If knowledge of who the crime bosses are was enough to take them down, they would not exist in the first place. Organized crime does not require secrecy to operate when the police are corrupted.
Find them, build up decent evidence, kill them; don't try to prosecute. The risk is turning into a star chamber or right wing paramilitary, but I would trust the professionalism and morality of an organization like the us military to resist that. Plan Colombia worked out ok, compared to Peru vs shining path, for instance.
I'm not saying these gangs aren't full of horrible people, and I'm not saying all branches of the US government and military aren't perfectly good intentioned and well-meaning people, but mistakes do get made - which is why we need some judicial oversight here.
We've already got one war on an abstract concept where the president can order the extrajudicial execution of a US citizen based on secret evidence. That's more than enough for me.
The cartels only exist because the illegality of those drugs creates massive profit margins. Remove that and many of the problems are solved.
"Poppy cultivation had become an agribusiness and the dealers for the Afghan drug barons now had technical advisers who were visiting Nangarhar to advise on the crop and the product, paying in advance, and so concerned about the health of their workers that they had given them face-masks to wear in the opium factories. Some said they even offered health insurance. This was capitalism on a ruthlessly illegal scale. And when I asked a European UN official how the world could compete with it, he drew in his breath. "Legalise drugs!" he roared. "Legalise the lot. It will be the end of the drug barons. They'll go broke and kill each other. But of course the world will never accept that. So we'll go on fighting a losing war."
-- The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk
A whole lot of words and nothing being said. I shouldn't say nothing, the message 'we're humoring you all with these petitions, they don't actually mean anything,' is pretty strong.
Apologies for the segue from Anon operations, but reading this excerpt made me remember just how annoying the situation is and I immediately thought of the petition.
There is a somewhat widespread belief (and certainly corroborated by the history textbooks I had growing up) that the opium trade into China was politically motivated, as opposed to merely that of financial greed. There are persistent claims, even now, that the British encouraged the use of opium in an attempt to destabilize and make weak the Chinese Empire for the express purpose of then making war. The opium trade, and the subsequent war, continues to be a historical black mark that fuels Eastern distrust of the West.
Without blaming anyone even, the Chinese widely acknowledge that opium was one of the primary causes of the decline of the Empire (along with the common blame of governmental excess). This has fostered an extremely skeptical and negative attitude towards narcotics that has lasted to the present day. At least on paper, drug offenses in Taiwan are still punishable by death - though it's not applied as rigorously as before.
It's crazy that we fight a war in Afghanistan where the enemy is largely financed by two of our addictions (oil via Saudi contributions to AQ, and opiates via the Taliban), and our own logistical footprint (10% of the logistics budget of the US presence goes indirectly to the Taliban!).
The war on drugs, in addition to being ineffective, is racist and immoral.
However, even though drugs is how they started, there are criminal/terrorist organizations, like MS13 and Los Zetas, which are a threat to the stability of some fairly weak states, a source of violence in US and foreign communities, etc., which need to be destroyed even after drug funding is cut off.
The relevancy of all of this to Hacker News is becoming really strained, though.
There are pictures of this (and numerous other similar situations) out there on the internet for you to find. I cannot stress highly enough that you should NOT try to find them..
This is different in other countries. Hence, law enforcement to solve crime in the USA; targeted killings in Mexico.
Those sorts of tactics, over decades seem to really effectively grind down gangs. Swooping in with helicopters and m-16's is expensive and (i think) not very effective. Perhaps there's a counter example i'm overlooking. However, if you take the long view of the question how do you fight organized crime? I think you'll see the only effective solutions take generations. Just slowly tightening the noose around more and more unacceptable activities.
Just working intuitively, it seems like you would want both. Put pressure on at whatever levels you can, and then speed things up by removing key players. Wouldn't this accelerate the collapse of the organization, and at least make it less effective?
Due process is there for a reason.
See also: the current Mexican civil war.
What illegal activity are you proposing people will seek if drugs are medicinalized/legalized? Saying "oh they'll just move on" is a bit hand-wavey.
You know all those crimes that aren't substance based.
And depending on the terms of legalization, I'm sure drugs would always be a small part, whether that be black market to avoid taxes or prescription drugs.
Which isn't to say that they won't run guns and traffick humans, but right now the problem in Latin America is that these criminal organizations practically run the government they are so large. Depriving them of the drug pie, the tobacco pie, the alcohol pie... they will have nothing they can turn to that will allow them to maintain their present level of governmental corruption.
Drugs are relatively easy to produce and smuggle and have a massive community demand. Nothing else comes close.
Added benefit: fewer drug-related prisoners being trained up as career criminals.
EDIT: also, "people" refers to "people in the community taking drugs", not the gangs.
Cigarettes are legal to buy for anyone over the age of 18 (was 16 until feb 2011). Average price per pack of 20 is between £5.50 and £7; most of that is (Over 80%) tax.
High local prices, easy access to cheap foreign cigs (France is a couple of hours away and hypermarkets exist to sell alcohol and cigs to English day-trippers) mean that very many (1 in 5) cigarettes (and half of all hand rolling tobacco) smoked in the UK are smuggled or counterfeit.
