Another Angle To Financial Transparency: America’s Drug War

March 1st, 2010

Oliver North from Fox News wrote a column today about the increasing rate of murders, kidnappings, and drug smuggling along the Mexico-U.S. border. After discussing the problem, he adds,

There are other challenges the administration has failed to address as well. Everyone involved – from the Andean basin to the streets of Chicago knows that the flow drugs north won’t stop until the flow of money south is interdicted. Arizona’s Attorney General, Terry Goddard, recently won a major settlement with Western Union about illicit financial transactions. The Departments of Justice and Treasury lauded the outcome of this contentious issue, because Western Union has agreed to turn over money transfer data on suspicious transactions.

Arrests and prosecutions from this information are likely. Equally certain is that the cartels will look for new ways to move money. According to those engaged in this fight, cartel bosses are always looking for new ways to move drugs and money. Unfortunately, our ability to detect cash transfers through European banking institutions suffered a crippling setback last month when the European Commission shut down U.S. law enforcement and intelligence access to the Terrorist Financial Tracking System (SWIFT) that had been so carefully created in the aftermath of 9/11.

Every week, we are reminded by the pervasiveness of the financial transparency issue. This week, an opaque financial system is enabling violence in Latin America. Last week, we saw it pop up in Greece. Who knows where it will travel to next? The constant is the solution: financial transparency. Hopefully, mainstream media reports will connect the dots.

Written by EJ Fagan

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