US Training Mexican Drug War Torture Squads

The Mexican Army is using torturous tactics to fight the War on Drugs, and guess who’s training them?

The Washington Post is reporting in a must-read article that the Mexican army “has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers” according to court documents and interviews with victims, political leaders and human rights monitors.

In Puerto Las Ollas, a mountain village of 50 people in the southern state of Guerrero, residents recounted how soldiers seeking information last month stuck needles under the fingernails of a disabled 37-year-old farmer, jabbed a knife into the back of his 13-year-old nephew, fired on a pastor, and stole food, milk, clothing and medication.

In Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, two dozen policemen who were arrested on drug charges in March alleged that, to extract confessions, soldiers beat them, held plastic bags over their heads until some lost consciousness, strapped their feet to a ceiling while dunking their heads in water and applied electric shocks, according to court documents, letters and interviews with their relatives and defense lawyers.

Mexican officials acknowledged that abuses have occurred in the fight against traffickers but described the cases as isolated.

These offenses are just a few from a long list that includes rape, mutilation, genital-electrocution and murder – and they are NOT isolated, they are widespread. And those are just the ones we know about: in the same story, The Post quotes a human rights official who claims army doctors covered up some cases of torture by “omitting physical evidence from medical reports before suspects were handed over to civilian authorities”.

The sickest thing is that most of the people who end up beaten, tortured or dead are innocent civilians with no connection to the drug trade.

So where does the Mexican army get its funding and training for the Drug War? As if you didn’t already know…

OFFICIALLY, IT’S CALLED the Mérida Initiative, but critics have another name for the three-year, $1.4 billion plan to fight the drug war, unveiled by George W. Bush and Mexican president Felipe Calderón in 2007. They’ve dubbed it Plan Mexico, a reference to Plan Colombia, the controversial US-funded drug eradication effort; under the $6 billion (and counting) program, the production of Colombian cocaine has actually increased. Critics say Mérida is destined to be just as ineffective and may contribute to rampant human rights abuses by Mexican authorities, and provide US military training to soldiers notorious for ending up on the payrolls of the cartels.

Though the plan does direct some funds toward reforming Mexico’s corrupt justice system, the bulk of the money is slated for military training and hardware. [“US-Trained Death Squads?” – Mother Jones]

Yes, American taxpayer dollars are funding torture in Mexico, as well as in Iraq, Guantanamo, and the various other torture centers the US Government maintains around the planet.

The US Government has a long history of training nasty torturers and mass murders in Latin America – read about the School of the Americas and watch the video below, an interview with ex-DEA agent Celerino Castillo, for a sampling of some of their handiwork.

The War on Drugs, like the War on Terror, is really just a front for the War on Freedom. Prohibition creates an entire criminal class – a perfect, perpetual enemy that can never be beaten – and provides the Necessary Illusions that allow those in power to remove our rights and freedoms.

End drug prohibition. End the War on Us.

Jeremiah Vandermeer
Jeremiah Vandermeer

Jeremiah Vandermeer is Chief of Operations of Cannabis Culture and Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine & Pot TV.