The Technology Secrets of Cocaine Inc.

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by kmguru, Jul 5, 2002.

1. kmguruStaff Member

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11,757

"Colombian cartels have spent billions of dollars to build one of the world's most sophisticated IT infrastructures. It's helping them smuggle more dope than ever before."

By Paul Kaihla, July 2002 Issue

On a rainy night eight years ago in the Colombian city of Cali, crack counter-narcotics troops swarmed over the first floor of a low-rise condominium complex in an upscale neighborhood. They found no drugs or guns. But what they did find sent shudders through law enforcement and intelligence circles around the world.

The building was owned by a front man for Cali cocaine cartel leader José Santacruz Londono. Inside was a computer center, manned in shifts around the clock by four to six technicians. The central feature of the facility was a $1.5 million IBM AS400 mainframe, the kind once used by banks, networked with half a dozen terminals and monitors. The next day, Colombia's attorney general secretly granted permission for U.S. agents to fly the mainframe immediately back to the United States, where it was subjected to an exhaustive analysis by experts from the Drug Enforcement Administration and various intelligence agencies. The so-called Santacruz computer was never returned to Colombian authorities, and the DEA's report about it is highly classified. But Business 2.0 has ferreted out many of its details. They make it clear why the U.S. government wants the Santacruz case kept quiet More... 2. Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 3. wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member Messages: 8,616 I know the US has spent bilions of dollars (probably in the trillions if everything could be counted) trying to stem the flow of cocaine and other illegal drugs. I always wondered how they were able to beat things like the radar planes, ground sensors, and other advanced military equipment. That the cartels have advanced enough that they have access to much of the same equipment shows why. The ability to tap into communications, listen and search for particular items, and individuals, gives them one heck of an advantage in information. Being able to hear and identify those giving tips on what they have seen or know keeps the cartel in line and also gives an element of fear to those in the know. Surely law enforcement and the military must have known that there had to be a reason they were not intercepting "intercompany messages", so to say. That would seem to have been a direct hint that if they could not intercept communications that there must be a reason. Informers being knocked off should have been another. After several of the events happening it would have to have come to someones attention that maybe they had a mole and needed some kind of security when dealing with informers. After to going to such a mode to have it happen again should have set off some alarm bells. Are we playing with a full deck when it comes to our military and law enforcement? 4. Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 5. kmguruStaff Member Messages: 11,757 Our businesses and people who work in private sector, have far superior knowledge in information processing than our government including CIA and FBI etc. The reason is that - military and government systems have to depend on planning and design phase and award of contracts to people who designed the last war and the war before. So, our government is always fighting the last war. It only works with another government because they are in the worst shape than we are. But it does not work very well with small private enterprise with lots of money that can buy talent anywhere on the planet. The other situation is, a government has to abide by rules of law. I was watching techtv the other day and saw the main focus of the show about a canadian battleship that was built with 3 billion dollars. They were so proud that they were showing this fanastastic computer control system and one soldier held up the removable hard drive. It was a 24 inch 320 MB giant platter that you see in old movies. Today, you can buy a 80,000 MB 7200 rpm hard drive for less than$200.

Anyway...it is very interesting. I hope, our real enemy stays dumb.

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2,113
Welcome to the sane asylum.

8. EduferTired warriorRegistered Senior Member

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791
A theory...

Your real enemy sleeps in the White House (or nearby) and is not dumb at all (I wish he were...)

I will tell you something that a friend of mine told me back in 1992. At that time, the Argentine government had lent the Bolivian Air Force three excellent combat planes made in Córdoba (the IA-63 Pucará), a twin turboprop with speciall handling capabilities that made it ideal for insurgence control in jungle areas, as air support for ground troops, because they are faster than choppers (can avoid ground misiles better) and can fly slow enough, at very low altitudes. The three Pucarás were sent to the Beni jungle area --"red area", full of narco traffickers-- and a team of Argentine Air Force pilots and tech crews was in that Army/Air Force base --deep, deep in the jungle.

The Commodore in charge of the team was Comm. J. Cordero, a pilot and Aeronautical Engineer, a good friend of mine since our youth. He told me the following story, that I believe because there are lots of things that fit in (and mostly because my friend is not a liar or have hallucinations): About a wek after they reached the base, and had made good acquaintance with the Bolivian pilots that were being trained on the new Pucarás, one morning the Argentine team was called to a reunion in the "Casino de Oficiales" --the Officers Club-- and were ordered to remain there until new orders. No explanations were given. Just sit, drink beer and play cards. Don't get out, don't get near the windows.

