venerdì 31 agosto 2012

Aggiornamento della narcoguerra in Messico.

(ANSA) - CITTA' DEL MESSICO, 30 AGO - Tra sgozzati, smembrati e crivellati di colpi sono ormai 33 i morti ammazzati nelle ultime 48 ore nello Stato di Nuevo Leon, al confine con il Texas, nell'ambito della crescente e sempre piu' feroce 'guerra' tra il Cartello del Golfo ed i Los Zetas, per il controllo del narcotraffico nella capitale Monterrey.

The return of the Russian gangsters



Mapping organized crime trends sheds new light on the local underworld


Where have the Russian gangsters gone? There is a striking disconnect between the regular warnings from the police, Interior Ministry and Security Information Service (BIS) that Russians represent a serious challenge to the Czech Republic and the actual evidence on the ground: arrests made, criminals convicted, goods seized. Instead, it is usually Czech gangsters or criminals from even further afield who are brought to justice, such as the Vietnamese gangs that are increasingly being held responsible for trafficking marijuana and methamphetamines.
In part, those warnings have become a ritual recitation of past fears, and there always seems to be some terrible threat just around the corner. Two shootings in 2008, for example, led a BIS spokesperson to raise the specter of a gang war between Russian-speaking groups in Prague, which never materialized. Likewise, it seems every report of Russians in Karlovy Vary contains some dark allusion to mafia money.
Only sometimes there really is a wolf around that corner. While Russian gangsters are much less in evidence in the Czech Republic these days, there are real reasons to fear they will be back. As an official from the Internal Affairs Ministry in Moscow told The Prague Post, "Last time, our gangsters thought they could just bully their way in. This time, they will be much smarter."
In the 1990s, Russians made serious inroads into the Czech underworld, but even then there was a degree of politically convenient exaggeration: An Interior Ministry report in 1992 claimed 80 percent of all organized crime was committed by foreigners.
All the main networks such as the Moscow-based Solntsevo, St. Petersburg Tambovskaya and Chechen and Caucasian groups were strongly positioned in the country. For a while, Prague was even home to Semyon Mogilevich, the notorious Ukrainian-born Russian criminal who is a fixture on the FBI's "most wanted" list. However, the Russians' very visibility was also their weakness. They attracted far too much police attention and the enmity of local gangs.
Over the course of the 1990s, many Russians were forced out of the country, and a number of operations closed down. Yet that did not mean they abandoned the Czech Republic. Instead, the Russians had to adopt a lower profile. They withdrew from many street-level activities such as protection racketeering and selling drugs, though Ukrainian gangs still tended to victimize the Ukrainian community, especially in Moravia. Instead, they concentrated on working at the level of illegal wholesalers, criminal coordinators and underworld investors in businesses of every kind. Several sources in Moscow suggest even a link with billionaire František Mrázek, who was gunned down in Prague 2006.
They maintained contacts, a position within the Czech underworld and a criminal infrastructure. According to the Russian police, those foundations may be about to be built on afresh, mainly because of drugs, and Afghan heroin in particular.
Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin. Historically, those drugs flowed into Europe through the Middle East and Turkey. Increasingly, though, they are taking the "Northern Route" through Russia, which now accounts for almost a third. Some head east into China, some stays in Russia, but most carries on into the lucrative European market. This is proving a bonanza for Russian organized crime, especially given the depressed state of the rest of the economy. Gangs able to tax or control the drug routes are thriving.
As existing routes through Poland become saturated, the criminals currently managing the trade are looking for alternatives to get their heroin into Europe. The Czech Republic is well placed to be a drug hub (already Interpol reckons that 70 percent of all narcotics smuggled into the country is for re-export) and the Russians have the cash and connections to make it happen. A Russian investigator from their Federal Antinarcotics Service, the FSKN, told The Prague Post he expects the level of heroin trafficking into the country to increase by 25 percent a year.
He also raised an alarming second possibility, that it could become the arena for competition. As he put it, "if you can't control the pipeline, you wait by its mouth." In other words, gangs losing out in Russia might try to move into the Czech Republic to muscle into the market. By the standards of most European countries, heroin is disproportionately popular in the Czech Republic, creating a lucrative opportunity.
The third potential implication is that it experiences an influx of dirty Russian money. The traffickers are making unprecedented amounts and are doing so at a time when Russia's future is uncertain. For all his tough rhetoric, Vladimir Putin has never made the fight against organized crime a priority. Russia's godfathers fear the urban protest movement now rising in Russia might force Putin to crack down on corruption and dirty money. Thus there has been an upsurge in the amount of shady money leaving Russia (total capital flight this year is likely to be anything from $50 billion to $100 billion).
This coincides with renewed international efforts to control illegal capital flight and money laundering. Just when the criminals want to move funds out of Russia, their traditional routes through Cyprus, Israel and Italy are under pressure, so they are looking for alternatives. The Czech Republic has a highly developed and stable banking system, but on the other hand is perceived as somewhere that corruption and artifice can evade financial controls. The Russian FSKN has identified a number of cases in which it believes drug money may have been moved through networks of front companies into the country.
Meanwhile, the authorities may be looking the wrong way. Agencies like BIS seem most concerned about the threat of Russian intelligence agencies using gangsters as agents, or the Kremlin using front companies to gain influence. These are real threats, but arguably less immediate and serious than "ordinary" organized crime.
This politicized perspective also makes it harder to cooperate with Moscow. Unprofessionalism, corruption and political interference within Russian law enforcement are massive obstacles to any partnerships. However, at the same time, there are honest, intelligent and effective Russian investigators who genuinely want to collaborate.
The challenge is finding some route through the obstacles. A new law on Czech-Russian police cooperation is a great start. Next year, the Interior Ministry should also be completing deliberations about hiring suitably vetted foreign nationals, something Robert Šlachta, head of the ÚOOZ organized crime detection unit, has supported. Certainly some Russian and other Eurasian officers would also make it easier to infiltrate and understand these gangs.
Ultimately, the unavoidable logic of the market means the Russians are coming. Afghan heroin is reshaping the Russian underworld, creating winners who want to establish trafficking routes through the Czech Republic, losers who are being pushed west into Central Europe and profits that need to be invested. The question is how Prague prepares itself to deter or deal with its future guests.
- Mark Galeotti is professor of global affairs at New York University's SCPS Center for Global Affairs.

