Mexico security officials likely conspired in massacre: state government…Reuters

Many articles now in the international press on the killings / disappearances of more than 40 students near Iguala in the state of Guerrero.
This Reuters piece seems to be the clearest statement yet (at least in English) of the obvious involvement of the Mexican state (both Guerrero state and national) officials’ involvement in the killings and in the cover-up. Not a very good cover-up.
Still, I continue to be amazed at the tortuous attempts by international reporters to deal with the fact that Mexican officials constantly lie about who is doing the killing and why. Why does anyone believe the government when they claim “narcos” did this? It seems much more likely (Occam’s razor?) that government created paramilitaries did the killings.
If we ever have accurate homicide data for Mexico (unlikely) we will find that the actual numbers of dead are probably at least twice what the government says. Even the official statistics now are approaching 200,000 since 2007, not the 100,000 mentioned in this article. Though, this is an advance over the more frequently cited “more than 80,000…” or variations on that number… molly

Mexico security officials likely conspired in massacre: state government (Reuters)

Violent Outbreaks In Juarez And Chihuahua State

The El Paso Times reports that several people were killed and dismembered in Juarez over the past weekend.  In addition, below, El Diario reports another gun battle yesterday in Guachochi in southern Chihuahua with 8 more people killed.

2 mutilated bodies found in Juárez, 11 killed in mountain gunfight (El Paso Times)

Otro enfrentamiento en Guachochi: 8 muertos (El Diario)

 

At Least 22 Killed In Gunfight Southwest Of Mexico City

I am not certain, but I believe this new story from the AP is a rare follow-up to this initial report of a shootout that took place on June 30.  The original story says it happened in Michoacan while the new story is in a small town in Estado de Mexico.  There are corresponding details–the “gang” consisted of 21 men and one woman–that lead me to believe this is the same incident.

In all of my efforts (and those of many others) to track the death toll in Mexico during the past 7 years, it is very rare that any information is released on the numbers of military deaths.  Years ago, there was one odd report of a death toll of about 200 soldiers–this in contrast to a civilian death toll at the time of nearly 100,000. I could be wrong, but I do not think there is ever any official reporting on deaths in the Mexican military. And as this AP story notes, there are many incidents reported in which the army encounters what are reported to be “gangs of criminals” and kills them all–no witnesses and few or no military casualties noted…

The shootout was the most dramatic in a string of battles in which the army says criminals fired first at soldiers who then killed them all, while suffering few or no losses. There have been so many such incidents that human rights groups and analysts have begun to doubt the military’s version.

From the details described below and the fact that the United Nations’ High Commission on Human Rights was on the scene shortly after this massacre, it appears that the people killed inside the building were shot at close range. It is gratifying to see the AP reporting on this… Thanks to Margie Lilly for sending me the article. I would have missed it… -molly

In Mexico, lopsided death tolls draw suspicion (Miami Herald)

Mexico’s Government Doesn’t Want to Talk About a Shootout That Left 22 Dead (VICE)

Mexico Army Kills 22 in Campaign Against Warring Splinter Groups (InSight Crime)

An eyewitness testifies to the killing of 22 people by the Mexican Army in Tlatlaya…  The earlier stories are here for background.  The new revelations are reported by ESQUIRE MEXICO.  Also below, a shorter version in English reported by AFP.

Exclusiva: Testigo revela ejecuciones en el Estado de México (Esquire Latinoamerica)

Mexican troops executed 21 drug suspects in June, purported witness tells Esquire (The Japan Times)

At least 22 killed in gunfight southwest of Mexico City (Toronto Sun)

Down by the River…Rhapsody for Charles Bowden, September 28 in Las Cruces

The Bowden family & Molly Molloy invite you to a memorial celebration…

Down by the River…Rhapsody for Charles Bowden

Sunday afternoon, September 28,
at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
5000 Calle del Norte, Mesilla, NM 88046 575-523-4398

Park website — Google map

The park will be open for the event from noon until five. Come early to walk park trails along the Rio Grande.

Service to start at two o’clock.

Words, music & memories for our dear friend Chuck. Wine, lemonade & light refreshments.

If you wish, bring a photo or memento to place on an altar for Chuck. Dress casual, wear comfortable shoes. Bring binoculars for birdwatching. If you have a light-weight camp chair, bring it along. Plastic water bottles recommended. No glass bottles permitted in the park.

