The Breitbart news organization is universally reviled by the left, and even some on the right who find its views and its past associations with Steve Bannon and others distasteful.
But whatever your views of the website, one portion that is always worth looking at is the segment labeled "Border/Cartel Chronicles", under the "World" tab, because it provides a direct view into the belly of the beast.
The reporting is unlike anything usually found in American media sites because it goes direct to the source. It not only carefully monitors Mexico's own journalistic reporting on cartel crimes and violence from onsite locations, but, as its editor's note following each article never fails to mention,
Editor's Note: Breitbart Texas traveled to the Mexican States of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and other areas to recruit citizen journalists willing to risk their lives and expose the cartels silencing their communities. Breitbart Texas' Cartel Chronicles are published in both English and in their original Spanish.
Fair warning to readers in advance, though: The site often publishes photos of the sort that either are not typically shown in American media outlets, or are soft-filtered to avoid shocking reader/viewer sensibilities.
One such recent article in the "Border/Cartel Chronicles" that caught my attention was "Potential Terrorist-Designated Mexican Cartel Kidnaps Judge, Three Policemen", detailing the latest atrocity by the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (New Generation Jalisco Cartel, or CJNG by its Spanish acronym), in which three police officers were murdered and three more, and a judge, kidnapped right out of their criminal justice station in the town of Villagran in the state of Guanajuato. The article indicated that the atrocity was undertaken as a reciprocity attack on CJNG's cartel rivals, which puzzled me and left me thinking uncomfortable thoughts about the integrity of the police and judge. Why would they have incurred CJNG's wrath? This is such an uncharitable thought that I would hardly have allowed it to blossom in my mind, let alone give voice to it, if I had not looked closely at a photograph of the banner that CJNG left at the site (the last photo in the article) outlining the reason for the attack.
It's a profanity-laced screed, in Spanish of course, that is nonetheless revealing. CJNG calls its rivals for dominance in the area "terrorist whores" and goes on to say that, unlike its rivals, it does not attack or kill innocents. It only goes after those who are players involved in kidnapping, extortion, and other crimes, and is clearly suggesting that the officers and judge who were murdered and/or kidnapped had been suborned by CJNG's cartel rivals.
Pondering this, I found it interesting that CJNG chooses to call its rivals "terrorists" at a time when it is obviously a politically charged word, given that the United States is considering invoking terrorist designation laws against all the major cartels, including of course CJNG.
We are left with this question: Were these government police and judicial officials in fact on the take, as so many are in Mexico, and as suggested by CJNG? If so, it is once again evidence that Mexico totters on the edge of failed state status — something that should be completely unacceptable to the Mexican people as well as its neighbors both to the north and the south, given the cross-border implications.
If not, and the officers and judge have been defamed in a callous attempt at self-justification for the murderous attack, then what must we infer about the Mexico's capacity to effectively govern its territories in the face of so many such brazen attacks scattered throughout the nation directed at police and military forces? The answer to that is equally unpalatable.
We are led inexorably to the question: When is terrorism "terrorism"? Do we accept at face value the assertions of each cartel about itself that it isn't interested in governing or overthrowing governance, even as they point the fingers of terrorism and subornation at one another? Or do we accept that it isn't their public statements that count — after all, virtually every group, criminal or revolutionary, is prone toward self-justification and grandiose assertions — but rather the ground realities, in which case what we see is that Mexico's government has been corrupted at all levels, up to and including the office of the president (more than once); that effective governance is minimal and headed in the wrong direction; and that the country is turning into a left-leaning narco-state that occupies nearly 2,000 miles of shared border with the United States.