In 1972, long before eBay or Amazon, students from Stanford University in California and MIT in Massachusetts conducted the first ever ecommerce transaction. Using the "Arpa-net" account at their artificial intelligence lab, the Stanford students sold their counterparts a small amount of marijuana. Ever since, the net has turned over a steady but small trade in illicit narcotics. But last year approximately 20 per cent of UK drug users scored online. The majority of them went to one place: the dark net markets. [more inside]
'I submit that the drug trade—and specifically cocaine—is among the worst things that the human mind ever invented.' The gruesome human cost of a fun little party treat.
Criminal Cartels And The Rule Of Law In Mexico: Summary, PDF
The cartels have thousands of gunmen and have morphed into diversified crime groups that not only traffic drugs, but also conduct mass kidnappings, oversee extortion rackets and steal from the state oil industry. The military still fights them in much of the country on controversial missions too often ending in shooting rather than prosecutions. If Peña Nieto does not build an effective police and justice system, the violence may continue or worsen. But major institutional improvements and more efficient, comprehensive social programs could mean real hope for sustainable peace and justice.[more inside]
The shady players in Myanmar's drugs trade: Drug exports from Myanmar continue to escalate, as distinctions between the illicit trade and the 'legal' economy blur.
Here's an odd unforeseen consequence of the Columbian drug trade: fishermen along Nicaragua's Mosquito Coast have been been getting rich off of "white lobster"—cocaine dumped overboard by Columbian drug traffickers that, through a fortuitous arrangement of sea currents, washes ashore. [more inside]
Well known for speaking the truth about governments and getting pressured for it [7th paragraph from the top], Alain Labrousse recently published his Dictionnaire géopolitique des drogues [Geopolitical Dictionary of Drugs]. I don't think it's been translated in English yet, but all his previous works have, so I'm sure an English version is on the way. His latest book is being well received by everyone who's interested in "open source" information about drugs, particularly how the various national economies profit from them. A recent review [in French], cites one example of twisted international relations concerning drugs [my translation]: Europe speaks no evil about activities in Morocco, the most important source of cannabis in the world, or in Turkey, where scores of laboratories transform afghan opium into heroin, simply because these two countries provide a frontline of resistance to radical Islam. In North America, in Mexico, the United States tolerated for 70 years the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional - PRI), even though its leaders supported, and even chose mexican drug cartels. Geostrategic interests outweigh the most basic needs of the war against drugs.
The Reality of Islamic Protests An excellent article in Al-Ahram describing the anti war protests in Pakistan. It goes into the different groups who are organizing them, what hidden agendas they may have (some actually profit from the Afghani drug trade), and points out that for the most part, while not supportive of the war, most Pakastani's are not speaking out against it.