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EN LA DELEGACIÓN DE LA CRUZ ROJA MEXICANA,

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Mariachi Tierra Mexicana Tres Generaciones at their Boyle Heights Musical & Cultural Center By Javier Rodriguez Los Angeles 24 Aug 2015 Oscar Chavez, a dissident and former board member of OMUL…

Source: The Cost of Being a Dissident at Mariachi Plaza

By Javier Rodriguez  Los Angeles  16 Aug 2017

To all: I find the last comment by Con Safos to be highly simplistic, nationalistic and out of context. The present national battle needs a show of unconditional solidarity and action against an emboldened of the far right, which essentially has reared it’s violent ugly head along with the rise of the electoral ultra-right and of course, the taking of the White House and both legislative houses. The juncture has placed the finger at an open violent racism, brought forth by the unification of this open and in your face sectors, and it has been Trump, his electoral team and his administration which have diligently embolden these MFs.

The Latino movement and its leaders must support the African American leaders and activists along with the progressive white sectors in this fight. Prof. Cornel West put it succinctly on Monday’s Democracy Now, when he stated how Black leaders and activists attending a Church Service at a University Parish, were violently blocked inside and prevented their exiting, by far right White Tiki Torch carrying activists, this on Friday, when the latter held their opening evening event,.Cornel gave recognition to 300 anarchists and how they came to assist them.

Here I will share the 2005 experience in battling the Minutemen at the California border. At first it was primarily a couple of dozen Latinos, mostly youth, that at the Campo Headquarters of the Minutemen, across from Tecate, Baja CA, where the first encounters were held. However as the days and weeks passed, hundreds of organized multiracial anarchists, organics, students, anti-racists, etc., from Northern California, arrived to the rescue and to stay. The battles were had at midnight against the armed paramilitaries. And there were several very risky moments. Also two dead bodies were found in the hills and two other immigrants, man and a woman, were hit by shotgun fire.

I believe that the movement at this juncture needs to be injected with more militancy, conviction, courage and bravery, and without disrespecting Latino activists or leaders of today, this wing of the movement has to be addressed, debated and built. We have similar history going back to the thirties, the civil rights era of late 60s and early 70s, the Minuteman battles and the 2006 giant Mega mobilizations. In the latter, the unprecedented numbers in the streets by the millions of marchers and boycotters from coast to coast, were militant enough to create a history of far right defeats and Latino victories. As well, it should be debated and studied extensively and used as a point of reference.

I find the lack of knowledge of the militant activism of the last 50 years and its connections to present leaders -I being one of them-  by our widespread sectors of university, college professors and deans and Presidents inexplicable. History has placed this generation of educators in an imperative position to call us to their fine institutes of higher learning, to illustrate and pass on the teachings of the Latino militant experiences, respectfully, ZAZ   

Javier Rodriguez, a longtime leader-activist is a media and political consultant who co-founded and directed the March 25 Coalition 2006; Additionally, he developed the political and organizational strategy that led to the 1986 Amnesty Immigration Reform Act ironically signed by Ultra-right Pres. Ronald Reagan.  

 

 

 

ZAZ COMMUNICATIONS

This is the 20th Chavista Win out of 21 National Elections.

By Javier Rodriguez    Los Angeles    3 August 2017

As expected, Venezuela’s the successful Constituent Assembly Electoral victory over the U.S. backed ultra-conservative opposition, held on July 30, the U.S. government and a platoon of right wing Latin American countries, including Colombia, Peru and pathetically Mexico, immediately refused to recognize the results, announced victoriously by the Socialist Venezuelan Regime. As expected the lying sociopathic and right wing Trump administration hurriedly and violently moved to impose the infamous imperial economic sanctions.

With exceptions, the private media cartels, also lined up against Venezuela, hypocritically questioning the voting results and labeling them “insane”. However when the right wing held its recent referendum, not a single one,  including La Opinion, Univision, Telemundo, Estrella TV, Milenio, Televisa, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, etc., objectively questioned the right wing vote results. In fact, in hard numbers, the “only thing published and republished thousands of times by the global corporate media, was the 7 million plus votes announced and proclaimed by the referendum organizers”. There were no numbers given on who voted, the amount of voting polls and votes per region, etc. In fact, independent progressive media labeled the U.S. backed election as a glaring fraudulent exercise.

It’s the same pattern of media misconduct exhibited in the last 5 months, who has only cited the “general quantity” of deaths in the streets, and, in no uncertain terms, with zero factual data, they have placed the blame on President Maduro and the Socialist Government.

Additionally, when looking inside their misinformation numbers, you see they conveniently omit the executions and burnings of dark skinned humbled dressed Venezuelans, now estimated at 22 out of a 100 plus deaths. These are mostly citizens caught in or near the daily right wing protests held in middle and upper class neighborhoods and some killed by professional sharp shooters.

