John Ackerman on Mexican Crisis

LINKS below to recent op-ed articles by John Ackerman in Mexico. -molly

Links embedded in titles. Each article is a stand alone, separately crafted piece.

“A call for authentic democracy in Mexico”, Los Angeles Times, October 30th, 2014

“Massacred democracy in Mexico”, Huffington Post, October 7th, 2014

“Le soutien aveugle de la France au président mexicain”, Libération, October 16th, 2014

“Gefahrliche Komplizenschaft”, Suddeutsche Zeitung, October 23rd, 2014.

“Fin al narcogobierno”, La Jornada, October 13, 2014.

Recent Homicides In Juarez

Three people were killed today near San Isidro in the Valle de Juarez…the bodies, bound at the hands and feet and shot multiple times, were left on the side of the road in a pool of blood. In the past several days there have been at least one killing each day. On Sunday, the tally for October stood at 37, so with these new killings, there have been 40 victims so far this month. molly

Matan a tres y tiran sus cuerpos junto a la carretera en San Isidro

Ejecutan a uno en El Sauzal

Encuentran ejecutado en el fraccionamiento Era del Valle

Asesinan a dos hombres y hieren a una mujer en ejecución

Paddlefish 2014-2015 issue featuring Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy

The 2014-2015 issue of the Mount Marty College’s national literary journal, PADDLEFISH is now available. The current issue includes stories, letters, essays and poetry from award-winning authors such as Charles Bowden, Molly Molloy, Dante Di Stefano, Lori DeSanti and David Lee, amongst others.

PADDLEFISH is edited by Jim Reese and associate editor Dana DeWitt, along with selected Mount Marty College faculty and students. Students play a major role in the publication and gain hands-on editing and publishing experience through the process. Over 2,000 submissions were received for the 2014 issue.

This issue is dedicated to the late Charles “Chuck” Bowden who believed in our journal and mission.

To purchase a copy of the 2014 journal or to subscribe to PADDLEFISH send $14.00 to the following address:

Mount Marty College
1105 W 8th Street
Yankton, SD 57078

Please make checks payable to Mount Marty College.

Previous Issues of interest by Charles Bowden and Molly Molloy:  ($14.00 each)

1)      “That Time in Paris” by Charles Bowden, 2014 Issue

2)      “A Letter to Students from Molly Molloy and Charles Bowden” 2014 Issue

3)      Jericho by Charles Bowden (Illustrations by Alice Leora Briggs), 2013 Issue

4)      “Rhapsody/Dead Man’s Curve and the Wild Blue Yonder by Charles Bowden (Illustrations by Alice Leora Briggs), 2012 Issue

5)      “Give Us This Day Our Daily Massacre…” by Molly Molloy, 2010 Issue

For more information, click here

Jim Reese, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Mount Marty College

1105 West Eight St.

Yankton, SD 57078
Director: Great Plains Writers’ Tour
National Endowment for the Arts Writer-in-Residence,
Yankton Federal Prison Camp

Q & A with Guillermo Jimenez

Guillermo Jimenez is the owner of Brush Fire Media and as well as host of Demanufacturing Consent, an exclusive weekly podcast on Boiling Frogs Post. In 2012 he served as a National Delegate for Ron Paul and is involved in grassroots activism. Follow him @tracesofreality


Interview by Virginia Isaad

In your bio you state that TOR is an “educational tool to inform others of the dangers of the expanding national security state and threats to our civil liberties.” How do you frame your coverage of the violence in Mexico with this in mind?

Young people in the United States, and to some extent throughout the world, should keep in mind that before there was a “war on terror” there was a war on drugs. The expansion of the national security state, and the subsequent loss of liberty, can be directly attributed to government policies associated with the drug war.

My approach to most issues, including the drug war violence in Mexico, usually begins with two questions in mind: how is my (the US) government involved, and how is this a threat to civil liberties?

US involvement in Mexico’s drug war, both directly and indirectly, is well documented, though perhaps not well understood. TOR Contributing Editor Danny Benavides coined the term “narconoia” — the fear of “narco-terrorism,” or more broadly speaking, the fear of the illicit drug market and those who trade within it. We believe this to be the pretense through which civil liberties have been attacked in the United States for generations.

In one article, you mention the capture of El Chapo as a PR stunt. How much of what is written about the Mexican drug war in U.S. media is, in your opinion, accurately representing what’s happening in Mexico?

It’s important to note that we at TOR were not the only ones to describe El Chapo’s capture as a publicity stunt by the Peña Nieto administration. Former DEA agents Hector Berrellez, Phil Jordan, and Cele Castillo have all expressed similar doubts about the Mexican government’s account of Chapo’s arrest. Berrellez, in fact, told Narco News that the whole thing was “arranged,” according to his sources.

As for the US media’s coverage of the Mexican drug war, I think it varies. Most traditional US media outlets make the mistake of framing the issue in terms of “good guys” and “bad guys.” They do their readers a disservice by not explaining how these “bad guys” came to power, and how a corrupt government and financial system enables them.


