Government Corruption

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Everyone Profits at Helmand's Drug Bazaar--The poppy harvest is in and everyone from the Taliban to local government officials is cooperating to get the opium crop to market.

Location: 
HEL
Afghanistan
Publication/Source: 
ISN Security Watch
URL: 
http://www.isn.ethz.ch/news/sw/details.cfm?ID=17699

State's complicity in drug trafficking probed

Location: 
Guinea-Bissau
Publication/Source: 
Independent Online (South Africa)
URL: 
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=86&art_id=nw20070602101528954C477128

Latin America: UN Drug Office Blames Central American Crime and Violence on Drugs, Not Prohibition

Central America's stability and development is being thwarted by crime and violence, much of it caused by the drug trade, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in a report released Wednesday. However, the report called for an intensification of the prohibitionist policies that helped create the problems in the first place.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/un-report-cover.jpg
global and tunnel vision at the same time
When a multi-billion dollar drug trafficking industry and the violence it generates is added to a witch's brew of social problems, including poverty, income disparity, gang violence, high homicide rates, easy access to firearms, weak political and social institutions, and widespread corruption, the weak Central American nations are under siege, the report warned.

"The warning signs are evident in this report -- gun-related crime, gang violence, kidnapping, the proliferation of private security companies," said UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa in a press release accompanying the report. "But these problems are in no way inherent to the region. They can be overcome."

Sandwiched between the coca and cocaine producing regions of South America and the insatiable market for cocaine in North America, Central America sees nearly 90% of cocaine headed north. While little of it falls off the truck -- Central American usage rates are low, according to UNODC -- violence and corruption associated with the black market drug trade take their toll.

"Where crime and corruption reign and drug money perverts the economy, the State no longer has a monopoly on the use of force and citizens no longer trust their leaders and public institutions," Mr. Costa said, underscoring that development is stunted where crime and corruption thrive. "As a result, the social contract is in tatters and people take the law into their own hands."

Countries in the region and beyond need to work together to strengthen their criminal justice systems, and break the links between drugs, crime, and underdevelopment, the UNODC advised. "Cooperation is vital," Costa said. "The problems are too big, too inter-linked and too dangerous to be left to individual states."

But rather than revising the global drug prohibition regime that generates the huge black market flows of cash, drugs, and guns at the root of many of Central America's problems, Costa and the UNODC simply call for more of the same. "We have a shared responsibility and common interest in helping the countries of Central America to withstand external pressures and to strengthen their internal resistance to the damaging effects of drugs and crime," Costa said. "Let us unlock the potential of this region."

If Costa and the UNODC suffer from tunnel vision when it comes to drug prohibition, at least they displayed a nuanced understanding of the youth gangs or "maras" that are so quickly demonized in the press. "Heavy-handed crackdowns on gangs alone will not resolve the underlying problem. Indeed, it may exacerbate them," Costa noted. "Gang culture is a symptom of a deeper social malaise that cannot be solved by putting all disaffected street kids behind bars. The future of Central America depends on seeing youth as an asset rather than a liability."

FEATURE-Police corruption undermines Mexico's war on drugs

Location: 
Tijuana
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
Reuters AlertNet (UK)
URL: 
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N15210940.htm

Colombian Officials Linked to Drug Trade

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

Full Investigation: Army Recruiters Pre-Screening for Drugs

Location: 
TX
United States
Publication/Source: 
WOAI (TX)
URL: 
http://www.woai.com/mostpopular/story.aspx?content_id=38060e5c-48f1-469e-8332-a9e2164ffe3c

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

Severed head latest in drug war

Location: 
Mexico
Publication/Source: 
TVNZ (New Zealand)
URL: 
http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/411366/1119940

