“I find you guilty of continuing to be involved in the anarchist movement”

strange what you can find on the internet…this is from 2003, when i was incarcerated in the oregon state penetentiary…from autonomedia interactivist exchange

This year started on an interesting note. On January 2nd, Oregon Department of Corrections Security Threat Group manager came by to visit. He threatened to send me into exile in Eastern Oregon — far from my daughter in Portland — if I didn’t move out of the cell I shared with Brian McCarvill.

Brian is currently suing ODOC over their mailroom policies, which result in the rejection of anarchist literature sent to him. This has been something that has bothered me the past 3 years — I have over 200 mail violations notices concerning letters and publications sent to me here in prison. Their favorite reasons for such “violations” are because the publications are “anarchist-related” or because of “STG symbol” — in this case, a circled “a”, a symbol used internationally for “anarchy”. I support Brian’s lawsuit. Plus, he is a valued and trusted friend. We chose not to split up. Brian actually said he could get more legal work done in the hole because he’d have more free time.

On January 7th, we received write-ups about “unauthorized activity” and “disobedience of an order”. This had to do with a card writing campaign I’d initiated a month earlier. I’d asked people to send postcards to us with a circled “a” symbol on them, along with the caption — “This is not a gang symbol”.

Two days after receiving the write-up, we were called to a disciplinary hearing. After discussing the issue with me, the hearings officer told me, “I find you guilty of continuing to be involved in the anarchist movement”.

Pretty illuminating, as this was not what I was charged with. But it does actually sum up ODOC’s attitude towards me. It has not been easy, but I have attempted to stay involved with events on the outside of these walls. I’ve been incarcerated since the international Reclaim the Streets day of solidarity to oppose the G-8 summit in Cologne, Germany, June 18th 1999. I’ve missed out on the Battle of Seattle, the anti-IMF/WB protests, the protests against both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and GW Bush’s bloodless coup.

The summary of my hearing contained a few lies and half-truths, designed to make me appear to be a threat to the safety and the security of ODOC facilities, if not the world at large.

The hearings officer noted that I threatened to use my 30 years of organizing skills to “cause trouble” for ODOC. What I actually said was that I’d assured Benny Ward as well as the STG managers here at OSP that I would not use my extensive organizing skills to create trouble for them (i just wanted to do my time and get out intact). And I asked if it would be too much to expect that I be allowed to have my mail? Apparently it is. (was: Brian won the lawsuit – he does that a lot – and they started allowing a lot more stuff in.)

The most alarming aspect of this, though, is the fact that ODOC has come to the conclusion that I am a member of the Earth Liberation Front. This despite the fact that I?ve never been arrested for an action by the ELF, nor have I ever been questioned about any actions by the ELF. Indeed, there is no evidence or rumor of evidence that can connect me to the ELF in any way what so ever.

The ELF is a clandestine group whose sole purpose is to carry out acts of sabotage against corporations and research facilities that the ELF considers responsible for despoiling the earth.

As such, it has been listed as a terrorist organization, and is one of the targeted focal points for several Joint Task Force(s) on Terrorism in cities, and stated across the US.

I am a writer and an activist. It has been a deliberate decision on my part not to undertake acts of sabotage, since I lack the skill and knowledge to do so effectively and safely. So far, no one has been hurt or killed by an ELF action.

Despite losing my job in the prison infirmary, being sent to the hole for 120 days and being labeled a “terrorist”, I will continue to write for anarchist and “alternative” publications. I am an enemy of the New World Order. We, the people, shall overthrow the rule of corporate power.

Sì Se Puede!


(ps – may, 2012; i miss my comrade Brian – feel free to write letters of support to him. envelopes must contain a full name and return address): 

Brian McCarvill #11037967
Snake River Correctional Institution
777 Stanton Blvd
Ontario, Oregon 97914-8335

to add a little more retrospective background to this story:

i was getting threats from other prisoners because of the over-the-top censorship from the mail room. it had reached the point that they were rejecting any publication with a visible circle-a on it. mind yu, this was during the short-lived “riot tourist” era in the early 21st century. there were photos of people carrying banners and waving flags with @s on them in newspapers, magazines, etc. a lot of them, even local dailies and mainstream publications. so, as you can imagine, there were complaints and finger-pointing, with much of the blame being directed at me.

