Saturday, August 14, 2010

The REAL City of God: Student Risks his Life Documenting Mexico's Drug War in Gritty, Blood-Soaked blog

MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE
A young computer student has become the voice of one of the most violent drug wars in the world.

The anonymous twenty-something blogger is risking his own life every day as he defies a culture of fear to post chilling pictures and videos of the ongoing battle between Mexico's drug cartels and law enforcement.

Blog del Narco has become an internet sensation - and some of the horror it displays makes the 2002 film City of God, charting the drug war on the streets of Brazil's Rio de Janeiro, look like a Disney film.
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Brutal: A badly damaged bus lies at the side of the road after an ambush between Mexican drug cartels.

Many of the postings, including videos of shootings and a beheading, appear to come directly from drug traffickers.

Others depict crime scenes only accessible to the military or police.

The gruesome uncensored content is sickening and extremely graphic.

It appears to be provided by all sides - drug gangs to display their power, law enforcement to show resolve and the public so people in Mexico can learn about incidents the mainstream media is forced to ignore or play down.

In at least one case Blog del Narco may have led to a major arrest - after a prison warden was seen on video detailing her alleged system of setting inmates free at night to carry out killings for a drug cartel.

Many of the videos are sent to him by readers, who know he will get them a much wider airing in Mexico, or are taken from YouTube.

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Violent: This SUV is riddled with bullet holes after the execution of cartel members by a rival gang.

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Brave: The student is publishing uncensored images, videos and information on the brutal drug war which has so far killed 28,000 people in Mexico.
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Arsenal: The site has graphic images and videos of decapitations and shootings.

Among his postings include:

- A video of a man being decapitated. Media only reported police finding a beheaded body, but the video shows the man confessing to working for drug lord Edgar 'La Barbie' Valdez Villareal, who is involved in a war with rival cartels Beltran Leyva and Sinaloa.

-The prison warden case, which was revealed in a video of masked members of the Zetas drug gang interrogating a police officer, who reveals that inmates allied with the Sinaloa cartel are given guns and cars and sent off to commit murders. At the end of the video the officer is shot dead.

-Links to Facebook pages of alleged traffickers and their children, weapons, cars and lavish parties.

-Photos of Mexican pop stars at a birthday party for an alleged drug dealer's teenage daughter.

While there are numerous blogs on Mexico's drug war, Blog del Narco appears to be the first used by traffickers themselves.

The blogger, a student in northern Mexico studying computer security, launched it in March as a 'hobby' but it now receives three million hits a week and hundreds of postings a day.
He said: 'People now demand information and if you don't publish it, they complain.'

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Shoot out: Empty shells are strewn across the floor after another fatal gun battle between the cartels.
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Threats: One of the gangs sends a message to rivals on a burnt out truck. The Mexican government has been criticised for withholding information on the drug war.

Mexico President Felipe Calderon has faced criticism that his government is not putting out enough information to the public.

The violent drug war has killed more than 28,000 people and made the country one of the world's most dangerous for journalists.

The blogger added: 'For the scanty details that they (mass media) put on television, they get grenades thrown at them and their reporters kidnapped.

'We publish everything. Imagine what they could do to us.'

He said the the blog provides an uncensored platform, posting items regardless of content or cartel affiliation.

He added: 'We don't insult them, we don't say one specific group is the bad one. We don't want problems with them.'

But critics said it is free PR for the cartels.

Carlos Lauria, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: 'Media outlets have social responsibilities and have to serve the public.

'This is being produced by someone who is not doing it from a journalistic perspective. He is doing it without ethical considerations.'

The sites first posting concerned a small-town shootout in the border state of Tamaulipas which police did not even confirm had happened. It featured YouTube video of crashed cars and corpses along a road.

CNN, Mexican media, the FBI and Mexican Defense Department are among the blog's 7,300 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

The anonymous blogger said he spends around four hours a day working on it and has recruited a friend to help after becoming overwhelmed with submissions.

