Another possible reason for the persecution of Julian Assange has emerged.
Do you remember the great Stratfor data dump, which was (arguably) Wikileaks' most impressive haul? We've discussed that cache ("liberated" by Lulzsec and published by Assange) in a previous post
. Buried within that trove was a previously unrecognized nugget of gold.
The Stratfor documents indicate that the drug war in Mexico is
, to some degree, a sham. According to their narrative, the United States and Mexico have quietly ceded victory to the leaders of the Sinaloa cartel. The drug war in Mexico is actually a war against that cartel's competitors.
This story echoes the allegations leveled by Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla, a.k.a. El Vicentillo, a Sinaloa leader slated to stand trial in Chicago later this year. He was captured in a Mexico City hotel room after an "inside man" compromised him.
According to Zambada Niebla, he and the rest of the Sinaloa leadership, through the US informant Loya Castro, negotiated an immunity deal with the US government in which they were guaranteed protection from prosecution in exchange for providing US law enforcers and intelligence agencies with information that could be used to compromise rival Mexican cartels and their operations.
“The United States government considered the arrangements with the Sinaloa Cartel an acceptable price to pay, because the principal objective was the destruction and dismantling of rival cartels by using the assistance of the Sinaloa Cartel — without regard for the fact that tons of illicit drugs continued to be smuggled into Chicago and other parts of the United States and consumption continued virtually unabated,” Zambada Niebla’s attorneys argue in pleadings in his case.
The DEA has denied
all of this.
So how did Stratfor get into this mess? They had developed a source in the Mexican diplomatic corps. The diplomat said, in essence, that U.S. and Mexican officials will not negotiate with the drug cartels directly, but will convey messages via "signals."
The main message: No violence
. As long as the guns remain quiet and the tourists aren't scared away, the drug trade may continue. An email from the Mexican source says the following:
There have been more developments. I found out that there is a group of US and Mexican LE [law enforcement] that discretely attempted, and succeeded, in brokering a deal in Tijuana. If you notice, Tijuana violence has nearly ceased. There are only minor skirmishes that do not appear to be tied to any major cartel.
It was this same group of guys that presented their “signaling strategy” and attempted it for CDJ [Juarez].
It is not so much a message for the Mexican government as it is for the Sinaloa cartel and VCF [the Juarez Cartel] themselves. Basically, the message they want to send out is that Sinaloa is winning and that the violence is unacceptable. They want the CARTELS to negotiate with EACH OTHER. The idea is that if they can do this, violence will drop and the governments will allow controlled drug trades,,,
Unfortunately, CDJ [Juarez] is not ripe for this kind of activity, as the major routes and methods for bulk shipping into the US have already been negotiated with US authorities. In this sense, the message that Sinaloa was winning was, in my view, intended to tell SEDENA [the Mexican military] to stop taking down large trucks full of dope as they made their way to the US.
(Emphasis added.) Finally, this disturbing note appears in a separate Stratfor email:
Regarding ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] screwing up informants: They [ICE] were handling big hit men from Juarez and letting them kill in the U.S.
The source for that astounding piece of information remains unknown. Stratfor says only that he or she is American.
Now, I can fully appreciate the argument that skeptics might launch against all of this. First and foremost, the Stratfor sources remain unidentified. Secondly, a number of articles published last February painted Stratfor as the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
The counter-argument is simple. I believe that Stratfor was never, as some would have you think, a group of hopeless bumblers. Stratfor leader George Friedman may be a blowhard, but his people did cultivate sources, and he worked hand-in-claw with Goldman Sachs. Moreover, the Stratfor documents coalesce wtih the allegations coming out of the Zambada case.
The following comes from the Wikipedia entry
on the Sinaloa cartel:
In May 2009, the U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) aired multiple
reports alleging that the Mexican federal police and military were
working in collusion with the Sinaloa Cartel. In particular, the report
claimed the government was helping the Sinaloa Cartel to take control of
the Juarez Valley area and destroy other cartels, especially the Juarez
Cartel. NPR's reporters interviewed dozens of officials and ordinary
people for the journalistic investigation. One report quotes a former
Juarez police commander who claimed the entire department was working
for the Sinaloa Cartel and helping it to fight other groups. He also
claimed that the Sinaloa Cartel had bribed the military. Also quoted was
a Mexican reporter who claimed hearing numerous times from the public
that the military had been involved in murders.
An anthropologist contacted by NPR also said that the relatively low
arrest rate of Sinaloa members indicates official favoritism, if not
If we step back and take a broader view, the scenario propounded above has antecedents.
If you are my age, you may recall the plethora of U.S. news stories which made the Medellin cartel synonymous with cocaine. Those articles showed up with great frequency during the 1988-90 period. For some mysterious reason, journalists rarely mentioned Medellin's great rival, the Cali cartel; most Americans didn't even know that the latter existed.
from 1991 notes that the Cali gang had finally come to official notice...
A federal grand jury in New York City announced last week an indictment against 48 Cali cartel members for controlling the lucrative New York market, which receives 80 percent of its cocaine from Cali.
Few people reading those words back in 1991 bothered to ask themselves how that number grew so large while America's attention focused on a rival organization.