‘Mexico is renowned for being one of the most dangerous countries in the world, so it might sound strange to hear that sugary drinks pose a bigger threat to life here than violent crime.
Sugar-sweetened beverages such as Coca-Cola,Gatorade and homemade drinks known as “agua fresca” kill far more people every year in Mexico than criminal gangs.
A study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts Universityestimates a staggering 24,000 Mexicans die each year from diabetes, cancer and heart disease that are linked to sugary drinks.
Compare that figure to the roughly 15,649 murders officially recorded in 2014 and it’s clear which is the biggest killer in the Latin American country.
Worldwide, the total sugary-drink death toll is estimated at 184,000, with more than 70% of deaths caused by diabetes. The researchers said this was the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages.’
‘Critics say new American embassies are getting more expensive.
Cost overruns in Afghanistan are over $150 million, and the new embassy in London could top $1 billion. Nearly a year ago, CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes showed us how glass for the London embassy had to be shipped back and forth across the Atlantic for framing. Now, Cordes reports from Washington on problems with an embassy in the works in Mexico.
It is an embassy that was supposed to cost $577 million to build, but the construction estimate has gone up by one third — and the State Department hasn’t even broken ground yet.
No one disputes that the current U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is crowded, outdated and needs to be replaced. So four years ago the State Department bought a 15 acre plot in a former industrial district for $120 million. But there was a catch: the site had housed a Colgate-Palmolive factory for decades, which left behind hazardous waste. Colgate has been cleaning the site but it’s been three and a half years and it’s still not ready for construction.’
New Investigation Unravels Mexican Gov’t Account of How 43 Students Disappeared: Interview with Ryan Devereaux
‘An explosive new investigation published today by The Intercept reveals the untold story of how 43 students disappeared in Mexico on the night of September 26, 2014. It is based on more than two dozen interviews with survivors of the attacks and family members of the disappeared, as well as Mexican historians, human rights activists and journalists. The Intercept also reviewed official Mexican state and federal records including communication logs by security forces and sealed testimony from municipal police officers and gang members. The evidence shows repeated inconsistencies and omissions in the government’s account of what happened when the students went missing. We speak with Ryan Devereaux, staff reporter at The Intercept and author of the two-part investigation, “Ghosts of Iguala.”‘ (Democracy Now!)
‘As protesters in Baltimore set fire to buildings and vehicles last Monday to protest the death of Freddie Gray, protesters in the Mexican state of Guerrero drove a burning truck into the congressional building in the capital Chilpancingo. The protesters were marking seven months since the disappearance of 43 students. Relatives have continued to question the Mexican government’s claim the students were attacked by local police and turned over to members of a drug gang, who killed and incinerated them. We speak with three relatives of the missing students: María de Jesús Tlatempa Bello, mother of José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa; Clemente Rodríguez Moreno, father of Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre; and Cruz Bautista Salbador, uncle of Benjamín Ascencio Bautista. The relatives have criticized U.S. support for the drug war, saying Mexico is using the aid to kill innocent people. “If they were really fighting organized crime, as the United States government says, then the crime rates would have gone down,” Bautista Salbador says. “Apparently they are not fighting organized crime; they are fighting organized people.”‘ (Democracy Now!)
- Bill Clinton Apologizes To Mexico For War On Drugs
- Keeping count of Mexico’s missing
- Mexico’s Drug War is Killing Children
- Mexico’s Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored
- ‘Mexico’s war on drugs is one big lie’
- Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization
- Failed ‘War on Drugs’ Is Militarizing Law Enforcement, Fueling Police Violence
‘When Carmen Aristegui, Mexico’s most famous radio personality, was abruptly fired this month, nobody expected her to go quietly. But anger over her dismissal has been rising steadily, and it has turned up the heat in this country’s charged political atmosphere.
Conspiracy theories have abounded since a dispute between Ms. Aristegui and her employer, MVS Communications, ended in her departure. She has become an emblem of press freedom under siege, and social media has lighted up with demands for her return to the airwaves.
