From the further reaches of the tech frontier, USA Today reports that Mexican drug cartels use YouTube to boast of their successes and intimidate their opponents. Read the full story here.
This reads like something out of a Law and Order episode. In fact, if I know my Law and Order, it will soon be a law and order episode.
The cartel videos emerged in 2005, soon after videos of foreigners being beheaded in Iraq appeared on insurgent websites, says Kent Paterson, editor of Frontera NorteSur, a New Mexico-based online news service, who follows the videos.
Early efforts showed prisoners bound and blindfolded, surrounded by armed guards. A declaration was read and the prisoner was executed, often by beheading — mirroring the jihadist videos emerging from Iraq, Paterson says.
These were removed from sites such as YouTube. The cartels gradually replaced them with more sophisticated, better-produced efforts, Paterson says.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration monitors the videos for clues about the cartels and potential use as evidence in prosecutions, says Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman. “It’s really changed … how we target the cartels,” he says. The cartels “absolutely” post videos and have an online presence, he says, though some followers or imposters also post on their behalf.