12-10-2019  5:04 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

NEWS BRIEFS

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Man gets jail, probation for strangling 85-year-old mom

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland man who violated a no-contact order and strangled his 85-year-old mother has been sentenced to six months in jail and two years of probation. The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office said 57-year-old James Keith was sentenced Tuesday. Keith assaulted...

M lawsuit claims meningococcal diagnosis delayed

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon State University student who visited Portland-area medical providers amid a 2017 meningococcal outbreak at her Corvallis campus — but was not immediately diagnosed with the disease — has sued for million.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports then...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Trump to sign order targeting anti-Semitism at colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting antisemitism on college campuses, the White House said.The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government's definition of antisemitism and...

In South Carolina, Steyer investing in black voters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In the waning weeks before South Carolina's presidential primary, Democrat Tom Steyer is renewing his focus on the black voters who play a pivotal role in the first-in-the-South state, rolling out a proposal to improve historically black colleges and institutions.The...

Multistate voter database suspended in lawsuit settlement

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A much-criticized database that checks whether voters are registered in multiple states has been suspended “for the foreseeable future” until security safeguards are put in place as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit, a civil rights group said...

ENTERTAINMENT

Netflix says more than 26M watched 'The Irishman' in 7 days

NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix says that 26.4 million households worldwide watched “The Irishman” in its first week of streaming. That figure includes those who watched at least 70% of Martin Scorsese's 3 1/2 hour crime epic. Netflix selectively announces viewership for its films and...

NFL, NCAA football fuel Fox TV's win of the prime-time week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fueled by both college and pro football, Fox won a rare title as champ of the broadcast week among networks. Fox's Thursday night NFL airing of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears was the week's top show of any kind with 18.23 million viewers, and its broadcast of the Big...

The Associated Press picks the top moments on TV from 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Many have noticed how fragmented our TV viewing is, with multiple competing streaming services and dozens of channels pulling us in different directions. But the year also saw some jaw-dropping moments that found huge audiences, whether it was a royal interview or a viral...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Adam Sandler on plunging into the Safdies' 'Uncut Gems'

TORONTO (AP) — Adam Sandler was waiting to be thrown into a midtown fountain on Sixth Avenue for a scene in...

Newspaper criticizes film's take on Olympic bombing coverage

ATLANTA (AP) — After a bomb exploded in a downtown Atlanta park midway through the 1996 Olympics, a...

Thousands rally around Holocaust survivor in Milan

MILAN (AP) — A Holocaust survivor who has been put under police protection due to anti-Semitic threats was...

In Mexico, effeminate Zapata painting draws fury

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A painting showing Mexican Revolution hero Emiliano Zapata nude and in an effeminate...

Parisians dodge strikes by logging on to share rides, bikes

ARGENTEUIL, France (AP) — Adrien Lachevre and Nailat Msoili live a few kilometers (miles) apart in Paris'...

Thousands rally around Holocaust survivor in Milan

MILAN (AP) — A Holocaust survivor who has been put under police protection due to anti-Semitic threats was...

McMenamins
Louis Nevaer New America Media

Editor's Note: Recent media reports of money laundering activities involving U.S. banks and Mexico's drug cartels point to a disturbing trend. NAM contributor Louis Nevaer says that everything taken into account, the amounts involved rival investments made by some of the U.S.'s largest trade partners.

The six-year War on Drugs that Mexican president Felipe Calderon has waged since 2007 has resulted in one consequence no one anticipated: Mexican drug cartels have sent upwards of $1 trillion to the U.S.

This staggering sum of money has been funneled through U.S. financial institutions, almost always in violation of U.S. laws, and at times even with the cooperation of American federal agencies.

In fact, if the Mexican drug cartels were a sovereign nation, they would qualify to be part of the G-20, ahead of Indonesia (GNP: $845 billion) and behind South Korea (GNP: $1.1 trillion). Yet, this is the cumulative sum of money that Mexican drug cartels have funneled through the U.S. economy.

A New York Times story published last month reporting that federal authorities busted a cartel boss accused of laundering $1 million a month pales in comparison to the hundreds of billions of dollars that drug organizations have moved through U.S. banks.

