By Chris Floyd
The Drug War, like the Terror War, is essentially a vast machine for profiteering by the purveyors of weapons and tools of repression. Like the Terror War, the Drug War demonstrably exacerbates the problems it purports to address, and has led to widespread chaos, death and state corruption of almost unfathomable levels. And Hillary Clinton, almost certain to be the next president, is deeply complicit in both of these malevolent enterprises.
Clinton’s extensive and eager involvement in the genuinely insane hyper-militarizataion of American policy in the so-called War on Terror is well-attested. Indeed, she boasts of it, trumpeting how she urged a reluctant Obama into destroying Libya, for example: a “great victory” which she famously celebrated by crowing over the rape and murder of Libyan leader Moamar Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died!” The neocons who pressed for the war of aggression against Iraq — which Clinton supported — are now flocking to her banner, as are the war profiteers and their Wall Street allies. And why not? Clinton is the most hawkish Democratic candidate since Henry Jackson. The blood money will continue to flow like the Nile in flood under her watch.
But Clinton’s role in the Drug War is perhaps less well-known. Jesse Franzblau remedies this with an excellent article at CounterPunch, noting her instrumental role in the slaughterfest and corruption feast that the Drug War has spawned in Mexico. Franzblau writes of the $2.5 billion Merida Initiative:
Negotiated behind closed doors in the last years of the Bush administration, the plan was originally proposed as a three-year program. Yet Hillary Clinton’s State Department pushed aggressively to extend it, overseeing a drastic increase of the initiative that continues today.
Much of this aid goes to U.S.-based security, information, and technology contracting firms, who make millions peddling everything from helicopter training to communications equipment to night-vision goggles, surveillance aircrafts, and satellites.
This aid comes in addition to the direct sales of arms and other equipment to Mexico authorized by the State Department, as Christy Thorton pointed out in a 2014 New York Times op-ed. Those sales reached $1.2 billion in 2012 alone, the last full year of Clinton’s tenure. Indeed, as the Mérida Initiative has grown, Mexico has become one of the world’s biggest purchasers of U.S. military arms and equipment.
But while sales have boomed for U.S.-based contractors, the situation in Mexico has badly deteriorated. The escalation of U.S. counter-drug assistance in the country has paralleled a drastic increase in violence, fueling a drug war that’s killed more than 100,000 people since 2006.
Turning Mexico into a major fountain of war profits: quite another accomplishment for a secretary of state whose skills have been lavishly praised by no less than Henry Kissinger, her close friend and advisor. Franzblau goes on to lay out, in grim detail, how Clinton’s State Department, openly flouting U.S. law, increased its cooperation with Mexican military and law enforcement units known to be perpetrating horrific human rights abuses:
Human Rights Watch reported in 2011, for example, on widespread cases of torture in Guerrero going back to 1994. The group noted regular abuses by police and military forces, including “cases of homicide, torture, and extortion” overseen by the judicial police chief in the northern part of the state. The same report highlighted strong evidence of the involvement of military officials from Chilpancingo in cases of kidnapping and disappearances in 2010, as the U.S. embassy was clearing officials for training from the same military base.
The payoff for these illegalities has been sweet for the future president:
Notably, several of the contractors that profited from U.S. security assistance in Mexico — such as General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies Corporation, which owns Sikorsky — reportedly contributed to the Clinton Foundation. And according to the transparency group Open Secrets, Clinton currently tops the list of all 2016 presidential candidates in campaign contributions from the military contracting industry.
By the end of Clinton’s first term in 2021, we will be in the 20th year of the Terror War — and the 50th year of the Drug War. How many more lives, how many more communities, how many more countries will be laid waste by these inhuman engines of greed and power — and their “progressive” champions — in that time?