The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
Drug Prohibition: Threat
to American Democracy
A Hemisphere in Crisis
A Narco News
Shots... of Grace
in Five Parts
and the Fall of the PRI
The Battlefield is All América
The Controlled Substance Behind the Conflict
Drug Money Laundering as Campaign Finance
Human Beings and Authentic Journalism in América
and the Fall of the PRI
Perspective requires that both eyes remain wide open.
Close one eye, and the sense of vision loses depth. One cannot
judge the distance or nearness, the depth or superficiality of
objects, moving or still, through only one eye.
When it comes to politics
in América in our immediate history, there are two currents
in conflict: The wind from below, as Subcomandante Marcos labels this force, and that from above.
The first round of international
press coverage of the July 2nd Mexican election has overwhelmingly
been managed by those from above.
Wall Street is having
a fiesta. Washington is ecstatic. The disgraced New York Times correspondents have noted their election night
pleasure of finally receiving a hug on the street from Mexicans,
who are still, obviously, strangers to these privileged aliens.
The very same United States
powers who propped up the Institutional Revolutionary Party and
kept the Mexican people mired in misery and injustice for so
many years are now celebrating the fall of the PRI. And why not?
Relieved, finally, from the burden of their own pet bulldog gone
rabid, they will now display their new Irish Setter to all the
neighbors, all combed and bathed, perfumed so as to make us forget
the stench of blood, suffering and tears they inflicted on so
many for so long.
The happiest of all is
the PRI's own leader, President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León,
the butcher of Acteal, of Aguas Blancas, of El Charco, of Juárez
City, who, had his party won, faced a future of exile in Dublin
like the predecessor who chose him, Carlos Salinas de Gortari,
godfather of the modern Narco State.
On election night, with
only two percent of the vote officially counted, Zedillo delivered
the final proof that he had screwed his own hand-picked successor,
Francisco Labastida Ochoa. At the precise moment when Labastida
came on stage at PRI headquarters to face the press, the people,
and the music, Zedillo pre-empted him, and issued a well-rehearsed
speech on national television, congratulating Vicente Fox for
his victory, pledging a smooth transition.
Like Henry Kissinger before
him, Zedillo is now openly campaigning for the Nobel Prize. (Earth
to Ernesto: don't forget to release environmental activists Rudolfo Montiel
and Teodoro Cabrera García -- framed on drug charges in Guerrero -- from the prison cells where they still wallow
without justice; the awards committees have already noted their
I could go on and note
that not even Vicente Fox understood until Sunday afternoon that
the machine had decided to make him king. Fox was visibly nervous
when he voted that morning, attacking the election fraud that, suddenly, nobody wants to discuss anymore.
I could go on about James
Carville and Emilio
Gamboa Patrón, who, from the inside of the PRI campaign,
betrayed their own client. And why?
But if I were to simply
focus on the negative, I would have to keep one eye closed.
Let me now open the other
eye and explain what I see: movement not just from above, but
also from below.
Although it is now crystal
clear that Washington itself manufactured the Fox victory with
the aid of Zedillo, their double-agents inside the PRI and the
international press corps, Washington was forced into that position.
The wind from below had already gathered too much gale force.
And this is the wonderful
part of the story. They were forced to offer at least the optical
illusion of change, and to raise the expectations of the Mexican
This has been a long march
that picked up velocity at key moments: from the Plaza of the
Three Cultures at Tlalteloco and the winds unleashed with the
massacre of students on October 2, 1968; from the Mexico City
Zocalo and the
stealing of the election in 1988; from so many smaller, unnoticed battles, the
winds from the ghosts of more than 600 opposition leaders assassinated
in the past twelve years, an average of four a month.
The victory over the PRI
does not belong to Vicente Fox nor to Washington. It belongs,
first and foremost, the martyrs, and the survivors who would
not -- and, still today, will not -- let it be that they died
The latest phase of the
fall of the PRI began in the dawn of January 1, 1994, the first
day that the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect,
when the indigenous populations of the impoverished and oppressed
mountains and jungles of Chiapas took up arms -- of fire and of
communication -- and declared war upon "the party of the
State" and "the neoliberal economic system."
