Author Topic: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem  (Read 6908 times)

Pete at Home

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If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:32:14 PM »
http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/how-to-tell-a-cartel-story

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corruption, as “Cartel Land” shows, fails to convey the extent of the problem: in a place like Michoacán, there is no accountable government; no public trust exists that can be broken. A couple of decades ago, it wouldn’t have been possible for an upstart group to wage war, take over a few cities, and develop a cartel without high-level federal government connections. Today, in a void of central authority, evil moves through the poor communities of a narco state with a cancerous gravity, making every cell sick.

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In “Cartel Land,” the Autodefensas take a stand against not just the Knights Templar but also the police who try to disarm their vigilantism. To wage a “legitimate defense,” Mireles says, the militia must ward off all criminal elements, regardless of uniform. 

Especially since the timing of the government action made it clear that it was more intent on disarming or coopting the Autodefensas than doing anything about the Cartels.  Cartel members caught and handed over by Autodefensas to the Mexican Government were released despite proof of murder, rape, narcotics and gun possession. 

Like I said before, in the face of a threat like the cartels, to disarm a people has the precise effect that it had in Bosnia, Sabra and Shatilla.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 12:31:05 AM »
Very long time lurker, registered to reply here. First, thanks to you all for the insight you've shared here over the years. If there's another place with such a variety of strong, well informed and articulated opinions, I have yet to find it. You've shaped the way I see the world. Thank you.

To the topic at hand... the cartels are a huge threat. I'd rank organized crime south of our border as one of the greatest obstacles to American security and prosperity, and the impact on the people of Mexico would be hard to overstate.

My question is what we should be doing about it, individually and as a nation. I don't think that private citizens patrolling the border is the answer... is there anywhere that I can send money to help combat the cartels?

As a nation, I think shutting down our black markets  by legalizing a bunch of drugs would go a long way, and I'd also favor creating easier, broader paths to legal immigration. What recourse do we have when our neighbors are governed by criminals? We're not justified in rolling tanks through and creating the 51st through 65th states, clearly, but what's the alternative playbook?

These groups really are a serious menace.

TheDrake

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 04:43:07 AM »
I would like to thank Gary for joining the active community. I wish I had something to contribute on the topic, but I'm not up to speed.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 12:05:06 PM »
Thx Drake

Pete at Home

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 12:26:59 PM »
Very long time lurker, registered to reply here. First, thanks to you all for the insight you've shared here over the years. If there's another place with such a variety of strong, well informed and articulated opinions, I have yet to find it. You've shaped the way I see the world. Thank you.

To the topic at hand... the cartels are a huge threat. I'd rank organized crime south of our border as one of the greatest obstacles to American security and prosperity, and the impact on the people of Mexico would be hard to overstate.

My question is what we should be doing about it, individually and as a nation. I don't think that private citizens patrolling the border is the answer... is there anywhere that I can send money to help combat the cartels?

As a nation, I think shutting down our black markets  by legalizing a bunch of drugs would go a long way, and I'd also favor creating easier, broader paths to legal immigration. What recourse do we have when our neighbors are governed by criminals? We're not justified in rolling tanks through and creating the 51st through 65th states, clearly, but what's the alternative playbook?

These groups really are a serious menace.

welcome Gary. agreed that individuals policing the border is not a viable long term solution.  But disarming the People in the face of such a menace is frankly treason: material aid provided to our country's militarized enemies.

Dont know about solution but declaring war on individual cartels that invade the USA would have the effect of telling americans and legal aliens that assisting those groups that they are traitors. 

I also think a military presence, a fully armed base at the border, would be appropriate, and our helicopters should cross the border in case of a hot persuit so they dont play border terrorism games like Pancho villa III did.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 04:49:01 PM »
Thank you, glad to be here.

100% agreed about disarming the populace. A government has no business denying arms to law-abiding citizens if it cannot also keep those same arms out of the hands of common criminals.

A base near the border might make it harder for the cartels to move drugs and people across the border, and could prevent their terrorizing US citizens  (hopefully). We're going to have a mess on our hands as long as criminal activity and illegal immigration are the brightest prospects for a big hunk of the Mexican population, though.

Can we lean on the Mexican government to clean up the mess and impose real law, order, and justice? Promise them the aid of our armed forces in doing so?

I think if we did that, along with relaxing the prohibitions that support the cartels bottom line, we might get somewhere. How do we get from here to a healthy, first-world Mexico? That's how we make our southern border less threatening. Bullying Mexico into building a giant fence isn't the answer.

