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Social Media Becomes the New Front In Mexico's Drug War

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the hashtag-i'm-the-one-who-knocks dept.

Social Networks 120

An anonymous reader writes "The drug cartels operating in Mexico have often been compared to large corporations, with their own codified leadership hierarchy, recruitment methods, and accounting practices. But part of any big corporation's playbook is a marketing/PR plan. The cartels have long operated a version of those, too, by threatening journalists and killing civilians who speak up. Like any corporation these days, the drug cartels have recognized the power of social media, and they're using it more and more to propagate their messages of intimidation and violence. Quoting: 'Six days after Beltran Leyva's death, gunmen murdered family members of the only Mexican marine killed in the apartment complex siege — including the marine's mother. That same day, a fire was set at a nearby school where a banner was flown, warning that more killings would follow if the federal government made any further attempts to interfere in cartel actions. Photos of the school were then tweeted and shared in status updates — a reply to images of Beltran Leyva's corpse being shared on social media.'"

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Same as the US TLAs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46636915)

What's the difference between the cartels and the CIA etc?

Re:Same as the US TLAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46636965)

One turns a profit, the others not so much.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637309)

You're a fool if you think either of them dont turn a profit.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637017)

One of them has a vested interest in ensuring that drugs remain illegal so there's no risk in losing their major source of profit, and the other isnt affiliated in government in any way.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (1, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#46637279)

So true, sadly this is the U.S. govt. From 'Contragate' when crack cocaine was allowed to flood American cities in order for Col. Oliver North to pay for his little wars. Our own government created the 1980's crack epidemic, then made money as it prosecuted the addicts. Courts and lawyers had plenty of work, a lot of money changed hands all around while the addicted citizens and their families suffered. All 'approved' by those in power.

Just legalize all drugs already. Take the profit motive away, and soon we won't have to hear any more of these drug gang stories.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638185)

If drugs were legal Miami wouldn't be the city it is today.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (1, Insightful)

n Rahimi (2983451) | about 5 months ago | (#46638517)

how it would be ??? i think much better

Re:Same as the US TLAs (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#46638627)

Which is why drugs will never be legal. There's too many powerful people getting their beak wet. Make drugs legal and Mexico will no longer be a blood-drenched narco state. Without the constant threat of violence, why would their honest, hard-working people flee across the border to pick our tomatoes on the cheap?

And if drugs are legal, where else will we find non-violent "criminals" to fill our private prisons? Who else will they turn into the hardened criminals that are their repeat business? Without the hardened criminals, how will they terrorize the white middle class, and convince them to pay for the police state, and buy the weapons for the militarized police? Hell no we can't make drugs legal. Illegal drugs are too profitable.

Legalize all the drugs . . . (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638787)

. . . and the addicts will still suffer. Only there will be more of them when dope is legal and marketed to the young and so on. "Feeling bad? Heroine makes you feel better. Bored? Cocaine makes you cool! LSD brings more color! Tired? Amphetamine fixes that!"

The rich might get some quality drugs with known strength and no nasty additives. The poor would still get stuff cut with rat poison, as rat poison is still cheaper than legal heroine. People will still die from overdoses and side effects. And instead of getting a prescription from a doctor, they will buy pharmaceuticals directly from a now legal pusher. It is so much cheaper - never mind that some drugs need carefully measured doses or have unexpected reactions with other drugs. Problems that your doctor will handle with care, and your cheaper pusher will not.

And would the crime gangs disappear? Nope. Legal drugs means you can compete legally with the mafia and the mexican drug lords. But do you think they will let you compete? From a legal standpoint, you don't really have to pay the mob 'protection money' either. They will keep competition out as they expand into the larger legal market. They don't need the government to create a high-price monopoly - they already have plenty of experience in burying competitors in nearby landfills.

Re:Legalize all the drugs . . . (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#46640389)

Kids/teens here in Long Island, N.Y. start off by stealing legal opiate pain pills from their parents medecine cabinet. Parents lock away the pills, which are quite expensive to buy on the street, so kids have no choice but cheaper heroin. Big Pharm is the big drug dealer now, making billions.

Teach kids in middle/high schools about drug addiction along with English, and stop making our own kids into addicts, thieving to support their habit.

Alcohol makers don't want the competition of legal drugs, and alcohol is the most destructive drug in the world! Combine all other drug use, and it still doesn't match alcohol's social, physical and societal damage.

Alcohol lobbyist pay lots of $$$ to our politicians to keep alcohol the only legal recreational drug.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637889)

You make it sound easy! They make money off of Heroin/Coke/and apparently they've stepped up there game, creating labs for making purer version of prescription painkillers, along with the synthetic/black/underground drugs, of course that means they are also mixing those painkillers in with other drugs.

