The Houston Chronicle reports that the ubiquitous hacktivist (dis)organization Anonymous is celebrating Halloween by threatening to expose the members of Zetas, one of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico.
My little county, Rio Arriba, in northern New Mexico, has long been overrun by drugs because of this cartel. The guys on the left are not drug kingpins. They are ranchers. And they are seriously put out with the cartels.
Rio Arriba County suffers the highest heroin and polydrug overdose death rates in the US. A few months ago, a beautiful local mountain lake was befouled when a plane flying low to avoid being detected by radar crashed into it, spewing cocaine, fuel, and bodyparts into the water. Nobody knows who was in the plane.
Our rural Hispanic and Native American youth are being systematically plied with drugs by Mexican and Californian gangs to entice them to become mules. We have watched our teen drinking rate creep upward. Children as young as 12 are now addicted to heroin.
I couldn't be happier that Anonymous has taken on the cartel. However, I wonder if bloggers everywhere will suddenly find themselves targets in a new kind of war. I know how quickly those kinds of wars can sneak up on you.
CROSS-POSTED AT Native American Netroots
Anonymous produced the video embedded below, which may contain language some viewers find offensive. I can't provide a transcript and I can't translate because I don't speak fluent Spanish. But I enjoy almost anything Anonymous produces, especially when they are taking on one of the biggest, most ruthless armies in the world; even more so if that army has been plaguing my state and county more virulently than the Bubonic variety which kills a few people each year out here.
Back in the Clinton days, before the rest of the country had heard of a border fence, Senator Pete Domenici and the Department of Justice rolled into our community with helicopters, HIDTA designations and law enforcement personnel of every stripe and color to remove the local outlets of the Mexican cartels. It was like an occupation but not the hashtag kind.
Press swooped in from all over the nation. The Drug Czar came to town to inform us we needed to support his War On Drugs in South America which we were winning, because otherwise Spanish-speaking countries including Rio Arriba would fall to cartels like dominoes. The solution to Rio Arriba's problems was the construction of a border fence.
My friends and I organized marches and hearings and interfaith services to alert the world to our need for better schools, doctors and substance abuse treatment. We had no idea why the Feds were babbling about a giant fence. "Addiction is an epidemic!" we shouted to anyone who would listen. In the midst of the ensuing maelstrom, I found myself debating Gary Johnson (then Governor) on public television. (He wanted to legalize drugs and close down treatment centers. My colleagues and I wanted to decriminalize drugs and build more treatment centers.) I was startled one day when producers from 60 Minutes showed up at my house to ask for an interview.
Hey! We were just a sleepy little town before we became the poster community for the War on Drugs!
I answered the door in my green Espanola Farmers' Market apron, armed with a greasy spatula. I had been flipping latkes. "Are you taking a randomized poll?" I asked them, mystified by their presence. "Or did I win some sort of lottery?"
Actually, we were the canaries in the proverbial coal mine.
A few days ago, Huffpo cited a UN report stating that criminal proceeds amounted to over $2.6 trillion in 2009, 3.6% of the world's gross domestic product. More than 2.5% of the world's GDP was laundered through our esteemed financial institutions according to the report (all the more reason to #occupy the mierda out of those pinche cabrones!) Only 1% of that money is ever recovered. The rest contributes to bankers' profits.
And the particular products marketed by the cartels (in collusion with our financial institutions) are domestically and internationally gross. Because it is traffic in drugs, guns, and sex slaves. It is fueled by and fuels our incessant parade of wars and terrorism. It is definitely not democratic. It has not been stopped by military action. It can't be stopped by military action. The military simply ends up paying bribes.
ICE estimates that anywhere between $19 billion and $29 billion annually flows between Mexico and the US to fund cartels. Chellis Glendinning wrote about it in her book, Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade. (Check it out! I'm in the last chapter where she talks about people who are doing something!)
David Luna, US Director for Anti-Crime Programs recently stated at a conference in Thailand:
"Increasingly sophisticated and organized webs of crime and corruption fuel greater insecurity, instability, and subversion across our economies, threaten our communities, and imperil the health and safety of our people."
According to the Houston Chronicle, Anonymous produced this video after one of their members was kidnapped by Zetas during a protest in Veracruz Province. Anonymous is warning Zetas to release the hacker unharmed or face exposure of every corrupt government official, policeman, journalist and business associated with the cartel. Exposed individuals would risk almost certain execution by rival cartels.
"You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him," says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.The United States Army has not been able to win its War on Drugs. Not in South America. Not in Mexico. Not in Afghanistan. Not in Rio Arriba County. But I think Anonymous can. I think it would be absolutely fantastic if Anonymous obliterated this abominable organization by shining a light on its collaborators. Because that's what all these cockroaches need to fester. Darkness. They hide under rocks. Drug lords, corrupt judges, lobbyists, mob lawyers, corrupt government officials, banksters, and corrupt police run from the light of day.
"We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession," says the man, who is wearing a suit and tie.
"It won't be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located," says the man, who underlines the group's international ties by speaking Spanish with the accent of a Spaniard while using Mexican slang.
He also implies that the group will expose mainstream journalists who are somehow in cahoots with the Zetas by writing negative articles about the military, the country's biggest fist in the drug war.
"We demand his release," says the Anonymous spokesman, who is wearing a mask like the one worn by the shadowy revolutionary character in the movie V for Vendetta, which came out in 2006. "If anything happens to him, you sons of (expletive) will always remember this upcoming November 5."
The violence that may potentially ensue from Anonymous' latest blow for democracy would be savage. And it would conceivably draw the entire blogging world into its maw.
Still, a world without Zetas' kidnappings, beheadings, drugs and terror is a world worth imagining. Imagine a world in which students at our middle school were not afraid to ride the school bus! Imagine a world in which my friend's 9-year-old daughter had never been murdered by a burglar trying to steal her medical syringes! Imagine a world in which my colleague's 17 year-old son had not died suddenly of an overdose!
Can an unarmed bunch of geeks defeat one of the most powerful private armies in the world?
I hope so.