• Drugging The Mafia

    Posted by upinsmoke on 2002-08-03 at 02:29

    US: Web: Drugging The Mafia
    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02/n1435/a04.html
    Newshawk: Amanda
    Pubdate: Fri, 02 Aug 2002
    Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)
    Copyright: 2002WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
    Contact: [email protected]
    Website: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/
    Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/655
    Section: Commentary: Random Fire
    Author: Joel Miller


    Interviewing DEA head Asa Hutchinson for his Tuesday night ABC Special “War on Drugs: A War on Ourselves,” John Stossel pointed out that if drugs were legal, crime would ratchet down because people wouldn’t have to steal or harm others to get their fix. Legal drugs would also remove organized criminals from the trade.

    “After Prohibition ended, did organized crime go out?” Hutchinson asked. “No, organized crime continued.” So what happened? “They shifted. They moved to other elements of crime.”

    Yes, they did. And if you’ve ever seen “The Godfather,” you know to where.

    Ever since the Harrison Act in 1914, narcotics have been illegal in the U.S., and criminals have sold them.

    Six years after its passage Dr. Charles E. Terry lamented the law’s key oversight: “We had counted without the peddler. We had not realized the moment restrictive legislation made these drugs difficult to secure legitimately, the drugs would also be made profitable to illicit traffickers.”

    Early on, organized crime shied away from dealing drugs; with booze verboten in the 1920s, mafiosi moved crates of beer and gin – or better stuff if you could afford it. They also dabbled in prostitution and gambling. Drug running was left for crooks on the lower rungs.

    But not for long.

    After the Noble Experiment proved so ignoble and was scrapped, the gangsters needed a new source of revenue. Trouble was, the world was distracted by a Great Depression and rumblings in Germany. By the time the war in Europe was raging, attentions were diverted from vice and focused on victory.

    To aid in the war effort, mobsters were recruited by the U.S. government in two areas. At home, they watched the docks to prevent sabotage and spying by Nazi sympathizers and agents, and abroad they helped organize the invasion of Sicily by uniting the Mafia families of Italy to aid in the fight.

    Lucky Luciano was one of the homebodies.

    During the war, his men patrolled the docks and clubbed a few Nazis. The payoff for Luciano was a commuted 50-year sentence. The only hitch was his exile. With the whiskbroom-mustachioed monster dead and our boys coming home, Lucky Luciano was deported to Italy in what proved a very dumb move on the part of the U.S. government.

    Once in Italy, Luciano teamed up with a clutch of Corsican mobsters with heroin refiners in tow. Aided by his connections in America and Europe, Luciano began creating a massive international dope ring.

    “It was the start,” said opium historian Martin Booth, “of the notorious French Connection. .”

    The French city of Marseilles had served since just after the First World War as one of Europe’s main transportation hubs for heroin. By the time Luciano and Co. got the engine roaring, however, the smack was really sailing out the doors. “This organization was to traffic 95 percent of the world’s heroin for the next 20 years,” writes Dominic Streatfeild in his new book, “Cocaine.”

    Luciano’s partner in all of this, Meyer Lansky, set up shop in pre-commie Cuba – the ideal place from which to ship drugs to the very nearby U.S. And the shipments weren’t just heroin.

    Close to South America, Lansky began dealing in cocaine, which during the ’50s and ’60s was a very lucrative drug due to its scarcity in the U.S. His efforts paved the way for the coke boom of the ’70s and ’80s – he showed his partners, the Colombians, just how much money could be made with an illicit product and a hungry market.

    George Will tells the story of a 1969 encounter between Pat Moynihan and George Shultz that makes the point perfectly.

    Moynihan was Nixon’s domestic policy adviser and had just returned from urging French officials to forcibly disconnect the French Connection. Shultz, on the other hand, was “from the University of Chicago, home of flinty realism about the power of strong appetites to create markets in spite of disapproval of governments.”

    Exuberant about his achievement, Moynihan told Shultz of the trip to France, vainly hoping for some mutual good vibes:

    “Good,” said Shultz with deflating dryness. “No, really,” said Moynihan, “this is a big event.” “Good,” said Shultz, again not interrupting his paperwork to feign excitement.

    “I suppose,” ventured Moynihan, “you think that so long as there is a demand for drugs, there will continue to be a supply.”

    “You know,” Shultz replied, “there’s hope for you yet.”

    Unfortunately, there seems little hope for Asa Hutchinson.

    He is exactly right: Organized crime did not “go out” after Prohibition ended. It just moved to another prohibited product – one Hutchinson wants to keep illegal – and crime and violence kept moving.

    Distracted by the Great Depression and WWII, crime from illegal drug trafficking was nowhere near as bad as that of the war on alcohol. But by the 1960s, violent crime was up like a rocket.

    While crime in the U.S. has been falling for a decade, the reality is that the rates are still propped up by the illicit drug trade, a trade made violent by its illegal status and the type of people who prosper in prohibited trades – nasty men like Lucky Luciano.

    Despite this in-your-face reality, Hutchinson still holds out hope.

    “You do not win in these efforts by giving in,” he told Stossel. Nor do you win by pursuing a policy that is better suited to exacerbate the problem than solve it.


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