Even her critics, who point to a lack of reportorial rigor in many of her stories, argue that her dismissal removed one of the few broadcast journalists in Mexico who openly challenge authority. Many journalists contend that Ms. Aristegui’s case is part of a broader attempt by the government to check aggressive news coverage.’
- Investigative journalist Carmen Aristegui fired from Mexican radio station
- International Support Spreads for Fired Mexican Journalist
- MexicoLeaks: the latest way Mexicans are saying “basta ya” to corruption (@Mexleaks)
- Whistleblowers wanted: Mexican journalists seek tips through website
- Report: “Soft’ Censorship Poses Significant Dangers to Press Freedom in Mexico
- Mexico: ARTICLE 19 launches annual report ‘State of Censorship’
- Mexico – Committee to Protect Journalists
‘Former President Bill Clinton apologized to Mexico during a speech there last week for a backfired U.S. war on drugs that has fueled spiraling violence. “I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault,” Clinton told an audience of students and business leaders at the recent Laureate Summit on Youth and Productivity. “Basically, we did too good of a job of taking the transportation out of the air and water, and so we ran it over land. “I apologize for that,” Clinton said.
Clinton was referring to U.S. drug enforcement policy that began under his predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who invested heavily in shutting down the Caribbean Sea as the favored trafficking route between the U.S. and South America and Central America. That effort pushed smuggling west, over land in Mexico.’
- Bill Clinton Apologizes to Mexico for the Drug War, Now It’s President Obama’s Turn to End It
- Bill Clinton in 2012: Drug war ‘hasn’t worked’
- Mexico’s 7 Most Notorious Drug Cartels
- Mexico’s Missing Students
- Failed ‘War on Drugs’ Is Militarizing Law Enforcement, Fueling Police Violence
- Mexico’s Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored
- Drug Prohibition Costs The U.S. $40 Billion Each Year
- Global drugs trade ‘as strong as ever’ as fight fails
- State Department 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
‘Mexico on Sunday called for an overhaul of the United Nations Security Council, envisaging more member countries across a wider geographical swathe, as the government steps up efforts to raise its profile on the global stage.
Tasked with maintaining global peace, the U.N. Security Council meets when war looms and cooperates in efforts to solve international disputes, with measures ranging from sanctions to military action.
The Council has five permanent members – China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States – and 10 temporary members elected by the U.N. General Assembly for two-year terms.
Are Mexico’s Missing Students the Victims of US-Backed Drug War? Interview with John Gibler and Laura Carlsen
‘Amidst outrage in Mexico over the disappearance of 43 students, we look at the U.S. role in the country’s violence. According to the Center for International Policy, the United States has spent approximately $3 billion to fund the so-called war on drugs in Mexico. Since the war on drugs began under President Felipe Calderón in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence. That includes $2.4 billion in taxpayer funds through the Merida Initiative, launched as a three-year aid program for Mexican security forces under the administration of George W. Bush. The Obama administration has extended the Merida Initiative “indefinitely.” We are joined by Laura Carlsen, director of the Mexico City-based Americas Policy Program of the Center for International Policy, and journalist John Gibler.’ (Democracy Now!)
- Fury over Mexico student ‘massacre’ boils over
- More Protests As Mexico President Also Faces Ethics Questions
- Government Officials Flee As Thousands Protest Disappearance Of 43 Students
- Bodies of missing students likely burned, ashes tossed in river
- Ayotzinapa protests awaken Mexico from a nightmare
- Missing Students Underscore Dangerous Corruption In Mexico
- Missing students force Mexico’s forgotten crimes to surface
- Mexico’s missing students expose nexus of crime and politics
- UN calls on Mexico to do more to find missing students, asks permission to help
- She Tweeted Against the Mexican Cartels. They Tweeted Her Murder.