  The US government has tried to claim these cartels make a balk of their money of off marijuana, and I wish I still had the citation for a report that the feds really didn't try to hide from the public that some 90+% of pot smoked in the US is grown in the US.

You can use Amsterdam as an example of what happens when you put in good laws/regulations that have made Heroin [medical grade] legal, and confined to clinics.. On top of that, there's the logic that legalizing these drugs would see reduced usage, since most people do them because they are illegal. What's dumbfounding, and it could be government agencies cooking the books, is how heroin use has risen. I am not sure if it is due to marijuana being legal and people lost the appeal in smoking it, or because Heroin is surprisingly cheap, compared to marijuana, the prices around here are said to be 10 bux per bag.

And I wonder if the US government isn't getting extra funding by seizing bank accounts. However I also wonder if what their claiming on the cost of this BS war on drugs, is also being bloated on purpose, I have yet to find out exactly what, if anything their getting from this, or possible deals they have with countries to get a large chunk of the drug money.

Re:Same as the US TLAs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637411)

Legalize drugs - use the tax money from sales for education and profit. Then, one by one, find these cartel barbarians AND the people who enable them. Hunt them down, one by one, no matter how long it takes. Make the hunting clandestine and severe enough to make these scum never stop looking over their shoulders for as long as they live, like the Nazi killlers after WWII. Find them all; jail them all. If they resist, kill them.

Mandate real names, a great idea. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46636921)

Sometimes good folks have something to hide. Their identities from bad folks.

Re:Mandate real names, a great idea. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46636951)

So glad I don't do social media.

Would not help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637405)

Police already don't bother going after the footsoldiers of these crime orgianisations. A requirement to use your 'real' name would be easily circumvented. Or they'd steal someone's identity to place messages. Or they'd force someone to place messages for them.

Social media are just a method of communication, you have to attack the comiting of crimes.

Re:Mandate real names, a great idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637737)

Sometimes good folks have something to hide. Their identities from bad folks.

Yes, because cartel hitmen did not exist before Facebook, and all trigger-men carry out their orders on Twitter, and validate their killings via Snapchat.

Social media will not help or hide you from that kind of power and corruption any more than you think you could hide from the NSA. Use your head.

.gif Hacking heads with chainsaws was enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46636975)

.gif Hacking heads with chainsaws was enough for me.
I remember reading (I think here, on slashdot) that Youtube is flooded with Mexical Drug cartel videos.

Re:.gif Hacking heads with chainsaws was enough (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 months ago | (#46640497)

yes, their bizarre fetish with cat video's is beyond evil.

I wonder what their grannies think. (1)

swamp_ig (466489) | about 5 months ago | (#46636987)

I hope the local police / government doesn't give in to this intimidation. What's next?

Re:I wonder what their grannies think. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#46637105)

Demands for more funding and more prison space, of course.

Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (3, Interesting)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 5 months ago | (#46637171)

I have wondered how far the Cartels will push the government before they just decide to cut the military loose with a death list that includes anyone even remotely involved with the Cartels. At some point the society as a whole is going to get scared/angry and demand a harsh crackdown. When tanks start rolling your million dollar estates, all the AK-47s in the world aren't going to save you.

In any event, it is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1, Funny)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 5 months ago | (#46637303)

The cartels are armed with much better weapons than AK-47s...

And the Mexican Army lacks much in the way of a modern tank force, nor would tanks do that much good in cities anyway. They are useful, but not as much as you'd think...

What might be more helpful would be a US Army invasion, but that is another matter... :)

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637439)

Without the cartels there to provide the evil boogyman of 'drugs'...

We're going to wise up that we employ millions of law enforcment people who provide no useful thing for our country.

You think we're going to give up that cash cow anytime soon? The US goverment is one of the drug cartels biggest supporters.

The worst thing the US did to Mexico... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638101)

...was give it back to the Mexicans after the Mexican War.

Re:The worst thing the US did to Mexico... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638813)

Fucking Spaniards! They really screwed over the natives. Haves and have-nots. Guess which group belongs to what class?!

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46639027)

To my knowledge, Mexico possesses an air force. Air forces are used to drop bombs on enemy locations using airplanes (and to use other airplanes to protect the ones carrying bombs).

It really can't be that hard to figure out where these cartels operate from. Once you know that, the solution is simple: drop bombs on them. You can't have an operating cartel if their mansions and other bases are blown to smithereens.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637313)

... the Cartels will push the government ...

The point of crime is to maximize profits: This means that criminal gangs usually run on shoe-string budget with the bosses keeping all the money. However, if a gang decides to operate (and fund) their own 'justice' system, the police lose all advantage.

