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 @PhilPerspective @Atrios @emptywheel @adambonin McCoy does not look done to me. But we shall see.
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emptywheel Prolly not though: They'd have to leak some FAR more sensitive secrets to catch up to Petraeus and his unlocked desk drawer.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wondering if @wikileaks rebranded under moniker "David Petraeus' Unlocked Desk Drawer" whether Assange could get probation?
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz The Iggles traded Shady McCoy to the Wagon Circlers?? WTF??? cc: @Atrios @emptywheel @adambonin
17mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @caidid Just make sure you're back parked and unavailable. when he needs to get in to jump his car.
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @dnvolz Apparently some people can't find enough other news today.
41mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Pedinska @emptywheel Good fences make for good llamas!
45mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @armandodkos I mean if you still consider guy who stored crown jewels in unlocked desk drawer good on NatSec you don't deserve to be on SSCI
47mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @armandodkos Right, when 1st reax fr most people was "OMIGOD THAT'S WHAT HE LEAKED!?!?!" Fucking crown jewels in his unlocked desk drawer
48mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I'm no hawk on Espionage prosecutions, but collective yawn fr official DC reveals how BS most leak prosecutions are. http://t.co/wu7665p4PR
50mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Apparently leaking multiple covert officers' IDs now classified as "a very silly chapter." http://t.co/wu7665p4PR Why give anonymity here?
51mreplyretweetfavorite
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