Using Technology To Turn the Tide of Violence in Juarez, Mexico

Posted by Alec Ross
October 13, 2010
Woman Uses Phone in Mexico

About the Author: Alec Ross serves as Senior Advisor for Innovation in the Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

On October 11, I traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a city just on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. The 1.3 million people of Juarez have been living under the horrific impact of narcoviolence for several years. The numbers speak for themselves -- in 2009, transnational criminal actors killed more than 9,600 people. Since taking office in 2006, President Felipe Calderon and the Mexican government have bravely stepped up to confront this drug-fueled violence. In April 2010, the Mexican Secretariat of Public Safety (SSP) took over responsibility for security in Juarez, and now 4,500 federal police officers attempt to keep peace on the city streets. In spite of this, the homicide rate in Juarez so far this year is on pace to exceed the devastating rate witnessed in 2009.

So how can we get our arms around this situation, and work with our partner Mexico to help provide a safe environment for their citizens to study, work and raise their families?

There is no single and simple answer, but one ingredient we know is the key -- helping Mexican citizens take an active and effective role in their own security.

Secretary Clinton has recognized the United States' co-responsibility for the situation in Mexico, as demand for drugs on the U.S. side of the border in large part fuels the crime. The United States is partnered with the Mexican government on security issues through the Merida Initiative. Through Merida, we provide equipment and training in support of law enforcement operations to promote the long-term reform and professionalization of Mexican security agencies. Secretary Clinton is very focused on how we can empower the citizens of Mexico --and specifically Juarez -- to help achieve a long-term, sustainable peace. Without the active participation of the residents of Juarez and other cities throughout Mexico, security solutions brought to the table will only serve in the short term.

One clear way the people of Mexico can help combat the violence is by sharing information on criminal activity with local law enforcement authorities. Unfortunately, many Mexican citizens do not feel safe calling the current emergency lines, as they believe their personal security could be at risk. This results in missed opportunities for Mexican law enforcement officials to take down criminals. According to a recent survey by the Instituto de Estudios Sobre la Inseguridad (ICESI), 78 percent of crimes go unreported in Mexico, and less than two percent actually result in convictions.

In my role as Senior Advisor for Innovation, I have led a team over the last year to explore how we can use technology to help overcome the challenge of personal security risk in the current emergency line in Juarez. Mobile phone penetration is extremely high in Juarez: approximately 80 percent of the population has a cell phone. We saw an opportunity to draw in the people of Juarez to be part of a positive change in their communities through mobile technology.

Our team in Washington and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has worked closely with the Mexican government and private Mexican mobile providers to develop a secure tipline that will be available to residents of Juarez in coming months. The immediate challenge is to encourage the people of Juarez to have confidence in the new system and share information that could lead to prosecutions and eventually arrests of criminal actors.

Both the Mexican and U.S. teams are also working with civil society organizations in Mexico to develop an online platform through which they can review trends in both crimes reported and responses by authorities. This critical participation by civil society can help create a positive feedback loop required to achieve real improvements in the response time by Mexican law enforcement to reports from citizens.

Our end goal is to support our Mexican partners in creating a safer, more productive Juarez. Our strategy involves multiple components. One absolutely critical element is engaging the people of Mexico through mobile technology to be part of this positive change.

Hector Murguia was inaugurated as the new mayor of Juarez this past Sunday, October 10. Mayor Murgu noted in his inaugural speech: "Crime is powerful, but it's not invincible." Clearly, he couldn't be more right. Our hope is that the anonymous citizens' complaint program will empower the citizens of Juarez to contribute to reestablishing a safer community for themselves and their families.

Comments

Comments

Hugo V.
|
New York, USA
October 14, 2010

Hugo V. in New York writes:

This is a great and Wonderfull Idea.

I am an Artist, and I grew up as an Artist in one of the most dangerous Zones in Mexico, I have wonderfull family who do not understand why I am an Artist, but we all saw my Father died in 2008, He was American born Citizen, like me. And he was not able to get Medicare, in Administration of El Paso TX. His name was Julian, and I was not able to understand his treatment and liver complications, famous in Huston TX. I loved him very mouch.

David S.
|
Mexico
October 24, 2010

David S. in Mexico writes:

Alec, can you share more details about how this project would actually work if it were implemented? Everyone I have talked to who has been involved in the project says that it has been a complete failure. The telecommunications companies (Telcel, Telefonica, Iusacell, Nextel) have not agreed how or if they will anonymize the SMS-based reports. There has been no development of a strategy to tell the citizens of Juarez how to make the allegedly anonymous reports. And the Juarez-based NGO's disagree about how reports should be verified and forwarded on to law enforcement agencies.

A much more fundamental problem, as documented in a recent report by WOLA, is that a significant portion of violence against the citizens of Juarez is committed by the Mexican military, which has been supported and trained by the U.S. government. You're own employer, the State Department, has documented the thousand of human rights abuses committed by the Mexican military and yet funding continues without demanding that soldiers be held accountable for the rapes, murders, and torture that have been well documented by the same NGO's you allude to in this post. (Even Calderon's latest proposal to reform military judicial jurisdiction falls short.)

