Skip to comments.Techies Forced into Slave Labour
Posted on 11/18/2012 10:45:03 PM PST by nickcarraway
On January 25, 2009 Jose Antonio Robledo Fernandez, a Mexican engineer working for ICA Flour Daniel, a construction company, was kidnapped by three armed men in the northern Mexican town of Monclava in Coahuila. Fernandez, who is still missing, is one of at least 36 engineers and technicians to have vanished in the past four years -- kidnapped, not for ransom, but as slaves who run the high-tech systems of one of Mexico's infamous, violent drug cartels, the Los Zetas.
The US government has called the Zetas "the most technologically advanced, sophisticated and dangerous cartel operating in Mexico". In December 2011, the Mexican army found a clandestine radio network with 167 antennas, 155 relay stations, 1,300 cell phones and 1,350 Nextel devices, controlled by 70 computers. The antennas were installed in isolated locations at high altitudes. Since then, more than 400 antennas and relay stations have been destroyed by the Mexican authorities. Most of these antennas and stations were installed by the Zetas cartel for field communication.
The Zetas were originally a part of the Gulf Cartel and were trained to be the bodyguards of Gulf Cartel head Osiel Cardenias Guillen . Many Zetas are elite Special Forces deserters, including a few who had been trained by American and Israeli special forces. There were initially 31 Zetas responsible for Guillen's security, but after Guillen was arrested in 2003, they became more and more independent, forming their own organization in 2010. Their operatives now include police officers and ex-Kaibiles , the special forces of the Guatemalan military.
Wired magazine's Robert Beckhausen describes the technological sophistication of the Zetas. Since 2006 the cartels have created and maintained an encrypted doit-yourself radio network that stretches across Mexico and into Guatemala. According to Wired's Spencer Ackerman, "The cartels divide up territory into 'plazas' . The plaza boss has the responsibility for establishing nodes on the network â getting the antennas in place, concealing them as necessary, making sure the signalboosting repeaters extend the network's reach, equipping cartel personnel with handheld radios, and replacing what the security forces destroy."
The network is primarily an early warning reconnaissance system. 'Halcons' or 'hawks' holler on the handhelds when the federal police or soldiers roll through cartel territory. The bosses themselves do not use the system - they prefer the Internet. This extensive radio network is for the field workers and the flunkies, and it is maintained by hapless engineers and technicians who are kidnapped and used as slave labour. Even the police are deeply implicated in the disappearances. In the case of Jose Antonio Fernandez, his parents were visited by two cartel members and the security chief of the ICA, the company where Fernandez worked. They were told that the cartel knew everything they had told the police and were warned not to go back to the authorities if they wanted their son alive.
The ICA security chief was to be their contact if they wanted their son to return. They are still waiting for Jose.
Who knows if kinapped techies may be getting paid well?
I wonder if the Zetas have a stock option plan.
Is the techie associated with Anonymous? Seems I heard a similar story about an Anonymous nerd being captured by a Mexcan cartel somewhere...
Just trying to keep up with the 0m0slem Sinolas.