13 August 2007

But making it legal was supposed to solve it!

Time and again I do hear on how the illegal drug trade will just 'dry up' if it is made 'legal' in the US! Why, yes, some problems will be solved but others, of course, will form up and to get an idea of how it would work outside the US we can take a look at the lovely Tri-Border Area of S. America. Unbeknownst to America, the TBA is one of those little governed, unruled and unruly parts of the world where 'anything goes'. A simple shift of a legal product over a border can make it illegal, and able to be sold at a much higher profit margin. With such money and shady deals comes the shady characters and one of those has made it a comfy, cozy home of profits on various black/gray market goods and narcotics.

Before we get to there, we really do need to start a bit earlier than the present, and so we take you back to the sweet, blissful days when everything was so 'right' with the world that nuclear Armageddon was the only thing of consequence and the US didn't raise much of a fuss to stop other problems going on. That is, of course, the late Cold War, in particular the 1980's, where Ronald Reagan was going to have a major change from the last four years (with President Carter) and 'Make America Great Again'! He would, indeed, call for walls to be torn down, bolster the US Armed Forces after years of neglect and actually confront the USSR. What he did not do is 'protect Americans' overseas and his Administration saw some of the largest death tolls for Americans by terrorism and would remain that until 9/11.

Lebanon was a quick-moving disaster of brewing civil war, expansionist Syria and Iran seeking to gain a 'new front' to open up its form of Islamic extremism. By all accounts Iran and Syria came to a mutual agreement on Lebanon whereby Syria would act as intermediary and co-partner on the oversight and arming of extremists in Lebanon. In return the old Kassar family oversight of the Bekaa valley drug trade was reinforced (they had been in de facto control of it since at least the 1950's if the records are right) and the basis of heroin production and distribution would be widened by easing the cost of overhead for shipping from Lebanon. To do this, however, required that neither Super Power really have any influence in Lebanon and realize that interest there would not garner much. The USSR was, luckily, funding and supplying Syria with arms and equipment and gave little care to that strip of land on the Med. But with the breakdown of order in Lebanon and attacks on Israel the US was being put on notice that this was 'hands off' territory.

From that the UN gets deployed for talks with folks who really don't see much of a reason to talk and then the PLO in southern Lebanon starts getting pushed by this new faction: Hezbollah. That is the armed external Foreign Legion of Iran, but was mostly a bunch of thugs, gangsters and terrorists then. Suddenly there is 'Red on Red', Israel is getting hit and calls for the only Super Power having excess capacity goes out with the hue and cry of 'innocents being killed'. The State Dept. gets deployed and, in APR 1983, Hezbollah bombs the US Embassy in Beirut. Obviously this will take a 'sterner UN mandate'! Which the Administration seeks and starts preparing the way for a 'peacekeeping force' with the French and a few others. Thusly in OCT 1983 comes the bombing of the US Marine Barracks in Beirut, the President saying that this is, really, unacceptable and will be countered, and the withdrawal of US troops start to show just how meaningful those words are. And just after the troops leave, in SEP 1984, the US Embassy gets bombed *again*.

That is the 'and stay out' message from Hezbollah. After that would begin the Iranian orchestrated kidnapping of westerners and even such folks as the CIA station chief in Beirut.

The man behind these bombings, immediately, has been fingered as Imad Mugniyah, the most deadly terrorist for killing Americans and, really, anyone who gets in his way, before Osama bin Laden. By working with limited funds, limited personnel and strong backing by Iran and Syria, he was able to force the US to leave Lebanon with a quite nasty death toll and have almost zero reprisals. From that basis would come the operation we would know as modern day Hezbollah which would have enormous 'street cred' until this day because of that.

Ronald Reagan, however, saw the USSR as the primary threat to the US, what with all those nuclear devices and the pestilence of Communism, and really, I have few disagreements in that. Standing up against a pack of thugs, terrorists and assorted others on the door step of a so-so ally of the USSR, namely Syria, does make one wonder just where this 'Morning in America' concept would come from. Apparently the sun had set for Lebanon. That would be reinforced by something else going on that was the US to help in Central America to oppose Communist expansion there. To do that, money would get sent to Saudi Arabia and then used to purchase arms then sent to the Contras. Starting in 1983 and with the French bartering for hostages in Lebanon, via Syria to Iran, the problem of getting US hostages out of the clutches of Hezbollah got incorporated into this.

