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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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @shaneharris @caroljoynt Fine, show me the Paris and Prague looks.
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bmaz @Mr_Electrico Yep. Not that such will pry @CNN's moist cloying lips off of Trump's ass or cause them to do competent political reportage.
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bmaz RT @Mr_Electrico: @bmaz @CNN Trump himself was kind enough to explain why this is so: http://t.co/L8pyli5oAz
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bmaz So @CNN does not just have their lips on Trump's misogynistic racist rump at this point, they are actually symbiotic.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ProFootballTalk If he doesn't, should he continue as coach? This is silly.
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bmaz RT @BostonGlobe: #NFL's discipline process needs an overhaul to be truly independent, @BenVolin says http://t.co/NSMZMctlX2
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bmaz @CatherineWaldie @benjaminwittes Meh, I think he is fibbing. I can totally picture Ben in los dos calcetines y zapatos!
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JimWhiteGNV Didn't Revelation have something to say about being marked with the Sign of the Beast? https://t.co/MYiwuRBzvO
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JimWhiteGNV Bar codes or RFI chips? Inquiring minds want to know! https://t.co/MYiwuRBzvO
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bmaz @benjaminwittes @CatherineWaldie So you claim on Twitter! I think you have #FashionFare
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bmaz Should read "Kentucky clerk asks SCOTUS for permission to keep being an ignorant bigot" https://t.co/R7mXOZt0p2
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bmaz @KagroX TrumpoX!
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