For more information, contact Molly Molloy mollymolloy@gmail.com 575-680-6463

Remembering Charles Bowden

 To recognize Chuck’s contributions to the literary world one simply has to takeaway all his works and realize the void that remains. He shared his vast knowledge of and passion for the Southwest specifically the violence in Mexico through his works notably Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family, Murder City, and El Sicario, edited with our own, Molly Molloy. He once said*, ““I’m a reporter. I go out and report. I don’t keep a [expletive] journal” and report he did. Much has been written about him as a reporter, friend and all-around unique and sometimes eccentric figure, in the following weeks we will feature pieces commemorating Chuck from Listeros and, of course, Molly.  In the meantime, Molly wanted to share information regarding his memorial along with a private photo of Chuck.
“My great pleasure is to go into the wilderness, get myself lost under the big sky out there, and I’ve written books full of words trying to capture that feeling and describe that landscape.” **

If you are interested in contributing a post about Chuck, please email us at fronteralist@gmail.com

DOWN BY THE RIVER…Rhapsody for Chuck Bowden

Sunday afternoon, September 28, 1-5 at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, near Mesilla, NM
Chuck out in nature, his favorite place to be. Photo courtesy of Molly Molloy

Chuck out in nature, his favorite place to be. Photo courtesy of Molly Molloy

* Quote from the LA Times

**Quote from The Guardian

Q & A With Courthouse News Service Editor, Robert Kahn

Robert Kahn’s book, “Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade” (Westview Press/HarperCollins) 1996, was the first attempt at a history of U.S. immigration prisons. He is news editor for Courthouse News Service, a national legal news service.

*******************************************************************************************************************

Interviewed By: Belen Chacon

Your book, Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade, covers the abusive treatment of Central American refugees in U.S. detention centers in the 1980s. We seem to be back here again, especially with the Artesia detention center in New Mexico. Why is this happening again?

It’s not happening again, it’s been happening all the time. It’s happening because very few people in the U.S. Congress, or the people who buy them their offices, or you or I, ever give a thought or give a good goddamn about the people who clean our bathrooms and cook and serve our food and harvest the food we eat. Why should we? Immigrants can’t give us money. They can’t even vote.

Last week the ACLU in Los Angeles announced a big settlement with the Border Patrol, which now calls itself ICE, and involves both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The Border Patrol agreed not to trick people into agreeing to be “repatriated,” by handing them a list of “rights” with the right “voluntary repatriation” already checked off. Well, we settled that lawsuit 30 years ago, in Laredo, thanks to Patrick Hughes, an attorney who saw that women and children would need legal representation, so he moved there and set up a law office with nothing, except a little help from the Catholic Church. I went to work for him as a paralegal and we documented a nightmare of abuses inflicted by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the first private U.S. prison company to be paid for locking up immigrant women and children. CCA strip-searched mothers and babies at Laredo for asking to see a lawyer. They strip-searched them each time before and after they saw a lawyer, but they didn’t strip-search them unless they asked to see a lawyer. Well, all that stuff was “enjoined” 30 years ago by a federal judge, right? But it was never enforced. How can you enforce it, when you’re “privatizing” the immigration detention system in the United States to God knows who — to whoever says, “Sure, I’ll put those women and kids up in my house.”

In the case of the abuse of Central American refugees in immigration prisons in the 1980s, attorneys and other advocates were not able to stop the abuse until 10 years later. Do you see justice taking that long for current Central American refugees in abusive detention centers?

 

Refugees will never get justice in the United States; only their children will, because our policies and wars have driven them here, and the Congress will never admit that, nor will the people who vote, or the people who want to replace whoever’s in Congress now. It’s not until the refugees’ kids can vote, and do, that anything can change. The North American Free Trade Agreement destroyed small business and peasant farming in Mexico, and blessed the Mexican government’s war against independent unions. We’ve sent billions of dollars to the Mexican army and police forces, which slaughter their own people, in part because the cartels pay more than the government, because what cartels have to offer is more valuable, and the cartel leaders probably don’t steal as much as the government does. But we won’t admit Mexicans as refugees — even Mexican reporters, though dozens of them have been murdered by government police forces and the cartels — because Uncle Sam won’t admit our role in the slaughter. And even if, let’s assume, the United States government has absolutely no role in it, still, we don’t want to admit it — that the Mexican army and police forces are just as dirty as the cartels. So if your own government’s soldiers want to kill you, to steal what little you have, because the government is stealing so fast with both hands that it can’t match the cartels’ offers, well, what do you expect? People will flee a situation like that.