Pete at Home

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 03:44:00 PM »
'"Can we lean on the Mexican government to clean up the mess and impose real law, order, and justice? Promise them the aid of our armed forces in doing so?
"

The mexican government's going theough a transition from socialized crime to a set of narco-feudal fiefdoms.  From the 1920s to the early 1990s, the government was itself the organized crime monopoly.  Going to a multiparty system made monopolistic kleptocracy  not viable.  There have been a few honest people in the government, and some of them actually made it out alive with their families.  Given our track record in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia and Kosovo, i dont think the promise of US assistance will be overwhelingly popular.  Mexicans who lwand to live under US law tend to vote with their feet.

The only thing that could threaten all of the disparate interests that control the Mexican "government" at this point, afaik, would be threaten to entirely shut down electronic money transfers to Mexico.  Since corrupt government skims the harvesting of natural resources, and since most tourist dont like the prospect of being kidnapped raped and beheaded, Mexico's dominant revenue stream is from monies wired back to Mexico by laborers.

All IMO.  I miss the Mexico that was, imperfect though it was.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 04:19:20 PM »
I just have to believe that there's _something_ we could do to encourage / enable a trend toward law and order. Even from a purely selfish perspective it's very much against our interests to see our southern neighbor devolve into feifdoms controlled by drug lords.
We are an absurdly wealthy and militarily strong nation, and have an interest in helping clean up the mess. Seems like there should be something we can do.

Fenring

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 05:09:53 PM »
it's very much against our interests

Whose interests specifically?

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 06:02:38 PM »
American interests. I'd rather not have drug traffic and illegal Imigration across our borders look like top prospects to a big hunk of our neighbors population.

Fenring

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2016, 06:13:20 PM »
American interests.

America isn't a person. There are many diverse interests within America.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 07:47:46 PM »
Sure... I think it would be better for most all of us if Mexico was a peaceful, prosperous ally and trading partner. I could certainly be missing something, and if I am I'd love to be filled in. What are you driving at?

Fenring

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2016, 08:19:26 PM »
Sure... I think it would be better for most all of us if Mexico was a peaceful, prosperous ally and trading partner. I could certainly be missing something, and if I am I'd love to be filled in. What are you driving at?

Assuming "peaceful and prosperous" also means lawful, then how would the drug trade that must go through Mexico function effectively? Or rephrased: who stands to gain from Mexico not being lawful?

Secondly, 'prosperous ally' can also be translated as "competitor". Is it clear that America's relationship with Mexico was designed to be of significant benefit to Mexico?

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2016, 09:19:51 AM »
So there are legitimate and illegitimate business interests in maintaining the status quo? I'm sure that's true, but there's also money to be made selling to an emerging, more stable economy.

I guess my principal interest here is in improving things for the people of Mexico, but I do think that on balance our relationship with Canada is more helpful to American business and industry.

If there are indeed powerful interests keeping us from helping, who are those interests, and what are they preventing us from doing?

I've seen Cartel Land, and I don't want to be part of the problem. What should I do next?

Fenring

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2016, 10:17:32 AM »
If there are indeed powerful interests keeping us from helping, who are those interests, and what are they preventing us from doing?

I've seen Cartel Land, and I don't want to be part of the problem. What should I do next?

Without getting into any specifics, I think the most obvious step is to continue to push to end the war on drugs. The next step would be to push to reign in or even restructure the CIA. In the case of Mexico we have reason to believe the DEA is acting in tandem with the CIA so I'd say it might have to be both of them. There are other, economic, things that can be done as well, but those will be irrelevant until the first two are dealt with. NAFTA itself may be an issue.

Pete at Home

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2016, 03:01:33 PM »
I just have to believe that there's _something_ we could do to encourage / enable a trend toward law and order. Even from a purely selfish perspective it's very much against our interests to see our southern neighbor devolve into feifdoms controlled by drug lords.
We are an absurdly wealthy and militarily strong nation, and have an interest in helping clean up the mess. Seems like there should be something we can do.

I agree that there should be, but very few Americans are directing their brainpower towards that question.  Cartel Land is afaik the first serious US look at the problems of our Southern neighbot. Hence my title.

One thing i think we should avoid doing is clamping down on gun smuggling specifically to beneficial community watch groups. We krpt the Bosnians unarmed and the srebrinka massacre was the result.

Offer no amnesty to an illegal border crosser unless they truthfully debrief as to how and with what help they entered the country.


