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The Media Censorship

Narco-Blogger Beats Mexico Drug War News Blackout 518

Posted by timothy
from the wikileaks-south dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An anonymous, twentysomething blogger is giving Mexicans what they can't get elsewhere — an inside view of their country's raging drug war. Operating from behind a thick curtain of computer security, Blog del Narco in less than six months has become Mexico's go-to Internet site at a time when mainstream media are feeling pressure and threats to stay away from the story. Many postings, including warnings and a beheading, appear to come directly from drug traffickers. Others depict crime scenes accessible only to military or police."
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Narco-Blogger Beats Mexico Drug War News Blackout

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  • El Blog del Narco (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:24PM (#33247976) Homepage
    http://www.blogdelnarco.com/ [blogdelnarco.com]
  • It's refreshing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Superdarion (1286310) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:33PM (#33248022)
    I'm a mexican living in Mexico. I won't go as far as saying that it is hell on earth, but it is getting pretty gruesome. And that's just from what you hear on the news!

    Then I started diggin in alternate sources, such as blog del narco, and damn, was I missing out on all the news!

    Just recently I bumped into this story [bbc.co.uk] about Ciudad Juarez. The story both gives hope and scares the crap out of you. No sign of that story on the two most widely spread newspapers in Mexico, though. They're just sweeping it under the rug.

    I wonder if blog del narco featured it...
    • Re:It's refreshing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by blankinthefill (665181) <{blachanc} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:55PM (#33248136) Journal
      I don't know if they're so much sweeping it under the rug so much as (very rightfully) fearing for their lives. NPR was recently running a string of stories about this with the related story found here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128929784 [npr.org] I can not blame the traditional media for avoiding a subject where they face more danger than most war zone correspondents do. The blog in question seems to have done something that traditional media can not: Avoided identifying itself in a way that allows the cartels to go after it with violence. I am personally happy to be living in an era where the dissemination of such dangerous information is possible. Maybe we wont get it how we want to, but the information is out there to be had. Especially in a country where Orwellian measures aren't being taken, important information has a way of finding its way past blocks that may have been 100% effective in stifling it in the past.
    • Re:It's refreshing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Abreu (173023) on Friday August 13, 2010 @09:55PM (#33248138)

      One thing that everybody must consider, is that every news source (including Blog del Narco) has its own agenda.

      Even the different newspapers and TV channels have their own allegiances, so you must read multiple news sources to get an approximation of the truth.

      -
      Another Mexican living in Mexico

    • Re:It's refreshing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday August 13, 2010 @11:34PM (#33248632) Journal

      That's right.

      There's a war in Mexico, and the soldiers routinely cross-over to US territory, kidnap citizens, and drag them back to Mexico. Or just outright kill them. Washington DC used to be the murder capitol of the nation, but now it's been eclipsed by Phoenix Arizona. (Phoenix is also the #1 city for kidnapping.) It's a sad state of affairs.

      [Deleted paragraph about closing the border.] I've decided to self-censor myself because I'm tired of being marked "troll". Heaven forbid I share my Jeffersonian views in public (i.e. defense of self, defense of home, defense of country is a right), so I'll just keep them to myself.
      .

      Oh and I agree that legalizing marijuana/cocaine growing in the US would basically end the war. Mexican and South American druglords could no longer fund their wars without that money. They would die-off like the bootleggers died-off after Alcohol was legalized. Across the ocean, the EU state of Portugal(?) legalized drugs and opened-up addiction centers to help people get cured, and the drug-related crime plummeted to almost nothing.

      • Re:It's refreshing (Score:5, Informative)

        by sabre86 (730704) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @01:08AM (#33248982)
        If there's a war in Mexico, then we should be giving shelter and asylum to refugees trying to escape it.

        I don't think you did a good job of self-censoring. Furthermore, I don't really know how you'd "close the border" without harming a lot of people who aren't a threat to your home, self or country. Mexico -- or at least parts of it -- looks like a hell hole to me at the moment, so it seems pretty reasonable and rational to flee to the United States. I think only the most unreasonable of people would object to a individual or nation acting in genuine self-defense, but to the ethical risking the lives of non-threatening people is still reckless endangerment and killing them is, minimally, manslaughter

        Could you back up your murder and kidnapping statement? Just looking at the FBI murder figures for 2009 [fbi.gov] for cities over 100,000 population, Phoenix has a murder rate of about 8 murders per 100,000 capita per year. DC's murder rate is 3 times that.