Worse, there's money to be made for criminal gangs smuggling counterfeit cigs.
Cannabis is easy to grow. I support legalisation. But I am worried by the fact that criminal gangs already grow and distribute cannabis in the UK (sometimes using forced trafficked labour); by the possible harm to mental health; and by the weird culture of binge drinking and underage drinking in UK and how that would transfer to drug use.
UK annual tax income:
Over 80% VAT and duties:
Video report about blatant selling of smuggled cigs:
Organised crime in Scotland and their involvement in smuggled tobacco (with 1 in 5 and half of all hand rolling tobacco claim:
There are bars everywhere, cigarettes are everywhere so other than a little bootlegging of alcohol and cigs there isn't much profit in those things.
Whatever people want and whatever makes criminals money is what they will try.
There are not open markets just floating around waiting for criminals to suddenly discover them.
* Excuse for government overstep of constitutional provisions
* Money to the prison-industrial complex (i know, trite, but it's true)
* One more step in the notion that you don't own your own body
And those aren't legitimate reasons, IMAO.
We're seeing this with Wall Street. Dodd-Frank is raising the costs of doing business, causing the industry to down size.
Criminals are just people. They do what is most profitable for them given their circumstances. If you legalize drugs, most of the current drug criminals will get normal jobs at McDonalds or Wall Street or whatever.
Are you claiming that the benefits that we actually get from the current prohibitions are greater than the costs of those prohibitions?
If so, that's not obviously true. After all, I can get all of those things without too much effort, so what is huge benefit of making them illegal?
If not, what definition of "socially irresponsible" are you using?
How are they clearly adverse? Why was it not clear before the middle of the 20th century? Why is it not clear in other countries? Why was alcohol "clearly adverse" in the early 20th century in the US? What's the evidence that making drugs illegal has net benefits to society?
It is very, very expensive and unhealthy to lock up so many young people for drug offenses. Illegal drugs do a lot of harm, but so do alcohol, cigarettes and obesity. If narcotics were legal, we would sadly continue to lose good people to them. But the evidence from Portugal* suggests this would be not more than we already do. And we would lose far fewer people to prison, drug-related violence and the accidents and diseases due to the conditions associated with illegal drugs.
(edit: spelling and added link to article about Portugal's policy experiment)
And they are adverse because they are unhealthy for consumption. That a prison is unhealthy says more about the American prison system than the comparative health of narcotics.
There are a lot of responses I can't cover individually, so here is a thought experiment to extrapolate the restriction and legality issue further: why regulate anything? Why restrict anything? We can viably allow murder and rape to exist as well if gun laws have no regulation - every one is responsible for themselves, and forget the rest.
Like rocks, thumbtacks, shampoo, too much aspirin, bacon-double-cheeseburgers and daytime TV. We do not ban everything that's unhealthy. The question is whether, on balance, the benefits of prohibition are greater than the costs. I think we agree on that, though we might disagree when we estimate the balance when it comes to narcotics. Unfortunately, statistics for both sides are limited. This scarcity of data makes the Portugese experience really valuable.
We can know the cost of imprisoning all these people though. The US has the highest imprisonment rate in the world: 738 per 100,000. The UK, which has similar societal attitudes to drugs, though very different judicial policies, has 148 per 100,000, which is still above the median globally. US taxpayers are spending too much money on food, lodging and security for drug offenders.
edit: in case you think the cultural differences with the UK make the comparison poor, Canada has 107 prisoners per 100,000 population. That's one seventh the rate of their neighbor.
Is your argument that it's better to choose the greater of two evils?
So. Would you choose to restart Prohibition if it were up to you?
To clarify, alcohol does not need vehicular accidents to kill, it does cause damage to the liver, but my basic point was that while there are substances that are legal which are harmful, such as nicotine and alcohol, these are far and away much less harmful than other illegal controlled substances which have more overdose potential.
Sure, alcohol is far less harmful than some of the illegal controlled substances. Still, there are other illegal substances which are less harmful than alcohol. It's not like ethanol is the safest drug out there.
Heroin (and alcohol) also cause psychosis, which is probably the biggest cause for things such as spousal murder. Legalization is a weak argument when the only evidence is "It worked for Portugal!" or "If we take away the criminal organizations then everything will be well!". Instead of fighting the infinite number of criminals I'd rather we help the dudes who fucked up and now want to make their lives better.
You realize that is exactly what Portugal is doing, right?
According to CDC data from 2001-2005, an avg of 20 thousand people died from directly alcohol related diseases (with an additional 16 thousand of conditions linked to excessive drinking), compared to 14 thousand who died in motor-vehicle accidents.
You are entirely deluded.
And to most other parts of the body
Certain narcotics are very clearly adverse because they are extremely addictive with very very small amount of use. You argue against "clearly adverse narcotics", does that mean you think it is responsible to make all narcotics legal? Should people be able to get heroin as easily as they get cigarettes, never mind the kids who would easily be able to go get some dude to buy them a hit of heroin or meth.
One mistake run with heroin or meth can fuck your life up for good, no matter what kind of person you are. Proper education and good life styles are a much more effective defense against drugs then legalization.
