Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Must Read: To Die in Mexico by John Gibler

Posted by Charles II on August 24, 2012

There are few books that explain why US policy remains as consistently perverse as it is in the so-called wars on drugs and on terrorism, become permanent wars, with all the loss of freedom and national vitality that constant violence implies. John Gibler’s To Die in Mexico provides insight into not only what is going on in Mexico, but how it connects to US policy. It also shows how the citizenry, fragmented by ethnic and class divides, frenetically ignores the violence that it pretends it cannot stop. Some excerpts:

The bare facts are so terrifying they pass beyond the edge of anything credible. Who would believe, for example, that the warden of a state prison would let convicted killers out at night and loan them official vehicles, automatic rifles, and bulletproof vests, so that they could gun down scores of innocent people in a neighboring state and then quickly hop back over the state line and into prison, behind bars, a perfect alibi? Who would believe that a paramilitary drug-trafficking organization formed by ex-Special Forces of the Mexican Army would kidnap a local cop, torture him into confessing all of the above details about the prisoners’ death squad, videotape the confession, execute the cop on camera with a shot to the heart, and then post the video on YouTube?

The government, you see, sometimes acts as terrorist, and the drug traffickers sometimes as truthtellers.

THIS IS WHAT THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO SAY: The Mexican army and federal police have administered drug trafficking for decades. Drug money fills the vaults of Mexico’s banks, enters the national economy at every level, and, with traffickers’ annual profits estimated at between $30 billion and $60 billion a year, rivals oil as the largest single source of cash revenue in the country…..the most wanted narcos […include] generals in the Mexican army and commanders of the federal police. The federal police forces are the main recruitment centers for the enforcers, the paramilitary units in charge of assassinations, and the armed protection of drugs and mid- and high-level operators.

The corruption runs to the top of the civilian government.

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Under the PRI, the Mexican army decided the territory of each cartel. The last PRI president decided to attack the Gulf Cartel. When the PAN took over in 2000, Vicente Fox suported the Sinaloa Cartel over the Gulf Cartel. When Calderon took over in 2006, he not only supported the Sinaloa Cartel, he put pressure on “the Gulf cartel, the Zetas, the Carrillo Fuentes, or Juarez Cartel, the Beltran Leyva [Pacific]Cartel, and the Familia Michoacana,” even though the Sinaloa Cartel commits 84% of the murders.

In 2008, drug money saved the major banks from collapse and thus, stretching just a bit, saved capitalism from a devastating internal crisis when the speculative markets imploded. Drug money–truckloads of cash, actual physical money–would appear to be one of capitalisms global savings accounts….

…$350B of illicit cash is successfully laundered and reinvested every year….[According to Christian De Brie, writing in Le Monde Diplomatique] ‘the world’s gross criminal product [including piracy, budget fraud, counterfeits, etc.] totals far above $1,000 bn a year, nearly 20% of world trade.'”

And so the question naturally occurs as to what the role of the US, and particularly the Pentagon is in the drug trade. Whatever the motivation, it’s clear that the effect of the drug trade is social control. Addiction sedates and cripples low-income communities, millions are physically incarcerated, and those convicted of drug crimes lose their civil rights–in some states, permanently. The drug war feeds for-profit enterprises ranging from armament manufacturers to privatized prisons. It gives the Pentagon and the DEA permission to invade any country, setting up bases that are deeply resented by locals, and committing violence that destabilizes whole countries.

The Zeta assassins first studied counterinsurgency strategies in the United States and Israel as part of the Mexican Special Forces. They also hired Guatemalan Special Forces soldiers known as Kaibiles–an institution that received decades of training in counterinsurgency tactics from the United States…

And now the US government has pumped many millions more into Mexico, giving the money to the people who run drug trafficking, further militarizing the country and leading to tens of thousands of deaths…all without having any visible effect on the drug trade.

In sum, after reading Gibler, one cannot help but ask the question of whether the destruction of Mexico is being planned in some quiet office in the Pentagon or the CIA and whether the US government is not, itself, infiltrated by organized crime. The citizens of the United States need to pull together to do what the citizens of Mexico have so far failed to do: end the drug war, expel opportunists from government, demand non-interference from the Pentagon and CIA, and turn our nation toward doing good.

We are deeply riven by racial and religious tensions, by class, and by ideology. We must recognize that we face a far greater threat: unaccountable power, with corporate and criminal power twining ever more closely together.

Read this book. This brief review does not do it justice. To Die in Mexico will change the way you see the world.

6 Responses to “Must Read: To Die in Mexico by John Gibler”

  1. Dickeylee said

    Our next President started Bain Capitol with narco money from Central America. The death squads were reverse funded with Bain profits, in actual reality those nuns were killed with it…

  2. Wanna know why mokes like Joe Arpaio want people to freak out about undocumented workers even though the flow of undocumenteds into the US has for all intents and purposes stopped?

    Because they want Americans to conflate undocumented workers with the real drivers of violence both in Mexico and the US: the illegal drug trade, which is violent precisely because it is illegal.

    • Stormcrow said

      Well, I think it’s fairly clear that Arpaio himself has another motive; one that’s much closer to home for him, personally.

      He’s carved out a personal robber-barony in Maricopa County, basing his power on the unexpressed but very real racism and vicious sadism of most its residents.

      Janice Brewer didn’t get elected Governor of Arizona by an accident, now did she? The people who did that were the same maggots who elected Evan Mecham.

      And they form Joe Arpaio’s cheering section today. If they weren’t there, he would have been out of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on his butt a long time ago.

      • Oh, exactly. And many of them, while being quite vocally anti-immigrant, are extremely corrupt and propped up by drug-lord money, same as in Mexico. Hell, I suspect that if drugs were either decrimmed or made legal overnight, thus removing the obscene profit factor from the equation, a number of banks whose balance sheets are propped up by laundered drug money from the cartels and their US associates would soon collapse.

  3. elbrucce said

    of course, confessions gained by torture cannot be considered proof of anything.

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