Furthermore, while the U.S., the media and the opposition complain of the long lines and lack of groceries and medicines, they pitifully   turn a blind eye as to who is behind the organized burnings and ransacking of bodegas, warehouses, markets, pharmacies and book stores incited and partially led by Colombian paramilitaries and paid drugged lumpens.

In all, this is fascist Nazi Goebbels-ian misinformation at its best. However, orchestrating the five month failed uprising is the CIA and American taxes.

Javier Rodriguez is a co-founder of the March 25 Coalition, a journalist, blogger and a Media and Political Advisor bajolamiradejavierr@gmail.com   blog LaRayueladeJavier.Wordpress.c

ZAZ COMMUNICATIONS

 By Javier Rodriguez   Los Angeles      18  July 2017

 

FORMER CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KAMALA HARRIS, IS TODAY A POPULAR AND AGGRESSIVE U.S. SENATOR IN D.C. NOT A SURPRISE, FOR A FACTION OF THE AMERICAN RULING ELITES AND MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CLAS, SHE HAS ALSO BECOME A PROMINENT AND DEFACTO CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020.

HOWEVER, THERE IS A CLEAR VISIBLE CONNECTION, WHICH POINTS TO THE PRINCIPAL NETWORK OF FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL SUPPORTERs WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN CORRUPTION AND FAVORITE TREATMENT BY THE CALIFORNIA JUSTICE SYSTEM, DURING THE HARRIS’ WATCH.

THE BIG ISSUES HERE, ARE 1,000 VIOLATIONS OF THE CALIFORNIA FORECLOSURE LAWS, APPARENTLY CARRIED OUT IN DIRECT CONSPIRACY BY EXECUTIVES AND EMPLOYEES OF THE ONE WEST BANK, OWNED BY BILLIONAIRE GEORGE POROS AND PARTNER, HEDGE FUND BILLIONAIRE JOHN PAULSON. SOROS CAN BE DESCRIBED AS A STRONG FINANCIAL AND POLITICAL ASSET TO KAMALA’S CAREER.

HYPOTHECALLY, THINK OF THESE CRIMES, AS, SIMILAR TO 1,000 ROBBERIES AND THE SEVERE PERSECUTION AND SENTENCING DEALT TO THE ROBBERS. IN COMPARISON THOUGH, THE RICH ECONOMIC CRIMINALS ARE TREATED WITH SILK GLOVE PUNISHMENT, THEREFORE, THE INSIDE BANK CONSPIRATORS, THAT IS, THE BANK OWNERS AND EXECUTIVES, CUSTOMARILY, THEY GETAWAY WITH A FINE CALLED, A “SETTLEMENT.” ENGINEERED BY THE GOVERNMENT, THE FINE IS A COURT GUIDED AGREEMENT, WHERE THE WHITE COLLAR CRIMINALS USUALLY PAY A THIRD OR LESS OF WHAT THEY STOLED FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS, THE PEOPLE OR THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF. NO PRISON TIME.

A PERFECT EXAMPLE IS THE DRAMA PLAYED OUT TWO YEARS AGO WHEN 2 MILLION WELLS FARGO BANK ACCOUNTS WERE ILLEGALLY MOUNTED UNTO 2 MILLION AMERICANS AND THEIR FAMILIES —ALL WELLS FARGO CUSTOMERS- WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE. IN OTHER WORDS THEY WERE ROBBED OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. THAT WAS QUITE AN ILLEGAL TRANSFER OF WEALTH FROM THE 99% TO THE SUPER RICH 1%.

HOWEVER, IN THE CASE OF THE ONE WEST BANK BILLIONAIRES, IT WAS MORE EGREGIOUS. THEY WERE NEVER INDICTED OR TRIED. THE SMOKESCREEN GIVEN BY HARRIS WAS, ‘IT’S A DECISION MY OFFICE MADE.”

TRUST ME, THE PROBLEM HERE IS CAPITALISM AND CAPITALIST DEMOCRACY WHICH IS VICIOUSLY STACKED IN FAVOR OF ITS ELITE MEMBERS. ALSO OF COURSE, THEIR CENTURIES OLD RULE OVER THE POLITICAL SYSTEM, AND THE FACT THEY WILL ALLOW LAWS WRITEN FOR THEM TO END UP IN PRISON. RECALL THIS WAS MADE CRYSTAL CLEAR BY BERNIE SANDERS, A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, IN HIS RECENT PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.

AS A STUDENT OF DIALECTICAL AND HISTORICAL MATERIALISM IN THE 70s, I’VE ALSO KNOWN THIS FOR A LONG TIME.