... the military loose with a death list ...

Look at the middle-east, with their bodyguards, blood-feuds and terrorism for a preview of what that means.

... society as a whole ...

Society as a whole isn't demanding the criminalization of drugs: Remember, the USA sponsors these laws on a global scale. A country could include drug-running into the fabric of society.

The cartels have murdered people for saying the wrong thing, which makes society as a whole very angry. Because the point of society is various forms of protection which is lost when gangs conduct haphazard murder. But justice gangs don't have to worry about the average citizen (and shouldn't). They need to control the real opposition which is the police.

... aren't going to save you. ...

This goes back to the police having the advantage. Unfortunately, the gangs are becoming technologically savy and sinking money into infrastructure which supports their enterprise. The police may not win an arms race against such gangs.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (2)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46638349)

But justice gangs don't have to worry about the average citizen (and shouldn't). They need to control the real opposition which is the police.

The power of the average citizen is knowledge and real time awareness of what's going on. If the police know who and where to strike, if the witnesses to crime come forward to finger cartel targets, that's the end of the cartel.

Obviously, it's not happening at least very quickly. Another end state here is that one or more cartels becomes the new government.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637689)

When tanks start rolling your million dollar estates, all the AK-47s in the world aren't going to save you.

A) The drug cartels have anti tank weapons.
B) They aren't above going after the friends and families of the soldiers.
C) The million dollar estates are likely to be empty by the time the tanks get there. It's not like the cartels doesn't have people both in the police force and in the military.
D) Why would the government send the military loose on the cartels? That would just remove the bribes the politicians are receiving while endangering their friends and families.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46641927)

Can't unleash the military who clearly is already infiltrated, and can easily be intimidated into submission on a personal/family level via highly brutal/violent/painful deaths & threats of family & friends.. Blackwater/Xe mercenaries or w/e they call themselves now, are even more susceptible to bribery/intimidation by cartels. Private mercernary armies are going to be working for the cartels, not to protect the little people. Its like the writers of the walking dead write: there are still some good people, but mostly bad people. The bad people have an advantage in that they always get the first shot since they have no moral compass other than fear of their own hierarchy. So go on letting everyone know where you and your loved ones are at - & on a 24/7 time frame via social media! Humanity has surely fucked this planet.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46637933)

Easier and cheaper just to do it wild west style. Put up "Wanted, Dead or Alive" posters of all the top cartel guys. Offer big money for them and let the bounty hunters do the job.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#46638015)

If you think that is easy and cheap....I have this bridge in NYC for sale, and man is it a steal!

You seriously think someone putting up those posters wont be found hanging from a brige with posters nailed to his corpse? These Cartels are not street gangs like we have street gangs now. They are better armed, better funded, and in some cases....are the police.

Shit the Zetas, ever heard of them? They were started by police.

There is no easy way out now that these monsters have been created. Created by naieve people seeking simple solutions. People who thought they could enforce away drug problems.... they failed to change addiction rates (their basic goal) and instead, created violent street gangs...here and around the world.

Now this is the result. The same result as alcohol prohibition gave us, except amplified because instead of a short 15 or so years, its been going on for generations now.

Frankly, every single one of those drug warriers who created this situation deserve to be strung up from their necks in appreciation for the mess they made while trying and failing to control people's desires.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (2, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#46638691)

The zetas scare me shitless. I've heard people say there's no such thing as "evil" in the world, but those people have never read up on the zetas. Cold, cold sweat shit.

The way to win the war on drugs is to make drugs legal so there's no longer that 17,000% profit motive, but that isn't happening any time soon because the American prison, weapons and law enforcement industries make too much money off illegal drugs.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

operagost (62405) | about 5 months ago | (#46641141)

You'd think the people who are for prohibition based on the deaths and illness caused by illegal drugs, would realize that shifting the deaths from the people who are responsible for their own fate onto the peaceful people caught in the crossfire is not a superior outcome.

The results of the drug prohibition experiment, from the worldwide laboratory, prove that government meddling in the human right to self-determination results in evil.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#46641377)

Oh yeah, you'd think. "But what about the children?!?" Yeah, what about the children in Mexico who's parents get their damn heads chopped off and delivered to them in a box?

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#46640035)

There is a very simple way out. It's called the end of prohibition.

In no time at all the cartels will be starved of the money they need to operate, without the millions in cash they can't pay the security and they cant bribe the government officials. The result will be a massive loss of the men that make up their force and a government suddenly willing to tackle taking down the key players.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46641393)

... or they turn to other forms to organized crime once they can't make money on drugs.

