This oughta be good:
WikiLeaks, a whistleblowing online site, obtained 2,836 U.S. documents related to Mexico and 8,324 documents related to narcotics — both areas of great interest to the border region.
However, the public will have to wait to learn what most of those cables contain because WikiLeaks does not plan to release all 251,287 of its leaked documents at once.
The site is coordinating the release of documents, mostly U.S. diplomatic cables, with selected major U.S. and international media partners. As of Monday, only 272 cables had been released.
I'm with Charles on this one and not Secretary Clinton. WikiLeaks will, on balance, turn out to do more good than harm. Their diplomatic-cable carpet-bombing campaign may have just finally chastened North Korea and Iran, two of the most recalcitrant countries on the planet, which even the superpowers in their respective spheres of influence (China, Saudi Arabia, the U.S.) could not bring to heel.
While traditional journalists bemoan their loss of influence, WikiLeaks may be showing us all a new road (the way the Green Revolution and Twitter showed the world a new road for rebellion).
Who knows what we'll see up ahead? More government transparency and control by citizens and journalists than ever before? Or an era of new super-security systems by the power elite that will be even harder to crack (maybe a regime of low documentation and high memorization training for power-brokers who only feel safe making oral agreement), making government and business even less accountable than before?
Or maybe a combination of both, a world in which bloggers and hackers mine for data from below, while investigative journalists worm their way into the tightest power-circles, coming to look more like a secret agent operating incognito (the new investigative model) than a detective operating openly (the old investigative model)?
Either way, I can't wait to see what WikiLeaks dumps about the narcos and the governments which have been intertwined with them since the very beginning of drug prohibition, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.
The relevant passage from a recent story in The Stranger:
Major Mexican landowners had been growing marijuana and opium poppies and selling them to the U.S. long before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 (the first major federal drug prohibition—prior to that, even the Sears, Roebuck catalogue advertised a syringe and a dose of cocaine for $1.50). Those Mexican landowners were aligned with, or outright members of, the Mexican political establishment. One brief example: Colonel Esteban Cantú Jiménez, who had a personal army of 1,800 soldiers and political control of Baja California Norte, started taking a cut from Mexican opium traders as soon as the Harrison Act was passed. The Mexican army eventually flushed him out in 1920—with a force of 6,000—but Colonel Jiménez secured amnesty with the help of a former military colleague.
The overlap between Mexico's military officers, politicians, and drug barons goes all the way back to the beginning.
Mexico hit the big time as a destination for American vice on October 28, 1919, with the passage of the Volstead Act (alcohol prohibition—in the early 1900s, the U.S. was in a prohibiting mood). In 1919, only 14,130 American tourists formally requested to visit Mexico. The following year, after Prohibition set in, 30 times as many tourists—418,735—ran south of the border to visit its bars, brothels, and casinos. According to Mónica Serrano, a professor of politics at El Colegio de México and a research fellow at Oxford University, American celebrities Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, and Al Jolson first glamorized Tijuana by hanging around its famous racetrack. By this time, Mexico's marijuana- and opium-smuggling economy was booming. American officials, Serrano writes, "contended that drug trafficking was simply unstoppable. The unintended impact of tighter [domestic] drug-control policies on the rise of trafficking was not addressed."
The American refusal to acknowledge that illegal trafficking and its problems are a direct result of prohibitionist drug policy also goes all the way back to the beginning.
If WikiLeaks can document that relationship/mind-meld more robustly—then god bless 'em. They may do for the stupid, cruel, and self-defeating drug war what they've just done for Iran and North Korea.