Sinaloa Cartel Becomes King of Mexico Meth Production

With the decline of Mexico‘s Familia Michoacana drug gang, it appears that the Sinaloa Cartel has stepped up as the largest distributor of methamphetamine to the U.S., illustrating an inherent contradiction in any “war on drugs.”

by  Geoffrey Ramsey
In Sight Crime
September 3, 2011

Over the past several months, the once-mighty Familia Michoacana has suffered several major blows to its organizational structure. In December, police shot and killed Familia leader and founding member Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, a development which caused the group to split into two factions, one of which calls itself the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar), while the other has kept the original name. In June, officials arrested another Familia leader, Jose de Jesus Mendez, alias “El Chango,” prompting government security spokesman Alejandro Poire to claim that “what was left of the command structure of this criminal organization is destroyed.”

He may be right — now, in perhaps the clearest sign of the group’s decline, the Familia has reportedly lost its tight hold on the lucrative methamphetamine trade. This has traditionally been the largest source of revenue for the criminal organization. According to the Associated Press, the rival Sinaloa Cartel has taken advantage of the Familia’s weakened state to seize control of meth production, and is expanding on a massive scale. As evidence, the report says that a haul of more than 400 metric tons of precursor chemicals, used to produce meth, that were seized from a warehouse in Queretaro last July belonged to the Sinaloans.

Even more telling than the sheer bulk of chemicals was the way in which they were organized; when police raided the warehouse they found its contents neatly stacked by forklift into separate categories, suggesting that the group has a well-developed industrial process for making and transporting methamphetamine.

This is a classic illustration of the so-called hydra effect, or balloon effect — the process by which each blow a government strikes against one organized criminal group simply allows another to rise and take its place. Following to this theory, targeting individual groups will usually only cause production to shift location or change hands. In this case, the cartel taking over the meth trade, Sinaloa, happens to be the most powerful in the country, which does not bode well for U.S. efforts against this highly addictive substance.

According to one anonymous U.S. law enforcement official in Mexico who spoke to the Associated Press, the Sinaloa Cartel has the potential to surpass the Familia’s meth-exporting efforts, as the group already has an extensive supply chain for bringing cocaine, heroin and marijuana into the United States. “Although La Familia has distribution points in the U.S. … they don’t have the distribution network that Sinaloa Cartel has,” said the official.

What’s more, demand for Mexican meth in the U.S. has gone up in recent years. As the Wall Street Journal reported recently, the Mexican military raided 103 clandestine methamphetamine labs during the first six months of this year, which amounts to a 25 percent increase from the same period in 2010. Meanwhile U.S. border officials seized a record 5,588 kilograms of meth along the border last year, up from 3,602 kilos in 2009. Officials have already seized that much so far this year, and are set to surpass last year’s record.

Court Documents: Sinaloa “Cartel” Protected by U.S. Government

by Bill Conroy
The Narcosphere
September 3, 2011

Originally published July 31, 2011

Deal Allegedly Gave Sinaloa Bosses Immunity in Exchange for Providing Info on Rival Drug Organizations

The son of a heavy hitter in a powerful Mexican drug trafficking organization has filed explosive legal pleadings in federal court in Chicago accusing the US government of cutting a deal with the the “Sinaloa Cartel” that gave its leadership “carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States.”

The source of that allegation is Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, the son of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, one of the purported top leaders of the Sinaloa drug-trafficking organization — a major Mexican-based importer of weapons and exporter of drugs.

The top capo of the Sinaloa drug organization, named after the Pacific Coast Mexican state where it is based, is Joaquin Guzman Loera (El Chapo) — who escaped from a maximum security prison in Mexico in 2001, only days before he was slated to be extradited to the United States. Chapo has since gone on to build one of the most powerful drug “cartels” in Mexico. With the death of Osama Bin Laden in May, Chapo (a Spanish nickname meaning “shorty”) jumped to the top of the FBI’s “Most Wanted” persons list. He also made Forbes Magazine’s 2010 list of “The World’s Most Powerful People.”

Zambada Niebla, himself a key player in the Sinaloa organization, was arrested in Mexico City in March 2009 and last February extradited to the United States to stand trial on narco-trafficking-related charges.

The indictment pending against Zambada Niebla claims he served as the “logistical coordinator” for the “cartel,” helping to oversee an operation that imported into the US “multi-ton quantities of cocaine … using various means, including but not limited to, Boeing 747 cargo aircraft, private aircraft … buses, rail cars, tractor-trailers, and automobiles.”

Zambada Niebla also claims to be an asset of the US government. His allegation was laid out originally in a two-page court pleading filed in late March with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

The latest allegations being advanced by Zambada Niebla, who is now being held in solitary confinement in a jail cell in Chicago, are laid out in motions filed late this week in federal court. Those pleadings spell out the supposed cooperative relationship between the US Department of Justice and its various agencies, including DEA and the FBI, and the leaders of the “Sinaloa Cartel” — including Zambada Niebla.

That alleged relationship was cultivated through a Mexican attorney, Humberto Loya Castro, whom Zambada Niebla claims is a Sinaloa Cartel member and “a close confidante of Joaquin Guzman Loera (Chapo).”

