3 billion profit in 2009.

If Wells Fargo keeps its pledge, the U.S. government will, according to the agreement, drop all charges against the bank in March 2011.

Wells Fargo regrets that some of Wachovia’s former anti- money-laundering efforts fell short, spokeswoman Mary Eshet says. Wells Fargo has invested $42 million in the past three years to improve its anti-money-laundering program and has been working with regulators, she says.

‘Significantly Upgraded’

“We have substantially increased the caliber and number of staff in our international investigations group, and we also significantly upgraded the monitoring software,” Eshet says. The agreement bars the bank from contesting or contradicting the facts in its admission.

The bank declined to answer specific questions, including how much it made by handling $378.4 billion — including $4 billion of cash-from Mexican exchange companies.

The 1970 Bank Secrecy Act requires banks to report all cash transactions above $10,000 to regulators and to tell the government about other suspected money-laundering activity. Big banks employ hundreds of investigators and spend millions of dollars on software programs to scour accounts.

No big U.S. bank — Wells Fargo included — has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

‘No Capacity to Regulate’

Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

“There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.”

Wachovia’s run-in with federal prosecutors hasn’t troubled investors. Wells Fargo’s stock traded at $30.86 on March 24, up 1 percent in the week after the March 17 agreement was announced.

Moving money is central to the drug trade — from the cash that people tape to their bodies as they cross the U.S.-Mexican border to the $100,000 wire transfers they send from Mexican exchange houses to big U.S. banks.

‘Doesn’t Stop Anyone’

In Tijuana, 15 miles south of San Diego, Gustavo Rojas has lived for a quarter of a century in a shack in the shadow of the 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) steel border fence that separates the U.S. and Mexico there. He points to holes burrowed under the barrier.

“They go across with drugs and come back with cash,” Rojas, 75, says. “This fence doesn’t stop anyone.”

Drug money moves back and forth across the border in an endless cycle. In the U.S., couriers take the cash from drug sales to Mexico — as much as $29 billion a year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That would be about 319 tons of $100 bills.

They hide it in cars and trucks to smuggle into Mexico. There, cartels pay people to deposit some of the cash into Mexican banks and branches of international banks. The narcos launder much of what’s left through money changers.

The Money Changers

Anyone who has been to Mexico is familiar with these street-corner money changers; Mexican regulators say there are at least 3,000 of them from Tijuana to Cancun, usually displaying large signs advertising the day’s dollar-peso exchange rate.

Mexican banks are regulated by the National Banking and Securities Commission, which has an anti-money-laundering unit; the money changers are policed by Mexico’s Tax Service Administration, which has no such unit.

By law, the money changers have to demand identification from anyone exchanging more than $500. They also have to report transactions higher than $5,000 to regulators.

The cartels get around these requirements by employing legions of individuals — including relatives, maids and gardeners — to convert small amounts of dollars into pesos or to make deposits in local banks. After that, cartels wire the money to a multinational bank.

The Smurfs

The people making the small money exchanges are known as Smurfs, after the cartoon characters.

“They can use an army of people like Smurfs and go through $1 million before lunchtime,” says Jerry Robinette, who oversees U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations along the border in east Texas.

The U.S. Treasury has been warning banks about big Mexican- currency-exchange firms laundering drug money since 1996. By 2004, many U.S. banks had closed their accounts with these companies, which are known as casas de cambio.

Wachovia ignored warnings by regulators and police, according to the deferred-prosecution agreement.

“As early as 2004, Wachovia understood the risk,” the bank admitted in court. “Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in the business.”

One customer that Wachovia took on in 2004 was Casa de Cambio Puebla SA, a Puebla, Mexico-based currency-exchange company. Pedro Alatorre, who ran a Puebla branch in Mexico City, had created front companies for cartels, according to a pending Mexican criminal case against him.

Federal Indictment

A federal grand jury in Miami indicted Puebla, Alatorre and three other executives in February 2008 for drug trafficking and money laundering. In May 2008, the Justice Department sought extradition of the suspects, saying they used shell firms to launder $720 million through U.S. banks.

Alatorre has been in a Mexican jail for 2 1/2 years. He denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer Mauricio Moreno says. Alatorre has made no court-filed responses in the U.S.

