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Anonymous Cancels Operation Cartel as Los Zetas Track Hacktivists (talkingpointsmemo.com)
173 points by aaronbrethorst on Nov 1, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 155 comments

It's difficult to wage an information war with gangsters. The ones who get to the top by killing and torturing are not likely to be threatened by having a few emails released. All the shit runs downhill to the relatively innocent civilians being extorted by the gangsters.

If knowledge of who the crime bosses are was enough to take them down, they would not exist in the first place. Organized crime does not require secrecy to operate when the police are corrupted.

The only way to fight criminals at a scale where they threaten the state is through intelligence and military techniques, not law enforcement.

Find them, build up decent evidence, kill them; don't try to prosecute. The risk is turning into a star chamber or right wing paramilitary, but I would trust the professionalism and morality of an organization like the us military to resist that. Plan Colombia worked out ok, compared to Peru vs shining path, for instance.

Decent evidence often isn't. Remember those 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq? 4,482 dead American soldiers and counting.

I'm not saying these gangs aren't full of horrible people, and I'm not saying all branches of the US government and military aren't perfectly good intentioned and well-meaning people, but mistakes do get made - which is why we need some judicial oversight here.

We've already got one war on an abstract concept where the president can order the extrajudicial execution of a US citizen based on secret evidence. That's more than enough for me.

Well, on the other hand what are the costs of doing nothing in Mexico? What price do the Mexican people pay? This situation is a little different than the twin towers.

Wouldn't it be safer & a hell of a lot cheaper if drugs were regulated according to their harm? Grass is no worse than alcohol or tobacco, while cocaine doesn't cause any more social issues than those.

The cartels only exist because the illegality of those drugs creates massive profit margins. Remove that and many of the problems are solved.

I'm going through a very good book right now that this reminds me of. It's more about the middle east than Latin America, but I think it applies:

"Poppy cultivation had become an agribusiness and the dealers for the Afghan drug barons now had technical advisers who were visiting Nangarhar to advise on the crop and the product, paying in advance, and so concerned about the health of their workers that they had given them face-masks to wear in the opium factories. Some said they even offered health insurance. This was capitalism on a ruthlessly illegal scale. And when I asked a European UN official how the world could compete with it, he drew in his breath. "Legalise drugs!" he roared. "Legalise the lot. It will be the end of the drug barons. They'll go broke and kill each other. But of course the world will never accept that. So we'll go on fighting a losing war."

-- The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk

And yet, when a considerable number of people sign a petition asking about legalization of at least cannabis, we get a response like this:


A whole lot of words and nothing being said. I shouldn't say nothing, the message 'we're humoring you all with these petitions, they don't actually mean anything,' is pretty strong.

Apologies for the segue from Anon operations, but reading this excerpt made me remember just how annoying the situation is and I immediately thought of the petition.

Didn't China have big problems with opium use several hundred years ago which drove them to cut it off? (They may not have made it illegal, but they at least cut off trade routes)

I'm Chinese, and the Opium Wars has had a lasting impact stronger than most people in the West realize or give credit for.

There is a somewhat widespread belief (and certainly corroborated by the history textbooks I had growing up) that the opium trade into China was politically motivated, as opposed to merely that of financial greed. There are persistent claims, even now, that the British encouraged the use of opium in an attempt to destabilize and make weak the Chinese Empire for the express purpose of then making war. The opium trade, and the subsequent war, continues to be a historical black mark that fuels Eastern distrust of the West.

Without blaming anyone even, the Chinese widely acknowledge that opium was one of the primary causes of the decline of the Empire (along with the common blame of governmental excess). This has fostered an extremely skeptical and negative attitude towards narcotics that has lasted to the present day. At least on paper, drug offenses in Taiwan are still punishable by death - though it's not applied as rigorously as before.

I'm in favor of legalizing/decriminalizing drugs (and heading down to the reform conference in a few hours, in LA -- http://www.reformconference.org/ )

It's crazy that we fight a war in Afghanistan where the enemy is largely financed by two of our addictions (oil via Saudi contributions to AQ, and opiates via the Taliban), and our own logistical footprint (10% of the logistics budget of the US presence goes indirectly to the Taliban!).

The war on drugs, in addition to being ineffective, is racist and immoral.

However, even though drugs is how they started, there are criminal/terrorist organizations, like MS13 and Los Zetas, which are a threat to the stability of some fairly weak states, a source of violence in US and foreign communities, etc., which need to be destroyed even after drug funding is cut off.