But about 15 minutes later, after he questioned one of his Bolivian student pilots about what was going on, the pilot just put a finger to his lips and said: "Follow me, and be silent". He took him to the second floor and through the small window of a bathroom he pointed to an C-130 Hercules from the US Air Force that was unloading blue plastic drums (220 liters) by the back platform door. The drums went to a hangar property of the US Air Force (the US was helping Bolivia fight drug trafficking with the DEA, some CIA agents, and many Bell "Huey" choppers.).

When the unload was completed, Bolivian and American GI's started to load the C-130 with big packs of black plastic (cubes of about 70 cm a side). The packs were heavy, as each pack was carried by two men. When the plane was loaded, the engines started and took off flying north. Soon afterwards, the Argentine team was released from the Officers Club and activities returned to normal. Comm. Cordero learnt from other Bolivian officers that the C-130 was flying to Fort Bragg, OK. This strange thing happened once every week, and lasted for the two months my friend was stationed there. He told me he had the chance to see, before returnig home, many blue drums of the same type unloaded from the C-130. They still had labels reading: "Sulphuric Acid" or "Acetone - Dimethyl ketone", known precursors for making the cocaine base paste, and the later refining to cocaine hydrocloride. The labels in the drums also read: "Made in USA".

This is a key piece for a gigantic puzzle: when you fit enough pieces together, the picture looks ugly. Keep in mind this were times of George Bush, Sr. Then comnes Col. Oliver North who is another key piece: with the Iran-Contras affair he taught the US. Department of State the way to get good funding for nasty undercover operations without asking Congress for it, as the US Congress <b>believed then</B> that the US should behave in a proper manner and refrain from going everywhere subverting or invading countries just "because".

And soon the State Department learned how easy was to get away with it. It even managed to make Oli a Senator! So, the way I see it, the DEA in Bolivia is fighting competitors, that is, independent narcotraffickers that didn't reach an agreement with the DEA (20% local, 80% DEA) and think they can beat the DEA, the radars, the US Coastguards, the Navy, the Air Force, the US Customs, etc. They refuse to realize that the only ones that are allowed do it are the US C-130s that fly directly from the Beni jungle to Fort Bragg, NC.

This side of the drug trafficking must be framed into a wider frame: You must link it to the old Empire building businees of opium and heroin, products coming from the poppy flower, grown in Turkey, Irak, Iran, but mostly in Afghanistan. The British have conducted this ancient business since mid 1800s and keep doing it. It is not news that the "mujaideen" were armed by the US and England, because the Russians had taken over the poppy business from them.

But the fools didn't take into account the Talibans crazy and religious nature, so the matter soon went out of control, with all the consequences we know. The Afghanistan and mujaideen operation was the idea of Zbigniew Brzezinski, and was set up and run under his supervision, when G. Bush was Carter's vicepresident, (he was runnig also dirty operations in Guatemala and El Salvador with Oli North) as well with the aid of such characters as <b><i>Sir</i> Henry Kissinger, <i>Sir</i> G. Bush Sr.</b>, (who was put in the position of head of the CIA by Kissinger) and <B>Georg Soros</B>, a long time supporter of legalizing drugs. As long as these stooges remain on the loose, the world will not be a safe place.

Just a theory, ...or perhaps not?

9. BatMMember At LargeRegistered Senior Member

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408
These "sensors" have to be looking in the right direction at the right time and for the right thing. The advantage of the drug cartels is that they only have to get their product thru some of the time whereas the US (and other) government organizations have to be perfect all the time to really stem the flow of illegal drugs.

10. BatMMember At LargeRegistered Senior Member

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408
Re: A theory...

Wow! You make some pretty big leaps of logic based upon some flimsy evidence. I do not discount that what your friend saw was true, but he may not have seen the whole truth. I could think of a number of scenarios that fit what you've described. Some of the scenarios have a positive motive, but most have many negative connotations. However, none go so far as to suggest that the U.S. government is distributing cocaine in the U.S. and eliminating the competition.

This is a "rough" world we live in and, I believe, many things must be done that aren't exactly in keeping with the ideals of US (or world) morality. I would hope that these things are done for a "greater good", but I recognize that it isn't always as "great" as originally thought. There is also the notion of "power corrupts" to contend with which is hopefully controlled through regular elections (however, the US could use some reforms in this area to make it easier for new people to run for high office and, thus, get new points of view into positions of power). Finally, there is the power of the "news" which can act as a check on governments worldwide.

11. NenarTronianTeenaged TranshumanistRegistered Senior Member

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1,083
I'm telling ya, find a natural virus that attacks and destroys the Coca tree, or build one see? All the trees die, we'll spread the virus around all of S.America to get all the trees, they'll die off, the world's cocaine supply will die down within a year, and its very very complicated to synthesize so there will be hardly any more cocaine in the world!

Sound good? It does to me. Maybe it wouldn't work. I dunno. But it would decrease the world's supply of "la cocaina".