Brian and i had agreed that this was an issue worth fighting over. for one thing, Brian is a very capable, self-taught litigator. he regularly kicks the State’s Attorney’s best lawyers asses in court cases. Brian encourages other prisoners to litigate, and usually works a clerk and legal aid in the legal library – when such positions are allowed.

to get back to the story, we were 100 percent certain we would win this – it has been litigated and decided before, but neither the ODOC nor apparently the State’s Attorney’s office have very high competency  standards, and really think they can just do whatever. the US supreme court sorta kinda agrees, but also have firmly ruled that your constitutional rights do not end at the gate.

the court decision came after we had been locked up in the DSU (the hole) for almost four months. we won. we knew we would, and we had been telling people that it was in the courts, be patient. i won’t say we came out to hero’s welcomes, but many of the prisoners who knew what was what came up and shook our hands, usually with many on-lookers (this is called “showing” respect. almost means the same as “if you got a problem with this guy, you got a problem with me.”) i also made it a point of asking people who had flicked me shit about their mail if it had gotten better. got a few apologies, got a few thanks, and also got a few requests concerning legal issues. if there wasn’t an easy, obvious answer for their questions, i’d refer them to the legal floor to request an advisor who had access to the legal library. i had a little skill – kept reference material in my cell. (best place to start: Prisoners’ Self Help Litigation Manual)

Brian got shipped out to another facility shortly afterwards. there’s more to this story, but i’m not sure people would believe me if i wote about it. i suppose it could be verified through ODOC records, but i’m not into it. tell ya what, though – buy me a pint or two and i’ll tell you all about it. cheers!

g20 summit includes representative from EU, and possibly drug cartel

inviting heads of state to country being decimated by drugwar violence

the next g20 summit – officially billed as a conference of the world’s largest economies, plus the european union – will be held in the los cabos municipality, in the lower tip of baja california, mexico – one of the g20’s members.

how can this happen? this is almost like having the summit in somalia or syria.

mexico; where from coast-to-coast, in every major city, piles of dismembered bodies, sometimes even those of police and military personnel, are only shocking due to the number of corpses – the largest count so far has been 35, in veracruz. in near durango, mass graves with more than 450 human remains were discovered a year ago, and there is currently (may 12, 2012) an on-going battle between cartels – and sometimes the police and military – with losses at iraq-like numbers.

mexico: where the sinaloa cartel has more influence in the daily activity in the capital than the authorities, because they pay better.

however, in this one, little corner of mexico, the only place of its type, peace reigns. not because the authorities are in control of the mountainous area, the tip of the southern baja peninsula. nope: this area is home to the world’s most wanted man, the head el jefe of the sinaloa cartel, Joaquin “el Chapo” Guzmán Loera, who also is listed as a billionaire by forbes magazine, as well as somewhere between the 40th to 55th most powerful man in the world.

he’s eluded capture from his mansions in the punta ballena development (an exclusive, gated community outside of cabo san lucas, on the coast) on three separate occasions since escaping from a mexican maximum-security prison in 2001. the first time was a few months after his escape, then again two years later. his most recent narrow escape was earlier this year. the day after the g20’s mini-summit in february, when the finance ministers and other “sherpas” from the member nations convened there.

so, one has to wonder why the FUCK world leaders want to gather in an area under control of a narcotrafficker? my first guess would be because they need him to bail out a few economies in europe, and maybe pump some life into the american one as well. perhaps it’s also because there is some sort of safe-haven agreement between el chapo and the governments of mexico and the u.s. they keep the violence at a certain distance from one another’s leaders, the governments allow the drug trade to continue at a certain level, and the profits are shared through bribery. everyone wins, except for the minions dying on all sides, innocent people swept up in the violence, journalists and all the people imprisoned for illicit drug use. still, think of all the money being made by arms dealers, law enforcement agencies, prison systems, courts – not to mention the drug trafficking profits.

