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jerezano

Mar 12, 2010, 9:13 AM

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News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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Hello all,

To back up the Monterrey Consulates notice for Americans to not travel the triangle Monterrey-Reynosa and Monterrey-Laredo read this Reuters article of today the 12 of March. The extorsion which it reports with reporters on the American papers is absolutely frightening.

http://www.reuters.com/...dUSTRE62A3CU20100311

Please read the article for your own safety. I usually travel the Monterrey-Reynosa route every three months round trip. I travelled from Los Indios to SLP to Jerez on the last trip without incident, but I even worry about that.

Hasta luego. jerezano


(This post was edited by jerezano on Mar 12, 2010, 9:15 AM)



Brian

Mar 12, 2010, 9:44 AM

Post #2 of 43 (7426 views)

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Re: [jerezano] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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Hello jerezano

I remember sharing with you my favorite route through Valle Hermoso. Who would have thought that it was the headquarters for the Zetas. There was a huge balacera there recently complete with numerous grenade explosions. The terrified citizens began calling each other about what they were hearing. Then the local government dismissed the events as rumors and that people should not panic. The newspapers didn't cover the story initially but tweets, complete with video clips of the carnage, began giving testimony to the truth. Now we are reading that the cartels are threatening the press not to write about what is happening as well as the governments' previous denials. Start using Twitter, especially now.


richmx2


Mar 12, 2010, 11:22 AM

Post #3 of 43 (7392 views)

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Re: [jerezano] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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"Blackout" is probably the wrong word here. I don't know why anyone is surprised. I worked as a reporter for the Marfa Texas Big Bend Sentinel and the Alpine Texas Avalanche for a time -- shoestring operations as far as media goes, but no different than the "big boys" in operation.

The Texas borderlands are some of the poorest counties in the United States, and no one, including ill-paid reporters, has the money or incentive to do much in the way of derring-do research. If someone offered me an extra five hundred bucks NOT to report something, heck yeah!

As it is, being upright and honorable though I may be, I still had to depend on the "official sources" and there was no way I was going to root around into "corruption" -- especially of the sort that can get you killed (as a Marfa stringer from the Mexican side was a few years back... not that it made the U.S. news outside of Marfa).

Secondly, what's unusual about the media turning a blind eye to local (or national) corruption, especially in small communities? One has trouble getting an article in even on something unflattering towards a local business or prominent citizen, and -- on the U.S. side -- one has to deal with lawsuits (besides continuing to live with your neighbors after you dis their boss, or their pastor or their landlady or threaten a future business deal), or at least irate telephone calls at 8 AM on a Sunday morning (I did... from the losing side in a twenty-year old water rights lawsuit that finally was settled, just because they thought it embarrassed them).

Despite the less savory tactics of the "cartels", what is the difference between them and any other large business group when it comes to spinning the media and "corrupting" information? Read any political reporting from any particular persuasion and it's all about which party/candidate/faction extracted the most money from which group. If that were called corruption, as it is in Mexico, what passes as corruption here would be considered pretty minor stuff.


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Brian

Mar 12, 2010, 11:27 AM

Post #4 of 43 (7389 views)

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Re: [richmx2] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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It is one thing if the mayor of a Mexican city tells you "no pasa nada" with respect to organized crime in town. You can choose not to believe him or her. On the other hand, if you are a news reporter, you must be skeptical to remain true to your profession. Mostly....

If a cartel member offers a bribe not to write a story, you absolutely must believe that he is serious. The answer is "plata". Always. Always. Always.

Jesus Blancornelas would turn over in his grave. If there is such a thing as sainthood amongst Mexican journalists, he heads the list.

Brian


Reefhound


Mar 12, 2010, 11:43 AM

Post #5 of 43 (7382 views)

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Re: [richmx2] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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Despite the less savory tactics of the "cartels", what is the difference between them and any other large business group when it comes to spinning the media and "corrupting" information?


Ummm, the less savory tactics?

Maybe it's just me, but I kinda see a big difference between getting hit with a lawsuit and getting beheaded and dumped in a ditch.


esperanza

Mar 12, 2010, 11:57 AM

Post #6 of 43 (7374 views)

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Re: [Brian] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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It is one thing if the mayor of a Mexican city tells you "no pasa nada" with respect to organized crime in town. You can choose not to believe him or her. On the other hand, if you are a news reporter, you must be skeptical to remain true to your profession. Mostly....

If a cartel member offers a bribe not to write a story, you absolutely must believe that he is serious. The answer is "plata". Always. Always. Always.

Jesus Blancornelas would turn over in his grave. If there is such a thing as sainthood amongst Mexican journalists, he heads the list.

Brian

Amen to the canonization of the late Jesús Blancornelas, a giant among men.