And the man that would be turned to, who had helped the French was a Syrian by the name of Monzer al-Kassar. At that point Kassar had served time on small-time drug charges, gun running charges and similar things associated with that trade, like money laundering. The French used him as a go-between even though they had a warrant out for his arrest! In fact Monzer al-Kassar, by having diplomatic immunity as a 'negotiator' and 'facilitator' from a few Nations could walk the streets of Paris openly and not be touched by the police.

So when Ollie North, Richard Secord and Albert Hakim came knocking on his door, and Iran needed advanced weapons to fight Iraq *and* weapons the Administration needed to go to the Contras... well, he was a 'One-Stop Shop'! Using his contacts with Hafez al-Assad, his gun-running client and suppliers list and his extended contacts via such fun folks as Adnan Keshoggi, he would have the necessary credentials as a great-go-betweener *and* arms supplier. In no time at all he had his very own arms shipment from Poland to Honduras, via Portugal and was wangling the necessary number of TOW missiles for Am. Cit.s between the US and Iran for Hezbollah to release hostages.

Now being an enterprising sort of fellow, Monzer al-Kassar used his contacts via Iran/Contra to open up doors in Central and South America. One of the brightest prospects he would meet up with was an up-and-coming politician of Syrian descent in Argentina, by the name of Carlos Menem. In Menem's very first trip he had utilized his contacts to meet with Hafez Assad and start planning out how much money Menem needed to win his election campaign in Argentina and what Syria was looking for from him. To facilitate that would be none other than the globe trotter Monzer al-Kassar. The late 1980's and Menem's securing of power in Argentina is still a pretty murky affair and things remain tangled to this day. One of the major upshots was that Monzer al-Kassar would have trusted associates in such places as airports and in control of authorizing shipments out of Buenos Aires under his control in the Menem regime.

A big part of this was, of course, to get advanced missile technology that Argentina's previous regime had been co-developing with Egypt and other Nations put into the hands of Syria. Also would come a nuclear reactor from Argentina to Syria, to help cap off the deal. When word of this leaked to the Reagan/Bush Administration, however, they would nix the deal and Menem, actually a supporter of the US, agreed to stop it. What this did not stop, however, were Syrian expectations and they did not like having to buy a sub-standard Chinese research reactor when they had been promised something quite a bit better for their political investment. At this point exactly who controls what in the next few years comes into question, but, apparently, negotiations between Kassar and the Cali and Medellin drug cartels had gone very well and cross-shipment of heroin for cocaine had started, and he was able to throw in some arms deals to sweeten things a bit, much to the consternation of Brazil and Paraguay, amongst many.

Further than that, Kassar had good contacts with the Iranian Embassy in Argentina and would facilitate their chief operator for new operations to 'come on down' and get things going there. That was, of course, Imad Mugniyah. The next two major events are not as murky as the drugs/arms/radical Islam part, but still contested on many points. There is great question of who knew what and when has been deliberately obfuscated by the Menem regime destroying much of the official documentation inside the government of Argentina. Following the 1990 attempted coup in Trinidad by Islamic extremists, in the form of Jamaat al Muslimeen, comes the 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing in Argentina and then the AMIA Jewish cultural and trade center in Argentina in 1994. The list of individuals involved include such noteworthies as: Imad Mugniyah, Monzer al-Kassar, Assad Ahmed Barakat (Hezbollah Funding TBA), Mohsen Rabbani (Iranian Intelligence and Cultural Attache), Ali Fallahian (Iranian Chief of Intelligence), and Hamid Nagashan (Senior Iranian Intelligence). Some of this was funded via the Martyr's Foundation, a charity-front organization for Hezbollah in TBA to stand up and fund operations. After these operations Sayyid Muhammad Fadlallah, one of Mugniyah's old bosses, would be brought in to help continue Hezbollah-TBA expansion and oversee the training camp there.