mexico is both very impoverished and awash in drug money. so much money – particularly in a country where very little of the money form the abundance of natural resources there makes its way into the hands of the population, and instead ends up in the pockets of corrupt politicians, attorneys, police, judges, military and narcotraffickers. former mayors of tijuana and ciudad juarez have been arrested on corruption charges, but released under vague circumstances.

when bribes don’t work, assassination is used to both eliminate troublesome enemies, and to intimidate those who replace them.

just across the sea of cortez, on the mexican mailand, a war is waging as this report is being prepared, which is a sidenote in a longer, several-part series about the drug war raging in mexico and the u.s. government’s role in worsening the crisis by aligning itself with the sinaloa cartel. this is the area where the current drug war era of psychotic violence began in earnest after the killing of el chapo guzman’s son, edgar. starting from his stronghold in culiacán, el chapo pacified the area through a wave of killing that has only intensified and spread since.

in that year alone – 2008 – cartel-related violence was responsible for over 5,300 deaths in mexico. by 2012, the government blamed the cartels for over 12,000 killings.

el chapo’s old rivals, it would seem, were not eliminated, and have recently begun to re-assert themselves in the mountains of durango and sinaloa.

fighting is so intense across the sea from los cabos that a military convoy sent to quell inter-cartel warfare was ambushed and had to withdraw, after allegedly suffering heavy casualties and the loss of a helicopter. they managed to inflict some damage to the cartel’s forces as well, and captured numerous weapons and vehicles in the process – many of them decorated to resemble police and military.

so, once again the question arises – why is this one place, in all of mexico, exempt from the crazy violence of the rest of the country. the only answer that makes any sense is because el chapo wants a safe haven, and has the authorities in los cabos firmly under his control. this place is littered with swank resorts and luxury hotels, and is a favorite party spot for hollywood celebrities, among other wealthy, well-connected people who love to party it up.

how can anyone possibly think that the heads of the g20 – the wealthiest nations on earth – can have a convention there, without inviting attacks from one of many cartels in the area fully capable of engaging the mexican military in battle, unless there was an arrangement of some sort?

the day after the secretary of state of the united states flew out of the newly-expanded cabo san lucas airport (the airport and a new hilton luxury resort and convention center are being created for the summit), el chapo – once again – narrowly escaped arrest there. american spokespeople have claimed to have alerted their mexican counterparts that el chapo was at one of his homes in the gated community of punta ballena. maybe they told el chapo first, so he could clear out.

maybe the clinton team is negotiating with el chapo. according to recent statements by  former mexican president vicente fox, the u.s. has been actively negotiating el chapo’s surrender, now that several of his lieutenants are being held for trial in the u.s.

that seems unlikely. what’s more likely is that el chapo is negotiating the release of his henchmen. after all, the u.s. has been arming the sinaloa cartel since at least 2006, and possibly since 2004. the result has been a bloody conflaguration that has spread from mexico southward into central america. the rivalry between the main coalitions in the illegal drug trade (the sinaloa federation and the zetas) may be the only thing preventing this bloody mess from spilling over the northern border and into every major city in the america.

if the sinaloas go down, what will stop the zetas from consolidating their power in the u.s., where all their wealth comes from?



when drug wars collide with u.s. foreign policy, no one is safe


if i were a little more callous or jaded, i’d publish more horrific images with this post, but they are trauma-inducing. the violence of the mexican-cartel dominated phase of the drugwar is on a level of brutality that can only be characterized as psychotic and insane – sadistic is an understatement, considering the torture for days, often with propane torches, the beheadings, the bodies hacked to pieces and left in piles, the bloody torsos…just do an image search for “cartel violence” if you’re interested, but it’s difficult to take. and there’s so much of it. so much pain, so much suffering, so many bodies, so much money, so many crimes, so many levels…

one of the consequences of active cooperation between a drug cartel and intelligence agencies of the u.s. has been an increase in over-the-top, insanely bloody violence. to be sure, once it is known that a certain group of people cooperate with the authorities to incarcerate or otherwise eliminate cartel members, the cartels seek to set an example of what people who cooperate with the authorities can expect when the cartels catch up with them. it doesn’t matter to the cartels that some people might be responsible for doing away with a rival gangster. what’s important to them is that some people have cooperated with the law.

sadly enough, the law can’t always protect people from cartels: not their informants, not the bystanders in the streets, not even the police are safe from the violence of the cartels. the one thing an informant cannot expect from the cartels? mercy.

