Russian anti-drug czar Victor Ivanov pointed to the link of drug trafficking to armed paramilitary groups in North Africa, and leveled a new broadside against "the world financial system" for being "one of the major beneficiaries" of the drug trade, in a lengthy Jan. 17 interview with the Spanish-language edition of Russia Today TV. Ivanov has repeatedly denounced the major international banks for actively seeking drug money deposits, and has specified that a return to FDR's Glass-Steagall standard would put an end to this process. In his latest remarks (the full Spanish transcription can be found at www.larouchista.com/node/2000) Ivanov said:
"The beneficiaries [of the drug trade] are, above all, the drug traffickers and, unfortunately, it has to be said that one of the major beneficiaries is the world financial system. Since the funds obtained from the yearly drug trade are estimated to be between 500 and 800 billion dollars, it goes without saying that those billions of dollars are not placed under the pillow, but become part of the financial system — they are legalized, they are laundered, causing colossal damage to the country's economy."
Ivanov pointed to the role of the drug trade in the spreading terrorist war in northern Africa: "Recently there is a tendency to transport a significant quantity of drugs through the countries of Western Africa towards Europe. In the last five years, the market for cocaine sales in Europe grew by approximately 2 to 4 times; that is to say, there was a gigantic redistribution of flows." The traffickers are heavily armed, with RPGs, helicopters, transport aircraft, and even missiles.
Ivanov ripped into the idea of legalization, and the line that drugs are mainly a health problem — the classical argument of the legalization crowd. "Sure, demand [for drugs] exists because of biological needs of people who are already dependent on the drug; but beyond biological demand, there is financial demand, and financial demand is dictated by the stable profits of the cartels... That means that there is also the demand of the world banking system, which is also used to receiving these stable subsidies in a total amount of some 800 billion dollars. Who would reject that?"
As for legalization, "I reject it, I don't support it," Ivanov said. He recounted the history of the international outlawing of drugs, in response to the fact that, because of the British Opium Wars, "China, an immense country, was at the edge of extinction, it was sinking in a nightmare of opium." As for today, "In fact, this problem does have a solution," and legalization would be a disaster. "We see that behind the organization of that movement, if one can talk about a movement in favor of legalization, there are powerful financial groups. We know, for example, that in the United States there was a wave of referenda in favor of marijuana legalization, and that recently 7 states held those referenda, and the states of Colorado and Washington even had a victory in favor of legalization. My American colleagues said directly that, behind this fact, are big financiers, including some very famous ones who finance movements of this sort."
Although Ivanov did not mention George Soros by name — in fact he side-stepped a question about naming the names — it is widely known that former U.S. anti drug czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey famously attacked Soros by name as a leading drug legalizer, in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Dec. 2, 1996.
Ivanov discussed the situation in Afghanistan in some detail, and also that of Mexico, where he said that there are 32 states and federal entities in Mexico, but that there are also "12 drug cartels that divided up the entire Mexican territory as they chose." They have entire armies at their disposal, "and the budget of each of them is greater than the budget of 5 governors." The related problem is that "the activities of the cartels find social support... because the peasants get work, and that work pays." Ivanov argued, as he has repeatedly, that alternative economic development is an essential part of winning the battle against drugs.