        Wikipedia has a page for the 2008 data [wikipedia.org]. New Orleans tops the list (as it does in the 2009 data at 52 -- there seems to have been a significant drop in murder rate in 2009). Phoenix looks to about 28th on that list with a about 11 murders per 100,000 in 2008 -- less than a sixth of New Orleans's rate and about a third DC's.

        Kidnapping seems like it's a lot harder to quantify because cases of missing persons are not necessarily kidnapping. This [politifact.com] is the best discussion on kidnapping I could find in about 15 minutes of searching. It gives further support to the idea that Mexico is a hell hole at the moment, as well

        .--sabre86
        • If Mexico simply closed the border, with force. Stopped ALL americans from entering, the problem would be solved.

          Because it is the US that is the problem, not Mexico. The US taste for drugs causes problems around the globe. Isolate the US and the drug trade ceases. The US are clearly to incompetent and to poor to patrol their own borders, so someone else should do it for them. Maybe the UN should blokkade the US :P

          And the US could hardly protest, after all, they are against drugs aren't they? So UN ships

      • Re:It's refreshing (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @01:10AM (#33248992)

        There's a war in Mexico, and the soldiers routinely cross-over to US territory, kidnap citizens, and drag them back to Mexico. Or just outright kill them. Washington DC used to be the murder capitol of the nation, but now it's been eclipsed by Phoenix Arizona. (Phoenix is also the #1 city for kidnapping.)

        It is important to place such claims in context [mediamatters.org] with actual statistics from the Dept of Justice. [usdoj.gov]

        1) From 2000 to 2009 the violent crime rate in Phoenix proper is down 30% and property crimes declined 46%. The most recently available statistics - for the 1st quarter of 2010 - indicate violent crime rate in Phoenix has plunged over the last year -- down another 17% homicide specifically is down another 38% and robberies down another 27%.

        2) The violent crime rate across the entire state of Arizona is at the lowest its been since 1983. Property crime rates are at similarly low levels too.

        3) Essentially all kidnappings in Phoenix are of criminals themselves. The Phoenix Police Department has made an official statement that, "Unless you're involved in the dope trade, there's a very very slim chance [that you'll be kidnapped.]"

        4) Violent and property crime rates in other border states have also dropped significantly over the last decade.
        (numbers from 1998 to 2008 which is most recently available data)
        California: Violent crime down 28%, Property crime down 19%
        New Mexico: Violent crime down 32%, Property crime down 32%
        Texas: Violent crime down 10%, Property crime down 12%

      • Re:It's refreshing (Score:4, Interesting)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @02:31AM (#33249260) Journal

        I've decided to self-censor myself because I'm tired of being marked "troll".

        Wow, moderation actually works. Cool!

        Oh and I agree that legalizing marijuana/cocaine growing in the US would basically end the war. Mexican and South American druglords could no longer fund their wars without that money.

        You would think so, but the root of the problem is deeper than that. Latin America has always been torn apart by various factions wanting power, even before the drug wars started. Corruption is encouraged, but not caused by drugs. Latin American countries will continue to have these issues even after drugs are legalized.

        Consider that Canada is just as much a supplier of drugs to the US as Mexico is, and yet Canada isn't torn apart by war. The major issues won't be fixed in Mexico by legalizing drugs, although it might hide them deeper under the surface.

  • fuckin a (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ryanrule (1657199) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:05PM (#33248186)
    Legalize it all damn ready. Seriously, executive order, make it happen.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sayfawa (1099071)
      Here ya go. [bloomberg.com] Hopefully, the current administration agrees.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by chowdahhead (1618447)
        When I was an intern, I worked briefly at an outpatient infectious disease clinic that primarily treated illicit IV drug abusers. These were genuinely good people that had too little regard for their own bodies. One of hospitals that I work at currently has a methadone clinic nearby, and while we don't have any affiliation there, we often admit patients for other medical reasons. Many people are surprised to learn that a large percentage of this patient population are not unmotivated high school dropouts
    • Re:fuckin a (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aekafan (1690920) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:43PM (#33248428)
      Good luck with that. The money and power these cartels have achieved comes from the fact that it is illegal. You think that they will let that change? And are you foolish enough to believe that our government isn't owned by these same cartels? We are their main source of income, and wall street is their pipeline to Washington. These cartels have proven they are willing to take any measure to keep this going. If a true anti-drug war candidate ever had a serious chance at the oval office, i am sure he would quickly turn up dead.
    • Re:fuckin a (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday August 14, 2010 @12:19AM (#33248778) Homepage Journal

      Legalize it all damn ready. Seriously, executive order, make it happen.