This is the story of two drug cartels. one is comprised of a long-standing mexican cartel based out of sinaloa mexico. it is currently headed by El Chapo (“Shorty’) Guzman, who has been in a leadership position with the sinaloa federation for a long, long time. long enough to have ties to elements within the u.s. government. how cozy is the united states government with the sinaloa federation? enough to sell them weapons – tens of thousands of small arms since 2006.  if you can call it selling. many of the weapons were acquired by undercover intelligence assets, with money provided by the taxpayers of the u.s.a.

the u.s./sinaoloa coalition:

from the l.a. times:

When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show.

Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants

More proof that drug kingpins were paid FBI informants

According to the LA Times today, Congressman Darrell Issa, R-CA, and Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA, stated in a memo to the their respective committees in the House and Senate that the ATF should have known that the drug kingpins in question were FBI informants and shut down the operation immediately.

But regardless of whether or not the ATF agents on the ground knew that the kingpins were informants, top level Administration officials knew as indicated by hundreds of documents previously released by the Department of Justice.

Further, an internal Congressional memo made public in February shows that most if not all of the Mexican drug cartel suspects supposedly targeted by the ATF were paid FBI informants.

How, then, could a scheme such as Fast and Furious be described as a ‘sting operation’ when the very suspects it was designed to ‘catch’ were working for our own government?

The problem with the House investigation of Fast and Furious as it moves forward is that it is too narrowly focused. It has become obvious that multiple levels of the federal government were involved in the scandal, including the FBI, the State Department, and Homeland Security.

there’s more, from the examiner; More proof that drug kingpins were paid FBI informants

in exchange for protection from arrest, the sinaloas have provided the u.s. with information on rival cartels, thus enabling spectacular busts, while keeping the cocaine, heroin and pot flowing into the u.s., courtesy their partners.

this arrangement could go back quite a while, seeing as how elusive “el chapo” guzman has been over the years.

while still an up-and-coming lieutenant for the guadalajara cartel, el chapo was captured in guatemala, after narrowly escaping an attempted assassination that instead killed a roman catholic cardinal. he was extradited back to mexico and held at a maximum security prison in guadalajara until 2001, when he escaped in a laundry truck – allegedly with the aid of prison officials and guards.

since then, his sinaloa-based operations have thrived, with el chapo taking over smuggling routes along the mexico/u.s. border in both tijuana and ciudad juarez. despite his notoriety – there is an entire genre of nacrocorridors, inspired by his status in sinaloa as a modern-day robin hood, forbes magazine lists him as one of the world’s most powerful billionaires, ahead of former president sarkozy of france and current ruler of venezuela, hugo chavez – he continues to expand his operations. his wife even crossed the border into l.a. to have twin girls.

co-incidently enough, since his jaibreak, many of his rivals have suffered defeat after defeat at the hands of mexican president felipe calderon’s aggressive war on drugs. calderon was elected on a promise to utilize the military to destroy the cartels, after former president vincente fox’s top narco-cop was found to have taken almost $500,000 from one of el chapo’s allies. 

both the united states of mexico and america state publicly that capturing el chapo is their number-one priority, but the evidence points to the contrary conclusion – in short, that el chapo is in collusion with powerful people in the u.s.a. and mexico.

in 2001, just months after his escape from prison, some rival druglords in colombia attempted to give the u.s. DEA information on el chapo, in return for lenient treatment. shortly thereafter, el chapo eluded capture in los cabos, baja california. that first year out was quite eventful for him, as he was constantly on the move, the mexican police hot on his trail. in the ensuing chaos, his brother was captured. 

el chapo is purported to have helped mexican authorities imprison one of his former rivals and sometime partner alfredo beltran, then launched an attack upon the remainders of the beltran leyva gang. 