giovedì 30 agosto 2012

Messico: ombre sul ruolo della Cia nella lotta alla droga


Messico: ombre sul ruolo della Cia nella lotta alla droga

29 Agosto 2012

(ASCA) - Roma, 29 ago - Ombre sul ruolo svolto dalla Cia nella lotta alla droga in Messico. Alcuni politici dell'opposizione hanno chiesto spiegazioni al governo del paese centroamericano dopo che e' emerso che due americani, feriti dalla polizia messicana mentre erano a bordo di un'autovettura di proprieta' dell'ambasciata statunitense, stavano lavorando per conto dei servizi segreti.

Washington e Citta' del Messico hanno fatto sapere ben poco dell'incidente, facendo crescere i dubbi sulla reale natura delle operazioni della Cia nel paese. Il partito di opposizione Rivoluzione Democratica ha chiesto un'audizione del Ministro degli Esteri.

Gli Usa hanno sempre collaborato con il presidente Felipe Calderon nella lotta al narcotraffico, con finanziamenti per 1,6 miliardi di dollari attraverso il programma Merida, l'addestramento degli agenti e l'equipaggiamento, inclusi gli elicotteri Black Hawk.

Dopo giorni di speculazioni sull'incidente, e' stato il New York Times a rivelare che i due americani feriti lavoravano per la Cia. Gli 007 americani viaggiavano a bordo di un auto insieme a un capitano della marina messicana ed erano diretti ad un campo militare a sud della capitale, quando sono stati bersagliati dal fuoco della polizia federale.

''E' tutto cosi' oscuro. Il governo deve fornire un rapporto completo su cosa la Cia sta facendo qui, con chi lavora e quali sono i confini del proprio compito'', ha detto ai giornalisti il sindaco di Citta' del Messico, Marcelo Ebrard.

