November 23, 2004

Fiction : Drug Cartel, Inc.

We all see drug cartels portrayed in the news as savage, semi-intelligent organizations, run by peasants in fatigues. Our government says these groups are guided by greed, addiction, and force, and must be stopped to protect our society and morality.

Now imagine if this crude image of a cartel was just a facade, carefully created by the public relations department of said organization? With hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to protect, cartel leaders long ago realized that they were clandestine companies, with employees, research and development, public relations, logistics, and when necessary, economic and military units to drive their agendas. Not only did they have suppliers and customers, but they had competitors, competitors with armies and the official moniker of "government" or "owners of moral judgment".

While the original founders of drug cartels had humble beginnings, their sons, daughters, and future employees were not bound by this limitation. Recruiting from the best colleges, purchasing or inventing the best technology, creating shadow companies to pursue their aims, the drug "cartels" of today are vastly different than what you see on television. Imagine an organization that uses biotechnology to create herbicide resistant forms of cocoa? That uses the latest cryptology to shield their communications and financial dealings? That uses economic might and lobbying to subtly shift public policy? Or most frighteningly, wields enough military might to challenge many second world nations and harass even the mighty United States.

Knowledge, wealth, and cunning have created new entities that hide their simple goals in a veil of deceit, shells, and disinformation. I should know, I spend everyday hiding my cartel's work behind an impenetrable wall of private keys and encryption. And I live down the street from you. My kids play AYSO with your kids. Welcome to the Drug Cartel, Inc...

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