Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A darn scary underreported story

Rarely would I credit a troll for inspiring me to put up a post, but I have to do that. In responding on an anonymous troll, I tangentially was led into a subject which most of us living in border states are very much aware of, but which has been little reported in the national media.

The story is about the war underway in Mexico. Until a few years ago, northern Mexico was a relatively quiet area. The biggest concerns to Americans were illegal immigrants coming in from the area, stolen cars going the other way, and drug smuggling. But it was safe enough to go there, and to live near there. Sure, the local officials were corrupt, but as long as you knew the meaning of 'lubre la mano,' you didn't have much to worry about.

That is not the case anymore, however. There is a violent drug war underway, and it is happening not only in Mexico, but in the United States. Many local officials are either part of it, or they have been silenced, as has the press, by gunning down reporters who report on this. Lately the action has been in and around the town of Nuevo Laredo, a border town near Texas where on July 28, small armies of armed men fought a pitched battle with rocket launchers, heavy machine guns and grenades, prompting the United States to close its consulate there for several days. In other words, this is not just a rumble, this is an actual war. And as many as thirty Americans have been killed or kidnapped in both Mexico and the United States.

What is more, it's here, in the form of another bogeyman we created (i.e. Osama and Saddam, couldn't have gotten where they were without the help of the United States.) In this case the bogeyman is not a man, but an organization. The organization is called the Zetas, an elite paramilitary group. The Zetas were trained as commandos by Americans, mostly to interdict drugs in Mexico, but some of them are also known to have been members of 'death squads' in southern Mexico and central America during the 1980's.

But now, they operate with impunity in both the United States and Mexico. A U.S. Justice Department memo says the U.S.-trained units have recently moved operations into Houston, San Antonio and the states of California, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. They have been operating in Dallas for at least two years, according to the feds.

According to law enforcement authorities in both countries, Zetas operate special training camps in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Michoacán, where newly recruited Zetas take intensive six-week training courses in weapons, tactics and intelligence gathering..

How does a young Zeta work his way up the organization? Simple. Go to America and kill a border patrol or police officer. U.S. law enforcement have reported bounties offered by Los Zetas of between $30,000 and $50,000 for the killing of Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officers," the bulletin said. "If a Zeta kills an American law enforcement officer and can successfully make it back to Mexico, his stature within the organization will be increased dramatically.

and then there is this description: The Zetas have also brought their cold-blooded killing tactics to the U.S., say federal law enforcement authorities – murdering rival drug dealers and sometimes innocent bystanders.

In other words, these are bad guys. Real bad guys.

What has President Bush done about it? Ignored it. What about the press? Ignored it too. Maybe because they are afraid of being murdered if they report on it, like the Mexican reporters were?

OK. The problem has been defined. What should we do?

First, we have to increase border security. That is obvious. And not by some kooky citizens militia that creates more problems than they solve, but by paid, professional border agents. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano have already recognized this, and showing some leadership in the absence of any from Washington, have authorized the use of state funds to hire more border patrol agents.

Second, make the Kerry-McCain bill the law of the land. I posted on this on July 12. By giving them an incentive to report themselves and pay a fee, we get a handle on who is already here, and until we get tough and start throwing people who hire illegals in prison, anyone who says, 'don't come here but we have a job waiting for you if you do,' is living a pipe dream. Without prison time for the employers, we will always have a supply of jobs which will draw yet more illegals.

Third, legalize marijuana. I support doing so anyway because I don't think marijuana is so dangerous that it by itself should be illegal, but right now that would be a huge blow up front to this enemy, once people could start growing it legally in America. We could then focus our drug interdiction efforts on more dangerous drugs (like Meth), and focus our anti-marijuana efforts on education (which has already showed its worth by sharply reducing tobacco use among teens). Just tonight, we have breaking news that what may be the largest marijuana bust in US history was made at a farm in the town of Strawberry, Arizona. It is certainly a success, and a blow to these guys, but even law enforcement officials will tell you that for every pound of marijuana that gets stopped, three or four pounds (whether grown in America or smuggled in) get through.

Fourth, we need to do the hard work of bringing our army home from Iraq and going out and hunting these guys, in the country in which they have set up shop-- the United States.