Academics and think tanks who study violence in Juarez and other hotspots in Mexico almost unanimously agree about the four root causes:

1) demand for illegal drugs in the United States.
2) availability of guns in Mexico that are legally purchased in the U.S.
3) lack of social investment, job opportunities, and youth programs to keep youth off the streets and out of gangs.
4) lack of an effective justice system that holds criminals accountable, including corrupt politicians, police officers, and soldiers.

Unless those four root causes are tackled then anonymous SMS reports and AP photos of attractive Latinas staring into their iPhones are nothing more than laughable publicity stunts by a government agency that has come to appreciate technology more than good foreign policy.

I doubt that you will respond to this comment. From what I have seen so far, you and your employer have decided to use digital media as a publicity channel rather than a platform for listening and dialog. If you do respond, however, I am interested to hear your take on the potential effectiveness of this program given the four root causes of violence in Mexico that I outline above.

Sincerely,

David S.

R. B.
October 26, 2010

DipNote Bloggers reply:

@David S. -- Please see Alec Ross' response here: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/juarez_tipline

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 26, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@David S. in Mexico,

You never know who reads these things.

But after a few years here, I got a pretty good idea.

My friend, you forgot one major item on your list.

That's the fact that the people of Mexico have allowed themselves to be intimidated by these narco-terrorists.

When the people decide they've had enough, it's not cell phones they'll pick up to end the problem.

And whether you accept what I say or not, I speak from a wee bit of experience having had enough of it.

And I'm still here to tell you about it.

Because when people do get fed up, they get busy.

Adults are going to do what they are going to do, and that's a fact. But when kids are involved, then it becomes a "dad thing" and there's nothing like terrorizing terrorist drug dealers to make life interesting.

Aye well, they tried three times to kill me, and I live in peace today...go figure.

Cost them plenty to try, and they arn't around anymore, driven out of town, in jail, or no longer among the living.

This peaceful Buddhist didn't even have to kill anyone to get the job done.

The only help I had was a retired Marine, a couple shop owners, a few Indian friends from the Pueblos, and a few local kids on bicycles keeping lookout.

You don't go to war with the army you wish you had, you fight it with what you have on hand to work with.

The question is simply whether you have the cojones to do something about the terrorists in your neighborhood.

Couldn't count on the cops because a lot of them were on the take...that's why I had people gunning for me in the first place, because they were the ones who told the dealers who was messing with them, after I did the normal thing and gave them the info they needed to bust them.

Made life real interesting it did, so I called the feds, who offered no help.

So I called the Colonel in charge of Homeland security here, and told him I was "exausting all domestic remedies" (which was a reference to the second ammendment of our constitution), and would he please send body bags to help us clean up the mess, since no one else seemed willing to do their job.
I gave him two weeks to get the job done himself before I had to, given that underage girls were being doped up and ending up in whorehouses in Juarez.

That definately got his attention.

I suggested he call the feds himself and have them send folks out without telling the locals they were coming.

Then I put the Marine on the phone with him.

That pretty well convinced the man we were serious.

In this life, you do what you have to do to motivate people.

Wake up in the morning , look in the mirror and decide whether it's a good day to die or not. And can you repect the reflection you see there.

Well, all I can say is life is good, and then you get one. I was glad to be able to put a dent in the problem, despite all the hassle it was. I could care less if folks think I'm crazy or not.

In the balance of all things considered, having saved lives and taken none, I'd do it again.

But it's not my job.

The feds shook things up in this town and there's a few less corrupt officers on the street, and a few gangsters that won't be gang-banging anymore.

I've had my fun, and can rest easy.

The people of Mexico are going to have to do this for themselves rather than be victim to terrorism.

Depite all the help we may give, depite your government's best efforts, it's the people who will solve this problem because your government can't do this right without their full support and help.

That's just a fact.

Adios amigo, vaya con dios.

EJ

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Hello people? Do I have to spell it to you?These plans haven't worked because our government or someone in our shadow government deals drugs. It's that simple. Why has nearly evry war or conflict we've fought been in a drug zone? Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan. It's the same formula time and again. Create a conflict, sell guns, export drugs and every other vile thing that goes along with it. America is in bed with criminals. That's our enemy for any Christian God loving American patriot. We've allowed our country to be overtaken by criminals who kill our beautiful children. Corruption is our enemy. Corruption is our fight.

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Peaceful Buddhists don't kill or intimidate others. The only solution is to gain control of the money supply. That's why our president should print Obama dollars, end the war, make public healthcare the best on earth, let others keep their own healthcare then charge them big bucks when they realize public healthcare is better than private and want to switch. Deep down Americans like Obama. He's funny and so cute. Obama needs to seize control of the universe the Oystercracker way.
There is no competition in the money supply.
Obama dollars would break the stranglehold monopoly and make him the esteemed King he was meant to be before the criminals got hold of him.

