Mexican drug gangs slug it out on YouTube
Blood-soaked videos fuel escalating violence
Warning: graphic content A bloody war between rival Mexican drug gangs has spilled onto YouTube where two competing cartels "taunt each other with blood-soaked slideshows and films of their murder victims", Reuters reports.
The war between north eastern Mexico's "Gulf Cartel" - with its private army "Los Zetas", led by Osiel Cardenas, and "traffickers based in the western state of Sinaloa" headed by Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman - last year claimed more than 2,000 victims.
Mexican president Felipe Calderon responded by dispatching troops to several states to restore order, although the killing appears to continue unabated, if the video evidence is anything to go by.
Indeed, Reuters notes that on YouTube "one popular video shows a man being shot in the head" while a "stomach-churning series of photos shows another execution victim, his missing face a mangled mess of flesh".
According to the news agency, in one YouTube post, a user "offers about $4,500 to anyone who can show proof of having killed members of The Zetas, 'via photo, video or presenting the body'."
Much of the material makes reference to a popular narco corrido ballad called "To My Enemies"; sung by Valentin Elizalde and "widely seen as a musical attack on The Zetas". Elizade was shot dead last year after "reportedly performing the song at a concert in Gulf Cartel territory".
One pretty typical example (NSFW, graphic content) of the Mexican drug cartel video genre, entitled "To my Enemies - I killed them", shows photos of an execution scene (seen here) in which the killers have left a written warning on the floor declaring: "This message is for you Chapo Guzman". The comments include predictably partisan exchanges of insults between rival gang members.
Jose Luis Manjarrez, a spokesman for Mexico's attorney general's office, told Reuters that "some of the people who abuse each other on YouTube seem to have insider knowledge of the drug gangs".
He added: "The messages give the impression that members of organised crime are participating. We can't rule out, but neither can we be totally sure, that this is being used as a form of communication by organised crime."
YouTube, meanwhile, insisted it "does not allow videos showing dangerous or illegal acts". ®
Ociel Cardenas was last month extradited to the US on 17 charges including drug importing and distribution, threatening a federal agent, and money laundering. He pleaded not guilty in a Houston court last week and faces trial on 2 April.
Cardenas's private army Los Zetas are reputed by some to be ex-army special forces and other "mercenaries" who may have received military training in the US. Others reject this claim.
i agree with above
some people just wanna get high - let them.
the gov are more than happy for people to kill themselves with booze and tobacco as they make masses of tax revenue from them.
clamping down just drives things underground. if legalised at least we can monitor some of the more dodgy aspects that are going on (for example lacing weed with etched glass to improve weight and looks) and to control purity and strength
also it seems ridiculous to have the british medical association classing, say cannabis, far below all manner of legal things (tobacco killing many and 75% of violent crime, rape and murder being associated with alcohol) but the police clamping down. all they have done in clamping down on cannabis is make heroin now easier and cheaper to get hold of! well done Tony! maybe David Cameron might be more sympathetic :)
End prohibition - end drug gang violence?
Those blood spattered bodies were eerily reminiscent of gunned down gangsters from prohibition era news photos. Perhaps production and distribution of currently illegal drugs should be brought under legal control? Certainly, this behaviour is no longer seen in the alcohol trade.
This is the position held by 'The Economist' magazine:
and 'Law Enforcement Against Prohibition'
amongst many others.
As Dr Strangelove said "all that is required is ze vill to do it."