THE NETWORK OF DONORS NOW MEETING TO SUPPORT THE GLAMOROUS KAMALA HARRIS, ARE FORMER CLINTON SUPPORTERS. MEANTIME, SOROS AND PAULSON SOLD THE BANK FOR 3.4 BILLION AND NEVER PAYED A CENT BACK TO THEIR VICTIMS. QUE CH……….N A SU MADRE, ZAZ

Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger, a media and political consultant who co-founded the March 25 Coalition

ZAZ COMMUNICATIONS

bajolamiradejavierr@gmail.com   blog LaRayueladeJavier.Wordpress.com

FRIENDS FAMILY MEDIA

TRUST ME, THIS IS A MUST. REVEALING INVESTIGATIVE PIECES ON THE EXECUTION OF MASSACRES, MASS EXTERMINATION, OVENS IN PRISONS, SPIES, TREASON, AND BATTLES FOR POWER IN THE CITIES OF ALLENDE AND PIEDRAS NEGRAS, STATE OF COAHUILA AND ALLIANCES AND RELATIONSHIPS AMONG  THE ZETAS’ CARTEL AND GULF CARTEL, THE MEXICAN NATIONAL, STATE LOCAL POLICE, PLUS GOVERNORS, AND THE U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. THIS, IN ADDITION TO THE CLINTON’S AND OBAMA, NAFTA AS THE CAUSE OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF MEXICO IN SEVERAL WAYS, INCLUDING A COUNTRY AT WAR AGAINST THE ECONOMIC CRIMINALS “THE CARTELS” THE RICH, THE CORPORATE MEDIA CONGLOMERATES, POLITICO ELITES, AND A CORRUPT  AND WEAK GOVERNMENT, ZAZ, POST IT, AND PERHAPS SOMEONE WITH MORE TIME, CAN YOU TRANSLATE IT PLEASE  

Mass extermination in the border of Texas and Mexico

Los Zetas Cartel Used Network of Ovens to Hide Mass Extermination in Mexico’s Coahuila…this bloody cartel was trained in Fort Bragg, NC by orders of William Clinton, and was part of elite military forces of Mexican army, this is an example how NAFTA transformed Mexico in a Cartel Land, in US must be call for an independent bi-national investigation about the Plan Merida implemented by Hillary Clinton and the Fast and Furious Program of ATF of Eric Holder, both with knowledge of President Barack Obama, Mexico is not a Banana Country, is a partner of USA & Canada…in Mexico must be call also for the investigation of the Moreira Bros of the State of Coahuila, Carolina Viggiano, federal representative of the State of Hidalgo, and Ministry of the Interior, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, like Zeta 1

 

by BRANDON DARBY & ILDEFONSO ORTIZ

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Coahuila–The Mexican Los Zetas cartel used a network of oven facilities to cover-up the systematic mass extermination of innocent people during the 2011-2013 period when the cartel had complete governmental control over most of the Mexican state of Coahuila. From the then-governor of Coahuila, down to the city jails, Los Zetas had complete control of every aspect of governmental process and of the lives of Mexican citizens–including news media. Their atrocities in Coahuila have remained largely unreported and undocumented by any governmental agencies; local, state, federal, or international.

After Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project launched and began to see success in exposing various factions of the Gulf cartel in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, we grew increasingly aware of the need to help bring a platform to people in Los Zetas territory who had experiences of which we knew they wanted the world to hear. It seemed as if we would never break through the barrier, as we didn’t know and trust any sources in the region whom we could utilize as a starting point to build out from.

Our access to information in the Gulf Cartel territory in most of Tamaulipas grew to an unprecedented level, but Los Zetas controls the western portion of Tamaulipas around Nuevo Laredo and the state of Coahuila and getting our foot in the door seemed impossible. That changed. People from the region began contacting us and we had to take a chance and trust them. We didn’t know at the time if they were corrupted people luring us into Mexico for the cartels to capture us or if they were good people who wanted to risk their lives and help their communities. We had to take the chance. We did it and we lucked out–or we were blessed.

We traveled to the Texas border town of Eagle Pass to meet with our new sources. The Mexican border town of Piedras Negras sits immediately across the Rio Grande. We ended up in the backseat of a car with two strangers from Mexico taking us to “meet some people.” As the car traveled to a remote industrial area, we began to look at each other nervously. We ended up in a dark industrial park and we both thought we had been set up. The driver and his partner pulled us up to a warehouse and asked us to get out. We did so and walked inside, both thinking that we might be in trouble.

Instead of kidnappers, we found a group of Mexican businessmen who were afraid that meeting with us in public would risk their lives or the lives of their families. They grilled meat and warmed up tortillas for us. We smoked cigarettes and enjoyed beers until the men began telling their stories. We heard of good people who simply disappeared. We heard of towns where mass “disappearances” had occurred and no one knew why. We were later able to verify each story and find the answers the men and their communities had sought after for so many years.

