Modern order of the Knights Templar in Mexico

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MORELIA, Mexico (AP) -- An organized crime group calling itself the Knights Templar is distributing booklets saying it is fighting a war against poverty, tyranny and injustice, publicly appealing to hearts and minds in a part of Mexico where the government claims it has largely taken down the major drug traffickers.

Federal police said they seized copies of the cartel's "code of conduct" booklet during an arrest of cartel members in the western state of Michoacan last week, but refused to release its contents Tuesday, saying they didn't want fan the flames of the quasi-religious movement.

But a copy of the 22-page "The Code of the Knights Templar of Michoacan," illustrated with knights on horseback bearing lances and crosses, was obtained by The Associated Press this week. It says the group "will begin a challenging ideological battle to defend the values of a society based on ethics."
The Knights Templar have been blamed for murders, extortion, drug trafficking and attacks on police. Analysts say the propaganda is part of an effort to transform a drug cartel into a social movement, along the lines of what right-wing paramilitary groups did in Colombia in the 1990s against leftist rebels - a fight in which both sides used the drug trade to finance their causes.

"I think the main intent is to create a social base in Michoacan ... and that way they are different from other criminal organizations," said Jorge Chabat, a veteran analyst of the drug trade in Mexico. "They say they are defending the people against attacks. In the case of Colombia it was the guerrillas; here it is against who knows what."

The Knights Templar was founded in March, according to the booklet, whose illustrations were lifted from an artist, a website of a company that sells swords and another promoting the 2007 Swedish film "Arn: The Knight Templar," according to an AP image search.

Named for a medieval Roman Catholic order of religious warriors who fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem, Knights Templar is a splinter group of La Familia, another cult-like cartel whose leader, Nazario Moreno Gonzalez, published a motivational pamphlet called "The Sayings of the Craziest One."

While La Familia claimed strict codes of conduct among its members, including prohibiting using or selling drugs within Mexican territory, it didn't distribute its booklets publicly. The contents of its "bible," reportedly based on the teachings of U.S. evangelist John Eldredge, have never been revealed by authorities. The cartel became one of Mexico's major sources of methamphetamine.

The Mexican government claims to have all but dismantled La Familia since Moreno was killed in a shootout with federal police last December and another founder, Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, was arrested last month.

But the mayhem and killing has continued in Michoacan as Knights Templar gunmen battle both the Zetas cartel and remnants of La Familia seeking to control President Felipe Calderon's home state more than 4 1/2 years after Calderon launched his crackdown on organized crime here in 2006.
More than 35,000 people have died in drug violence across Mexico since then, according to government figures, and some groups put the number at more than 40,000.

Calderon has said he took on the cartels to prevent organized crime from spreading to the roots of Mexican society.

Like La Familia, Knights Templar claims to be highly religious, but unlike La Familia, the new cartel has sought to distribute its teachings to the general public with kitschy but florid posters, banners, emblems and even medieval robes.

"God is the truth and there is no truth without God," reads one passage in the booklet.


Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/mexico/article/Mexico-cartel-issues-booklets-for-proper-conduct-1473149.php#ixzz1Sf31KvGyThe person who gave the AP the professionally printed, pocket-size booklet said it was distributed earlier this month by two men in regular clothing aboard a bus traveling in rural Michoacan. He said the men handing out the material then sat down among the other passengers and, without saying a word, got off at the next stop. He asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation.

The booklet says cartel members "must fight against materialism," and respect women and children. It prohibits them from killing for money and says, "for all members of the order, the use of any drugs or any hallucinogen is strictly prohibited." It mandates drug testing for members.

The Knights Templar have criticized federal police for failing to protect Michoacan against incursions by the ultra-violent Zetas.

The group may have helped organize a demonstration last week in the Michoacan city of Apatzingan, where people chanted "Federal police, get out!" Some young men scrawled slogans like "100 percent Knights Templar" on their T-shirts.

Government security spokesman Alejandro Poire did not respond to a reporter's question about whether the cartel had organized last Wednesday's demonstration, but said it had been known to do so in the past.