You've said that - I'm asking how you're defining "socially irresponsible".
> I don't think a society will function as well with a government making clearly adverse narcotics freely available because people want them.
Not banning something is not the same as "govt making available".
More to the point, those drugs are freely available despite all the laws.
I'll ask again. What benefits do we actually get from the drug laws? If you mention availability, you get to show that the laws actually affect it because if they don't, that's not a benefit. Since they are freely available, that's a tough argument to make.
Then you get to explain why the benefits that we actually get are worth the very significant costs that we pay.
I note that beer distributors don't kill folks over territory.
There are organized abuses in every industry, legal or not. We're not scrapping the insurance market because of the schemes that go on between doctors, lawyers & individuals looking to make a buck through phoney claims.
Who are you to dictate what constitutes an "effective lifestyle" for anyone but yourself?
Generalization of "high functioning" musicians, artists, etc. Also not knowing the actual numbers of "hard" drug abusers in their respective fields. Generalization of cocaine and the finance industry, etc.
Once more, on Portugal, seeing hard drug use go down after a decade, not increasing. Do you think if heroin was legal you would dive straight into it?
Generalization / thought experiment; hard drug use would go down with proper (logical) drug education, where schedule 1 drugs are separated logically, not in a stupid sense of marijuana being on the same level of destruction as crack cocaine.
While I don't condone drug use, I feel its criminalization has caused far more problems than it's resolved, and it certainly hasn't curtailed use. Criminalize the consequences (much as we do drunk driving), but decriminalize the use and commerce, tax the sales, provide ample treatment (possibly through the sales taxes), and eliminate an entire class of criminal enterprise.
Similarly, one can track the effectiveness of the war on drugs by looking at the street prices of drugs over time. If the war was effective, prices would be rising. Unfortunately, basic economic theory shows that the war on drugs is a complete failure.
I understand we've all been propagandized to believe that drug use is inherently evil, however it's a mistake to lose site of the fact that (at least in the US) the prison system is largely a subcontracted for-profit industry. An industry with a clearly vested interest in maintaining soaring drug-related conviction rates as well as mandatory minimum sentencing.
I, for one, would absolutely prefer to live in a society where drug dependency is treated like a disease and treated.
I would have to say that's entirely dependent upon who you socialize with, the time of day, and to some extent your age. I can absolutely think of situations I've been in where scoring involved a lot less effort than acquiring a gallon of milk. See also: dorm life.
Please realize that drugs are very accessible right now.
For the record, yes I would rather live in a society where drugs were freely accessible.
What's the difference? We have to assume reasonable personal responsibility. What's the alternative?
I would like to point out that usage of these dangerous drugs does not decrease with their legal status.
The only way to fight criminals is to get them to go to another neighborhood.
People at the top most of the time have the resources to hide and still run the company. But when there is nobody left that would like to work for them the will fall.
Are you being sarcastic when you say that?
Also, the Anonymous people have made themselves a pain in the ass to governments who have the resources to find them. Even if the cartels don't have ears in the right place it's not hard for me to imagine a list of probable Anonymous members somehow making it into their hands.
The Los Zetas cartel, being the second largest cartel in Mexico, probably has revenues of well over a billion dollars per year. (It's estimated that the overall earnings of all Mexican drug smugglers is $13-40 billion.)
I'm pretty sure that's enough money to hire a hacker or two.
Moreover, it is known that cartels have connections in every government agency, such as the CISEN (Mexico's national security agency), Policía Federal Ministerial (Mexico's FBI). That's one of the reasons why a lot of "protected witnesses" or people who report crimes are murdered, because there is always someone inside these agencies.
As an aside, I don't know of any billion-dollar industry that doesn't have a fairly high level of sophistication. I don't see why the cartels should be any different.
Hey kid : People tell me you're the smartest computer guy in your year. My friends know where your mother lives. Please help me find some of these "hackers".
The whole thing is just bizarre.
Again, yes, I see the irony in that.
> surely that gives me as much of a right as anybody to claim to be Anonymous
eg Taliban, Al Qaeda, IRA, guerrillas, and more.
Whoever cancelled the operation just confirmed to the adversaries that they're easy to squash and immediately put the cause at risk. Adversaries are now more confident to risk further resources if it means they can destroy the cause.
They chose unwisely.
Decentralized paramilitary groups are hard to fight because you can track down & kill members without hurting the group- not because you cannot track down & kill members.
Don't forget the part where the Zetas have set a very, very strong precedent, while the FBI haven't. I can say even for myself I would take the FBI over the Zetas any day of the week.
See, for instance, the Mata Zetas (Zeta Killers). It's unlikely that Anonymous can play this game.
(take care if you stumble into videos, they're disgusting even if not explicit)
FWIW, US swat police seem to do the same thing.
Simply releasing the data would make killing them pointless, but being pointless never stopped the Zetas before.
Anonymous is not a serious threat to large corporations. It may cost them a minor inconveniencr, but without centralized authority, the group has no real internal integrity (the question of whether or not a group claiming to work under the auspices of Anonymous is moot...because anyone can be Anonymous).