Video

Borderline was born from an article in Proceso magazine, one of Mexico’s top publications for investigative journalism, about the incredible conditions inside the CERESO de Piedras Negras where the Zetas cartel had been running operations since the early 2000’s. The piece was based on a report by the Colegio de Mexico, and was also included as a downloadable pdf. More tan intrigued, I immediately printed the 70+ page pdf document. Only a fraction of what I read in there actually made it into part one of Borderline, and if you can read Spanish I recommend reading it in its entirety.

At first, I considered making the series about the Zeta-controlled prison exclusively. There was certainly more than enough material to justify it, but given the current political climate in the United States I was afraid that producing a portrait of such a place without the larger context would prove counterproductive,

As soon as I began my research, I came upon Ginger Thompson’s fantastic investigation for Pro Publica about a bungled DEA operation, that resulted in the death or disappearance of more than 300 people in the region of northern Coahuila as the Zetas exacted revenge after the American law enforcement agency “carelessly” revealed the cartel bosses’ private cell phone numbers to Mexican authorities. As it turned out, it was Thompson’s article which spurred the subsequent investigation by Colegio de Mexico scholars into the prison, where many of the killers unleashed on the hapless residents of Piedras Negras and surrounding areas by the Zetas came from.

I quickly realized that I had the perfect story from which to launch a broader examination about the war on drugs. Here was this horrific incident taking place less than 5 miles from the border between Mexico and the United States after more than four decades of a relentless “drug war”.  How was this possible? More than forty years engaged in a battle against narcotics and not only are the most violent cartels to date doing business steps from the U.S. border, but the illicit drug market in America has ballooned to an all-time high, raking in $150 billion dollars a year?

Clearly, something else is going on. The truth about America’s war on drugs is out there and has been for quite a while, but mainstream sources of information rarely take on these stories and in most cases work to suppress them. The case of Gary Webb is among the most salient, though not the only one. The facts themselves are the best proof that the so-called war on drugs is a cover for hegemonic foreign policy directives originating in Washington.

In Borderline, I try to lay out some of the facts and provide a broad historical perspective for those who may otherwise not know the full story and find themselves being manipulated by dishonest political discourse. It is not an exhaustive presentation, by any means, but I have tried to cover a large enough swath of events – spanning centuries – to give those who seek a better understanding a solid foundation for further research. In that same spirit, I have made all the sources used in Borderline available here.

The series starts and ends with the story that is closest to us, both in time and space. But, in between, the root causes of the humanitarian crisis currently expressing itself at the U.S.-Mexico border are finally given the context that is missing from other accounts about the war on drugs and the fictionalized dramas, like Narcos, which have found so much recent success.

The full series is freely available online on the Deep City Chronicles Vimeo channel.

Trailer

The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was in Miami Beach yesterday to speak at the 85th Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. An event that gathers together hundreds of Mayors from the biggest cities in the country. Clinton touched on a number of subjects, from tribalism to the opioid epidemic in a speech that fell only a few minutes short of the hour. Watch the highlights of his address in the video.

Help us complete Ghost On The Water. Please visit the Gofundme Page to make a contribution to our current fundraising effort. Ghost On The Water is a documentary that examines the spiritual roots of environmental justice movements across America, confronting an unsustainable energy paradigm and the challenges of forging a new one.

Our $3,500 goal is meant to pay for travel and production expenses necessary to carry out two very important interviews in North Dakota and California with members of the Standing Rock Sioux, regarding the ongoing case against Chase Iron Eyes who was arrested while participating in a spiritual ceremony last year.

Any contribution is greatly appreciated and will allow us to move forward in this project, that we feel is extremely important. To learn more about the project, see our landing page for Ghost on the Water. Sharing this page on your social media networks is another great way you can help. Thank you!

Fracking

A Fracking Disaster

On September 10th, 1969, a few miles from the town of Parachute in western Colorado, the U.S. government detonated a nuclear device two and a half times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It was a test to determine the viability of using nuclear weapons for non-military purposes; in this case, the extraction of natural gas.

Just three weeks earlier, Woodstock had brought over 400,000 people together for a four-day festival of music and art, which marked the end of a decade of social strife in America, where anti-war protests, civil rights marches and free love collided with state oppression, political assassinations and a burgeoning military-industrial complex.