The relevancy of all of this to Hacker News is becoming really strained, though.

I agree and think it's a good first step. However I don't think it will necessarily get rid of the cartels. Prohibition gave rise to organized crime in the US, but once it was repealed they already were established and just focused on other illegal activities.

Yes, specifically drugs. There is significantly more money in drugs than other types of illegal activities.

What makes someone "horrible"?


There are pictures of this (and numerous other similar situations) out there on the internet for you to find. I cannot stress highly enough that you should NOT try to find them..

Maybe it is good for my mental health to try to maintain what little faith in humanity I have left.

Has that ever worked? In the U.S. anyway, gangs only seemed to disappear after pretty intense FBI work. I'm thinking of stuff like http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/organizedcrime/itali... but maybe there's much more militarized approach that's been effective that i'm forgetting.

There aren't criminal organizations in the USA which can credibly threaten state governments, let aloe the Feds.

This is different in other countries. Hence, law enforcement to solve crime in the USA; targeted killings in Mexico.

The point i'm trying to make, the super glamorous "send in the military and take out the boss" kind of tactics are ultimately doomed to fail. You have to do the sucky work of grinding away at the base. a tax evasion conviction here, a conspiracy charge there. Keep enough pressure on the base of the pyramid that it starts getting a little tougher to find people willing to deal or be mules or enforcers or whatever. It's not a huge change, it just ups the cost of doing business a few percent, but that's a few percent that would be making a larger organization, that now they're spending staying the same size.

Those sorts of tactics, over decades seem to really effectively grind down gangs. Swooping in with helicopters and m-16's is expensive and (i think) not very effective. Perhaps there's a counter example i'm overlooking. However, if you take the long view of the question how do you fight organized crime? I think you'll see the only effective solutions take generations. Just slowly tightening the noose around more and more unacceptable activities.

I don't see the "doomed to fail" part. What bad thing happens when you take out known crime bosses? They get replaced quickly? Do it again. They can only take it so long. Is it more expensive than hundreds of law-enforcement officers working for decades "grinding away at the base"? I rather doubt it. You probably don't need to go all "helicopters and M-16s" on them. I'm sure it can be done much less expensively than that.

Just working intuitively, it seems like you would want both. Put pressure on at whatever levels you can, and then speed things up by removing key players. Wouldn't this accelerate the collapse of the organization, and at least make it less effective?

Extra judicial assassinations lead to government corruption. The gangsters on the street go away, but new gangsters in government are created.

Due process is there for a reason.

Fair enough. But in a government already run by gangsters, like Mexico or worse, that's less compelling. I wonder if it's possible to have due process for assassinations...

If you have a trial it's not an assassination anymore.

You can have an administrative ruling or presidential finding, or even more legitimately, a full judicial trial in absentia. The critical thing is that the court itself can't be corrupted or intimidated by the riminals, not that there isn't due process.

There used to be, the mob was practically running several cities and literally owned Las Vegas. It took many decades to reduce the threat.

That was because prohibition funneled gobs and gobs of money into the hands of criminals.

See also: the current Mexican civil war.

Or end the futile prohibition on drugs and tax them instead. Worked for alcohol.

For values of 'worked for alcohol' that include 'moved world's largest criminal organisation into non-alcohol-related activity without impacting its organisational capacity one jot'.

People drink and take drugs because they enjoy it.

What illegal activity are you proposing people will seek if drugs are medicinalized/legalized? Saying "oh they'll just move on" is a bit hand-wavey.

Gun running, human trafficking, political corruption, extortion, kidnapping, straight up stealing shit, fencing, counterfeiting.

You know all those crimes that aren't substance based.

And depending on the terms of legalization, I'm sure drugs would always be a small part, whether that be black market to avoid taxes or prescription drugs.

None of these things is as profitable as drugs. Tens of dollars per gram, of stuff that grows in the forest and requires but a little processing. There's nothing so profitable to move on to.

Are you suggesting that the lower profits mean a crime ring can't be organized around them? Because history would disagree with you.

No, what he (and I, I suppose) is suggesting is that without drugs criminal organizations lose their primary source of funding. They can move onto other, smaller pies, but ultimately it means a dramatic downsizing of organized crime and a consequent loss of influence.

Which isn't to say that they won't run guns and traffick humans, but right now the problem in Latin America is that these criminal organizations practically run the government they are so large. Depriving them of the drug pie, the tobacco pie, the alcohol pie... they will have nothing they can turn to that will allow them to maintain their present level of governmental corruption.