In the days after the
July 2, 2000 vote, where have we read the words Tlalteloco? Or
Zapatistas? If they have been mentioned in the international
press, the word has merely passed, like a ghost, like so many
phantoms inconvenient to the great simulators of democracy in
Where, in the international
press coverage of this clearly historic event, have we read the
words Mexican Civil Society? There will be no Nobel Prize
for the real winners. Nor are they -- we -- seeking that illusory
recognition. They -- we -- will march forward. They -- we --
will keep pushing Washington, Wall Street, Clinton, Zedillo,
Fox, the powerful, named and nameless, just as the PRI was pushed
before them. They -- we -- seek not medals but, rather, democracy,
Since the international
press responds so well to sports metaphors when covering elections,
let us make it perfectly clear to the myopic powers who lack
perspective: the defeat of the PRI was only the first goal scored
in a struggle that has now begun its next phase.
The Battlefield is All of América
As the Mexican elections have been soaking up the pittance
of attention allowed in the US Media to the rest of the hemisphere,
Washington has issued a new provocation: "Plan Colombia."
Oh, how the US Senators
and Congressmen voted so publicly for conditions that tied the
$1.3 billion dollar military aid package to Colombia to respect
for human rights and the environment. But precisely in these
days when the eyes of América have been watching, and
participating, in the Mexican battle, the legislative process
in the city named for a revolutionary general has, behind closed
doors, eliminated those provisions.
And they have done so
with the pretext of fighting the war on drugs.
Thus, this obscene amount
of money will now be handed over, with one eye closed, to the
very same military officials (and their protected right-wing
narco-paramilitary squads) responsible for so much bloodshed
of innocent civilians already. The checks are flying without
balances. The massacres now have official endorsement from Washington,
its president, its senators, its congressmen, its embassies and
Not only are they attempting
to cover one eye of the public, but our noses as well: Colombia
seems so far away. How will we possibly smell the herbicides
that will lay waste to so many acres of jungle rainforest?
The veteran New York
Times journalist Max
"This is a media
alert for editors and television producers who thought they could
safely ignore all news outside the United States: the permanent
drug war is going military -- and abroad... this story promises
to be around for years. Alert media, however, will want to prepare
to field Spanish-speaking correspondents, duly covered by kidnap
insurance, to follow the action across the photogenic terrain
of the Andes.
"It would be unwise
to expect trustworthy information from Washington...."
And yet what is clear
not only from the recent Times coverage of Mexico by two disgraced correspondents, but also the carpetazo
offered in that New York journal by the neutered Larry Rohter
from Colombia and South America, is that the coming war in Colombia
-- and other nations as it crosses borders to serve other US
interests than that of "fighting drugs" -- will be
used to sell newspapers, to hypnotize the TV-viewing public and
the radio listeners of Gringolandia just as the Gulf War was
used by US President George Bush to, in his own words, bury the
"Vietnam syndrome," and make overt US military intervention
possible on this earth once again.
Now, to close the pass
between Bush's junior and the White House, the Clinton-Gore administration
will try the same cheap trick. Only they have learned from Bush's
political error (that of provoking his Gulf War and "winning"
it too many months before the 1992 elections; a victory so hollow
that Clinton got to fight the same war all over again as part
of his 1996 re-election strategy). The Clinton-Gore "Plan
Colombia" is, to them, more of a "Plan District of
Columbia." They have surpassed even themselves in cynicism.
Cynicism, itself, is not
a crime. The problem lies in the fact that, in their last-ditch
strategy to hang onto Executive Power in the United States, they
are about to ignite Hemisphere War I.
US powers installed Colombian
President Andrés Pastrana using many of the same techniques
with which they have just installed Vicente Fox in Mexico.
In Colombia, with the
US-imposed drug war as excuse, they broke the back of the Liberal
Party and its President Ernesto Samper with accusations of drug
war corruption. And they put their own puppet Pastrana, of the
Conservative Party, in his place. Remember the universal praise
for Pastrana upon his election and in the honeymoon of his presidency?
The congratulatory calls from Clinton to the new savior of Colombia?
The favorable editorials in the Times, the Post,
and the rest of the star-maker machinery of the political song?
Now, with the Colombian
Congress investigating Pastrana himself for narco-corruption,
and the flight of his top cop José Serrano -- who, rather
than fall for his knighting at the hands of the Washington image
makers (and the obligatory fall that comes later), jumped ship
last month and is about to model himself as an "opposition
leader" much like, well, Vicente Fox in Mexico!