Who cares about a $12,000,000 a year operation when one American bank was found to have laundered $378,400,000,000 before it was caught? After federal prosecutors started criminal proceedings against the bank, it agreed to hand $110 million over to federal authorities, for allowing banking transactions with proven connections to drug smuggling operations. And the same bank subsequently paid the government a $50 million fine for failing to monitor cash used to ship 22 tons of cocaine.

In other words, the bank paid $160 million to make the case go away. No bank official was ever charged with a crime, and the monies ended up dispersed throughout the United States.

The bank? Wachovia. The year? 2010.

"The [American] authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler's checks and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts," Ed Vulliamy reported in the Guardian of London on April 2, 2011. "Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program… Criminal proceedings were brought against Wachovia, though not against any individual, but the case never came to court."

In March 2010, Wachovia settled in what became the biggest action brought under the U.S. bank secrecy act, through the US district court in Miami.

Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in October 2008 as part of the banking consolidation after the real estate market bubble burst.

Wachovia is not alone in laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for Mexican drug lords. American Express Bank International is believed to have laundered more than $100 million, paying a fine of $14 million in 1994 and another fine of $65 million in 2007. American Express Co. subsequently sold that bank to the London-based Standard Charter PLC in 2008.

Western Union is also in on the action. In February 2010 Western Union agreed to pay $94 million in fines in order to avoid prosecution for money laundering. The sum believed to have been laundered? More than $250 billion.

Of course, the U.S. government is part of this money laundering enterprise.

"Undercover American narcotics agents have laundered or smuggled millions of dollars in drug proceeds as part of Washington's expanding role in Mexico's fight against drug cartels, according to current and former federal law enforcement officials," Ginger Thompson reported in the New York Times in December 2011. "The agents, primarily with the Drug Enforcement Administration, have handled shipments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal cash across borders, those officials said, to identify how criminal organizations move their money, where they keep their assets and, most important, who their leaders are. They said agents had deposited the drug proceeds in accounts designated by traffickers, or in shell accounts set up by agents."

And so it goes.

The result is that, if these funds were seen as foreign direct investments, Mexican drug cartels would surpass Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Japan as having a stake in the U.S. economy.

The driving force behind the push to launder drug proceeds through the U.S. banking system is driven by tough new laws in Mexico that seek to limit the ability to carry out cash transactions. "The new laws [put in place in 2010] would also limit the purchase of vehicles, boats, airplanes and luxury goods to 100,000 pesos in cash, or about $7,700.

Violators could be sentenced to five to 15 years in prison," William Booth reported in the Washington Post. "Criminals here are increasingly using cash transactions to launder their vast profits, according to a senior Mexican official who investigates financial crimes but spoke on the condition of anonymity because of security protocols."

Since then, additional laws have made it difficult to deal in cash. Mexican banks will not accept dollars, unless a person has a bank account at that institution. And then customers are required to deposit the dollars, which are then converted to pesos and credited to their peso-accounts. Similarly, it's no longer possible to walk in with Mexican pesos and buy U.S. dollars, unless the customer has an account at the bank.

Foreign tourists are limited to exchanging no more than $1,500 USD a week, and then they have to provide a copy of their passports. If they wish to engage in larger transactions, they have to open a bank account, or execute wire transfers from their own institution in the U.S. Most tourists simply use ATM machines to withdraw cash, or use their credit cards.

This process of frustrating cash transactions is the impetus for drug organizations to shift their financial operations to the U.S. where, once the monies have entered the U.S. banking system, they can purchase homes, airplanes, businesses, and weapons. Indeed, in one astonishing incident, several operatives attempted to purchase military weapons for the cartels.

According to CNN, the shopping list included, "a Stinger surface-to-air-missile at a negotiated price of $200,000; a Dragon fire anti-tank weapon for a cost of $100,000; a Law Rocket anti-tank weapon for $20,000; and two AT-4 recoilless anti-tank guns for $20,000. The indictment says the defendants were to pay with some cash and also with illegal drugs."

None of that would have been possible in Mexico, which now requires that transactions valued at more than $10,000 USD be done by check, not cash.

The U.S., of course, is completely different.

If one's idea of "bling" is a Stinger surface-to-air missile for $200,000, then who wouldn't want a dozen or so for their backyard?

What's a trillion dollars for?

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