Some aspects of the massacre in Coahuila have seen the light of day through some national Mexican news outlets like Proceso, though the case has been largely ignored by Mexican mainstream media as well as mainstream media in the United States and elsewhere. Some outlets like Aljazeera America and San Antonio Express News have reported on the disappearances; however, the link to the Los Zetas having complete control of the Piedras Negras prison and turning the facility into a crematorium had gone largely unreported. Breitbart Texas began to ask questions and received hard answers about the impunity with which Los Zetas operated and the horrors that took place in that prison in late October. In late January, El Diaro de Coahuila also got some answers as to what really happened inside the Piedras Negras prison. According to information provided by Mexican authorities, Los Zetas had full operational control of the prison to the point where they took more than 150 individuals to the prison who were then tortured, murdered and incinerated. Despite the brutality of the case, major U.S. TV and print outlets have largely ignored the kidnapping and murder of hundreds of people from Allende, Coahuila.

During Mexico’s unknown massacre, Los Zetas carried out a systematic extermination by killing and incinerating more than 400 people in Allende and the surrounding towns. While details about what actually happened have barely begun to see the light of day, the massacre traces its roots back to March 2011.

Before that time Los Zetas had managed to use strong arm tactics and bribery to rule with impunity in the state of Coahuila. By March 2011, Los Zetas were moving around 2,000 pounds of cocaine per month through the northern part of Coahuila into Eagle Pass, Texas. After paying for the drugs and covering their trafficking expenses, Los Zetas were making around $6-12 million in monthly profits just in the Piedras Negras and Eagle Pass corridor alone, according to witness testimony in a U.S. trial targeting Los Zetas money laundering (The case referenced later in this article.)

In early 2010, Los Zetas went to war with their former bosses in the Gulf Cartel. The brutal armed conflict skyrocketed the demand for cash by Los Zetas as the criminal organization had to get funds to pay for weapons and gunmen to continue fighting for territories in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas and the Mexican States of Veracruz and Nuevo Leon.

According to the research conducted by Proceso’s Juan Alberto Cedillo, a Mexican journalist who has spent years investigating the massacre, it was in March 2011 that local kingpin Mario Alfonso Cuellar and his associates, Hector “El Negro” Moreno Villanueva and Jose Luis “La Guichina” Garza Gaytan were blamed by the top hierarchy of Los Zetas over missing money from the cocaine trafficking that the drug cartel never received.

It remains unclear if the drug profits were in fact stolen by the local kingpins or if the loads were lost to authorities during seizures. What is known is that Moreno Villanueva and Garza Gaytan fled to America where they sought the protection of the U.S. government as federal informants and witnesses.

“ Lots of deaths,” Moreno Villanueva testified in U.S. Federal court in a case against Los Zetas. “They even started killing families in Allende and Piedras Negras, and in Muzquiz and in Sabinas. They also wanted to kill me.”

Miguel Angel “El 40” Trevino Morales, one of the top leaders within Los Zetas took the betrayal to heart and ordered a systematic extermination in the area of Allende, the nearby towns called Cinco Manantiales, and also in Piedras Negras.

The order was simple—kill anyone related, associated or that in anyway had contact with Villanueva or Garza Gaytan.

According to information gathered through the Breitbart Texas Cartel Chronicles effort, some of which authorities have not yet made public or acknowledged, Los Zetas began rounding up entire families, friends, distant relatives and innocent individuals who happened to have one of those last names–even if they were not related. According to information gathered by Breitbart Texas in Allende, Los Zetas would torture and execute the victims using a variety of cruel methods. The bodies were then taken to either a ranch near Allende or to the Coahuila state prison in Piedras Negras to make the bodies disappear.

Inside the jail, Los Zetas butchers dismembered the bodies of the men, women, and children who ha

d been kidnapped. The human parts were then placed in 55-gallon drums filled with diesel and then set on fire. After several hours, the majority of the human remains were all gone leaving hundreds of families without answers. The ashes were then dumped in a local creeks that leads to the Rio Grande. While most of the drums remain in evidence lockers at a storage facility used by the Attorney General’s office in Coahuila, some of them have been re-purposed as dumpsters in the city. Recently authorities carried out a massive search along some of the creeks to search for remains of the unknown number of missing persons–none were found. The drum shown below was one of the ones that Los Zetas had been using to incinerate the body parts of their victims inside the Piedras Negras prison. The drum was being moved out of the evidence locker by authorities as part of their ongoing investigation. Agents left it outside of the building in the back 0f a police pickup allowing journalists from the Breitbart Texas Cartel Chronicles network to photograph it and provide an image of the makeshift crematorium where several victims were “disappeared.”

The first public glimpses into the massacre came in September 2012 when more than 130 Los Zetas cartel members were able to walk out of the state prison in Piedras Negras–amassive breakout aimed at bolstering their ranks to continue their fight against the Gulf Cartel. The federal investigation into the escape resulted in the discovery of dozens of burned out  55-gallon drums that had been used to make their victims disappear. We visited the prison.