For those that haven’t read your book, Other People’s Blood: U.S. Immigration Prisons in the Reagan Decade, what do you feel is the biggest takeaway? Why should Americans play close attention to the treatment of individuals in immigration prisons?

 

The tortures and abuses in U.S. immigration prisons have continued for more than 30 years, despite federal court orders, and U.S. Supreme Court orders, because very few of us give a damn about these people. Congress certainly does not. Nor, so far as I can tell, has any president of the United States, since Jimmy Carter. As a paralegal working for nothing in U.S. immigration prisons, I’ve represented people whose U.S. prison guards walked over them with high heels while other guards held them down. I’ve seen a U.S. immigration judge tell a Guatemalan refugee whose back was covered with scars, driven into him with whips and salt water: “I don’t think you were ever in the Guatemalan army at all,” though the judge held in his hand photos of the man, in uniform, holding an automatic weapon, in front of his army barracks in Guatemala. The U.S. government would have deported him to be tortured and killed had Canada not accepted him as a political refugee.

In the 1980s, what details did the mainstream media fail to cover when it came to the treatment of Central American refugees? What is mainstream media failing to cover now when it comes to this issue?

 

I won’t say anything about “the mainstream media.” That’s a lash that can be used to whip anyone. I spent my life’s savings to work for nothing for 3 years as a paralegal in U.S. immigration prisons. I got a lot of information doing that. You can’t expect anyone, including “mainstream media,” to do that. So far as I can tell, the situation is the same today as it was 30 years ago. There’s no money to be made from representing refugees. Everything you hear in the media is about an immigration “crisis.” There is no crisis. Undocumented immigration has been on the decline for decades. Border Patrol figures show that. All that’s changed recently is the shape of the amoeba. Now we’re seeing more mothers and children fleeing from Honduras, whose government is as brutal and corrupt, and always has been, as the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador. But what do you or your neighbor know about Honduras? Nothing. Why should you? Now that the Republicans are making a big deal out of it, Obama is doing the same thing Reagan did: Set up a deportation factory as far away as possible from legal help, to deport refugees as fast as we can. Today they call it the Artesia Family Residential Center in New Mexico. Back then, in 1986, it was the new prison in Oakdale, La., run by the Bureau of Prisons. They tortured people there. The Marielitos tore the place down the next year, and I can see why. These people are not burdens to the United States. They are sources of information.

The immigration reform debate has had high and low moments, but for the most part has remained stagnant. What can/shouldAmericans do to help push the debate?

 

Immigration reform has never had a high moment. The late, great Charles Bowden told me: “Americans are willing to do anything about immigration except read about it.” I’m a half-critic half-fan of Sigmund Freud, who warned us about stirring up our primal impulses. I don’t know if we want to push the immigration debate — whatever that is — right now. Right now it’s all based on hate, fear and ignorance. When kids get educated, and grow up and vote, things will change, but it will take a generation. That’s why Republicans are pressing so hard to keep young people from registering to vote. When it happens, it’ll look like a sudden change, like the nation’s acceptance of gay people. But that struggle took a generation of open conflict, and gay people had money, and could vote. Not that I want to compare gay people and immigrants, but I think that pretty soon we’re going to see an acceptance of immigrants. It’ll look like it happens fast, but it’s already happening. It will be the result of a generation of struggle.

The debate over illegal immigration is being carried on with little awareness of the government policies that contributed to this country’s immigration problems. How can more Americans educate themselves? Where can they start?

 

Well, like Chuck Bowden said, nobody wants to read about immigration. The best summary of U.S. immigration policy was written by Kitty Calavita, decades ago. She’s a criminology professor at the University of California at Irvine.

Calavita wrote, correctly, that the United States has no immigration policy — that we change our policy according to the mood of the times, and that our policy is always out of synch with the times.

Calavita’s three basic conclusions will be true forever:

- The United States invites poor Mexicans when we need labor, then deports them when the next recession hits;

- Because of this, U.S. immigration policy will always be “out of phase” — because it takes years to pass legislation in Congress, when an immigration law does pass, it will be a response to what happened years before, at a different point in the economic cycle;

- And that “securing the border” and respecting the Constitution, both, may not be possible; in fact, it’s probably not — but no one wants to talk about this because, well, isn’t that why these people are fleeing here, to be protected by our Constitution?