Of course not. Just that a less profitable but still high-risk business is less attractive and likely to be pursued less vigorously and by fewer people. Which is the outcome we want. Zero tolerance is not eliminating crime, and it is extremely expensive.

Plus, most of the criminal activities organized crime goes into which aren't drugs have non-consenting victims -- like extortion, theft of vehicle cargoes, human smuggling (vs. domestic labor), etc. So it's easier for the law enforcement groups to ally with those victims against the organized crime groups.

Market size.

Drugs are relatively easy to produce and smuggle and have a massive community demand. Nothing else comes close.

Added benefit: fewer drug-related prisoners being trained up as career criminals.

EDIT: also, "people" refers to "people in the community taking drugs", not the gangs.

We should probably legalize all those too. They'll go away.

This is hyperbolic, unreasonable and valueless.

Or it could just be tongue-in-cheek

I like the way you think! I had the same idea. What makes something a crime is that it is illegal. If we make everything legal then there isn't any crime! I know, I know, I'm a genius.

The UK situation with cigarettes might be useful to look at.

Cigarettes are legal to buy for anyone over the age of 18 (was 16 until feb 2011). Average price per pack of 20 is between £5.50 and £7; most of that is (Over 80%) tax.

High local prices, easy access to cheap foreign cigs (France is a couple of hours away and hypermarkets exist to sell alcohol and cigs to English day-trippers) mean that very many (1 in 5) cigarettes (and half of all hand rolling tobacco) smoked in the UK are smuggled or counterfeit.

Worse, there's money to be made for criminal gangs smuggling counterfeit cigs.

Cannabis is easy to grow. I support legalisation. But I am worried by the fact that criminal gangs already grow and distribute cannabis in the UK (sometimes using forced trafficked labour); by the possible harm to mental health; and by the weird culture of binge drinking and underage drinking in UK and how that would transfer to drug use.

UK annual tax income: (http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-fi...)

Over 80% VAT and duties: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/8401996/Budget-201...)

Video report about blatant selling of smuggled cigs: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-13101212)

Organised crime in Scotland and their involvement in smuggled tobacco (with 1 in 5 and half of all hand rolling tobacco claim: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12219726)

More like what illegal activity will criminals try if drugs are made legal.

There are bars everywhere, cigarettes are everywhere so other than a little bootlegging of alcohol and cigs there isn't much profit in those things.

Whatever people want and whatever makes criminals money is what they will try.

Exactly. Crime would adjust itself, or find a new market. Compromising by legalizing something which has a purpose in being illegal is detrimental to solving the problem.

Bullshit. As if criminals simply avoid other vice because it's less profitable, totally false. Dangerously false.

There are not open markets just floating around waiting for criminals to suddenly discover them.

I disagree. I believe there are plenty of avenues of criminal activity. Trouble is, most criminals aren't visionaries, and why would they have an incentive to fond other profitable crimes of they can practically earn money doing what they do now?

By that logic they will all suddenly take up investment banking.

Thing is, there is no real purpose for many/most controlled substances to be illegal, unless you choose from the following list:

* Excuse for government overstep of constitutional provisions * Money to the prison-industrial complex (i know, trite, but it's true) * One more step in the notion that you don't own your own body

And those aren't legitimate reasons, IMAO.

I agree with you on libertarian grounds that, in principle, a person should be free to ingest whatever he likes. However, looking at civilized society as a whole, I don't see making most controlled substances legal useful. With the exception of marijuana and a few anxiolytics (which I'd encourage to be legalized), I think they'd be counterproductive to the working order of a society. Society needs someone to clean the toilets, and do other labor intensive jobs. But if you have a legally accessible ticket to happiness through drugs, why go to work?

Because they need to earn money to buy the drugs. By your logic anyone with a hobby wouldn't bother going to work because they also have a legally acceptable ticket to happiness.

Aren't you just making the argument that legalizing drugs would increase wages?

Everything reaches an equilibrium. Taking away a high-profit/low-cost activity like drug trafficking will shift activity to something else, no doubt, but this alternate activity will likely be less profitable and support a smaller organization.

We're seeing this with Wall Street. Dodd-Frank is raising the costs of doing business, causing the industry to down size.

If the law causes more harm than the drug in the first place, the law needs to go.

Criminals are just people. They do what is most profitable for them given their circumstances. If you legalize drugs, most of the current drug criminals will get normal jobs at McDonalds or Wall Street or whatever.

I was going to post something just like this, but mine went: "The only way to harm organizations of this size is to attack their funding source." In this case, that means, primarily, drugs.

