Ordinary folk who support the “war on drugs” certainly do not realize they are being conned. It is also doubtful that more than a handful of politicians admit even to themselves that the real raison d’etre of the many laws on laundering of money is to require full disclosure from everyone as to the exact sources of their funds.
Did you really think that the American President cares much about a non-voting “crack mamma” in Harlem? He knows, however, that people can be worked up enough to be furious about the “drug threat to our children”. The fact remains, however, that some people will take drugs of their own free will. The demand for drugs is created by people who want them, serious and proven side-effects notwithstanding – or those who crave it to seek some sort of solace for a mind battered by their psychological problems.
But drug-use cannot be wiped out for the very simple reason that, like prostitution, it has been around from the beginning and will be around long after we are all dead.
Some people use drugs to seek a brief refuge from a reality that is, rightly or wrongly, perceived by them as cruel and unbearable. Others use drugs to seek relief from boredom. And so on. But did you realize that narcotic drugs only came to be outlawed at the start of this century? Sigmund Freud habitually used cocaine but as far as his contemporaries were concerned, that was his own, personal business, not something that society ought to interfere with through laws or regulations.
Before 1913, using drugs was considered a vice. Today, it is a crime only because certain politicians found that stirring up anti-drug hysteria was good for a few votes. But since drug use was outlawed drug use has increased many times over.
In the US (and possibly other countries) the “drug war” is merely the government’s excuse to piy into the privacy of anyone and everyone, and to pass legislation to permit them even more intrusion. The government’s ultimate objective is the control of all aspects of every business and individual, and violating their privacy (not just in financial, but in all matters) is a necessary preliminary step. Together with this, the government wishes to control all property, and they are closer to this than most people realize.
Constitutional rights do not apply to most individuals in the US for reasons too complex to cover here. When persons claim “First Amendment Rights” of freedom of expression, “Second Amendment Rights” to bear arms, and so forth, the courts rule against them, and people blame the rotten system. It is rotten, but as the Bill of Rights under the US Constitution do not apply to most people, the government is perfectly within their power to deny the rights the people thought they had. We remind PTs that the drug war is a cover up for governments’ it into everybody’s affairs, and an excuse that uninitiated people accept. Any transgression part of the government, no matter how grievous, can be hidden under the umbrella of the “drug war”.
Dave Simpson operated a trading company out of Torrance, California, brokering contracts between Taiwanese electronics manufacturers and American importers. He did that so well that he earned a significant amount of money in a few, short years. Not trusting US banks, he put most of his hard-earned fortune in a bank based in the Cayman Islands. He did not try to conceal this fact from the IRS, disclosing the existence of his foreign bank account on his 1040 tax-form. By being a law-abiding citizen he ought to have protected himself, right? Wrong. A couple of years into the relationship with his Cayman Island bankers, his bank became involved in a drug-money laundering scandal. All assets deposited in the US by this bank were frozen by the US Government, pending outcome of an investigation of where the money had originated, ie which accounts contained “dope money“.
The investigation dragged on for four years with a final outcome not expected for another five or six years. Result: when his company needed cash, Simpson was unable to access his personal assets in order to save the company, not to mention paying his mortgage. His business went bust and the bank foreclosed on his house, evicting him onto the streets. He is theoretically a millionaire, yet he cannot gain access to his savings because the United States government has decided that it has a very serious beef with some Colombian drug lords who just happened to use the same bankers. Tough luck – for Simpson.
Similar fates befell Iranian citizens in the aftermath of the fall of the late Shah when the US government ordered all “Iranian-owned” private assets frozen in retaliation when a mob of Iranian students seized the US embassy in Tehran and held American citizens as hostages for 444 days.
Similarly, expatriate Kuwaiti citizens found their private bank accounts in most countries blocked until further notice when Iraq invaded Kuwait in an attempt to take over the country and its assets, both domestic and foreign-held. During World War П, the US seized all French, Swiss and British private accounts.
In all instances, private individuals were unjustly penalized by having their bank accounts frozen and their credit cards cancelled. Kuwaitis recently wound up depending on handouts from Kuwaiti embassies to tide them over. A ‘regrettable’ result of a Big Brother state striking back at its enemies, real or perceived. But also something that those affected could have done much to prevent had they taken future dangers and upheavals into account instead of relying on the status quo to remain unchanged. The worst part is that United States federal agents never had a near-good case for freezing “Kuwaiti assets” across the board to prevent Saddam Hussein and his henchmen from looting and pillaging private Kuwaiti bank accounts abroad. Most of the American Kuwaiti accounts seized were owned by Kuwaitis living in New York or London.
Courts increasingly operate on the “deep pocket” theory. If someone can point to a damage or a grievance suffered, someone else may be made to pay for it. If that “someone” is either no longer in existence (because of death or bankruptcy) then anyone with just the tiniest connection to the (real or imagined) “culprit” may be sued. In the US these days, it is not inconceivable that a man may sue a feminist author for the “emotional damages” he suffered when his wife divorced him after reading a “how and why you should get a divorce from your chauvinist husband”.
