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
emptywheel RT @the_intercept: Inside NSA, Officials Privately Criticize 'Collect It All' Surveillance http://t.co/Ua10ycVbEv by @maassp http://t.co/iS
7mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @joanneleon It's harder to do. VZ is not going to comply voluntarily anymore, which is what they used to do. @Krhawkins5
9mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @NathanielDWhite: Diane Roark: If you want to see the problems with #USAFreedomAct read @emptywheel
10mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Roark: There is nothing (in oversight) on this big issue that is the Bill of Rights, our freedom.
14mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Another reason to move Internet dragnet overseas is to use it for functions beyond just terrorism.
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @Krhawkins5 DOJ has said so in legal filings.
16mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Roark: Internet metadata was the most productive program.
17mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Diane Roark: Phone metadata, Admin has focused all attention on as red herring.
17mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Also something Richard Clarke has said in Congressional testimony. https://t.co/OOhNqcDT6E
18mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Roark: DOn't know if people realize how far down road of overturning democracy we are. http://t.co/a2YdmcjGus
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @Krhawkins5: Roark: "anyone who goes to the intelligence committees as a whistleblower at this point is out of their mind"
20mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Diane Roark: That nothing happened after the way they treated me, that invited what happened to SSCI (spying on Torture Report staff).
22mreplyretweetfavorite
October 2012
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