TheDrake

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2016, 03:29:12 PM »
Yep, make drugs legal and your law and order problem goes away. Just like when we ended alcohol prohibition that gave rise to a massive increase in organized crime. Market forces cannot be stopped by fiat - if enough people want a good or service you can't stop it with a law.

Pete at Home

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2016, 04:24:07 PM »
Iirc, the organized crime did not just "go away" when alcohol legalized.

The cartels are also in the slavery business.  Legalize that too then?

Pyrtolin

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2016, 05:26:41 PM »
Iirc, the organized crime did not just "go away" when alcohol legalized.

The cartels are also in the slavery business.  Legalize that too then?
It didn't go away, but it was severely undercut and had to look for other avenues that gave it much less popular cover (or, in some cases, more respectable cover that tended to expose it to more scrutiny)

Drug legalization and immigration reform that reduces or eliminates the need to try to smuggle people across the boarder won't make Mexican crime go away, but they will severely undercut its funding and it will mean that it only get cover form the much smaller market for its other services. That's not a death blow, but it's enough to make it a problem that's more in the reach of conventional enforcement rather than at the level or state warfare.

Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2016, 10:40:09 PM »
I'm in favor of legalization of just about all drugs, for precisely this reason; the harm caused by the black market outweighs any negative impact of easier access and perhaps more social acceptance. (IMO, not claiming I have data)

How much evidence do we have for/against the idea that the CIA and DEA are currently directly profiting from the drug trade? I know about severe abuses in the 70s and 80s, though not as much as I should... I will have to read up. I presume there's no smoking gun at present, just wondering where that sits on a scale that goes from "we all know it's happening" to "pass the tinfoil, my hat is wearing thin".

I'm also all for more legal immigration of employable folks and their families.

We should also introduce much stiffer penalties for human trafficking / slavery, and use all of the investigative power freed up by ending the drug war to shut that down hard.

Fenring

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2016, 12:15:42 AM »
I presume there's no smoking gun at present, just wondering where that sits on a scale that goes from "we all know it's happening" to "pass the tinfoil, my hat is wearing thin".

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/report-dea-agents-had-sex-parties-with-prostitutes-hired-by-drug-cartels/2015/03/26/adb2d53e-d3bd-11e4-8fce-3941fc548f1c_story.html

I guess the DEA agents just accidentally ended up at a party hosted by the cartels. Total coincidence! This is not by any means the only smoking gun I've encountered, but among them it's the one that by far got the most MSM coverage (and was quickly forgotten).

I don't know if Pete has watched it, since Cartel Land is what he's discussing, but another film on a similar topic is Sicario. I recommend it even though it strays somewhat into hysterical territory near the end. Its main subject matter is right on point with this discussion and although if I told you its content as a statement it would sound like tinfoil hat material, when you watch it you realize it's all too plausible. The film isn't intended as speculative fiction.


Gary238

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2016, 12:32:17 AM »
Wow. Here's my favorite bit :
The agents, some of whom had top-secret security clearances, received suspensions of two to 10 days.

This is really a pretty horifying topic to dig into. I've been reading about cartel branch outfits in Africa and Europe (with ties to the Italian mob).

Hard to police our top secret super spies, but hard to accept that the CIA might be running the bulk of the world's organized crime, too.

TheDrake

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2016, 09:24:54 PM »
Iirc, the organized crime did not just "go away" when alcohol legalized.

The cartels are also in the slavery business.  Legalize that too then?

My original quote was "if enough people want it", so I don't think slavery falls into that category. Slavery is also not a consensual transaction, which makes a very different category. Prostitution would fit into that category, even though they are linked.

While organized crime existed before and after, it became more violent and powerful during that era. It also enjoyed a certain amount of public support, helping to make the brutal Al Capone a celebrity and hero to many. Many jury members acquitted bootleggers. There's nothing sympathetic about extortion or other organized crime activities.

Now those guys will all find some kind of shady stuff to do. Lately, they've very much moved into identity theft and cyber crimes. But those are very unlikely to result in physical violence. If effort was not put into fighting consensual drug transactions, there would be more resources to combat these other forms of organized crime.


Pyrtolin

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Re: If you haven't seen "Cartel Land," you are part of the problem
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2016, 11:02:08 AM »
There's also this that's been making the rounds recently:

http://reason.com/blog/2016/03/22/nixon-invented-the-drug-war-to-decimate
http://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11278760/war-on-drugs-racism-nixon

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At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. "You want to know what this was really all about?" he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."