Project Rulison, as the nuclear fracking experiment was called, had captured the greedy imaginations of fossil-fuel-hungry capitalists and their federal partners who hoped to release hundreds of billions of cubic feet of natural gas at the experiment site. After an exploratory test well was drilled, scientists concluded that “no flow of water, or water supply” could be harmed by the atomic explosion. Much to their dismay, however, only 455 million cubic feet of gas was freed – falling well short of the billions estimated – and rendered useless by radioactive contamination.

Despite the disastrous results of the Rulison project, one more experiment was conducted on the other side of the Colorado River at Rio Blanco with not one, but three nuclear devices to raise the stakes to one hundred kilotons, or seven and a half Hiroshimas put together. Needless to say, the gas yield was far below expectations and radioactive.

Plowshare, the name of the federal program of which these short-sighted tests were a part of, was finally terminated in 1975. Its task was to repurpose the country’s over-supplied nuclear arsenal for geo-engineering projects, such as storing fuel oil under the seafloor off the coast of Guam or blowing up mountains to facilitate the construction of highways and railroads.

Roy Rodgers was slated to close the Woodstock with Happy Trails, but he declined, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall. Instead, Jimi Hendrix performed his iconic rendition of the Star Spangled Banner foreshadowing the torturous and disintegrating road our fossil-fuel addicted country was determined to embark on.

All three nuclear fracking experiment sites, Gasbuggy, Rulison and Rio Blanco are still monitored for surface contamination by the Department of Energy. According to them, no radioactivity associated with the tests has ever been found.

Unclassified Department of Energy newsreel film about Project Rulison

Transcript:

Hi everyone. I am Maram Susli. I am a Syrian journalist with a background in chemistry, but having grown up seeing the wars in Syria and Iraq I have come to understand them and how they connect with each other… And, um, first of all there’s basically the obvious thing… You have the same propaganda driving both wars (unintelligible), regime change, dictatorships, you know, “we have to liberate the people” and, uh, the superior West has to pass down their superior democracy onto these barbarian nations… um, nobody seems to question, however, that the West itself doesn’t have a proper democracy; especially when you have a Clinton and a Bush and a Clinton and a Bush running for power and the same people are constantly running things behind the scenes. Another war narrative that is often pushed forward for both this war in Syria and the war in Iraq are the WMDs and chemical weapons.

In 2003 you had, well actually, in 1991 they forced Iraq to disarm its chemical weapons and the reason they did that was not out of humanitarian concern or because these weapons can, you know, kill civilians but because these are (unintelligible) weapons. They are basically an answer to nuclear weapons. They are a cheap man’s nuclear weapons and that’s why they call them weapons of mass destruction, because they can kill thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people and the U.S. can’t risk invading a nation or attacking a nation when that nation has nuclear weapons or chemical weapons and so this argument is pushed before any imperialism or overt imperialism takes place.

So in 1991 when Iraq disarmed, the U.S. then, later in 2003 comes back with a narrative that it didn’t, in fact, disarm and that there are some chemical weapons still left over and they use that as a casus belli for attack even without any United Nations resolution or any word from the OPCW that agrees with them and, as a matter of fact, this kind of sequence was so predictable that in 2014, in an interview I did with Vice, when they asked me what I’d predict would happen, uh, now that Syria has given up its chemical weapons. I said that the U.S. is going to “claim that Syria has not completely disposed of its chemical weapons and use that as an excuse to airstrike army positions and possibly after another small chemical weapons attack is set up. This is going to be a similar scenario to the lead up to the Iraq war of 2002. I believe that the U.S. will start air-striking the Syrian military, as well as Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, effectively attacking both sides of the war. Now, I’m not a psychic. This is just how they work and I think it should be obvious to everybody by now.

