Pubdate: Fri, 17 Aug 2001
Source: Texas Observer (TX)
Copyright: 2001 The Texas Observer
Author: Greg Schorr


I write in response to Molly Ivins' column "Tracking the KLeptocrats" (July 
20). I always enjoy her columns and usually agree with her, but in this 
case I think she is wrong.

In general money laundering laws, which Ms. Ivins supports, started as a 
result of the drug war, something which she has come out strongly against 
in the past. If we want to put the current drug traffickers out of business 
all we have to do is legalize, and regulate these drugs. Throwing more 
money at law enforcement has never stopped a black market when there is 
strong demand for the product. It does, however, increase the profit 
margin, i.e., incentive, for the dealers willing to take the risks and with 
this increased illicit profit comes a greater chance of government corruption.

She uses the "Russian financial melt-down," as a non-drug-war-related 
example to support her argument. The idea that somehow Russia's economy 
collapsed as a result of money laundering is absurd. The Russian economy 
has been a shambles since the days of Stalin.

Finally, Ms. Ivins implies that privacy advocates, such as myself, are just 
conspiracy nuts. But what are we to believe about the world we live in, and 
our own government in particular, when we see such debacles as Noriega from 
Panama and, from her own list of examples, Fujimori of Peru.  We fed these 
and other dictators billions of dollars and then acted surprised when they 
robbed their people blind. These are not figments of my imagination.

Until we clean up our own house and stop supporting authoritarian leaders 
with money and arms in the name of fighting a moralistically bankrupt "War 
on Drugs," I will not support the money laundering measures of which she 

Greg Schorr via the Internet
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