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Houston Chronicle:”Caught in ‘Chaos’ More than 200 Americans Killed in Mexico since 2004″: UP for a game of BALDERDASH???

February 10, 2009

(Original article written  By Lise Olsen in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE: statements in blue) Baja related info in RED

“More than 200 U.S. citizens have been slain in Mexico’s escalating wave of violence since 2004 — an average of nearly one killing a week, according to a Houston Chronicle investigation into the deaths.” “The U.S. State Department tracks most American homicides abroad, but the department releases minimal statistics and doesn’t include victims’ names or details about the deaths. The Chronicle examined hundreds of records to document the personal tragedies behind them.”

The subtitle itself (200+ US citizens) is misleading and untrue.

 The database associated with this article, generated by the US department of state, and relied upon by the writers of this piece DOES NOT establish the citizenship of MOST of the alleged victims.  In fact, in many of the “records” there is no name, no sex, no age, no documentation of residency or citizenship whatsoever.  This fails miserably, by any standard of proof, to establish that these victims were IN FACT US citizens. Even their own reference to the State Dept record(s) discloses the incompleteness of the records, which the Chronicle admits that they examined and relied upon in generating this article.

Furthermore,  there is NO EVIDENCE that many of  the victims were even MURDERED IN MEXICO!  Since (according to the article) the vast majority of the bodies were found in Mexican cities next to the US border, isn’t it JUST AS PLAUSIBLE, that many victims were MURDERED IN THE USA, and then dumped across the border?  Indeed the article later asserts that the Mexican government is inept at capturing/prosecuting the alleged perpetrators.  Wouldn’t that encourage American murderers to cart the corpses over the border and dump them there???

Of the victims found dead in Baja, all eight corpses found in 2007, lacked any evidence as to their names, birthplace, residency, or age.  In one case a corpse was found with a cell phone registered in a US citizens name, and THAT was the basis for the conclusion that he was a US citizen!  Gee when I cross the north bound border next time and they ask for my passport, perhaps I should hand them my cellphone instead since that is the basis of the State Dept and Chronicles’ conclusion of citizenship!!!! Furthermore, 3 of the people in June of 2007(reported by the San Diego Union Tribune) were found “wrapped in blankets hands/feet tied and executed organized crime fashion and dumped in TJ”.  Why would someone go through the effort of wrapping someone in a blanket UNLESS they were concealing their bodies?  Could it be that they were being transported from elsewhere , like FROM THE USA?

it is LIKEWISE important to note, that all of the 2007 corpses were ASSUMED to be US citizens BECAUSE the Dept of State had issued a travel advisory…stating “that dozens of US citizens had been kidnapped and/or killed”…

However, the state Dept warning did NOT say that “dozens were killed” it said they may have been kidnapped as well, which given the lack of sufficient evidence of citizenship etc, makes the identity of the kidnapping victims subject to conjecture.  Furthermore the advisory didn’t say over what time period these incidents had occurred…weeks? months? years? decades?

The Chronicle then makes the following two statements
More U.S. citizens suffered unnatural deaths in Mexico than in any other foreign country — excluding military killed in combat zones — from 2004 to 2007, State Department statistics show. Most died in the recent outbreaks of violence in border cities — Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Nuevo Laredo.The fact that MORE US citizens died in Mexico is marginally relevant to ANYTHING when one considers that more than ONE MILLION US citizens LIVE in Mexico.  Mexico is far and away the largest foreign country called home to US citizens.  Furthermore, Mexico is the LARGEST tourist destination of US Citizens as well, although VERY FEW US tourist are  among the victims listed in the Chronicle’s database.


Next, the sentence refers to 2004, 2005 and 2006… why is this information—THREE YEARS OLD…being reported NOW in 2009???!!! Shouldn’t the Chronicle be indicted for withholding this information for THREE YEARS???