John P.
|
Greece
October 26, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ O.C. in the U.S.A.
Here is just a simple, recent example of the U.S.A. efforts against drugs.
All that you say are conspiracy myths.

"http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/states/newsrel/2010/carib102510.html"

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@John,
Must have been a spy link because the address was broken. What is exactly so conspiratorial about the Mossad training the Mexican drug cartels? The American government allows Israel to spy on its own citizens? Why is that, John? If there wasn't so much to hide you wouldn't have spies in every neighborhood, phone taps on every phone, spying through Time Warner cable and tracking devices on people's cars. What's to hide, John in such a free and open society? Did you know that we are 22nd on the world's most corrupt nation's list, John. Why is that? Enlighten me.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 26, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Peacefull Buddhists can and will become a terrorist's worst nightmare and remain at peace doing it, or don't you get that yet?

I'm tired of your personal attacks on my character OC, and so is the moderator from what I understand, and any post you submit that references me in any way should have already been refused posting if the email I got yesterday was any indication of their determination to hold folks to the rules of discussion, but I see how the moderator is now.

All talk and no action.

DipNote Bloggers reply: Hi Eric, just to clarify -- we are not holding back posts in which people make reference to each other. That would cut out a lot of posts and practically eliminate discussion. What we are doing is enforcing the rules posted here: http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/about, and particularly the part about no personal attacks. Deciding what constitutes "an attack" is an art and not a science, and in borderline cases we do try to err on the side of promoting free-flowing conversation. If you think something's gone through that shouldn't, send us an email or leave a comment marked "not for posting."

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@John,
Your link was broken and my last comment moderated. There have been many more drug king pins arrested under Obama it seems that at any other time. I just don't think anyone realizes how many people are making a living off the drug trade which could only exist through very high level corruption. When children see their parents take and deal drugs it destroys their innocent world and compromises their values. How can a child become a good, respectable citizen when they have no political heroes? Americans know they've been duped by their own government. Politicians sold out our nation to foreigners for money and power who don't care one iota for the American people. This is criminal. The world deserves an honest hero who loves our country and wants to preserve its original values which offered so much promise and hope to the world. Things are changing slightly but there has been no meaningful systemic change. This is what Americans want and why Obama was America's great, handsome hope. He's so fine but we need to take his credit card away or change it to one with a cash limit.

DipNote Bloggers reply: Hi OC -- your last comment was posted exactly as submitted.

Donald M.
|
Virginia, USA
October 26, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

The United States has been busy with countries overseas but falls short on protecting its own borders by the Federal Government. A woman whos husband was murdered along the Mexican Border in Texas and NO reaction from the Obama Dream Team on Homeland Security? Protecting the Constitution and the United States should be the highest level of concern, grave concern if we can't even protect our borders. I realize its election period but the Billions we continue spending on Pakistan, "What about the United States the very oath people have taken? If the oath means anything, it should be to protect our people. "Serve and protect" Governors and Attorney General from Texas has written letters to President Barack Obama and it falls on deaf ears. Nobody cares about the parties at the White House, what we care about is having Secuirty along our borders to protect American Citizens. As a citizen of this country born, and in a job that does Secuirty, the OATH taken under God and Country should mean something even to the politicans who are leading the stewardship of the United States. People from Mexico when come across our border illegally, they are trespassing into the United States and Billions of dollars of lossed revenue cannot be collected because they did NOT follow the rules and laws at which we expect other countries to follow. The United States will not accept people from other countries without the proper paperwork and following the process, if that was the case, we wouldn't be charging the other countries. My point is, you can't give one and not give to another freely. Its not fair to the other countries and people who apply to work in the United States and do it legally with the "Green card". Besides, if an illegal were to get drunk or be in a car accident with your children, they perish, who do you blame? The United States for not providing adequate security, or do you Blame the Mexican Government for NOT doing enough to ensure their people have the right paperwork. At the end the day, long as Guns continue being sold into Mexico, and Drugs entering into the United States, its big business for the Cartels. So my suggestion is start looking at using those un manned drones and start taking action before we end up with more casualities on the United States soil. This situation could be an agression leading to war, when another country attacks one of your citizens, the real question is whats next?

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@Eric,
Its a case of you putting it out there and not being able to handle the blow back. If you don't like personal attacks then stop dishing it out. You have this subtle way of trying to intimidate people that maybe you don't really realize but can be construed as threatening. In Buddhism, you get what you give out. I've been more than patient with your antics.
P.S. I'm happy to know that you've done your part to fight against the many criminals , inhabiting our beloved country, just as I have but its a long laborius fight. More power to you Dear Eric.

DipNote Bloggers reply: Now that you've each had a chance to comment on interpersonal dynamics, could we return the focus to foreign affairs? You both have terrific substantive content to offer. Let's get back to those topics.

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 26, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Thank you Donald. So well expressed.

John P.
|
Greece
October 26, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@O.C. in U.S.A.
I am not a spy O.C. and I do not know what have I done to deserve this characterization.
According to my computer and the e-mails I receive from DEA Press Room the provided link is accurate.