- Mexico’s Missing Students: Were 43 Attacked by Cartel-Linked Police Targeted for Their Activism?
- The Mexican Elite Propagandizes a Fire Sale
- Mexico to open oil and gas to private sector
- Mexico’s drug cartels are standing in the way of a fracking bonanza
- The Connection Between the Drug War In Mexico and Neoliberal Policies
‘In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.
“The international drug regime is broken,” reads the report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and former high commissioner for human rights at the UN Louise Arbour; and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, as well as the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Portugal. “[O]verwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies.”
Punitive drug law enforcement has done nothing to decrease global drug use, the Commission says in “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work” (pdf). Instead, such policies have fueled crime, maximized health risks, undermined human rights, and fostered discrimination — all while wasting tens of billions of dollars.’
- Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work
- Evaluating Drug Decriminalization in Portugal 12 Years Later
- Huge Majority of Britons Believe ‘War on Drugs’ is Futile
- On Uruguay’s Legalization of Marijuana
- Honduras leader rails against ineffective drug war
- Jamaica moves to decriminalise marijuana, with eyes on medical use
- “F*ck It, I Quit” Says News Anchor Who Owns Alaska Cannabis Club
- Fewer Teenagers Are Using Pot Now That Colorado Has Legalized It
- Anti-Marijuana Academics Tied to Pain-Killer Manufacturers
- Cannabis-smoking couples are ‘less likely to engage in domestic violence’
- Tennessee Drug Tests Welfare Applicants, Finds Just 1 Person Using Drugs
- Lib Dems will abolish jail sentences for drug possession if they win next election
- Canadian Police Chiefs Call On Government To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession
- Why the NYT’s Call For Marijuana Legalization Is a Huge Deal
- HSBC exposed: Drug money banking, terror dealings
- Top 5 Insane Ways Drugs Are Being Smuggled into the US
- Obasanjo commission: West Africa should decriminalise drugs
- How the Government Bribes Police to Arrest People For Smoking Pot
- The 5 Blood-Soaked Drug Cartels Fueled by America’s Drug War
- Economists Slam the War on Drugs in a New LSE Report
- The drug war exception to the Fourth Amendment
- Drugs No Longer Mexico Cartel’s Top Earner
- Albania Goes to War With Pot Farmers
- The case for ending the war on drugs
- The War on Drugs Remains Literal
- When Cannabis Goes Corporate
‘Many countries prohibit deploying their military for domestic law enforcement: it’s a recipe for violent authoritarian abuse.
But the Obama administration’s prohibitionist drug war is funding and encouraging abuse and brutal, corrupt, mass-grave-level murders throughout Mexico and Central America – enough that even drug-war apologists admit that the appalling increase in human-rights abuses are a result of sending the military and police into communities in the name of anti-trafficking.
In just nine years, the drug war waged by the US and Mexico has created a climate of violence that has claimed more than 100,000 lives throughout the country, many young people – including two horrific massacres and a mass disappearance in the last six months connected to law enforcement nominally tasked with battling the spread of drugs.’
- Missing students and murders eclipse reforms push in Mexico
- Alleged leader of the Juarez drug cartel arrested
- Mexico missing students: Nationwide protests held
- Violence Highlights Power of Gang in Mexican Town
- Arrest of Mexican drug boss has politicians scrambling once again
- Los Angeles fashion district hit by new anti-cartel rules after FBI raids
- Mexican Soldiers Face Murder Charges in 22 Deaths
- Mexican drug lord releases photos showing meeting with mayor
- Mexican cartels steal billions from oil industry
- Mexican lawmaker feared dead after burned bodies found in truck
- Televisa reporter fired after video catches him taking cash from Mexican drug lord
- Mexico shootout or massacre? Witness accounts challenge military’s take
- Fueling drug gangs’ impunity, unidentified corpses pile up in Mexico
- Mexico mayors to be charged over alleged cartel links
- Unemployed Youth Are Fighters, Victims in Mexico Drug War
- Relatives criticize Mexico’s new number on missing
- Mexico launches special police force to guard economic activity
- Mexico to open oil and gas to private sector
- Mexico’s drug cartels are standing in the way of a fracking bonanza
‘According to the report, use of torture by Mexican police and military is widespread, with a 600 percent rise in the number of reported cases over the past decade. Yet despite the huge increase in incidents, there is little being done to combat it or, in fact, discourage it.
