Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Terrorist tag is sought for drug cartels

Thursday, March 31, 2011 |

By Stewart M. Powell
Houston Chronicle

In a potential escalation of the U.S. attack on Mexican drug cartels, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, introduced legislation Wednesday to designate four Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations” — a designation that could expose Mexican drug traffickers and U.S. gun runners to charges of supporting terrorism.

McCaul unveiled his legislation targeting the Arellano Feliz Organization, Los Zetas, the Beltran Leyva Organization and LaFamilia Michoacana as his House Homeland Security subcommittee prepares for hearings designed to elicit support for the proposal from four Obama administration officials.

Cartels have used violence to seize political and economic control over parts of northern Mexico, with spill-over crime resulting “in the abandonment of property and loss of security on the U.S. side of the border,” declared McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s panel on oversight and investigations.

McCaul spokesman Mike Rosen said it was the first time a member of Congress had proposed the designation for the powerful Mexican drug gangs.

If adopted, McCaul’s proposal would enable prosecutors to seek up to 15 additional years in prison and up to $50,000 in additional fines for each conviction of providing “material support or resources” to the four designated cartels.

Mexican drug cartels may not be “driven by religious ideology” that propels al-Qaida, the Taliban or Hezbollah, McCaul said. But the Mexican gangs are “using similar tactics to gain political and economic influence,” relying on “kidnappings, political assassinations, attacks on civilian and military targets, taking over cities and even putting up checkpoints in order to control territory and institutions.”

A total of 47 so-called “foreign terrorist organizations” have been listed by the State Department — most of them with ties to al-Qaida, Iran or Islamic fundamentalist terror organizations.

Others include the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Peru’s Shining Path and the Irish Republican Army.

To qualify for the designation, the State Department says an organization must have carried out terror attacks or “engaged in planning and preparations for possible future acts of terrorism.”

The designation has served as “an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business,” the State Department says.

The designation enables the State Department, the Treasury Department and the Justice Department to coordinate punitive actions against the organizations and individuals associated with them.

The designation isn’t without controversy.

The State Department, sensitive to the pressures besetting Mexican President Felipe Calderón, downplayed terrorist activities in Mexico in its latest public evaluation of terrorism country-by-country a- cross the globe.

“No known international terrorist organizations had an operational presence in Mexico and no terrorist incidents targeting U.S. interests and personnel occurred on or originated from Mexican territory,” the State Department said in a report made public last August.

“Cartels increasingly used military-style terrorist tactics to attack security forces. There was no evidence of ties between Mexican organized crime syndicates and ..... terrorist groups.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, counseled caution about designating Mexican cartels terrorist organizations.

“Cartels are in it for one thing — money,” Cornyn said. “To me, we need to be clear about what is happening in Mexico. We have got to be careful about the label because sometime those labels can create misleading impressions.”

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30 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy shit. This is deep. If they are declared terrorists, the US will have a path to declare war against them. This could get freaking ugly real quick.

Anonymous said...

What, no mention of Sinaloa??

Layla2 said...

There have long been arguments on whether a terrorist organization must be religiously affiliated. The answer is NO. A terrorist organization is politically motivated.

And these cartel groups are politically motivated (as well as economically). They seek to gain political favors from those who support their organization while causing harm to the policical infrastructure who refuse or support rival organizations. Ultimately they wish to eliminate their competition politically and gain control by putting their men in power.

So it makes you wonder if Sen Cornyn is really that narrow-minded or if he sees Texas as having a stake in the economics of drug smuggling, gun trafficking and money laundrying.

"An abiding characteristic [of terrorism] is the indiscriminate use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of gaining publicity for a group, cause, or individual" [Ruby, Charles L. (2002). "The Definition of Terrorism" (PDF). http://www.asap-spssi.org/pdf/asap019.pdf.]

Anonymous said...

What about the Sinaloa...Gulf cartel ...And the other smaller cartels if you are going to do it to one do it to all of them....

Anonymous said...

the u.s. is goin to fuck them selfs over by labeling the cartels terrorist organizations....

Anonymous said...

“Cartels are in it for one thing — money,” Cornyn said.
----------------
That's an imbecilic oversimplification of what's going on as anyone who reads this site regularly is well aware of.

