Photo Credit: STRATFOR
THE GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE firm known as “STRATFOR” — Strategic Forecasting — was thrust into the attention of laymen when the loosely connected “hacktivist” collective known as Anonymous, shut down its site by way of a distributed denial-of-service attack, and subsequently exposed and compromised its list of paid-for-services clients — those who subscribe to STRATFOR’s premium intelligence products — and obtained (reportedly) unencrypted credit card information over the holidays to make several charitable donations.
However ironic the event was (perhaps the leading security company not being very secure), STRATFOR has been at the center of the for-profit security and global intelligence dissemination business for 16 years, and they have provided many of their summary findings to the public and have even been somewhat transparent and “open-source” minded — a software development principle that argues information should be free to all — with a number of their products, much like that of fellow company, RAND Corporation. At the end of last month, (January 24), STRATFOR posted its annual Mexico drug map with cursory analysis of the Mexico Drug War murder victims’ numbers, which has proven to be a thorny issue in regards to accuracy, because of the rate of the killings and the Mexican government’s inability to provide its own official numbers in a timely fashion.
As of the second-last quarter of data for 2011, STRATFOR reports a dip in the overall number of deaths, but it was not enough to produce the slightest glimmer of hope in the most rosy of analyses: From January 2011 to September 2011, 12,900 people died as a result of Mexico’s drug war. That number is less than the figure for 2010, but that clocks in at a still-ghastly 1,400 deaths per month. If that rate per the period of January 2011 to September 2011 holds for the final three months of 2011, it would result in 17,000 total drug-related murders in Mexico, for the year.
There were dips in the well-known, hard-hit cities and regions such as Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where the death toll dropped from 3,111 in 2010 to 1,955 in 2011 (for the months available), yet still, Juarez registered as the country’s deadliest city. There were also significant increases across the nation in regions such as Durango, Durango state, Matamoros Veracruz, Monterrey, Nuevo León state, Veracruz state and Tamaulipas state. The Sinaloa cartel and the Los Zetas faction, the Sinaloa’s former enforcers, have divided the nation’s regions into two respective hemispheres of influence over a turf war with the Sinaloa controlling the west and Los Zetas controlling a majority of Mexico’s eastern region.
View STRATFOR’s Mexico’s Drug Wars Map (Enlarged) [Here]