Don't get me wrong, drugs should be legalized, but prohibition created the mob and it didn't go away. Cleaning up after this prohibition is going to still be a lot of work and very messy, just less messy than the status quo.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 4 months ago | (#46641979)

Except they already have the money. The real truth is likely that you are half right. However, they will not be "tackled". No, they will take their money, and existing expertise, and become the next version Kennedy and Rockefeller families.

40 years down the line, Mexico will be electing their children to office.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (2)

crtreece (59298) | about 5 months ago | (#46638443)

how far the Cartels will push the government before they just decide to cut the military loose

Using some of their giant stream of incoming cash to bribe top govt and military officials means the cartel leaders don't have to worry about this. I expect they just consider bribes as one of the costs of doing business.

Re:Wise criminals stay in the shadows... (2)

ikhider (2837593) | about 5 months ago | (#46640317)

Haha, silly children. The Mexican army is in on it too. So is the government. Drugs bring in more money than tourism, crops, and oil combined. So is the US government and a lot of civil servants. This is business. American style.

Re:I wonder what their grannies think. (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#46637349)

A lot of the police/government are on the cartels' payroll.

That's the problem with endemic corruption. If you try to fix just one part of it, the other parts resist. You have to somehow simultaneously fix all of it.

Re:I wonder what their grannies think. (2)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#46638739)

And they have to be. If you're a new cop who's gonna "make a difference!" and "fight drugs!" in Mexico, what happens right after you start walking your beat is a dude pulls you aside and says, "hey, friend, there's two ways we can do this. You take this money right here, and we'll make sure your block is safe, your home is safe, or, you refuse to take this money and we kill you, but not until we chop off the heads and rip out the tongues of every person you love. So, which is it gonna be, pal? You gonna be well-fed, safe and happy? Right? Good choice, friend. Good choice."

Re:I wonder what their grannies think. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46637841)

Local police?

Government?

The cartel killed the local police and turned the local government into slaves years ago.

Mexico makes Somali look like a day care.

The mexican military either works for/with them, or is deathly afraid of them ... because they'll kill you ... your mother and 3 generations in every direction from you, and then ... then they threaten to get nasty.

just track em (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46637023)

and use the content as evidence for criminal intimidation and the etc. !!!!
To think of it ..social media ?? pfft .. the firey banner seems more "cartely" ..

Re:just track em (1)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#46639837)

Won't do much good. The social media officers in these cartels are expendable. Track one by their login credentials and apprehend them. And they'll just be replaced by the next one.

They won't turn on their employers either. The cartel penalty for testifying is far worse then that for not cooperating with the authorities.

Citizenship (0)

Dollyknot (216765) | about 5 months ago | (#46637029)

These are issues that go back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks.

The concept of the citizen is that he/she has rights and responsibilities, this idea must have the full force of the law behind it. The idea of private armies and police forces must be ruthlessly stamped on by the forces of democracy.

Rule of law should be the King and Queen of public order.

The idea that things should be run by the likes of Al Capone, or corrupt law men like John Edgar Hoover, should be stamped on hard.

Lawmakers need to do the right thing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637059)

All it would take is a single strike of the pen to remove the cartels' entire purpose for existing, along with the massive societal benefits of no more overcrowding in prisons, no more lives being ruined because of absurd and unjust laws, the possible breakthroughs which can never happen so long as the research is illegal, and the reversal of the militarization of police forces around the country. Prohibition is a proven failure, and factually creates criminals out of innocent people and problems where there were none before.

There is absolutely no benefit to prohibition (and even if there were, they're negligible compared to all the problems it creates) - it should be repealed immediately.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46637089)

No, it's not about drugs, because Canada has all the same drug trafficking issues, but without the violence (really, look up the estimates of how much marijuana comes to the US from Canada).

Mexico has had violence and gangs of some sort or another for hundreds of years. Just think of the legendary El Guapo [youtube.com] and Santa Ana, about whom songs have been written.

When drugs are gone, you still have the kidnappings and the corruption. People in the US get upset when the police taze someone; compare that to Mexican police.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about 5 months ago | (#46637163)

they would still fight without the narco money.

BUT and here is the big but, they would have to start farming something profitable and do actual business in their turfs(towns, really). try paying the henchmen in few bags of corn and see if it works out..

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638515)

BUT and here is the big but, they would have to start farming something profitable and do actual business in their turfs(towns, really).