The other war narratives that have been pushed forward are what Jay touched on: minority governments; and at the same time they have the contradictory, simultaneous narrative that they have to protect minorities. So, they have to get rid of minority governments but then they have to protect minorities and it’s a bit schizophrenic. One of the things that you hear is that Saddam is a Sunni, majority of Iraq is Shiite; Assad is Alawite, majority of Syria is Sunni and no one, you know, the fact that these governments are secular in their basis doesn’t feature and the fact that Obama was black, black people are a minority in the United States didn’t occur to him when he said that Syria had a minority government. So, um… (audience laughter) Now, you know… once they kind of destabilize the country or even get rid of its government they move on to the second narrative, which is that they have to protect the minorities. So in, um, Iraq’s case, you know, Saddam gets the Kurds or more recently ISIS is killing Christians in Yazidis, so we have to go in and protect them and in Syria, at the moment, they’re protecting the Kurds, but even in 2014 we had like some hints that they were pushing for the new narrative, which is that they have to protect the Christians and even the Alawites and it became a perplexing thing because all along they were pushing for Al-Qaeda to take power in Syria for then to turn around and pretend that they’re protecting Christians and other minorities is ridiculous. I guess perhaps that was a bit premature of a narrative to push because the plan was, uh, always for Syria to be divided and for Assad to actually run away to the coast where the majority of Alawites are, and in doing so, um, basically disband the army and create a situation where the U.S. can come in to save the Alawites and the only way to create a situation where you can save the Alawites is to create the threat that’s attacking them, which is to create terrorism.

So, um, I’d like to go to… backwards now. Maybe five thousand years ago, um, thereabouts… I don’t know, 1750 B.C. and just to see how Iraq and Syria connected. Back then, in the olden days, Syria and Iraq were separate entities but then under the Assyrian empire they were connected as one state. It’s a very famous empire. It brought a lot of things to our society and then under the Roman empire again considered Syria and Assyria, separate states, but they always had some sort of connection between them and the reason why this is significant is these people from five thousand years ago, like the, the people, their history and ethnicities, they still exist today and the considerations that existed way back then, they still exist today. I mean, the Armenians still exist, the Syrians certainly still exist and all the battles that were happening five thousand years ago are actually affecting what’s happening now. Um, and here comes Sykes-Picot.

When the Ottoman empire fell, of course… sorry, I misspelled Sykes-Picot, excuse me… But um, when the Ottoman empire fell, basically the French and the British divided the Middle East amongst each other and um, the narrative is kind of pushed forward subtly in media that Iraq and Syria are artificial nations because the borders were drawn up by Sykes-Picot. Well, in reality, um, the borders that were drawn out by Sykes-Picot were wrong only because they didn’t encompass enough territory of the natural borders of Iraq and Syria. So, the purpose that Sykes-Picot had in drawing up these borders is to try to, as much as possible, create landlocked nations. Um, Lebanon and Kuwait were basically created as a way to restrict Syria and Iraq access to the Mediterranean and gulf seas and they were also designed to divide population centers from resource-rich areas. Kuwait holds a lot of petrol and Lebanon holds a lot of water. So, this is a way to kind of make sure that people stay in poverty and, of course, finally they want to divide people along sectarian lines and keep them fighting with each other for centuries or decades to come and, um, Lebanon and Syria were exactly created along these religious and sectarian lines. You know, initially in fact, Sykes-Picot wanted to create even more divisions inside Syria. But, all sects of Syrian society or religions were against it. So, if you look at the first map, um, that is in fact how the Sykes-Picot was meant to be drawn up. The… Uh, there was supposed to be an Alawite state over here, a Druze state, Damascus and Aleppo was supposed to be divided but the only thing that they achieved was the, uh, region of Lebanon because of the Maronite relation there, um, they achieved that division and they annexed this Turkish part right here… and if you can just keep this in mind and compare it to the new Sykes-Picot, the new drawing up of the Middle East and the divisions that they want to create you can see that it’s very similar to the states that,… well they divided Lebanon, they divided Hatay, they want to go back and get their Alawite state and get their Druze state, as well; and with Iraq, you know, they want to divide Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds, and the only thing really different about this map to the previous map, um, which I’m not going to risk going backwards, um, is that they have this Kurdish section here.

So, this Kurdish section wouldn’t have existed back then in Sykes-Picot’s time because the Kurdish population in Syria wasn’t as significant. The only reason it grew in Syria is, um, because of the Armenian and Assyrian genocide and the Kurdish population’s involvement and help with the Turkish government in doing that and then, subsequently, the wars that were fought against Turkey… multiple wars that were fought by the Kurdish uprising against Turkey to try to, um, you know, get their own independent state and as a result of that there were several influxes of refugees coming to Syrian territory, which continued up until the fifties.

