Just after a horrific week of news about mounting body counts in Mexico from the drug war, Danger Room points to news that at least one narco arsenal was found to include Claymore Mines. The mines can be triggered with an electronic remote, and are capable of spewing 700 steel balls in any direction, with a wounding range of 50 yards. Here's a video. Read the rest
Watch the first-ever live global debate on the War on Drugs today on Google+, hosted by Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson at 7pm GMT/ 2pm EST. Details on the webcast here.
Participants will include...
Julian Assange; Russell Brand and Misha Glenny; Geoffrey Robertson and Eliot Spitzer: experts, orators and celebrities who’ve made this their cause, are set to lock horns in a new debate format. Some of our speakers will be on stage in London's Kings Place in front of a ticketed audience, and others will join in from Mexico City, São Paulo or New Orleans, made possible through Google+ Hangouts; a live multi-person video platform.
About the content of the debate, Branson writes:
We’ve carried out two surveys in the last two weeks, one where we asked Twitter, Facebook and Google+ users globally whether they thought the war on drugs had failed, and one UK-specific survey through YouGov.In the global online poll, 91% agreed that the war on drugs has failed. Over 90% also thought that providing treatment for addiction would be a better approach than putting people in jail.Meanwhile, over 95% of 12,090 people surveyed online globally think governments should open the debate to look for other ways then jail to solve the drugs issue. More than 81% of people surveyed globally also agreed that drug use would decrease if governments focused on treatment and stopped putting people in jail for minor drug offences.
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Human Rights Watch reports that instead of reducing violence, the ‘war on drugs’ in Mexico has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and "disapparances." Read the report. [Video Link] Read the rest
Mexico's Blog del Narco, the subject of a previous Boing Boing interview feature, denounces attempts at censorship as access to their website access is blocked. More: Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. (Via @Rosental) Read the rest
(Eric Holder. Photo: REUTERS)
A congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to be issued soon, according to CBS News, and will order him to hand over documents to lawmakers showing when he became aware of "Fast and Furious," a "gunwalking" operation that supplied guns to Mexican drug cartels. Snip from CBS:
CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and "gunwalking." The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson - more than a dozen of them - by name.
In Fast and Furious, the ATF allegedly allowed thousands of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to see where the weapons ended up, and take down a cartel. But the guns have been found at many crime scenes in Mexico and the U.S., including the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December.
In related news, the very latest in a series of reports at the Los Angeles Times about "Fast and Furious" reveals that guns from that covert US operation were found literally inside the home of a narco boss in violence-plagued Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:
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High-powered assault weapons illegally purchased under the ATF's Fast and Furious program in Phoenix ended up in a home belonging to the purported top Sinaloa cartel enforcer in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, whose organization was terrorizing that city with the worst violence in the Mexican drug wars.
Photo: A relative reacts after his arrival at a crime scene where a man was shot dead in Acapulco two days ago. According to local media, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a DVD and music salesman. The next day, the charred and headless remains of five people were found in the same city. And today, five disembodied heads, presumably the same victims, were discovered near a primary school nearby. [REUTERS]
In the Mexican city of Acapulco, where violence related to drug cartels has been escalating in recent weeks, police today found five decomposing human heads outside the Benito Juarez primary school [Google Maps link]. Armed men placed a wooden box outside the school early Tuesday, with a white cloth sack inside containing the severed heads and four handwritten cards inside threatening local officials and drug traffickers. The earliest reports appeared at the Milenio news website.
Prensa Latina reports that teachers in Acapulco schools have increasingly become the target of extortion demands, prompting the closure of schools and causing many teachers and children to stay away in fear. Just 200 feet from where the gruesome discovery was made today, a group of Mexican federal troops are stationed. More from news.com.au:
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The discovery occurred in full view of young students and pedestrians, sparking fear in the area. Soldiers and police removed the remains and cordoned off the location.
Yesterday in the same city - a major port and tourist resort on Mexico's Pacific coast - police found five decapitated bodies: three badly burned inside a pickup truck, and two others outside the vehicle.