The one thing that legalization of marijuana has shown that it increases consumer demand and produces more drug dealers. Those with the most resources still get the majority of the market revenue.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

Copid (137416) | about 5 months ago | (#46639265)

Of course it increases consumer demand, but not by enough to offset the eventual drop in price from a competitive market. Marijuana is ridiculously easy to produce. The only reason the prices are above the price of any cheap-ass plant is the short supply and lack of competition among producers. You'd be talking about a massive drop in total profits, not to mention competition from large producers in the US. Tobacco companies could bury the cartels in the marijuana market, especially if we put a tiny tariff on imported weed.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (4, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 5 months ago | (#46637287)

When drugs are gone, you still have the kidnappings and the corruption.

I really doubt that you would have it on the same level as we have it today, but I don't think that is the reason to legalize drugs.

We should legalize drugs because it is the right thing to do. The drug laws are a relic of the past when people thought that it was okay to legislate their brand of morality. We now know that drug prohibition causes much more harm than good, and so that makes it dangerous and wrong to continue down the prohibition path. The war on drugs is a failure, and to keep pushing for these laws either means that you're insane, or you want to manipulate the public or are being manipulated.

I do think that as a side benefit of legalization we will see less violence and criminal activity by the cartels, less money to corrupt politicians, less money to buy arms, less money to pay muscle, etc. etc, but of course we won't see these benefits if we don't even try.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (2)

hjf (703092) | about 5 months ago | (#46637719)

Opium was legal in China. How did that work?

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (4, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#46637781)

Opium was legal in China. How did that work?

The same way it worked for hundreds of years in the United States before they started making things like laudanum(opium) and marijuana illegal. And these products weren't just sitting in your grandpas stash box. They were in the family medicine cabinet, and marketed as such.

Moderation is key with anything in life, and we certainly try and make that statement with all other legal but highly addictive products like tobacco and alcohol. I don't see why legalizing other drugs would or should be treated any differently. Marijuana is already on its way to legalization, and opium is very much welcome in the United States in the form of the trillion-dollar industry that is opiate-based painkillers. They went straight past drug reform and just made it completely legal and controlled. A bottle of opium is only a government-subsidized $5 script away for most, which explains the growing problem with painkiller addiction.

Moderation doesn't work very well for the ignorant.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 5 months ago | (#46640747)

A bottle of opium is only a government-subsidized $5 script away for most, which explains the growing problem with painkiller addiction.

Exactly This.
This is why the "war on drugs" exists in the first place. It's a knee jerk reaction to a justifiable fear of addiction.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637809)

I believe the consensus is that opium put china on hold for some 100-200 years and possibly moved their entire society backwards, and the strict drug policies put in place by the communist government is considered one of the only reasons china started moving forward again.

But hey, trying to get the typical "legalize drugs!" ass hat to open a history book is more or less a lost cause. They can't understand that, though some which are currently illegal should probably be legalized, there's many out there that most certainly should not be legalized.

They fail to realize the biggest problem with US drug policy isn't what's legal and what isn't, but how addicts are dealt with. They equate pot with everything else and think meth and heroin should be on the same par as pot and completely ignore the fact that these are drugs one can't use casually, and once addicted, are literally nothing but drains on society. People who you will either have to feed and supply drugs to because they're unable to work, or have them commit crimes so they can get their fix. You watch it in the media all the time, big name rock star becomes addicted to heroin, band falls apart because big name rock stars inability to show up to the studio, show up to the concert, if they do show up to the concert, inability to actually play. Access for these sorts of things shouldn't be made easier, but for damn sure, treatment should not include a felony charge keeping them from working and they should probably be put into some sort of treatment center. And they probably shouldn't be released until it's believed their chance of relapse is low. Without the felony conviction, they won't have a hard time getting a job hopefully, and be less likely to relapse by hopefully mixing with a better crowd. Of course that treatment course is based mostly on speculation.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 5 months ago | (#46637915)

The US already have a mandatory treatment program for non-violent addicts and pot heads, they put them in jail [wikipedia.org] .

My kingdom for mod points. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 5 months ago | (#46640089)

The rationale amongst many who lack historical perspective is hopelessly simplistic. The "prohibition didn't work, so let's solve the problem of drugs the same way we solved the problem of alcohol" argument completely ignores the fact that we DIDN'T solve the problem of alcohol. Alcohol has become a massively abused drug that causes all kinds of harm. It destroys families, is highly addictive, results in self-destructive behaviour and is responsible for a surprisingly large number of hospital trauma cases. Yet we hand-wave away this as part of what it means to have freedom because it has become socially acceptable, and the harms associated natural part of human behaviour. I don't want to live in a world where we get so used to other drugs' deleterious effects that we consider heroin addiction, crack habits and meth death to be a natural part of human behaviour.

Making something legal just because our politicians lack the will to engage in a sincere effort to enforce laws regulating it is a poor, shortsighted and ultimately disastrous attitude to take.