From Zambada Niebla’s court pleadings, filed on July 29:

[Humberto] Loya was indicted along with Chapo and Mayo [Zambada Niebla’s father] in 1995 in the Southern District of California and charged with participation in a massive narcotics trafficking conspiracy (Case No. 95CR0973). That case was dismissed on the prosecution’s own motion in 2008 after Loya became an informant for the United States government and had provided information for a period of over ten years.

Sometime prior to 2004 [when George W. Bush was president], and continuing through the time period covered in the indictment, the United States government entered into an agreement with Loya and the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel, including Mayo and Chapo.

Under that agreement, the Sinaloa Cartel, through Loya, was to provide information accumulated by Mayo, Chapo, and others, against rival Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations to the United States government. In return, the United States government agreed to dismiss the prosecution of the pending case against Loya, not to interfere with his drug trafficking activities and those of the Sinaloa Cartel, to not actively prosecute him, Chapo, Mayo, and the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel, and to not apprehend them.

The protection extended to the Sinaloa leadership, according to the court filings, included being “informed by agents of the DEA through Loya that United States government agents and/or Mexican authorities were conducting investigations near the home territories of cartel leaders so that the cartel leaders could take appropriate actions to evade investigators.”

In addition, the pleadings allege, the US government agreed not to “share any of the information they had about the Sinaloa Cartel and/or the leadership of the Sinaloa Cartel with the Mexican government in order to better assure that they would not be apprehended and so that their operations would not be interfered with.”

More from the July 29 pleadings:

Zambada Niebla was a party to the agreement between the United States government and the Sinaloa Cartel and provided information to the United States government through Loya pursuant to the agreement.

… Loya arranged for Mr. Zambada Niebla to meet with United States government agents at the Sheraton Hotel in Mexico City in March [17th] of 2009 [after the Obama administration took power] for the purpose of introducing Mr. Zambada Niebla to the agents and for the purpose of his continuing to provide information to the DEA and the United States government personally, rather than through Loya.

Loya’s federal case had been dismissed in 2008 [while Bush was still in the White House] and the DEA representative told Mr. Loya-Castro that they wanted to establish a more personal relationship with Mr. Zambada Niebla so that they could deal with him directly under the agreement. Mr. Zambada Niebla believed that under the prior agreement, any activities of the Sinaloa Cartel, including the kind described in the indictment, were covered by the agreement, and that he was immune from arrest or prosecution.

Zambada Niebla claims, in the court pleadings, that he attended the meeting in March 2009 at the hotel in Mexico City as scheduled, with Loya present, and while there, even though he was then under indictment in the US, was told by US federal agents that he would not be arrested and that arrangements had been made “at the highest levels of the United States government” to assure his immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation in providing information on rival narco-trafficking groups.

However, Zambada Niebla contends he was double-crossed, despite the assurance of the US agents.

He alleges in his pleadings that government agents “were satisfied with the information he had provided to them” at the meeting at the Sheraton Hotel on March 17, 2009, and that “arrangements would be made to meet with him again.”

“Mr. Zambada Niebla then left the meeting,” the court pleadings assert. “Approximately five hours after the [hotel] meeting, Mr. Zambada-Niebla was arrested by Mexican authorities.”

Fast, Furious and the House of Death

Zambada Niebla’s pleadings also reference the controversial U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) weapons-trafficking interdiction program Fast and Furious — an operation, now the subject of Congressional hearings, that allegedly allowed some 2,000 guns to be smuggled across the US/Mexican border under ATF’s watch. Zambada Niebla contends that Fast and Furious is yet another example of the US government’s complicity in the carnage of the drug war.

From Zambada Niebla’s pleadings:

The United States government considered the arrangements with the Sinaloa Cartel an acceptable price to pay, because the principal objective was the destruction and dismantling of rival cartels by using the assistance of the Sinaloa Cartel — without regard for the fact that tons of illicit drugs continued to be smuggled into Chicago and other parts of the United States and consumption continued virtually unabated.

Essentially, the theory of the United States government in waging its “war on drugs” has been and continues to be that the “end justifies the means” and that it is more important to receive information about rival drug cartels’ activities from the Sinaloa Cartel in return for being allowed to continue their criminal activities, including and not limited to their smuggling of tons of illegal narcotics into the United States. This is confirmed by recent disclosures by the Congressional Committee’s investigation of the latest Department of Justice, DEA, FBI, and ATF’s “war on drugs” operation known as “Fast & Furious.”

As a result of Operation Fast and Furious, the pleadings assert, about “three thousand people” in Mexico were killed, “including law enforcement officers in the sate of Sinaloa, Mexico, headquarters of the Sinaloa Cartel.”

Among those receiving weapons through the ATF operation, the pleadings continue, were DEA and FBI informants working for drug organizations, including the leadership of those groups.

“The evidence seems to indicate that the Justice Department not only allowed criminals to smuggle weapons, but that tax payers’ dollars in the form of informant payments, may have financed those engaging in such activities,” the pleadings allege. “… It is clear that some of the weapons were deliberately allowed by the FBI and other government representatives to end up in the hands of the Sinaloa Cartel and that among the people killed by those weapons were law enforcement officers.