The black spring of 2000
has revealed a new sophistication by US meddlers in the rest
of América. Where no one pays attention -- the Dominican
Republic, Haiti -- they continue to manufacture old-style election
fraud a la Mexicana 1988 (remember, Reagan was the first
to congratulate Salinas on his "victory" a dozen Julys
ago). But in Perú, where more of the world was watching,
the US, working with Spanish intelligence agents (see the Narco News editorial
of June 12th),
propped up its very own "opposition candidate" in former
World Bank employee Alejandro Toledo. Thus, Washington -- and
Langley -- got to play on both sides of the conflict. In that
case, the incumbent puppet got the better of the challenger puppet,
who still stumbles in a half-hearted protest as if he doesn't
know what -- or more precisely who -- hit him. For it
was the people who set Toledo up that later knocked him down.
There were moments in
the now-concluded chapter of the Mexican campaign in which it
seemed that the US and its economic interests were about to do
the same to Vicente Fox; the ol' set-'em-up-to-knock-'em-down
Regarding the different
screenplay that just happened in Mexico, the US human rights
groups will credit the allowance of a Fox victory to themselves
and the greater global scrutiny that they helped to provide on
the Mexican elections. It's already as if Jimmy Carter chose
Fox by dedazo. Wiped again from this version of history
is the role of the Mexican people, and especially that of the
guerrilla movements who must be erased from the locker-room chalkboards
of the US coaches and their one-eyed game plans.
The same dynamic has made
possible "Plan Colombia," which will soon expand to
become "Plan Panama" (a nation that was once part of
Colombia) and, even more to the point of the US goal here: "Plan
But above all, we repeat:
it is "Plan District of Columbia: the selling of the president
The Controlled Substance Behind the Conflict
Beneath the surface of these conflicts there is indeed
a controlled substance that is known to have addictive qualities
on its consumers. But it is not cocaine, nor heroin, nor marijuana.
Simply put: Colombia, Venezuela and, yes, Chiapas -- precisely
under Zapatista terrain -- exist in poverty over some of the
last great oil reserves in the hemisphere.
And so the American guerrilla
movements -- examples of what the French philosophers Gilles
Deleuze and Felix Guattari called "the war machine outside
the State" -- are of great concern to US oil companies.
As is the new popular-military-democracy (yes, such a thing is
possible, even laudable) in Venezuela, led by President Hugo
Chávez, who is fast-becoming a bigger pain to Washington's
dark agendas than Castro in Cuba.
We draw your attention,
reader, to an excerpt from yesterday's Associated Press story,
appropriately published by the Dallas Morning News:
optimistic about prospects of dealing with Bush
been locked in series of disputes with Clinton administration
WASHINGTON - After being
locked in a string of disputes with the Clinton administration,
the oil industry will be seeking George W. Bush's help on a range
of issues, should he be elected president.
Recent gasoline prices
have brought energy policy into the campaign as Democratic presidential
contender and Vice President Al Gore tries to tar Mr. Bush, the
Republican governor, as a pawn of the oil industry. Mr. Bush,
a former oilman from Midland, says it isn't so.
But across a range of
issues - from drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge, to whether
to pursue an international agreement on climate control - oil
executives view Mr. Bush and the people he would appoint to key
posts as more receptive to their point of view than President
The industry's relationship
with the Clinton administration - and Mr. Gore himself - often
has bordered on hostile. While oil companies have pumped more
than $1.5 million into Mr. Bush's campaign, the industry has
contributed less than $100,000 to Mr. Gore's.
For years, the top priority
of oil lobbyists has been to open the coastal strip of the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alaska to drilling. Congress
once approved such drilling, but Mr. Clinton blocked it. Mr.
Gore has promised, "I will never agree to oil drilling"
in the refuge. "Never."
But Mr. Bush views drilling
there as a cornerstone of his goal to reduce America's reliance
on foreign oil. "We need to increase domestic exploration,"
Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said.
This story, of course, was spoon-fed to
the AP by the Gore campaign, as part of its acknowledged
strategy of "running against the oil companies."