And doesn't it make you scratch your head in puzzlement over the simultaneous whining about what many folks here on Mexconnect call the media sensationalism of narcoviolencia in Mexico and the current news coming out of the Mexico/Texas border?

How is it (and pardon the rant) that when I post about narcoviolencia in Mexico's interior my posts are pooh-poohed, met with disbelief over what some posters call " exaggeration and fear mongering" OR are disregarded cavalierly--yet when there is some perceived danger to folks driving either north or south across the border, oh yes, then it's true.

*sigh*

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Rolly


Mar 12, 2010, 12:14 PM

Post #7 of 43 (7359 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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There have been, and continue to be, so may horrible things happening in my area that I am now reporting only the most heinous. It bothers me that some folks on this board live in areas where drug gang activity is rampant, but they never talk about it. Heads-in-the-sand does not work out well for ostriches or people. (Yeah, I know ostriches don't actually do that.)

Rolly Pirate


Peter


Mar 12, 2010, 12:36 PM

Post #8 of 43 (7345 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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We had drug gang violence in Southern California. Is it significantly worse here in Michoacán? There have indeed been some gruesome incidents and the bombing in the Centro at a celebration in September of 2008. In California targeting "civilians" for shootings and random acts of violence is part of the initiation and rite of passage into the gangs. I still feel safer here.


Brian

Mar 12, 2010, 1:51 PM

Post #9 of 43 (7319 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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De acuerdo, esperanza. If anyone has "street cred" here, it is you. Nice YouTube here about Blancornelas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsIKGzpj7i0


(This post was edited by esperanza on Mar 12, 2010, 3:20 PM)


Moisheh

Mar 12, 2010, 6:55 PM

Post #10 of 43 (7229 views)

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Re: [Brian] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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Actually almost every forum that focuses on Mexico has an abundance of "head in the sand" posters. I will never understand why these pesons think they have to be protectors of Mexico. They jump on anything negative about Old Mexico. The drug violence has spilled over to the common man and some tourists in Mazatlan have been injured. A gun fight betwen police and cartel soldiers broke out right in front of a Maz RV park. Yet these same RV'rs keep saying things like: if you are not involved in drugs you will be safe, these things only happen in border towns or stay out of bars and everything will be OK. NOT TRUE. Things are changing rapidly. No wonder tourism is so low in Mexico.

Moisheh


Peter


Mar 12, 2010, 8:44 PM

Post #11 of 43 (7195 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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It seems things are changing quite rapidly. Those car jackings up north sounds as though they have reached such proportions that no one can count on the averages for staying safe. The once sleepy city I live in has had some loud wake-up calls in the past couple years. Still, I didn't come from a very safe and quiet area of the US either. It's somewhat a matter of perspective.

I don't see or hear of many ex-pats packing up and leaving because of all the recent troubles. Anybody notice a marked decrease in the number of snowbirds this year? The hen house is clucking but it seems they're still laying. Tourism may be down but it appears the veterans still consider it worthwhile being here.


richmx2


Mar 13, 2010, 12:53 AM

Post #12 of 43 (7165 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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 A small matter, but as one who follows the information on missing and killed reporters very, very closely, I can't say I ever have heard of a reporter losing his or her head. A bullet in the head and a shallow grave for some, but no head chopping. More common is being shot down in front of one's home or office.

At any rate, what's not getting across is that the narcos are NOT the only ones bumping off reporters. The so-called "drug war" has meant both a militarization of law enforcement, and a tolerance for curtailed civil liberties.

Federal Police and Army units have threatened reporters on several occasions. In Cuilacan police beat up a news photographer, put a gun to his head and then surrounded el Debate office with armed officers because they didn't like the way the newspaper was reporting their stories. And, if you follow the reports from the Committee to Protect Journalists (or even the somewhat compromised Journalists Without Borders -- originally funded by the U.S. Government and anti-Castro Cuban groups, it's suspected of just furthering U.S. political interests) you'd notice that a good percentage (perhaps more than half) of the journalist disappearances, and the majority of harassments in Mexico itself, have nothing to do with narcotics, and much more to do with perceived threats by local economic or political powers.

One reason media people say the "War on Drugs" is a disaster is that they see it as a War on Civil Liberties... and on freedom of the press.

Yeah, local economic powers in the U.S. and Canada and other wealthy countries don't often bump off reporters, but it a lot of ways, it's not all that different from the same things that prevent journalists in the U.S. from reporting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I hadn't thought of it before, but -- without going into the details -- I had an interesting conversation with a foreign gangster (from one of the wealthy countries) not too long ago. As a loan shark and drug dealer, he thought his Mexican gangster brethren rather foolish for resorting to murder. Of course, he's in the business of extracting money, and dead men pay no bills.