Secondo gli analisti, da quando Calderon ha lanciato la sua guerra alla droga nel 2006, il numero degli agenti stranieri in Messico si e' quasi raddoppiato, anche se il governo non ha mai fornito cifre ufficiali. In sei anni, gli scontri fra narcos e militari hanno causato oltre 50 mila morti. (fonte AFP).

mercoledì 29 agosto 2012

Z-40 Takes Control of the Zeta



Miguel "Z-40" Trevino Morales has taken over as the top leader of Los Zetas, replacing Heriberto "El Lazca" Lazcano Lazcano, according to several media reports. Stratfor sources have said the leadership transition was due to Lazcano's failing health.
Lazcano is reportedly suffering from a terminal illness and has gradually reduced his operational role in the criminal group over the past several months, allowing Trevino to step into the top position. This purported transition may explain why recent anti-Los Zetas operations by rival cartels and law enforcement have focused on Trevino. Given Lazcano's alleged health condition, a leadership transition likely would have been inevitable at some point in the near future, and Trevino has demonstrated an ability to handle the challenges facing Los Zetas, namely internal schisms, offensives by other cartels and pressure from the Mexican military.

While Lazcano was the undisputed leader of the cartel, Trevino maintained a significant role as a presumed second in command, overseeing operations in critical locations such as Nuevo Laredo. Trevino has likely been running the majority of Los Zetas' operations for months prior to the reported transition.
Although it does not appear Lazcano and Trevino have become rivals as reports suggested in July, Trevino still could face internal conflicts in the future, which could trigger increased violence in regions where Los Zetas operate. Given his near-decade long leadership of Los Zetas, Lazcano likely retains a certain amount of control over the group, not to mention possessing extensive information on Trevino and his activities. This would make Lazcano a valuable asset for any of Trevino's rivals, inside or outside Los Zetas, should Lazcano split from Trevino's organization in the future.
Additionally, Trevino is already dealing with an internal schism in Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Coahuila, and Nuevo Leon led by Ivan "El Taliban" Velazquez Caballero, a regional Los Zetas boss who is challenging Trevino's authority in those territories. Should Velazquez garner additional support from other Los Zetas leaders, this regional intra-cartel turf war could expand.
Since Trevino has likely overseen the group's activities for some time, few operational changes should be expected. Besides Los Zetas' rivals focusing their information operations on Trevino, there have been few overt signs of any transition, suggesting Lazcano may have handed operations over without significant resistance. If the leadership transition has taken place as reported, Trevino seems fully capable of handling the group's operations as competently as his predecessor did.
 STRATFOR 
29/08/2012