“… Mr. Zambada Niebla believes that the documentation that he requests [from the US government] will confirm that the weapons received by Sinaloa Cartel members and its leaders in Operation ‘Fast & Furious’ were provided under the agreement entered into between the United States government and [Chapo Guzman confidante] Mr. Loya Castro on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel that is the subject of his [Zambada Niebla’s] defense [regarding] public authority.”

The Zambada Niebla pleadings even reference the infamous House of Death case, so named by Narco News, which has published an exhaustive series of investigative stories on the mass-murder case dating back to 2004.

From the pleadings:

Mr. Zambada Niebla also requests … that the United States government produce material relating to the … “House of Death” murders, which took place in Juarez, Mexico, and were committed by United States government informants. As confirmed in the Joint Assessment Report [JAT] prepared by government authorities investigating those murders, agents of the United States government had prior knowledge that murders were going to be committed by their informants but did not take any measures to either inform the Mexican government or the intended victims, because government representatives determined it was moreimportant to protect the identity of their informants.

The informants were assisting the United States government in the investigations of major drug traffickers and the government determined that the killings of over a hundred Mexican citizens was an acceptable price to pay for enabling them to continue their narcotics investigations.

The Great Pretense Unmasked

In its response to Zambada Niebla’s claim that he was working under “public authority” as an informant or confidential source, US federal prosecutors don’t claim outright that he was not a US government asset. They argue, instead, only that “the government denies that defendant [Zambada Niebla] exercised public authority when he committed the serious crimes charged in the indictment.” In other words, even if Zambada Niebla was offered some type of deal in exchange for his cooperation, that deal did not extend to the specific acts he is accused of in the indictment against him.

Federal prosecutors also ask that the court order Zambada Niebla to produce, prior to trial, “evidence that a specific American official or officials with actual or apparent authority expressly authorized [him] to import multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin into the United States, as charged in the indictment, or expressly assured [him] that these acts were not criminal, and that [he] reasonably relied on these communications.”

Narco News spoke with several former DEA and FBI agents about Zambada Niebla’s contention that he worked, in essence, as an informant for the US government. Not one of those former agents, who asked that their names not be revealed, considered it out of the realm of possibility that Zambada Niebla might have cut a deal with the US government.

In fact, one former DEA agent said that by making such a claim, Zambada Niebla was essentially putting his life in jeopardy by outing himself as an informant, an extreme move that would seem to indicate that at least he believes he had a deal in place.

But, in the end, all of the former federal agents agree that unless Zambada Niebla has proof of his allegations that passes legal muster, he has little chance of prevailing — and at least one of those former agents said prosecutors would not likely have challenged him to produce such proof if they did not have a high degree of confidence that it does not exist.

A former FBI agent explained it this way:

The U. S. Attorney General Guidelines for Informants requires that there be a written document called an “otherwise criminal activities memo” signed by both parties. This document spells out exactly what the informant is authorized to do and tells him that he may be prosecuted for any other illegal activities. This should be provided to the defense in discovery; however, it does not always happen. Some attorneys are not aware of this and do not ask for it in discovery and the government does not willingly give it up.

I suspect that the government did not provide this document to the defense and that is why they are demanding that he provide proof of his status. … It would be very easy to prove what he was authorized to do by having the memo. [So] this may be a case of where the memo was never done….

The former DEA agent, who has extensive overseas experience, added:

My instincts say he was an informant. It’s [Zambada Niebla’s pleadings are] an effort to “scare” or “frighten” the government to dismiss or reduce charges. Posturing, as it were. But there is a substantial risk for him. It’s pretty much a last ditch effort. Were it otherwise, the defendant would not want to be exposed as having cooperated with the government agents. However, he will have an enormous challenge proving his allegations.

… An agent [or US government agency would approve such a cooperative relationship with a narco-trafficker] … so the agent can snag a higher-level trafficker and garner the resulting awards, commendations and promotions. Sometimes, there is outright bribery or gifts of value. It’s a win for the criminal informant because he may earn more money from trafficking and at the same time receive cash payments from the government for arrests he orchestrates. And that isn’t all: the informant’s own fear of arrest is reduced and he has a unique opportunity to effectively destroy his unwanted competition or archenemies.

And yet another DEA agent points out that “there is such an animal called an Attorney General-exempt operation, where the Attorney General of the United States [in the Zambada Niebla case, which allegedly dates back to at least 2004, it would have been the Bush administration’s Attorney General] could authorize that laws be violated [by an informant to advance a case].”

“This is usually done in money laundering investigations, however,” the DEA source said.

The other possibility, the former DEA agent adds, is that Zambada Niebla was tricked on an even deeper level, and was, in fact, not dealing with US law enforcement agencies, but rather a CIA intelligence operation.

“This would not be the first time CIA has used an informant and led them to believe it was an FBI, ICE or DEA operation,” the DEA source said.

If that is the case, the former DEA agent adds, Zambada Niebla’s case is sunk, since even if documents and other evidence exist to prove his allegations of US government complicity, that evidence would almost certainly be deep-sixed under claims of national security that would be invoked by that very same US government.

Stay tuned …..