Anonymous said...

SINALOA AREN'T TERRORISTS!!! THEY ARE FIGHT FOR PEACE....AND THEY DON'T ATTACK CIVILIANS.....NOT CATEGORIZED AS A TERROR GROUP....

Anonymous said...

NOR IS THE GULF.....THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO START WAR OR CREATE TERROR....THEY ARE TRYING TO MOVE DRUGS AND NOTHING MORE......THAT IS WHY THEY ARE TRYING TO CALM THINGS DOWN BY EXTERMINATING THE ZETAS AND ARE SIDING WITH SINALOA....THEY JUST WANNA GO BACK TO THE WAY THINGS USED TO BE....WHEN IT WAS SAFER FOR PEOPLE TO BE IN MEXICO....NOW PEOPLE ARE AFFRAID TO GO TO THE STORE......

Anonymous said...

ya sinaloa and gulf have something the other cartels don't have and that is honor

Anonymous said...

We'll be giving them a run for their money! Ha!! At least we won't have to send our troops halfway around the world. Some can even visit relatives while they fight.

Ardent said...

Cornyn and McCaul, 2 Texas Republicans, seem to be in a hot battle of about just how many folk they will be throwing the terrorist label at in th future? Isn't it simpler says Cornyn to just use the old definition that a terrorist is simply anybody that the US and Israeli governments don't like, wheres as good foreign citizen patriots are those they do like?

McCaul says, 'Nah', we gotta to allow people like death squad Uribe and Calderon to also be allowed to define folk as being 'terrorists' to the press, too! One, two, many many terrorists; everybody is a potential terrorist today! Whooppee military industrial policing complex USA!

Anonymous said...

I think we should label the FBI CIA DEA and ATF as terrorist organizations.... and also the Teabaggers especially the teabaggers

Anonymous said...

I also agree to a point that the CDS and Gulf cartels don't terrorize the public like the Z's, BLO, AFO and CDJ. They have always prospered in moving drugs and for that they have alot of funds. The other organizations have no remorse or regard for the common people in North or South America. I wouldn't go as far to praise the CDS and Gulf cartel because they have made bonehead moves but....They know not to mess with American officials because of the heat that could be brought down on their organization. The Z's will not last for long, they have too much heat on them. The public is fed up with them, the Americans are on them like white on rice. Their days are numbered. So gente del CDG and CDS no not to mess around with situations that are tricky cause they know they aren't untouchable. No one is, the day the US and Mexican govt. get fed up they will get them and they know that better than the rest of the younger cartels.

Saludos,

John said...

This is wrong. This is just a "test of the waters" by the US government to see how many different people/groups they can label terrorists. Before you know it, it's 1984 in 2015 and anyone who dissents is a terrorist organization.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe anyone would try to make a comment here that the gulf and sinaloa cartels are 'honorable'. I guess they don't know what that word means. Honorable doesn't mean just killing people you think are rivals and not merely citizens. How many lost generations for Mexico now? And with comments like the ones here praising the cartels expect many more.

Anonymous said...

@John, you really don't think the cartels should be labeled terrorists? They use violence to gain power over the populace and take over the government. It doesn't matter if the reason they do it is to protect their money or because they are idealistic communists, anyone who does that is still a terrorist.

El_Regio said...

Wow I can't believe most of the comments on here. How said to read these comments, I am glad most Americans don't think like you. First of all I would like to praise the two Reps. from Texas, this is why Texas has done well during this recession!!!
As to certain cartels being honorable!! roflmao you have to be kidding me... seriously?

Anonymous said...

U guys dont know nothing because you dont live in mexico.the gulf does extortions too in parts of tamaulipas and CDS in juarez too.

John said...

@ March 31, 2011 2:38 PM

No, I do not think so. The cartels don't actively go out trying to kill innocent civilians to prove their agenda. In fact, they recognize that only HURTS their agenda in the grand scheme of things. True terrorists have no problem killing civilians and in fact that is their GOAL, to terrorize the populace.

While the cartels may in fact terrorize the populace because of their power and ruthlessness, I just don't think it's right to say they are "terrorists". Are the American Mafia terrorists?