What would happen next is a standing up of an organization that did not concentrate directly on terrorism locally, but would *train* terrorists and serve as a funding source for local operations and expanded Hezbollah operations globally. While a lion's share of Hezbollah - Lebanon's funding comes from Iranian petro-dollars, most of the INTEL and training overseas is locally funded via multiple operations. An example of this is Hassan Abdallah Dayoub who was caught smuggling cocaine to Syria in Paraguay via the unique method of packing it in a piano. This was a direct operation overseen by Barakat, and is suspected of being part of a three-way trade of heroin for cocaine and cash via drug cartels, FARC, Hezbollah and Syria.

But that doesn't begin to actually scratch the types of funding that Hezbollah looks at from TBA! In one of those grand concepts to utilize high tech, software piracy for black market sales is also a fun thing that Hezbollah engages in. One of the famous cases is that of Mazem Saleh, who got caught doing this and is currently in prison in the US for running a low overhead, high profit margin black market software duplication set-up for Hezbollah - TBA. Once the Martyr's charity was found out another one, the Al-Shahid would be started up. Generically these operations are run under the Latin American arm of Hezbollah - Al-Muquwama, which has Hussein Fadlallah as its 'Spiritual Leader' and gains direct guidance by Hassan Nasrallah overall Hezbollah leader.

If you are an expansive, capitalist entrepreneur and you have a multi-front supply business, you are missing out on one big part of the profit loop! Yes, retail sales and the final mark-up to customers. So, if you approach Hezbollah - TBA as a distributor of arms, narcotics of various sorts, pirated software and many other similar things gained from black/gray market sources, you are missing out on the real 'meat' of the profit (Oh, yes! They also run 'meat processing facilities' shipped in from Iran, so they have a hand in the commercial foodstuffs industry, although that is just a training front for operatives): consumer sales. What any good conglomerate does is then get into *that* loop by investing in retail outlets! Mr. Barakat, obviously being an astute businessman invested in the Galleria Page Shopping Mall in Paraguay to serve not only as a conduit for the black/gray market trade, but as its own distribution point able to launder money via consumer funds.

Now are we getting an idea of the sophistication of Hezbollah?

This is an organization that has more front companies for shipping, distribution and even manufacture (Have a nice steak from Argentina? Did it have the Hezbollah 'seal of jihad' on it?) that trying to actually stopper it up in one place by changing the status of 'illegal trade' to 'legal trade' does not do anything but LOWER its overhead in the trans-shipping of that item. Plus, if made legal, increase its throughput from suppliers. So while profit margin might go *down* its cost of supply remains neutral and its overhead drops nearly off the charts, with just a few intermediaries to launder funds between source and supplier.

How does that work?

In one of the more complicated situations I went over in the Black Market Peso Exchange concept, here is how it works so as to make money laundering and funds transfers untraceable. It is highly ingenious and I will work it from the supplier's end for remittances, instead of the money laundering side for transfer, but it is, conceptually, the exact same system.

Lets say you are a supplier of what (if the US changes its laws for narcotics) is a 'white market good' in the US. If you are coming from a Nation that still cracks down on narco-trafficking (lets say to spite US laws or because narcotic plant growing is otherwise distorting their economy for internally vital goods) you are in a 'black market' area. If you are Hezbollah you then utilize the existing drug running system to transfer the goods to the nearest 'white market' port for payment to the transporter, who takes their middle-man cut and then sends the rest to you. How they send it is via either white market goods (you do, after all, have a shopping mall!) after purchase from a white market distributor. Add in standard mark-up for your profit. In this system ALL money transfers are white market and yet the profit still winds up in the hands of Hezbollah that controls a supply source for the narcotics in question. Put in a couple of layers of front companies to fuzz up the money flow question and you now have a hard to track means of getting cash over the long haul.

Switch that to a Nation that decides to follow the lead of the US and go white on narcotics! Pure and lovely, right? Well, who controls the farmers that are the suppliers? I am sure that there would be some 'United Coca Farmers Consortium' or some such started up, that would have some appropriate Hezbollah intermediary at its head... or one of the local drug kingpins or cartel bosses. Here the farmers don't actually get paid more, because the government, not being strong enough to stop the black market flow is also not powerful enough to break up the white market control of these goods.

