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Thursday, October 1

Foreign weapons merchants help fuel government and cartel atrocities in Mexico

"In July, two helicopters opened fire on an indigenous community near Iguala. The attack was reportedly sparked by community leaders, who said Mexican soldiers cried out slogans in support of a drug cartel as they fired on citizens."

The headline in the AP report belies facts cited in the text:  Britain isn't the only county with arms merchants racking up big sales to Mexico's incredibly corrupt government.

Associated Press via RT


Britain is fueling Mexico’s brutal drug war, anti-arms charity warns
September 30, 2015

Britain is fueling a deadly conflict in Mexico as human rights abuses become entrenched and the state’s drug war spirals out of control, an anti-arms trade charity has warned.

In a bid to highlight UK complicity in Mexican human rights violations, campaigners gathered outside the Mexican Embassy in London earlier this week.

The protesters called upon the British government to stop its arms sales to Mexico, as allegations of torture committed by the state’s police and armed forces mount.

The campaigners gathered at the embassy in Mayfair on the anniversary of a brutal police massacre in the Mexican town of Iguala in 2014.

Mexican police ambushed a fleet of buses carrying students who were making their way to a protest.

The police and a number of unidentified gunmen subsequently opened fire, leaving six people dead and injuring others. The officers abducted a further 43 students, who were never seen again.
When investigators examined weapons used by police in Iguala, they discovered 36 assault rifles manufactured by German arms firm Heckler & Koch (H&K). The arms giant also has a manufacturing base in Britain.

The German government had given H&K permission to peddle guns to Mexico on the condition it ensured it wouldn’t sell its wares to Guerrero and a further three corrupt states.

Critics note Britain’s arms trade with Mexico is booming.

The 2015 DSEI arms fair, held at London’s ExCeL center earlier this month, was attended by an elite military delegation from Mexico.

The delegation, which was invited by Westminster, was offered personal shoppers to assist foreign buyers in browsing military wares. H&K had a stall at the fair that displayed the model of assault rifles believed to have been used to shoot and abduct the Mexican students. 

Other firms that attended the fair, who also supply arms to Mexico, included Colt and Beretta, Sikorsky and General Electric.

A further 20 British-based arms firms have applied for licenses to sell arms to Mexico, according to UK think tank Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Krick Jackson of CAAT, who attended Monday’s protest outside the Mexican Embassy, sharply criticized Britain’s arms trade with Mexico.

“The war raging in Mexico is one of the deadliest in the world, and the use of torture is widespread among Mexico’s police and armed forces,” he said. "However, this did not prevent the UK government from inviting Mexico to shop for weapons at one of the world’s largest arms fairs earlier this month.”

Mexico’s drug war is an ongoing asymmetric conflict between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking cartels. In 2006, the Mexican military intervened. Cartels currently dominate the state’s illicit drug market. In 2007, they were estimated to have controlled 90 percent of the cocaine being trafficked to the United States.

The mass disappearance of the Mexican students near Iguala provoked outrage worldwide, with human rights campaigners calling upon the Mexican government to address the situation.

Mexican authorities said the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, ordered the brutal attack. He was reportedly worried about potential disruptions to a political event that was hosted by his wife María de los Ángeles on the day of the massacre.

Ángeles allegedly has familial ties to Mexico’s notorious drugs cartel Guerreros Unidos. Locals say the criminal gang heavily influences local police. Federal authorities eventually arrested Mayor Abarca and his wife in Mexico City.

However, a police chief who was involved in the massacre remains a fugitive.Sometime later, Mexico’s attorney general held a press conference, announcing the government had elicited confessions from three men believed to be members of Guerreros Unidos.

In the aftermath of the bloody shootout, police reportedly handed over the abducted students to gangsters who drove them to a remote trash dump outside Iguala. The men allegedly murdered the students, threw their bodies into the dump, and set them on fire.

Mexico’s drug wars are some of the bloodiest in the world, and torture is widespread among Mexico’s armed forces and police. Jackson, who has campaigned with CAAT for years, says weapons exported from the UK are contributing to atrocities in the region.

In July, two helicopters opened fire on an indigenous community near Iguala. The attack was reportedly sparked by community leaders, who said Mexican soldiers cried out slogans in support of a drug cartel as they fired on citizens.

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