At a ranch near the town of Allende, instead of drums Los Zetas would use ovens to incinerate the human remains. The ranch was raided by Coahuila authorities in 2013 when the government began to look into the case. At the ranch, authorities found not only the ovens, but also ashes and bone fragments from the victims. We were able to obtain never-before-seen official photos from the case files of the oven and remains at the ranch near Allende. See below:

In addition to the rampant butchering and incinerating of people, Los Zetas acted with complete impunity as they drove heavy machinery into Allende and the surrounding towns in order to demolish the houses of their victims. We visited two of these homes that Los Zetas demolished in Allende and provide video below.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, Los Zetas were able to act with complete impunity in Coahuila thanks to the help of former governor Humberto Moreira, who is currently the target of a criminal investigation in Spain over laundered money. As part of that case, he has been called out as a subordinate of Los Zetas cartel by prosecutors. Moreira spent a week in jail before getting released on bond in connection with the case and has since traveled back to Mexico. The news of the arrest sparked a wave of speculation about which public officials would be named next, as former Governor Moreira has been implicated in the ransacking of public funds from Coahuila and funneling them into the U.S. While the former governor has not been criminally charged, he has been singled out in a series of civil actions where the U.S. Attorney’s office is working to seize certain assets.

Los Zetas had a falling out with former Governor Moreira and ended up killing his son in revenge over the death of a close relative of Trevino Morales. That is around the time when the current governor of Coahuila, Ruben Moreira Valdez, who is also the brother of Humberto Moreira, decided to take on Los Zetas head on. Coahuila’s new stance against Los Zetas called for the creation of a special police unit known as Los GATES. They were created to root out Los Zetas.

The new Governor Moreira ordered the creation of a special task force by the Coahuila Attorney General’s Office (PGJE) in order  to investigate and solve the hundreds of cases dealing with “missing persons” which is the legal classification that the victims in Allende fell under. Under Vice-Attorney General Juan Jose Yanez Arreola, the PGJE began working to document the cases since many of the families never reported that their loved one was missing. Yanez has also been the driving force aimed at investigating and bringing to light the unknown horrors that Los Zetas brought to Coahuila. Over time, Yanez’s investigators with the PGJE began to provide answers to some of the families and began to earn the trust of the community as more and more individuals began to come forward in order to notify authorities that they too had a loved one who was also taken.

 

Legally the cases are called missing persons cases because the bodies of the victim’s have not been recovered; however, investigators continue to try to quantify the number of cases and try to bring answers to the families. The number of cases continues to grow as more people have begun to put their fears aside and added the name of their loved one to the list of missing person cases.

While Los GATES had been able to suppress most of the violence brought up by Los Zetas, towards the end of 2015, the criminal organization reignited its violence by beheading four informants and spreading their remains around the border city of Piedras Negras, as Breitbart Texas reported. The rash of murders has been linked by investigators to a group of former police officers who were abruptly released by a panel of judges in Coahuila–even though they were convicted of having worked for Los Zetas.

The release of the cartel associates made clear that the cartel still retains a grip on Coahuila society. Many who spoke with us felt that Los Zetas could still “get them” even though the cartel no longer retains physical control of territory in Coahuila. Other suggested that the GATES might not always be around and expressed fears that Los Zetas would return to open control of governmental agencies and then kill anyone whom they deemed as having worked against them or as having helped the Coahuila attorney general.

On a visit to Allende, a courageous woman whose daughter was taken and disappeared by Los Zetas spoke to us and agreed to a video interview. Like other residents of Coahuila, she insisted that we refrain from naming the cartel. She was willing to talk about what the cartel did and about the victims, but she was afraid to say their name. The mother, Olga Lidia Saucedo, runs a nonprofit in Allende called Alas de Esperanza or Wings of Hope for the families of the disappeared. The kids heard in the background of the video have parents who were disappeared and Saucedo cares for them. At one point in the video, viewers can see that we almost said “Los Zetas,” but caught it before we completed speaking their name. The mother addressed the hundreds of victims and said that no one really knows how many are missing because people are afraid things will return to how they were from 2011-2013; a time when going to the police was the same thing as going to Los Zetas.

Editors Note:  Olga Saucedo, the woman interviewed for this story did not mention the criminal organization by name during the interviews done for this story. The name of the criminal organization was obtained through independent research done by Breitbart Texas

Even if the GATES stay and keep the ground they’ve taken from Los Zetas, the cartel still operates in the state. They still have their scouts and spies. They still have the ability to send their hit squads after enemies. The only difference is that they don’t have the physical territory they once controlled in Coahuila where they could retreat to and live openly. Now, Los Zetas members have to hide. They are a clandestine criminal group in the state, rather than operating openly as before.