"It would not be the first time that various criminal organizations seek to use propaganda or publicity tools, but I stress that there is no criminal propaganda that can weaken the efforts of federal forces," Poire said Tuesday. "The stepped-up federal police presence will remain there."

While authorities at three government law enforcement agencies refused to confirm the authenticity of the AP's copy, the title is the same as three booklets that federal police found in a July 15 raid in Apatzingan that netted a suspect identified as the chief hit man for the cartel.

Along with the booklet, which also preaches loyalty to family and country, police also have confiscated banners with messages from the gang, trucks emblazoned with Templar "shields," and even white robes with red crosses like the ones worn by the original Knights Templar order.
The original knights were outlawed in Europe and executed and their order dismantled beginning in 1307.

Photos from a Mexican army raid the previous day on a Templar training camp in Zacapu, Michoacan, show pages like those in the booklet as well as a medieval-style helmet made of steel grating and the white tunics.

National security expert Javier Oliva at Mexico's National Autonomous University said the propaganda may have some pull in rural areas where the government is weak and lawlessness and violence are rampant.

"They mirror a bit the sociological, anthropological logic of the Mafia," he said. "They seek to take justice into their own hands in a Mexico where no functional justice system exists."
The modern-day Knights Templar Order, a civic group with no ties to the church, issued a statement saying that "we disown completely and totally this disagreeable situation ... we have never had nor will we have contact with any of these people who display banners depicting themselves as Templars, and using this sacred name."

Welsh-born painter Mark Churms, who works from a studio in West Virginia, said he was never contacted by anyone in Mexico seeking to use his painting of a medieval knight, which appears in the booklet.

"When I was painting that image, I wasn't thinking, 'Wow, this would look good on a drug cartel leaflet,'" Churms said. "I hope people don't look at this and believe the hype that they are in any way connected with a monastic order."


Read more: [URL='http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/mexico/article/Mexico-cartel-issues-booklets-for-proper-conduct-1473149.php#ixzz1Sf2la8nQ[/QUOTE']http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/mexico/article/Mexico-cartel-issues-booklets-for-proper-conduct-1473149.php#ixzz1Sf2la8nQ[/URL]

WOW:ninja:
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I could really dive into a theory I have about this and a few other groups down in Mexico, but sometimes it’s better to leave that can of worms closed. Pretty interesting that they would select the Knights Templar as an image of their organization (movement).
 

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I could really dive into a theory I have about this and a few other groups down in Mexico, but sometimes it’s better to leave that can of worms closed. Pretty interesting that they would select the Knights Templar as an image of their organization (movement).

PM me your ideas I would like to hear them.
 

Marauder06

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I could really dive into a theory I have about this and a few other groups down in Mexico, but sometimes it’s better to leave that can of worms closed. Pretty interesting that they would select the Knights Templar as an image of their organization (movement).

Post them, no fair teasing us like that.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Eh, I would rather not. Not trying to make myself look like a total conspiracy theorists around here. :-|lol, I just tend to believe there is a lot more going on that what people are seeing and reading.

I will say that this Knights Templar group resembles somewhat of a “sons of Iraq” type movement, just with a historical romantic as a leader. lol
 

Polar Bear

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Eh, I would rather not. Not trying to make myself look like a total conspiracy theorists around here. :-|lol, I just tend to believe there is a lot more going on that what people are seeing and reading.

I will say that this Knights Templar group resembles somewhat of a “sons of Iraq” type movement, just with a historical romantic as a leader. lol
No one will think of you as a conspiracy theorists, dickhead yes, but not a conspiracy theorists. Just saying
 

Marauder06

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Eh, I would rather not. Not trying to make myself look like a total conspiracy theorists around here. :-|lol, I just tend to believe there is a lot more going on that what people are seeing and reading.