During the period in which Wachovia admitted to moving money out of Mexico for Puebla, couriers carrying clear plastic bags stuffed with cash went to the branch Alatorre ran at the Mexico City airport, according to surveillance reports by Mexican police.

Alatorre opened accounts at HSBC on behalf of front companies, Mexican investigators found.

Puebla executives used the stolen identities of 74 people to launder money through Wachovia accounts, Mexican prosecutors say in court-filed reports.

‘Never Reported’

“Wachovia handled all the transfers, and they never reported any as suspicious,” says Jose Luis Marmolejo, a former head of the Mexican attorney general’s financial crimes unit who is now in private practice.

In November 2005 and January 2006, Wachovia transferred a total of $300,000 from Puebla to a Bank of America account in Oklahoma City, according to information in the Alatorre cases in the U.S. and Mexico.

Drug smugglers used the funds to buy the DC-9 through Oklahoma City aircraft broker U.S. Aircraft Titles Inc., according to financial records cited in the Mexican criminal case. U.S. Aircraft Titles President Sue White declined to comment.

On April 5, 2006, a pilot flew the plane from St. Petersburg, Florida, to Caracas to pick up the cocaine, according to the DEA. Five days later, troops seized the plane in Ciudad del Carmen and burned the drugs at a nearby army base.

‘Wachovia Knew’

“I am sure Wachovia knew what was going on,” says Marmolejo, who oversaw the criminal investigation into Wachovia’s customers. “It went on too long and they made too much money not to have known.”

At Wachovia’s anti-money-laundering unit in London, Woods and his colleague Jim DeFazio, in Charlotte, say they suspected that drug dealers were using the bank to move funds.

Woods, a former Scotland Yard investigator, spotted illegible signatures and other suspicious markings on traveler’s checks from Mexican exchange companies, he said in a September 2008 letter to the U.K. Financial Services Authority. He sent copies of the letter to the DEA and Treasury Department in the U.S.

Woods, 45, says his bosses instructed him to keep quiet and tried to have him fired, according to his letter to the FSA. In one meeting, a bank official insisted Woods shouldn’t have filed suspicious activity reports to the government, as both U.S. and U.K. laws require.

‘I Was Shocked’

“I was shocked by the content and outcome of the meeting and genuinely traumatized,” Woods wrote.

In the U.S., DeFazio, who had been a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent for 21 years, says he told bank executives in 2005 that the DEA was probing the transfers through Wachovia to buy the planes.

Bank executives spurned recommendations to close suspicious accounts, DeFazio, 63, says.

“I think they looked at the money and said, ‘The hell with it. We’re going to bring it in, and look at all the money we’ll make,’” DeFazio says.

DeFazio retired in 2008.

“I didn’t want anything from them,” he says. “I just wanted to get out.”

Woods, who resigned from Wachovia in May 2009, now advises banks on how to combat money laundering. He declined to discuss details of Wachovia’s actions.

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan told Woods in a March 19 letter his efforts had helped the U.S. build its case against Wachovia.

‘Great Courage’

“You demonstrated great courage and integrity by speaking up when you saw problems,” Dugan wrote.

It was the Puebla investigation that led U.S. authorities to the broader probe of Wachovia. On May 16, 2007, DEA agents conducted a raid of Wachovia’s international banking offices in Miami. They had a court order to seize Puebla’s accounts.

U.S. prosecutors and investigators then scrutinized the bank’s dealings with Mexican-currency-exchange firms. That led to the March deferred-prosecution agreement.

With Puebla’s Wachovia accounts seized, Alatorre and his partners shifted their laundering scheme to HSBC, according to financial documents cited in the Mexican criminal case against Alatorre.

In the three weeks after the DEA raided Wachovia, two of Alatorre’s front companies, Grupo ETPB SA and Grupo Rahero SC, made 12 cash deposits totaling $1 million at an HSBC Mexican branch, Mexican investigators found.

Another Drug Plane

The funds financed a Beechcraft King Air 200 plane that police seized on Dec. 29, 2007, in Cuernavaca, 50 miles south of Mexico City, according to information in the case against Alatorre.

For years, federal authorities watched as the wife and daughter of Oscar Oropeza, a drug smuggler working for the Matamoros-based Gulf Cartel, deposited stacks of cash at a Bank of America branch on Boca Chica Boulevard in Brownsville, Texas, less than 3 miles from the border.