At the entrance of the town, the Coahuila government erected a monument to honor Allende’s victims. The monument not only helps to keep the memory of the  massacre from fading away, but it also helps some of the citizens begin the long and difficult process of healing. Some of the citizens, like Mrs. Saucedo, cling to the hope of one day being reunited with their loved ones. They hope that, in the most unlikely of all scenarios, their loved ones avoided the drums and the ovens.

Editors Note:  Olga Saucedo, the woman interviewed for this story did not mention the criminal organization by name during the interviews done for this story. The name of the criminal organization was obtained through independent research done by Breitbart Texas

Follow Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby on Twitter: @brandondarby

Follow Breitbart Texas’ award-winning journalist Ildefonso Ortiz on Twitter:@ildefonsoortiz

https://www.propublica.org/site/author/ginger_thompson

Ginger Thompson

Ginger Thompson is a senior reporter at ProPublica. A Pulitzer Prize winner, she previously spent 15 years at The New York Times, including time as a Washington correspondent and as an investigative reporter whose stories revealed Washington’s secret role in Mexico’s fight against drug traffickers.

Thompson served as the Mexico City Bureau Chief for both The Times and The Baltimore Sun. While at The Times, she covered Mexico’s transformation from a one-party state to a fledgling multi-party democracy and parachuted into breaking news events across the region, including Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela.

For her work in the region, she was a finalist for The Pulitzer’s Gold Medal for Public Service. She won the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting, an InterAmerican Press Association Award, and an Overseas Press Club Award. Thompson was also part of a team of national reporters at The Times that was awarded a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for the series “How Race is Lived in America.”

Thompson graduated from Purdue University, where she was managing editor of the campus newspaper, The Exponent. She earned a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University, with a focus on human rights law.

 

Who Holds the DEA Accountable When Its Missions Cost Lives?

In 2011, a DEA operation touched off a massacre in a Mexican town, yet the agency never investigated what went wrong.

by Ginger Thompson, ProPublica

June 19, 2017

This story was co-published with The Washington Post.

Leer en Español.

Mark Smith, special to ProPublica

IN EARLY 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained a rare and highly valuable piece of intelligence about the leaders of the Mexico-based Zetas cartel, one of the most powerful, and impenetrable, drug organizations in the world.

An agent in Dallas had persuaded the cartel’s leading cocaine distributor in East Texas to hand over trackable cellphone identification numbers for the group’s most wanted kingpins, in particular Miguel and Omar Treviño, a murderous pair of brothers whose viciousness had earned them top spots among the DEA’s most-wanted.

It was an intelligence coup, the kind of information that comes along once in a very lucky career. With those numbers, authorities could track the brothers’ movements and ultimately capture them. But the DEA made a decision with fatal consequences. Against the wishes of the lead agent on the case — whose informant specifically warned of the potential for bloodshed — the DEA told a Mexican federal police unit with a long history of leaking to traffickers that it had the information.

 

How the U.S. Triggered a Massacre in Mexico

The inside story of a cartel’s deadly assault on a Mexican town near the Texas border — and the U.S. drug operation that sparked it. Read the story.

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Within days, the Zetas were, in turn, told that the DEA was onto their leaders. The Treviño brothers guessed immediately which of the cells in their organization had betrayed them and began hunting for the snitches. When the suspected traitors couldn’t be found, the traffickers went after anyone connected to them.

Dozens, possibly hundreds, of people were killed and kidnapped in and around Allende, a quiet ranching town in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, about 40 minutes from the U.S. border. Zetas gunmen grabbed a 15-year-old high school football player, who was hanging out with friends whose parents ran a health club where one of the suspected snitches lifted weights. They took an 81-year-old woman, as well as her 6-month-old great-grandson. One family lost nearly 20 members.

Black clouds spewed from a local ranch where the cartel turned one building into a makeshift crematorium to burn the bodies of those they had killed.

For years, Mexican authorities did next to nothing to investigate the massacre. Meanwhile people in Allende, understandably distrustful of the authorities sworn to protect them, kept their mouths shut.

Tragically, that outcome has become all too familiar in Mexico, where impunity is a national scourge. Homegrown corruption, greed and fear have bred an epidemic of virtually unchallenged violence. What makes this case different is that the DEA lit the fuse that triggered the slaughter, then stood mutely by — as if it had played no role. DEA officials knew almost immediately that innocent lives had been lost as a result of sharing the intelligence with Mexico. The agency’s response then — and in the years since — nothing.

It didn’t demand answers from its Mexican counterparts, or suspend cooperation with the Mexican police until it could determine how the information was leaked. It didn’t conduct an internal investigation into the decision to share the intelligence or reassess its own rules for giving sensitive information to Mexico. It didn’t report the violence to superiors at the Justice Department or to overseers on Capitol Hill.