That is an over-simplified solution to a complicated problem. Organized crime would change, not cease to exist. Countries where prostitution is legal still see organized abuses in the industry, like brothel owners not following regulations, etc. Moreover, marijuana has the highest likelihood of being legalized of any drug (still not likely) and yet, it is the lowest profit margin for organized crime. Cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, etc. are much more profitable, and legalizing these would be socially irresponsible, if fiscally lucrative.

> Cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, etc. are much more profitable, and legalizing these would be socially irresponsible, if fiscally lucrative.

Are you claiming that the benefits that we actually get from the current prohibitions are greater than the costs of those prohibitions?

If so, that's not obviously true. After all, I can get all of those things without too much effort, so what is huge benefit of making them illegal?

If not, what definition of "socially irresponsible" are you using?

It's not obviously false either - it's at least arguably true. When I said fiscally lucrative, I was admitting there may be a certain profit to legalizing these substances. However, it's socially irresponsible. I don't think a society will function as well with a government making clearly adverse narcotics freely available because people want them.

"clearly adverse narcotics"

How are they clearly adverse? Why was it not clear before the middle of the 20th century? Why is it not clear in other countries? Why was alcohol "clearly adverse" in the early 20th century in the US? What's the evidence that making drugs illegal has net benefits to society?

It is very, very expensive and unhealthy to lock up so many young people for drug offenses. Illegal drugs do a lot of harm, but so do alcohol, cigarettes and obesity. If narcotics were legal, we would sadly continue to lose good people to them. But the evidence from Portugal* suggests this would be not more than we already do. And we would lose far fewer people to prison, drug-related violence and the accidents and diseases due to the conditions associated with illegal drugs.

* http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.ht...

(edit: spelling and added link to article about Portugal's policy experiment)

Legalizing something harmful because there are other harmful things that are ALSO legal isn't sensible. It just means more things should be illegal.

And they are adverse because they are unhealthy for consumption. That a prison is unhealthy says more about the American prison system than the comparative health of narcotics.

There are a lot of responses I can't cover individually, so here is a thought experiment to extrapolate the restriction and legality issue further: why regulate anything? Why restrict anything? We can viably allow murder and rape to exist as well if gun laws have no regulation - every one is responsible for themselves, and forget the rest.

"they are adverse because they are unhealthy for consumption"

Like rocks, thumbtacks, shampoo, too much aspirin, bacon-double-cheeseburgers and daytime TV. We do not ban everything that's unhealthy. The question is whether, on balance, the benefits of prohibition are greater than the costs. I think we agree on that, though we might disagree when we estimate the balance when it comes to narcotics. Unfortunately, statistics for both sides are limited. This scarcity of data makes the Portugese experience really valuable.

We can know the cost of imprisoning all these people though. The US has the highest imprisonment rate in the world: 738 per 100,000. The UK, which has similar societal attitudes to drugs, though very different judicial policies, has 148 per 100,000, which is still above the median globally. US taxpayers are spending too much money on food, lodging and security for drug offenders.

Imprisonment data:


edit: in case you think the cultural differences with the UK make the comparison poor, Canada has 107 prisoners per 100,000 population. That's one seventh the rate of their neighbor.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, is your argument that it's better to choose the lesser of two evils? In other words, we should legalize drugs because they are obtainable anyway and we need to reduce the number of people in prison?

I wouldn't put it like that, but roughly yes. I think the current policies are probably doing more harm than good. We should try decriminalizing some drugs, and spend some of the money we save on enforcement on education and health services. This is a harm reduction strategy, which is how we handle alcohol now.

So, correct me if I'm wrong, is your argument that it's better to choose the lesser of two evils?

Is your argument that it's better to choose the greater of two evils?

"Legalizing something harmful because there are other harmful things that are ALSO legal isn't sensible. It just means more things should be illegal."

So. Would you choose to restart Prohibition if it were up to you?

No, there are degrees to which something is harmful, and mechanics to how they're deadly. Alcohol usually kills in car accidents. Heroin does not require a car to kill, and there is no such thing as moderation with drugs like heroin and cocaine. People don't exactly stumble about after drinking fine wine usually.


To clarify, alcohol does not need vehicular accidents to kill, it does cause damage to the liver, but my basic point was that while there are substances that are legal which are harmful, such as nicotine and alcohol, these are far and away much less harmful than other illegal controlled substances which have more overdose potential.

In eastern Europe there are plenty of cases of alcohol overdose resulting in death. On the other hand, there are no credible reports of marijuana or LSD being the direct cause of death.