If we start applying the "terrorist" label to organized crime groups, it's only a matter of time before "lesser" crimes or groups start receiving the same label. All of a sudden a group of car thieves or home burglars are a terrorist group. When you start lessening the meaning of the word, it slowly begins to be applied to people or groups that shouldn't be anywhere near associated with the word 'terror'.

Senor Del Arranque said...

I agree Los Zetas are a cancer to Mexico. Now I'm not for any cartel. I wish things would go back to how it was before. Drug dealers killing each other. And leaving innocent people alone. It was a lot safer when the cartels had control of Mexico....

J said...

lol at targeting CAF as a terrorist organization, that is ridiculous. They are barely making any noise in Tijuana at all. Beltran Leyva? Are they taking on only the washed up and seriously marginalized?

Anonymous said...

What aboput the American cRack heads?
Do they support terrorism everytime they snort something?

Anonymous said...

Its hard to listen to you people comparing criminal gangs,one is good one is bad ,are you nuts,or is your cousin a Gulf or Sinaloa thug. After a while it gets hard to believe that there are any responsible decent Mexicans under 40 in the whole country. What rational person could question that Mexican drug /criminal gangs are not Terrorists,what the F do you choose to call them? The entire country is upside down, whatever needs to be done ,needs to be done,NOW, You don' hunt a bear with a BB gun. You can't generate cultural ethics,integrity,transparency,organization and accountability overnight,but the course must be kept.

Anonymous said...

Hey
March 31, 2011 7:08 PM .

When do you go hunting for the Drug runners in the ATF, the CIA or the Homeland Security cartels?
El Mayo is gonna open up a can of worms soon,
when he spills all his contacts in the Federal, State and counties, people who ran drugs for his organisation, Americans.
get off the Couch Commando!
they live next door to you, the only reason
the U.S. fights its proxy wars in other Countries is because its afraid of itself.

ajulio said...

A lot of people always defending the Sinaloa Cartel. Maybe they know by what they see with their own eyes. Maybe they are blind. Or maybe it is true. The Sinaloa Cartel handles themselves in the old mold of the original Guadalajara Cartel, with professionalism.

One thing I can agree on is that Los Zetas need to be erased. They are the Ms-13 of Mexican cartels. They are always viewed as the dirty bad guys.

Me personally, I think they are all dirty scum and should all be labeled as terrorists. Because nowadays labeling and categorizing means everything in this world. The one cartel that gets on my F' nerves is LFM (the People's cartel). Yeah Right!

Swanka said...

VIVA CDG!!!


~~~El Swankador~~~

VIVA CDG!!

Anonymous said...

just a note to the Mexican's in general:
you have succeeded in getting the attention of the American people. When you threaten, attack or shoot at American citizens on American soil, you are picking a fight you can not win... Basically we have ignored the illegal immigration problem, partly due to the fact Americans are not as Racially Biased as the press would have you believe. The general middle class American has chosen to ignore the growing drug problem in this country, feeling like it did not really concern them. It is only after we realize that the immigrants "we" accepted in our country and homes do not respect or appreciate the country they have come to feed off of and destroy, like their home countries. We American's have finally realized that animals do bite the hand that feeds them...there is no "cure" for a rabid animal, only death, before they have the opportunity to spread sickness and disease to the innocent.
In the words of the immortal John Wayne "Fill your Hands, You dirty Bastards".

Anonymous said...

sinaloa started this who mess, they should label the sinaloa cartel as public enemy number 1.

Anonymous said...

Sinaloa and gulf only target the ones that try to step on them....yeah chapo got greedy but they both realize that they have to get rid of the blood suckers......they in all reality just two drug corporations....not terrorist groups otherwise the US would be targeting them

Anonymous said...

If they are labeled terrorists, the US can and WILL go after them. I am going to sit back and smoke some good American grown hydro and watch the fireworks on CNN. There will be a small uprising of Mexicans that are pissed off that the US is on their soil. This will caused them to be killed and then it is asskicking time for any person carrying a weapon in Mexico. I hope the streets fill with blood because these fuckers have no clue what the US War Machine can do to a country. The three best things in life.....defeat your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamindations of their women.

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