Yes, this becomes a white market profit center for Hezbollah, which they can then use for *further* investment in other black/gray market areas such as Emerald smuggling, gold smuggling, goods produced from Asian factories as knock-offs of expensive items, and so on. By operating so extensively across South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Hezbollah has opportunities to move money and goods very quickly with little global accountability, especially when the transactions are 'legal'. With black market goods trying to pin anything on the organization that uses a few layers of front companies for transaction laundering is nearly impossible. The Mafia figured that out ages ago and Hezbollah uses similar concepts to do the exact, same thing. Since this would mimic high minded 'ideals' of a segment of society they would get the ability to get funds from that segment openly, so as to continue their oppression and continue their attacks against us, against civilization. Their goal is not to 'fit in' but to disrupt and take-over by any means possible and put an end to our way of life.

Then from white market goods you get the same business acumen of wanting *in* on the higher profit sales, and thus open opportunities for further downstream investments in 'white companies'. And as the US food and drug purity laws would need to set standards for dose and such, along with warning labels, any investment into 'generic producers' (these are, after all, well known drugs that are off-patent) allows anyone to invest in the system. It is this sort of thing that stuns people years later to find out that hotels, resorts, shipping companies and such are actually used by the Mafia for money laundering. Except here, instead of riches for the few and running a criminal operation, the aim is destruction of civilization and rulership over the globe.

Hezbollah, unlike its al Qaeda counterparts, appears to have figured out a few of the basics of western capitalism and how to utilize it, although perhaps not as well as real corporations, for their funding system outside of 'donations' to charities and such. It is that exact, same, business acumen that allowed Imad Mugniyah (Head of External Security Operations of Hezbollah) to open up a set of Canadian and US Hezbollah support cells to actually traffic in white market goods, although illegally. The North Carolina cell, in particular, was brought down for smuggling cigarettes.

To Detroit.

And not paying the higher taxes on same there, thus selling them at a mark-up for profit.

That is *not* the mark of an unsophisticated terrorist operation. Opportunistic? Yes.

At this point in time even if the drug laws changed instantly tomorrow in the US, and our trading partners followed suit, that would not end the threat of terrorism being funded by drug trafficking. It is an adaptable system that confronts the west at its foundations and its derived beliefs. Freeing trade, at this point, even to exercise fuller freedom for medications, might end some ills at home, but the lucrative business itself then shifts with those changes. Violent gangs will then go to *other* areas for high return basis goods, and even if everything fell under this rubric of 'free trade', cutting down on the middle-man overhead for legal trade assures a continuance of illegal trade at a higher profit margin.

'Free trade' is a solution looking for a problem, and that problem is not transnational terrorism or organized crime nor money laundering. With non-free Nations taking part in that sort of a system, they are empowered by that system so as to bribe their people with cheap goods, and yet keep liberty and freedom from them. Ideologically driven terrorism, be it Islamic, Communist or criminal Capitalist, can thrive on that system, also, as Hezbollah and the Mafias and Far East Triads have pointed out. When organizations like the Communist 'Shining Path' in Peru can utilize illicit trafficking of goods at a profit to continue existing, the problem is *not* 'free trade'.

The accountability of trade to society is something the United States was founded upon with the concept of 'No taxation without representation'. The People have the right to levy taxes on goods and commerce to support social organs of government to protect the People from those wishing ill to our liberty and freedom. When the US started up as a going concern there was a way to address those that attacked the trade of Nations and the accountability of trade between Nations.

We called that destructive influence, that used weapons and means of war unaccountably by the name of Pirate. That destructive influence of capturing trade goods, taking individuals hostage, and rendering things captured for cash are no different, in this modern era, than hostage taking for goods or services rendered unto the groups taking people hostage, taking aircraft via hijacking for means of media exposure or simple attack upon individuals or Nations, or just using the weapons of war to harass or kill those that do not adhere to a specific outlook, group or ideology. That is, also, lawful commerce between Nations: individuals spending time with friendly Nations to understand them and support them.