12 comments:

  1. This is so sad. "Imitation is the best form of flattery" does not apply when somebody has worked as hard as blogdelnarco has only to have a site pop up that seems to be a complete ripoff of his work right down to his photos with his watermarks smack dab in the middle. http://www.mundonarco.com/

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  2. Its such BS that Mainstream media says:
    'This is being produced by someone who is not doing it from a journalistic perspective. He is doing it without ethical considerations.'

    Seems like sour grapes to me, Blog del Narco has the news even before BB sometimes. Attempts to discredit BDN fall flat considering mainstream media has had the journalistic integrity of a high school gazette. Besides the site has cracked open murder cases of which the the Gov and Media has failed to even scratch the surface.

    BDN and BB A toda Madre mis Compas!

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  3. I Agree, BDN is where the news hits first.
    everyone else just borrows from it.

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  4. This article soiund a lot like BB, juts change BDN to BB and it will fit perfectly. So what is the beef? That is why we are here to get the real scoop, in your face reporting without a water down version that is what the main stream media feed us for fear of getting killed.

    Now let's see more reporting of actual incidents happening on the ground, that is why we are here!

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  5. Other than some exclusive pictures and some videos, that by the way he gets directly from narcos and some of the police that always seem to congregate at crime scenes with camera at hand, most of the articles posted on BDN are "cut and paste" from other media sources. What hard work?

    But if he lives in Mexico, especially in the northern states, it will be just a matter of time before the wrong narco network finds his identity and whereabouts and his life will be in peril in a heart beat. Look what happened to "Todo sobre narco trafico en Mexico."

    http://todosobrenarcotraficoenmexico.blogspot.com/

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  6. What happen to sobre narco trafico...it was much better than. Blog del narco but out of no where they stopped updating

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  7. @anonymous 5:18 am

    http://www.mundonarco.com/ appears to be the same site, or affiliate. Although it's set in wordpress, with much less info, it is registered by copyright to Blog del narco.

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  8. yesterday the official state of Guadalajara government page was hacked: a flash message stating: In Mexico there's no violence" would appear before redirecting to BDN

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  9. This is reminiscent of the underground newspapers of Nazi Occupied ghettos. Brave acts of resistance producing reality in print to those that were living in passive acceptance. I see this in Mexico. Newsprint simply does not cover the narco reality. My own staff are for the most part clueless of the widespread violence thinking it exists in small pockets in Mx. They are stunned by the news I have given them. Computers are scarce in Mx, also lack of phone lines, and the net too $ for most Mx. There are internet cafes popping up in the smallest of towns but are used for communication and social networking. I tell my close friends in Mx about the narcoblogs & my us friends.

    The operators of narcoblogs are my heros/sheros

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  10. anyone know what happened to http://todosobrenarcotraficoenmexico.blogspot.com/
    ??

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  11. i take picture on street and sell to blog, no? mexican army scared, mexican police scared...i no scared.

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  12. This is not the first interview BDN has given.
    And it is true that another blogger outed the young man who runs BDN. he was a TEC student at one time and lives in MTY, his photo and name etc was not posted here at BB and we would not do so.

    Overtime BDN has pulled various stunts for PR, shutting down for a vacation and coming back as a non narco site claiming death threats, but came back full bore. When the other blogger outed the guy he said BDN is paid by CDG.

    As a woman I can tell you I would never post the explicit photos that demean women on my site as BDN/Mundo has. (same people) no way a young woman would do such a thing.

    Lastly, 99% of all stories posted on BDN and there so called exclusives are the work of others including me. And never is source credit given. Most of the videos the same. You may notice they say exclusive yet I post the same vids or fotos without their branding. not to say they do not get exclusives, just that rare it is so. I would have no issue if they just gave true credit.

    I am proud to be a contributor for BB and proud of the fact that Buggs insists on reprints we give source credit......if you want to read about Buggs DD on Forum wrote a piece and in it you will see the Buggs posted all alone for the first year and much of his material was original.

    http://borderland-beat-forum.924382.n3.nabble.com/The-Birth-Of-Borderland-Beat-td4045530.html


    ReplyDelete

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