see a wikipedia entry on el chapo

the current, real, horrific drugwar began in earnest bloodiness on may 8th, 2008, when the beltran leyva gang killed el chapo’s son, edgar. in retaliation, el chapo began a bloody war of attrition that spread slowly from his homebase until it has engulfed people from texas to colombia. in the first three months of fighting, 500 people died, including dozens of police. 

the main rivals to the u.s./sinaloa coalition are the zetas – an insanely violent cartel that specializes in committing atrocities against their opponents, be they journalists, recalcitrant addicts, informers, police, judges, or gangstas not under their control.

there are a couple of minor players in this tale – like the juarez, michoacan, and gulf coalitions – who had been involved in the drug trade for longer. the zetas were a gang of  military deserters who became hitmen for the gulf coalition, though the two are currently in a bloody dispute – along with the u.s./sinaloa coalition – over control of drug traffic along the u.s./mexico border, particularly along the texas border.

the gulf coalition has been around long enough that they are firmly entrenched in some places, like veracruz, matamoros, and reynosa. yet, the  zetas are attacking their rivals in 23 mexican states. they are such a feared enemy, the former leader of the juarez cartel moved to colorado, turned himself in, and demanded protection in return for information. he likely sold out his former employees in exchange for protection from them.

click on image to see more maps, from compiled by borderland beat

 in central america, meanwhile, 15 members of the michoacan/la familia cartel have been busted – including the leader Gabriel Maldonado Soler, a former federal police agent – and the cartel effectively shut down. courts in nicaragua and costa rica have been busy prosecuting cartels, as has mexican president calderon.

with each bust or death, a power vacuum is created for the survivors to fight to fill. though the zetas have been quick to snatch up the spoils, the sinaloa federation has been busy building alliances with other old-school cartels, including the remnants of la familia, the gulf cartel, leftovers of the juarez cartel. the tijuana cartel has also been alarmed about the appearance of zetas in their domain and are alleged to be in alliance with the u.s./sinaloa coalition.

for more on the drug war, see


as i write this – over a period of two weeks – the zetas are waging an offensive campaign in the heart of their enemies’ territory. 
there have been days-long gunbattles in rural sinaloa, journalists slaughtered in veracrua, and reynosa is a free-fire zone. the media there stopped mentioning narco-violence long ago. there was an attack on a colombia-themed nightclub in mexico city. people have been hacked to pieces in nuevo laredo, and others hung from a bridge that connects to the u.s. 
The bodies of seven men where found dead next to a soccer field just a few meters from the Sierra Madre school in Ciudad Juarez, Chih. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. The bodies had their hands tied, showed signs of torture and had a shot to the head. "Narcomantas" (banners with messages against rival drug gangs) where found next to the bodies. Ciudad Juarez, Chih. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. Photo: Staff / El Diario
The bodies of seven men where found dead next to a soccer field just a few meters from the Sierra Madre school in Ciudad Juarez, Chih. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. The bodies had their hands tied, showed signs of torture and had a shot to the head. “Narcomantas” (banners with messages against rival drug gangs) where found next to the bodies.
Ciudad Juarez, Chih. Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008.
Photo: Staff / El Diario

partying in a drugwar zone – summit security breach displayed a lack of concern

as the various presidents of american nations met in colombia earlier this spring, it would seem like only the FARC was able to display a meek “show of force,” setting off four bombs as a message to their rivals in the international arms-and-drugs trade – the u.s./sinaloa coalition. if they’d been paying more attention to the round-the-clock partying of obama’s security and u.s. military leaders in colombia (which included some of the secret service’s “lead team”), they may have been able to get rid of a pesky, insanely violent rival.

it looks like the u.s. has been wooing the sinaloa drug cartel with cash and arms, since around 2006, a key reason why cartel boss ”Chapo” Guzman of the Sinaloa Federation has been so difficult to capture or prosecute.

meanwhile, many american presidents are crying “uncle!” (“sam,” no doubt), but obama refuses to listen. the drugwar has cost 50,000 lives in mexico since president calderon swept into office on a promise to destroy the drug cartels, in 2006 – around the same time bush ll began to arm the Sinaloa Cartel. though calderon’s efforts have seen some success, the result has been continuously escalating  wars of succession every time a major player is removed from the picture.

the drugwar has also spread southward, through central america, as wealthy, well-armed, well-connected mexican cartels seek to gain more control of the distribution system from middlemen, from el salvador and panama, to guatemala and coasta rica.

let’s back the story up a bit, so we can see what was at play while the summit of the americas was held in america’s drugwar bloodbath supreme, colombia.