The bigger game, as deep underneath the
surface as the oil reserves themselves, is a capitulation to
those same oil companies. In sum, the Democrats are wooing Big
Oil with a stick and a carrot.
The stick is: If you elect Bush, he will smell so much of Texas
petroleum by the time we get done with him that you will never
get an ounce of Alaskan oil out of Congress.
The carrot that the Democrats are offering
the oil companies is this: Be
realistic, why do you want Alaskan oil when Colombian and Venezuelan
oil is cheaper without having to pay US petroleum union wages?
The only player in the United States election
right now who can blow the whistle on this scheme is consumer
advocate turned Third Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
And yet, The Narco News Bulletin knows precisely that
the Clinton-Gore administration is gambling on Nader's inability
to call the entire question.
Because to offer a coherent opposition
to "Plan Colombia," Nader would have to counter the
emotional appeal of the Plan Colombia's "anti-drug"
pretext. To simply say, as some US liberals do, that it is better
to invest in prevention, treatment and education than in a foreign
war simply lacks credibility. It does nothing to solve the root
problem. It also lacks political punch.
For Nader to emerge as a real player in
opposition to the Colombia war that is the ace up the sleeves
of Clinton and Gore in the US electoral scenario, Ralph Nader
would have to call for the legalization of drugs. (Here's a hint
to our friend Ralph: you could use the word "regulation"
-- that would certainly be consistent with your profile.)
For Nader to enter the drug policy reform
movement would be an example of The Wind from Below. This time,
from within the United States. For, as all América realized
last fall upon noticing the tear-gas choked photos out of Seattle,
The Wind from Below has already crossed the border into the US.
The Narco News Bulletin is merely a recent manifestation
of that fact, but not at all the only one.
Again, we see the impotence of single-issue
politics. We are not alone in this observation. The US unions
increasingly see it. The environmentalists have awakened to it.
Nader's campaign is a clear manifestation of this development.
The drug policy reform movement -- isolated
for years by the ridiculous fear of other social movements to
be seen as in alliance with "the legalizers" -- must
now confront what is really an opportunity: to enter the great
questions of war and peace, human rights, the environment in
América, working conditions, and the geopolitical mess
caused by US reliance on petroleum. Likewise, the individuals
and organizations that deal, in a single-issue fashion with those
aforementioned matters must confront the question of drug prohibition.
Simply put: Democracy and human rights
cannot exist in América in the context of drug prohibition.
Perhaps that is clearer in the nations to the South of the United
States than it is, still, within North America. But that day
is fast upon us also in the most over-incarcerated nation on
Drug Prohibition is North America's PRI.
Drug Money Laundering as Campaign Finance
we enter the terrain where true opponents
to simulated democracy within the United States can drive a stake
through that system's heart as the Mexican people have just done
to the PRI.
The question of campaign finance in the
US entered the political stage, like the opposition to the PRI,
from below. In the 1980s it was thought an impossible question
to even raise. A local grassroots referendum in Western Massachusetts
engineered by Randy Kehler and other nuclear freeze activists
was the first popular expression of social rage over the
question of money's undue influence in corrupting North American
democracy. We say popular so as not to diminish the groundwork
laid by Common Cause and other "good government" groups
who for decades had been voices in the wilderness on this question.
But it was the plebiscite in those hills that caused other, more
opportunistic forces, to take notice of the popular hue and cry.
The presidential campaign of 1992 brought
Texas billionaire Ross Perot as the first (Vicente Fox-style)
politician effort to put other sails to that Wind from Below.
The irony was delicious: a member of the super-rich elite class
took full advantage of the loopholes in the US campaign finance
system to emerge as a critical voice of that system.
That Perot had other motives -- power,
revenge against fellow Texan George Bush Senior -- do not diminish
the fact that sailboats, even yachts, cannot stop The Wind.
As Fox in Mexico has demonstrated once
again: this is a pattern in human events. The farmers plant,
the owners harvest. The Mexican Left and especially the Zapatistas
brought the PRI to its knees. The system now tries to recover
with the "spurious opposition" of Vicente Fox. That
honeymoon may be as short-lived as Perot's or Pastrana's.
