Mexican journalist María Elisabeth Macías Castro murdered by Mexican drug cartel for telling the truth.
Macías murder is considered the first documented case in Mexico where the murder is thought to be a direct retaliation for journalism that was specifically posted using online social media. She was also an active Twitter user and was in favor of using social media to post helpful information for society related to organized crime.
Her violent early morning murder came with a cryptic well-placed message: “…For those who do not want to believe, this happened to me for my actions, for trusting ‘Sedena’ (Mexico’s Army) and ‘Marina’ (Mexico’s Navy). Thank you for your attention. Sincerely, ‘La Nena de Laredo’ (Elisabeth Macías’ name online)… ZZZZ”. The signature with the letter ‘Z’ suggests a strong link to the notorious criminal cartel named ‘Los Zetas’.
Los Zetas has been known as one of the most active cartels in Mexico. The cartel’s headquarters is the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Working as a paramilitary arm of its present drug war rival ‘the Gulf Cartel’ in the 1990s, Los Zetas managed military-like operations. The crime ring is considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration today to be one of the most dangerous armed cartels in Mexico.
When seasoned crime reporter thirty-two-year-old María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe completely disappeared on November 2009, she was in the process of writing about local police corruption and about the activities of two members of the another active Mexican crime organization called ‘La Familia’. Aguilar vanished from her home in Zamora in south-western Mexico without a trace. Today she continues to be missing.
Violence against women journalists in Mexico’s cartel corners mirrors the violence against women in other locations in Mexico that are also controlled by corrupt forces, such as the hundreds of women who have disappeared or were found missing in the border town of Juarez. The ongoing violence against Mexico’s press is another action of intimidation that is the most dangerous in areas where cartels have more control.
“Violence against the press has swept the nation and destroyed Mexicans’ right to freedom of expression”, says CPJ – Committee to Protect Journalists in special 2010 report on violence against journalists in Mexico. “This national crisis demands a full-scale federal response”.
In regions where cartel violence is high the fear is tangible for those trying to get information out online and in-print about the drug cartels.
“With most of the police here you don’t know who you’re talking to—a detective or a representative of organized
crime”, said Aguilar’s husband and former police chief David Silva.
With cartels now carefully watching internet forums, blog posts and twitter tweets, all journalists and bloggers are in increased danger as they are monitored and identified as online targets. The recent murder of journalist Elisabeth Macías is a case in point.
“The fight for territorial control of the border zone is also waged in a new battleground: the internet and its social media”, says the new November 2011 Social Media Manifesto Against Mexican Drug Cartels by a group which calls themselves ‘the Mexican Internet Community’.
“We the twitterers and hashtag users of Northeastern Mexico (#reynosafollow, #nuevolaredo, #matamoros, #tamaulipas, #mier, and others who) released this manifesto in response to the murder of our companion, a social media user attacked by a group of drug traffickers, that occurred early this morning in the city of Nuevo Laredo, in the state of Tamaulipas,” continued the Manifesto.
“We repudiate and condemn this criminal act that has provoked a state of terror, and we demand justice in the face of the national silence it is meant to impose, and the stage of amnesia and impunity it portends. This murder is the fourth against twitterers and bloggers that has occurred in less than two months”, added the Mexico Internet Community.
As the news of Macías murder spread throughout the internet, UNESCO condemned the assassination of Macías and demanded “urgent measures to stop the violence against journalists in Mexico”.
“…in practice, there is no efficient defense, investigation or preventing measures. We live in an absolute state of anarchy, of save-yourself, where the journalist has no option but to self-censor”, said Mexican Interior Secretary Francisco Blake Mora in one of Mexico’s most popular daily newspapers La Jornada. A few months after his September 2011 statement, Blake died in a mysterious helicopter crash on November11. Investigations are currently looking at the possibility that the helicopter’s fuel may have been contaminated.
As social media becomes an important tool for communicating, the already high incidence of violence in Mexico has accelerated rapidly as those who speak out, including numerous women journalists, who have also been particularly daring in there actions in speaking out online, are targeted. http://womennewsnetwork.net/2011/12/04/mexico-drug-cartel-target-woman/
Message from the "other side" of the physical plane directed to drug cartel killers of Ms. Maria Castro;
The greed and materialism of the drug cartel soldiers, captains and kingpins makes them blind to the world of the spirits of those killed unjustly. Spirits continue to roam the Earth in a state of Purgatory looking to obtain justice for the wrong done to them. The spirits of the dead are dancing in anticipation of getting inside the heads of their killers. Spirits have ways of getting inside the bodies and minds of those who harmed them and will eventually make their killers go insane and commit suicide. The killers from the drug cartels will wish they had turned themselves into the police when the angry spirits of Ms. Maria Castro and the many other spirits of murdered journalists feast upon whatever remains of their killer's greedy souls and stunted brains. The only fuego people need to sing about is the fire of truthtelling. The truth will NEVER DIE!!!
