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#2713: Drugs and Haiti: Burnham replies to Gill and Kozyn (fwd)

From: thor burnham <thorald_mb@hotmail.com>

I think that M. Gill and J. Kozyn both raise excellent points concerning the 
U.S. obsession with drugs. The hypocrisy of U.S. drug policy towards Haiti 
and the rest of the Caribbean is revealing when one considers the extent of 
cross-border drug smuggling that takes place between Canada and the U.S., 
for example.
The state department reports (and others like them) tend to point to the 
numerous "lacks" in Haitian government, society and culture which contribute 
to the booming trade in illicit narcotics: a lack of infrastucture, a lack 
of police competence, and a lack of ethics at all levels of 
government...(not to mention the reliance on the "phrase" to really explain 
why Haiti would allow such "atrocities" to continue).
  Make no mistake, the longer one complains about the exportation of drugs, 
the lawlessness of Haiti, and it's inability to rule itself properly (talk 
about a trope that's been mobilized for a long time!) the more that long 
term military "intervention" (to use Mambo Racine's euphimism), or presence, 
is needed. And, of course, all the more reason to keep funding the military 
and the police; not to mention annually increasing their budgets.
  The reason I compare Haiti's treatment to Canada is simple. My impression, 
(and i believe it was sometime last fall that Canada was singled out by some 
U.S. policy makers as a problem), after living in Vancouver, B.C. is that 
relatively speaking, Haiti is insignificant with respect to the total amount 
of drugs shipped into the U.S. (which raises a question? Unless the drug 
agencies are aware of the amount of drugs that actually go through Haiti, 
how can they make any kind of estimates with respect to percentage 
increases? How can they say with a straight face that shipments increased 
from 10 to 14 percent? They can't. They are guessing, or just blatantly 
   As Mark Gill pointed out, the problem has to be getting worse in order to 
justify more troops on the ground, and more funding for the "war on drugs". 
All of which translates into more officers/soldiers and more toys for the 
Coast Guard, DEA and military, or to prevent budget cutbacks.
   Based on their criteria for Haiti, the U.S should have occuppied Canada a 
long time ago, because Canada is almost completely incapable of stopping the 
drug flow into Canada (from the U.S. and Asia) and the flow from Canada to 
the U.S., and they know it. They even publicly say as much. It is, after 
all, the largest undefended border in the world.
   A few of the drug reports have mentioned that there is an increasing 
"organizational structure and sophistication" (my paraphrase) with respect 
to the trans-shipment of drugs through Haiti. The fact that a few ships were 
dry-docked and found to contain cocaine in their hulls supposedly 
demonstrates this. I can assure people on the list that Vancouver's place as 
a drug transhipment point of heroin and a producer of high quality marijuana 
makes Haiti look small. And compared geographically to the province of 
British Columbia, it is indeed quite tiny. The Asian triads, Hells Angels 
and the Russian Mafia are known to everyone. In other words, law enforcement 
knows all the players. Catching them red-handed is the hard part. And they 
tend to make Haitian gangsters look not so notorious. Seems to me that Haiti 
is doing a much better job at it than the funny talking Northerners. People 
can't remember the last time a Hell's Angel was successfully prosecuted and 
jailed for drug violations. Why? Because they are stinking rich and have the 
best criminal defense lawyers on retainer.
    In fact, the Vancouver police and RCMP repeatedly publicly declare that 
Marijuana grown in British Columbia is exchanged pound for pound for Cocaine 
at the U.S. border. (this is an indication on how powerful B.C. "gold" 
actually is), but it also shows just how much cocaine comes into Canada 
from....are you ready?...the U.S.
   My point is (and i do have one...my rant shall end soon) that when you 
take into consideration that over 95% of Canada's population live within 200 
miles of the U.S. border, and that Vancouver's situation is repeated in 
major cities across the country...(toronto, montreal etc.) the hysteria 
surrounding Haiti needs to be challenged, particularly when that hysteria is 
masquerading as propaganda for other ends.
  So when the next series of reports emanates from the hallowed halls of the 
state department or the DEA, be skeptical, don't take their word for it, and 
read between the lines. Moreover, one should look at just how cocaine is 
produced in the laboratories in Colombia. (i.e. the chemicals involved and 
where they are manufactured and shipped from. Who really profits from 
illicit drugs?)

Thor Burnham

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