Your doctor will be your pot dealer

Big Pharma taking over the drug trade, using its own private gang of armed enforcers known as DEA agents.

NaturalNews.com
February 25, 2011

Have no illusions about the true nature of the so-called “War on Drugs” and the actions of the DEA. The War on Drugs has always been about protecting the profits of the drug companies which have a long and well-documented history of copying street drugs, repackaging them as “medications” and selling them to children as FDA-approved drugs (see below).

THC pills

Marijuana will be added to the long list of naturally grown products Big Pharma will own and control.

Today, yet another example emerges as the DEA moves to legalize THC in Big Pharma’s pills while simultaneously making it illegal for anyone else to grow, sell or possess THC. The DEA, you see, is working to change the classification of THC from a schedule I substance (like street heroin) to a schedule III drug (pharmaceuticals). So if Big Pharma grows its own marijuana plants, extracts the THC and puts it into a “pot pill,” those pills will be perfectly legal. They’re already FDA approved, actually, when made with the synthetic version of THC.

 

But if a guy grows the very same chemical in his backyard, then extracts THC from those plants — even for his own personal use — suddenly he’s guilty of committing a federal crime and will likely be subjected to an armed raid by DEA agents.

The DEA answers to its pharma slave masters

Why would the DEA decide to legalize THC only for pharmaceutical companies? Well, because Big Pharma requested it, of course! As the DEA says on the subject:

“The DEA has received four petitions from companies that have products that are currently the subject of ANDAs (abbreviated new drug applications) under review by the FDA. …While the petitioners cite that their generic products are bioequivalent to Marinol, their products do not meet schedule III current definition provided above. Therefore, these firms have requested that 21 CFR 1308.13(g)(1) be expanded to include naturally derived or synthetically produced dronabinol.”

You can read it all at the DEA’s own website: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/f…

The DEA goes on to say:

“This proposed action expands the schedule III listing to include formulations having naturally-derived dronabinol and products encapsulated in hard gelatin capsules. This would have the effect of transferring the FDA-approved versions of such generic Marinol[supreg] products from schedule I to schedule III.”

Just so you can make total sense of this, the DEA’s loopy logic is that since Marinol (an FDA-approved synthetic THC drug) is already recognized as a pharmaceutical, the DEA is saying that other generic drugs containing natural THC from marijuana plants can also be recognized as a pharmaceutical. What they fail to recognize is that even the synthetic THC is, of course, based on natural THC grown in marijuana plants!

It’s classic Big Government pseudoscientific quackery: Only “synthetic” chemicals are considered authoritative, even when those synthetics were stolen from nature in the first place.

Your doctor is your new dealer

So now, thanks to the DEA and its twisted position on THC, your doctor is now your dealer and Big Pharma steps in to take over the manufacturing and distribution of drugs that have traditionally been handled by street criminals and Mexican drug gangs. That’s what this was always about of course: Big Pharma taking over the drug trade, using its own private gang of armed enforcers known as DEA agents.

It’s a lot like Mexico, in fact: Armed enforcers, drug profits, turf wars… except in the U.S., it’s all “legal” under the monopolistic protection of the FDA — an agency that has always sought to protect Big Pharma’s market monopolies.

What’s astonishing about all this is the DEA’s insanity in saying that the very same chemical can be legal for corporations to sell you but illegal for you to grow yourself using a natural plant. THC is THC, after all, and if this chemical is so “incredibly dangerous” that the DEA must throw people in prison for daring to grow it, possess it or sell it, why is it suddenly okay for corporations to do the exact same thing?

You already know the answer: The DEA’s position on marijuana and hemp has always been based on the king of warped logic you only get if you’re smoking crack.

The DEA becomes armed enforcement branch of Big Pharma

The real job of the DEA, you see, is not to protect people from dangerous drugs, but rather to protect the profits of Big Pharma by shooting, arresting or otherwise destroying anything that competes with Big Pharma. Namely, street dealers of marijuana.

It’s not the first time the DEA has done this, of course. Drugs that used to be sold on the street as “speed” are now FDA-approved pharmaceutical medications for ADHD — and they’re being prescribed to children by the tens of millions!

Every successful drug operation needs henchmen who run around with guns eliminating the competition. In a drug gang, that used to be the job of “Frankie” back in the Sicilian mob days. But today, with Big Pharma, it’s the job of the DEA.

Hilariously, this announcement by the DEA was posted by their “Office of Diversion Control” (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/f…). For once, they’re honest: It is a diversion! A diversion to prevent people from realizing the truth about the DEA, the War on Drugs and the pharmaceutical industry.

Because the DEA, of course, is the armed enforcement division of Big Pharma. It works hand in hand with the FDA, of course: The FDA legalizes Big Pharma drug dealing, and the DEA targets the competition for elimination. It’s a bang-up job, a real one-two punch to protect the world’s largest drug dealers of all… the drug companies themselves.

I wonder how long it will take before a few DEA agents will wake up and realize they are the armed mercs working for their corporate slave masters known as the pharmaceutical companies?

The real criminals, you see, are not the joint-smoking hippies getting high in their basements but rather the Big Pharma CEOs whose entire careers are dedicated to addicting people to their patented, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals… even when they’re the exact same chemicals the DEA claims are “illegal drugs” on the street.