Re:My kingdom for mod points. (1)

operagost (62405) | about 5 months ago | (#46641189)

Fighting drug use moves the death and hardship from the user to law enforcement and innocent people caught in the crossfire. The genie is out of the bottle. People are going to die-- we get to say whether it is those who are responsible for their own actions, or people trying to help.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (2)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#46638163)

It was also legal in England, and most of the world at the same time. Why pick just one example?

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46639509)

"No, it's not about drugs, because Canada has all the same drug trafficking issues, but without the violence (really, look up the estimates of how much marijuana comes to the US from Canada)."

Are you seriously equating pot smugglers/growers with cocaine and meth cartels? These arent Mexican pot growers we're talking about.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637337)

Take their main source of money away and they have to move to other enterprises to keep their organization alive.

Kidnappings-blackmail-ransom, selling organs, child prostitution, weapon trafficking, assassinations, protection rackets, robbery maybe? & etc

Depends on how far one is willing to go really.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (3, Interesting)

quantaman (517394) | about 5 months ago | (#46637561)

Take their main source of money away and they have to move to other enterprises to keep their organization alive.

Kidnappings-blackmail-ransom, selling organs, child prostitution, weapon trafficking, assassinations, protection rackets, robbery maybe? & etc

Depends on how far one is willing to go really.

They sell drugs because the money is easiest and they have a competitive advantage with a large organization (manufacturing, retails, supply chains, etc). If you take the drugs away the replacement rackets are lower revenue and require smaller orgs. Both factors that reduce the size of the operations.

You'll still have organized crime but not the kind that grows to the scale of a large retail chain.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (2, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 months ago | (#46637413)

Ah, yes, as soon as I saw this topic I knew someone would be along to blame it all on America.

Can you imagine a world without America? There wouldn't be *any* problems, anywhere. Especially in Mexico, all of whose problems are entirely caused by the "gringos" (foreigners). Amazing, eh? When America blames its problems on foreigners, it's a ruse to divert attention from the real problems...but when Mexico does it it's different. Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to America.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637495)

Ah, yes, as soon as I saw this topic I knew someone would be along to blame it all on America.

Indeed, you just did yourself. The person you replied to was discussing laws and there indirect consequences, there was no assertion of blame on America being levelled.

Tell me, what exactly is it that you fell so guilty about?

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637661)

And we all knew someone like you would come along and pretend that it has absolutely nothing to do with America.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637703)

Ah, yes, as soon as I saw this topic I knew someone would be along to blame it all on America.

You only see the drugs being smuggled into the US but the road goes both ways. The majority of the weapons the drug cartels have are manufactured in the US and smuggled to Mexico.
The US gun industry and interest groups are essentially funded by drug money.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46640485)

This is often repeated, and often backed up with nonsense statistics, but the US gun industry does not spend all day manufacturing machine guns for Mexico.
Also, the guns used by the cartels are usually also illegal for general ownership in the US.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638729)

Aunque nos hagan la fama
De que somos vendedores
De la droga que sembramos
Ustedes son consumidores

Even though we've gotten famous
For being the the dealers
Of the drug that we grow
You (You'all) are the users

Frijolero - Molotov [youtube.com] (Has English subtitles)

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46640743)

Ah, yes, as soon as I saw this topic I knew someone would be along to blame it all on America.

America did not create the drug cartels, but drug cartels make insane amounts of money from American drug buyers. We could easily take the drug cartels income and divert it back into our economy. It would help Americans a lot. It would help the Mexicans trying to resist the cartels at least a little. Those are the facts.

Apparently you'd rather see those facts as an opportunity to whine about people "blaming America" than do so much as rub two brain-cells together thinking about how we can keep America great. As an American, I'm going to have to point out the obvious: America is not why the world sucks. People like you are.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637675)

You don't understand the nature of organized crime. It is not about legality or illegality of its merchandise, it is about establishing and keeping a monopoly over any highly lucrative business, using pressure by force and terror. Once you remove the nominal reason to keep them outlawed, they will own governments openly and keep upping the oppression over population. They will only grow in strength by having on their payroll not just their trusty henchmen but also their former adversaries, payed from other people's (our) money.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#46638181)

So, they kill people, they extort, they threaten, etc.. but if drugs are legal, they'll suddenly be able to do all those things legally?

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46639695)

So, they kill people, they extort, they threaten, etc.. but if drugs are legal, they'll suddenly be able to do all those things legally?

Why does the Miller Brewing Company NOT do these things?

Why are Coors and Budweiser not shooting it out with each other across a cool, mountain stream?