“Torture is so widespread in Mexico and sort of expected as an investigative technique,” said Maureen Meyer, the Washington Office of Latin America associate for Mexico and Central America.
Meyer authored a 2010 report on human rights violations committed by the military in Mexico, with a focus on Ciudad Juárez, where cartel violence combined with federal militarization made it the deadliest city in the world from 2008 to 2010. “It’s not sanctioned. It’s not necessarily a state policy to torture but in fact it’s very much permissive and the torturers are never investigated,” she said.’
‘The Mexican government say it is increasingly using the army and drones in security patrols, reducing the role of Marine forces. In an annual report on the state of the nation submitted to Congress Monday, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration said army patrols had increased 52.2 percent in the nine months ending in July compared with the same period the year before.
The number of marine patrols decreased 28.3 percent in the same period. The marines have made some of the biggest arrests of major drug lords. The government also gave a detailed accounting of its use of drones, saying it had flown 149 drone missions with over 581 hours of flying time. The report said homicides, especially those relating to organized crime, had dropped over the last year.’
Editor’s Note: Regional and global trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP currently being negotiated are not designed to benefit the populations they affect, they are designed to benefit the biggest corporations. Multinational corporations will move to countries where they can exploit cheap labour, don’t have to fund health care and have less environmental controls in order to enhance their bottom line. They don’t care about the people they leave behind, nor do they care about the people they exploit for low wages in the countries they move to.
‘Back in the early 1990s, the North American Free Trade Agreement was one of the hottest political issues in the country. When he was running for president in 1992, Bill Clinton promised that NAFTA would result in an increase in the number of high quality jobs for Americans that it would reduce illegal immigration. Ross Perot warned that just the opposite would happen. He warned that if NAFTA was implemented there would be a “giant sucking sound” as thousands of businesses and millions of jobs left this country. Most Americans chose to believe Bill Clinton. Well, it is 20 years later and it turns out that Perot was right and Clinton was dead wrong. But now history is repeating itself, and most Americans don’t even realize that it is happening. As you will read about at the end of this article, Barack Obama has been negotiating a secret trade treaty that is being called “NAFTA on steroids”, and if Congress adopts it we could lose millions more good paying jobs.
It amazes me how the American people can fall for the same lies over and over again. The lies that serial liar Barack Obama is telling about “free trade” and the globalization of the economy are the same lies that Bill Clinton was telling back in the early 1990s. The following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Paul Craig Roberts…
I remember in the 90′s when former Presidential candidate Ross Perot emphatically stated that NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) would create a giant “sucking sound” of jobs being extracted away from the U.S. He did not win the election, and NAFTA was instituted on Jan. 1, 1994. Now, 20 years later, we see the result of all the jobs that have been “sucked away” to other countries.
According to an article by the Economic Policy Institute on 1/3/14:
“Clinton and his collaborators promised that the deal would bring “good-paying American jobs,” a rising trade surplus with Mexico, and a dramatic reduction in illegal immigration. Considering that thousands of kids are pouring over the border as we speak, well, how’d that work out for us?
Many Americans like to remember Bill Clinton as a “great president” for some reason. Well, it turns out that he was completely and totally wrong about NAFTA.’