We Can’t Legalize Drugs Because ‘There Is Just Too Much Money in It’

stopthedrugwar.org
by Scott Morgan
February 02, 2011

In an interview on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a very precise demonstration in how to dramatically misconstrue the fundamentals of drug prohibition. It’s one of those perfectly incoherent explanations that would be almost comedic if it weren’t for the tens of thousands who get murdered in the streets thanks to logic like this.

QUESTION: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don’t think that – you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped. They can’t be given an even easier road to take, because they will then find it in their interest to addict even more young people. Mexico didn’t have much of a drug problem before the last 10 years, and you want to keep it that way. So you don’t want to give any excuse to the drug traffickers to be able legally to addict young people.

That’s interesting, because I don’t see the drug cartels taking over the coffee trade, even though it’s more addictive than space-meth and grows vigorously on the hillsides of Colombia. I can’t help but wonder what everyone on the left would say if this preposterous analysis came from Sarah Palin, rather than Hillary Clinton. It’s the sort of profound nonsense that ought to get you skewered by Jon Stewart, yet our Secretary of State will almost certainly get a free pass on misunderstanding literally everything about the escalating violence below our border.

(Transcript)

QUESTION: So about Mexico, you said recently it’s looking more and more like Colombia looked 20 years ago, where the narcotraffickers controlled certain parts of the country. These drug cartels are actually more and more indices of insurgency. What do you understand by narcoinsurgency?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that every situation is different, and certainly Mexico is not Colombia, Mexico is not the United States. We have to analyze every situation. But both Mexico and the United States have a series of transnational threats that we have to confront. The drug traffickers are a transnational threat and they cross borders. They have, unfortunately, set up business in your country, in my country. So we have to see it not just as something that is local but is something that has unfortunate tentacles that go outside, which means we have to work together to try to eliminate it.

QUESTION: But the word insurgency – I mean, do you have evidence of an alliance taking place between organized crime cartels and subversive groups seeking to overthrow the Mexican Government, for instance?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, no. And that was not my intent with that word. That was not at all what I intended. What I was intending to say, and appreciate the chance to clarify that, is that the techniques that are used now by drug traffickers, unfortunately, resemble other threats around the world that we see: the barbaric, horrific amount of violence, the communication capabilities that they now have, how heavily armed they are. They are armed like the military now, unfortunately. So it’s not in a sort of geostrategic sense but in sort of tactical – some similarities.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you consider that the violence in our country is something that threatens national security in your country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I consider it more of a problem that we have some responsibility for that’s affecting our neighbor. And therefore, we have to take not only the responsibility, but also offer assistance so that the people of Mexico can have the security that Mexicans deserve. And this is not a national security issue in a traditional sense. It’s a border security issue, and for that reason it’s something we take very seriously. It’s an organized crime issue, and we just had this huge roundup of organized crime figures in the United States. And we’re working closely with our counterparts so that we can try to prevent these drug traffickers and organized criminals from hurting Mexicans or Americans.

QUESTION: But what are your plans to face this threat? I mean, we know you’re helping our country to restore peace, or trying to restore peace, in Ciudad Juarez. Exactly what are you doing?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we’re doing is providing assistance to law enforcement, equipment, building capacity. But we’re also working with the Mexican Government on the reform of the judiciary that President Calderon has begun on building a stronger corrections system so that when criminals are caught they can be detained, and having a prosecution system that uses all the modern techniques in order to put these people behind bars. We believe that you can’t just have a law enforcement response. You have to have a broader, more comprehensive approach, and that is what President Calderon is taking.

QUESTION: Okay. In several occasion, you have recognized that the partial explanation to the violence in Mexico can be found in the elevated drug consumption and the tolerance towards arms selling in your country. The consumption has not diminished. On the contrary, I hear it’s, like, reached a historical maximum and arms selling continue. And it’s very unlikely that it would – this will change. So why would – should we continue giving this battle? And when I say we, it’s like our country, Mexico.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are making some progress. There has been some decrease in drug use. But more than that, there’s been greater cooperation across the border. We are stopping more people and finding not only drugs, but guns, money for money laundering. We have much better law enforcement cooperation across the border. I don’t think either of us could do this without working with the other. And I don’t think either of us wants to let a drug kingpin and his gang behead people or addict people on either side of the border.

QUESTION: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don’t think that – you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped. They can’t be given an even easier road to take, because they will then find it in their interest to addict even more young people. Mexico didn’t have much of a drug problem before the last 10 years, and you want to keep it that way. So you don’t want to give any excuse to the drug traffickers to be able legally to addict young people.

QUESTION: But in the United States there [is] more and more tolerance for marijuana, right?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So this doesn’t seem right. Like the tolerance in the United States, and here we are killing each other for this product.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the tolerance is in a very limited arena. It is for medical –

QUESTION: Medical use.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Medical use. And there are lots of regulations on it. So it’s not accurate to say, as I’ve heard some say, well, we’re legalizing marijuana. We are not. We are – the biggest – we have more people incarcerated, unfortunately, than any country in the world, and most of them are there because of some drug-related offense. So we know that this is not an easy struggle. We’ve been at it ourselves. But we also believe that you have to keep the pressure on the criminals; otherwise, they will just expand their operations, and then you do have to worry about more corruption, more problems with institutions.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

The Military Industrial Complex’s Scheme to Control the Internet

By Tom Burghardt

The training of thousands of qualified airmen, will form the nucleus of an elite corps of cyberwarfare operatives.