"http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.htm""http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/states/newsrel/2010/carib102510.html"

I also checked and confirmed if the mail address (after posting) was accurate and working and (according to my computer and internet connection) DipNote staff had posted my comment: OK! They did not put a hyper-connection (if the term is accurate) though, but I think that if you copy and paste the address, you probably will be driven to DEA.gov.

Well, if you think that you’ll drive me crazy by saying that I have a virtual view of the web and various spy circles are working against me, this is OK too! They loose their time, because I’m just a civilian, who loves the American philosophy, the other side of the Atlantic.

DipNote Bloggers reply: By policy, we only post "live" hyperlinks to our own State Department content -- it's the only content we can vouch for first-hand. We're generally happy to post other noncommercial URLs as text, which readers can access by copying and pasting into their browsers.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Hi Donald,

Been awile, hope you got rid of those wasps.

Actually being in a border state gives me a little first hand insight and I think you'll be glad to know that there's a lot of high tech stuff including drones being used.

We're kind of tired of picking up bodies in the desert from the "jornada del muerto" that folks go through in the summer to get here, abandoned by their "coyotes" because they couldn't keep up.

That's the stark reality in life and death terms. All other issues regarding immigration are really just fluff comparitively.

I'm generally a pretty conservative fellow where it concerns these issues and I know them very well, and I have only one solution to win the war on drugs and cartels that stands any real chance of putting them out of buisiness permanently...unless we're going to invade Mexico to solve this problem and turn it into a territory of the US, so everyone is "here" legally.

That's to legalize pot. Biggest cash crop going in America and from what I understand we grow the best bud in the world...ask folks in Colorado, California, Oregon, and just about every other state in the union including mine. So we can eliminate the need for inportation, cut the major source of revenue of the cartels by an act of legistlation and call it a "social experiment" that is on trial for 4 years. If we haven't eliminated the cartels, bankrupted and disbanded them in that time, the repeal the law and we can go back to this.

As far as the coca is concerned, you'll be able to concentrate all the anti-drug efforts to this with a lot more resources (having taxed the pot to fund the eradication).

I know this isn't real popular on the Hill as a concept, but at this point I don't really know what folks have to lose for trying.

Those who "inhale" are going to do so one way or another, as adults will do what adults will do and so will teenagers, it's just a question of home-grown, or rag-weed Mexican.

The question of a taxable base of revenue to the states, or money in a cartel's pocket.

Ask yourself why prohibition was repealed and marajuana wasn't. Well it was the one way to stop the bootlegging, the base of income for organized crime, and a lot of folks were getting poisoned because industrial alcohol was finding it's way into the booze.

There wasn't a demand for pot at that time so they didn't bother to repeal that. Now you have the same problems with it that gave rise to a 60 year battle with organized crime, and anyone taking a good hard look at this would say wee've flat lost the war obn drugs but have yet to admit it.

Well my feeling is we have had the wrong strategy in place to combat it.

People dying because of it.

Sec. Clinton often speaks of "smart power" well smart parenting will ofset any notion that legalization will create a nation of pot-zombies among our youth.

That's the smart way to deal with this problem.

It's the only way to take the criminal element out of the picture.

Considering how deep in debt most states are, and an untaxed multi-billion dollar "home-grown" industry already in place that could provide some relief for fiscal woes, let alone eliminate the cause of fear of prosecution for the grandma growing a plant or two in her garden to help with her arthritis...and the current licencing of growers for medical purposes anyway...it's just a logical step to deal with multiple problems at once.

I look at this as a national security matter mostly, but there are civil rights aspects that come into play as well, and our overcrowding of prisons with non-violent offenders (for pot) could stand some relief as well.

Fact is, you don't see cartels smuggling Cuervo Gold into the US do you?

And there's a fair demand for that in just about every bar in the country.
But you don't see criminality and violence involved with its import.

Now I know I've probably just trashed US drug policy and raised a few eyebrows in the process here, but that's my job to inspire people to think.

I've been on the front lines, behind the lines in fact, (which is how I destroyed hard drug dealers), and done what very few citizens would dare to do to protect my community. So if the Dept of State wants to solve this problem, you'all should pay very close attention to what I've just said, do your own research into this, and make your recommendations to the President accordingly.

We haven't even begun to fight this in a smart way yet.

EJ

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 27, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@John,
I didn't call you a spy. Don't get your knickers in a knot. Greeks and Americans are both very enterprising and independent. They have both built amazing civilizations. That's what Americans want to preserve and pass onto their children. We've allowed too much corruption to steal our heritage. We will fight to get our country back because we are a proud people just like the Greeks. Obama has done some positive things but he needs to do more in partnership with the American people. The border issue is a big threat because people are entering our country in droves and Homeland Security isn't doing anything about it. Allowing everybody to enter the country destroys all of our institutions. This is the biggest threat of all and it hurts Americans especially African Americans who can't find jobs or get quality healthcare. This is criminal. African Americans have suffered so much. from these evil policies.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@John in Greece,

I'm just thinkin' that as much as the DoS has to deal with hackers and IT security, that the staff is rightfully playing it safe with links, and that's just what it is.

