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Colombian Officials Linked to Drug Trade

Location: 
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
NPR
URL: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10318767

Our view on drugs and terror: A better way to deal with Afghanistan's poppy crop

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
USA Today
URL: 
http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2007/05/our_view_on_dru.html

The Colombia experiment

Location: 
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
The Ottawa Citizen (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/business/story.html?id=e0509bad-a8e3-402d-b9df-5622ad9f61ca

Latin America: Top Anti-Drug Official Gunned Down in Mexico City

Mexico's drug wars claimed a high profile victim Monday, as unknown gunmen assassinated Jose Nemesio Lugo Felix, the new head of a federal anti-drug intelligence unit, as he went to work in the southern part of Mexico City. The killing comes as the government of President Felipe Calderon is several months into an offensive against the drug trafficking organizations -- the so-called cartels -- that has seen thousands of Mexican police and soldiers sent into drug trafficking hotbeds in an effort to break the power of the cartels.

Lugo was driving to his office when his car was cut off by another vehicle carrying several gunmen, who fired at least three shots into his car, hitting him in the head and back. One of the assailants then jumped onto a waiting motorcycle and fled the scene, while the others drove away.

Lugo's assassination got the attention of US Ambassador Tony Garza, who issued a statement lamenting the killing. "A principled and tireless crime fighter, Mr. Lugo is the latest Mexican law enforcement official to have lost his life in a valiant stand against the criminals who seek to enrich themselves by destroying the very fabric of our society," Garza said. "American law enforcement officials who worked with Mr. Lugo admired him for his dedication and professionalism," he said.

Formerly the head of a unit in the federal attorney general's office that investigated trafficking of minors and illegal immigrants, Lugo was appointed just last month to lead an elite anti-drug intelligence unit in that same office. While other police and soldiers have been killed by the cartels -- including five soldiers killed in an ambush in Michoacan earlier this month -- Lugo's assassination marks the highest-level killing so far. His killing was also unusual in that in occurred in the capital, which has been spared most of the violence surrounding the Mexican drug trade and the efforts to suppress it.

Last year, prohibition-related violence killed more than 2,000 people, and this year the killing is occurring at an even more rapid pace, with an estimated 1,000 dead so far. Calderon's offensive, which has seen extensive military and police sweeps in border cities, Acapulco, and his home state of Morelos, has, instead of calming the situation, only thrown fuel on the fire.

Still, the Calderon government remains steadfast in its aggressive policy. "The deaths of the men and women who die while doing their duty is lamentable," Mexican drug czar Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos told the newspaper Reforma. "But in spite of this, we are winning this battle. We can't give ourselves the luxury of being cowed by organized crime."

Gaia-Murdering Psychopath

Peter Guither of Drug WarRant explains to drug czar John Walters why it is his prohibitionist policies that bear the root blame for endangering a rare hummingbird species in the Andes, not the coca growers as Walters' agency claims on their own blog.
Location: 
United States

If Only Afghanistan Were More Like Colombia…

Colombian narcs who haven't been killed yet are holding police training seminars in Afghanistan. From The International Herald Tribune:
It is a measure of Afghanistan's virulent opium trade, which has helped revive the Taliban while corroding the credibility of the government, that U.S. officials now hope that Afghanistan's drug problem will someday be only as bad as that of Colombia.


"I wanted the Colombians to come here to give the Afghans something to aspire to," [DEA Kabul Chief Vincent] Balbo said. "To instill the fact that they have been doing this for years, and it has worked."
They're unearthing mass graves in Colombia. Cocaine is cheaper than ever. The president is embroiled in a massive corruption scandal. You can’t even grow bananas there without becoming a pawn in a paramilitary extortion scandal. Yet American drug warriors talk about Colombia like it's a shining beacon of justice and democracy.

Afghan narcs-in-training will learn what a joke this is when their Colombian instructors request asylum.

Location: 
United States

"Cannabis Cash 'Funds Islamist Terrorism'"--Here we go again.

The old "drug users fund terrorism" canard is getting new play in Europe this week, where French and Spanish intelligence agencies reported that, as the Guardian (UK) put it, "Cannabis cash 'funds Islamist terrorism'". The report was the result of an investigation launched after the 2004 Madrid train bombings that found the bomb plotters bought their explosives from former miners and paid them in hashish. The intelligence agencies also claimed that the Al Qaeda-linked Algerian Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat is using hash sales as part of "a complex network" of financing its terrorist operations. I don't doubt that. People who need money for nefarious schemes typically resort to the black market economy, whether it is drugs, diamonds, oil, or whatever commodity. It is so screamingly obvious that I hesitate to point it out, but pot smokers don't fund terrorism—prohibition does. You don't hear of barley or grapevines or tobacco leaves funding terrorism because they are used to make non-prohibited psychoactive drugs that are integrated into the legal, aboveground economy. If you want to stop Islamic terrorists from using the black market profits from the hash trade to buy bombs, the solution is clear: End the prohibition regime that creates the black market.
Location: 

Top anti-narcotics official slain in Mexico City

Location: 
Mexico City
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
Houston Chronicle
URL: 
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/4803898.html

In the opium capital of the world, very late lessons in drug enforcement

Location: 
Kabul
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
International Herald Tribune (France)
URL: 
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/15/asia/opium.php

New species of hummingbird discovered in Colombia, endangered by drugs industry

Location: 
Bogota
Colombia
Publication/Source: 
Portsmouth Herald News (NH)
URL: 
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070515/NEWS/70515003

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