I will say that this Knights Templar group resembles somewhat of a “sons of Iraq” type movement, just with a historical romantic as a leader. lol

Dude, everyone knows that JBS is the current resident conspiracy theorist, no worries. ;)

I'm very interested to hear what you have to say on the topic, PM me if you don't want it public. Or email me, I think you have my address.
 

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Well shit…start inserting foot in mouth….time now!:thumbsdown:

Personally I think the Los Zetas are a pretty classic example of Unconventional Warfare force (insurgency) that have taken a lot of heat for being a “drug or crime” cartel, but with most true accounts all sign point towards a anti government/anti Gulf Cartel organization. Los Zetas have a pretty strong political/revolution message they leave with their attacks on (what some may consider) corrupt government officials, as well as their attacks on the Gulf Cartel and the many sub-components of the Gulf Cartel. A lot of the reports/LE Intel I have seen coming out of Mexico that point the finger at Los Zetas, appear more to be linked to other organization such as La Familia, Gulf Cartel, Aztec groups, where the focus is primarily on securing the shipping and distribution of their drugs through and from Mexico.

Looking at the history of Los Zetas, they are former Mexican Army SF, trained by US Army SOF, went rouge and originally went on the attack of corrupt government officials and the Gulf Cartel and at the time period the Gulf Cartel was the most powerful drug cartel in Mexico with the most influence in the Mexican Government. Since then the Mexican government has been asserting that Los Zetas are fighting for control over the drug trade, yet they are not buying off Mex-Gov or simply fighting the Gulf Cartel. Then looking at the political messages that Los Zetas leave regarding corruption and killing off the disease of drug corruption, as well as attempting to recruit support from the locals regarding their attacks on the government and the Gulf Cartel. It just seems to me that there is a lot more going on there (and a lot more coincidences) to say Los Zetas are simply what they are being portrayed by the Mexican Government.

Now looking at the amount of fighting that has transpired and the considerable amounts of disruption to the drug gangs, cartels and government corruption. We are now seeing groups of local militias starting to stand up, much like what this Knights Templar appears it might be. So what I am thinking is that the tone is being set to effect a revolutionary change in Mexico on many levels. Now who has been pulling those strings and why is up to everyone’s own idea of the situation. My personal belief is that there is a lot more Untied States involvement than what simply meets the eye. Just looking at the amounts of weaponry and equipment that Los Zetas seem to be getting a hold of, is enough to raise my eye brow. We are not just talking about AR 15’s and AK 47 in semi auto configurations that are ready available at any gun store. These dudes are running around with M2’s, M60’s, Mk19’s and plentiful amounts of ammunition. I could see some dickhead gang banger in the US-Mil stealing some of this stuff, but not in the amounts that are being recovered (and that is just what’s been recovered).

Now taking a historical look at the United States involvement in other UW type operation in the 1980’s throughout South America, it looks to be the same old stuff all over again. We see the same resulting effects of corrupt government being attacked, powerful drug cartels being attacked, local populations standing up and forming militia type groups and effecting revolution type changes. The same misinformation from the standing governments, attempting to label any group that makes a stand as another criminal/drug organization (more or less making them all out to be the evil ones). So if I was going to adopt a view (and I am not) on who is at the roots of what is taking place in Mexico, I would say it appears to be the United States.

Other things that I have been looking at are the reasons as to why would the US want this to happen (if they were behind it). The biggest connection I could make would not be one of the war on drugs, but more so a connection to the need for the US to form a American Union (possibly a Canada, US and Mex type union) in order to secure the future of power in the region, much like the European union. There has been a long time goal through NAFTA to develop a streamline trade system and thus far the most lacking portion of that has been Mexico. Not due to the product they produce or the amount of it, but more so in getting the Mexican government to invest more into their own populations (i.e. building a US/Can type middle class). Mexico is producing, they are developing, but they are not buying. In order to get them buying, they need a middle class (not a 10% upper and 90% lower class). If a middle class was to develop in Mexico, the United States and Canada stand to gain tremendously in exporting trade vs simply importing cheap stuff. With the current decline of the US and Canadian economies, it would be in our best interest to make a shift towards building up Mexico, Central and South America, so that we can secure better trade throughout the America’s.

