Jim Hightower

Drug War Enemy Is Us

The U.S. is scolding Mexico. Again.

Washington officials are expressing alarm that Mexico’s government is at risk of a “rapid and sudden collapse” because it is losing control of territory to drug cartels, allowing drug-gang violence to spread out of control.

The drug problem certainly is real. Mexico’s cartels are now the No. 1 suppliers of illegal drugs to our country, and the rising flow of drug money into Mexico is already the fourth-largest source of that country’s income. As assorted kingpins vie for control, horrific violence has erupted, not only targeting rival gangs, but also top government officials, the military, police, businesses and bystanders. More than 6,000 Mexicans were gunned down in these wars last year; many were tortured, beheaded and otherwise brutalized.

What a gruesome mess, you might say-why don’t the Mexicans clean it up?

Start with this: It’s not their problem. Americans-not Mexicans-are the ones snorting tons of narcotics trafficked by the gangs. Our demand drives the trade, finances the kingpins, and promotes the carnage. Yet rather than confronting our people’s addiction for what it is-a health issue-U.S. authorities continue to pretend they can stop the supply, spending billions each year on failed police actions.

As for the hellish slaughter, where do you think the gangs get the guns? Mexico has strict gun laws, prohibiting citizens from buying the high-powered assault weapons the cartels use. So 90 percent of their weaponry comes from U.S. dealers-more than 6,000 operate right along the border. With a wink and a nod, they brazenly sell tens of thousands of these guns to be smuggled across the border.

Mexico supplies the drugs, but our country supplies the customers, the money and the guns. Their war is our war.

CORPORATE WEED CONTROL

Little rebellions, especially those coming from unlikely places, can achieve big results.

Surely one of the least likely would be corn-insect researchers at land-grant universities. These crop scientists usually stay focused on things like rootworms, not grassroots uprisings. But 26 from various schools recently risked their own careers by daring to stand up to such powerhouse genetic seed manipulators as DuPont Co. and Monsanto Co.

The researchers submitted a statement to the EPA charging that biotechnology giants are preventing them from studying and reporting on the effectiveness and environmental impact of genetically altered seeds.

How? The corporate lobbyists and lawyers have rigged the rules so no studies can be done on their altered seeds without their permission. And then no findings can be published without their OK. Those who profit from the spread of these unproven seeds have a chokehold on research to evaluate their impact on health and the environment. The profiteers even have the potential, as one of the rebellious scientists put it, “to launder the data” that EPA relies on to authorize use of the seeds.

Since these same corporations are now the major funders of university research on biotech crops, it is no small thing for scientists to speak out. One bluntly says, “People are afraid of being blacklisted.”

It’s time for Congress to free our public researchers to protect our health and environment. For information, contact: www.organicconsumers.org

For more information on Jim Hightower’s work-and his award winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown-visit www.jimhightower.com.

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Published at 12:00 am CST
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