I realized that here -- where journalists are paid next to nothing (and the reporters being killed, with some exceptions, have not been the high-profile nationally known people) and -- like journalists everywhere -- in a profession where money is not always a motivator stripping them of their assets isn't an option like it is for my shady acquaintance. And, in a rich country, where status and your sense of self is largely tied to your financial condition, maybe being bled for money is a more exquisite torture.


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Altahabana


Mar 13, 2010, 10:25 AM

Post #13 of 43 (7056 views)

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Re: [richmx2] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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I see absolutely no objective basis for the spin that posters on various boards try to put on narco-violence. In Nuevo Laredo there is no local coverage whatsoever about current events or developments. I have to look for information from the US media or Monterrey and the DF for specifics. The idea that organized criminal groups do not intimidate or influence local media coverage is beyond ridiculous.

http://www.cpj.org/...-city-plagued-by.php


ken_in_dfw

Mar 13, 2010, 10:43 AM

Post #14 of 43 (7049 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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The idea that organized criminal groups do not intimidate or influence local media coverage is beyond ridiculous.


Indeed. I'd say that the organized criminal groups are, to some degree, achieving what they intend to do, which is to alter or distort the perception of reality - a pretty impressive feat.

From the above-linked just-published NY Times article:

"As two powerful groups of drug traffickers engaged in fierce urban combat in Reynosa in recent weeks, the reality that many residents were living and the one that the increasingly timid news media and the image-conscious politicians portrayed were difficult to reconcile.

“You begin to wonder what the truth is,” said one of Reynosa’s frustrated and fearful residents, Eunice Peña, a professor of communications. “Is it what you saw, or what the media and the officials say? You even wonder if you were imagining it.”



Rolly


Mar 13, 2010, 11:14 AM

Post #15 of 43 (7038 views)

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Re: [ken_in_dfw] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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"Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?"

Rolly Pirate


Bethie

Mar 13, 2010, 11:53 AM

Post #16 of 43 (7022 views)

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Re: [Rolly] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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I rrived in Tampico airport February 20th, there were armed solders all over the place, it scared me. I had never seen this at the airport before. We stayed in Panuco Veracruz for a few days before heading back to Tampico to the Best Western. We were stopped on the bridge that leaves Panuco, truck was searched, and we were allowed to proceed. We were told by the man that searched us that several people had been killed the night before. It was unclear whether they were in Tamilupis or Veracruz. We later found out on the news that it was Taumilups. Very strange though that we were searched leaving Panuco, also now that I am reading more about current events, the the men that stopped us were not dressed in military uniforms, they looked like regular people (jeans, jackets, etc.). Now i wonder if they may have been bad guys looking for their enimies. When i got home a week later, my husband told me he was glad i left when i did, he was afraid for my safety but never mentioned it while I was there. Just my 2 cents worth here on my personal experience. As a side note, when they were searching the truck, they saw the tag on my luggage and questioned where I was from, my husband told them USA, they didn't search my luggage - go figure that one out.


richmx2


Mar 13, 2010, 11:56 AM

Post #17 of 43 (7022 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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The idea that organized criminal groups do not intimidate or influence local media coverage is beyond ridiculous.

Of course it is. And, "organized criminal groups" is more than just narcotics traffickers, the spin being that THAT particular enterprise -- and other organized groups -- don't intimidate local media is naive and when agents of the state (like the military or local politicos) ALSO are involved in intimidation, it makes it impossible to sort out the white hats from the black hats, or adjust ourselves to the spin cycle. I'm all in favor of the "Citizen journalist" doing drive-by videos, but I don't expect them to risk their lives for me personally, either.



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Reefhound


Mar 16, 2010, 4:13 PM

Post #18 of 43 (6849 views)

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Re: [richmx2] News blackout around Reynosa imposed by drug cártels

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At any rate, what's not getting across is that the narcos are NOT the only ones bumping off reporters.

In Cuilacan police beat up a news photographer, put a gun to his head and then surrounded el Debate office with armed officers because they didn't like the way the newspaper was reporting their stories.


The second statement does not support the first. Just as you cannot see a difference between being sued or being shot, apparently you cannot see a difference between being threatened and being killed.

The nervous cops being sensitive to reporters photographing their checkpoints in a period they were being attacked and killed by cartel forces might be understandable if not acceptable. Would it be a stretch for these cops to think maybe the journalists were on the cartel payroll and providing intelligence for another attack?



In Reply To
One reason media people say the "War on Drugs" is a disaster is that they see it as a War on Civil Liberties... and on freedom of the press.

Yeah, local economic powers in the U.S. and Canada and other wealthy countries don't often bump off reporters, but it a lot of ways, it's not all that different from the same things that prevent journalists in the U.S. from reporting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


One could argue that the War on Crime is an affront to civil liberties so why don't we just abolish all laws?