What do you think is the root of the problems in Mexico? Why? What, if any, are some solutions?

The drug war violence in Mexico results from a combination of state-imposed prohibitions on drugs and migration, government corruption, and US intervention.

Drug prohibition creates the black market. Without it, we would not be having this discussion right now. Wherever there is a black market, there are, of course, huge profits to be made. This is also a breeding ground for violence and corruption. Once the violence reaches a tipping point, as it has in Mexico, limits on migration make it difficult for people to flee and seek refuge elsewhere, namely the United States.

US intervention has also played a role in Mexico’s problems, as it has in so many other places around the world. Whether it’s “above board” cooperation through the Merida Initiative, or a history of covert action by the CIA, FBI, DEA, ICE, etc., the United States has in many ways exacerbated —  and even directly caused — Mexico’s drug war related problems.

In other words, the problems are systemic. It does not matter how many drug lords the authorities catch, or how many drug shipments are taken off the street, the problems will continue for as long as the system remains intact.

While long-lasting solutions will be as complex as the problems themselves, part of that solution must be a shift in drug policy. In short, end the drug war, and end prohibition. Of course, this alone does not fix everything that is wrong in either Mexico or the United States, but it is undeniable  that an end to the war on drugs would have a significant, beneficial effect in the daily lives of millions of people living on either side of the Rio Grande.

What would you like the public to know about the drug war in Mexico that is not often talked about, if at all?

As mentioned previously, the public deserves to know about the relationship between drug cartels, big business, the banking system, and high levels of government. It cannot be reduced to simply “bad guys” trying to control turf to make money.

The public deserves to know how the CIA, for example, had a working relationship with the leaders of the Guadalajara Cartel, including the recently freed Rafael Caro Quintero, during the 1980s. The public needs to know that, according to our own DEA and CIA contractor Tosh Plumlee, the agency used Quintero’s ranch land in Veracruz not only to train Guatemalan guerrilla fighters, but as a point of contact to fly plane loads of Colombian cocaine back into the United States.

They should know that when DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena came close to exposing this scheme, CIA-connected narcos captured, tortured, and killed him. The fallout from Camarena’s murder led to the collapse of the Guadalajara Cartel, which then splintered and gave rise to the modern-day Sinaloa, Juarez, and Gulf cartels.

It was this same US government intervention in the 1980s, training Guatemalan death squads to fight its dirty wars in Latin America, that later led to the rise of Los Zetas. Many of the founding members of Los Zetas have their roots in the US-trained Guatemalan “special forces” unit, the Kaibiles.

This is all largely forgotten history, but necessary to understand the modern-day drug war in Mexico in its proper context. The UN believes the drug trade generates roughly US$400 billion on the international market, which in my opinion is a conservative estimate. With so much money involved, it goes well beyond which cartel controls what part of Mexico. Any significant interruption to this market threatens global economies, and the banks that finance those economies. It would be incredibly naive to think there aren’t powerful forces involved who have a  vested interest in maintaining this status quo.

What do you think has been a pivotal turning point in the drug war in Mexico and how does your opinion of this event differ from the mainstream narrative?

Undoubtedly, the Felipe Calderon administration’s escalation and militarization of the Mexican drug war in 2007 was a crucial turning point in recent history. However, at this point, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who does not recognize this for the absolute disaster that it was.

More recently, the rise of the autodefensa movement in Mexico’s southern states has been a remarkable development. The mainstream narrative is, of course, to depict the autodefensas as “vigilantes,” “rebels,” and potentially dangerous — perhaps even as dangerous as the cartels themselves.

However, if it were not for the Mexican government’s ineptness and complicity in its drug war madness, there would have been no reason for small groups of ordinary citizens to band together in an effort to rid their communities of their criminal element. The autodefensas are not without their problems, no doubt, and recent developments show how the Mexican government has tried (and in many ways succeeded) to infiltrate, co-opt, and delegitimize the movement.

But if nothing else, the autodefensas are a powerful symbol of Mexico’s failed institutions, and the failure of US-Mexico drug policy in general.

Looking forward, there are potentially major shifts on the horizon, especially with regard to marijuana legalization and changes in societal/cultural norms with regard to drugs. When the United States eventually legalizes marijuana nationwide — and all signs indicate that it eventually will — it will be interesting to see how this affects Mexico’s drug policy. The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington has already caused tension with the Mexican government. As more US states follow suit, Mexico’s prohibition on marijuana and its  military campaign against those who traffic in it, will become politically untenable.

My concern is that this momentum likely stops with just marijuana legalization, and this would be a mistake.  As I mentioned earlier, this doesn’t end until we put a stop to prohibition entirely. For as long as we allow the black market to exist, criminals will continue to thrive and the body count will keep rising. An end to prohibition is the only way forward.

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)