In the years since that humble Western
Massachusetts referendum, since the Perot campaign gave legitimacy
to the "outsiders' vote" in North American politics,
all kinds of scoundrels -- from Pat Buchanan in 1996 and again
now, to, this year, Bill Bradley and John McCain -- have harvested
what they could, which was wind. And yet winds are not harvested.
They remain in movement(s).
Now that both major political parties
in the US -- the Democrats and the Republicans -- have so demonized
"drugs" to the point where "Plan Colombia"
is politically possible, they have left themselves open to frontal
The fact is, as so impeccably documented
by Michael C. Ruppert in our May 2000 story of the month, drug money is now an integral part of
the Gore and Bush campaigns this year. And because money
laundering leaves a paper trail, this ugly matter offers itself
to more convincing proof than, say, questions of the CIA and
And yet we saw the outrage at a boiling
point in San José and Los Angeles, California, late in
the last century, when Gary Webb's San José Mercury News
series on Crack and the CIA touched a public chord precisely
in the heart of the Democratic party's inner-city base. But that
was when the Republicans were in control -- indeed, that story
did help bring about the end of the first Bush presidency
-- and Democratic politicians, from Maxine Waters to John Kerry,
exploited that issue to their political benefit.
But since 1992, when Clinton assumed power,
the Democrats have shut up. The maneuverings of their own operatives
-- Chuck Mannatt (now ambassador to the prestigious international
post in the Dominican Republic) and Tony Coehlo (whose daughter
reportedly was recently spotted in Mexico City helping Carville
give bad advice to the PRI) -- to bring drug money into the Democratic
party has created a 21st century version of M.A.D. (Mutually
Assured Destruction) between the Republicans and Democrats in
the United States.
Forces from outside of both of those parties
will have to detonate the fuse.
The accusations of money
laundering in the campaign of Vicente Fox (in contrary to
the whitewash offered in recent days by both disgraced NY Times
columnists who claimed that the charges were "undocumented"
when in fact they were very convincingly documented with copies
of checks) did not harm Fox for one essential fact: The Mexican
People have no illusions about the drug war. They -- unlike their
US counterparts -- know that prohibition corrupts their
leaders. In Mexico, that is old news. And there is a large dose
of realism that because drug prohibition is imposed by the giant
to the North, nothing can be done about it from Mexico (we don't
agree -- as we wrote in our opening statement
-- but that is the perceived situation among many Mexicans).
At least in campaign season, say many people openly, drug money
gets reinvested in the country as opposed to the next five years
when it will simply get transfered and laundered through foreign
But the United States public, so badly-informed
and insulated from the corrupt reality of their own government
under drug prohibition, will have a very different reaction when
it realizes -- and it will -- that democracy is incompatible
with drug prohibition. Because the majority of the North American
public believes its government is sincerely fighting against
drug abuse and trafficking. Thus it is a more explosive question
there, not that we will ever read that in the Times unless
the likes of Max Frankel come back from pasture to seize control.
But that is not on power's agenda. And at least North of the
border, the Media is about Power and Control. Authentic journalism,
for now, must enter from the outside.
At The Narco News Bulletin we have
sometimes been accused of shouting "fire" in a crowded
theater. Ahem, the theater is on fire. And this
will become all too clear when "Plan Colombia" explodes
live on CNN.
Human Beings and Authentic Journalism
coverage of the Mexican elections at
Narco News, we are sorry to report, leaves one loose end
Whatever happened with the computer
hackers who were on the verge of breaking the password to
the Compact Disk of the FOBAPROA scandal?
This was the missing link in the Mexican
elections that might have destroyed the "spurious opposition"
of Vicente Fox on the same day as the technocratic and dominant
wing of the PRI tumbled into its tomb. The opening of that disk,
as we have reported, would have revealed names, dates and amounts
of who robbed the Mexican people of $80 billion US dollars in
the most gigantic bank fraud scandal in the history of América.
And it would have revealed the interdependent nature of the banking
system, the government, campaign finance, and drug money laundering.
Was it a matter "full of sound and
fury, signifying nothing"?
We don't think so. We believe that economic
and political interests, through brute power, all the violence
and ruthlessness that implies, kept the information on that disk
entombed with the PRI.