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz once famously wrote that “war is the continuation of politics by other means.” Acentury later, radical French philosopher Michel Foucault turned Clausewitz on his head and declared that “politics is the continuation of war by other means.”

In our topsy-turvy world where truth and lies coexist equally and sociopathic business elites reign supreme, it would hardly be a stretch to theorize that cyber war is the continuation of parapolitical crime by other means.

Through the Wormhole

In Speed and Politics, cultural theorist Paul Virilio argued that “history progresses at the speed of its weapons systems.” With electronic communications now blanketing the globe, it was only a matter of time before our political masters, (temporarily) outflanked by the subversive uses to which new media lend themselves, would deploy what Virilio called the “integral accident” (9/11 being one of many examples) and gin-up entirely new categories of threats, “Cyber Pearl Harbor” comes to mind, from which of course, they would “save us.”

That the revolving door connecting the military and the corporations who service war making is a highly-profitable redoubt for those involved, has been analyzed here at great length. With new moves to tighten the screws on the immediate horizon, and as “Change” reveals itself for what it always was, an Orwellian exercise in public diplomacy, hitting the “kill switch” serves as an apt descriptor for the new, repressive growth sector that links technophilic fantasies of “net-centric” warfare to the burgeoning “homeland security” market.

Back in March, Wired investigative journalist Ryan Singel wrote that the “biggest threat to the open internet” isn’t “Chinese hackers” or “greedy ISPs” but corporatist warriors like former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

Having retreated to his old haunt as a senior vice president with the ultra-spooky firm Booz Allen Hamilton (a post he held for a decade before joining the Bush administration), McConnell stands to make millions as Booz Allen’s parent company, the secretive private equity powerhouse, The Carlyle Group, plans to take the firm public and sell some $300 million worth of shares, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

“With its deep ties to the defense establishment” the Journal notes, “Booz Allen has become embedded in a range of military operations such as planning war games and intelligence initiatives.” That Carlyle Group investors have made out like proverbial bandits during the endless “War on Terror” goes without saying. With “relatively low debt levels for a leveraged buyout,” the investment “has been a successful one for Carlyle, which has benefited from the U.S. government’s increasing reliance on outsourcing in defense.”

And with 15,000 employees in the Washington area, most with coveted top secret and above security clearances, Booz Allen’s clients include a panoply of secret state agencies such as the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, NSA and the U.S. Air Force. With tentacles enlacing virtually all facets of the secretive world of outsourced intelligence, the firm has emerged as one of the major players in the cybersecurity niche market.

While McConnell and his minions may not know much about “SQL injection hacks,” Singel points out that what makes this spook’s spook dangerous (after all, he was NSA Director under Clinton) “is that he knows about social engineering. … And now he says we need to re-engineer the internet.”

Accordingly, Washington Technology reported in April, that under McConnell’s watchful eye, the firm landed a $14.4 million contract to build a new bunker for U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM). Chump change by Pentagon standards perhaps, but the spigot is open and salad days are surely ahead.

Now that CYBERCOM has come on-line as a “subordinate unified command” of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), it’s dual-hatted Director, Air Force General Keith B. Alexander confirmed by the Senate and with a fourth, gleaming star firmly affixed on his epaulettes, the real fun can begin.

A denizen of the shadows with a résumé to match, Alexander is also Director of the National Security Agency (hence the appellation “dual-hatted”), the Pentagon satrapy responsible for everything from battlefield signals- and electronic intelligence (SIGINT and ELINT), commercial and industrial espionage (ECHELON) to illegal driftnet spying programs targeting U.S. citizens.

Spooky résumé aside, what should concern us here is what Alexander will actually do at the Pentagon’s new cyberwar shop.

Fact Sheet posted by STRATCOM informs us that CYBERCOM “plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.”

As Antifascist Calling previously reported, CYBERCOM’s offensive nature is underlined by the role it will play as STRATCOM’s operational cyber wing. The training of thousands of qualified airmen, as The Register revealed last month, will form the nucleus of an “elite corps of cyberwarfare operatives,” underscoring the command’s signal importance to the secret state and the corporations they so lovingly serve.

Cybersecurity: The New Corporatist “Sweet Spot”

Fueling administration moves to “beef up,” i.e. tighten state controls over the free flow of information is cash, lots of it. The Washington Post reported June 22 that “Cybersecurity, fast becoming Washington’s growth industry of choice, appears to be in line for a multibillion-dollar injection of federal research dollars, according to a senior intelligence official.”

“Delivering the keynote address at a recent cybersecurity summit sponsored by Defense Daily,” veteran Post reporter and CIA media asset, Walter Pincus, informs us that “Dawn Meyerriecks, deputy director of national intelligence for acquisition and technology, said that along with the White House Office of Science and Technology, her office is going to sponsor major research ‘where the government’s about to spend multiple billions of dollars’.”

