New Juarez Police Chief Suspect In Right Violations

Retired army officer Lt. Col. Julian Leyzaola, who was appointed last month to head the Ciudad Juarez police department, was accused this week of "enforced disappearance" in the case of four civilians arrested on March 26.  Witnesses told human rights investigators they saw police, dressed in camouflage uniforms belonging to an elite unit that provides body guards for Leyzaola, arrest the four men outside a convenience store.  The men have not been heard from since, and police deny they are in custody.  Later in the week, federal investigators arrested three of the officers, though little is known about the politically sensitive investigation.  The hard-nosed Leyzaola formerly served as police chief in Tijuana where he confronted similar accusations of human rights abuses after reducing murder rates and drug-related violence while reportedly decreasing corruption among police officers.  A secret diplomatic cable recently published by Wikileaks accuses Leyaola of destroying one violent drug gang by cutting deals with rivals.  He was also accused of participating in and supporting the use of torture, including beating and near-asphyxiation of arrestees and police suspected of being on cartel payrolls. Read more>>>

Belated Musings About The Beach

Josie at the Beach - San Carlos, Sonora - 19Two weeks ago Greta, Josie, and I were in San Carlos, Mexico, on the sunlit eastern edge of the Sea of Cortez.  I'm just now getting around to writing a bit about it.

When planning the trip, I wanted to not camp, because the week before I had just had a cold wet camping experience for a few days.  I wanted a good ol' semi-luxurious vacation.  I've never really done that.  My travels have always been about cheapness, and hardship, and doing worthwhile things along the way, like activist projects or making films.  For once I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself.  We also wanted to be sure to stay at a hotel that allowed dogs.  I went online and found a sort of hotel search engine site for Mexico, and one of the criteria was permitting pets.  When I chose that criterion, only one hotel in San Carlos came up - this place that looked quite fancy, the Paradiso Resort. However, it was within my price range and we decided to risk being surrounded by yuppies and shallow sorority girls and just go. Read more>>>

Blood-Drenched Dope

Lots of stupid fear-mongering about "border violence" lately, even from Obama now.

I think it's important to keep in mind and include in any discussion of this that this whole topic is just another example of the fear-based society we live in. Chertoff started spinning this "border violence spillover" idea back in December and it's pure hype just to get people to be afraid and give in to the idea of even more militarization of the borderlands and more loss of civil liberties. The violence is worse in Mexico, yes, but the spillover is mostly a myth. The last thing the cartels have ever wanted to do was involve gringos in their gun battles. Here's an example of the fear-mongering: recently the statistic came out that Phoenix is the #1 city for kidnappings, but the counterstatistic is that most of those kidnappings are loads of migrants being smuggled by one smuggling cartel and getting "stolen" by another cartel. It's not mom and pop citizen getting yanked into a van at the mall parking lot or whatever.

The other thing to realize is that drug trafficking isn't going down or being restricted, counter to what the migra says. The increased violence in Mexico is because the Calderon administration's "Mano Duro" has upset the delicate balance of power between cartels. But there's still plenty of drugs flowing north, and there always will be till we deal with the demand that us gringos have for the stuff. The problem is not only the demand for the drugs themselves but the flow of money from the drug trade and the drug war that flows to U.S. banks, prisons, private prison companies, rehab centers, therapists, guns, fancy cars and yachts and stuff that the narcos buy for themselves, hospitals, etc etc etc. Sorry to sound negative but the drug war CAN'T be won, ever, or all those industries will crash and burn, not to mention Mexico's economy, since the drug trade is the 2nd largest industry after their oil. All that will ever happen is posturing and faking.

But the real question is: why do gringos like their drugs so much? Why do their lives seem to suck so bad that they have to medicate themselves so much? Is there some other way to make gringos' lives happier, so they don't need the blood-drenched dope?

Encuentro Intergalactica Zapatista en Julio

I'm thinking about the summer, can you tell? I want to go to Chiapas at the end of July... Well details about why are right here.
I'm pasting this bit specifically, mostly so it's easier to find, because every time I go looking on the EZLN websites it takes me forever to find anything.


Direct Action Against Free Trade Authors in Tucson

I don't know who did this (and if i did I wouldnt say here), but it's pretty freaking great.

In the early hours of Monday, 11/20, in response to the Zapatista's call for solidarity actions for the struggle in Oaxaca, direct action was taken against the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade in Tucson, AZ. Windows were smashed, locks were glued, and messages were painted on the building reading "Viva Oaxaca" and "Free Trade = Death".

I just heard last week that the place is here in Tucson. They helped write NAFTA and other free trade agreements.

Non-Gringo Dead Journalists, Presente!