Taking that into account and looking at the last 20-30 years that we have shifted our focus to developing C/S America, with the need to get Mexico online. I am somewhat of the opinion that someone decided that the best way to effect this change and remove the cancer within the Mexican Government is to do it through revolutionary means, with some US influence. I am probably way off base and dancing around in the far left field, but that’s just what I have been coming up with. I have watched this whole thing pretty close the last 12 years or so (being from South Texas it’s hard not too) and with my limited understanding/research of UW, I have started to try and connect the dots.

As for this Knights Templar group, again I think it more of a militia type group attempting to protect their community and probably with some historical (religious) romantic as leader. lol:-"
 

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Some stuff to think about.


http://deadlinelive.info/2011/07/20...tockpiles-of-u-s-government-supplied-weapons/

MEXICO CITY, July 15 .- Los Zetas use the border crossings of El Paso-Ciudad Juarez and Palomas-Columbus (both locations along the Texas-Chihuahua border) to supply and stockpile military type weapons, which would give them ability to disrupt the 2012 elections, according to the El Paso Times.
“Many of the weapons have been stored in safe houses. I think Los Zetas are storing them for the upcoming elections of 2012,” said Robert Plumlee, a former CIA pilot who has testified before Congress on drugs and weapons trafficking research.
The report is corroborated with an interview with Phil Jordan, former director of the DEA in El Paso, who stated that the stockpiles, which include anti-aircraft missiles, are transported from a Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. The consultant added that the criminals set up (phony) companies to buy weapons directly through a State Department program.
U.S. analysts warn of narco-attack in 2012
The Border Patrol personnel and U.S. intelligence services have recently learned that Los Zetas have been purchasing properties on both sides of the border to store thousands of high-power weapons that were discovered to be part of five or six shipments that left the same airport where the DEA has its air operations center.
Phil Jordan, former central intelligence operative and director of the DEA office in El Paso, Texas, and a former CIA pilot, Robert Plumlee, said Los Zetas transported the high-power weapons to El Paso-Ciudad Juarez and the Columbus-Palomas border areas to reinforce their troops for battling other cartels and possibly disrupt the 2012 elections in Mexico, El Paso Times reported yesterday.
“I believe Los Zetas are storing weapons for the election season (2012). They probably want to be included as part of the (new) government, “said Plumlee.
“The agency responsible for investigating arms trafficking has just confirmed that Los Zetas have been smuggling weapons through this region, and Laredo, which was new to us,” said Diana Washington Valdez from El Paso Times.
She mentioned grenades, grenade launchers, antiaircraft missiles, body armor, radios, GPS devices, and night vision binoculars, among other items.
Washington Valdez reported that Phil Jordan and Robert Plumlee, who has been called to testify in many U.S. congressional investigations, as well as other sources, reported that some of the weapons were purchased in Dallas, Texas, and being sent by plane from a nearby airport in Forth Worth to the Carrillo Fuentes (Juarez) cartel.
“There is an airport over there is called Lions (Alliance –ed.), but the irony,” said Phil Jordan, “is that there is also a DEA aviation headquarters at the same airport. Who knows how long they have been doing this under the noses of the DEA, because the shipments and the aircraft used by Los Zetas left the same airport,” he added.
Washington Valdez said Jordan, Plumlee and other sources were consulted for several months when the rumor of the weapons stockpile began, and compared these events to the time when the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) not only went to war against the cartels themselves, but also the very government of that country.
“One of the weapons shipments was found in a warehouse in Juarez, which was later relocated to a ranch on the other side of town, and other weapons were moved to another ranch further deep into Chihuahua,” she said.
Weapons purchased in the U.S.
She also stressed that Jordan and Plumlee, who participated in high-profile operations during the Cuban Revolution and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, as well as other sources, reported that the stockpiles of weapons are not only held at real estate properties that Los Zetas have purchased on both sides of the border, but in other locations throughout Mexico because it was found that a private company is taking advantage of the Direct Commercial Sales program under the U.S. State Department, which allows businesses to purchase high-power weapons which the U.S. exports worldwide.
“According to these reports, some Mexican businessmen who took advantage and authorized the use of that mechanism, arranged for these weapons to be delivered to the drug cartels,” she said.
The global arms report, Small Arms Survey of 2011, from the Institute for International and Development Studies in Switzerland, said that Mexico was the number one importer in the world of RPG’s, and “under-barrel” grenade launchers, with 1,429 units being imported, followed in second place by Latvia with 250.
World imports of this type of grenade launchers rose to 1,912 units.
Diana Washington announced that she’s also expecting new revelations from a U.S. federal investigation that took place in the Dallas area, which she will publish in a book.
“I’m waiting to confirm the details related to this case of weapons trafficking because what is striking is that the weapons were stockpiled and not used in the current war between the drug gangs,” she said.
Recent U.S. actions against Los Zetas
Both U.S. and Mexican authorities are on high alert and coordinating actions against Los Zetas in order to disable or damage their organizational structure.
On January 24, 2011, the U.S. embassy in Mexico reported that former Mexican military member Rogelio Lopez, who was trained in that country (Ft. Benning), was recruited by Los Zetas to assassinate former Deputy Attorney General Jose Luis Vasconcelos.
On July 3, 2011, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), issued a warning to its citizens with the recommendation not to travel to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, particularly during that weekend, and especially on July 4, due to a potential threat from Los Zetas.
On 4 July, the Federal Police arrested Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, third in the command in the criminal organization known as Los Zetas and allegedly involved in the killing of U.S. agent Jaime Zapata, last February.
On July 6, 2011, Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar, aka. El Mamito, said the weapons used by that criminal group (Los Zetas) to be used against their opponents are bought in that country (the U.S.) and are even sold to them by the U.S. authorities.
On July 11, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the United States (BATFE) announced that firearms dealers will now have to disclose the names of customers who purchase semi-automatic weapons.
 