Investigator Robinette sits in his pickup truck across the street from that branch. It’s a one-story, tan stucco building next to a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Robinette discusses the Oropeza case with Tom Salazar, an agent who investigated the family.

“Everybody in there knew who they were — the tellers, everyone,” Salazar says. “The bank never came to us, though.”

New Meaning

The Oropeza case gives a new, literal meaning to the term money laundering. Oropeza’s wife, Tina Marie, and daughter Paulina Marie deposited stashes of $20 bills several times a day into Bank of America accounts, Salazar says. Bank employees got to know the Oropezas by the smell of their money.

“I asked the tellers what they were talking about, and they said the money had this sweet smell like Bounce, those sheets you throw into the dryer,” Salazar says. “They told me that when they opened the vault, the smell of Bounce just poured out.”

Oropeza, 48, was arrested 820 miles from Brownsville. On May 31, 2007, police in Saraland, Alabama, stopped him on a traffic violation. Checking his record, they learned of the investigation in Texas.

They searched the van and discovered 84 kilograms (185 pounds) of cocaine hidden under a false floor. That allowed federal agents to freeze Oropeza’s bank accounts and search his marble-floored home in Brownsville, Robinette says. Inside, investigators found a supply of Bounce alongside the clothes dryer.

Guilty Pleas

All three Oropezas pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brownsville to drug and money-laundering charges in March and April 2008. Oscar Oropeza was sentenced to 15 years in prison; his wife was ordered to serve 10 months and his daughter got 6 months.

Bank of America’s Norton says, “We not only fulfilled our regulatory obligation, but we proactively worked with law enforcement on these matters.”

Prosecutors have tried to halt money laundering at American Express Bank International twice. In 1994, the bank, then a subsidiary of New York-based American Express Co., pledged not to allow money laundering again after two employees were convicted in a criminal case involving drug trafficker Juan Garcia Abrego.

In 1994, the bank paid $14 million to settle. Five years later, drug money again flowed through American Express Bank. Between 1999 and 2004, the bank failed to stop clients from laundering $55 million of narcotics funds, the bank admitted in a deferred-prosecution agreement in August 2007.

Western Union

It paid $65 million to the U.S. and promised not to break the law again. The government dismissed the criminal charge a year later. American Express sold the bank to London-based Standard Chartered PLC in February 2008 for $823 million.

Banks aren’t the only financial institutions that have turned a blind eye to drug cartels in moving illicit funds. Western Union Co., the world’s largest money transfer firm, agreed to pay $94 million in February 2010 to settle civil and criminal investigations by the Arizona attorney general’s office.

Undercover state police posing as drug dealers bribed Western Union employees to illegally transfer money, says Cameron Holmes, an assistant attorney general.

“Their allegiance was to the smugglers,” Holmes says. “What they thought about during work was ‘How may I please my highest- spending customers the most?’”

Smudged Fingerprints

Workers in more than 20 Western Union offices allowed the customers to use multiple names, pass fictitious identifications and smudge their fingerprints on documents, investigators say in court records.

“In all the time we did undercover operations, we never once had a bribe turned down,” says Holmes, citing court affidavits.

Western Union has made significant improvements, it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and works closely with regulators and police, spokesman Tom Fitzgerald says.

For four years, Mexican authorities have been fighting a losing battle against the cartels. The police are often two steps behind the criminals. Near the southeastern corner of Texas, in Matamoros, more than 50 combat troops surround a police station.

Officers take two suspected drug traffickers inside for questioning. Nearby, two young men wearing white T-shirts and baggy pants watch and whisper into radios. These are los halcones (the falcons), whose job is to let the cartel bosses know what the police are doing.

‘Only Way’

While the police are outmaneuvered and outgunned, ordinary Mexicans live in fear. Rojas, the man who lives in the Tijuana slum near the border fence, recalls cowering in his home as smugglers shot it out with the police.

“The only way to survive is to stay out of the way and hope the violence, the bullets, don’t come for you,” Rojas says.

To make their criminal enterprises work, the drug cartels of Mexico need to move billions of dollars across borders. That’s how they finance the purchase of drugs, planes, weapons and safe houses, Senator Gonzalez says.

“They are multinational businesses, after all,” says Gonzalez, as he slowly loads his revolver at his desk in his Mexico City office. “And they cannot work without a bank.”