Josh Breitbart writes eloquently and persuasively in his blog about the divide between activism and journlism that apparently is unique to Gringolandia, and about a previous-to-Brad-Will indymedia participant killed in Ecuador.

Beyond our colleague and fellow gringo, we can do a better job supporting all journalists under attack, including those who are being beaten and jailed right now in Oaxaca, according to Reporters Without Borders:

  • Mario Mosqueda Hern
  • Demonstration for Oaxaca at Consulate Yesterday

    We, an ad-hoc group we're called Tucson Coalition for Justice in Oaxaca, held a demonstration yesterday at the Mexican consulate, but people showed up there who hadn't even seen our call out. There ended up being about 100 people at the peak of the action. We were peaceful and had a really good dialogue with the Consul.
    There's a full report with photos on arizona indymedia. This is the more personal report.

    Jessica, Walt, and 5 others received citations from the police for obstructing traffice after 50 or so blocked all but 1 lane of traffic for an hour or so. Jessica and I were both doing the indymedia thing, covering what was happening, her with a still cam and me with video. The cops repeatedly told us politely to get off the street and shoot from the curb, but we sort of politely kept going back on the street to get better shots. Eventually Jessica wore out the main cop's patience and he detained her and ticketed her with the others. I sort of feel like he went for her first, perhaps hesitated with me, because I had my press pass and she did not. But maybe it was just luck. Anyway, all 7 have a court date of November 9. The charge is a class 3 misdemeanor. At least they weren't arrested.

    One amazing moment was when Ethan, one of the others that got cited, who knew Brad and has been particularly upset, refused to give his real name and said his name was Brad Will. So the cop started calling him Brad. "Ok, Brad, do you have ID, Brad, you need to know that in the state of Arizona you're required to have identification or else you can be charged with obstructing an investigation. Brad please cooperate with me."

    I shot a lot of footage and I plan to put some of it up soon if I can get the time.

    More About what's Happening in Oaxaca

    The federal police are apparently moving into the areas of Oaxaca City that have been controlled by the protesters. They have small tanks and lots of riot troops.
    Apparently people are putting their bodies in front of the tanks. calling it "human rugs" in front of the tanks.
    This is according to the live APPO radio stream coming from the University radio station there, which has been operated by protestors for some weeks.

    The names of all 4 dead from Friday: Emilio Alonso Fabi

    News from Oaxaca

    A Tucson friend, Lila, writes from Oaxaca City:

    Writing here from Oaxaca because the situation here has gotten more extreme. Varo and I were in San Juan Cotzocom, which is in the Sierra Mixe for about 10 days. We returned to the Zocalo to find it filled again with people. Recently, as the struggle has been renewed and APPO has been focusing on boycotting and disrupting the gelaguetza (a celebration of Indigenous culture which is originally founded on cultural and economic sharing which has been coopted as a money making tourist attraction).

    The situation here has become more intense recently as APPO has directly blocked and taken control of the planned location of the Gelaguetza. There are many rumors of impending violence as a plane full of fedral police (the same ones who came to Atenco) landed today in the Oaxaca airport, as well as 5-6 busses of state police. All of the information is in the offical release from CIPO which I sent to most of you.

    Things have been stressfull here as four days ago, our first night back in Oaxaca city, we had to quickly clean out the CIPO office at 3:00 am because there was threat of a police raid, and have been rotating on night match ever since. It

    Stretched Too Thin

    If my blogging software permitted, this post would be marked not only in the personal category but in every other category that I've defined, and more. That's because this entry is about how many different things I'm involved with and how that's a problem.

    But before I get too far into that I will link to a post i just published on another blog that I seldom use, on the delete the border site, relating recent news about arizona border crossing deaths and stuff.

    Now I move on into saying this: I'm doing too much and I need to figure out how to jettision some stuff if i intend to feel better about myself and stay sane, because very little of it is getting done in a quality way. Here's the list, or everything i can think of now:

    1. dry river
    2. no more deaths media work
    3. arizona indymedia
    4. panleft (i've just agreed to be a board member! argh! what am i thinking!?)
    5. Root Force
    6. new Tucson "border radicals" group
    7. my juarez film - setting up the tour in july
    8. War Tax Resistance video projects
    9. editor of Indymedia Newsreal
    10. bolivia computer project
    11. a newish relationship that's very important to me and needs lots of care.
    12. work, for a new job with lots of annoying bueaucratic obstacles to being paid what i'm supposed to be, not to mention lots of work that requires my creative and thougtful input.
    13. green scare - at least this will be over after the event we're having this saturday.

    The most important things are 2, 7, 11, and 12. A few other things are impossible to get rid of right now. The rest I need to just tell people "sorry, I can't be there." Sigh.

    The nice thing, though is that, as usual, just making a list of everything makes it seem like a lot less of a problem. so, yay....

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