In fact, shouldn’t recent victims consider filing charges/civil lawsuits against the Chronicle for negligent homicide, for failing to disclose what they knew or should have reported in early 2007 (or earlier) so as to warn/deter future travelers to Mexico?  Arguably the Chronicle could have SAVED some people, if in fact, one follows the Chronicle’s own logical progression.

Ironically, however the SECOND statement is completely inconsistent and perhaps mutually exclusive of the first…..”Most died in recent outbreaks in border cities….WAIT A MINUTE, the first reference was through 2006….how could the “recent outbreaks ” of 2008 or 2009 account for ANY OF THE DEATHS THAT CONCLUDED IN 2006???

In fact, isn’t the opposite MORE LIKELY, based upon these two sentences?  If more US citizens died in 2004-2006, than 2007, 2008, and 2009 the time period for the vast majority of the deaths related to the Mexican Drug War, then it logically follows that US Citizens murdered in Mexico are NOT among the victims of the drug war!!!! And therefore the ENTIRE ARTICLE is irrelevant hype!!!

The article continues….The Chronicle analysis showed some American homicide victims were involved in organized crime. The dead include at least two dozen victims labeled hitmen, drug dealers, human smugglers or gang members, based on published investigators’ accusations. Others were drug users or wanted for crimes in the United States.But in at least 70 other cases, U.S. citizens appear to have been killed while in Mexico for innocent reasons: visiting family, taking a vacation, or simply living or working there.

Again the first statement is misleading when it states “some American homicide victims”.  First, as stated earlier the victim database fails to accurately identify the citizenship, nationality, birthplace, residency, color, race, age, name or sex of MOST of the victims. So to refer/conclude that they are “American” is bogus.In the case of those 90 cases connected to Baja Mexico, 62 cases DID NOT were not positiviely identified as US citizens—IN FACT, at least 3 were identified as “Mexican-nationals”  but were included in the American body count anyway. Of the remaining 28, 12 appear to be innocent victims, while at least 8 of the others were clearly involved in foul play

Of the 28 US citizens,  21 were full time residents  in Mexico.  The other  7 MAY have been innocent non-residents visiting Baja;   This means that the murder rate of American citizens residing in Baja is less than 4/year: or 1:100,000.  As for the murder rate for innocent tourist, that number drops to one per year, or based upon the 6  million or so US tourist visits/yr, it is clearly negligible even in spite of the alleged drug war! BUT the Chronicle keeps attempting to manipulate their statistics to allege that the drug war death somehow involve tourists
In the next section entitled “Locations and intentions”They include an interview with “  Mexican Congressman Juan Francisco Rivera Bedoya of Nuevo Leon, a former prosecutor who heads the national Public Safety Commission, and he believes most American victims get killed after crossing the border to participate in illegal activities or venturing into unsafe areas.In Baja, in 2007-2009 of the 14 victims included in the database—9 were miscategorized as US citizens—they had NO documentation confirming their status.  As for the other 5, THREE were involved in the drug war business and were executed by narcos; ONE was serving an 11 year prison term for kidnapping and was stabbed during  TJ prison riot.  ONE was an expat living in TJ and was killed in front of his home.  NONE OF THE BAJA VICTIMS DURING THE MOST INTENSE DRUG WAR YEARS (2007-2009) WERE TOURISTS!!! And only ONE  death may have been an innocent victim!  Remember there are more than 300,000 full time US residents in Baja, so that is a very low murder rate!In the list of Baja victims:
*one listed had no birthplace documentation NOR could the determine if the victim was 17 or 30!!! 
*Another 3 yr old victim was found malnourished/abused in a Mexicali hotel room BUT AGAIN there was no documentation that she was a US citizen;
*2 other 18 year old males were found shot in TJ but DID NOT HAVE any proof of citizenship. 
*The Chronicle then describes two 18 year old women who were raped/murdered,  but when one researches their circumstances, a news article covering the incident suggested that they were girlfriends of a rival drug gang and their murders may have been connected to the feud! 
IN NONE of these cases of US teen-citizens was it substantiated the victims were innocent tourists!
The Chronicle then challenges the US State Department:

Yet the State Department has officially issued a statement of protest in only three homicide cases in the past five years, the Chronicle found. Those include the 2006 murder of independent journalist Brad Will, which remains unsolved though the killing was videotaped, and the in-custody 2005 death of Pauline Baeza, a California community college student, who died of head injuries suffered in an Ensenada jail. Originally classified as a homicide, the State Department now lists Baeza’s death as accidentalIn the cases in Baja since 68 victims, there is NO information on the victims including  name, birthplace, citizenship, residency, age, sex, color etc, then obviously there is insufficient information for ANYONE to protest about.  Of the other 28 cases, many were drug related deaths, and of the few that may have been innocent, perhaps no one requested a protest.
“U.S. consular officials usually withhold names and details of American victims for privacy reasons, though the State Department did issue “travel alerts” last year for several border communities, warning that “dozens of U.S. citizens” had been kidnapped and/or killed in Tijuana. The warning gave no details.”
The first statement is CRUCIAL, the information is held for “privacy” purposes.  This could be the result in many/most cases where there was any information to begin with, as in the 28 cases in Baja. “Records from the prosecutor in Baja California Norte, where more than 90 Americans have been killed since 2003, mostly in the Tijuana area, showed none of the cases from 2004 to 2006 had been closed.”Indeed, if one uses their database one discovers that in Baja Norte–(this is THEIR own data, not minus the unaccounted for as discussed herein)

The Chronicle then contradicts itself “In nearly all cases involving U.S. citizens killed in Mexico, U.S. government response has been silent — affected at every level by the complex political and economic relationship between the two countries.” 
Throughout the preceding article the Chronicle includes various responses from the US government.  Furthermore, there have been numerous travel advisories about Mexico for the last 2+ years.  But based on the declining murder rate, it is clearly unwarranted. The Chronicle then states “Embassy-based representatives of the U.S. government’s Citizen Services program are supposed to help American victims’ families monitor developments in homicide cases and keep them “informed” of police or judicial investigations, according to State Department regulations.”

Second, the word “some” as organized crime, insinuates that the majority were NOT organized crime or involved in drugs or illicit activity.  My research concludes that almost ALL of the victims, especially those without ID,were IN FACT involved in illicit activities, in connection with the drug war and that is WHY THEY ARE DEAD!!! 

FINALLY,  even IF  70 innocent Americans fell prey to murder, this would not be an unreasonable number over the course of SIX YEARS or less than 12/yr. Furthermore, given that  Mexico is host to 1 MILLION U.S. citizen-residents. That would put the nationwide murder rate of US residents at 1:100,000/yr which is MUCH LOWER THAN THE MURDER RATE NORTH OF THE BORDER.




“Tourists visiting cathedrals, museums and other cultural centers are not at risk,” he said.

Mexico, more than 5,000 lives were taken last year, including police, public officials, journalists and bystanders, with seemingly little regard for age, social status or nationality, Mexican authorities report.”

When one reads those sentences together, the writer is clearly attempting to make a connection between the “5,000 lives taken last year” and the Congressman’s proclamation that refers to tourists.  Although his statement is correct, that innocent tourists are NOT among the dead, the Chronicle, attempts to mislead the reader into believing that either the Congressman is lying or that there is a connection between the recent deaths and tourists. BUT THERE IS NO CONNECTION.


NEXT the Chronicle refers to teens and children deaths that are purportedly innocent US victims



The Chronicle fails to describe what a “statement of protest” would accomplish!  Furthermore, it would seem apparent that someone would have to make a request to the Department of State to issue a protest. 


Interestingly, the “Baeza” case is referred to, yet both the Mexican government and the Dept of State have ruled it “accidental” BUT the Chronicle and its database INCLUDES Baeza as a “murder” victim, when in fact she was accidentally dropped by police officers who were carrying her handcuffed into the Ensenada jail! 