domenica 26 agosto 2012

Vigilantism, faith and power in Russia


In Moscow's Shadows


Do you feel any safer now?
Some years back I wrote a piece called ‘Private security and public insecurity: outsourced vigilantism in modern Russia’ for David Pratten and Atreyee Sen’s collection Global Vigilantes(Hurst, 2007). In it, I argued that Russia was heir to a long legacy of vigilantism, but one which took a variety of forms, samosud lynch law of the tsarist village being subsumed into Comrades’ Courts and informing on annoying neighbors in Soviet times. In post-Soviet Russia, I suggested that the rise of the private security industry as well as a continuing willingness to regard organized crime as an acceptable alternative to the structures of law and the state also reflected this tradition. I suggested that this emerged from three main drivers: (1) a fragmenting social dynamic requiring groups and individuals to seek their own protection; (2) deep-seated mistrust of the authorities’ will or ability to provide protection; and (3) a cultural bias towards self-help and summary justice that may reflect moral values but not necessarily the letter of the law.
I was thinking about this as I listened to the most recent of the ever-thought-provoking RFE/RL Power Vertical podcasts, in which Brian Whitmore and Kirill Kobrin discussed the “culture wars” between the rising urban, cosmopolitan middle class and a traditional Russian conservative identity. It is interesting how, as the Kremlin appears less confident, certain and powerful than for a long time, various symptoms of vigilantism seem to be bubbling forth, from a renewal of calls for liberalizing gun control laws and a continued rise in the private security industry, through events such as the Sagra case, to the new appeals to the use of Cossacks to help police Russia’s border reasons and most recently, plans to put Russian Orthodox vigilante patrols drawn from Dmitry Otrakovsky’s “Holy Rus” movement onto Moscow’s streets to deal with “blasphemous, offensive actions and statements against the Orthodox religion and our people.”
Otrakovsky (left) and his merry men
The Orthodox vigilante plans have proven controversial. Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Church-Society Relations, whom Time called “the Orthodox point man with the Kremlin“, has endorsed the proposals, calling them “a step in the right direction.” (I wonder, with some alarm, quite what he feels would be the destination: a Russian Inquisition?) The Moscow police have dampened speculation from the Church that joint vigilante-police patrols would be mounted (which would have given them official legitimacy and arrest powers).
Their beards and black skull-and-dagger “Orthodoxy or Death” t-shirts imply something between Iran’s morality police and the Hell’s Angels. Nonetheless, they raise an interesting point. Governor Tkachev, who wanted to hire a thousand Cossacks, is not exactly a man without means or options. The Russian Orthodox Church is hardly a marginalized institution. In other words, at present it is individuals and institutions of power who are looking for extra-judicial and extra-state agents to provide security and assert their authority. Conversely, it is people who might be considered on either the liberal or anti-Kremlin wings (for the two overlap but are not the same), from Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to Memorial’s Lyudmila Alexeeva, who have been most critical about such efforts to bypass the formal agency of the state — the very state to which they are often opposed.
This could be explained simply as another expression of what Richard Sakwa calls the “dual state” whereby a formal, law-based one is complemented and often trumped by an informal, patrimonial one. But then why now?
I’d suggest that this reflects the growing crisis of what Brian Whitmore and I have taken to calling the “deep state,” the inner decision-making elite and the machinery of power they have constructed to allow them to run the country. So long as the key power blocs within the Russian state and the constellations of individuals and groups who control them felt happy and secure, they were comfortable with the status quo. However, it is a mark of the essentially feral self-interest which motivates these political entrepreneurs, that as soon as they become uneasy, they look to creating their own sources of economic, political and even coercive power. And, unlike the radicals, let alone ordinary Russians, they have the means to do so.
Let’s go back to those three drivers I raised at the start:
(1) a fragmenting social dynamic requiring groups and individuals to seek their own protection: that certainly seems a growing concern amongst these elite interests as protest emerges and, perhaps more importantly, the state seems uncertain how to proceed.
(2) deep-seated mistrust of the authorities’ will or ability to provide protection: again, yes: while they were happy to sit back and let the authorities look after them, that never translated into a faith that this would continue for ever (witness all that illegal capital flight — salting away funds Just In Case).
(3) a cultural bias towards self-help and summary justice that may reflect moral values but not necessarily the letter of the law: absolutely. Time and again, the elite’s willingness to go beyond the law in its own self interest has been made abundantly clear, from waving away the consequences of auto accidents all the way to complicity in the plunder of the economy.
Thus, the more we see powerful interests trying to raise muscular political movements, endorse vigilantes, create parallel policing and control structures, establish security agencies and woo non-state actors, the more we will actually be watching a deep state surface and break apart…

mercoledì 22 agosto 2012

I LOS ZETAS divisi?


Nella città di Chihuahua, nell'omonimo stato messicano è comparso, appeso ad un cavalcavia autotradale un Narcomanta che denuncia forti divisioni interne ai LOS ZETAS. Il cartello di Sinaloa ed il suo capo El Chapo Guzman Loeria brindano.

Torture in Messico

 Incenerivano le persone morte o ancora vive in un rudimentale forno a legna dopo averle torturate e fatte a pezzi. E' successo nel sud del Messico e la polizia ha scoperto sei fosse clandestine, dove le vittime erano poi sepolte, dalle foto sui cellulari di due narcotrafficanti arrestati di recente. I macabri pozzi sono stati trovati sotto un edificio a Tuxpan, nello Stato di Michoacan.
tg com 

martedì 21 agosto 2012

Due fotografi torturati ed uccisi in Messico

 MORELIA (ANSA) - Due fotografi messicani sono stati torturati e poi uccisi nello stato di Michoacan: lo hanno reso noto le autorita' locali, precisando che con ogni probabilita' i responsabili degli omicidi sono i sicari di una gang di narcotrafficanti della zona. Le vittime sono Jose' Antonio Aguilar Mota, 26 anni, e Arturo Barajas Lopez, 46 anni, entrambi della cittadina di La Estancia: il primo lavorara soprattutto nel settore del turismo, mentre il secondo copriva la cronaca nera.