If I don't get the chance to say adios, and I'm no longer present and accounted for on Dipnote before I get another chance to, I just wanted to tell you personally what a great pleasure it's been getting to know you.

I think I've probably handled more "blowback" than any blog poster on this forum with all the flack I get from various quarters, and certainly handled everything the world has dished out by way of "blowback" in my personal life with a lot of grace and determination.

Sometimes folks will acuse you of all kinds of things when they can't get you to agree with them, and it's especially true with those who promote consiracy theory.

For those of us who support the efforts of the Dept of State and America's role in the world, we arn't exactly strangers to this phenomena.

And you sir, have been a most worthy brother in arms , fighting the good fight in the same foxhole with me for a long time on this blog.

The economic winds are going to be putting me on the road again soon enough, and putting a halt to this effort to provide perspective to "the powers that be" in gov.

Hard times indeed in the construction industry. Buried by economic snowmaggedon.
Been hanging on by tooth and nail, and amazed to have stayed communicado this long.

I've given up anticipating miracles economicly and we've gone from recession to depression and I'm sorry to say that my government simply can't admit it yet, but they need to face facts, not skew the numbers to make it look good when it ain't.

I suppose there a lot of folks that would blame illegal immigrents for the loss of jobs, blame the gov. for creating the conditions that would encorage companies to set up shop overseas and go for cheap labor.

Fact is we're all responsible for this mess, those that ran their credit cards beyond the limit of payback, got themselves upside down on their homes, the AIG's, the wallSt. buffoons, and talkin' monkeys, whores and theieves generally making life miserable and and an econnomy that isn't going anwhere at the moment because we ain't out of the ditch yet by a long shot.

In every aspect of foreign affairs I ask myself, "How did we get here?" and I try to take stock objectively, despite how it may be or have affected my life, and economics are surely of international concern where it concerns the drug trade and this particular issue. I hope what I've said to Donald makes sense to folks.

I honestly don't care what people think of me, or why I've dedicated a good chunk of my life to this over the last decade, including my time here, and I was thinking John that if anyone here could be characterized as a "spy" I would have to think being interviewd by the CIA over a matter of HUMINT would make me slightly more qualified than you...(chuckle), but it's beyond the pale in any case for anyone to cast such aspersions about you.

Life is right in any case, as long as your true to what you believe in.

What happens next makes not a lot of difference to me, I've had my fun with what sucks and I've done my bit for society, as well for the Dept of State.

I think I've got just about enough time left to copy and paste all 3 years worth of posts in the archives to keep personal record of. Who knows, there's at least a book in there somewhere, if I ever get around to writing it.

It may be that it'll have to be a work of fiction, because I'm not sure anyone would believe the truth in it. Stranger than fiction anyway in some respects.

I appreciate all your support over this time, and the good debates we've had.

Thing is as a pattern I've noted, is that conspiracy theorists try real hard to confuse issues, but when they finally realize they are wasting their time trying to alter people's notion of reality, they generally go by-by off this blog, due to lack of interest.

I could name names, but I won't speak ill of the departed, we've gone a few rounds with them in the past and I think the pattern will hold true enough for as long as you're around to be witness to this. Cast no pearls before swine is my suggestion.

If you have any suggestions for a title to the book, I'm having a bit of writer's block at the moment and just can't think of anything appropriate. But maybe your perspective on all that I've written will lend you an idea or two. I'm curious as to what you might come up with...(chuckle).

Who knows, if it ever becomes a best seller, it would be a good plug for Dipnote anyway.

Best,

EJ

John P.
|
Greece
October 27, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico & O.C. in U.S.A.

Please allow me to focus on a GREAT phrase a DipNote Blogger wrote:
“Moderating is an art, not a science”. I think that Staff deserves some credit.

I find this phrase intelligent and absolutely true.
According to my opinion, moderating is not that simple as it seems to be for most of us. It’s an extremely difficult service and duty.

This communicational platform, same way many other web places do, have set some rules. Obviously, this is absolutely necessary. It’s for the safety of our discussions’ high-level quality.
However, although DipNote has “established” the rules, sometimes it’s rather difficult to practice them in a scientific, mathematical way. The moderator is right!

I mean, it’s very difficult to choose what is wrong or right, black or white and certainly to define what constitutes a “personal attack”. Especially, when at the same time you have to make sure that you do not “cut out a lot of posts and practically eliminate discussion”.

If you want to have my view concerning “personal attacks”, it’s rather difficult to characterize something as personal attack, on the ground that we do not know each other. We are anonymous contributors. So, how can I attack you personally, if I don’t know you. That’s why I would alternatively call it “argumentation attack”.

[You probably both remember how Sean defined the "adaptation" of the name DipNote: UNOFFICIAL exchange of “ideas” between embassies. In our case it’s even more simple, because we are not diplomats. When you have to deal with the UNOFFICIAL exchange of anonymous personal thoughts, I think that we can live with some “unofficial personal attacks”.]

