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War Dept

Mexico’s Civil War Killing More Americans

By Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter Aug 1, 2008 12:30 PM PDT

The Mexican and U.S. Governments are in denial. The dictionary definition of civil war indicates that a civil war is a military conflict which arises from a desire for usually radical change in society as a result of either cultural, social, religious, political or economic disputes due to diametrically opposed and uncompromising ideas about the leadership, administration and management of the population and territory it occupies, and which it resolved through use of weapons. This would seem to describe the current situation in Mexico today as the Mexican government wages war against the powerful Mexican drug cartels.

Just since the beginning of this year more than 4,000 people have been murdered in Mexico in what authorities blame on the Mexican cartels and their criminal gangs and Para-military forces. 

An 11-year-old American citizen from El Paso was killed recently during a highway robbery on the Durango-Mazatlan road in Mexico. The boy, Rico Armando Bañuelas, was on a family trip to Mazatlan when robbers tried to stop the Volkswagen Jetta he was riding in near a section of mountain road known as "El Espinazo del Diablo," (the devil's spine), El Siglo De Durango newspaper reported.

The robbers opened fire, killing Rico, when the Jetta sped past a roadblock the bandits had set up and used to rob bus passengers and another vehicle. Rey del Valle, and Rico's mother, Norma Patricia Chairez, were wounded.

"U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk posed by the deteriorating security situation, in Mexico and along the border" said a statement issued in Mexico City and Washington. "Violent criminal activity, including murder and kidnapping, in Mexico has increased."

New cases of disappearances and kidnap-for-ransom continue to be reported. No one can be considered immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. Criminals have been known to follow and harass U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles, particularly in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Reynosa, Juarez, Mexicali, Tijuana and most all border towns. 

23 year old American Kyle Mostello Belanger has been reported missing since last May and believed to have been kidnapped and is being held against his will for ransom in Juarez Mexico. The information has been forwarded to the Mexican Government and to the FBI and other U.S. agencies with no apparent follow-up investigations much less locating arresting and punishing his perpetrators.

U.S. law enforcement authorities helped facilitate a $32,000 ransom payment in Mexico for a relative of a U.S. congressman who was kidnapped by gunmen in Ciudad Juarez, a border city across from El Paso Texas.

The kidnapping took place in Mexico not on U.S. soil but in a feign country. The victim was not even an American citizen but a Mexican national.

Until a prominent US citizen is abducted, the problem will not receive much attention in the media or from the Public.

Jake Mendoza of El Paso, called the Journal and asked “How is it that a kidnapping in a feign country of a feign national gets investigated and resolved by American law enforcement while other not so connected Americans who are currently being held for ransom some who are believed to have been kidnapped from American soil, and taken to a feign country and held for ransom. While still other Americans have been executed, murdered, wounded and held for ransom in Mexico with no apparent U.S. Law enforcement investigation or follow-up? How can that be?”

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asked for an investigation into Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) recent efforts in procuring the release of a Mexican woman kidnapped in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The family raised the money, according to the memo. On June 21, two men on a motorcycle collected the ransom money at a Juarez street corner but sped off and eluded investigators who had staked out the drop site.

Mrs. Posselt was released several hours later, and Mexican authorities quickly transferred her to their American counterparts, who rushed her to the United States for "security reasons," according to the ICE memo.

No arrests have been made

La Mesa California woman Libby Gianna Craig was among four people found shot to death in a canyon near Rosarito Beach in Baja California.
The 28-year-old was in an area known as Morro Canyon along with three Afro-American males, Mexican police identified as "Black Americans". Early reports also said more bodies were found in a separate location at different points of Playas de Rosarito, reported some Mexican papers.
 

All the shootings were apparently deliberate, targeted, not just random bystanders caught up in the wave of violence that has engulfed U.S. Mexican border cities, Mexican authorities said.

Also recently four Americans were shot and wounded as they were leaving the Arriba Chihuahua nightclub in the ProNaF tourist zone in the violent Mexican border city of Juárez.

The Mexican government has described much of the violence as revenge for President Felipe Calderón's year-old crackdown on organized crime that sent thousands of soldiers and federal police into violence-plagued Mexican cities and all Mexican cities bordering the United States.

The Mexican President Calderon, as while as other officials have pledged to break the country's powerful drug cartels, which earn billions of dollars a year by supplying U.S. users. 

The State Department said police forces in Mexican border communities "suffer from lack of funds and training, and the judicial system is weak, overworked and inefficient."

"I worry that the inability of local law enforcement to come to grips with rising drug warfare, kidnappings and random street violence will have a chilling effect on the cross-border exchange, tourism and commerce so vital to the region's prosperity," Traffickers are armed with AK-47 assault rifles, grenade launchers and bazookas. They're carrying other weapons, wearing vests and using police jargon. Within a minute or two, someone is shoving a hood over the victim's head and dragging him into a vehicle. His car is left on the side of the road – often outgunning and intimidating border police, sheriff depts., and Mexican security forces.

