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<nettime> social media murders
nettime's_roving_reporter on Thu, 15 Sep 2011 02:08:33 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> social media murders


http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/09/14/mexico.violence/

Bodies hanging from bridge in Mexico are warning to social media users

By Mariano Castillo, CNN

Posters declare a young man and woman were killed for posting denouncements
of drug cartel activities. 

(CNN) -- Social media users who denounce drug cartel activities along the
Mexican border received a brutal warning this week: two mangled bodies
hanging like cuts of meat from a pedestrian bridge.

A woman was hogtied and disemboweled, her intestines protruding from three
deep cuts on her abdomen. Attackers left her topless, dangling by her feet
and hands from a bridge in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. A bloodied man
next to her was hanging by his hands, his right shoulder severed so deeply
the bone was visible.

Signs left near the bodies declared the pair, both apparently in their
early 20s, were killed for posting denouncements of drug cartel activities
on a social network.

"This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the
Internet," one sign said. "You better (expletive) pay attention. I'm about
to get you."

The gruesome scene sent a chilling message at a time when online posts have
become some of the loudest voices reporting violence in Mexico. In some
parts of the country, threats from cartels have silenced traditional media.
Sometimes even local authorities fear speaking out.

Bloggers who specialize in sharing news about trafficking have been
threatened in the past, but this could be the first time users of such
social networks have been targeted.

Investigator Ricardo Mancillas Castillo said he had not encountered a
threat against Internet users in his four years based in Nuevo Laredo. But
the signs of torture -- the cuts, the disembowelment -- were along the
lines of what officials are used to seeing in drug-related violence.

Mexico hangings a warning?

In the case of the two victims on the bridge, their ears and fingers were
mutilated, said Mancillas, who works for the public prosecutor's office.

There are no witnesses, and it is a nearly impossible task to identify the
perpetrators, he said.

Thirty-six hours had passed since the bodies were found Tuesday morning,
but no one had come to claim them and they remained unidentified, Mancillas
said.

It will be nearly impossible to determine if the two victims actually
posted anything about cartels on the Internet, as people don't usually use
their real names online, he said.

The placards threatened those who report violent incidents through social
media networks. It listed two blogs by name, Al Rojo Vivo and Blog del
Narco.

They were signed "Z," a possible reference for the Zetas cartel, which
operates in the area.

Blog del Narco is a website that deals exclusively with news related to
drug violence in Mexico. Its creator remains anonymous.

On the Al Rojo Vivo forum, where citizens can make anonymous tips, one
person wrote: "Don't be afraid to denounce. It's very difficult for them to
find out who denounced. They only want to scare society."

One Twitter user echoed that sense of defiance in light of the threats.

"Enough! If we shut up today, we will have lost the ground that we have
gained. This is the time to show what we are made of," the owner of the
 {AT} QuestoyQuelotro Twitter account wrote.

In a statement sent to CNN, Blog del Narco said its site is not dedicated
to denouncing crime, as are other sites.

"In addition, we are not in favor or against any criminal group, we only
inform as things happen," the statement said.

More than 34,600 people have died in drug-related violence since Mexican
President Felipe Calderon announced a crackdown on cartels in December
2006, according to government statistics. Other reports have listed a
higher toll. The latest Mexican government tally was released in January.

CNN's Rafael Romo and journalist Raul Llamas contributed to this report.


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