- Ross Perot During the 1992 Presidential Debate: “Giant Sucking Sound”
- 20 years on, debating whether NAFTA is success story or damaging policy
- NAFTA’s 20-Year Legacy and the Fate of the TPP
- NAFTA At 20: Legacy Of Lost Jobs, Lower Wages
- NAFTA’s Deplorable Legacy
- Petraeus and Zoellick: Perfect Partners, North America’s Shared Future
- General (Ret.) David Petraeus: The Coming North American Decades
- General (Ret.) David Petraeus: “After America Comes North America”
- Double the population but fewer US citizens working in manufacturing than in 1950
- Betty Sutton: “Every day in the United States, we are losing 15 factories.”
- Senator Casey: US Trade Policies Hurt American Workers
- ‘Manly’ jobs aren’t coming back
- 1 in 6 American Men Between Ages 25-54 Are Not Working
- Employment-Population Ratio for U.S. Men
- 1 in 5 Children Live in Poverty in U.S.
- NAFTA: 20 years of regret for Mexico
- Happy 20th Anniversary, NAFTA!
‘One of the startling unknowns in the story of Mexico’s recent wave of violence is just how many people can be counted among its disappeared.
An estimated 14,000 to 45,000 people disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012. That’s a big discrepancy, and depends on whether you’re looking at recently revised government statistics or numbers compiled by human rights groups.
But Mexico’s disappearances – a country that isn’t officially at war or suffering a dictatorship – rival the numbers of missing from notable conflicts around the region. Roughly 30,000 people disappeared under Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and ’80s, and the more recent estimates of 30,000 disappeared in Colombia’s decades-long internal conflict.’
- Kidnappings in Mexico surge to the highest number on record
- Mexican Mayor Detained for Alleged Links to Cartel
- Mexico Replaces Police With Army in Rural Area
- Chronic malnutrition among Mexico’s poor
- Sinaloa state passes law restricting reporters’ crime coverage
- The journalist who accuses Mexican presidents of links to drug cartels
- Mexico vigilante leader demands community rule
- Mexican president hints may be open to change in marijuana laws
- New security force to debut soon in Mexico
- Mexico to try 3rd mayor for aiding drug cartel
- Mexico prepping to buy more Black Hawks
- Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels
‘Mexican billionaire tycoon, Carlos Slim, has called for the introduction of a three-day working week, offset by longer hours and a later retirement, as a way to improve people’s quality of life and create a more productive labour force.
Slim made the comments when speaking to a business conference in Paraguay, suggesting that the workforce could be spread over a full week, with employees working up to 10 or 11 hours a day. “With three work days a week, we would have more time to relax; for quality of life,” the Financial Times reports Slim saying.’
‘Thom Hartmann talks with Dana Frank, History Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz / author of Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America / currently writing a book about the AFL-CIO’s cold war intervention in the Honduran labor movement – about a surge of children coming from Hondorus and El Salvador illegally to the United States.’ (Thom Hartmann)
‘Abby Martin speaks with Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of the magazine Jacobin, going over the last 20 years of Mexico’s Zapatista movement, discussing the recent murder one of the group’s members, and the announcement that movement leader, Subcomandante Marcos, is stepping down.’ (Breaking the Set)
The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico’s northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The State Department reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities.
And Sinaloa is reportedly the richest, most powerful of them all, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The capture last month of the Mexican druglord Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman has cast a spotlight on the smuggling empire he built.
One key to the Sinaloa Cartel’s success has been to use the global banking system to launder all this cash.
Mexico essentially legalized the country’s growing “self-defense” groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year.
The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps. Vigilante groups estimate their numbers at 20,000 men under arms.
The twin announcements may help the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto find a way out of an embarrassing situation in the western state of Michoacan, where vigilantes began rising up last February against the Knights Templar reign of terror and extortion after police and troops failed to stop the abuses.
An investigation by El Universal found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels.
Sinaloa, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, supplies 80% of the drugs entering the Chicago area and has a presence in cities across the U.S.
But the El Universal investigation is the first to publish court documents that include corroborating testimony from a DEA agent and a Justice Department official.