lunedì 20 agosto 2012

MAXI SEQUESTRO COCAINA IN ATLANTICO


Complessivamente 31 i narcotrafficanti arrestati. L'imbarcazione è stata localizzata di notte grazie a speciali tecnologie di un aereo della Guardia di Finanza, che aveva pattugliato l'Oceano i giorni precedenti. L'organizzazione di narcos, con base a Madrid ed in contatto con un gruppo di bulgari, poteva contare sulla complicità di un agente di polizia spagnolo corrotto. Ricevuto il via libera dalla Colombia, i bulgari hanno spostato la loro nave, ormeggiata lungo le coste africane, nella zona caraibica per imbarcare la droga, mentre i colombiani hanno inviato i propri emissari in Spagna per coordinare le operazioni. Giunte a circa 50 miglia dalle coste del Portogallo, le forze speciali spagnole hanno abbordato la nave e l'hanno condotta nel porto di Cadice, ove la droga e il mezzo navale sono state sequestrati ed i 21 membri di equipaggio arrestati. Contemporaneamente sono scattate le manette per gli altri 10 narcos che al momento si trovavano tutti in Spagna. L'operazione è stata coordinata dal M.A.O.C. (Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre - Narcotics) di Lisbona e dalla D.C.S.A. (Direzione Centrale Servizi Antidroga) di Roma.
da LA GAZZETTA DEL SUD

lunedì 13 agosto 2012

Ennesima strage in Messico


08:19 13 AGO 2012 

(AGI) - Veracruz (Messico), 13 ago. - I cadaveri di sette persone facenti parte della stessa famiglia, tra cui tre bambini di 3, 7 e 9 anni di eta' rispettivamente, sono stati rinvenuti dalla polizia in una tenuta agricola di Manlio Fabio Altamirano, cittadina situata alle porte di Veracruz, capitale dell'omonimo Stato nel Messico centro-orientale. Del delitto sono sospettati i sicari al soldo delle bande di narcotrafficanti che imperversano nella zona. A rendere possibile la macabra scoperta sono stati i vicini delle vittime, che ne avevano segnalato la scomparsa dopo essersi insospettiti per il terribile lezzo che proveniva dalla fattoria. Dallo stato di decomposizione dei corpi, tutti con la gola tagliata, gli inquirenti hanno dedotto che i sette congiunti fossero stati uccisi almeno 72 ore prima.
  La strage e' la seconda del genere in meno di una settimana dopo quella analoga, sempre ai danni di un identico nucleo familiare, perpetrata l'8 agosto scorso da sospetti 'narcos' ad Acapulco, nello Stato meridionale di Guerrero, sul Pacifico. Da quando il presidente messicano Felipe Calderon prese il potere nel dicembre 2006, intraprendendo una lotta senza quartiere contro la criminalita' organizzata, nel Paese nord-americano sui sono contati oltre 55.000 tra omicidi e vere e proprie esecuzioni sommarie, risultato anche della feroce lotta tra bande per il controllo dei canali del traffico di stupefacenti diretto verso gli Stati Uniti. (AGI) .
 

venerdì 10 agosto 2012

SINALOA drug top leaders arrested in Spain


BBC/NEWS

Spain seizes four Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel suspects



Jesus Gutierrez Guzman (L) and Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela are among the detainees

Four suspected members of Mexico's feared Sinaloa drug cartel have been arrested in Spain, while allegedly trying to set up a European operation.

Jesus Gutierrez Guzman, a cousin of Sinaloa's fugitive leader Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, is among the four detained near hotels in central Madrid.
"Our country was going to be used as a point of entry for large shipments of narcotics," the interior ministry said.
The arrests were part of a joint operation with the FBI.
Laundry basket
Jesus Gutierrez Guzman and the three others - named as Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela, Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela and Jesus Gonzalo Palazuelos Soto - are all wanted in America over allegations of drug-trafficking and money-laundering.
At the end of July, some 373kg of cocaine was discovered in a container which arrived in the southern Spanish port of Algeciras.
The Sinaloa cartel is often described as the most powerful drug trafficking organisation in the Western Hemisphere.
It controls much of the flow of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines into the US via air, land and sea, and is believed to have links in as many as 50 countries.
Analysts say it was only a matter of time before the cartel tried to expand into Europe and Spain was the natural choice as an entry point, given the common language and its sea ports.
Shorty Guzman was jailed in 1993 but escaped his maximum-security prison in a laundry basket eight years later, embarrassing and eluding the authorities ever since.
The US state department has offered a reward of up to $5m (£3.2m; 4m euros) for information leading to his arrest.

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