And, perhaps underscoring the perception that the lives destroyed were in some way acceptable collateral damage in the war on drugs, it didn’t offer to provide any assistance to those victimized by the leak or resources to help identify and arrest the perpetrators.

I’ve spent most of the last year investigating and documenting the attack on Allende, recording detailed, often gut-wrenching, accounts from those who lived through it and those whose actions helped cause it for ProPublica and National Geographic. Dozens of people in Allende agreed to speak to me on the record, many of them talking publicly for the first time and at great personal risk. Even the former Zetas-turned-informants spoke at length about their roles and their devastating consequences. The assistant U.S. attorney on the case described himself as “devastated.” And eventually, the DEA agent who led the investigation discussed, at times emotionally, his part in the tragedy.

But when presented with this array of voices and evidence, DEA officials refused to explain what, if anything, the agency had done to respond to the massacre. Spokesman Russ Baer would only say that the agency placed blame squarely on the Treviño brothers: “They were killing people before that happened, and they killed people after the numbers were passed.” He told me I needed to be clear on one thing: “This is not a story where the DEA has blood on

its hands.”

That’s technically true, and sadly seems by design. Because of the way Mexico’s drug war is fought, the United States plays a leading role — providing training, equipment and intelligence to security forces with reputations for collaborating with traffickers — without sharing responsibility for the fallout.

Mark Smith, special to ProPublica

Some Mexican counternarcotics units or programs — including the one implicated in the Allende massacre — wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the United States. American taxpayers have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Mexico’s counternarcotics programs over the years. But other than vague lists of kingpins who have been arrested and the occasional made-for-TV photo op of seized drugs, there is almost no public accounting of what those efforts have accomplished, much less of the ways they’ve failed, or of any toll they’ve taken.

This carefully choreographed arrangement is convenient for Mexico, as well. It allows that country’s government to assert that its police and armed forces do not take orders from the gringos. Meanwhile, the United States can claim credit when it helps Mexico capture a kingpin, but profess innocence when things go wrong.

Sergio Aguayo is a prominent Mexican human rights investigator at the Colegio de Mexico, which last year launched an independent probe into the Allende massacre. He told me: “The United States and its

role remains an enigma. But the one thing that seems clear is that the government has its policies against organized crime, and pursues them without taking into account the impacts on Mexican society.” Aguayo said that may not be the intent, “but the affects are clear and inhumane.”

Certainly, the United States does not intend for massacres to happen. The DEA’s goal upon obtaining intelligence on the Zetas, part of an operation called Too Legit to Quit, was a good one: to bring an end to the cartel’s reign of terror. The agency had trained and vetted the members of the Mexican federal police unit with which it shared information about the intelligence. But the so-called Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) operates with a fundamental flaw that neither Mexico nor the United States has had the political will to fix: The unit’s Mexican supervisors are exempt from scrutiny.

“The unit is only as strong as its weakest link,” said a former senior DEA official who spent much of his career in Mexico. “If the supervisor isn’t vetted, then what’s the point of vetting anybody?”

But DEA agents I’ve spoken to said that Mexico would shut down the program before submitting its leaders to U.S. inspection. And the DEA believes having the vetted unit, even with the possibility of corruption, is better than not having it at all. Despite its weaknesses, they say, the unit has aided in

important arrests.

Law enforcement sources close to the Allende case in United States blamed a Mexican supervisor in the vetted unit for the leak that triggered the Zetas’ attack. It wouldn’t be the first time. Over the two decades that I have been writing from and about Mexico, the SIU has been remade numerous times, either as part of a complete overhaul of the federal police, or because the unit had been infiltrated by drug traffickers. Or in some cases, the two went hand-in-hand.

Earlier this year, one of the unit’s supervisors, Ivan Reyes Arzate, turned himself in to authorities in Chicago who had charged him with leaking information to drug traffickers. Two of his predecessors at the unit, according to current and former DEA officials, were assassinated.

Expanded vetting couldn’t hurt. But it’s not foolproof, as the DEA has learned in partnerships with other national police forces. A vetted supervisor in Colombia, one DEA agent told me, was passing information to traffickers. “That information led to several cooperators being executed,” he said, “along with some of their family members.”

What the DEA could easily do, however, is establish firm and formal protocols for exchanging information with Mexico. Current and former DEA officials describe the system as loose and somewhat random, with agents independently making decisions — based on experience and relationships — about who to share information with both inside the DEA and among foreign counterparts.

This looseness is driven, in part, by shifting networks of corruption, some veteran agents said: Certain Mexican security forces might leak to a specific cartel, but reliably pursue another. They learned accordingly what to share with whom.

