Sometimes the most wonky policy issues actually hide the biggest scandals. For example, if I were to tell you that Republicans used CAFTA (the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement) as a bargaining chip in their negotiations with Obama on the debt ceiling fight, I'm sure that your eyes would immediately glaze over. The Obama admnistration has been right to resist moving on CAFTA and a similar agreement with Columbia, as the sleaze factor in both is absolutely enormous.
What does this have to do with the price of bananas in Guatamala? A lot, as well as shrimp farms, other fruits, Intel manufactured microcircuits, and other items produced in these countries. But these countries are also famous for producing other things, and this is one big sticky wicket. Yup, you guessed right if you said drugs in a big time way.
Now ordinarily, if we harmonize trade regulations that facilitiate banking, this might mean that it's easier for Citigroup to install ATM machines in Cali, but CAFTA etc. is just a teensy bit bigger than that. Such agreements would really facilitate the movement of huge amounts of cash from the drug cartels to big name banks. How much, you say? Well in one eighteen month period, Wachovia (in London) managed to kype $387 billion in deposits from the cartels. The Wachovia bank officer who blew the whistle on them was fired, and the bank paid a $114 million fine. But for 387 big ones, I guess Wachovia figured the fine was money well spent.
With CAFTA and Columbia, all that money could go to patriotic American banks instead of having to be sent overseas. And right now, capturing that flow of money might be seen as being even more critical to such worthies as Citigroup and Bank of America, both of which have recently been hammered in the stock market downturn because of continued worries about their creditworthiness.
Imperialism by any other means should smell so sweet. Not only the prospects of new drug monies prove to be an economic stimulus to the ailing banks, but CAFTA etc. encouraged capital flight out of Latin America, thus helping to solidify American control in those areas. And while we're on the subject of imperialism, the thought occurred to me the other day that the CIA probably helps to undermine the economic instability of America in its own tiny way through its money laundering operations.
Money laundering for the CIA is a necessity. Think about the recent assassination of Osama Bin Laden, and how long it took to establish the bonafides to take him out. All of the logistics behind the hit for all of those years depended on sheep dipped money that the agency sent into Pakistan so as to blend into the scenery. It's been well established that the agency uses dummy corporations and front groups to do its work, so it's only logical to assume that the CIA would be foolish indeed if it didn't take advantage of the deregulated investment climate by utilizing hedge funds and dark pools for its money magic to support operations like these.
In case you're not up on dark pools, these are totally unregulated, secret, and untraceable market mechanisms to buy and sell securities, and we all know that the monetary reforms allowed under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations were responsible in good part for the ongoing economic catastrophe that the world finds itself in.
By these means does the executioner supply the rope to hang himself.