Bingo!

According to a Defense Daily profile, before her appointment by Obama’s recently fired Director of National Intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, Meyerriecks was the chief technology officer with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), described on DISA’s web site as a “combat support agency” that “engineers and provides command and control capabilities and enterprise infrastructure to continuously operate and assure a global net-centric enterprise in direct support to joint warfighters, National level leaders, and other mission and coalition partners across the full spectrum of operations.”

During Defense Daily’s June 11 confab at the Marriott Hotel in Washington (generously sponsored by Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics and The Analysis Group), Meyerriecks emphasized although “tons of products” have been commercially developed promising enhanced security, “there’s not an answer Band-Aid that is going to come with this.”

All the more reason then, to shower billions of taxpayer dollars on impoverished defense and security corps, while preaching “fiscal austerity” to “greedy” workers and homeowners facing a new wave of foreclosures at the hands of cash strapped banks.

“We’re starting to question whether or not the fundamental precepts are right,” Meyerriecks said, “and that’s really what, at least initially, this [new research] will be aimed at.”

Presumably, the billions about to feed the “new security paradigm,” all in the interest of “keeping us safe” of course, means “we need to be really innovative, because I think we’re going to run out of runway on our current approach,” she said.

Washington Technology reported Meyerriecks as saying “We don’t have any fixed ideas about what the answers are.” Therefore, “we’re looking for traditional and nontraditional partnering in sourcing.”

Amongst the “innovative research” fields which the ODNI, the Department of Homeland Security and one can assume, NSA/CYBERCOM, will soon be exploring are what Washington Technology describe as: “Multiple security levels for government and non-government organizations. Security systems that change constantly to create ‘moving targets’ for hackers,” and more ominously for privacy rights, coercive “methods to motivate individuals to improve their cybersecurity practices.”

The Secret State’s Internet Control Bill

Since major policy moves by administration flacks always come in waves, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy June 18, that in order to fight “homegrown terrorism” the monitoring of internet communications “is a civil liberties trade-off the U.S. government must make to beef up national security,” the Associated Press reported.

While the Obama regime has stepped-up attacks on policy critics who have disclosed vital information concealed from the American people, prosecuting whistleblowers such as Thomas Drake, who spilled the beans on corrupt NSA shenanigans with grifting defense and security corps, and wages a low-level war against WikiLeaksCryptomePublic Intelligence and other secret spilling web sites, it continues to shield those who oversaw high crimes and misdemeanors during the previous and current regimes.

In this light, Napolitano’s statement that “we can significantly advance security without having a deleterious impact on individual rights in most instances,” is a rank mendacity.

With enough airspace to fly a drone through, the Home Sec boss told the gathering “at the same time, there are situations where trade-offs are inevitable.” What those “situations” are or what “trade-offs” were being contemplated by the administration was not specified by Napolitano; arch neocon Joe Lieberman however, graciously obliged.

As “Cyber War” joins the (failed) “War on Drugs” and the equally murderous “War on Terror” as America’s latest bête noire and panic all rolled into one reeking mass of disinformation, Senators Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tom Carper (D-DE) introduced the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010 in the Senate.

The bill empowers the Director of a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC), to be housed in the Department of Homeland Security, to develop a “process” whereby owners and operators of “critical infrastructure” will develop “response plans” for what the legislation calls “a national cybersecurity emergency.”

This particularly pernicious piece of legislative flotsam would hand the President the power to declare a “national cyber-emergency” at his discretion and would force private companies, internet service providers and search engines to “comply with the new risk-based security requirements.” Accordingly, “in coordination with the private sector … the President [can] authorize emergency measures to protect the nation’s most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited.”

Under terms of the bill, such “emergency measures” can force ISPs to “take action” if so directed by the President, to limit, or even to sever their connections to the internet for up to 30 days.

While the administration, so far, has not explicitly endorsed Lieberman’s bill, DHS Deputy Undersecretary Philip Reitinger told reporters that he “agreed” with the thrust of the legislation and that the Executive Branch “may need to take extraordinary measures” in the event of a “crisis.”

Under the 1934 Communications Act, the World Socialist Web Site points out, “the president may, under ‘threat of war,’ seize control of any ‘facilities or stations for wire communications’.”

“Though dated,” socialist critic Mike Ingram avers, “that definition would clearly apply to broadband providers or Web sites. Anyone disobeying a presidential order can be imprisoned for one year. In addition to making explicit the inclusion of Internet providers, a central component of the Lieberman bill is a promise of immunity from financial claims for any private company which carries through an order from the federal government.”

Under terms of the legislation, the president requires no advance notification to Congress in order to hit the internet “kill switch,” and his authority to reign supreme over the free speech rights of Americans can be extended for up to six months after the “state of war” has expired.

While the bill’s supporters, which include the secret state lobby shop, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) claim the Lieberman-Collins-Carper legislation is intended to create a “shield” to defend the U.S. and its largest corporate benefactors from the “looming threat” of a “Cyber 9/11,” one cannot discount the billions of dollars in plum government contracts that will fall into the laps of the largest defense and security corps, the primary beneficiaries of this legislation; thus the bill’s immunity provisions.