One theory is that there never were any
hackers and the whole matter was invented as nothing more than
political campaign hype. But that theory is countered by the
1. If not for the work of hackers, the
left-wing PRD (Democratic Revolution Party) would not have been
able to reveal two basic facts:
A. That the now president-elect of Mexico
Vicente Fox, during a nationally televised debate, handed a false
password to the FOBAPROA disk to the journalist-moderator of
B. That Canadian auditor Michael Mackey
withheld a secret sixth password.
2. Those facts were confirmed when:
A. Federal Congressman Fauzi Handam Amad of Fox's PAN party admitted that
he "mistakenly" gave Fox the wrong password. He then
handed over a second password, that the PRD later said had also
been exposed as falsified by one letter. (Handam Amad will now
join the PAN delegation in the federal senate.)
B. Canadian Auditor Michael
Mackey confessed that, yes, he did reserve a secret sixth password
for himself (he had handed the disk over to the Mexican congress
while giving five passwords to the five political parties on
the theory that only if they came to agreement would the disk
C. For Mackey to admit
something so grave is to admit to an act of fraud, for which,
if it had happened in Canada, his career would have been destroyed.
Mackey only admitted his unethical behavior -- for which he charged
$2 million dollars in fees to the Mexican Congress -- because
somebody (that is, hackers) had discovered this fact and offered
sufficient proof of it.
D. The leadership of the
PRI in the federal congress announced, four days before the July
2nd election, that Mackey had agreed (with them, also
interesting for someone theoretically hired by a congress of
five parties) to now furnish a disk with one password
only, that a congressional committee would then keep under lock
E. But now it is after
the election and -- ¡qué sorpresa! -- Mackey
has just announced from Canada, according to Proceso magazine,
that he will not hand over the full information to the Congress
that paid for it. His excuse? Fear of getting sued by the financial
institutions whose skullduggery would be revealed. The phone
lines have been buzzing between the narco-law offices of the
bankers and the unethical Canadian auditor. Still, he invited
those calls when he participated in an 11th hour partisan campaign
maneuver -- or was it a deal? -- to hush up the PRD and their
These facts, all now a
matter of public record, lead to only two possible conclusions:
that the hackers just simply did not succeed in breaking the
code before election day; or, the more troubling theory, that
members of the PRD in Congress made back-room deals with the
banks and other financial interests, perhaps with other political
parties like PRI and/or PAN, to keep the matter hidden from public
The Narco News Bulletin invites the hackers -- the PRD
called them "technicians" -- to inform what happened:
And yet the possibilities raised by the
Mexican hackers now present a challenge for the November elections
in the United States of América.
What if, before election day, the drug
money trail in the Democratic and Republican parties could be
exposed on a grand scale before the US elections?
If the White House, for example, thought
for a moment that its own complicity in the drug trade would
be shown to all the people, "Plan Colombia" would be
cancelled in a New York Stock Exchange minute.
On the GOP side, the Bush family -- contaminated
in drugs and in oil -- might actually find its back against the
wall so hard that it would have to reach to New Mexico Governor
Gary Johnson to bail them out by giving them the only defensible
platform on drug policy.
The last US president who, by consensus,
goes down in history as a great statesman, was Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, who, before defeating Hitler, repealed alcohol prohibition,
and with that act, brought a huge block of voters who were then
minorities -- Irish, Italian, Jewish, Black -- persecuted by
the War on Alcohol into a party base that lasted for two generations.
And it happened like lightning. If anybody had said in 1930 that,
by 1932, Roosevelt's Democratic party would call for repeal of
alcohol prohibition, they would have been labeled, in the kindest
of terms, as mere dreamers.
Politics, in its essence, is a matter
of pushing and shoving. The forces from above understand that
fact quite well. That is why they are in power. They do it to
each other, but mainly they do it to the rest of us, the majority,
made of so many minorities, in the end, made of individuals.
The Mexican Civil Society, in this election
cycle, has shown the world that the push can also come from below.
Fox will have his honeymoon like Pastrana had his in Colombia.
But Civil Society will keep on pushing. The Mexican PRI -- after
71 years, the longest ruling party on earth -- was destroyed
not by another party, nor by another politician. It was not even
put to sleep by its owners in Washington. Those forces of power
merely piled on the corpse after the wounds it sustained, beginning
on January 1, 1994, from whence there came a Wind from Below.
From somewhere in a country called
The Narco News Bulletin
July 4, 2000
Bring the War