      Presidents have learned not to mess with black ops budgets.

      Besides, once Mexico fails, we can have a good old-fashioned land war, 'save' the Mexican people, and add more payers into our entitlement programs. What could possibly go wrong?

  • History Repeating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mathimus1863 (1120437) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:30PM (#33248336)
    It's really quite sad that the world learned nothing from the US' futile attempt to outlaw alcohol in the 1920's. No one is saying drugs are good. They are quite bad, but making them illegal makes them much, much worse. I wish politicians didn't care about looking "soft on crime" in dealing with the drug war, and they could actually push to try to overturn this quixotic war. Make them legal and undercut the illegal drug trade which is fueled by their artificially inflated illegal prices. We saw all the same stuff during alcohol prohibition. The extreme corruption, the gang wars, the bad moonshine that made people go permanently blind, people using/selling more potent forms because it's easier to transport. It's all avoidable, but no one will push the issue because they're instantly shot down for being "soft on drugs"

    I die a little inside every time I hear a story about drug gangs basically taking over cities in Mexico and kidnapping people. Think of the people women whose husbands have been kidnapped and they receive pieces of them with ransom notes asking for money that they don't have. This is what could've happened if they kept up alcohol prohibition. Drug prohibition is just as ill-conceived. The better we do reducing supply, the higher the prices go, and the more vicious the drug gangs get in protecting their business.

    It's a terrible cycle, and one that can only be broken by regulation. They need to make drugs legal through special outlets stocked with health care workers, where people can safely obtain their drugs and use the proceeds to pay for the addiction specialists and treatment centers. There's nothing we can do except address the problem of addiction, and treat such users as patients, not criminals. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it's a start.
    • Re:History Repeating (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aekafan (1690920) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:48PM (#33248450)
      Actually, some people learned quite a bit from prohibition. Mainly: don't let it end, no matter the cost. Now the very evil people that we have made very rich and powerful are spending quite bit of the money they make to ensure that it doesn't end. The ones whom really learned from prohibition are on the wrong side of the war
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alexborges (313924)

      It's just a Matter of googling for Milton friedman Americas drug forum.... You will see one of the best economists of all time making a he'll of a case.

      I totally agree with you.

    • by causality (777677) on Friday August 13, 2010 @10:59PM (#33248498)

      It's really quite sad that the world learned nothing from the US' futile attempt to outlaw alcohol in the 1920's.

      If you look at it another way, they learned quite a bit. They learned that there are few better justifications for the expansion of police power, a campaign issue that can be used whenever needed, the creation of new bureaucracies, etc. They later figured out that the sheer number of prosecutions resulting from various forms of prohibition were great for the private prison industry.

      It's a terrible cycle, and one that can only be broken by regulation. They need to make drugs legal through special outlets stocked with health care workers, where people can safely obtain their drugs and use the proceeds to pay for the addiction specialists and treatment centers. There's nothing we can do except address the problem of addiction, and treat such users as patients, not criminals. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it's a start.

      I am reminded of that quote about having abundant solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem: how to run a sunbeam through a meter. I don't know how feasible abundant solar energy actually is, but this is a great caricacture of a mentality that needs to be understood. You're dealing with something just like it when you get down to the root of prohibition.

      The government that wants to expand is only too happy to be asked to solve such "problems" but this goes unnoticed because too many people have their own reasons for supporting it. Your solution is reasonable and easily the best way to handle the whole affair. It doesn't deny the painfully obvious, which is that the way we have been approaching the issue doesn't work. You just have to solve one technical problem: how to address the visceral satisfaction some obtain from the suffering of anyone who offends their Puritannical views.

  • by Vegeta99 (219501)

    In case anyone's interested and knows their Spanish, un enlace: El Blog del Narco [blogdelnarco.com].

  • anyone?
  • by istartedi (132515) on Saturday August 14, 2010 @01:01AM (#33248952) Journal

    Between this and Wikileaks, what's Big Brother supposed to do? It was supposed to be his game. Looks like he fumbled the ball, and the average Joe ran with it. At least, that's how it looks for now...

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