Dead Can Dance - Host of Seraphim; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JyscjK4big
Returning to the plane of the living;
Meanwhile Wall Street and multinational corporate banks like Wachovia launder money from drug cartels to increase their profits. That's in addition to taking taxpayer bailout money from BOTH Republican (GW Bush) AND Democrat (Obama) administrations. Think we still live in a democracy ruled by the people and for the people?
Wachovia Bank Accused of Laundering Billions From Mexican Drug Cartels
Posted by feliciagomez on April 5, 2011 · 3 Comments
"04/02/11—After an investigation of a plane that landed in Ciudad del Carmen on April 10, 2006, it was revealed that the Sinaloa drug cartel purchased the plane with money laundered through Wachovia, now a part of Wells Fargo. The investigation was led by agents from the US Drug and Law Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service, among others. Mexican police forces also found 5.7 tons of cocaine valued at $100 million dollars. “Authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler’s checks, and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts,” stated a recent Guardian article. It was also discovered that 13 billion dollars were ultimately channeled through correspondent bank accounts at Wachovia to purchase airplanes for the use of drug trafficking in Mexico.
Following these discoveries, Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an anti-money laundering program. This investigation led to criminal proceedings against Wachovia, which were settled out of court under the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act in March 2010. Wachovia ultimately paid federal authorities $110 million in forfeiture, a $50 million fine for failing to monitor cash flow, and a sanction because it never applied the proper anti-money laundering structures to a transfer of $378.4 billion dollars. .
Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor on the case, pointed out that Wachovia’s “blatant disregard” for banking laws only incurred a fine less than 2% of the bank’s 12.3 billion dollar profit in 2009. Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. office on drugs and crime in 2008, stated that there was evidence to suggest that proceeds from drugs and crime were seen as “liquid investment capital” that were only available to those banks who were in trouble of collapsing. He also said that interbank loans were funded by money from the drug trade, which saved a number of banks during the 2008 banking crisis.
Wachovia is also accused of proceeding with their business despite knowing the illicit nature of its activity. Jose Luis Marmolejo, a prosecutor for the case, said that the bank handled all of the transfers, but never filed any as suspicious. It has also surfaced that Wachovia ignored numerous complaints brought by whistleblower Martin Woods, a senior anti-money laundering officer who joined the bank in 2005. He discussed the concerns arising from Wachovia’s suspicious ties to Mexico with the bank’s head of global anti-money laundering for correspondent banking and then filed a series of suspicious activity reports, or SARS. The response from the Wachovia Bank in Miami, which served as the center for Latin American business, was not supportive, according to Woods. Increasing pressure and attention from the U.S. attorney’s office in 2007, however, led Wachovia to eventually cut ties with some of its “casas de cambio,” or currency exchange locations, with whom it did business in Mexico. Woods eventually found a representative from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to take up and investigate the case, which resulted in the 2010 settlement.
Since the involvement of Wachovia and other U.S. banks with connections to Mexican drug cartels, Mexico has announced a plan to reward people who report suspected money laundering, which would allow the awardees to get up to one-quarter of the illicit funds or property seized. Under this new plan, people will be able to file reports in person, by telephone, or by email and the amount of their reward will be determined by a special committee. All people are eligible except public servants, law enforcement, and banking employees who would only be duplicating their efforts to monitor suspicious activity."
Vulliamy, Ed. “How a big U.S. bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs.” The Observer. April 3, 2011.
Associated Press. “Mexico sets rewards for reporting money laundering.” CBS News. April 4, 2011. http://justiceinmexico.org/2011/04/05/wachovia-bank-accused-of-laundering-billions-from-mexican-drug-cartels/
We need more whistleblowers, and more whistleblowers also need to be more careful protecting their physical being once they decide to blow the whistle!!
American Banks 'High' On Drug Money: How a Whistleblower Blew the Lid Off Wachovia-Drug Cartel Money Laundering Scheme
A fraud investigator helped expose the shocking world of multi-billion dollar drug laundering by American banks and the surprising lack of oversight by the Feds.
This high-profile investigation ultimately revealed that from 2004-2007, a staggering amount of illegal drug proceeds totaling $378.4 billion dollars were transferred into Wachovia by the Mexico-based Casa Cambios that violated U.S. government anti-money laundering compliance. http://www.alternet.org/drugs/151135/american_banks_