That is something known as 'trade'. Beyond the monetary and commercial side, it is also the exchange of ideas and outlooks to knit Nations together in common understanding. The accountability system against those was and is awesome and powerful: giving warrant to have them brought in because they attack the common trade between Nations in their attacks using warfare upon individuals, groups, companies and anyone espousing different beliefs. That is barbaric, especially when touting how 'just' such actions are when those doing so will hold themselves under no form of justice. Those are warlords, not terrorists, those who rule by war and the sword and see the only justice that which they hold by coercion. Those that demand submission to them and their beliefs and use the sword or gun to enforce that are practicing enslavement, not justice.

For decades the US and Western Europe has ignored Warlords, Pirates, and those ruling by Terror called Tyrants. Most of those, today, have no Nation to hold them accountable and that was the same way back when the Piracy was upon the High Seas and against Ports and those attempting to protect civilians in far flung colonies. They struck fear into the heart and mind and waged a toll on trade measured in ships and gold and lives ended or enslaved. Nations that were weak allowed those individuals who would be held accountable TO a Nation to fight FOR that Nation under the terms of the Laws of the High Seas. Some number did turn, it is true, to profit from that in those days of long distances and messages taking weeks and months to travel back to a home Nation. Turning from defender to predator was possible, although the life span was shortened for most doing that.

That era is gone, but the threat from those doing the erosion of civilization today is just the same. Their actions are ones to end the commerce of mankind that they find unsuitable to them and punish those Nations and Peoples they do not like, while being held to no standard and under no justice. From them comes the wrath of destruction of lives and mere property so as to attack our civilization and put it to an end.

We allow that at our peril, these attacks to end our common humanity held up by Nations and for Nations in this thing known as the Nation State system. Some few Nations repudiate this concept of a Nation State system and they put that system at peril, too. And those that repudiate all Nations to seek Empire are a grave threat to all who seek any justice in the world, so that those waging war upon others can be held to account for that and to standards held by Nations and between Nations. At heart this is a battle of wills between those seeking to rule and those seeking to have accountable justice between all of mankind. No 'technical fix' will end this, as anything put in as an 'easy solution' fails the test of human ingenuity to counter it. No 'secure ID' will thwart this. No omnipresent security surveillance will keep this tide at bay. Nothing that has been seen or done or proposed will outfox a battle of wills that is contested, in the end, openly or not at all.

To protect our Liberties there must be a measure of security, else there will be no Liberty as the strong rule over the weak. That is more than just vigilance at home, but the actual safeguarding of Liberty for those that have it against those that wish to end it. We cannot end all enemies of Liberty, but the cost of attacking those with Liberty can be made very, very high to dissuade such attacks.

To enforce our Freedom it is not enough to be free on our own, nor to have all Nations join us in this Freedom as those in opposition will say or do anything to undermine Freedom and call Tyranny by sweet words to misguide us. When those words turn from sweetness to bitter rage and unreasoning attacks against those that defend Freedom, to say that those wanting Tyranny are equal to those defending Freedom, then that is not defending Freedom but wishing for the end of it and for Tyranny over all.

To make those working against Liberty and Freedom accountable we can only wage accountability upon them. Not just by the easy route of Nations as that has failed us for decades. If a President such as Ronald Reagan ended up empowering these groups and individuals by those in his Administration. Then *strong* rulers are not the answer to this, although it would help if actual Leaders would advocate Liberty and Freedom before all else and put up that trade to empower Tyrants, Despots and those seeking to Live by the Sword must be ended would be of help.

The ability to temporize to the less awful 'better than most', means you *still* choose something that is awful: a lovely despotic SOB who runs a Nation and favors us is *still* an enemy of Freedom and Liberty who is seeking to evade being held to account for such Despotism. That is *not* supporting Freedom and Liberty and holding Tyrants and Despots to account for themselves to their People. Befriending such is support OF THEM, and a betrayal of our own ideals of Freedom and Liberty.

The simple solutions of the 20th century have yielded a bitter, tyrannical and spreading vine that breaks up Nations and the ties between Nations. Giving more power to government has *not* protected us. Giving in to demands has not ended those doing the demanding. Trying for a 'truce' with barbarians points out their strength to continue fighting against civilization and our weakness to sustain it. Our enemies only call for truce or quarter when they are losing, so that they may grow strong to strike again.