According to the new born term (CHUCKLE), an “argumentation attack” occurs when two or more intelligent debaters (like you guys) reach a discussion’s high edge risk line. Which is healthy and constructive. At this point, some of us lose our temper and we think that the other side’s argument becomes a “personal attack”, because he/she does not accept our thesis.

All of which means: Don’t “shoot” the moderator, otherwise the discussion will automatically be eliminated due to “censorship attack”, which many of us accuse them for, from time to time.

You see, it’s complicated!

Returning back to our issue: Technology needs human moderating, otherwise it becomes robotics! This is why I love DipNote: it’s human!

DipNote Bloggers reply: John, shooting the moderator is ok. We're not going to pull the plug on the discussion because of it. What our comments policy says is that there's a big difference between writing "Your argument is flawed," and "You are flawed." The former is ok. The latter is not. Why? Because not only is it rude, but it's only natural to want to fire back a response calling the other person all kinds of names. And once that happens, all hope for a civil, ideas-based discussion is lost.

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 27, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

OMG, Here we go again! We live in different worlds and never the twain shall meet. I'll leave it at that.

Donald M.
|
Virginia, USA
October 27, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@Eric in New Mexico

Wasp Update

After trying a few tactics of Bug Light and Yellow Jacket Trap, my wasps are finally destroyed. These kind of wasps or hornets were about the size of huge bumble bee. They did manage to sting me 5 times. Thats pretty much when I started taking it more serious. I'm just glad they are gone...

All is well in Virginia, still trying to figure out why its in the high 70's or 80's in Late October. Maybe Global Warming?

I'm glad if the United States is using technology to help round up the illegal aliens on the border. I was just concerned that the Mexicans may try what the Pakistan terrorists tried in India with the Mumbai attacks. Which means we always have to be on our guard and protect our country. I don't dislike Mexicans, I just think they need to have the proper paperwork to work in our country and they certainly should not be given voting rights until they become a citizen of the United States. Othewise, we would be having Mexicans determine our elections. This is the United States of America, not the United States of Mexico.

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 27, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

@Donald,
That's really interesting. I've noticed a more militant attitude in this segment of the population due to the Democrats waffling on this position which is completely un-American. By not dealing with this issue they've empowered a huge population who now feel entitled.
They have an unspoken agenda. Overpopulate the country destroy all of our institutions, implode the economy to push people towards state control. You have to question who the enemies really are?

Oystercracker
|
United States
October 27, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

If legal marijuana production undercuts Mexican cartels than so be it despite the future medical costs it would represent, however, whether or not this would simultaneously cut out organized criminals is debatable. The real pressing issues of American drug dependency should be exposed. Why are we a nation of drug addicts? Why can't we have an open and free society? Why can't we raise emotionally healthy children? These are the deeper issues underlying our nation's fabric. While our politicians fight over the scraps our children suffer. You can only measure the health of a nation through its children. What legacy are we leaving them?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@Donald,

I think maybe next time you might want to call a local bee keeper and borrow a suit for the day. Then you can terminate in confidence.

Sorry I didn't think of this sooner.

We got a dumping of snow on the mountains here...slightly early.

The DoD's drone program is based here, and it does a lot more than just spot illegal crossings. WMD interdiction, even nailed a few wannabe terrorists trying to get in posing as illegal immigrents. Even some Iranian agents (last year sometime, I forget exactly where they were aprehended, might have been Texas)

Most illegal immigrents pay their way up to the "coyotes" by being mules for the drugs they also bring over.

Talk about "human trafficking", they've made an art out of it.

Most is dopne completely overland, too many checkpoints on the roads to allow for anything else.

Though occasionally they'll find a commercial sized truck loaded to the gills with drugs, they've managed to cut down on those kind of big loads coming in.

Fact is , security on the border is better than it has been in years overall, if the border patrol have their stats right.

You have to remember that this border is long, and in isolated desolate country for the most part along all of its length, except where population centers exist right on the border. Lots of badlands to cross, and many places to hide, caves, etc.

In the summer, if one is on foot the average person would need at least two liters of water a day to stay hydrated at minimum level to survive a treck of well over a hundred fifty miles before they would be beyond any search area. 90-115 degree temps, and most traveling is done at night because of this.

Just so you understand why folks keep finding bodies in the desert.

The Conquistadors that settled New Mexico 400 hundred years ago called it the "jornada del muerto" (Journey of death) for a reason.

This is the only place where the US army experimented with using camels in the 1800's because there arn't the watering holes available generally for horses to cross.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

When my girlfriend was dying of breast cancer in 2004, she was given a choice by her doctor. She could be doped up with morphine, or be percribed medical marajuana for the pain.

Her choice being to be completely out of it when she died, or be completely lucid and aware of what was going on around her.

She chose the latter, and in a free and open society one has the dignity to die in the manner one chooses, within the parameters of a long term illness that would allow for.

I'm glad she had that choice, and so was she.

