International Car-theft Ring Busted
The head of the New Jersey State Police auto unit called it "This is the largest auto-theft fencing ring I've seen since I've been on the force." They are claiming the car-theft ring stole more than 1,000 luxury vehicles in the past year and shipped them to West Africa and the Middle East. Apparently, it is a status symbol to be driving a flashy new car in Ghana sporting US tags.
That recent report reminded me of another report from 2005 that has always troubled me because it was never resolved.
Cars Stolen In US Used In Suicide Attacks
The FBI's counterterrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering some vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior US Government officials.
What I think we are looking at here is a new twist on an age-old story about the confluence of money, power and crime. This is important because a major blind spot in the liberal/progressive analysis is the impact of organized crime on political reality.
As the Watergate source known as Deep Throat so famously said, "follow the money." Well, now we know that Deep Throat was none other than W. Mark Felt, former assistant director of the FBI during the Nixon Adminstration. So you can basically take that advice to the bank.
War is a racket. That is not an opinion. That was documented by Gen. Butler in his famous book called, "War Is A Racket." What he was talking about was the "legitimate" merchants of death who profited from war -- copper companies, oil companies, or banks like the one run by Prescott Bush.
The notion of war profiteering is not new. During the Civil War there were terrible problems with war profiteers. To cite one particularly infamous example, one company sold defective rifles to the Union Army knowing full well they were likely to misfire and kill or maim the soldier shooting them. I wouldn't be surprised to find examples of this sort of chicanery in the Revolutionary War. But all those examples, while criminal, are basically people gaming a legitimate system and taking advantage of it in the course of normal business.
I think something very different is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia and some other areas where we have an active military presence. Were you surprised to see Colombia on that list? You may be surprised to learn that Colombia is the third largest recipient of US foreign aid, right behind Israel and Egypt. You may be even more surprised to learn that five helicopters sold to Israel were seized in Colombia during a drug raid. This is not the first time Israeli arms have wound up in Colombia. One of the offshoots of the BCCI scandal was the granting of letters of credit to Israeli firms so they could sell weapons to Colombian drug lords.
The Colombian connection is mentioned because selling arms to drug dealers is not part of any legitimate governmental operation. There are real criminals making a killing in these conflict zones. Once you realize this is not an aberration or isolated incident, the disappearance of billions of dollars in cash in Iraq takes on a whole new significance. A million here, a million there... that you might be able to chalk up to incompetence. But billions? That's incredibly effective incompetence.
Add private military forces to the mix of hot guns and drug money and you can see how this might become a volatile mix. Simply looking at the problem in Iraq as a military problem with a political dimension doesn't solve the criminal problem. The magnitude of profits being generated is such that criminals actually have an interest in prolonging the conflict.
This brings us back to the stolen cars blowing up in Iraq. The two reports were different operations. The one that got busted the other day was based in New Jersey and Maryland. The one associated with the car bombers in Iraq was based out of Texas and California. I don't recall the West coast operation ever being shut down.
I realize this is so far out of the mainstream it will sink like a stone in the diary list. But I think it is important to raise it, if only to document the point that calling this war illegal goes beyond your average run of the mill war crime. There are real significant economic interests in keeping this conflict going. Not to make money on the oil, but to make a killing on a whole variety of fronts. Those interests are getting rich and growing.