Mexico is in the grip of a murderous drug war that has killed over 150,000 people since 2006. It is one of the most violent countries on earth. This drug war is a product of the transnational drug trade which is worth up to $400 billion a year and accounts for about 8% of all international trade.
The American government maintains that there is no alternative but to vigorously prosecute their zero tolerance policy of arresting drug users and their dealers. This has led to the incarceration of over 500,000 Americans. Meanwhile the flood of illegal drugs into America continues unabated.
One thing the American government has not done is to prosecute the largest banks in the world for supporting the drug cartels by washing billions of dollars of their blood stained money. As Narco sphere journalist Bill Conroy has observed banks are ”where the money is” in the global drug war.
HSBC, Western Union, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase&Co, Citigroup, Wachovia amongst many others have allegedly failed to comply with American anti-money laundering (AML) laws.
The Mexican drug cartels have caught the headlines again and again due to their murderous activities. The war between the different drug cartels and the war between the cartels and government security forces has spilled the blood of tens of thousands of innocent people. The drug cartels would find it much harder to profit from their murderous activity if they didn’t have too big to fail banks willing to wash their dirty money.
Mexican authorities warned Thursday that they would not allow vigilante “self-defense” groups to take over more towns in a western state where civilians are arming themselves to combat drug gangs.
Vigilantes are now providing security in six Michoacan state towns after self-defense forces seized the municipality of Tancitaro last weekend following clashes that left three people dead.
Self-defense leaders say they next plan to take over another town, Los Reyes, with about 40,000 residents, as part of their drive to chase the Knights Templar drug cartel out of the region.
But Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam insisted that the self-defense groups “will not spread. I assure you.”
“The Mexican state will guarantee this,” he told reporters in Mexico City.
- Vigilante ranchers, fruit growers kick out brutal drug cartel in western Mexican state
- Hunger for drugs brings torture and death to Mexico City
- Mexican Drug Lord Assassinated By Killer Clowns
- Mexican Drug Cartels Love Social Media
- Drug Tunnel From Tijuana to San Diego Held Tons of Drugs
- US fines Mexican police chief $10 billion for drugs
The National Security Agency eavesdropped on hundreds of phone numbers belonging to dozens of world leaders, newly leaked documents supplied by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden reveal.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper wrote Thursday that a classified memo provided to them by Mr. Snowden suggests that the NSA encouraged officials within the United States government and intelligence community to share among their colleagues contact information pertaining to international heads of state.
According to the Guardian, the memo made reference to an unnamed US official who had reportedly supplied the NSA with over 200 numbers, including 35 belonging to world leaders.
“These numbers plus several others have been tasked,” or monitored, reads the memo.
The leaders themselves are not identified in the memorandum, but classified documents previously disclosed to the media by Mr. Snowden have suggested that the NSA spied on conversations involving citizens of France, Germany, Brazil and elsewhere.
- The U.S. Has Been Spying on France Since Before the NSA Existed (Foreign Policy)
- With allies like these, who needs enemies? (Guardian)
- White House on French NSA complaint: ‘all nations’ spy (AFP)
- US Won’t Say If They Tapped Merkel’s Phone (Antiwar)
- Liar Clapper: French Spy Report ‘Misleading’ (Antiwar)
- Mexico slams U.S. over claims that NSA hacked president’s email (McClatchy)
- REMINDER: U.S. Looks to Re-Up Its Mexican Surveillance System (Foreign Policy)
- EU Parliament Urges Suspending Data Deal with US (AP)
- Watchdog: NSA spied on 124.8 billion phone calls in just one month (Yahoo!)
- REMINDER: NSA Spied on Brazil Oil Company, Petrobras (FDL)
- Canada’s eavesdropping agency defends practices after Brazil spying report (CTV)
- Brazil announces secure email to counter US spying (AFP)
- Indian High Commission returns to typewriters (Telegraph)
The Mexican village of Talea de Castro has long been ignored by Mexico’s mobile phone companies as too remote to put on their networks, but as the BBC’s Will Grant reports, they have responded by building their own.
