The War on Terror-and-Drugs Turns Inward

The Treasury Department named the US-Central American gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) a Transnational Criminal Organization, meaning it can apply terrorist-type financial sanctions against the group and its members.

This strikes me as a worrying new precedent. Previously, Treasury had sanctioned Los Zetas, Brother’s Circle, the Camorra, and two Yakuza groups. While all operated in the US–Los Zetas has significant operations–MS-13 was first formed in the US, in Los Angeles, with close ties to El Salvador. Treasury says Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 4,078 MS-13 gang members, so this affects a significant number of Americans.

In other words, this will repeat and probably escalate what we saw after 9/11–asset freezes of American citizens with little due process–in such a way that disproportionately affects one ethnic or religious group.

I also wonder whether this move intends to give additional legal cover for DEA’s operations in Central America–backed by Special Forces–particularly Honduras. At a time when many of the leaders of the countries that will be targeted are increasingly opposed to the war on drug, we’re ratcheting up the legal framework to make it look just like terrorism.

Maybe this is all very smart law enforcement. But it’s the creeping application of intelligence-based enforcement without much debate about whether such an approach infringes on Americans’ rights.

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10 Responses to The War on Terror-and-Drugs Turns Inward

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bmaz @MDAppeal @fedcourts Great judge too. Sadly, the liberal lions Carter appointed to the 9th are on their last legs.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @Sunny_In_Kabul: Why'd US Army classify its @SIGARHQ response? Spoiler: it's not about $$$. http://t.co/f5ysX0Uc3e http://t.co/nLGxTtcay2
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JimWhiteGNV Campbell's not hiding money. He's hiding a disappearing army. http://t.co/7uWO09BcGL via @sunny_in_kabul
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JimWhiteGNV RT @rcooley123: Mississippi Wouldn't Allow This Teacher to Show Kids How to Use a Condom. His Simple Solution Is Brilliant. | http://t.co/
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emptywheel @DevlinBarrett Does that mean they're just going to bury his concerns later, under the weight of others on the board?
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emptywheel RT @DevlinBarrett: JusticeDept Backs Down in Fight With Judge Over Science Evidence - WSJ http://t.co/XNuMHj0aSy
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emptywheel @jesseberney How was it? I suspect that's what I'm going to be told is only thing short of multiple spot surgery soon @Atrios @LisaMcIntire
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bmaz @nicholsong Usually means either that they are difficult to get along with or don't pay.
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emptywheel @davidcnswanson space between words are just same. one space each side. @ncweaver
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bmaz @nicholsong Says they are probably not a good client!
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emptywheel @RachelPerrone Right. She learned 10 years too late to make difference, b4 working way thru local school @ClinicEscort
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