Sorry, but if you really cannot see the difference and must equivocate between censoring news by killing reporters and influencing news by economic pressures then there is no point in us discussing this further.


frito

Mar 16, 2010, 6:00 PM

Post #19 of 43 (6825 views)

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Re: [Moisheh] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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As a RVer, do you think driving around in a motorhome or pulling a trailer might give you a little added security as opposed to driving a car? I read the other day that gang members were setting up phony highway checkpoints on highways south of Reynosa, trying to catch rival gang members in their area. I'm wondering if one happens upon such a situation would they most likely wave you on if you are in a RV? After targeting American consulate workers who were driving Texas plated cars it makes me wonder if I'll be playing Russian roulette just driving down a highway.


La Isla


Mar 16, 2010, 6:47 PM

Post #20 of 43 (6809 views)

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Re: [frito] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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After targeting American consulate workers who were driving Texas plated cars it makes me wonder if I'll be playing Russian roulette just driving down a highway.


It appears that these consulate workers may not have been targeted after all, another case of mistaken identity on the part of
narcotraficante hired guns:

http://my.earthlink.net/...2d-a57d-058ac78913c3



(This post was edited by Rolly on Mar 16, 2010, 6:53 PM)


frito

Mar 16, 2010, 7:06 PM

Post #21 of 43 (6795 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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But what if I'm stopped at a phony checkpoint by a narco hitman who mistakes my dark looks for a rival gang member? Or he's having a bad day and doesn't like gringos? I've been looking forward to visiting Real de Catorce soon, and eventually spending summers there at 9000'. I'm betting it's too much work for cartel members to go there, should be a safe, interesting place to spend time in. But it really looks like it's a dicey proposition just driving there. I may ditch the northern Mexico RV thing and fly to Chiapas, rent an apartment in San Cristobal, be thankful there's still affordable places that haven't gone crazy.


Moisheh

Mar 16, 2010, 7:30 PM

Post #22 of 43 (6787 views)

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Re: [frito] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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Most RV'rs are not panicking yet. Bet then again most have their heads in the sand. Of course the cartels are not targeting rv'rs or any other tourists. At least not yet. They do use RV's to transport drugs across the American border. BUt the old story that you should avoid this area or that area no longer applies. You could be on Hwy. 15 minding your own business and a fight between the army and the thugs could break out any time. Or you could be in an RV park in Maz when the cartel soldiers decided to shoot some cops and throw a grenade right across the street ( this really happened last week). We are in Kino where all is quiet but I would not go further south at this time.


Moisheh


ken_in_dfw

Mar 17, 2010, 8:47 PM

Post #23 of 43 (6677 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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In Reply To
After targeting American consulate workers who were driving Texas plated cars it makes me wonder if I'll be playing Russian roulette just driving down a highway.


It appears that these consulate workers may not have been targeted after all, another case of mistaken identity on the part of
narcotraficante hired guns:

http://my.earthlink.net/...2d-a57d-058ac78913c3


Michel Marizco over on Border Reporter asks some very good questions about this line of reasoning.


Reefhound


Mar 18, 2010, 9:26 AM

Post #24 of 43 (6602 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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It appears that these consulate workers may not have been targeted after all, another case of mistaken identity on the part of
narcotraficante hired guns:

http://my.earthlink.net/...2d-a57d-058ac78913c3


I see nothing in the link provided to support such a statement. An FBI official speculated that it could have been mistaken identity and said there was no evidence to indicate they were targeted, but neither did they cite any evidence to indicate they were not targeted. Since when did lack of evidence of one theory become an indicator that some other theory was correct?


Peter


Mar 18, 2010, 11:03 AM

Post #25 of 43 (6563 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] Que quieres? Plata o plomo?

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Since when did lack of evidence of one theory become an indicator that some other theory was correct?
______


It seems political correctness is what has come into play here. Neither the US nor Mexico wants US boots (the military) on Mexican soil. Such an act as targeting US Embassy employees in a drug war could prompt an international incident. Therefore it is better to suggest this was mistaken identity and just another random act of violence.

The US prefers a hands-off approach to this war. It is much better to give Mexico a few vintage Vietnam era helicopters and some chump change to carry out its drug war. This way political ends can be met, power, influence, and money can be exchanged while decision makers can keep their hands clean. The greedy players who step out of bounds can get caught up in scandals, the violence in the street can escalate, and all this helps convince the public their respective governments are working hard for the protection of its citizenry against the killer weed, while scapegoating the other government for all the ill effects.

What a prize opportunity to have had a squeaker of an election so as to postpone the results for a couple weeks to ensure the eventual winner would carry out and escalate the good works to an unprecedented level.



(This post was edited by Peter on Mar 18, 2010, 1:11 PM)
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