Sure, alcohol is far less harmful than some of the illegal controlled substances. Still, there are other illegal substances which are less harmful than alcohol. It's not like ethanol is the safest drug out there.

Alchohol doesn't require a car to kill either. How many cases are there of spousal murder while intoxicated? Also, heroin generally kills when people try to rob others for money to get heroin, not when people are on heroin, because it is a strong depressant and people tend to just lounge around like with pot. If heroin were legal and cheap that problem goes away.

Alcohol is a very strong depressant too, and most of the heroin deaths aren't from people robbing houses that are empty while they are in withdrawal due to lack of money to buy heroin.

Heroin (and alcohol) also cause psychosis, which is probably the biggest cause for things such as spousal murder. Legalization is a weak argument when the only evidence is "It worked for Portugal!" or "If we take away the criminal organizations then everything will be well!". Instead of fighting the infinite number of criminals I'd rather we help the dudes who fucked up and now want to make their lives better.

"Instead of fighting the infinite number of criminals I'd rather we help the dudes who fucked up and now want to make their lives better."

You realize that is exactly what Portugal is doing, right?

Apparently not, but I also see lifetime use of heroin also nearly doubled due to legalization, and there is still question on what effects were caused by the legalization and what effects weren't.

Alcohol usually kills in car accidents

According to CDC data from 2001-2005, an avg of 20 thousand people died from directly alcohol related diseases (with an additional 16 thousand of conditions linked to excessive drinking), compared to 14 thousand who died in motor-vehicle accidents.

"Alcohol usually kills in car accidents. Heroin does not require a car to kill"

You are entirely deluded.

> it does cause damage to the liver

And to most other parts of the body

Can't imagine ever comparing heroin to obesity or cigarettes

Which of these kills the most people and costs the most money to deal with?

Obviously the one that is more of a widespread issue. Obesity costs more money to deal with because there are infinitely more obese people in the world than there are who are addicted to heroin. Fast food is legalized which means criminal organizations aren't going to cash in with it, but it does mean more people are going to be eating it because it's easier to obtain.

Certain narcotics are very clearly adverse because they are extremely addictive with very very small amount of use. You argue against "clearly adverse narcotics", does that mean you think it is responsible to make all narcotics legal? Should people be able to get heroin as easily as they get cigarettes, never mind the kids who would easily be able to go get some dude to buy them a hit of heroin or meth.

One mistake run with heroin or meth can fuck your life up for good, no matter what kind of person you are. Proper education and good life styles are a much more effective defense against drugs then legalization.

> However, [legalizing hard drugs is] socially irresponsible.

You've said that - I'm asking how you're defining "socially irresponsible".

> I don't think a society will function as well with a government making clearly adverse narcotics freely available because people want them.

Not banning something is not the same as "govt making available".

More to the point, those drugs are freely available despite all the laws.

I'll ask again. What benefits do we actually get from the drug laws? If you mention availability, you get to show that the laws actually affect it because if they don't, that's not a benefit. Since they are freely available, that's a tough argument to make.

Then you get to explain why the benefits that we actually get are worth the very significant costs that we pay.

I note that beer distributors don't kill folks over territory.

"Countries where prostitution is legal still see organized abuses in the industry, like brothel owners not following regulations, etc."

There are organized abuses in every industry, legal or not. We're not scrapping the insurance market because of the schemes that go on between doctors, lawyers & individuals looking to make a buck through phoney claims.

That is true, and while I used prostitution as an example, I personally don't see why it should be illegal. However heroin addiction is not the same as corporations and governments lobbying in cahoots. Drugs aren't really viable for an effective lifestyle - at least, not the ones organized crime profits the most on. Even prescription drugs like Vicodin were nearly pulled off the market because of how dangerous they are, even when used correctly and in moderation.

> I used prostitution as an example, I personally don't see why it should be illegal. However heroin addiction is not the same as corporations and governments lobbying in cahoots. Drugs aren't really viable for an effective lifestyle - at least, not the ones organized crime profits the most on. Even prescription drugs like Vicodin were nearly pulled off the market because of how dangerous they are, even when used correctly and in moderation.

Who are you to dictate what constitutes an "effective lifestyle" for anyone but yourself?

I'm not being judgemental - do you know of any high functioning hard drug users? Marijuana and LSD, etc. aren't what I'm talking about. Alcohol does get in the way of functioning too, but people can still use it in moderation. A drug should be banned when the grand majority of people cannot use it in moderation. Those are the drugs I'm talking about. (Again, answering a slew of responses in one).