An alarming number of Americans are vanishing in Mexico where there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of U.S. citizens who have recently been reported missing or kidnapped along the border with Mexico, reports the Washington Post. Many who have vanished from U.S. cities are still missing and it is feared they will turn up in the mass graves that have been discovered lately in Mexico.  

The U.S. Government is aiding Mexico under the provisions of the Merida Initiative, a multiyear $1.4 billion anti-narcotics package approved by Congress. As reported earlier this year in the Laguna/El Paso Journal many Americans are wondering when the Bush administration is going to raise the travel alert to its highest level "travel warning," to forewarn American travelers to Mexico? How many American citizens are going to have to be shot, executed or kidnapped before the American government move to prevent needless deaths and issue the proper high alert of "travel warning," for Americans

Drug wars in Mexico have claimed the lives of a dozen or more journalists. 

Last year the Houston Chronicle reported that "Statistics vary among watchdog groups, but they agree that Mexico has surpassed Colombia, a country plagued by decades of guerrilla and drug violence, in the number of journalists killed each year. Seven Mexican journalists were slain last year, according to a count by the Miami-based Inter American Press Association. The Paris-based Reporters without Borders tallied nine killings, and the Federation of Mexican Journalist Associations reported 12. 

According to the Chronicle, "Many Mexican reporters, particularly in the embattled border states, have stopped writing about organized crime, and, as the drug war spreads south, journalists across the country are becoming targets. On May 3, World Press Freedom Day, the decapitated body of a local drug dealer turned up outside a newspaper in the eastern port city of Veracruz. According to local press reports, the killers left this warning: 'For Milo, you'll all pay. You know it, and more heads of damned reporters are going to roll.' The threat was presumed to be directed at Milo Vera, a local columnist. 'There's total impunity,' said Jose Antonio Calcanio, president of the Federation of Mexican Journalists Associations, which represents 137 journalist groups nationwide. 'The government has no interest in resolving any of these cases,' Calcanio said. 'It's only when there's a prominent case like Amado Ramirez that they pretend to act, but then they forget, and nothing happens.' Two suspects were arrested in the days after the radio host's murder, but both were released on bail. Many of Ramirez's colleagues suspect the men were scapegoats."

Dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped, or held hostage, or killed by their captors in Mexico and many cases remain unsolved. Moreover, new cases of disappearances and kidnap-for-ransom continue to be reported.

From Brownsville Texas to San Diego California and as far north as Dallas Texas Americans are being kidnapped and killed. All of this is escalating narcotics-related violence across northern Mexico; the State Department has alerted Americans of the dangers of crossing the border. But there are no alerts of Americans being kidnapped right here on U.S. soil and being taken and held for ransom or even killed.  

Mexican cartels through there enforcers of Mexican and American gangs order smaller American gangs to kidnap and in some cases murder Americans.

Mexican cartel Los Zetas paramilitary surrogates attacked and slaughtered an American in Phoenix Ariz. Police say the attackers were dressed in black military like combat uniforms very similar to known Mexican cartel paramilitary gangs.

Phoenix papers report that 6 Mexicans killed a Phoenix man who was found dead by police in a local neighborhood home riddled with more than 100 bullets. Of the few that the FBI reported as known kidnappings there were 30 U.S. citizens that have been kidnapped or disappeared, nine were later released, two found dead and 13 still missing.

The FBI now refuses to estimate the numbers of Americans being kidnapped or murdered in Mexico. These earlier reports were out dated and officials believe the real numbers are much greater. All 30 were Americans just from the San Diego area alone. How many other U.S. citizens are there? No one seems to know for sure. But there are others more from border cities like El Paso.

"The U.S. government would like to think that drug violence is just a problem south of the Rio Grande. It isn't," said Raymundo Ramos, a human rights advocate in Nuevo Laredo.

It’s believed now that there are many more Americans missing many others from Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Reynosa, Juarez, Mexicali, Tijuana and other border cities. When asked, the FBI said they have no other numbers other then those 30 reported. However my source says El Paso FBI agent Josie Figaro was notified of at least one episode. And it is believe there are others.

Law enforcement officials said some of the vanishings may be owing to a war among Mexican drug cartels vying for control of the smuggling routes and ports of entry which are the gateway for millions of dollars' worth of illicit drugs that are smuggled north by truck, car, boats and trains and mixed in with cargoes of legitimate goods.

U.S. officials say, "We're seeing outright lawlessness along the U.S. Mexican border. Things are just getting out of hand."

Historically, drug-related violence was generally confined to the Mexican side of the border, news reports disclosed. However that pattern is changing, advised officials.