Another thing the agency could do is create mandatory accounting procedures that track the results of its operations. And finally, it could and should thoroughly investigate leaks, especially those with

disastrous consequences, and report their findings to the Justice Department and Congress.

Yes, that may slow down a process that by its very nature requires speed — drug traffickers change their cellphone numbers every few weeks, precisely to avoid detection. But it could also save lives. There’s still no firm count of how many people were killed and kidnapped in and around Allende. A Mexican colleague and I found some 60 people whose deaths or disappearances have been linked to the Zetas’ siege by relatives, friends, court records, victims’ support groups and news accounts.

The DEA has been criticized for its role in other high-profile foreign drug operations gone awry, most recently in Honduras. If American authorities are going to operate in Mexican communities we should be prepared to treat the people who live in them as we would our own.

 

Ginger Thompson is a senior reporter for ProPublica. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Thompson was previously a national and foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

 

 

 

ZAZ COMMUNICATIONS By Javier Rodriguez   Los Angeles      16 June 2017

ICE is silently  raiding, hunting, and SEEKING every possible opening in the courts, school environments, work sites, researching all 800,000 DACA  DREAMers, immigrant activists  and the homes of the nation’s 11.3 undocumented immigrants, as it recently happened -twice in the same home-  in LA’s Boyle Heights community of 100,000 population, of which 95% are Latinos. ICE raided and arrested a mother which immediately sparked intense community pressure led by her activist daughter Claudia Rueda, and, in a matter of days she was set free.

Claudia is an unregistered DREAMer, a CSULA student, a community leader, a passionate unafraid activist and she is not a criminal. The only spot on her record is a civil disobedience detention for defending the undocumented.

With these credentials, the LA ICE Brass politically decided to arrest her and deport her, as they did with Elvira Arellano in 2007. The young activist was then spied upon by ICE agents close to her home, not far from where I live. When she stepped out for an errand, she was grabbed and immediately sent to the San Diego Detention Center.

Again the community went up in arms and organized protests demanding her freedom in Boyle Heights and in San Diego. Creatively, the area’s leaders and activists had a press event in front of Claudia’s home. The protesters and Claudia supporters are part of the people enraged against the gross scapegoating of immigrants and Latinos by the Trump Administration. Leonardo Vilchis of Union de Vecinos, asked a poignant question to the hundreds of thousands watching the news: Are we going to have to stop ICE from taking our people in our own neighborhood?

Could organized Boyle Heights community prevented Claudia’s ICE arrest?

A few days later, another protest ensued to also demand her freedom. This time it was called by UTLA, the 50,000 militant teachers union, Claudia’s family, students and community activists. Shunning the traditional downtown sites, organizers staged it at the symbolic Roosevelt High School with a 6,000 student body 97% Latino.  It is also Claudia’s Alma Mater and mine.  

This school has witnessed a historic set of generations of struggle by students, teachers, staff and parents going back the 1968-70 student walkouts to the 2006-07 Latino Mega marches and boycotts, when again  many schools walked out and marched to the tune of 370,000 students  in California and Southwestern states, and Roosevelt never wavered. 

These socio-political accomplishments are planted historical marks which unfortunately are not part of the present curriculum of the school system. Even though, the Student Walkouts or student strikes of the late sixties were part of the civil rights struggle for equality which accused the school boards of institutional racism and discrimination.

36 years later, it was clearly the issues of immigration reform, separation of families, the anguish and widespread fear of raids and deportations. Students joined their parents in the marches of millions of immigrants and Latinos in the immigrant Spring of 2006.  Roosevelt High along with hundreds of other schools and were key in defeating the infamous xenophobic Sensenbrenner Law which, like today, criminalized immigrants and anyone who in any form assisted the undocumented.

Claudia was set free by the people’s protest and her defense.  By winning her freedom, the community has won a major victory that is spreading like wildfire in the nation. Also, the fact the supportive events were staged and televised from Claudia’s eastside neighborhood, set a precedent and are highly important because the psychology of fear in the barrios is real and deep. I assume that after a rest she will again join the trenches of the fight against ICE, Homeland Security and the embattled ultra-right winger Pres. Donald Trump.

 

BARRIO DEFENSE NETWORK AGAINST ICE

Last January, before Trump was seated as President, I met with leaders of the Hermandad Mexicana TransNacional as a political advisor to discuss what is to be done, to defend immigrants and Latinos against the Trump Administration brutal attacks on all Americans.  After listening carefully to the women leaders of this historic organization, I proposed the making of a Community Defense Network to directly confront and block ICE from the moment their patrol caravans enter the neighborhoods to the point of arrest. To do this the network must be built and composed of residents volunteers from, Hermandad members, the local churches, Unions, small businesses, and the vital piece, “The Social Networks”.

Javier Rodriguez is a co-founder of the March 25 Coalition, a journalist, a blogger and a Media and Political Advisor