Outlier, sure, but your making a very large silly sweeping generalization and moral imposition on others.


Generalization of "high functioning" musicians, artists, etc. Also not knowing the actual numbers of "hard" drug abusers in their respective fields. Generalization of cocaine and the finance industry, etc.

Once more, on Portugal, seeing hard drug use go down after a decade, not increasing. Do you think if heroin was legal you would dive straight into it?

Generalization / thought experiment; hard drug use would go down with proper (logical) drug education, where schedule 1 drugs are separated logically, not in a stupid sense of marijuana being on the same level of destruction as crack cocaine.

A former roommate of mine held down a full time job while he was a heavy user of heroin and occasional user of other substances. The only problem was when he ran out of money to buy more, not when he was on it with enough money to support the habit.

There are many dangerous things out there that are legal and for good reason; if you choose to ingest it you have that choice and in the end you are responsible for that. Are you also for prohibition on smoking because that gets in the way of a "viable effective lifestyle"?

There are numerous substances and/or activities which are legally available whose addictive tendencies are comparable to controlled drugs. The combination of sugar, fat, and salt, for example, has been experimentally shown to be as addictive as cocaine (this is a central premise of the book The End of Overeating; its author, David Kessler, is a former commissioner of the FDA, and medical researcher).

While I don't condone drug use, I feel its criminalization has caused far more problems than it's resolved, and it certainly hasn't curtailed use. Criminalize the consequences (much as we do drunk driving), but decriminalize the use and commerce, tax the sales, provide ample treatment (possibly through the sales taxes), and eliminate an entire class of criminal enterprise.

Profit margins should be expected to be proportionate to illegality : Since the threat of punishment forces vibrant competition out of the market.

Similarly, one can track the effectiveness of the war on drugs by looking at the street prices of drugs over time. If the war was effective, prices would be rising. Unfortunately, basic economic theory shows that the war on drugs is a complete failure.

Right. And like I said, it might be a fiscal improvement to legalize drugs. You could earn money from it. But, and i mean this in all sincerity, do you want to live in a society where they're freely accessible?

If you live anywhere in North America, you're already living in a society where they're freely accessible, so in that respect prohibition has clearly failed.

I understand we've all been propagandized to believe that drug use is inherently evil, however it's a mistake to lose site of the fact that (at least in the US) the prison system is largely a subcontracted for-profit industry. An industry with a clearly vested interest in maintaining soaring drug-related conviction rates as well as mandatory minimum sentencing.

I, for one, would absolutely prefer to live in a society where drug dependency is treated like a disease and treated.

I agree that rehabilitation is more important that penalization for drug abuse, but towards the original point, drugs aren't accessible in the sense that they're not legal. You cannot get them as easily as you can a gallon of milk.

You're right, I cannot call the milkman to open up the store and let me buy some milk at 3am, or better yet get milk delivered to my door with less than a 30 minute lag time.

"you can't get them as easily as you can a gallon of milk."

I would have to say that's entirely dependent upon who you socialize with, the time of day, and to some extent your age. I can absolutely think of situations I've been in where scoring involved a lot less effort than acquiring a gallon of milk. See also: dorm life.

In Portugal society didn't go to hell when they decriminalized many drugs.


Please realize that drugs are very accessible right now.

Why should they be illegal? Why should any government regulate what you can and cannot put in your body?

For the record, yes I would rather live in a society where drugs were freely accessible.

I absolutely would, I live in a society where guns are freely available.

What's the difference? We have to assume reasonable personal responsibility. What's the alternative?

It's entirely possible that you do already live in such a society

You seem to think drugs are the only things sold on the black market.

When doses are measured and regulated, safety restrictions are adhered, and users can receive help for their problems instead of incarceration, then legalization becomes socially responsible.

I would like to point out that usage of these dangerous drugs does not decrease with their legal status.

All of those drugs are more dangerous when they are unregulated. Compare to the personal liberties/responsibilities of firearms please.

Plan Colombia worked = the problems in Mexico right now.

The only way to fight criminals is to get them to go to another neighborhood.

That's not accurate. the people and the way they work, is completely different. When colombia had problems, Mexico already was in its own track.

The only way to fight these big organizations is to start at the bottom. Take a look at Libya for example.

People at the top most of the time have the resources to hide and still run the company. But when there is nobody left that would like to work for them the will fall.

"I would trust the professionalism and morality of an organization like the us military"

Are you being sarcastic when you say that?