Fifth, we need to use our leverage with Mexico (especially since the Kerry-McCain bill is something they want) to allow them to let U.S. commandos go in jointly with Mexican soldiers to take out these training camps.

Sixth, we need to puncture their power base by working to increase the living standards in Mexico and Central America, thereby denying them the recruits they now thrive on. One sided deals like CAFTA won't do this, since they only allow for the creation of more sweatshops where people work for pennies and a few very rich people get richer. What will work is to sign trade deals in which the countries we sign them with agree to uphold wage, workplace safety and environmental standards commensurate with what we hold our own manufacturers to.

Then we will start getting a handle on this situation.

Like I said in the heading, this story should scare the pants off of you. THIS is what we need action on, not Iraq.

And if the next time you hear the word, 'zetas' it is in connection with some hideous crime in America, then just be sure to remember that George Bush is the guy who turned a blind eye to them, and they are part of his legacy to America.


Anonymous said...

Wow. this is scary. i can see how a story like this might go unreported if both the President (not wanting to have a failure to prevent this showcased) and the media (like you said, they murdered Mexican reporters, they would certainly kill American ones) both chose to ignore it.

we'll see if its as big as you say. If it is and we are fighting zetas in the streets in a couple of years, then i will have to congratulate you cause i heard it here first. But sometimes stories are underreported because their overinflated in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone think for a moment that these people would stop at helping Al-Qaeda get into the country? And what are we doing about it?

Eli Blake said...


I read your posts and they are chock full of information about the Zetas and others, and you are right that they are dangerous. I did post on a board you had on Iran and nukes, I have a different take on it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Jeremiah's comments are missing. Interesting that Adnan Al-Shukrijumah was in Honduras after the death of his father in 2004. Interesting before that Shuk was in Canada in 2003 and at the SAME time, about 180g of nuclear material turned up missing form the medical reactor at Masters College. (The Canadian government covered that up.)Interesting that our borders have tunnels leading out of Mexico with solid walls, lights and ventilation. (Yes tunnels plural. You don't really think that there was just ONE do you? Are you THAT naive?)Coyotes normally bring in illegals. What ELSE to they bring in? And more interestingly...WHOM?

During the Clinton Adminstration the Chinese gangs in LA tried bringing in full auto AKs.

Interesting that a tunnel was also found from Canada into the US recently. How many more are there? Who uses them? Why?

Why are the American people discouraged from arming themselves against this threst? We don't need 'assault rifles'? LIKE HELL WE DON'T. Average police response to normal crime is not all that good. How long do you think it will take the police to respond to terrorist gangs with full auto AKs and GP-30 grenade launchers...IF THEY BOTHER TO SHOW UP AT ALL. You had damn well BETTER be well armed. The days of naivete are over kiddies...get with the picture.

Anonymous said...

Illegal immigration has been a problem for a long time. Your take on Napalitano is off, it's only if the feds reimburse which isn't happening, and only because she's under fire. Mexico won't help because the biggest source of income money being wired to families of illegal immigrants. The McCain-Kerry bill will never work, 1. it is amnesty (with a fine) 2. it sets limits on lenght of time you can stay(which won't mean anything after having children in the U.S. the U.S. taxpayers payed for. And forged documents are probably cheaper.). A wall needs to go up along the border, better trained and payed officers need to be put in place. And immigration law has to be agressivly pursued internally as well as at the border. Local politics can't be allowed to make safehavens for immigrants, by not allowing local authorities to apprehend border violaters. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

okay guys, I LIVE IN LAREDO, TEXAS. and all of my maternal family lives in nuevo laredo. the truth? yeah, it can get pretty bad. or some pretty bad things have happend. BUT, it's really not as bad as you're portraying it to be.

weather you SEE it or not, i'm sure that wherever you all live, there's bound to be some 'drugwar'. and weather you realize it or not, it could be right around your corner.

yeah, the Zetas have a big part to do with the bad reputation that my own mother's beautiful hometown, but if you took the time to spend time there, you'd only recognize 3 things; family, love, and passion for our country.

i strongly disagree with the problems being hidden in nuevo laredo, but i also strongly disagree with the streotypical minds that you're words are probably molding this very second.

i love my countries.

and i love my cities.

because im sure you love yours..even though the problems going on in your own backyard, are still underwraps aswell.

-anonmys from laredo, texas