Saturday, December 26, 2009

West Bank Retribution, Drug Money in Laredo, JonBenet Ramsey

Ezra Klein
Leslie Gelb

revenge in the west bank...

Unless the Palestinians and Israelis sit down soon to hammer out a solution for a Palestinian state, or some other form of compromise, violence will escalate, overflowing from the cauldron that is the West Bank and Gaza Strip. While the Christians celebrated a peaceful and even joyous Christmas, those Muslims and Jews threatened to ruin it all.

On Thursday, in the West Bank: "Rabbi Meir Hai, a 45-year-old teacher and father of seven, was shot dead as he drove near his home in the settlement of Shavei Shomron." This prompted separate investigations by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Military. The Israelis spent two days gathering information then: "The information gathered led them to three men in the city of Nablus early Saturday. Troops in jeeps descended on their homes and in each case, he said, the suspect was asked to give himself up. None did so, and all were shot dead.

All three, he added, had been involved in anti-Israel violence in the past through activities in the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a militia associated with the Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. One of them, Annan Sleiman Moustafa Tsubakh, 36, was hiding with two assault rifles, two handguns and ammunition in a crawl space in his house when the Israeli troops found him."

To illustrated the sense of overkill that leads the Israelis to respond overwhelmingly to every incident, three other Palestinians were killed in an unrelated incident that took place along the Gaza border, probably the cement fence: "The killing of the three Palestinians in Gaza occurred when Israeli soldiers guarding the border from inside Israel saw people crawling along the border barrier near the main civilian crossing point. Israel permits no such movement near its border.

The soldiers said they fired warning shots but the three continued to crawl. An Israeli aircraft then shot at the men and killed them, an army spokeswoman said. She added that the army was convinced that the men were planning an attack."

When reporters asked the Palestinian Authority for their response: "Ghassan Katib, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said Palestinian security had been investigating the killing when the Israelis interfered. “This is what they do,” he said. “They kill people and then claim they were responsible. Our security forces had begun an investigation into the killing but the Israelis did not coordinate with us.”

Were the Palestinians killed the guilty parties? Who knows? You have to trust what the Israeli military tells you. They do tend to shoot first and make up stories after. This is because they want to present a tough face to the Arab world, don't mess with us, ever... But it will make the bargaining for the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas more difficult, maybe break off further negotiations.

Granted, its been awhile since incidents like these were common, but in the wailing and mourning, a community's grief may translate into escalating tensions. You never know now which passenger on the bus with you may have a bomb, or if the crowd of teenagers you see while walking to the store will attack you or not, if your children will be safe on their way to school. Once again the West Bank resembles Compton, with drive-by shootings and fire bombing of buildings. I wonder if the meth is being supplied to complete my analogy... Once some kind of state is formed will come the even longer process of healing and trying to get along, which will take several generations because it's always the younger generation that sees the prejudices of the older ones as silly and counter-productive, part of an older world that is dying off. It will be interesting to see what the old Muslim and Israeli tea-baggers will look like, and what sordid signs they will come up with...

as I walked out on the streets of Laredo...

So, how's that drug war going against the Mexican cartels? Not so good. Last year the US seized $138 million in cash and product from attempts to smuggle them across the border. But, its estimated that the cartels are making $18 to $39 billion in profit each year. No wonder they are so violently trying to protect their organizations, that is a staggering amount of money. Instead of trying to get the insurance industry to fund my blog, maybe I've been approaching the wrong group, maybe I could get a drug cartel to fund this blog. Then, I would have all ads for medical marijuana and see if anybody want to buy a tanker or two of Mexican oil...

But, I digress. Now that the US has been successful in freezing cartel bank accounts and the more sophisticated way of transferring and laundering money, they are having to find newer ways along with the old, stable ways of smuggling cash back into Mexico: "The streets of Laredo are awash in money, stacks of grimy bills tainted with cocaine residue, wrapped in plastic and stowed in secret compartments built into the trucks, buses and cars that flow south over the Mexican border daily like a motorized river. Soldiers patrolled the streets and searched vehicles for drugs and weapons in Culiacan, Mexico.
Customs officials have discovered a host of ingenious hiding places, from $3 million secreted in the floor of a Mexican passenger bus to $1.6 million stuffed in duffel bags and balanced atop the heads of people wading across the Rio Grande to Mexico."

Just like the cocaine fueled 1970's, when many high class restaurants were bankrolled by sales of white powder, culminating in the failed Delorean experiment, the cartels now are diversifying into many other more honest forms of business: "Law enforcement officials and business owners in Mexico say that the assault on the cartels has driven drug traffickers to branch out into an array of other money-making ventures, setting up businesses like spas and day care centers to launder drug proceeds or selling new products like pirated movies or pilfered oil.

It’s a natural evolution of criminal activity, just as with the mob in the 1950s,” said John Feeley, the deputy chief of mission of the United States Embassy in Mexico City. “They can’t continue to work on one illegal product.” Of course, if we legalized the kinds of drugs they were selling, they would then sell for much cheaper prices, taking away a lot of the profit margin. Then, you risk the violent outlaws becoming the respected businessman, partnering once again with the Mexican government, paying them taxes, and flying across the border in their corporate jets for that conference with AIG or some other Wall Street firm...

jonbenet ramsay...

DNA tests have freed quite a few innocent men from prison, and is transforming the way criminal investigations are performed. There have been new DNA tests performed at the scene of the crime of the JonBenet Ramsey murder, indicating that an unidentified stranger may have been involved.

JonBenet was the little girl whose mother creepily dressed her up like a doll and entered her in children's beauty pageants, which added to the notoriety of the murder. The mother, the father, and the brother were all suspects at one time, but the case remains unresolved. The town of Boulder became obsessed with theories about the case, and everyone dumped on the incompetence of the local sheriff and detectives.
"You really want me to recall my suspicions at the time? Ok, I think you were doing something nasty, your wife found you and in the rage she accidentally killed Jon Benet."   - amalek

So now: "John Ramsey said in a statement Wednesday that he is asking people to share any suspicions they had or recollections of people acting strangely around the time the 6-year-old girl died." 

If you want to read about the possible scenarios of the murder, or see the personality profile generically composed of the suspect, you can go to for more information. They have an email setup, so if you are the killer you can turn yourself in or if you know the guy, who probably is a serial killer, you can turn him in...

“We have very good reason to believe that the individual that committed this crime may have done so in the past and is absolutely capable of hurting someone else”, said (ret) detective Lou Smit who has worked on JonBenét’s case on behalf of law enforcement and independently since 1997. “The criminal community may have its own set of values and principals” added Smit, “but even so, can still come forward with information as there is a code of decency that cannot condone what happened to JonBenét.”

Hopefully, the case can be solved before the poor father dies from grief, guilt, and having to watch his wife wither and die, too. It won't make the pain go away, but there is a sense of peace that comes with closure.
"Too bad OJ's in jail or maybe he could help him find the "real killer." - wadenelson

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