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Drug Cartels And Propaganda

What if major crime groups started to post banners, drop leaflets, use noise campaigns (cars with speakers broadcasting a message), run Internet videos with gruesome scenes, and other propaganda techniques to question the government? What if the messages stated that a public official, a police officer, a special agent, a whole department, and so on are corrupt? If you think that it could never happen, know that it is happening in Mexico.

As the Dallas Morning News reports the drug war in Mexico is taking on conventional war tactics including propaganda.

Hanging from the church fence in Monterrey was a banner more than a dozen feet high addressed to President Felipe Calderón, accusing the government of favoring some cartel groups over others – a charge the government denies – and appealing for a more balanced approach.
“We urge you to put neutral commanders in these jobs and not allow the narco police to stay,” it read in neat black block letters.
At least two dozen similar banners in 14 cities and six states appeared Monday in public places. The Monterrey church is in front of City Hall.

The article notes that these moves are tactics to counter the government’s message regarding drugs and Mexico’s war on drugs. And although the tactics are being called a disinformation campaign, it seems some of the messages may have truth in them. As the News reported in one case a cartel used propaganda to allege that an official was corrupt and possibly working for another cartel. Shortly after the banners went up, the official was arrested for corruption and protecting a cartel.

Who knows? Perhaps the tactic will catch on here in the U.S. If so, I wonder whether those who favor more information will want to protect the acts or not.