So, um, this is something I’m going to talk about more deeply in my next talk but, the interesting thing, um, this map here – the beginning map – is from The Center of, I’m sorry, The Council on Foreign Relations. Much of these maps are drawn up by think tanks that – the Washington government basically replicates any advice that they’re given by these think tanks – and as you can see, they wanted to create not only Kurdistan and the Alawite state, but something called Sunnistan and if you compare that to the borders of where ISIS is, you can see that ISIS is exactly the Sunnistan that they wanted to create. In fact, ISIS has been essential to all these plans, um, because the Syrian war and the sectarianism that happened in this war would not have been possible without the Iraq war; it wouldn’t have been possible without the introduction of violence and weapons and militias and hatred between Shiites and Sunnis and Iran and Iraq, if not for the Iraq war… and the U.S. at the time of the Iraq war, I remember, the theme the media was saying is that ‘we need to prevent a civil war’ and the U.S. is, like, there to prevent a civil war, but as a matter of fact they were acting to always undermine the unity of Iraq by introducing, for example, federalism into the constitution for removing a secular government and introducing a religious-leaning Shiite Dawa party by disenfranchising one sect and empowering another and getting an army built from one sect to fight cities that were resisting in another… and also, they would even go down… well, I’ll just say Saudi influence also funding these groups and finally they would even stoop to creating false flag attacks. These two men are SAS (British Special Forces) soldiers. They were caught by the Iraqi police, pro-U.S. government Iraqi police – caught them dressed up as Arabs shooting at them and this was a story that was quite hidden in the media because on that very same day, British tanks destroyed the entire police station to get these two men out. So, you can see that they were already trying to, um, get some sectarian tensions happening. So, um, I’m gonna rush. I forgot the time. So, Syria and Iraq, you know, now the foreign policy papers are coming out with: ‘Do Syria and Iraq exist?’, ‘Should we even consider they exist?’ and ‘Should we base our U.S. policy on the idea that these sovereign nations that are seen as sovereign under the United Nations exist?’. Basically, they say that they no longer exist and, of course, the narrative is that Sykes-Picot got it wrong and that’s why there are wars and that by separating these nations under sects, this will be the end of wars. But, in reality, the wars are happening because the imperialists want to implement Sykes-Picot as it was originally meant to be implemented, dividing people further.

And you might ask, you know, why would that be? Well, of course, it is to control landlocked countries, it’s… there… to make sure they’re resource-poor, to make sure they continuously fight alongside (sic) of each other and they want to have a way to get their oil pipelines through without having to ask a government that controls the land to get their pipelines through. Now at the moment, the U.S. is actually building illegal military bases in the north of Syria and just, you know, they plan to invade from the south so they can connect their pipeline through. And, you know, speaking of these think tanks that are re-drawing these maps and creating these maps of the Middle East, I believe Condoleezza Rice called it the “birth pangs” of a new Middle East. What she meant was, you know, all the children that were dying in Iraq – that suffering was just the birth pangs of a new Middle East.