It is not from a lack of desire to make money but rather these techniques are not - generally - profitable in a (somewhat) free and (somewhat) civilized society. Take away freedom and civilization, and "kill, extort, threaten" becomes not just profitable but maybe even necessary survival tactics.

As for things like protection money and kidnappings, once you have setup a criminal organization, there are few obstacles to any laws. So we hear about drugs, kidnappings, and murder in Mexico. Why don't we hear as much about rape and prostitution? Not because it isn't happening, it is such a blip on the radar that it is hardly news in comparison.

Ending the drug war is ending the easy money that doesn't require nearly as much violence as extortion or kidnapping. End the easy money and hopefully these organizations slowly give way to legitimate businesses. Same people. Same human nature. Much different outcome.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

Copid (137416) | about 5 months ago | (#46639439)

The point is to make the business less lucrative by injecting competition into the system. Start with marijuana and go from there. It looks like about half of cartel revenue is marijuana. If you crash the price of marijuana by letting US producers start to produce it, you essentially turn it into the paperclip business. Yes, the paperclip business has a lot of money sloshing around in it and big producers could make quite a lot of money, but margins are so thin that there's no incentive for criminal activity and not enough profits to support it anyway. You never hear about organized crime and corruption in the paperclip business.

Other drugs may be stickier, but it seems to me like pot is a no brainer.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638475)

I agree. With one stroke of a pen we can send armed forces in to Mexico and take down the Cartels with the full lethal force of the U.S. military.

Re:Lawmakers need to do the right thing (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#46638765)

But, where's the money in that?

front? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 5 months ago | (#46637071)

I feel like the place where the bullets are flying through the air, and people are dying, is the real front.......

Is it retro news day? (2, Insightful)

cayce (189143) | about 5 months ago | (#46637093)

This has been ongoing for at least a decade in Mexico. From the infamous blogdelnarco to twitter. I don't see how this is news today.

The muzzies have been doing this for years (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46637259)

The muzzies have been doing this for years, with their beheading videos, and the "look what you made me do when you drew a nasty picture" posts

What's a "muzzie"? (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 5 months ago | (#46637387)

The humans have been doing this for years, with their beheadings, and the "look what you made me do when you drew a nasty picture".
Also, chimpanzees, even without nasty pictures!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re:What's a "muzzie"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46639753)

Yeah, what's the big deal? Why say anything about it?

Old News (1)

wienerschnizzel (1409447) | about 5 months ago | (#46637429)

Didn't all this happen 5 years ago? Why bring it up now and call it "The dark side of social media"?

Re:Old News (2, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 5 months ago | (#46637469)

Didn't all this happen 5 years ago? Why bring it up now and call it "The dark side of social media"?

It will become clear when you look at the surrounding news of NSA agreeing they spy on Americans who are "socially connected" to terrorists by a few degrees of separation.

There has to be a good reason lying around for the public mind to latch onto in order to manufacture consent. [youtube.com] I'm going to keep posting this link until you watch it and stop asking silly questions about news.

Twitter as well (4, Informative)

barlevg (2111272) | about 5 months ago | (#46637621)

Just saw a talk about the Narcotweet project. [aaai.org] The interesting part about Narcotweet is that it's documenting the emergence of a new kind of "journalism:" the "tweet curator" who aggregates local social media reporting. These people are routinely followed by bigger news media (CNN en Espanol) yet maintain extremely strong ties to the people witnessing these things first-hand. The power of this entire project is that it's a way of getting information from places where the conventional news sources have decided it's too risky / too expensive to send *actual* reporters.

make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46637645)

Make drugs legal, collect taxes and this idiotic war is over. Addicts will use drugs no matter what.

1g of cocaine will cost 1 USD or less where it's made. Sell this shit at 10-50 USD a pop in local pharmacy and cartels will fall fast.

Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46637863)

Go ahead and try to do that.

They'll kill you too.

You aren't going to ruin their perfectly massive money supply any more than some guy trying to rat them out or take them on.

They not only kill anyone (police, military, whatever) who fucks with them, but they'll kill you for just mentioning the name of their gang on a blog. Then your mom, dad, son, daughter, wife ... all the way through your 11th cousin twice removed.

They'll wipe out every person they can find in your blood line, and then DARE the police or military to respond.

Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#46638831)

hmmm. Well, will they go after my ex?

Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46642041)

I really fail to see them slaugthering millions of citizens of the USA after it has legalised drugs...

Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 5 months ago | (#46639911)

Typical naivete. Organized crime didn't disappear with the end of prohibition. Why the hell would it go away with the wholesale legalization of drugs? Best case is you're not arresting people for possession. But as studies on decriminalization has shown all that happens is that the money is redirected towards distribution, treatment and medical care. And Mexico will go right on fighting the cartels like nothing has changed.