In spite of the dangers Mexico continues to attract U.S. citizens who want to visit relatives or buy cheaper medicines, have cut rate dental work done or prescription eyewear or just be a tourist. It is also a draw for young people, who migrate there on weekends to party late and enjoy the lower drinking age of 18.

Mexico has sent federal police officers and Mexican army personal to patrol the streets of most of their cities bordering the U.S. The officers were dispatched at the request of local authorities who said crime had spun out of control.

"U.S. citizens should be aware of the risk posed by the deteriorating security situation," the State Department advisory has said, though it stopped short of urging Americans to avoid Mexico. Downtown El Paso businessman Jamie Rodriguez said “if the same circumstance that now exist in Mexico existed in any other country the U.S. State Dept would advise Americans to not even go there.”

The close relationship between the two governments and indeed both presidents may contribute to that lenience shown Mexico by the U.S. Government.  

In Mexico another dangerous crime against tourist is you can be kidnapped in what is more like a shakedown or robbery than a classic ransom situation. As what is believed happened to 11-year-old American Rico Armando Bañuelas. An FBI official said this apparent burgeoning of a cottage industry of kidnapping for ransom - some of those returned alive had been held captive for days or even months, after their abductors demanded payments as high as $100,000.

American tourists have reported to the Mexican police that while driving along main and rural roads at dusk or after dark. Road blocks are set up. This can be as sophisticated as a movable plank with spikes or as low-tech as glass or sharp rocks. When their motor home or car is disabled, a group of armed banditos approached them with guns drawn. Often, a truck or van parked on the side of the road starts up and slowly approaches the scene. The men often dressed as Mexican police begin to take their possessions and rummage through their belongings. Then in many cases it is reported they take all the victims cash. Victims report hoods are placed over their heads they are loaded into trucks or SUV’s and driven to another location. You might be asked again for more money. In more cases then not Mexican police report the woman are raped and the victim tourists are abandoned far from their vehicle.

There have been reported some high-profile cases where the victims, including two American college women, who were slain after they were robbed.

Sophisticated Mexican groups plot abductions Organized, well-financed and violent Mexican kidnapping cells are targeting a growing number of U.S. citizens visiting Mexico.

While the FBI wouldn't say what the ransom demands are, or how often they're paid, agents said money is driving the increase.

Some of the kidnappings go unreported because people fear retribution, said Eric Drickersen, who supervises the FBI's border liaison office.  

Even the U.S. Military has been band from entering Mexico because of the increasing violence. U.S. Military officials say they've discontinued issuing passes to soldiers who want to travel across the border to Mexico. “If it’s not safe for U.S. Soldiers, than it is unsafe for other Americans”. Said, John Lutes who was born in the border city of El Paso Texas and served in the military.

Mexican Drug cartels are ordering decapitations blind foldings and hooding victims before they shoot them. The Cartels are sending a chilling message to the Mexican President Felipe Calderon Administration by adopting methods of intimidation made notorious by Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Google or click on: New Terrorist Bases South Of the Border

Dozens of people have been decapitated in Mexico so far this year, with heads stuck on fence posts, found in trash bags and heads being tossed onto a nightclub dance floor for all to see. Report on Mexican Violence

An unknown-- but significant-- number of executions continues to occur in the states of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas as well as: Chihuahua, Baja California Norte, Tabasco, Guerrero, Michoacan, Veracruz, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Chiapas and Coahuila.

All Mexico States are experiencing numerous law enforcement deaths, as well as multiple kidnappings occurring regularly.

Kidnappings as warnings to government and other enemies were recorded with specific MESSAGES attached.

Evaluated methods and types of Violence to murder victims were: Physical beating, torture, release on street, or body dumped on street or lot torture involving beating, tooth removal, appendage removal, death by torture, strangulation, single shot to head and/or multiple shots to head and body.

Other tactics were same as above with head and/or face fully or partially wrapped with duct tape or other head wrappings or blind folds. Bodies often disposed of by the alternate “Pozole” method.

Many were beheaded with or without written messages on bodies or in vehicles.

Many Mexican law enforcement officers have joined the cartels for money or in some cases they themselves if they did not cooperate with the cartels they would become victims of that horror.

Warning before reviewing document many will find the text offensive and the photo’s gruesome: para_bsmc_2.pdf   

Google:  Young girl raped and beheaded in Florida by Mexican traffickers

About the Author

America's leading authority on Venture Capital/Equity Funding. A trustee on some of the nations largest trade Union funds. A noted Author, Lecturer, Educator, Emergency Manager, Counter-Terrorist, War on Drugs and War on Terrorist Specialist, Business Consultant, Newspaper Publisher. Radio News caster. Labor Law generalist, Teamster Union Business Agent, General Organizer, Union Rank and File Member Grievances Representative, NLRB Union Representative, Union Contract Negotiator, Workers Compensation Appeals Board Hearing Representative. Investigative Reporter for print, electronic and on-line News Agencies.

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