[This is from one of the most interesting sources analyzing organized
criminality, from a staunchly structural point of view. New modes of
organisation (terrorist/criminal networks) operate against old modes
of organisation (states and armies) and transform each other in the
process. Or, as the subtitle of the blog says, "networked tribes,
infrastructure disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence.
An open notebook on the first epochal war of the 21st Century".
Frightening but enlightening. Felix (the blog contains numerous links,
which are not reproduced here).]


    "Many of these ballads [narcocorridos, or drug trafficker's
ballad] are in the classic Medieval style, and they are an
anachronistic link between the earliest European poetic traditions and
the world of crack cocaine and gangsta rap." Elija Wald.

    "Following the model of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda,
the cartels have discovered the Web as a powerful means of
transmitting threats, recruiting members and glorifying the
narco-trafficker lifestyle of big money, big guns and big thrills."
Manuel Roig-Franzia, writing for the Washington Post

The best way to view Mexican narcocorridos, or ballads to drug
traffickers, is as a form of information warfare directed
simultaneously at:

    * internal/general audiences (to enhance the prestige of 
      affiliation and attract adherents),
    * the opposition (to demoralize and provoke),
    * the state (to demonstrate its impotence through 
      brazen announcements of intent). 

Here's an example. The popular Mexican singer, Valentin "The Golden
Rooster" Elizalde wrote a paean to the Sinaloan cartel that villified
the Zetas/Gulf Cartel. The song's video was posted on YouTube
(featuring bodies of killed cartel members from news clips). The
Gulf Cartel/Zetas sent a return message by killing Elizalde and his
manager outside a concert, punctuated by a YouTube video of Elizalde's

Popular Infowar

Historically, information warfare was restricted to elites
(government, media, parties, etc.). The onrush of Jihadi videos,
political pro-war/anti-war blogs, and narcocorrido videos have
categorically demonstrated that this state of affairs has changed. We
now live in a world where infowarfare is accomplished by individual
practitioners through an open source framework. Over time, the gap
between those in the open source framework and the elites will widen
in the favor of the former -- we ave only scratched the surface of
where this empowering technology can go.

While the new media infowar will be chaotic (as much as against each
other as for or against the state), the bulk of the momentum will be
with those that represent revisionist forces. Namely, those groups
that want to change the status quo. Here's an example: Lee Garnett
at PostPolitical notes an important transition already occurring in

     However, more recent slayings have shown a marked tendency to try
to transcend the limits of revenge. The videos have begun depicting
the killers as vigilantes, bringing justice to the streets by killing
off members of their hated rival cartels, which are depicted as the
enemies of the people.

--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------------- out now:
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 

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