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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JimWhiteGNV I'd say I'm boycotting #Indiana over the new law, but after I was there a couple of years ago, I swore I'd never go back to that shit hole.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @KeithOlbermann: I don't care if Final 4 winds up being played in a parking lot in Tulsa, NCAA has no right to support legally codified …
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JimWhiteGNV RT @KeithOlbermann: Simple fact: after Indiana enacts a law permitting prejudice against some of its customers, NCAA should pull Final 4 ou…
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emptywheel Lockheed's had crazy week. Going fr earnings call expressing worry abt PEACE BREAKING OUT to the war in Yemen w/best customers USING planes
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bmaz @mitchellreports @digby56 Funny, because what I've learned over the years is that Leon Panetta is a liar
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bmaz @armandodkos Sen. Allen would make church mandatory. God help us. http://t.co/lClST0Er71
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bmaz RT @JustinWolfers: Dear IRS: Here are some Bitcoin bugs who owe you capital gains taxes. I'm sure @winklevoss wouldn't evade tax, right? ht…
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bmaz @effraj so the wine was good?
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emptywheel RT @a_marshall_plan: !! MT @Walldo: Here is the redacted Stingray training manual obtained by @MatthewKeysLive http://t.co/G0SCptJjGe #FOIA
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emptywheel @DanMyer82366100 Yup. Also suggests that this may escalate very very quickly.
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emptywheel Welp, Putin seems to want to add Yemen to his shopping basket. Now all we need is to get South China Sea into the basket.
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