George Graham

Criminals or Politicians? It’s Hard to Tell These Days

As far as I can determine, former Vice President Dick Cheney should be prosecuted as a war criminal. I am sure I don’t have to list all the allegations against him or remind you of his total lack of remorse. But just in case,  click here and here to refresh your memory.

As head of the Halliburton empire, he was allegedly involved in all kinds of shady dealings at home and abroad, and as George W. Bush’s evil twin, he is accused of shamelessly funneling taxpayers’ money to his Halliburton pals while condoning various kinds of lawlessness – from torture to assassination squads. Yet, this man is revered by a section of the Republican Party, so much so that Texas Governor Rick Perry, the front runner for the party’s nomination in next year’s presidential election, wants to have someone just like him as a running mate.

Perhaps  politicians are no longer expected to have clean hands. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them turn out to be involved with criminal organizations.

Over the centuries organized crime has become so intertwined with politics that political science professors are suggesting it should be included in their curricula.

Here’s how Professor Bohdan Harasymiw of the University of Calgary explains it:

Organized crime, properly understood, is attached to political institutions, personnel, and processes. Organized crime thrives because some lucrative activities are prohibited, and because in the pursuit of this lucre it has the protection or sponsorship of politicians, officials, and policemen—it uses them, and they use it.

Harasymiw cites “a massive study” by British historian Michael Woodiwiss as presenting “exhaustive evidence convincingly demonstrating the persistence of a close link between organized crime and politics from well before United States independence to the present time.”

Click here for the presentation.

Criminals have been with us from the beginning of time, and I fear they will always be a part of society, but their activities are secret and we usually glimpse only tiny tips of the iceberg as some low-level operative is busted for burglary or selling drugs. Once in a very great while, the veil is briefly pushed aside by a court case involving “the Mafia” or the arrest of some European or Latin American drug lord.

We never hear about the evolution of criminal networks operating around the globe – from Mexico, Jamaica, Belize and Haiti to Europe, Asia, the Mideast, Russia and the United States (see map above). We read about wars in the Mideast and casualties in Afghanistan, but the story of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan and drug smuggling in Iraq rarely  gets told.

Two powerful forces are at work beneath “the news of the day”: drugs and oil.

But if we hear about these forces at all, what we hear is usually misleading. Politicians “spin” the facts and feed us reassuring sound bites instead of educating us about the complexities of the global marketplace.

The financial news is all about “banks” and “investors,” when international criminals are often the true manipulators of the market. The massive influx of funds from the global drug trade is used to influence the prices of commodities – from oil to farm products. And the men (they’re mostly male for whatever reason) who handle the investments wear Georgio suits and dine at restaurants like Masa in New York.

The line between “bankers” and “investors” and criminals is very gray these days. Who were the “bankers” and “investors” who got the bailout billions from American taxpayers a few years back? I bet they included quite a few criminals.

And who do the politicians that rule our everyday lives really represent?

With the cancerous growth of wealth in a tiny segment of the population and the cost of getting elected in America, it stands to reason that the policies that prevail in Congress will serve the interests of the few, the rich, not the many, the poor.

And who are the rich?

You can bet that the richest of the rich include the criminals who have, by now, infiltrated every global institution.



About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for