George Jung Is Free

George JungHappy Hiroshima Day! On this day 69 years ago, we dropped a bomb on one of the few remaining cities in Japan. If we had been on the losing side of World War II, there would have been war crimes trials and a number of Americans would have been put to death. The truth of the matter is that at the end of the war, the Japanese army was doing pretty well. We had spent the war focused on destroying the Japanese civilian population. That is, of course, what modern war is—going back at least to Sherman’s March to the Sea. The idea is that the civilian population provides supplies to the army and is thus an appropriate target. So much for Just War theory. Anyway, I think today and Saturday (the day we bombed Nagasaki) should be national holidays so we could spend the day begging forgiveness.

The drug smuggler George Jung is 72 today. Jung is an interesting guy—clever but clueless. He was a recreational cannabis user in his native Massachusetts and like many others, he did some dealing on the side. But he thought big and so before long he was transporting large amounts of the drug from California to New England. We he maxed that out, he started flying drugs out of Mexico in stolen planes. But as usual, he was caught when one of the people in his large network was caught and rolled over on him.

He reportedly told the judge that it made no sense to send a man to prison “for crossing an imaginary line with a bunch of plants.” This is what I mean by him being clueless. He’s right, of course. It does make no sense. But if there is one thing my own clueless mind has learned over the last fifty years, it is that there is nothing the power elite care about as much as imaginary lines and imaginary crimes. Our modern drug and immigration laws are just the modern equivalent of ancient religious laws. Jung’s crime was not drug transportation; it was apostasy.

But his time in prison wasn’t wasted. Jung gained a contact, Carlos Lehder. (Interestingly, back 2008, Lehder’s lawyers had to file a habeas corpus petition because the federal prison system had “lost” him.) Lehder introduced Jung to the Medellin Cartel, for whom Jung transported cocaine. But by the late 1970s, he was back to being a freelancer. And in 1994, he was arrested for possession of almost a ton of cocaine and sentenced to 60 years in jail.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Remember Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old who got no jail time at all after killing four pedestrians because he had the made up disease “affluenza”? Jung got 60 years for crossing an imaginary line with a plant product that people were eager to buy. Of course, it is important to remember that Couch was part of the power elite and those he killed were just little people. Jung, although rich, was still an outsider. But this is why I have written many times before that in our society, doing drugs is worse than murder.

Anyway, I wouldn’t even be writing about Jung today, except that on 2 June 2014, he was released from prison after serving 20 years. He is currently living in a halfway house in California. He has been working with writers to novelize his life. He has long been something of a celebrity, especially after Johnny Depp played him in the film Blow. So I’m sure that unlike most people caught up in our criminal “justice” system, he will be fine. I wish him well.

Happy birthday George Jung!

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