Second Annual Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia

Join thousands of people of faith from Colombia and North America to pray for an end to violence and suffering in Colombia, and act to end unjust U.S. policies that contribute to the humanitarian crisis! More than 100 congregations in the U.S., Canada and Colombia have already confirmed their participation - will you join the list? Send Jennifer an email to let us know if you're participating at jtrowbridge@lawg.org. The Latin America Working Group is actively working with coalition partners to organize this event. We will ask Congress to: * Shift the balance of aid to Colombia, in order to prioritize aid for sustainable solutions to Colombia's humanitarian crisis, rather than more military training and assistance. * Not support the Colombian Free Trade Agreement (FTA). More labor union leaders are killed in Colombia each year than the rest of the world combined. To participate in the Days of Prayer and Action, visit www.peaceincolombia.org. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe visited Washington recently to lobby policy makers for a Free Trade Agreement and more military aid for Colombia. These requests are particularly concerning right now for a number of reasons: * The war rages on in Colombia. Plan Colombia was initially intended to support the rule of law in Colombia, improve the human rights record of the Colombian military, and reduce coca production. But after 7 years and more than $5.4 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent, we see just the opposite! At the end of May, the foreign operations appropriations subcommittee in the House of Representatives will consider Bush and Uribe's proposal for "Plan Colombia 2," and it's time that we call for a major shift in U.S. priorities in Colombia. Keep an eye out for emails from LAWG in coming weeks to take further action. * The U.S.-Colombia FTA will increase drug production and violence against labor union leaders. Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to organize labor unions. Furthermore, the flooding of the market caused by an FTA will put many small farmers out of business, likely causing many to turn to more lucrative drug production. Presidents Bush and Uribe have already signed the FTA, and the ball in now in Congress' court. This will heat up in the summer, so again, keep an eye out from LAWG! * Numerous members of Pres. Uribe's party have been implicated in an unfolding scandal in Colombia in recent months. The "para-politics" scandal has revealed that some government officials - and military officials as well - have had close ties to the right-wing paramilitary group the AUC, which is on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. In protest of the human rights crisis in Colombia, including the murders of labor unionists, LAWG supported a demonstration in downtown Washington - organized by Public Citizen - before one of Pres. Uribe's events. You can read more about Pres. Uribe's visit and Colombia's para-politics scandal on Adam Isacson's blog, of the Center for International Policy: http://cipcol.org/.
Date: 
Sun, 05/20/2007 (All day) - Mon, 05/21/2007 (All day)
Location: 
United States

Is It Bad Cop vs. Bad Cop, or Bad Cop vs. Good Cop?

Jeralyn Merritt linked in TalkLeft today to a Chicago Tribune article covering what sounds like a fairly spectacular police corruption trial. A police ring allegedly engaged in armed robbery of drug dealers, and as part of that engaging in home invasions, falsifying police reports and lying to judges and juries. The prosecutors, not surprisingly, have gotten one cop -- Corey Flagg, who has pleaded guilty -- to testify against another -- Eural Black, who took it to trial -- in order to get a "deal," e.g., a lighter sentence. And Merritt aptly points out that in such a circumstance -- a known criminal providing testimony, in exchange for the compensation of spending less time in prison -- it's really hard to know whom to believe. There is incredibly strong incentive for the guy making the deal to say anything that will get him off more easily, and by definition the guy making the deal is someone we believe to be a criminal in the true sense of the word. Should such a person's testimony really be the basis for handing out hard-time in prison? Defense are pointing this out, and Merritt asks what the jury is likely to make of it:
What does a jury glean from all this? That all the cops were dirty, or that one cop who got caught is trying to save himself by selling out a clean cop who worked with him?... Does a dirty cop really sell out a clean cop? Or does he, caught in the headlights, just spread the blame to others as dirty as him, in hopes of a shorter sentence?
This sort of deal is made all the time, of course, on countless routine cases. I consider it to be a fundamental corruption of the administration of justice -- it is just too obviously true that one cannot trust testimony given under such a circumstance. The older type of practice is that deals would be offered to informants who provide useful information that investigators can use to then find actual evidence. Instead, drug war prosecutors, with the complicity of judges, have shed their morality and instead use the informants' mere testimony. Hmm, maybe that's one of the reasons some people don't like snitching.
Location: 
Chicago, IL
United States

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