Brutal Cartels Monitoring the Net

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The story is painful to read. CNN reports on two murders in Nuevo Laredo, a young man and woman, the bodies strung from a bridge. She’s tied hand and foot, bare breasted and her belly slit open. This is more than a killing; it’s murder with a message.

The message, according to the article, came in notices left along with the bodies. They warned that posting information on the Internet (specifically blogs) about cartel crimes and violence wouldn’t be tolerated. This parallels the way cartels have killed journalists in Mexico who report on their activities.

It is unknown if the two victims actually were bloggers. Part of what makes posting online so effective against cartels is the anonymity. However, even if they weren’t, the incident is expected to have an impact. Those who are trying to spread the word about what’s actually happening in Mexico have been warned in a way that keeps cartel business out of the print and broadcast news.

With the huge amounts of money funneled to drug cartels, it’s becoming impossible for impoverished Mexico to take useful action. Arrests are made, but the violence seems to continue to escalate. Now, as it reaches those not directly involved in the drug trade, there don’t appear to be any bounds the cartels are not willing to cross.

"This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet," one sign said. "You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm about to get you."

When we in the US are evaluating our own war on drugs, it’s useful to see just how bad things can get, how out of control it can be. And those in that region on the US side of the fence are rightly worried about this type of brutality moving northward, no matter what we do.

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