She left this world fully cognisant of her surroundings, the people in her life she interacted with and that was a blessing for her and aided her personal transition, her own process of discovery, and in being able to face the fear of the unknown in a concious rational manner over a good bit of time till her life's ending.

I bear witness to the good that it did for her soul. She didn't die confused about a darn thing, told me she wanted to come right back and do it all over again.

That's why I say sometimes to folks that in doing the hard things in foreign affairs...the decisions of war and peace, life and death:

"We can do this, so long as we remember our joy."

She wouldn't have been able to think clearly enough to say these last words to me if she'd been doped up on morphine.

Whatever medical costs associated with legalization arn't really an issue, as legalization won't create more drug users because its legal. Just as the repeal of prohibition did not produce more alcoholics in this country.
Those that will self-inibriate will do so, whether it's legal or not.

I live in the hood, see a lot of drug use and abuse in my neigborhood, and I know a lot of people who drink and a few that get stoned, I've seem folks with the DT's from drink, but I don't know anyone who has claimed to suffer those kind of withdrawls from pot use. It isn't physicly addictive the way alcohol or cocaine is. I know people who've died from overdose, and I don't know anyone who's overdosed on pot and ended up in hospital.

Because of this medical fact alone, it remains a wonder to me why it is still illegal, and not taxed, regulated and distributed by licenced buisinesses like the local grocery store that sells liquor.

So you got to be 21 to buy, if you drive stoned the penalties are the same for driving drunk, and let's see if 4 years of social experimentation with legalization will put a crimp in the cartels. I believe it will make the difference folks @ State can only dream about today.

Great question put by Matt Lee of the AP in yesterday's briefing;

QUESTION: Well, P.J., much as they were – or much as they express concern about the Arizona immigration law, there are a bunch of Latin American leaders who are expressing some very serious concerns about this legalized marijuana initiative in California and the impact it will have on – or the impact it may have on U.S. national drug policy. I recognize this isn’t really a State Department issue, per se, but I’m wondering if you have heard directly from people – from Latin American leaders, concerns about this, and I’m also wondering how you – the Federal Government might square this, particularly as it relates to foreign policy – if the – how you might square the passage, potential passage of this referendum with your national strategy.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, let’s – I don’t have any marijuana guidance in my book. But let us – I mean, we understand that a number of countries in the region are watching the developments on the California ballot initiative. Let’s not get ahead of the American voters or the California voters in terms of what is decided next week. And the latest I’ve read on it, it’s kind of a toss-up. So we understand it’s an issue of concern. We understand, obviously, that what is being proposed for California may be in conflict with federal statute, and we’ll work through those issues depending on what happens next week.

---

I gotta wonder if the "concern" expressed by leaders is more economic than not, considering that what I said to Donald on this issue may very well be spot on in the destruction of the cartels profits, and a lot of growers down south may be looking to grow other crops when their market collapses due to lack of demand, because folks are now growing it locally here, legally.

Trade issues are a State dept. led issue I would think, even if it's "illegal" trade between nations.

State's rights vs. federal rights may not be, but just about anything that affects bilateral relations would be.

So I think DoS will get involved in any federal debate within this admin that might take place over whether or not to legalize on the federal level to enhance our national security, and as well the national security of Mexico and other nations of the Americas.

EJ

John P.
|
Greece
October 27, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@Eric in New Mexico

Thank you very much for your extremely kind words. I think I’ve told you before: you are the spirit of this Blog.

I will keep your comment in my archives. Such words coming from you make me feel really proud.

I really appreciate your opinion.
Best regards!

P.S. You must write this book YESTERDAY. You have great material and thoughts.

Some title ideas (first draft)
1. The pill for political stupidity
2. Chuckle & LOL
3. Jack of many trades
4. Eric’s place
5. A spy in the sky
I’ll think more… (CHUCKLE)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@John, you gave me an idea...maybe it should be one of those so-called... "self-help books" called "The cure for political stupidity, and/or how not to go to war with America"

(Chuckle and LOL!)

Speaking of going to war with the American government, I was just telling the moderator in a response to another email that we in New Mexico only shoot horses, drug dealers and other varmints, not blog moderators...(chuckle)

(horses only when they have a broken leg and no chance of recovery as it's the humane thing to do.)

OC wrote:

"Hello people? Do I have to spell it to you?These plans haven't worked because our government or someone in our shadow government deals drugs. It's that simple. Why has nearly evry war or conflict we've fought been in a drug zone? Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan. It's the same formula time and again. Create a conflict, sell guns, export drugs and every other vile thing that goes along with it. America is in bed with criminals. That's our enemy for any Christian God loving American patriot. We've allowed our country to be overtaken by criminals who kill our beautiful children. Corruption is our enemy. Corruption is our fight."

Let's see if OC has the guts to name names and make them famous since baseles accusations come without source documentation, then we'll see if she can handle "blowback" or not.

If she can't, then there isn't a shred of truth in what she said.

Simple.

I know, it's kind of "prickly" logic OC, but you gotta take responsibility for your words, as that's the flip side of freedom of speech.

