3 votes

Too big to jail banks, the US government and the drugs trade


Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon D) blasts Eric Holder over too big to jail Banks

December 13, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley today blasted the U.S. Department of Justice for its policy of offering “deferred prosecution” for large financial institutions that break federal criminal laws, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and sanctions violations, calling the policy “too big to jail” and demanding explanations.

In a sharply-worded letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Merkley criticized the government’s recent agreement with British bank HSBC, which brazenly facilitated the laundering of $800 million in illicit narcotics proceeds that drug traffickers ran through the bank’s Mexican and American affiliates, and engaged in over $600 million in transactions that violated U.S. sanctions against Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Burma.

“I am deeply concerned that four years after the financial crisis, the Department appears to have firmly set the precedent that no bank, bank employee, or bank executive can be prosecuted even for serious criminal actions if that bank is a large, systemically important financial institution,” wrote Merkley. “This ‘too big to jail’ approach to law enforcement, which deeply offends the public’s sense of justice, effectively vitiates the law as written by Congress. Had Congress wished to declare that violations of money laundering, terrorist financing, fraud, and a number of other illicit financial actions would only constitute civil violations, it could have done so. It did not.”

Merkley emphasized the real life consequences of drug trafficking, money laundering, and sanctions violations and drew the stark contrast with rates at which individuals convicted of similar crimes on a smaller scale serve jail time.


The banks are responsible for far more deaths in the US and elsewhere than legally held guns, through their support of money laundering and the drugs trade.

We need some BANK control. Prosecute the execs don't just fine the shareholders.
Barack Obama and Eric Holder have demonstrated that the big banks are above the law.


The so called "war on drugs" is a hypocritical sham as demonstrated by the HSBC settlement.
How many fewer guns would there be on the streets, if there were no more drugs gangs?
How many fewer homicides from firearms?
How many young lives would be saved from being wrecked if drugs were decriminalized or legalized?

The real reasons why the US government does not want to legalize drugs.


There are several reasons why the Federal government does not want to legalize drugs.

Drugs money funds the Taleban - violence in Afghanistan is increased. It provides an excuse for the US to remain in Afghanistan. Have you seen the pictures of US troops protecting poppy fields? There are lots on the web.

It causes chaos and anarchy in Mexico. This was used for Fast & Furious to condition people into accepting the UN small arms treaty that Obama is curently negotiating. The Federal government wants to reduce the number of Americans with guns.

Mexican anarchy also provides an excuse to deploy drones for border patrol. Drones are now authorized to fly in every inch of American airspace. It is much easier to weaponize a drone than it is to weaponize a light aircraft or helicopter (the current methods of aerial surveillance). The pilot of a police helicopter or border patrol light aircraft would object more to his craft being turned into a gunship than a drone operator would.

It provides an excuse for the Federal government to intervene in countries like Colombia. Colombia would provide a useful base, should the US choose to intervene in Venezuela or Ecuador.

It keeps poor people poor and increases crime and violence. It makes the rest of America scared of the violence and the drugs gangs. A good excuse for heavy handed government intervention.

It increases corruption - more payoffs for politicians and law enforcement.

The CIA uses their drugs running activities to fund black ops.

The DEA provides another para military wing of the Federal government and an easy way in for US intervention in foreign countries who traffic or supply. E.g. Central America or the Caribbean. (Or countries that launder drugs money.)

The financial industry makes a lot of money, laundering drugs money. They do not want to see drugs legalized.

Update 12/14 The recent case of HSBC large scale drug money laundering

It keeps the prison business in business.

It helps the profits of the pharmaceutical and alcohol industry. Both sponsor the Federal government.

The Federal government does not care that it costs the taxpayer $200bn a year with the current system. This is not a priority.

N.B. A number of senior policemen have spoken out against drug prohibition, due to the violence, crime and corruption it engenders.

A retired Police Captain demolishes the "war on drugs" and prohibition


A short history of the post WW2 drugs trade


The Clinton's connections to the drugs trade and their legacy in Obama's administration
(Plus Bush/Cheney connections & Iran contra)

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