Indeed, current INSA Chairwoman, Frances Fragos Townsend, the former Bushist Homeland Security Adviser, was appointed in 2007 as National Continuity Coordinator under the auspices of National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51) and was assigned responsibility for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity of government (COG) policies. As readers of Antifascist Calling are aware, plans include contingencies for a declaration of martial law in the event of a “catastrophic emergency.” Whether or not a “national cybersecurity emergency” would fall under the penumbral cone of silence envisaged by NSPD-51 to “maintain order” is anyone’s guess.

However, in a June 23 letter to Lieberman-Collins-Carper, the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and 23 other privacy and civil liberties groups, insisted that “changes are needed to ensure that cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech, privacy, and other civil liberties interests.”

CDT states that while “the bill makes it clear that it does not authorize electronic surveillance beyond that authorized in current law, we are concerned that the emergency actions that could be compelled could include shutting down or limiting Internet communications that might be carried over covered critical infrastructure systems.”

Additionally, CDT avers that the bill “requires CCI owners to share cybersecurity ‘incident’ information with DHS, which will share some of that information with law enforcement and intelligence personnel.” While Lieberman-Collins-Carper claim that “incident reporting” doesn’t authorize “any federal entity” to compel disclosure “or conduct surveillance,” the bill does not indicate what might be included in an ‘incident report’ and we are concerned that personally-identifiable information will be included.” Count on it!

In a press release, INSA’s chairwoman declared that the legislation is important in “establishing a public-private partnership to promote national cyber security priorities, strengthen and clarify authorities regarding the protection of federal civilian systems, and improve national cyber security defenses.”

Amongst the heavy-hitters who will profit financially from developing a “public-private partnership to promote national cyber security priorities,” include INSA “Founding Members” BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, CSC, General Dynamics, HP, Lockheed Martin, ManTech International, Microsoft, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

Talk about one hand washing the other! A casual glance at Washington Technology’s 2010 list of the Top 100 Federal Government Contractors provides a telling definition of the term “stakeholder”!

Blanket Surveillance Made Easy: Einstein 3’s Roll-Out

During a recent Cyberspace Symposium staged by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), an industry lobby group chock-a-block with defense and security corps, a series of video presentations set the tone, and the agenda, for CYBERCOM and the secret state’s new push for heimatcybersecurity.

During a question and answer session “with a small group of reporters” in sync with the alarmist twaddle peddled by AFCEA and STRATCOM, Defense Systems’Amber Corrin informed us that “one possibility” floated by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynne III to “keep us safe,” is the deployment of the privacy-killing Einstein 2 and Einstein 3 intrusion detection and prevention systems on civilian networks.

“To support such a move” Defense Systems reported, “a task force comprising industry and government information technology and defense interests … has been forged to examine issues surrounding critical infrastructure network security.”

As Antifascist Calling reported last July, Einstein 3 is based on technology developed by NSA under its Tutelage program, a subordinate project of NSA’s larger and more pervasive privacy-killing Stellar Wind surveillance operation.

Einstein 3’s deep-packet inspection technology can read the content of email messages and other private electronic communications. Those deemed “threats” to national security networks can then be forwarded to analysts and “attack signatures” (or suspect political messages) are then stored in a massive NSA-controlled database for future reference.

Federal Computer Week disclosed in March that the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) “plans to partner with a commercial Internet Service Provider and another government agency to pilot technology developed by the National Security Agency to automate the process of detecting cyber intrusions into civilian agencies’ systems.”

“The exercise,” according to reporter Ben Bain “aims to demonstrate the ability of an ISP to select and redirect Internet traffic from a participating government agency using the new technology. The exercise would also be used demonstrate the ability for U.S. CERT to apply intrusion detection and prevention to that traffic and to generate automated alerts about selected cyber threats.”

That testing is currently underway and has been undertaken under authority of National Security Presidential Directive 54, signed by President George W. Bush in 2008 in the waning days of his administration. While the vast majority of NSPD-54 is classified top secret, hints of its privacy-killing capabilities were revealed in the sanitized version of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) released by the Obama White House in March.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed suit against the government in federal court after their Freedom of Information Act request to the National Security Agency was rejected by securocrats. The agency refused to release NSPD-54, since incorporated into Obama’s CNCI, stating that they “have been withheld in their entirety” because they are “exempt from release” on grounds of “national security.”

In a follow-up piece earlier this month, Federal Computer Week disclosed that the exercise “will also allow the Homeland Security Department, which runs the Einstein program, to share monitored information with the National Security Agency, though that data is not supposed to include message content.”

“The recent combination of those three elements–reading e-mail messages, asking companies to participate in the monitoring program, and getting the NSA in the loop–has set off alarm bells about future uses of Einstein 3,” FCW’s John Zyskowski disclosed.

Those bells have been ringing for decades, tolling the death of our democratic republic. As military-style command and control systems proliferate, supporting everything from “zero-tolerance” policing and urban surveillance, the deployment of packet-sniffing technologies will soon join CCTV cameras, license plate readers and “watchlists,” thus setting the stage for the next phase of the secret state’s securitization of daily life.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.