Re:make drugs legal - war over, cartels fail (1)

operagost (62405) | about 5 months ago | (#46641241)

Typical naivete. Organized crime didn't disappear with the end of prohibition.

Correct. It shifted from the newly-legal industry of alcohol to the still-illegal opiates and marijuana and heavily-restricted (and illegal in most places) gambling industries.

The Cool Factor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46638091)

As long as our mainstream media keeps promoting illegal drugs as 'cool' to buy, and Americans continue to buy the illegal drugs ignoring the fact that those dollars pay for murders, the murders will continue.

Why wouldn't they use positive messages?.. (0)

mi (197448) | about 5 months ago | (#46638535)

Photos of the school were then tweeted and shared in status updates — a reply to images of Beltran Leyva's corpse being shared on social media.

I wonder, why the cartels can't think of anything positive to say? They can, for example, emphasize the fact, that their products are primarily targeting the rich, while providing well-paying jobs for the impoverished youth, funding ample charitable donations [bbc.co.uk] , and investment in local communities [wikipedia.org] ...

By poisoning the "1%" (also known as the "golden billion" [wikipedia.org] ), they are spreading the wealth and leveling the playing field — without even ever forcing anyone to participate [forbes.com] ...

Clearly, the PR-masters working for the thugs have a lot to learn yet.

America needs to legalize all drugs (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#46638717)

Seriously, we need to legalize all drugs, BUT, require that NONE cross state borders. In addition, all production will obviously be limited to the state where it is consumed, and heavily regulated. Finally, we then focus on keeping the drugs our of those under age 21.

By doing this, it remove the money from the drug lords and the gangs. Right now, there is plenty of money for them to share. BUT, if we do the above, they will kill each other, rather than innocent bystanders.

Re:America needs to legalize all drugs (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 months ago | (#46638867)

From a personal liberty POV, I agree. Your body, your temple, your choice. But (and there's always a but), drug addicts not only abuse themselves, but those around them. Specifically, the environment oft he children they're supposed to be caring for. We can always have CPS take the kids away, but that's a pretty fucked up situation for them to be dealing with in the first place.

I know "for the children" is way over abused in politics, but if there was ever a reason to espouse it, it's to combat drug abuse.

Re:America needs to legalize all drugs (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 months ago | (#46638965)

I agree with you about the drug addicts. No doubt about it. And as you said, there is a BUT. BUT, they will do it regardless of legal or not.
As such, we should NOT allow Ads for the stores, no using it in public (i.e. ONLY AT HOME), no driving, etc. In addition, strict laws for adults buying it from illegal source ( 5 years prison with no plea bargins ), stricter laws for selling it (10 years), and even more if it involves underage.
The point is to stop the flow of drugs into our nation is only possible by legalizing it and putting up hard blocks against gangs/drug lords. Also, we need to offer a helping hand to those that want off the drugs. And it can all be funded by taxes on these.

Re:America needs to legalize all drugs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46639743)

I agree with you about the drug addicts. No doubt about it. And as you said, there is a BUT. BUT, they will do it regardless of legal or not.

As such, we should NOT allow Ads for the stores, no using it in public (i.e. ONLY AT HOME), no driving, etc. In addition, strict laws for adults buying it from illegal source ( 5 years prison with no plea bargins ), stricter laws for selling it (10 years), and even more if it involves underage.

The point is to stop the flow of drugs into our nation is only possible by legalizing it and putting up hard blocks against gangs/drug lords. Also, we need to offer a helping hand to those that want off the drugs. And it can all be funded by taxes on these.

Why it is almost as if you have completely failed to learn a lesson here. The war on kids isn't a success either.

Let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46641027)

The problem with drugs is that addicts will do anything to get their next hit, and they're generally ignorant (or brain-damaged) enough to do things that are pretty horrifying.

Take, for example, meth addicts. Meth isn't that expensive. But given the entrepreneurial nature of Americans, and the effects of the drug itself, a substantial number of addicts start to cook their own to "save money," among other things. This almost inevitably results in a fire, and contamination of the neighborhood. Even if there isn't a fire, the home and often surrounding homes are contaminated, and need to be gutted. Insurance doesn't cover all of the damage, and that's only if it exists in the first place.

The grand fallacy of drug use is that it only affects the user negatively - a notion which is profoundly false.

These books are illuminating on this topic (1)

ikhider (2837593) | about 5 months ago | (#46640373)

'Down by the River' and 'Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields' by Charles Bowden are good starting books on the topic. Journalist, Bowden has illuminating things to say about the topic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] He researched this topic for years, interviewing both the DEA and cartels.
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