The Sean Penn affair

I was more than a little skeptical about the the curious affair of Sean Penn and the “drug lord” Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. None of it makes sense. I read an interview with Penn by Charlie Rose. My stereotype of Penn is that he is a man who drinks too much and can’t think very well. But he comes off well in the interview. My stereotype of Rose is that he is arrogant, and that like all American journalists basks in the glow of his own admiration, suffering from supreme stupidity. That was affirmed.

To set the backdrop, one needs to understand a few things:

  • There are no white hats and black hats in the world drug trade. There are only black hats.
  • Mexico and the United States are not two separate countries. Each is run by oligarchs, and each has a puppet civilian government. The oligarchs have no use for borders, so at high levels there is cooperation on matters like immigration, trade agreements, and drugs.
  • The DEA is not interested in stopping the world flow of drugs. They don’t chase and jail bad guys.  The drug trade is run by the intelligence agencies of the world. DEA chases, jails and kills competition.

If you don’t believe that last point, understand this: Wherever the U.S. military has gone, the drug trade has flourished. When the U.S. invaded Southeast Asia, it surrounded and took control of the “Golden Triangle,” and CIA monopolized the drugs coming out of there. Those drugs were fed to American troops and to the various markets around the world including the lucrative U.S. one.

The opiate center of production shifted to Afghanistan, while coca is centered in places under U.S. military control, like Columbia. If you need proof that the U.S. military protects the international drug ‘cartels,” observe critically and without the filter of American news. The Taliban, demonized as bad guys, had shut down the poppy fields in Afghanistan, and was forcing farmers back into legitimate agriculture to feed its population. After the U.S, invaded, the poppy fields returned, and production soared to new levels. American troops now guard the fields.

Money from drugs, since it is under U.S. military and intelligence control, has to be laundered to enter the “legitimate” corporate world. Major Wall Street and London banks are serving that purpose. It can be no other way. There is so much money in play that CIA and other intelligence agencies use it to run their own armies (ISIS, for example). That has always been the objective. They need a pipeline from poppy fields to arms dealers and other corporate power centers.

With all that in mind, Guzman might be considered competition to the drug lords, or he might simply be an intelligence asset doing his job. It appears more the latter, given his kid-glove handling, the ease with which he escaped prison, and the lack of fear he displayed in allowing Penn to interview him. He did not come off as the thug we expected to see, most likely because he is well trained and even cultured as he goes about his work.

That in mind, I doubt he has been “re-arrested.” He has simply gone underground again. If I could, I would check out Mexican prisons to see if he is really there. I would likely come up empty.

In the Rose interview, Penn seems to sense that things are not what they appear, that DEA is not really doing anything to stop the flow of drugs. He may know things he cannot say (or that were censored out of the interview), or he may be just on the cusp of discovery.

Whichever the case, I have new admiration for him.


2 thoughts on “The Sean Penn affair

  1. How is it possible that Penn is that naive? He does not know that the “War on Drugs” is about making huge profits? The “failure” narrative is gaining traction. Media protects all revenue streams, legal or not. Two actors doing what they are trained to do.


    1. I do not expect that Penn is going to understand anything in depth. Maybe 3% of the population can go that deep. He’s not one. So he is not a player, and was used. Further, I find it hard to imagine he wrote the 10,000 word piece, as he does not strike me as a man who is capable of processing information on that level. And further, it is understood, since it was a 10,000 word piece, that hardly anyone is going to read it. He said the article “failed.” If he thought Rolling Stone readership was up to it, he is indeed naive.

      So he is just a dumb spoiled actor who, like say George Clooney, has let fame go to his head and begun to imagine he is politically intelligent. That part is hard to watch. But I could see processes at work – you cannot say certain points in public in our country. You cannot criticize outfits like DEA and say what they are really about. It would be censored. But I sensed he was troubled. Maybe I am full of shit.


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