Where to start?

to bring this story full circle, we have to look back to the 1980′s and the Iran/Contra affair, in which it was eventually discovered that acting President Ronald Reagan’s private terrorist army – Nicaragua’s Honduran-based exiles, the Contras – were being funded (after Congress cut their legal foreign aid funds) through a program which sold arms to the Islamic Republic of Iran, then sent the money to Central America, where CIA-contracted planes would unload supplies, then load up cocaine and other illegal items for delivery to the U.S. the younger generation of bushes – including a former president – were alleged to have been pilots in this affair, flying regularly between panama, and airstrips in texas and arkansas.

it’s not the focus of this investigation to try to trace the Contra’s and Bush’s ties to Colombian drug cartels. i’m focusing instead on the war on drugs as it exists now. But – oddly enough – some of the same people involved in the “anti-communist” carnage back then are getting back into the game now.

Still, why nicaragua? why was the Reagan administration so determined to “take back” Nicaragua that they brought tons of cocaine into the U.S. and made street gangs RICH? Because the Nicaraguan people had the audacity to overthrow the Somosa Dynasty, which had provided America’s main route of illegal drug shipments through central america since the loss of cuba. During the Reagan/Bush era, brutal wars of oppression were being waged against the people of Guatemala and Honduras, and the people of El Salvador seemed to be on the verge of overthrowing their country’s ruling oligarchy. Reagan had other pet armies, too – UNITA in Angola, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

what could motivate awful, bloody drug wars that only make criminal cartels rich, and are used as justification for restricting civil rights? what could be in the hearts and minds of the people responsible for prolonging these narco-conflicts?

The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia – FARC deserves at least a mention here, as this guerilla group has been in control of large chunks of Colombia’s countryside for decades, and is rumored to have ties to cocaine exporters in and around their territories. They are alleged to have had ties to the Zeta cartel in Mexico, but are also relying on other revenue sources – such as cattle – recently, as their cartel contacts have been getting busted and sent to stand trial in Venuzuela, and the Zetas are at war with the U.S.-backed Sinaloa cartel. Also, much of the prime cocaine-producing turf is now controlled by former members of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), former allies in the war on drugs, during the Bush junta’s reign in D.C.

I’m going to go ahead and post this now, and continue work on the next part, about the u.s./sinaloa pact, which is causing insane violence – heads of police on display outside their (now) unstaffed offices, dozens of bodies dumped along roads, dozens of immigrants dumped into mass graves. how are people who live in these places, from mexico to colombia, expected to cope with their lives, witnessing this everywhere; frequently; relentlessly?

so – there they were in colombia – the secret service team in charge of security for the president, who was on his way there to attend a summit meeting of the presidents of the americas. the locals from u.s. military bases in colombia gave the “all clear,” and it was time to PARRRRRTAYYYYY!

how extraordinary, that the president’s security team is so unconcerned with his safety that they partied hard for days. in a country torn apart with drugwar violence and two revolutionary groups which control much of the countryside. and the secret service has no regard at all about doing their jobs hungover, or being otherwise wasted?

this level of comfort in a war zone is creepy, and had some lower-level cheapskate not crashed the party and tried to worm his way out of paying an escort he’d spent the night with, no one would have know about it.

so, hats off to the FARC for at least calling attention to the fact that they can carry out bombings, even with the heavy presence of american military and secret service forces. if the cartels had planned some sort of mischief for the summit of the americas, it could have been bloody hell unleashed if armed gunmen had caught the partyers with their pants down, and taken hostages. to cut the secret service and their military liasons some slack, they weren’t the only ones who dropped the ball during the summit.