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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blogging and Social Networking Turn Deadly in Mexico


Posted by FlipTheMedia on
Friday, December 23rd, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Due to the sensitivity of this report, all sources names have been changed to protect anonymity. The writer of this article’s name is being withheld for safety reasons as well. Please be advised, some of the images in this story are graphic.
When the news broke last month that a Mexican blogger nicknamed “Rascatripas” (Gut Scratcher) had been killed by Mexican drug cartel “Los Zetas,” it sent a chilling message to journalists not just in Mexico, but around the world. It happened only days after members of the powerful computer hacking group Anonymous declared a short-lived war on the drug cartels in response to the kidnapping of one of their own members in Veracruz.
During an operation called PaperStorm, Anonymous hacktivists threatened via a video message to expose the Zetas and their closest inside sources if their fellow Anonymous member wasn’t released. Although the blogger was set free the day after, he brought a cryptic message back from the Zetas: “For every contributor you expose we will kill ten innocent people.” After much debate online about the ramifications of innocent lives lost, operation PaperStorm was subsequently cancelled.
But “Rascatripas,” who worked separately from Anonymous, openly refused to give up his attempts to write about and expose members of the cartel.
Less than a month later his body was found decapitated under a bridge in Nuevo Laredo.
To put things in perspective, violence in Mexico is believe to have caused more than 45,000 deaths since 2006. Just yesterday morning, 16 people were shot dead in the state of Veracruz in a drug cartel turf war.

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The risk of tangling with the cartels online has become so grave that certain bloggers in Mexico created a website directly advising readers about the dangers they could face for browsing information about cartels online. It’s now widely presumed that the Mexican cartels have their own computer specialists and hackers who track IP addresses for journalists and members of the online media. This makes reporting on crime in Mexico, even if you’re not working at a newspaper, a potentially deadly decision.
So who are the people behind these killings?
The Zetas are a paramilitary gang whose members are mostly deserters of a Mexican Armed Forces elite group who didn’t begin as drug-traffickers at all. In the late 1990s members of the group were recruited as hitmen for the Gulf Cartel headed by Osiel Cardenas Guillen. Shortly after Guillen was arrested in 2003, the Zetas became a cartel of their own when selling drugs eventually became too lucrative of a business to ignore. Because of the Zetas high-end military and tactical training, they’ve quickly become one of the most violent and elusive drug cartels ever assembled.
A prominent political journalist, who also asked not to be identified in this article, thinks that the severity of the problem actually began several years earlier. “We owe this whole mess to former President Vicente Fox, who took the death penalty for the military deserters off the table in 2005,” she states. “Now who will defend us?

Blogging and Social Networking Turn Deadly in Mexico

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