Giving them that is NOT mercy, but suicide to our civilization as they have proven incapable of keeping any word and being held to account for their misdeeds against Nations, against humanity.

Armies will fight in this war, but not in great battles on open battlefields, but holding actions to try and sustain Nations succumbing to our enemies. The two fronts today in Iraq and Afghanistan are defensive battles, to try and maintain the Nation State system. With luck we can advance and oust these enemies in some Nations, but we make a grave and fatal mistake to believe that they, our enemies, attack *as* Nations, *for* Nations, *from* Nations. They do not, seeking safe haven anyplace law is weak, and striking from many places in many ways, using our own systems against us so that they may continue their campaign to end us. No Nation nor set of Nations can confront these barbarians. Those given the law of war to be held accountable by Nations as individuals to fight as they see fit *can* do so.


To keep civilization going and expunge this scourge of barbarism and safeguard our ability to be free as Nations.

This fight has been handed to us as a civilization made of individuals. We can accept this challenge, take up this fight and win for ourselves, our family and our civilization. Or we can say it is too hard to build and maintain civilization, that enemies are too dispersed and in defending we 'just create more of them'.... and willfully accept the fetters of our enemies, or just die by their hand. For that choice you will hand to them: standing up for your Liberty and Freedom and your civilization, or handing your fate to be decided by others.

No one can be forced to fight, in our civilization that upholds individuals at the pinnacle of society and its basis. But forcing individuals into slavery is an age old custom brought back to us this day. Not all will carry the gun or sword, as the fight is across-the-board and total. A total war without mass killing, or with an end in mass enslavement if we do not fight at all. There is no hiding in this world, no running, no safety save to stand and declare 'this is worth fighting for in every way possible'. Attack those that defend civilization and you *are* the enemy.

Welcome to the 21st century.

The era of personal war returned to mankind. There are no predestined winners and losers in history, only decisions made and unmade by individuals, Peoples and Nations. We did not ask for this fight and yet it has been handed to us and procrastination is a decision by default. A decision to lose. You can help protect what we have in common and help end these enemies. For if you don't, those you doom will be those you love. It is a simple and basic decision to live free or enslaved to our enemies by fear of opposing them. That is what a contest of wills is about.

Theirs and Yours.


M. Simon said...

Milton Friedman said prohibition represents a price support to criminals and terrorists. Socialism pure and simple.

And if the big money is going to be made in retail what better way to cut that profit line than legalization.

Agreed every nation will not do the right thing. No reason we should be on the wrong side of the equation.

M. Simon said...

I see your point though. If they can't profit selling illegal drugs they will make up the difference by selling wheat.

Really. It is not about stopping anything. It is about lowering the profit margin.

A Jacksonian said...

Simon - I do agree, to an extent, but Mr. Friedman did not factor in the cost of overhead to running such operations.

I am all for removing these laws on a personal liberty basis as that was the way the US was run before we turned onto the Nannystate path. I see positive benefits for our society, and a reduction in drug crime violence. What I do *not* see is ending the criminal-terrorist enterprises that have established business acumen and capital to now shift money to other operations once the overhead is removed and the cash flow sustained for limited cost to them.

As I have tried to get across, terrorist operations flourish due to low cost arms and ready means of distributed command and control. The high cost area is finding people to *guard* establishments and *train them* and *sustain them*. Friedman's 'price support' has been used to facilitate that aspect of terrorist organizations which now have a sunk capital investment that does not go away unless the 'human capital' is removed. Indeed there will be added liquidity on their part, as middlemen, to now expand operations if the US decides to go the route of removing the narcotics laws. If we ignore *that* problem with outlaw groups wishing to wage unaccountable war with the US and the West, in general, then we will also need to take responsibility for what we do to ensure our own freedoms.

Removing the narcotics laws helps some things, but not others. It is not a panacea to the ills facing us, although it removes some, it does not remove all. And as we have proven incapable of holding international trade accountable to National survival, we miss the aim of the Republic: to hold our economic side of the house accountable to human liberty and freedom so as to sustain it.