Charles Bowden…”I have spent my life trying to learn…”

To all of our friends on the frontera list… Jose Luis Benavides sent me this great note, including Chuck’s own words about his life and work… It says things far better now than I can…Thanks to everyone who has written to me.  I hope I can respond personally in time… molly

From Jose Luis:
Yesterday, I checked Chuck’s bio he sent me back when we invited you and him to CSUN for the first time. I liked it because it captures his mood at the time, so I couldn’t resist the temptation of sharing it with you:

I have spent my life trying to learn. I once taught American history at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus but my real education has come from working on newspapers and magazines and from writing books. I started out interested in nature (Killing the Hidden Waters, University of Texas Press, 1977) but got sidetracked by the endless wars of the border–wars against drugs, wars against the migration of the Mexican poor and wars against decent wages (see Juarez: the laboratory of our future, Down by the River, Murder City, El Sicario, Exodus). I have also co-produced a documentary film, “El Sicario/room 164.” I have not controlled my life or work but been controlled by events. I could not stand by in silence as the war on drugs killed tens of thousands, imprisoned millions and squandered over a trillion US dollars. Nor could I ignore the massive flight of the poor unleashed by NAFTA, especially since the Mexicans who come north to survive are often demonized by politicians and portrayed as a national security risk. I constantly try to abandon my work. Recently, I bought a backpack, threw forty pounds into it and returned to walking the hills. I’ll see if this effort at a cure works. It never has before but I am a creature of hope.

Los Muertos De EPN…Pena Nieto Has Not Decreased Homicides…ZETA De Tijuana

Seminario Zeta of Tijuana recently published a piece comparing homicide statistics from the Calderon and Pena Nieto administrations and has appeared in several newspapers and magazines in Mexico including Proceso, http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=380354 

The original piece is posted below.

The gist of the article is that even though EPN and his government secretaries say that homicides have been reduced significantly (30% or more), the truth is much more murky and that compared to the first 20 months of Calderon’s term, there have actually been more homicides, not less.

The discussion has to do with the fact that official homicide statistics come from two main sources: the SESNSP and INEGI. [I posted a brief explanation of these two sources here, http://fronteralist.org/2014/08/22/q-a-with-frontera-lists-molly-molloy/ ] written before this new Zeta piece was published.

Zeta also uses media reports and civic organization counts in different states and cities and comes up with tallies that are somewhat higher than the recent INEGI report: http://www.inegi.org.mx/inegi/contenidos/espanol/prensa/Boletines/Boletin/Comunicados/Especiales/2014/julio/comunica3.pdf

The INEGI report itself is not a final report for 2013, but a preliminary one.  More recent statistics are available only from the SESNSP and from media. There is also an issue of which homicides are counted?  Homicidios dolosos are those usually considered murder or intentional/aggravated homicide.  There is a whole other category of homicidios culposos, usually translated as accidental or negligent homicides.  Zeta points out that as the numbers of homicidios DOLOSOS is slightly lower than in previous years, the number of CULPOSOS (accidental or negligent homicides) are going up. This makes us wonder if the government is “adjusting” its classifications of causes of deaths to make it appear that many of the killings are the kinds of “ordinary” accidental homicides that do not indicate an organized crime problem, but just people behaving badly.

One comes away thinking several things: 1) It is becoming even more difficult to know how many people are murdered in Mexico.   2)The EPN administration is determined to pursue an aggressive media strategy to make things appear less violent.  3) Presenting the homicide numbers for arbitrary periods like the “first 20 months” of different administrations is not that useful for comparison.  4)The levels of homicide, forced disappearances and kidnapping are still extremely high in Mexico.

Even using the more conservative figures reported by INEGI and the lower homicidios dolosos numbers reported by the SESNSP, “more than 153,000 people–an average of more than 1,600 per month–56 people PER DAY–have been murdered in Mexico since 2007.”

An English translation of the article published in El Diario de Coahuila is provided from Borderland Beat. Also posted below… -Molly Molloy

Los muertos de EPN: 36 mil 718 (Zeta)

Pena Nieto has been unable to decrease homicides (Borderland Beat)

 

Artesia Situation On PBS Newshour…Field Reports From Pro Bono Attorneys

The articles below are sent by Taylor Levy, Certified Representative for Immigration Cases with Las Americas in El Paso. Please consider a donation to Las Americas to provide legal representation for asylum seekers detained in Artesia… (information provided below).  THANKS Taylor and keep up the great work!  -molly