If someone sues it means that you will either have to defend yourself – incurring huge legal costs or be found guilty by default. Even if you are cleared (or found unculpable), after years of litigation you may have had to divest yourself of all your assets in order to pay your lawyers’ fees. As a rule of thumb, anyone may sue anybody for anything, anywhere. Governments do it every day to quell dissidents, corporations do it for money and individuals and business competitors do it to harass each other. It’s one giant merry-go-round in which the only assured, long-term winner is “the house” – the lawyers. It is in their economic interest to see that anyone with visible assets becomes a victim of the Deep-Pocket theory.
As the world becomes more and more integrated, national borders are of decreasing importance and protection. A court in the United States recently threatened to levy big fines on the US subsidiary of a Swiss bank unless the Panamanian branch of that bank agreed to . disclose the identities of its American customers. Needless to say, the court did not give a hoot about the lack of formal connection between the US and the Panamanian branches of a foreign owned bank – nor about the fact that, if abiding by the court order, the Panamanian branch would be breaking the banking secrecy laws in Panama – leading to the potential prosecution of managers of the Panamanian branch for complying with the ruling of a United States court.
If you are an upright citizen, pay your taxes and do not engage in drug-dealing nor obtain a financially crippling divorce (perhaps because you have been wise enough to stay single) then, surely, any such situation would not befall you. And even if, for some odd reason, you suddenly were to find yourself under suspicion for some crime which you did not commit, then that would merely be a tiny misunderstanding to be speedily cleared up, right?
Wrong. No matter how strait-laced and impeccably law-abiding you are, you may at a moment’s notice find yourself being referred to not as “Mr Joseph Public” but, rather, as “the Defendant”. Remember how the politicians and the media literally make their living from screaming to the public that “something ought to be done” about this or that. More and more “things” (which means people) are created about whom something should be “done”. You eventually find that you are one of the victims of government.
An example: “Something ought to be done about those heinous environmental polluters”. Unless you have been spending the past ten years backpacking in Nepal, you will know that newspapers in just about every country regularly feature stories about how “evil, privately owned Big Businesses” are polluting the environment and how those same evil businessmen must be forced to pay for the environmental clean-up thus necessitated.
How can this affect you? Here’s an example: until the late Sixties, government environmental agencies in most countries actively urged companies to dispose of chemical waste by sealing it in containers and burying it. Yes, that’s right – bury containers full of that toxic chemical stuff. Unfortunately, it turned out that this advice was not a smart move. Steel drums rust and let chemicals leak into the ground, polluting the water supplies. Massive scandals have erupted involving companies which were following government guidelines in the past. Now they find themselves in the position of being sued for huge damages when that government advice of 20 years earlier turned out to be unwise. But that is not all. Courts in the United States have ruled that it is in the “public interest” that “the polluters be made to pay”. It is the new order of things not only to sue companies that have polluted in the past ~ but also their “collaborators”.
This means if a company buried toxic waste somewhere 20 or 30 years ago, it may be sued today – even if it was following official guidelines in the past. If the company is bankrupted, the legal way is now wide open to sue instead those companies and individuals who ‘collaborated’ with the now-bankrupt polluter. It is possible to sue a tn company which 30 years ago undertook a contract to haul chemical waste to the dumps u you just happened to buy that trucking company many years after that contract was completed then you may still be sued for damages. And if that trucking company that you bought just happens to be a privately – owned business and not incorporated anywhere, that means (hat you – personally – may be liable for the damages stemming from another company that followed bad government advice a generation ago! Lloyd’s and other insurers are al stuck with clean-up costs that should be spread over the entire populace.
How come that we need to “do something to preserve our freedom”? It was Oscar Wilde who said that “most men live in a state of quiet desperation”. A few years later, Wilde himself was sent to prison for committing the crime of being a homosexual. These same states make it a felony to perform “an unnatural act” with your own wife, and such unnatural acts include your wife giving you a little kiss anywhere below the belt or vice versa.
The very real and present danger of being harassed or even indicted and incarcerated for committing any number of victimless crimes should, in itself, be enough for any intelligent individual to take proper precautions. Such an individual – you – should seek to limit to the fullest possible extent the risk of being made a martyr by a world in which politicians, the media and a sheep-being-led-to-the slaughter public are constantly ranting and raving about how “something ought to be done” about whatever. Or whomever. Unfortunately, “whomever” it is that “something just ought to be done about” may very well turn out to be you one day – if it is not already.
Should “something be done” about tax-evaders? Even if, like Leona Helmsley you fork out over US $50 million per year of your money to a state or government, you may still find yourself officially designated as a “tax-evader” – a target, to be hunted down and thrown in jail.
Should “something be done” about men who refuse to pay alimony to a greedy ex-spouse? You may one day count yourself among the great number of men sought by the authorities for not paying up to an ex-wife who betrayed you.
Should “something be done about drug-dealing vermin”? You may one day find your phone tapped or yourself arrested and all your assets seized on an unfounded suspicion that you are such a person. Even if you are subsequently cleared you should expect no apologies for the “inconvenience” nor any remuneration for the financial losses you just happened to suffer in the process.
After all, whatever happened – or happens – to you at the hands of the authorities is “all for the good of the country”. And “countries” (meaning, in effect, states and authorities) are not usually given to apologies or to paying damages to innocent people who inadvertently get caught up in their wars. Which, incidentally, is especially true as far as the “war on drugs” goes.