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, has a lot of customers.
In Latin America, Carlos Slim’s telecommunications giant, America Movil, has around 262 million subscribers, and in Mexico alone handles more than 70% of the country’s mobile phone users.
But the residents of the tiny coffee-producing village of Talea de Castro are not among them.
For years, the locals have asked the main networks in Mexico to install a mobile phone antenna in the village.
They kept getting the same answer: it was not worth sending an engineer into the remote mountains of Oaxaca for fewer than 10,000 customers.
During January 2011, Anabel Hernández’s extended family held a party at a favourite cafe in the north of Mexico City. The gathering was to celebrate the birthday of Anabel’s niece. As one of the country’s leading journalists who rarely allows herself time off, she was especially happy because “the entire family was there. There are so many of us that it’s extremely difficult to get everybody together in one place. It hardly ever happens.”
Anabel Hernández had to leave early, as so often, “to finish an article”, and it was after she left that gunmen burst in. “Pointing rifles at my family, walking round the room – and taking wallets from people. But this was no robbery; no one tried to use any of the credit cards – it was pure intimidation, aimed at my family, and at me.” It was more than a year before the authorities began looking for the assailants. And during that time the threats had continued: one afternoon last June, Hernández opened her front door to find decapitated animals in a box on the doorstep.
Hernández’s offence was to write a book about the drug cartels that have wrought carnage across Mexico, taking some 80,000 lives, leaving a further 20,000 unaccounted for – and forging a new form of 21st-century warfare. But there have been other books about this bloodletting; what made Los Señores del Narcodifferent was its relentless narrative linking the syndicate that has driven much of the violence – the Sinaloa cartel, the biggest criminal organisation in the world – to the leadership of the Mexican state.
Her further sin against the establishment and cartels was that the book became, and remains, a bestseller: more than 100,000 copies sold in Mexico. The success is impossible to overstate, a staggering figure for a non-fiction book in a country with indices of income and literacy incomparable to the American-European book-buying market. The wildfire interest delivers a clear message, says Hernández: “So many Mexicans do not believe the official version of this war. They do not believe the government are good guys, fighting the cartels. They know the government is lying, they don’t carry their heads in the clouds.”
Hernández’s book will be published in English this month with the titleNarcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers, so that we in the English-speaking world that consumes so much of what the cartels deal, and which banks their proceeds, might learn the lie of “cops and robbers”, of “upright society versus the mafia” – the received wisdom that still contaminates coverage of drug wars and the “war on drugs”.
- US drug agency partners with AT&T for access to ‘vast database’ of call records (Guardian)
- Mexican drug cartel activity in U.S. said to be exaggerated in widely cited federal report (Washington Post)
- Mexico’s new gov’t follows old drug war strategy (AP)
- 10 Shocking Examples of Police Killing Innocent People in the “War on Drugs” (Alternet)
- End the Drug War; Make Next Drug Czar a Doctor (Newser)
- White House Says There Will Be No Changes To Current Marijuana Laws (CNN)
- Marijuana fans cheer Tuesday’s historic Senate hearing (WTSP)
- Federal Appeals Court: Police Can’t Paralyze You To Search Your Body For Drugs (Think Progress)
- Mexico Officials Find Mass Grave East of Capital (Time)
- Ohio man finds 300 pound load of marijuana stashed in gun safe he bought on the Internet (Reuters)
Mexican cartels are looking to recruit U.S. soldiers to carry out contract killings.
In April a leaked FBI confidential bulletin revealed that the Los Zetas cartel, which was founded by former elite Mexican troops, has been vigorously expanding its U.S. connections for years by collaborating with U.S. gangs in drug dealing and enforcement activities on both sides of the border.
But the recruitment of U.S. soldiers for the sole purpose of knocking people off is a disturbing trend, especially given how much sense it makes.