All of that is actually predated by the Israeli Odid Yinon plan, which was written in 1982, which said explicitly that these nations should be divided under sectarian and ethno-centric lines, so that they would be in perpetual war with each other and Israel could have its casus belli of expansion and, in fact, at the end of the day a lot of it is about imperialism, yes. But there is this other agenda driven under the scene of a greater Israel, of a creation of… expansion of Israel, of driving populations out. The land that is written in the Zionist handbook is that everything from the Nile to the Euphrates and of course the Kurdish borders that are being drawn up by these think tanks  are everything beyond the Euphrates and that’s why you have Turkey coming into Syria with Operation Euphrates Shield, because these borders and this chaos that’s been happening has been planned a long time ago. So, the thing is though that these redrawing maps might not be… someone that’s (not) a nationalist, you might not care about borders but in order to redraw these maps ethnic cleansing has to take place, because in order to create areas that are designated for different sectors of society you have to get rid of areas of the ethnicities that are already in certain areas. So, um, for example, to create the Kurdish state right now they’re… In Iraq and Syria a Syrian minority is getting pushed out of their land by the Kurdish, uh, U.S. supported Kurds, um, Yazidis… and ISIS has been, like crucial to this because whilst the Kurdish militias are well armed, the other ethnicities have no arms and no training and, in fact, when they do arm themselves the Kurdish militias threaten them with attack if they do not disarm and once they disarm… uh, there has been recently, in fact, in Iraq where the Pashmerga basically left the Assyrians and the Yazidis to the devices of ISIS. So, ISIS has been, basically, the enzyme that’s built to create these (unintelligible) and there will be more on that in my next presentation, but I’d like to finish off with a little bit of, um, a counter statement because these things are not set in stone. For example, really what they expected was for the Al-Qaeda to be too strong, to overwhelm the Syrian military to begin to do what they promised, which is to ethnically cleanse Christians and Alawites. What they hoped was for Assad to run to the coast and therefore they would come in with savior complex and create an Alawite state. That hasn’t succeeded because, in fact, the people of Aleppo who were running away from the Al-Qaeda rebels, the majority of them are Sunni and where did they run? They ran to the coast. So, this is actually the opposite of the, uh, the ethnic division that they want to create. In fact, they achieved more of a unity inside the coast. The only thing that they have been moderately successful with is the creation of this Kurdish state; and now, Kurds are 1.5 million people in Syria. Our population is 22 million. So, you can imagine, you know, one out of twenty-two trying to take over this swath of land filled with oil and water. Um, so the counter narrative of that, however, is that Syria is planning to connect Palmyra, Dier ez-Zur and Qamishli thereby cutting off what would have been a sliced-in-half Syria and that’s probably the reason why the U.S. is conducting air strikes on Dier ez-Zur, the Syrian army location, because even though it has been under siege by ISIS for so many years, they really want it to fall. So, this is what’s happening now. We’ll talk more about the ethnic cleansing element of it and more specifically about which areas are being ethnically cleansed in my next talk so I hope you’ll stay.

Transcript by Deep City Chronicles

 

Electric Moon

Every city has something that sets it apart, an intangible quality that makes people want to stay forever or leave immediately. It is determined as much by geography as it is by its culture and for Miami, this quality is youth. Miami is a perennial teenager. Immature but beautiful. Full of potential but infuriatingly trite.

The sun is always shining and even when it rains the big, warm drops hug you like a Cuban grandmother. The humidity is legendary, but it’s only really a problem when stepping out of the airport to hail a cab. The rest of Miami is nearly 100% air conditioned. In short, there’s very little to complain about, climatologically speaking, in Miami. Like all teenagers, however, people in Miami complain almost incessantly and loudly.

Whether it has to do with corrupt city officials and politicians, the incompetent yet costly public transportation system, unaffordable housing or the increasingly horrible traffic, Miami does have legitimate issues to bitch about. Miami natives and adopted cousins from around the world complain, not in order to solve the problems per se. Like all youngsters they have an ulterior motive and that motive is to remove all obstacles to keep doing what they love to do more than anything else: party.

Hey, Mr. DJ

Naturally, every good teenage party needs a DJ and there are no shortage of them in the tri-county area. The Miami music scene is probably the only one in the world that doesn’t include actual musicians and with good reason, since learning an instrument requires discipline and patience; qualities rarely found in adolescents.

But a skilled DJ can do what few trained musicians can on their own. They can have thousands of people dancing to the point of ecstasy, give or take a few pills. The throbbing beats and tantric rhythms of a well-put-together set can generate a mesmerizing energy, enveloping an entire room – or stadium – in a state of complete rapture.

Electronic Dance Music or EDM caters to a certain age group, regardless of the actual chronological age of its fans. It’s for kids, the young at heart and those who want to escape responsibility, if only for a brief moment. Miami, therefore, should rightfully be considered the mecca of EDM because it is a place where all of that is possible.

The Ultra Music Festival was not only born in Miami, it is Miami. The bright, fluorescent clothing; the youthful exuberance; the classic sense of invincibility and the juvenile flirting techniques all bear the mark of a city that will never grow up because it doesn’t have to. The sun will keep shining, the water will stay warm and the party will go on.

Dennis Kucinich delivered a powerful speech on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access Pipeline protestors at the Washington Monument on Sunday, November 27, 2016.

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