Yes, and actually the police need not be corrupt. Organized crime leaders can be in the public eye and unless there is evidence against them, they cannot be penalized by the legal system.

Sounds like Los Zetas tracing the Anonymi is just coincidentally concurrent to their decision not to release the information. The real reason why they're not releasing it is because the civilians they were intending to expose aren't actually members of Los Zetas, and would just get killed by the cartel if they were to be exposed.

Wouldn't anyone who actually knew much of anything about the cartel situation already know this before the original announcement?

And they probably won't bother to trace actual Anonymous folks exposing this information but may end up targeting random people who are into computers, or even heavy social media users.

I think you're underestimating the reach of these cartels. I doubt they have the resources to find hackers, but they do have people feeding them information from inside the Mexican and US governments.

Also, the Anonymous people have made themselves a pain in the ass to governments who have the resources to find them. Even if the cartels don't have ears in the right place it's not hard for me to imagine a list of probable Anonymous members somehow making it into their hands.

> I doubt they have the resources to find hackers.

The Los Zetas cartel, being the second largest cartel in Mexico, probably has revenues of well over a billion dollars per year. (It's estimated that the overall earnings of all Mexican drug smugglers is $13-40 billion.)

I'm pretty sure that's enough money to hire a hacker or two.

The sad thing is that they do not need to hire hackers. They have been kidnapping Engineering students (electronic or software) and forcing them to work for them with the "plata o plomo" approach.

Moreover, it is known that cartels have connections in every government agency, such as the CISEN (Mexico's national security agency), Policía Federal Ministerial (Mexico's FBI). That's one of the reasons why a lot of "protected witnesses" or people who report crimes are murdered, because there is always someone inside these agencies.

You need more than money if you're buying something illegally. You also need a certain amount of sophistication to know you're getting what you want.

In this case, I'm pretty sure that money is enough. It's not like the cartel needs to know anything about hacking or how to choose good hackers. All they have to do is tie the monetary reward to the result they want (track down the Anonymous member who said this), and somebody will figure it out, through hacking or other means.

As an aside, I don't know of any billion-dollar industry that doesn't have a fairly high level of sophistication. I don't see why the cartels should be any different.

> I doubt they have the resources to find hackers

Hey kid : People tell me you're the smartest computer guy in your year. My friends know where your mother lives. Please help me find some of these "hackers".

Sure, but can they put a tap into all the fiber running through the US? That's what I mean by resources.

You don't need to tap all the fiber running through the US to track down someone. That would take too long. Much easier to put "Wanted" posters up with "$$$" on the bottom and wait for the head to come back.

Sure, if you knew who they were already. But if you don't, you need to start tracking packets.

Do you know who any of them are already? Plausible deniability doesn't count for much.

This whole op was fishy from the get-go. For one, the person speaking in the original video had a mainland Spanish accent but used Mexican vocabulary. Two, no anons within Mexico spoke out in support of the op. Three, nobody was able to verify the claim that an anon was kidnapped in the first place. Four, nobody could figure out where this op was discussed or planned. It came out of the blue without any previous involvement from the main organizing channels.

The whole thing is just bizarre.

Just to point out, many videos released by Annon in spanish are made using a well known text-to-speech voice from Loquendo, "Jorge", who has a Castilian Spanish accent.

How do we know this op was announced by the "real" Anonymous? How long until the CIA is posing as Anonymous to incite rebellion in other countries (and/or make Anonymous look bad)?

I think that's severely overestimating the power of Anonymous. The CIA has tried, tested, and true methods for inciting rebellions and coups; no need to invoke Anon. As for making Anonymous look bad... maybe. I find it hard to believe they view anon as a legitimate threat, but NATO did call out anon specifically in one of its reports on growing threats, so who knows.

Or look at it the other way around, maybe the CIA is using really bad dudes to take out Anonymous (or at least muffle them). An ISP may successfully defend themselves against a subpoena, but I have less confidence in them holding out vs a hammer.

Since when is there a "real" Anonymous? Heck, I went to an anti-scientology protest one time, surely that gives me as much of a right as anybody to claim to be Anonymous.

It's heavy with irony, but it is suspected there are a few masterminds with the "keys to the kingdom" of Anonymous- for example, the twitter feed- and anything not publicly endorsed by those sacred sources is not considered to be "the true Anonymous".

Again, yes, I see the irony in that.

Indeed. There are no leaderless, emergent movements. All modern seemingly complete democracies merely have a shadow government.