These organizations have benefitted from the 'sunk cost of expansion' due to the drug trade. That capital cost is non-recoverable to us even if we remove those laws *tomorrow*. That investment has happened. That is not because of the drug trade itself, but because we hold NO trade accountable when it empowers declared non-Nation State enemies wishing our demise.

Notice that Hezbollah *recognizes* the importance of 'retail sales markup' which is why they *bought into a shopping mall* so as to get a 'piece of that action' and improve their sales of black/gray market goods. Legalizing the drug laws does not *stop* that investment with profits then going to purchase arms so as to attack us. Legalization does not *stop* that. Actually helps them, at this point in time to a certain degree. Legalizing gambling in Nevada didn't get the Mafia out of *that* trade and helped them to *expand* by removing *cost overhead* there, until it is a *profit center*. Terrorists don't want profit to themselves, save to expand their ability to reach out and kill. They will utilize any means to do so. All of our lovely laws and law enforcement does not stop Mafia investment in legitimate businesses. They spend money on some overhead, but mostly on pesonal aggrandizement. Folks like Hezbollah and Hamas, however, don't care about that and wish to use our decadence against us.

Getting serious on the removing the narcotics laws does not address that in any way, shape or form. That is where I split hard and heavily with removing the drug laws, which I particularly do not like even as a non-user of said medications. There are damned good reasons to get rid of them.

Don't tell me legalizing will do one thing *now* to end the larger threat to the Republic because we are unwilling to enforce *any* law on holding trade accountable to our survival as a Nation. Trade is accountable to society, may be limited or opened as we wish as a society, and must be ensured not to be harming us, especially when it helps those wishing our downfall as a Nation. That is more basic than yea or nay on narcotics laws: that is the primary reason we *have* a Nation. No matter what path we choose on narcotics, the upholding of the accountability of trade to the Nation is paramount and primary.

And as Hezbollah has demonstrated, they have the wit and street smarts to exploit our own laws to profit in a literal sense, from the Nation. Strange to say, but they did something that we also have laws against in intra-State trade and were only caught after years of doing that. Legal purchase to illicit sales and keeping the middleman profit by not paying taxes. Excess funds go to Hezbollah. That is not unsophisticated, but extremely opportunistic across the white/gray/black markets. It is not *wheat* it will go to, but very cheap knock-offs, bootleg software, and anything that any Nation does not want in their Nation. That is the 'magic' of the Black Market Peso Exchange system: it uses 'white' transactions to deliver 'black' money via 'white' trade goods.

The drug laws are *not* the problem in that set-up.

Our lack of enforcing laws on trade in a meaningful way, even inside the US, is the problem.

These are not unsophisticated groups blind to how the system of economics works: they just wish to exploit that system to different ends. You and I want it for upholding personal liberty and freedom. They want it to remove same and place an Empire on this planet to rule, not govern. They are willing to use our economies and law systems against us. We have means to end that, but *that* puts a cost burden on *us* to ensure that trade is held accountable to the Nation and that we call those seeking to end us by their proper names and go after them.

That *also* costs money.

Lawyers and front companies are damned cheap in comparison: the cost of doing business.

National Sovereignty is beyond price, and our unwillingness to see past our own parochial and partisan views is putting us all, as a Nation, in great danger. These are not 'businessmen' like the old style mafia. These are exploiters of business by any means necessary so as to defeat the Nation from stopping them from their goals. I haven't even *touched* on the majority of black/gray market goods that these organizations can and do use, either. Somehow addressing just the drug portion doesn't end this threat nor even hinder it... actually helps it.

I am more than willing to pay the price for that, if we, as a society, will recognize the price must be paid to put these organizations on the permanent outlaw list.

That will cost *also*.

And yet that monetary price is one we are unwilling to pay... and I'm not hearing much from the drug legalization side on how to end this threat and address that cost, either. There is a *bite* here no matter what our choices are as a society. Freedom isn't free. That, to me, is the *right* side of the equation. And we are not willing to ante up that cost *anywhere*. Of that I have heard zero from the drug legalization side. We can stop doing wrong, but now comes telling of the cost to make things *right*.