I don't have a problem holding you to account for them, right here, and right now.

Let's see if your up to my challenge.

Do include the source documentation to prove it, as I'll be checking your "facts".

EJ

John P.
|
Greece
October 27, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico
I’ll run the web marketing campaign of your book. (why are you LOLing?)

(Google search-key words)
Find the perfect self-help book! The Guide To Self-Help Books offers over 700 Psychologist-recommended self-help books, with annotated descriptions of each ...

BEST SELLER
The cure for political stupidity
Author: EJ
Price: you can’t afford me (do you remember this phrase of yours?)

(LOL)

P.S.1. I think that the moderators are doing a great job. Let’s stop this discussion about them…
P.S.2 O.C. can I call you Z?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
October 27, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@John,

Why am I (Lol!)ing??? Because while I take the issues seriously and a decade's worth of personal effort seriously, I just can't take myself all that seriously...otherwise things would just suck and I wouldn't have any fun at all with it.

We live in a pill-popping society, and that's not the cure for stupidity, but it was inspired thinking at work none-the-less John, and thanks for the suggestion, I think it's a "keeper".

P.S. NEW SALE Price: you can't afford not to buy this self help book if you are Mr. Hu.

(Oh ouch!, that was cold, even by my standards of diplomatic "niceties", though I may yet dedicate the book to him for his support of 'lil Kim and sons, if China doesn't get a grip soon on his nuclear terrorist ways.)

And yeah, I forgot exactly what the context was on that one you mentioned. Do I want to be reminded? (chuckle)

Do you remember when I suggested the DoD invent a "smart bomb" that would wise people up ( a fish oil and nitrous oxide MOAB)?

I intend for this book to be the "diplomaticly incorrect" version of that.

I suppose I should probably have DoS and other agencies review the final edited version before I find a publisher in case they'd like me to redact anything "sensitive" or "classified" that may be of concern to anyone, even if written as "fiction".

See, there's nothing ficticious about what I've said regarding things I know or things I've been involved in, and I'm pretty sure folks have revisited the file at this point.

But basicly I hope it will be a good read, sort of a cross between a Tony Hillerman and Tom Clancy novel, and I'm still in process of character development to flesh out the posts and letters.

It's going to take awhile before it's done and ready for your marketing skills but I couldn't think of a better literary agent to have than you, so your hired.

The other big hurdle in the writing is how to tie the Mexican mafia, Iranian WMD, and the opposition groups I've been involved with, lil Kim's involvement in all of it, and various insundry guilty parties who will not go down in print by some ficticious name, for I'm not about to let anyone off the hook, yet keeping my sources anon in the process.

And because the story is woven throughout history, there's going to be a fair bit of time-shifting going on and I should probably out of litterary honesty in my research send drafts to a couple former living Presidents too as well as the current one to make sure I haven't mischaracterized anything and ask permission to borrow contextually from their memoirs for accuracy's sake.
And possibly a couple or three Sec. of States as well.

Also, I've got a unique family history to include, as well as being on the cutting edge in the transition between the anologue and digital age as an an audio engineer...and I see where the trends are going within the context of this topic thread on high tech gadgitry to combat terrorists and organized crime. It kind of reminds me of Chuchill's toyshop in WW2 that was set up to supply the local "auxillary" with tools of resistance, in case the NAZI invasion of the UK took place.

Basicly this initiative described here in the blog post is supposed to perform like a high tech "dead-letter drop" if I'm not mistaken.

So now everyone can be a spy.

We now have those Dick Tracy I-phones to play with.

Brave new world it is.

Clamdip
|
United States
October 27, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Yeah, You can call me Z for Zorro government crime fighter. That's a perfect fit for me.
Seems like my government drug dealer name for Eric has been modified. They often unfairly hold my comments back from Eric to give him an advantage which isn't a level playing field. Typical politics. He must have Top Dog Blog status at the State Department.

DipNote Bloggers reply: O.C., on the rare occasions we can't publish a comment, we send an email explaining why, and -- where possible -- offering to publish it if that content is removed. If you didn't receive that email today, please take a moment to check it hasn't been routed to a spam folder and that the email address you're entering into the comment form is correct.

John P.
|
Greece
October 28, 2010

John P. in Greece writes:

@Z in (the) U.S.A. (after your permission O.C.)

Democracies do not need Z-cartoons. People is the Z. They are A to Z. They vote for their politicians, and their vote is valid!

That’s why the word Democracy does not include any Z character. Democracy does not expect any Zorro to make it more democratic. Be careful, my friend, you are near the terrorism line. This is exactly what terrorists say: we have a better plan for Democracy. But, they mean anarchy.

P.S. I have nothing personal with you and I like debating with you, even if we have extremely different views. However, please, let me give you an “advice”. It’s not very polite to call the moderators as “dogs”, or create another conspiracy theory that they treat readers as “good” and “bad”.
I may be wrong, but think about it…

DipNote Bloggers reply: O.C. didn't call the moderator a dog. Let's move on.

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