Next the Chronicle discusses the low arrest/conviction rate of Mexican murderers.  Which if in fact, is true, only substantiates what I said earlier about the motivation of US murderers to “carpet bag” their victims, drive them over the border and drop them in Mexican border barrios!!!

The Chronicle then again challenges the State Department


As for the Tijuana alert, it is important to note that “dozens of US citizens had been kidnapped AND/OR killed in TJ.”  The kidnappings are NOT generally undertaken by professionals.  In the ONE case where two women real estate professionals were kidnapped, their perpetrators were quickly apprehended because they used the realtors US automobile with California tags!

As for those killed in TJ, there were NOT dozens killed (nor does the alert state that) However, almost every media outlet has twisted this reference to mean “dozens killed”.  As stated above, there were a total of 9 victims set forth in the 2007 database. All were found in TJ.  At least 4 wrapped in blankets with hands/legs tied. They could have been dropped in TJ. None of the 2007 victims were identified as US citizens even though they are included in the body count

Then the Chronicle takes a shot at the Baja Norte prosecutor directly:


As stated above, this information is all old material. The timing of this article’s release coincides with the other media hype surrounding the Mexican drug war, and the 5,000+ deaths in 2008 and those occurring in 2009.  When one reviews the Baja fatalities in that time period, it demonstrates that death rate actually declined!!!!


2006: 14 dead
2007: 8 dead
2008: 4 dead
2009: 1 dead

So based upon their own statistics, in spite of a major escalation in the Mexican drug war in 2008, with a murder rate more than two times that of 2007, the murder rate in Baja actually dropped by HALF!!!  And of those 5 fatalities, 3 were drug related, 1 was murdered in a TJ prison where he was serving an 11 year term for kidnapping.  Only one—Ken Stuart—appears to be an innocent victim, although he was a fulltime Mexican resident.

As for the balance of the  database it includes 86 of the 90.  A review of those cases, demonstrates that the majority are probably NOT US citizens.  As suggested before, only 28 could be confirmed.



There is an insinuation that nothing is being done, but the Chronicle fails to identify any cases where the government has failed to do so.  It would seem that if this was the case, the Chronicle could have solicited comments from families who felt a lack of justice.

75 MISSING:Finally the Chronicle’s article ends with a reference of 75 missing Americans primarily from Texas and California according to FBI statistics.Given that 1 million US citizens call Mexico their home, and another 30+ million visit each year, “75” is not a particularly  large number.  It should not come as a shock that MANY of these people may have CHOSEN to disappear.  Perhaps they don’t want to be found. The latest “victim” in Baja was probably trying to be among the 75.  His name was George Harrison. He was originally from Chula Vista California.  He was found murdered on the outskirts of TJ on March 13, 2009.  He was 38 years old.  Six months before his demise, he had been released from a US prison, after serving several years  for drug offenses.  He had moved to TJ and opened a pizza restaurant. The Baja state prosecutor believed he was involved in drug trafficking.  Upon discovering his body and searching his pizza place they discovered his .38 pistol. 




Anyone familiar with the US penal system knows, that upon release, the convict is always placed on parole with numerous restrictions associated with the release.  The convict is required to meet regularly with a parole officer; he is not to leave the state (let alone the country); he is not to have a firearm; etc. 

It is very doubtful Mr. Harrison was in compliance the US authorities.  The means of his death also suggest he was not in compliance with Mexican law.  Apparently he also violated the law of the TJ street.  Yet its cases such as this that are spun in the media to sound like innocent US citizens are targets in the Mexican drug war.

Very little of the Chronicles’ “data” support their conclusions,  In fact, a careful analysis substantiates that the opposite is much more likely to be the TRUTH!!

Innocent American citizens are SAFER in Mexico than on the streets of the USA!!!!

Posted by BajaBrent at 2/10/2009 7:16 PM | Add Comment

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