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Some other conspiracy type thoughts/question I have:

Does anyone else find it somewhat odd that the Gulf cartel recruited personal from a Mex-SF unit that focus was targeting “drug cartels” then after the Gulf cartel had its top man captured; they assassinated the leader of Los Zetas? I could really dive into this subject, b/c all the “historical” accounts of Los Zetas is that they were once in bed with the Gulf Cartel. Yet LZ went on the attack targeting all types of different cartels/drug gangs, meanwhile the GC took several hard hits in it leadership during that period. And why would the GC assassinate LZ leader if they were such an asset to the GC? Then supposedly LZ has attempted to seize control of the drug routes, but yet has been going around killing cartel, gangs and government. Would it not have made more sense for LZ to follow the same successful pattern of all the other cartels, in developing alliances, paying off officials and going after more profit vs stirring the pot like they have been? Why do both the US and Mex view Los Zetas as a credible threat to over throw the Mexican Government, and why would a drug/crime cartel do that?
 

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Some other conspiracy type thoughts/question I have:

Does anyone else find it somewhat odd that the Gulf cartel recruited personal from a Mex-SF unit that focus was targeting “drug cartels” then after the Gulf cartel had its top man captured; they assassinated the leader of Los Zetas? I could really dive into this subject, b/c all the “historical” accounts of Los Zetas is that they were once in bed with the Gulf Cartel. Yet LZ went on the attack targeting all types of different cartels/drug gangs, meanwhile the GC took several hard hits in it leadership during that period. And why would the GC assassinate LZ leader if they were such an asset to the GC? Then supposedly LZ has attempted to seize control of the drug routes, but yet has been going around killing cartel, gangs and government. Would it not have made more sense for LZ to follow the same successful pattern of all the other cartels, in developing alliances, paying off officials and going after more profit vs stirring the pot like they have been? Why do both the US and Mex view Los Zetas as a credible threat to over throw the Mexican Government, and why would a drug/crime cartel do that?

And then there was this one time in Panama...
 
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