Well, those masterminds would be anonymous.. :)

That's why I used scare quotes around "real".

  > surely that gives me as much of a right as anybody to claim to be Anonymous
Now it doesn't.

Interesting that they would cancel when many other de-centralised organisations would be pretty resilient. In fact, losing a member to the enemy would cause an outcry and drive more to join the cause.

eg Taliban, Al Qaeda, IRA, guerrillas, and more.

Whoever cancelled the operation just confirmed to the adversaries that they're easy to squash and immediately put the cause at risk. Adversaries are now more confident to risk further resources if it means they can destroy the cause.

They chose unwisely.

Anonymous is not a paramilitary group. I doubt their members are willing to put their life on the line for the cause.

Decentralized paramilitary groups are hard to fight because you can track down & kill members without hurting the group- not because you cannot track down & kill members.

Perhaps they need an Armed Anonymous branch.

I would say that being involved in hacking that would result in your becoming a felon, getting extradited, and/or going to jail for over 5 years qualifies as putting your life on the line.

"Men with guns will come and arrest you because you broke esoteric law" seems very surreal and a lot less intimidating than "Men with guns will come and kill you because you pissed them off".

Don't forget the part where the Zetas have set a very, very strong precedent, while the FBI haven't. I can say even for myself I would take the FBI over the Zetas any day of the week.

The lulz stop when people start getting killed.

Sadly Anons are less and less about lulz these days. Too much white-knight'ing going on there.

I wish I could buy a letter of marque and reprisal from the us government to interact with Los Zetas.

Maybe you can buy one from Mexico?

I applaud their desire to try and fight the cartel but its extremely dangerous and don't fault them for pulling back.

Indeed. I don't live in Mexico, but from what I've read the Zetas are like a rogue cartel among the Mexican drug cartels. They kidnap "civilians", kill policemen, compromise the security of the local population, etc, things that the other cartels apparently frown upon.

See, for instance, the Mata Zetas (Zeta Killers). It's unlikely that Anonymous can play this game.


(take care if you stumble into videos, they're disgusting even if not explicit)

Just look at the photo at the top of the article of policemen with automatic rifle wearing masks to protect their identities. That is some terrifying stuff.

> Just look at the photo at the top of the article of policemen with automatic rifle wearing masks to protect their identities.

FWIW, US swat police seem to do the same thing.

If you really want to get into it UK riot police seem to do the same thing.

Not only is it extremely dangerous, but it is a campaign which would be incredibly difficult to do anonymously, and even more difficult to do with the resources available to a largely disorganized movement (read: no governing authority to direct the group's actions other than mob mentality).

There's so many ways to analyze this and so many possible ulterior motives. It's also unfortunate that their anonymity is under threat, even if they don't release the info they are still in danger.

I don't think the Zetas will cease hostilities just because of that. Their best chance is to flee to the US and ask for asylum. With the data.

Simply releasing the data would make killing them pointless, but being pointless never stopped the Zetas before.

Instead of the Government tracking down anon. Just let the Zeta's do it for them(CIA style). Anyone vindictive enough could fake being anon. Now we just have to convince the Zeta's that Al Qaeda is going to bring the heat down on them.

The trouble with movements like Anonymous is that there is no centralized authority. Further, a group pushing for anarchy is either hypocritical if it's effective (because it will be organized) or ineffective because it's anarchical and disorganized.

Anonymous is not a serious threat to large corporations. It may cost them a minor inconveniencr, but without centralized authority, the group has no real internal integrity (the question of whether or not a group claiming to work under the auspices of Anonymous is moot...because anyone can be Anonymous).

What does anonymity have to do with anarchy? I realize that they often go hand in hand, but that's a sad generalization.

I was just following a train of thought and making a comparison, not a real correlative relationship.

It also makes it rather difficult to deny it if accused.

This whole affair is a good test of the adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. Is the submachine gun mightier than the modem?

Speaking truth to powe....what? Oh yes, well then nevermind!

Maybe it's time to legalize drugs.

If only there was an easy way to take away much of many cartels' power that has been endorsed by a dozen current and former leaders of several countries.

Surely Anonymous, or a more skilled hacker group could do this. To hit the cartel where it hurts they must hit their money supply. Instead of publishing members, track the money and reveal where it's coming from and where it's going to. With an annual income of $1B there has got to be something sizable to be tracked.

Sorry, that was (I thought thinnly) veiled sarcasm.

title is miss-leading, Mexico arm of anonymous has pulled back..however UK arm is going ahead with the Nov 5th plans

Source please?

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